Bishop Arthur Roche, former bishop of Leeds in England, gave an interview to a television channel – TVSwizzera.it – allowing Italian viewers to benefit from the Swiss Italian channel RSI.
During this interview, he stated, as one might expect, that “the normal form of the celebration of the Roman rite is found in the documents which have been published since the Second Vatican Council.”
He then adds, without nuance, that the moto proprios Ecclesia Dei of Pope John Paul II and Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI “were written in order to encourage the Lefebvrists, especially, to return to unity with the Church.”
In other words, the new prefect of the liturgy admits that, according to his interpretation, these texts were only bait to bring the Society of Saint Pius X into the Vatican II fold. That if they were “acts of mercy” as affirmed by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it was in order to guide these poor misguided people towards the truth of the Council.
The rest of the discussion confirms this analysis. Bishop Roche adds: “It is clear that Traditionis custodes says: OK, this experience has not been entirely successful. So, let’s go back to what the [Vatican II] Council asked of the Church.”
A first consequence should be noted: what would have happened if the experiment had been successful? It’s easy to predict that the slogan, with such a mentor, would have been, “Come in now. No more liturgical particularism, now you are in the Church, all you have to do is be silent.”
A second consequence concerns the so-called Ecclesia Dei societies. According to him, their birth was not the fruit of a generous and grateful consideration of the value or the beauty of the Tridentine rite. Nay! They were only part of a plan. Let’s say they were lures.
A third consequence still concerns these societies. The future is very dark for them. Any reasons they seek to assert about their creation, the promises made, or their particular value, are seriously undermined by such claims. The very fact that they no longer have a special referent in Rome but revert to common law is most alarming.
To stabilize his position, Bishop Roche states that the post-conciliar liturgical reform was desired by the majority of the bishops present at Vatican II. He adds: “We must remember that [this reform] was not the will of the Pope. This was the will of the great majority of the bishops of the Catholic Church, and who guided the Pope for the future.”
He concludes this subject: “What was produced in 1570 [the date of the promulgation of the missal of St. Pius V] was entirely appropriate for that time. What is produced in our time is also very appropriate for this time.”
Nothing moves the prefect: neither the impoverishment of the new liturgy, nor its dispersion into texts or rites which have regularly multiplied, nor the severe and justified criticisms which have been addressed to him even before the publication of the Paul VI Missal, particularly in the Brief Critical Examination signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. (See our articles on 50 years of the New Mass.)
As for his last statement, he assimilates the liturgy to a religious habit that can be resized according to the fashions and the seasons. But how is it that the previous form of the Latin Mass has – with few modifications – been used in such different eras for at least 1500 years?
How is it also that the so-called Eastern rites have also kept such stability in the various parts of the world where they are in force?
Wanting to make a Mass – to manufacture one – is in itself inconceivable. And among those who have spoken forcefully about this includes a recent pope, still alive. The proof of the impossibility of such a work is manifested in the perpetual discounting of the profession, the novelties, the innumerable adaptations to various audiences, in the hope of keeping them around the priest.
Even the authors who participated in the “renewal” have been forced to observe the damage. But when will this recognition come from among the hosts of the Vatican?
The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at least has the merit of speaking clearly and loudly. What one might suppose or suspect before, even at the risk of being mistaken or of being accused of reckless judgment or slander, has been clearly exposed.