Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This Week in God. Well, our god. You don't have one.

Ever since Friend SRGN gave me a Latin copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I've kinda wondered if there's been a Latin revival brewing. It appears that the number of people crying out for more public Latin has hit the critical mass needed to push the Catholic Church into one of it's boldest modernizing moves in years: the re-introduction of the Latin Mass.
BBC NEWS | Europe | Pope ends Latin Mass restriction
Pope Benedict has lifted restrictions on celebrating the Latin Tridentine Mass, pleasing some traditionalists.

Traditionalists in the Mel Gibson mode.
The late Pope John Paul II partially relaxed the prohibition in the 1980s, allowing bishops discretionary powers to let priests celebrate Mass in Latin if members of the congregation asked for it.
The Pope wanted to heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists who rebelled against Second Vatican Council changes.

Traditionalists like Mel Gibson.
Surely this will heal all those nasty rifts within the church. And between churches as well. Good for world.

Pope's move on Latin mass 'a blow to Jews' | World | The Observer
Jewish leaders and community groups criticised Pope Benedict XVI strongly yesterday after the head of the Roman Catholic Church formally removed restrictions on celebrating an old form of the Latin mass which includes prayers calling for the Jews to 'be delivered from their darkness' and converted to Catholicism.

Okay, maybe not that rift. If you're including a prayer that calls for another religion to be converted you're building bridges, but then putting up a troll booth under them.
However, the older rite's prayers calling on God to 'lift the veil from the eyes' of the Jews and to end 'the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ' - used just once a year during the Good Friday service - have sparked outrage.

Yesterday the Anti-Defamation League, the American-based Jewish advocacy group, called the papal decision a 'body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations'.
'We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday mass, it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted,' said Abraham Foxman, the group's national director, in Rome. 'It is the wrong decision at the wrong time. It appears the Vatican has chosen to satisfy a right-wing faction in the church that rejects change and reconciliation.'

Okay, so it will be interesting to see how this attitude is translated into action given the UK's new laws banning incitement to religious hatred and intolerance. Calling for the spiritual end to another religious faction is probably noteworthy in a legal sense. [Pulls up lawn chair and opens a beer] In some way watching Moses-Jesus-Muhammad fights is like watching Trekkies argue Kirk vs. Picard. Guys, I'm glad you have an opinion but they are both fictional.
Okay, if it's not about language and not about building bridges but just about appeasing traditionalists (i.e. Mel Gibson. Hmmm, no matter how much I beat it, the horse won't run. Odd that.)
Still this is a good move that Catholics have to be crying out for, right?

Pope Benedict XVI brings back the old Latin Mass—but will Catholics embrace it? - By Andrew Santella - Slate Magazine
The shift away from services in Latin was just the most visible of the many changes that swept the church in the 1960s. As my liturgically clueless classmates and I were told, before the Second Vatican Council, Masses were celebrated in Latin by a priest who faced the altar, his back to the congregation. After Vatican II, Masses were in the vernacular, and priests faced their flocks. Many of the post-council reforms were meant to encourage the congregation to feel more involved with the ceremony.
Traditionalists prefer the power of Latin to what they see as the banality of the liturgy in English. And many Catholics associate the Latin Mass with the church's glorious heritage of ancient music and solemnity in worship—a heritage some say has been lost in the liturgical changes that have been enacted over the last few decades.
But for some progressive Catholics, even a limited comeback for the Latin Mass would spell a disturbing retreat to the inflexible hierarchies and what they see as the anachronistic services of the old pre-Vatican II church.
But ideological debates aside, perhaps the most practical—and unanswered—question is this: For four decades, Latin was largely neglected in the church (and in Catholic schools). How many Catholic priests—many of them, like me, having come of age after the reforms of the 1960s—could muster enough Latin to offer a convincing Tridentine service?

Okay, that's the problem. There's likely to be a dearth of people who speak Latin. While there's some point to the symbolism of the priest facing the altar as a metaphor for leading the congregation towards god, there's the counter symbolism of speaking an indecipherable language (possibly badly) and turning your back on the people you're supposed to be there for.
Okay, all that aside, there's not much else that Pope Bene could say that would get to people. He's not going to try to undo the bridge building and reconciliation of the last guy. Hunh? Okay, more trolls under the bridges.
Catholic Church only true church, Vatican says
The Vatican issued a document Tuesday restating its belief that the Catholic Church is the only true church of Jesus Christ.

The 16-page document was prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a doctrinal watchdog that Pope Benedict used to head.

Oh, for fuck's sake, can't you people pretend to get along with each other. Turn the fucking other cheek already.
It says although Orthodox churches are true churches, they are defective because they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope.
"It follows that these separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation," it said.

Defective? The orthodox churches? I'd like to welcome our debate guests to the show. Messrs Pot and Kettle. Now gentlemen, what would your positions be on today's debate topic of 'colours.'
For Christ's sake, wasn't this shit all over the reigns of Justinian and Zeno?
Now with all that 'judeo-christian' bullshit in the States today, how do you think this will affect the Protestants?
The document adds that Protestant denominations — called Christian Communities born out of the Reformation — are not true churches, but ecclesial communities.
"These ecclesial communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood … cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'churches' in the proper sense," it said.
The document is similar to one written in 2000 by the Pope — who was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the time — that sparked an angry reaction from Protestant groups.

You know, the tacit treaty holding together all those whack-a-doodles in the US is probably going to eat itself from the feet up.

Dismay and anger as Pope declares Protestants cannot have churches | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
Protestant churches yesterday reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by Pope Benedict XVI insisting they were mere "ecclesial communities" and their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion.
However, other Christians saw the latest document as another retreat from the spirit of openness generated by the Council, which laid the basis for talks on Christian unity. Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of the Protestant umbrella group Evangelical Church in Germany, said: "The hope for a change in the ecumenical situation has been pushed further away by the document published today."
He said the new pronouncement repeated "offensive statements" in the 2000 document and was a "missed opportunity" to improve relations with Protestants. The president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, pastor Domenico Maselli, called it a "huge step backwards in relations between the Roman Catholic church and other Christian communities".
A statement from the French Protestant Federation warned that the internal document would have "external repercussions".

Oops, started already.
Oh and the Galloping Beaver has a bit to say on this topic as well.

The Galloping Beaver: Here endeth the lesson...
This will help cement relations among the faithful.

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