Friday, 21 August 2009

Seven signs of the Counter-reformation

1. A bishop ordains usus antiquior priests for his diocese.

From Rorate Caeli comes the extraordinary (sic) news of a bishop ordaining two priests in the traditional form not for the FSSP or one of the other organisations dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass, but for his own diocese. Rorate Caeli reports:

"Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon will be ordaining two priests according to the traditional rite of ordination on September 26, 2009 in the cathedral of Toulon.

Of note is the fact that both of them will be ordained for the diocese. Deacon Marc de Saint-Sernin will be serving as a diocesan priest for Frejus-Toulon. The other ordinand, Deacon Eloi Gillet, will be serving with the Missionary Society of Divine Mercy, which runs the personal parish for the TLM in the same diocese (St. Francois de Paule).

To my knowledge, Frejus-Toulon is the only diocese in the whole world that offers to its seminarians the choice of being ordained either according to the usus recentior or the usus antiquior. (14 priests and 11 deacons had been ordained for the diocese of Frejus-Toulon according to the liturgical books of Paul VI last June.) As mentioned previously in this blog, the diocesan seminary of Toulon is open to those who wish to become priests of the diocese while continuing to prefer the usus antiquior."

2. A bishop reintroduces ad orientem worship

Bishop Slattery of Tulsa has been doing great things for some time now - aided by the spiritual power of Clear Creek Monastery, which is located in his diocese, he was worked to promote gregorian chant, encourage Eucharistic Adoration, and much more

Now he has gone the next step and reintroduced ad orientem worship in his cathedral. He has been working towards this for a while - back in Advent he celebrated a number of Masses ad orientem. And he's written an article explaining his reasons, alluding in particular to the ancient practice of the Church. You can read it in their excellent diocesan newspaper.

3. New lay apostolate centred on the traditional mass.

Go over and take a look at the New and Eternal website. And if you are in Sydney, do go to some of the events they are running at St Benedict's Broadway. Next up is a first Friday Mass, followed by a Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Exultation of Holy Cross (September 14).

4. The Feast of Blessed Mary of the Cross (Mary McKillop) celebrated with a traditional mass pilgrimage to Penola, SA

This was a week or two back now, but still worth mentioning. This year marked the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Blessed Mary of the Cross, Australia's first beatified, and so drew large crowds in many places. But particularly nice to see a diocesan approved traditional mass pilgrimage to the site of the start of her Order.

5. Tradition attracts vocations

A US study has confirmed the unsurprising news that the orders that are attracting vocations are those which look to tradition. Alarmingly, it found that ninety-one percent of US nuns and 75 percent of priests are 60 or older, and most of the rest are at least 50. I imagine the figures for Australia are pretty similar. There is hope though.

The study found that people are entering however - but to religious institutes that have a focused mission, who live in community, who have regular prayer and sacramental life, and who wear a habit.

6. Centacare becomes CatholicCare

The diocese of Canberra-Goulburn has changed the name of its social services delivery agency to CatholicCare in an attempt to re-establish its catholic identity. Wollongong and Sydney have already done likewise.

7. The rehabilitation of St. Philomena and other victims of the 1960s

One of the more unfortunate aspects of the 1960s and 70s was the influence of rationalism in approaches to the cult of saints. Saints whose cults had long been attested to by an oral tradition passed down the centuries and then written down, but for whom hard contemporary evidence was lacking were cut out of the calendar. Notes were added to the martyrology to qualify the claims of some saints. And the readings attesting to traditional understandings about the saint (such as St. Mary Magdalen's status as a penitent) were changed in the novus ordo mass. Slowly however, some of this is being reversed, as the people maintain their traditional devotion to these saints.

One example of this in this month's calendar is St Philomena (whose feastday is 11 August) - believed to be an early martyr, her tomb was discovered in the early nineteenth century, and a considerable cult grew up around her, spurred on by (authorized) revelations about her life by Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799-1875). The revelations however attracted scientific debunkers, and in 1961 the Vatican withdrew the authorization for her cult.

In 2005, however, a scientific panel debunked the debunkers, and established the tomb as genuinely being of the second century (and thus consistent with Sr Maria Luisa's claim that the saint was a noble victim of Diocletian).

No formal rehabilitation of her status has yet been made, but a number of blogs this year have pointed to her story.

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