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Monday, November 14, 2011

Nobody Said This was Going to be Easy

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory:
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has backed away from his ban on using consecrated wine for Communion at most Masses, a decision that was originally met with widespread outcry.

In an explanation of his decision in a letter to the priests of the diocese, Olmsted apologized for his own misunderstanding of church documents, including new guidelines and translations for the Catholic Mass, and for any confusion arising from his previous statement made at a priests' meeting in September.

Father Anthony Ruff, an expert on new translations for the Mass, who criticized the bishop's previous position as a "step backward," said he had never heard of a bishop "retracting so quickly."

"Anything I say could sound like gloating," Ruff said. "I think it's for local clergy and liturgical ministers to find the right way to express their goodwill and happiness with this. 
Actually, it is gloating. When Fr. Ruff states he has never heard of a bishop "retracting so quickly," the word "gloating" fairly springs to one's mind. More important, however, than triumphalism from a fan of bad liturgical English is that the reporter for the the Arizona Republic (whence this story comes) missed the lede. The underlying cause for temper tantrums thrown by the innovators has less to do with the limiting of communion sub utraque specie (under both kinds) than the limiting of civilians, otherwise known as Eucharistic ministers, the opportunity to do so (I'll wager the squawking would have been just as loud had the bishop ruled only clergy celebrants could administer the chalice). Post-Vatican II reformers were hellbent in reshaping Holy Church to resemble that of the groovier and far cooler (not to mention the higher-up-the-social ladder) Anglicans and greater involvement in the mass by the laity, whether they wanted it or not, was essential to that end (ironically, the Anglicans never went so far as to allow civilians to administer the elements, at least no Anglican church I ever attended did).

Bishop Olmsted deserves credit attempting to contain one of the more egregious liturgical reforms of post-Vatican II, one for which there was no crying need other than that the protestants did it, and one deplored by our present Pope. The bishop has shown spine in the past. What a pity he felt it necessary to cave following the inevitable shrill complaints from innovators concerning the chalice (it is uncanny how fiercely Eucharistic ministers guard their turf--like lionesses watching over their cubs). Holy Church will never recover from her Procrustean protestantization in the1970s with feckless actions like this one from the Bishop of Arizona.


1 comment:

James G said...

Being in the Diocese of Tucson I hadn’t been paying any attention to this matter. However, just two weeks ago I was in Phoenix visiting a friend and he asked me about it. My friend didn’t have too many details and since I didn’t know anything about it I told him so but that I would speculate a bit. I speculated that limiting the cup was actually a surreptitious means of limiting the number of EMHC. It seems that I was correct in my speculations.

BB, you should go easier on Bishop Olmstead about this. Putting a stake in the heart of the 70’s is a fight gauged in years and decades and one has to choose which battles are most advantageous for making a stand. Rolling back the EMHC is not the most important matter he’s fighting. Remember that as much as you and I dislike the use of EMHC, there are a lot of good and faithful Catholics amongst their ranks. Not every EMHC is a snarling liberal and based on my impression of Bishop Olmstead it was not the liberals who got him to back down even though they’re trying to take the credit. The faithful Catholic EMHC will be needed in other battles so there is no use alienating them too much on a matter of lesser importance.

James G