Fr Hunwicke

Fr. John Hunwicke

Fr John Hunwicke blogs– That CDF Questionnaire! What a source of merriment!!

A friend is suggesting additional Questions such as

“Since the Novus Ordo was introduced half a century ago, has Mass Attendance in your diocese gone up or down, and, if either of these, by how much?”

My own reaction was to suggest two pendant questions:
“How many churches in your diocese make use of the Extraordinary Form of the Eucharist?”
“How many churches in your diocese make use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion?”

Frivolity aside, here is my reaction.

I have no connections or private sources of information. But, having worked in a corporate organisation most of my life, I read this document genre-wise as the sort of thing a middle manager might send out if he thought that Someone Else might ask him questions, and he wanted to be primed to answer them, and he preferred to have his back securely covered. Moreover, the CDF has only recently taken over these liturgical competences, and it is natural for a new boss to want to take stock of ‘where we are’. Or perhaps a tiny but noisy group of trouble-makers has been getting at him and he wishes to be able to reply “Well, Your Most Sublime Excellency, I have surveyed the entire Latin Episcopate, and … et caetera.

 I wonder what readers who have themselves worked in corporations, whether commercial or academic or religious, might think of such an analysis.

I can’t honestly see much in the way of threat in these enquiries. The Liturgy Wars seem mainly now to be in the area of how the Novus Ordo is to be done. You must not turn your back on the People!! The sort of hysteria about the EF which thirteen years ago made poor Cormack wet his galero is far in the past … surely?

Prelates who … for example … have handed over large derelict churches to Traddy organisations are not going to reply saying “The EF has developed in my diocese right under my own eye and my own careful supervision and has been a horrible disaster”. (Although, if I were Archbishop of Liverpool, I would complain vigorously that last year the Institute had me celebrating Mass in their Dome of Home and they forgot to put my pallium over my chasuble.) There may even be ‘liberal’ bishops who are more than happy to sponsor an EF Mass every fifth Tuesday attended by three and a half old ladies and their cats, rather than to have a thriving important church where the Novus Ordo is done in a traddy way with heaving congregations.

Andrea Grillo … is said to have the Pontiff’s ear, although sources rarely speculate on which ear is most favoured. And he is, I concede, a dangerous man. And my eyebrows (both of them) did rise a little when I read the question about whether the EF is being done strictly in accordance with 1962. I wondered if someone had been saying “Actually, these integristes want to go back to a liturgical culture much older and infinitely more dangerous than the comparatively tolerable Rite of 1962″.

But this questionnaire is (think about it) not the sort of thing the Grillos of this world really want. True, it would help their political agenda if they could use it to claim that Summorum Pontificum is “still” causing enormous practical pastoral problems. But that’s not what actually interests them. They have a rooted and massively ideological objection to traditional Liturgy in itself, irrespective of any practical  questions.

However this Questionnaire business works out, it does not touch upon what the real baddies are really interested in.

Not the time to panic! And, after all, as the trendies kept saying all through the Ratzinger pontificate, we may soon have a new pope. A friend tells me that Austin Ivereigh has recently referred to ‘the long winter’ of S John Paul’s pontificate. How naughty, so Dr Ivereigh must think, our blessed Lady of Fatima was to intervene as she did with regard to that bullet! Why do women always get in the way?

Who knows … this ‘winter’ might be even shorter  … who knows, we may soon be in May, the merry  Month of the Mary. All power to her heel.

Categories: Vatican Watch