15 January 2016
Fr. Cipolla Responds to Ross Douthat
Full piece at Rorate Caeli. In response to the "crisis of conservative Catholicism", as Douthat frames it, Fr. Cipolla points to the battle between Catholicism-- "Tradition"-- and "the selfishness and darkness of the world". The full article is well worth reading, and it concludes thusly:
But above all, Mr. Douthat, you do not understand that the deepest problem of the state of the Church today is the destruction of her liturgical life. That blindess you share with the Neocons, who have been blind to this for so many years and who refuse to see this because of their inability to even consider that the Church can make serious mistakes despite her indefectibility. The Panglossian attitude towards the post-Vatican II developments in the liturgy on the part of those who style themselves as conservative Catholics is not only an affront to reality but has contributed to the shocking (never admitted by the bishops) decline in Mass attendance to the point where less than 25% of Catholics go to Sunday Mass on a regular basis. Any rational person would want to sit down and discuss how we got to this point and at least consider that bad decisions were made in the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium by the Consilium entrusted with liturgical renewal. It is a remarkable fact that Pope Paul VI thought that he had the power to change the liturgy of the Mass. As I said before, even Pio Nono would have been amazed that he had this power. But then comes Benedict XVI who declares that what was sacred then is sacred now and that the Traditional Roman Mass was never suppressed. Ahem. There may a contradiction somewhere in all of this.
We who love the Tradition of the Catholic Church rejoiced in Benedict’s Motu Proprio—Summorum Pontificum that freed the Traditional Mass from the tyranny of the post-Vatican II liturgical establishment. But Benedict did this by inventing the fiction that there are two forms of the one Roman Rite: the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. What this means is, to say the least, not clear, perhaps not cogent. But he could not say explicitly that what Paul VI did in imposing the Novus Ordo on the Church was wrong—because Popes do not make serious mistakes. And so that whole fiction about if a small group in a parish want the “old Mass”, they should go to the pastor and ask that it be celebrated in their parish, and if the pastor refuses (why would he?), they could go to the bishop. What does all this mean? The great majority of bishops are inimical to the Traditional Mass, and this animosity is true even more of pastors of parishes and seminary officials. Those of a certain age have a vested interest in the de-sacralization of the liturgy that occurred after the Second Vatican Council. And, Mr. Douthat, what you see happening in the doctrinal life of the Church is a direct consequence of the unmooring of the liturgical life of the Church from its foundation in Catholic Tradition. This is not conservatism. This is foundationalism, grounded in the Tradition of the Apostles.
But this is not a time for gloom and doom, nor is it a time for Pope-bashing, nor is it a time for circling the wagons. No. Next Sunday’s gospel in the Extraordinary Form as always is the first miracle of Christ: the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, as part of the Epiphany of the Lord. And, mirabile dictu, because it is "Year C in the Ordinary Form", our people at the masses celebrated according to that Form, will also hear this Gospel.
And how wonderful that is! For this first miracle of our Lord is a miracle of pure largesse, a miracle not to heal, or to exorcise, or to raise someone from the dead. His first miracle was to help make people happy at a celebration of hope and love that is a wedding. And so let us all raise our glasses in happiness and thanksgiving that we are blessed by our Catholic faith. And let us, yes, toast the Pope, but conscience first. And let us toast each other, whoever we are, and let us toast this whole messy world in which we live that whether they know it or not, the world has been redeemed by Jesus Christ. And with a smile on our face let us thank God that He has loved us so much that He sent his Son to die for us; and that he continues to love us so much despite our ungratefulness and sin-- and let us thank God that we know the beauty and the truth of the Catholic faith.