Action Alert!

Quick Hits: Vatileaks defendants targeting Cardinal Pell, adapting the Extraordinary Form

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 08, 2017

  • Francesca Chaouqui, the flamboyant publicist who was convicted in last year’s “Vatileaks II” trial, has published a book about her experiences inside the Vatican bureaucracy. John Allen has reviewed the book, reporting that it is self-serving and, despite a great deal of ballyhoo, provides very little new information about Vatican financial troubles. Chaouqui rehashes old news about mismanagement and excessive spending: real problems, to be sure, but problems that have already been covered exhaustively.

    What is interesting about the Chaouqui book, Allen notes, is her apparent determination to make Cardinal George Pell the villain of her story. That’s a curious choice for several reasons. Cardinal Pell only came on the scene as the Vatican’s economic-accountability czar after the excesses that Chaouqui recounts, and his campaign (which has been effectively neutralized by other Vatican bureaucrats) was to curtail the financial misadventures. So why would Chaouqui point her finger at the Australian cardinal? Allen remarks that Emiliano Fittipaldi, another Vatileaks defendant who has produced a new book on the subject, also has Cardinal Pell in his crosshairs.

    So two of the key figures in the embarrassing leakage of Vatican financial documents have an animus against the prelate who was appointed to clear up the mess. That suggests something, doesn’t it, about the motives of the leakers—and of any other Vatican officials who may have helped them?

  • When he broadened access to the Latin Mass in Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI said that the use of the Extraordinary Form alongside the Ordinary Form could be “mutually enriching.” Traditionalists usually interpret that comment to mean that the Ordinary Form would be enriched by incorporating some elements of the Extraordinary, and they’re right. But it could be a two-way street, Father Peter Stravinskas in a provocative Catholic World Report essay. He suggests a number of ways in which the Extraordinary Form could be adapted, using elements of the Ordinary Form, without sacrificing reverence or threatening the integrity of the older ritual.

    The question is: Will traditionalists tolerate any change in their beloved liturgy? A response to Father Stravinsaks by Father Albert Marcello, also appearing in Catholic World Report, is one strong indication that the answer is No.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 10, 2017 8:52 PM ET USA

    I never in a million years would have credited the Vatican to be so full of what can only be described as self-serving bureaucrats. Ms. Chaouqui has learned her lessons well from certain groups; I doubt she can pull it off as well. Of course, there may be some other ulterior motives at work such as getting back in the good graces of... As to the other point, I really thought that what was meant was Mass celebration could simply be done with both forms neither impacting the other.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Feb. 10, 2017 7:50 PM ET USA

    Here is a suggestion. Take my old pre-VII daily missal, use the English language pages as they were translated then, and leave everything else as it was; rubrics, music, sermons, words of Consectration, etc. That is what most of us thought we were going to get when we heard about "the Holy Mass in English." That would have been so simple and wouldn't have been controversial. What we got was something else entirely. I'm pretty sure God would understand English as He does when I pray!

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Feb. 10, 2017 5:38 PM ET USA

    Here in Germany, FSSP priests - perhaps under pressure from Bergoglio - have adapted the Extraordinary Form by having the congregation sing one vernacular hymn after another through the Offertory of the mass. These hymns, in the proper context, are quite beautiful, but mixed with the Tridentine Mass and in place of Gregorian Chant, they are, in a word, awful. This is perhaps aimed at "participation," except that the priest proceeds with the usual Latin prayers of the mass, ignoring everyone.

  • Posted by: rghatt6599 - Feb. 09, 2017 1:51 AM ET USA

    The OF is a product of rupture in our liturgical tradition. Improving the EF, an organically developed entirely Catholic liturgy, with elements derived from a product of the progressive 60s that de-emphasized holy sacrifice and veneration, removed difficult bible passages and prioritized bringing the Mass closer to protestant worship forms is rightly viewed with skepticism. The same progressive spirit that made a mess of Catholic worship 50 years ago is now making a mess of faith and morals.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 08, 2017 10:49 PM ET USA

    Fr. Stravinskas claims that the homily is an essential part of the sacred liturgy. The homily is not essential to the sacred liturgy, at least not in a traditional understanding of the Mass. To fulfill one's Sunday obligation attendance from the Offertory to the priest's communion is vital. Unfortunately, many post-conciliar changes tended to equalize elements of Mass. Today, statistics demonstrate few contemporary Catholics believe in the Sacrifice or Real Presence at Mass. Coincidence?