✣Liturgy chief seeks to reconcile old and new Mass
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has sparked debate by proposing a “reconciliation” between the old and new forms of Mass.
Writing for the magazine Le Nef, Cardinal Sarah proposed that the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form could have a shared calendar and the same Mass readings. The cardinal has previously said: “Without a contemplative spirit, the liturgy will remain an occasion for hateful divisions and ideological clashes.”
What the blogosphere said
At Rorate Caeli, Joseph Shaw said that trying to combine the readings from the two forms would result in “a muddle”: the Novus Ordo missal “reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass”. Cardinal Sarah’s proposal, Shaw suggested, might reflect “a certain conservative yen for centralisation and uniformity”, but this was plainly limited: it was unlikely that Cardinal Sarah would also want to incorporate the Eastern Rites, or the particular rites and usages of the Ordinariate, Dominicans, Norbertines or Carthusians.
At wdtprs.com, Fr John Zuhlsdorf said that diversity was nothing to be afraid of, but that there needed to be “a long period of stability of the two forms side by side. We must work to establish more and more celebrations of the older, traditional form so that there is a greater opportunity for, not only mutual enrichment, but also the healing of a deeply wounded Church.” We should proceed carefully: “Sound liturgical changes take time … a lot of time. Impatience and imprudent imposition broke hearts and ruptured our Catholic identity, so enervating the Church that we are now experiencing crises in virtually every sphere of her global mission.”
At New Liturgical Movement, Gregory DiPippo said we should take a close look at how the Ordinary Form is celebrated today. Churches offering “exemplary celebrations of the OF Mass … are extremely rare. It is pointless to deny that many bishops and religious superiors would not tolerate attempts by their clergy to emulate the practices of such churches.”
✣Cathedral shelters 2,000 Muslims from violence
Two thousand Muslims are sheltering in a Catholic cathedral in Bangassou, Central African Republic, to escape a marauding militia. The town is one of several places where conflict between Christian and Muslim armed groups – which began in 2013 – has sprung back to life. Since April 100,000 people have been displaced.
Why was it under-reported?
The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world. Few journalists visit and aid agencies have a minimal presence there. (Médecins Sans Frontières suspended its work in one town earlier this month after militants shot at patients, killing a baby.) The ferocity of violence in 2014 – with militants being burned alive – eventually drew the world’s attention. Since then the story has been of a country slowly returning to peace. Pope Francis visited in 2015 and soon after a maths professor was elected president in the country’s first peaceful elections.
What will happen next?
More than two million people in the country – almost half the population – need aid, says the UN. Yet there is little funding to provide it. Only a quarter of the $500 million the UN says is necessary has been raised.
Hopes for averting a full-blown conflict rest partly on the Church. A peace deal between armed groups was signed in Rome last month under the auspices of the Sant’Egidio community. It has so far been ignored. Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui said the country was “sitting on hot coals”.
✣The week ahead
Orkney is marking the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Magnus. Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen is leading a pilgrimage there with Mass at St Magnus Cathedral on Sunday. St Magnus was killed on the orders of his cousin and declared a saint 20 years later after several miracles. Bishop Gilbert calls him a “key figure in the Christianisation” of northern Europe.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State (pictured), far from taking an August break, will be meeting Vladimir Putin in Moscow and talking to top officials. It is the first visit from a high-level Vatican representative since 1998.
A Mass will be celebrated for the canonisation of Blessed Margaret Pole in Melbourne on Saturday. A niece of Richard III, Blessed Margaret was executed by Henry VIII and beatified in 1886. The Mass will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne. In attendance will be Simon Abney-Hastings, a descendant of Blessed Margaret.