20 January 2011

Sometimes it's better not to ask

Over at a blog that often concerns itself with translations and recipes, we read that the expected Instruction on the correct implementation of Summorum Pontificum might “have juridical elements”. Well, no point in having an Instruction if it doesn’t. And sure, there’s been a lot of juridical muddying of the waters in the past three years by Summorum Pontificum’s opponents, some of them mitred. Yeah, an Instruction with juridical teeth will help.

The post asks “What sort of juridical issues might be clarified?”

“What “Extraordinary” means for one thing.” Well, if you ask for an explanation of that very unfortunate term, you deserve one.

But another issue, apparently, is “the use vernacular readings instead of Latin.” Er, what is the issue?

Which part of: "In Missis iuxta Missale B. Ioannis XXIII celebratis cum populo, Lectiones proclamari possunt etiam lingua vernacula, utendo editionibus ab Apostolica Sede recognitis” (SP art. 6) is not clear?

Just in case it helps, with the Pimpernel’s commentary: "In Masses low, sung or solemn celebrated with the people not private Masses according to the Missal of B. John XXIII promulgated in 1962 the readings may be not “must”, not “should”, but may be proclaimed in the vernacular, making use of editions of the readings that have the recognition of the Apostolic See that Rome has approved."

It’s really not that difficult, especially with the red stuff. Just read the black and work out the red. No need for an Instruction to do that.

The author of that same famous blog once reported on a visit with Ecclesia Dei and how he asked them about the third Confiteor. Then he posted their verbal response. Extraordinary.

It may just be better not to flag some of these questions. Good old common-sense and a Latin dictionary should be enough for most of them, unless a really important conflict or doubt exists or where the existing law needs to be underlined because it is widely disobeyed or it is interpreted against the mind of the legislator.

There is a risk. If you want official answers to all the questions you can think of, you just might get them. It will be too late if something is approved that you don’t like: communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.

Thinks the Pimpernel, that if you ask Rome questions, you’d better be ready to stick by the answers you get. More Cafeteria Tradtionalism will add to the scandal of Traddigate and that just won’t do. Not when you yourself have asked them what's on the menu.


  1. Pimpernel: you are seriously deranged! Love it. Very true and yet so hilarious.

  2. It looks as if something has finally gotten under the Pimpernel's skin. Interesting.

  3. Yes, he is hilarious. No, he is not deranged. I believe fine champagne inspires his writing. A bottle or two always help before blogging. Perhaps, instead of posting recipies, the good Pimpernel can post wine lists. That would be much more useful and would definitely wake up our inner muse.

  4. Scandalous slander, Secret Thomist! The Pimpernel’s posts are sober soliloquies – fine champagne is opened because of them, not in order that they be caused. As for posts on wine; this, good Sir, is a blog dedicated to the Sacred Liturgy, not to imbibing, or to bird seed or any such silliness. Credit where credit is due, however – a blog in another place has inspired a fine range of Pimpernel products, coffee mugs to the fore. Coming soon to a blog near you.

    Under the Pimpernel's skin, dear Father? A mere trifling annoyance, that is all.

    "Deranged" Baymedlevel? Happily, Sir! It's the only state of mind to have if you are to survive reading blogs on translations and even ones on the liturgy.

  5. Well, that is a "respondeo dicendumquod" if ever I read one.

  6. There are two parts of SP 6 that aren't clear. One is "etiam". Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ has said publicly that he inteprets SP 6 as allowing the vernacular readings "also" in the vernacular, not superceding the Latin readings. Others have also read it this way, including perhaps Ecclesia Dei, though it's not entirely clear to me if that is the question they are addressing.

    The part "editionibus ab Apostolica Sede recognitis” also isn't clear. That same letter from ED says that the readings from the Novus Ordo lectionary can't be used according to that calendar. What then is the edition approved by the Holy See, the '65 lectionary? It's not clear to me that that was approved by Rome and not merely locally. The versions found in hand missals bear only local approvals, not Roman ones. Yet I don't imagine this is intended to be a dead-letter or a prospective permission for some sort of not yet provided lectionary. The current lectionary usually can't be used either, even according to the '62 calendar, because the pericopes frequently don't match up.

    Another part of SP that isn't clear is whether Communion can be given in the hand. Some priests I've known (including at least one Roman canonist) refuse to do so at Mass according to the '62 Missal, because they argue that the '62 discipline must be followed. This may be the opinion of Ecclesia Dei. Other priests (whom I also respect) argue that the current indults for Communion in the hand apply and that this pertains to the rights of the faithful properly disposed to receive the sacraments and therefore give it that way.

    While I generally agree that sometimes it's better not to ask for clarification, this question of Communion in the hand or not has great potential to cause confusion among the faithful (I've seen such confusion) and really needs to be resolved.

    All in all, the this makes me wonder what the Pimpernel's sanguinity makes me wonder how much experience he actually has in carrying out the liturgy for actual parish communities where these kinds of conflicts and questions do arise.

  7. SJH:

    If "etiam" in this context means "also" there is no reason for SP 6 in the first place: vernacular readings were "also" used before SP for decades in various ways. The mind of the legislator is perfectly clear if you use common sense: what SP does is state that vernacular readings are now permitted.

    SP 6 is not talking about lectionaries but the readings of the Missal mentioned in para 6. If the Scripture text of the reading is approved by the Holy See it may be used. That is simple enough. If the Holy See has work to do in approving some more, let them get on with it.

    My copy of SP doesn't discuss Communion in the hand at all. Ergo, it does not seem to be "another part of SP that isn't clear."

    Your own discussion of Communion in the hand and lectionaries illustrates the Pimpernel's point: those who want rulings and more rulings may just get something they don't want because these things can be argued in different ways. Better sometimes not to ask.

    Wonder what you will about the Pimpernel sir!

  8. Or as St. Paul said [not a literal translation – Ed.]: “If we are not to be “slavishly literal” we should at least be “literally slavish”…

  9. "There is a risk. If you want official answers to all the questions you can think of, you just might get them. It will be too late if something is approved that you don’t like: communion in the hand, altar girls, etc."

    Or female lectors:

    Private Response of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith
    December 16, 1961
    (Canon Law Digest 6, 153)

    On the 9th day of November last, His Excellency, the Most Reverand Maximiliam de Furstenberg, Apostolic Delegate to Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, submitted the following question to this Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on behalf of His Lordship, the Most Reverand Launcelot Goody, Bishop of Bunbury:
    "Is it permitted in a community of religious, or at a Mass when only females are present, or at a school Mass, when both boys and girls are present, for a female religious, or a schoolgirl to read the epistle or the gospel or both in the vernacular during a dialogue Mass?"
    In reply I wish to inform Your Excellency that this Sacred Congregation, after mature deliberation, answers: "Yes."

  10. Good piece of research GOR. Dig hard and you will find at least one answer.