Saturday, 16 July 2011

Throwing petrol on embers

I am a great fan of the Catholic Truth Society—at least as presently set up. It has really found its feet, and is producing some first rate material to promote and explain the faith. And, not least, to produce a new Missal which really looks like, well, a missal.

But I am disturbed at this report  of a work published by the CTS; it's a new 'explanation' of Catholic Traditionalism. I rather suspect that CTS commission all sorts of works, and then run them without reading them too clearly–they even once published something of mine, though they never approached me again.

I know and greatly respect Dr Joseph Shaw, the writer of the critique, and the fact that he wrote his article on an iPhone, no mean feat for such a long critique, suggests the depth of his feeling on the matter.

Summorum Pontificum was a watershed. It suggested to all sides that they bury the hatchet, and even laid out an ingenious strategy that would make it possible for almost all protagonists to do so without loss of face. Dr Edwards' reportedly intemperate booklet Catholic Traditionalism would, if Dr Shaw is right, appear to be grubbing up the imperfectly-buried hatchet again (as E.F. Benson put it). Why?

 Dr Edwards even seems to be just as intemperate in his criticism of the traditionalists' opponents—I think this must be the first instance of Annibale Bugnini's honour being defended by a committed traditionalist!

If Dr Shaw is even half right (and I have not yet seen the booklet, though I shall strive to get one a.s.a.p.), this work really needs to be withdrawn. As he says:

The point I wish to make is not about the truth or falsity of these claims, but about the appropriateness of this polemic and speculation in this booklet. Just at the moment when Traditionalists and their various historical opponents are having to learn to live with each other, to share churches, to cooperate in parish life and in Catholic institutions of all kinds, is this spewing of vitriol in all directions really what we need? Wouldn't it be better, as well as more historically accurate, to admit at this point that these old divisions were caused by Catholics who were sincere, intelligent, and serious, but who came to different conclusions about the needs of the time, and the implications of timeless theological and liturgical principles?
This is precisely right. This is not the time for slinging mud. For heavens' sake, can't we live the bitter past behind us now?


Anonymous said...

I think this booklet was published shortly after the motu proprio, in 2008 or thereabouts. So much has changed since then that the CTS might, in any case, be advised to commission a new booklet on the subject.

Martin said...

I seem to remember that the CTS also have/had booklets on other "traditionalist" subjects, ie., "The Latin Mass", and, seperately, "The Extraordinary Form of the Mass". I do not have either to hand but they seemed quite reasonably balanced to me. Also I know of a church where the CTS stand is looked after by a very elderly lady who does not actually choose and order the booklets but has a selection sent every few months chosen by the CTS and these " Trad" booklets have frequently turned up. My guess is that they have no axe to grind at all.

R Brown said...

Certainly we have no axe to grind. Dr Shaw is free to make his criticisms, but we are not into public battles, and are always open to ANYONE writing to us requesting corrections in subsequent editions (but please, no fulminations!) As our publication list shows, our stance on all matters including the liturgy is one of simple fidelity to the Holy See and the direction it is taking. Fr Sean, we would be happy to send you a review copy if you would like to take a look. Just send an email to marketing[AT] All the best, Richard Brown.

Paddy said...

I don't suppose you could get me an invite to 'de cura animarum' (supposing that you are on it yourself)? I used to enjoy reading it, & occassionally posted there, but it has recently gone invitation only & I have no way of contacting Fr John myself. Thanks.

Pastor in Monte said...

I'm not sure myself, Fr Levi. I seem also to be excluded. It may be a temporary glitch as he is updating, or something.

Paddy said...

Interesting. Thanks.