Rorate Caeli

Remembering the Pope of Summorum Pontificum

The middling homily by the current Dean of the College of Cardinals - marked by the very relevant words, "tirelessly promoting justice and peace, the world order" (that is exactly what he pronounced, though the official transcript and translations did not include the words "l'ordine mondiale") - provided another stark reminder of how much Benedict XVI will be missed. The difference between this sermon, and that pronounced by the Dean of the College, Cardinal Ratzinger, right before the 2005 Conclave is stunning.

We shall always remember Benedict XVI, the Pope of Summorum Pontificum, and thank him for his Pontificate:


And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold a fiery chariot, and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Eliseus saw him, and cried: My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the driver thereof. And he saw him no more” (2 Kings 2, 11-12). This episode from the Old Testament echoes the emotions of the Catholic world on Thursday 28 February, as we saw a white helicopter lift our dear Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI into the clouds, never again to be seen as our Supreme Pastor. Like Eliseus, we had been told of the pending ‘assumption’ of our guide and father, and like him we had counted the hours, as filial sadness blossomed in our hearts, thinking: “Does this have to happen? Why must he go? Can it not be avoided, or at least postponed? How will we ever manage without him?”

There will be time to ponder the consequences of this resignation. Meanwhile, the current interregnum teaches us anew that as the pope is the visible head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ is her invisible head; and while the visible head does change when a pontiff dies (or resigns), Our Lord never ceases to govern His beloved Church, although invisibly.

With our fellow Catholics, we who are attached in a particular way to the Roman traditions of Holy Mother Church now look back and reflect on the 8-year-long pontificate now ended. We are grateful to Pope Benedict for his support of the traditions of the Church, especially the liturgical ones, centred around the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Naturally each group and trend within the Church tends to see their own needs as essential, possibly overlooking the expectations of others. However, it was not to please a faction, but for the wider good of the universal Church that Pope Benedict lifted the restrictions on the traditional liturgy in his motu proprioSummorum Pontificum (7 July 2007). As explained in the instructionUniversae Ecclesiae (30 April 2011): “The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, and has the aim of: a. offering to all the faithful [emphasis ours] the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved; b. effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees; c. promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church” (#8). We can note that the Holy Father’s primary aim was the benefit of all Catholic faithful, irrespective of their knowledge of the traditional liturgy. This shows that the usus antiquior pertains to the very essence and future of the Church. It is not a transitory option given to please a minority but a vital component within the expression of perennial Catholicism. Therefore gratitude to Pope Benedict for Summorum Pontificum is not just our own, but that of the whole universal Church, in the same spirit of universality, i.e. of catholicity, which inspired his support to the traditional liturgy. Our thanks are therefore not self-serving but fraternal, for his service to all our Catholic brethren. (Dowry - periodical of the English District of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Winter/2013, Editorial) 

14 comments:

Donal said...

I always will be grateful for Pope Benedict, during whose pontificate I actually learned the faith I long-professed. The liberation of the Mass in the Usus Antiquior has been an incredible blessing for the Church. He is a good and holy man. May he be granted length of days.

LeonG said...

Personally, he will always be the pope who loves Mozart. So do I.

abdiesus said...

Oh that the new Pope may ask for, and receive, as did Eliseus, a double-portion of the spirit which was in his predecessor!

"And when they were gone over, Elias said to Eliseus: Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Eliseus said: I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit." 2 Kings 2.9 (Douay-Rheims)

Benedict Carter said...

He could, and should, have done more.

But as that is no doubt how the Lord will sum me up on my Judgement Day Report Card, I thank the previous Pope for all that he did and pray we can now move forward with alacrity to the Restoration within the Catholic Church of all things in Christ.

Stephen Korsman said...

Does this mean we can't expect support for Summorum Pontificum from the next pope? If so, I will go back to apologetics and wait it out.

backtothefuture said...

I thank pope Benedict from the bottom of my heart for restoring the holy ancient mass. And for allowing me to grow in faith and truly understanding the sacrifice of the mass, and to be able to worship like my ancestors.

Joe Potillor said...

I am thankful for the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, who brought my understanding of the Liturgy to a fuller sense, and better able to express my thoughts...Always for Summorum Pontificum and his love of cats...may God have mercy on us.

Francis in Ma said...

Benedict XVI did alot of good things to steer the barque of Peter back in the right direction. Yes, he did things that alot of us didn't like when it came to advancing and defending the Vatican II novelties of ecumenism, religious liberty and not publicly celebrating the TLM, yet depending on who the conclave elects as the next Pontiff we trads might wish we still had Benedict in the chair of Peter.

Tom said...

"The middling homily by the current Dean of the College of Cardinals - marked by the very relevant words, "tirelessly promoting justice and peace, the world order" (that is exactly what he pronounced, though the official transcript and translations did not include the words "l'ordine mondiale") - provided another stark reminder of how much Benedict XVI will be missed. The comparison between this sermon, and that pronounced by the Dean of the College, Cardinal Ratzinger, right before the 2005 Conclave is stunning."

Thank you for that information. I just clicked on your link to the 2005 sermon. You are correct. What a difference!

Pax.

Tom

Athelstane said...

"Middling" is being generous. Populorum Progressio? Really?

I can only be thankful that Cardinal Sodano does not have a vote.

Gregorian Mass said...

I was "raised" with the Novus Ordo, but I "grew up" with the Mass of Trent. I choose the Tridentine Form now because it makes me think, explore, learn, and want more. There is something detrimental about learning and seeing everything in a Mass said without Mystery. The intrigue and "want" seems to evaporate when you have it all unraveled at your fingertips. One feels there is no more to learn or discover during the journey of Faith that for Catholics is a lifetime.

Ora et Labora said...

I still find confort at knowing that His Holiness is still with us.

May the Good Lord defend him and protect him from his enemies.

Mary Help of Christians pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Barbara said...

I will never forget the Pope Of Summorum Pontificum - as He was the Pope who changed my Catholic life forever. Thank you, thank you, dear Pope Benedict.

As far as my husband is concerned, he is still the Pope - he cannot digest his abdication -

By the way I love Mozart and cats too... ah yes, so much in common...what a holy beautiful man - even if probably a bit too liberal sometimes...

I will always miss him - and I am worried about who will come after...

Prayers for you dear Holy Father Benedict and your successor...

Gratias said...

We were very lucky to have Benedict reign for 8 years. Deo gratias.