Friday, September 13, 2013

Know Your Sources

Our friend over at Les Femmes recently published an attack on Pope Francis and his liturgical style.  The video was prepared by John Vennari who was at one time connected with sede vacantists such as, among others, Marion Horvat  from Tradition in Action and Gerry Matatics, a prominent Evangelical turned Catholic turned Sede Vacantist.  (A Sede Vacantist is one who believes that there is no legitimate Pope at the moment because the alleged Pope is a heretic.  The “See is Empty”: Sede Vacante in Italian.   Most Sede Vacantists allege that every Pope since and including John XXIII has been in heresy and that the Second Vatican Council is a “false council,” its decrees being, according to them, heretical.  This Sede Vacantist connection was probably unknown to the author of the Les Femmes site who, while ignorant of (or disagreement with) most legitimate changes in liturgical and canonical law over the last forty years, is sincere in adhering to papal authority, or at least papal authority that support her somewhat eclectic choice of political and devotional positions.
Mr. Vennari seems to have left his Sede Vacantist position to edit Catholic Family News, a website that manages  to stay just on the Catholic side of the schismatic line.  Catholic Family News is the source of many of the Videos posted on the Les Femmes site.  Vennari’s site also has a consistent stance of rejecting the Council and its changes without formally renouncing papal authority.  It has been extremely critical of Pope Francis and especially for his liturgical style.  The Papal Mass at World Youth Day sent Catholic Family News over the edge and its video is replete with allegations of liturgical violations in the Papal Liturgy as if Tra le Sollecitudini of Pope St. Pius X and other pre-conciliar legislation had not been superseded by Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II and Post Conciliar legislation.  The only effect of such biased videos is to undermine not only the Conciliar liturgical reforms but papal authority itself. 
What the Oracle of Woodstock doesn’t seem to realize is that videos like this are an attack not simply on a style of liturgy which perturbs her, but an attack on the Pope who celebrated this Mass and celebrated it with an obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment.  Granted that the more introverted Pope Benedict would have been somewhat discomforted by its enthusiasm, but even in the days of Pope Benedict and his penchant for liturgical restorationism it was clear that the best the neo-trads could hope for was space for their particular liturgical preferences.  There was never a realistic chance for “The Reform of the Reform” to reestablish its ideal of liturgy draped as tragic opera to be the normative worship of the Catholic Church in the United States much less in Latin America, Asia, or Africa where indigenous cultures have been integrated into Catholic worship.  Francis has made it clear from the first moments of his papacy that he was not going to permit the Church to go backward.  He is no liberal and liberals must take note of that, but he is thoroughly committed to the program of the Second Vatican Council as it was originally understood before Cardinal Ratzinger’s attempts at the “hermeneutic of continuity” began revising the Council.   No, I think we are going to see plenty of liturgical dancing and music with a beat and roaring crowds at future World Youth Days as well as at other gatherings.  But then the Oracle of Woodstock dreams of her new Catholic Scouts sitting around a campfire saying the rosary and singing Latin hymns (see posting for June 13, 2013).  Just what do they smoke in Woodstock?

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