Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Next Move

The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is now in effect. Executed better in some places - far better than I had ever dreamed. And grudgingly in others - a situation that will be worked out over time. (I have the feeling that a few pontifical new-arsehole-rippings for some bishops are in the works even as I write this) BUT, in effect nonetheless.

It should be clear by now that the mission of the Holy Father is the revival of The Church and the revival of Catholic identity, and Summorum Pontificum is just the most recent move in this crusade. The first move in this crusade was the pontifical report on the Eucharistic Congress, released earlier this year, entitled Sacramantum Caritatis.

Sacramentam Caritatis was released to little fanfare, but was in is workings, an awesome document. I think, as it sinks in over time that it, as much as Summorum Pontificum, will change the church as we know it. The problem is that, until now little has been said about it at all. It was relased, announced, and promptly vanished. I think that there are two good reasons for that. One is that the document, however powerful, was doomed to be eclipsed by Summorum Pontificum. Both in the press and in the church it was treated as a long awaited document that had to be released and gotten out of the way before the much-heralded motu proprio. But the other reason - and one that hardly gets mentioned - is that it was on some ways just an overview with little in terms of nuts-and-bolts.

But those nuts-and-bolts were mentioned, in article 93:

"The competent offices of the Roman Curia will publish a Compendium which will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar (251). It is my hope that this book will help make the memorial of the Passover of the Lord increasingly the source and summit of the Church's life and mission."

THAT, I think, is the next move. I am hoping and praying and betting that this compendium is going to go a long-long way to "cleaning up" the junk liturgies that have metastacized in many parts of our Church. Look for it to contain lots and lots of details on the "ars celebrandi". As well as details about everything from vestments to chuch design.

This Pope, driven by the Holy Spirit, is on a mission from God. I think that more and more each day. An old theologian, late in his years, solid, respectable. A "caretaker Pope" to follow on the Rock Star like persona of John Paul II. Someone who would "fill in" until the next Pope has become, through the Blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Pope who saved the Church.

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