17 May 2011

How Would St. Francis de Sales Approach a Pastor about Establishing the Extraordinary Form under Universae Ecclesiae?

Since posting the Blueprint for Recourse to the PCED under Universae Ecclesiae article on Sunday, I have been contacted by several people who would like some suggestions on how to approach their pastors in order to be able to assist at the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, as is their right under Church law.  I know that there are those of you, reading now, that are in some pretty desperate circumstances, as your diocese or priest seems especially dismissive, or even hostile.  One of the reasons I was so glad to post the canon lawyer's article is because of the reality that it may sometimes be necessary.  But as the canon lawyer himself mentioned in the article, standing on principle with an eye towards litigation is not the ideal first approach. 

Even as one with some knowledge of civil law, I can say that the most difficult parties to help, and usually the most disappointed at the end, are those who do not wish to consider compromise of any kind, who do not treat their opponents (even those whose positions make little sense to them) with respect, and who are all about "the principle of the thing".  If this is a bad proposition in a civil matter, how much more should we seek to avoid this as believing Catholics, who are called to charity and to "make up what is lacking" in the sufferings of Christ?  And when, moreover, we are dealing with our lawful pastors and prelates, however errant they may be in this matter?

I don't wish to be hypocritical, it is difficult to be patient and kind in the face of injustice, and I fail as often as anyone.  And I know that in so many places there is an absolute persecution of anyone, priest or faithful, who shows a partiality to the Extraordinary Form.  After a long time of disappointment, it can be difficult to hope things will improve.

For these reasons, I thought I would offer just a few "money" quotes from the great Saint of Charity, St. Francis de Sales.  I think these quotes would be good food for reflection before engaging in the effort to approach one's pastor.  The wisdom and application of these quotations will no doubt occur to you:

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.

When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.

Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.

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