I haven't commented at all yet on the two recent sources of controversy from the Vatican, namely the pope's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum
allowing greater use of the Tridentine Mass, or the recent CDF document
affirming that Protestant churches are not actually "churches." Or whatever it said. I don't really know, because I haven't actually read it, and the reason is that I don't particularly care, to be perfectly honest.
Based on criticisms that I've read of the CDF document, it sounds to me like it simply restated an old doctrine using pretty much the same language used in Dominus Iesus
a few years back. Remember that whole brouhaha? But there was nothing particularly shocking about what it said -- in fact, it would have been quite shocking if it had said something else
. The mainstream media completely misunderstood what made that particular document newsworthy, and I suspect the same is true of this recent CDF document. Not that I have any intention of reading it anytime soon.
It seems like it's essentially an argument over terminology. Protestant communities (or whatever) say that they are churches, while the Vatican says that they are not. Well they are what they are, and if Protestants want to call them "churches," I don't see why they particularly care if the Vatican disagrees. (Hello? They're Protestants
!) The word "church" can mean one thing in Protestant theology and something entirely different in Catholic theology, no?
Now what about the Tridentine Mass? I don't particularly care a great deal about this either. I love the Latin language. I love to read it, I love to hear it spoken, I love to hear it chanted, Gregorian-style. I have no problem with people going to Mass in Latin if that's what they want. I do, however, have a very serious problem with using the 1962 Missal, without eliminating the prayer for the "conversion of the Jews." Apart from the use of Latin, I don't really understand why Traditionalists were so gung ho about the Tridentine Mass. But obviously they would not have been satisfied with simply having the Novus Ordo
liturgy in Latin.
Anyway, I thought I would call attention to this article, "Pope Benedict's Mistake,"
by James Carroll in today's Boston Globe
. Carroll takes issue with Benedict's literalist understanding of apostolic succession, among other things. It's quite interesting. The whole concept of "apostolic succession" is so ludicrous when one looks at the historical evidence that it really cannot be used as the basis for any serious ecclesiology, but Benedict persists...
I suppose it would have been shocking if he had said anything else.
Labels: ecclesiology, liturgy, Vatican