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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Once to Every Man and Nation . . .

On Saturday, July 7, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, thirty-seven years after their chronological demise, the 'sixties are finally over in the Roman Catholic Church. In a motu proprio, "Summorum Pontificum" His Holiness lifted most restrictions on use of the 1962 Missal. Not only will every priest be able to celebrate the Mass using it, he will be expected to do so should the faithful in his parish request it and will have to answer to higher authorities should he decline their request. While this edict will not necessarily be the silver bullet to the folk and clown Mass, new-age mush, dreadful music and sloppy liturgy found in so many Catholic Churches both here and abroad, it does serve notice to all Catholics in the future the Holy Father expects serious, proper and grownup worship to be available in every Catholic Church from September 14th onward. This motu proprio is a singular and propitious event in modern Church history.

The Papal edict is good news for all traditional worshipers but at the same time should provide cause for thought and even consternation among orthodox Anglo-Catholics. In as much orthodox Anglo-Catholics eschew the radical innovations in the Episcopal Church of the past thirty years, the ordination of women and the spoliation of the Prayer Book being the most egregious examples of many, the recent news from Rome gives rise to a question: given the deplorable and ever deteriorating state of the Episcopal Church, why should an orthodox Anglo-Catholic remain within her embrace rather than seek reception into the Holy Catholic Church? The time has come for all orthodox Anglo-Catholics to face up to the fact though we are Catholics in a very liberal (and, sadly, dying) Protestant church, owing to our undeniably glorious liturgical and musical heritage we hesitate embracing the fullness of the Faith by going over to Rome. Without visiting the idolatrous nature of such obstinacy we should bear in mind this past weekend, whether he was aware of it or not, the Holy Father extended an invitation to us to reconsider our reticence.

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