Is a universal Indult what people really want?

Is a universal Indult what people really want?

Everyone’s getting in on the act on this universal Indult story. The Washington Post reviews the latest rumors and reports from unnamed sources that Pope Benedict is on his third draft of the coming motu proprio. I do think, like other bloggers, that the mainstream media has focused too much on ideology and politics and not enough on the theology, but then most mainstream reporters are hesitant to wade into internecine theological disputes.

In general, the thesis seems to be that the Pope is offering the Indult in order to appeal to Traditionalists who have abandoned the Church, but I think that’s oversimplistic. Pope Benedict knows that the issues involved in the Traditionalist debates go far beyond the Mass and rest primarily on doctrinal disputes arising out of Vatican II. Those won’t be solved easily by this motu proprio.

Wider use of the Tridentine Mass is a cause dear to the hearts of many Catholics, for both esthetic and ideological reasons. It was codified in 1570 and remained the standard Roman Catholic liturgy for nearly four centuries, until the gathering of church leaders known as the Second Vatican Council ushered in major reforms from 1962 to 1965.

To some Catholics, the return of the old Latin Mass is symbolic of a conservative turn away from what they view as the “excesses” that followed the Second Vatican Council, said the Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, who teaches liturgical theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

I think what it boils down to for many is that the Mass as celebrated in 99 percent of parishes just strikes them as so much banality and lacking in transcendence. Even Hollywood knows that the Mass should have incense and candles and bells and chant and reverence, not schlocky music and hand-holding and a swaying congregation.

The ultimate answer is not a universal Indult

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli