Bill of Rights?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 04, 2004

The faithful have a right to a true liturgy, which means the liturgy desired and laid down by the Church. ...The Second Vatican Council's admonition in this regard must be remembered: "No person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." [Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Inaestimabile Donum (1980), citing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium 22]

The Mystery of the Eucharist "is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured." On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free reign to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved ... Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ's faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal, but are detrimental to the right of Christ's faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church's life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. [Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25 2004, 11]

It is the right of all of Christ's faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church's Magisterium. [RS 12]

Christ's faithful have the right that ecclesiastical authority should fully and efficaciously regulate the Sacred Liturgy lest it should ever seem to be "anyone's private property, whether of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated." [RS 18]

It is the right of the Christian people themselves that their diocesan Bishop should take care to prevent the occurrence of abuses in ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and devotion to the Saints. [RS 24]

Priests ought not to detract from the profound meaning of their own ministry by corrupting the liturgical celebration either through alteration or omission, or through arbitrary additions. [RS 32]

In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in his power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism. [RS 183]

Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ's faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. [RS 184]

I have determined that there is no need to make any significant changes in our liturgical practice at this time. ... Most of the abuses mentioned in Redemptionis Sacramentum do not pertain to the celebration of the Eucharist in our Archdiocese. [Pastoral Letter of Cardinal Mahony, Sept 10, 2004]

Moral: You lose.

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 08, 2004 1:45 AM ET USA

    Minidoc: Agreed. If a local bishop is out of Communion with Holy Mother Church, then a priest has to align himself with Rome directly, seeking direct orders from the Holy Father, rather than through his local Ordinary. Please note that I will be asking my new bishop for an FSSP priest to help out in our diocese, and possibly take one of the several parishes to which I am assigned as pastor... I think (and pray) that he will welcome such an opportunity. Semper Fi. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 07, 2004 2:41 PM ET USA

    LCP: The FSSP is doing wonderful work, where it is allowed to function. Sadly, its activities are at the mercy of local ordinaries who may be opposed to its very existence. If "traditionalists" are to have their legitimate needs met in dioceses headed by modernist bigots, some priests have to act in a "disobedient" manner and provide the sacraments to these people. This kind of "disobedience" cannot be schismatic. The schism lies with episcopal oppressors who abuse their God-given authority.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 07, 2004 2:31 PM ET USA

    LCP: Thanks for your comments. "Soft" in regard to schism is only meant to indicate a visible state somewhere between perfect orthodoxy and blatant schism. It is not meant to be a technical term. As I have noted before, I do not believe so-called "Novus Ordo" Catholics cannot be good and holy. The only trouble is the modern Church has made being a good and holy Catholic much more difficult than it used to be through the destruction of the "traditional" Mass and devotions.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 06, 2004 7:10 PM ET USA

    Minidoc: You often have good insights/comments. However, your term "soft schism" is problematic at best. We are either with the Church or not. My folks drive 40 miles for an orthodox Novus Ordo Mass (although their parish is 5 miles away). I serve in the home missions, 2,000 miles away. They did not leave the Church. There is the Fraternity of S. Peter, so PPX/PPV groups cannot justify their actions. ie, All the Rites in the Roman Church were not invalidated by the valid Latin Rite Novus Ordo.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 06, 2004 9:53 AM ET USA

    The "soft" schism that exists between the Roman Catholic Church and the "American Catholic Church" is best exemplified by the actions and attitudes of the heresiarch in charge of a large archdiocese in the western United States. This is why "independent" traditional priests are so necessary in these very strange times. The SSPX and these other priests provide the sacraments to Catholics who have otherwise been abandoned by their pastors.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 05, 2004 6:58 PM ET USA

    "Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ's faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. [RS 184]" Ah Yes, but no bishop or competent in the Apostolic See need do anything other than file it in the circular file. By the way Mahoney is a Marxist, even though the Apostolic See cannot see it.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 05, 2004 1:13 AM ET USA

    By his phrasing, His Eminence seems to have admitted that some of the abuses mentioned in RS do occur in celebrations of the Holy Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Let us continue to pray for our afflicted brethren in the suffering Church.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2004 8:03 PM ET USA

    The reason Mahoney and other clerics abuse the Eucharist is because they can with impunity. They are self-actualizing. As long as my priest is able to send me and my fellow parishioners a schismatic message in English that he knows all will understand he will do so. If he had to make the same efort in Latin he would not even try. I could still follow along in my bilingual Missal the Mass in English. The NO is irreformable because of the long list of agendas of dissident clerics.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2004 6:24 PM ET USA

    Sometimes when I'm in that verdant valley between sleep and waking, I see JPII sending all the American bishops (except for a handful) a letter on find parchment. The letter goes something like this: "My son, Congratulations on your retirement, effective now. Please vacate the chancery by Friday (unless its Friday, in which case you have until Monday). Please see attached brochure, from which you may choose a nice watch,a table clock, or... I usually wake up by this time.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 04, 2004 4:52 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Roger: OK, let's use the word "many" as in "MANY of the abuses mentioned in RS do pertain to the celebration of the Eucharist in your own Archdiocese." (eg We have photos of you using glassware for the Precious Blood & wicker baskets for the Body of Christ.) There's a reason for the rules & it's called Reverence. People have a right to the Rites of the Church, so stop denying them the Rites. People of LA Archdiocese: write letters/photos to the nuncio & to Cardinal Arinze. Persevere.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2004 4:50 PM ET USA

    Mahony is so reminiscent of Weakland - the 'maverick' that 'Rome doesn't know what to do with...' They are cut from the same cloth - a veritable 'unseemly garment'. Why do we put up with this...?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2004 2:59 PM ET USA

    And what will Rome do? Nothing of course. So, Los Angeles has an out-of-control prelate that acts like some potentate. And what recourse do the faithful in Los Angeles have? None.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2004 10:54 AM ET USA

    This is all the more reason for the Holy See to publicly acknowledge the perpetual right of any priest to offer the "traditional" Latin Mass according to the dictates of St. Pius V's bull "Quo Primum." Just think ... if all the effort and expense and trouble of the last 40 years expended in demolishing the "traditional" Mass and churches constructed for its use were used learning Latin and teaching the faithful the meaning of the Mass we would all be scholars less likely to fall into heresy.