Thursday, October 16, 2014

La beatificazione sì--er, forse--l'ultramonatismo no!

Over at another Pray Tell blog there's an interesting post on Paul VI, the pope of my childhood who for some bizarre reason is being beatified.  The blogmeister took exception a when someone commented, 'It’s amazing how many people turn ultramontanist when the pope says things that suit their cause/ideology.'  Here's how he responded:  'Quoting a pope is ultramontanist?  You have a problem with what was the cause/ideology of a (soon-to-be-beatified) pope?  Sorry, I reserve the right to quote Paul VI, and to agree with him!'

But of course, Montini's reign was the ultimate exercise of aggressive papal hubris.  No other pope in history ever dared to produce his own liturgy and ban the Mass of ages--and how many bishops had the courage to stand up to him?  Just two that I know of.  But then, we've arrived at a place where the pope gets to appoint bishops and to dismiss them.  Corrupt?  You bet.  Sounds like this is the sort of thing that needs reform, no?

This other PT blog isn't what you'd call a haven of free speech, by the way.  But then, you know the joke about the liturgist and the terrorist, don't you?  Here's one comment the censors didn't allow on their combox:

I certainly have a problem with beatifying Paul VI.  I have no idea if the man was (or is) a saint, how holy he was in his personal life.  But he was one of the worst popes of modern times.  This is not a judgment of his character, but of his competence.  Keep in mind, this is a man who had absolutely no practical pastoral experience, and it showed.  The closest Montini, born to a life of privilege, ever came to serving a parish was when he was exiled to the see of Milan.

The liturgy is ‘the work of the people.’  No pope has the right or the authority  to sweep it away and replace it with a thing of his own making.  This was the ultimate act of papal arrogance, exceeding even the shameful engineering of the proclamation of papal infallibility at Vatican I.  An act of profound hubris, and in that the Roman Church, whether through divine providence or an accident of history, has been the bulwark of Christianity in the west, an act that was profoundly anti-oecumenical.

It’s disingenuous to pretend that the Mass of Paul VI represents the mandate of Vatican II and everyone here knows that—such wilful acts of self-delusion are not becoming to intelligent people.  But what’s most disturbing is this totalitarian view that everyone must march in lockstep.  ‘You must worship my way.’   Clearly there’s a vocal minority who are deeply attached to the Mass of Paul VI (the vast majority of remaining pew-sitters not giving a toss either way).  I admit this baffles me—surely, given the banality of that rite, their motivation can only be ideological rather than liturgical or aesthetic?—but I’m content to let them get on with it.  But, appealing to a shibboleth of ‘unity’, they don’t want to extend the same courtesy to me. Is that what Vatican II was supposed to be about?   (Meet the new boss…)

For all I know Montini was a good man.  But he was a dreadful pope.

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