Tuesday 14 August 2007

Fr Jay Scott Newman also joins the muddle...

Fr Jay Scott Newman is another PP who has a good blog which is well worth reading. I don't know him but he seems a good enough fellow.

But...once, again, but...

Yep, the liturgy.

Before the motu proprio was issued he joined in with the "Latin Questions" discussion and made this unhelpful comment:

"...The long-rumored and still invisible motu proprio notwithstanding, there is simply no interest in the Church beyond the statistically insignificant world of specialists and bloggers in retrieving what 99.999% of the Catholic people (and hierarchy) consider a noble part of our heritage but not a living part of our future (think of the papal navy!)..."

Where does he get his stats? Wake up and smell the coffee, Father!

And this:

"...All of which leads to my conclusion that those who harbor hope that the general liturgical life of the Church will be improved by a few more celebrations of the Pian Mass have simply and profoundly misunderstood the situation of the Church in our time..."

Yep. Pretty offensive and ill-informed stuff. It's not the Pian mass. It is much, much older. He has simply "profoundly misunderstood"!

Someone replied to him thus:

"Your over-emphasis on numbers might lead an observer to think that you put a higher premium on popularity than truth or right practice...

If you want to get with what is 'serious' then you need to concern yourself less with numbers and more with truth and tradition.

Otherwise you may find yourself numbered with those disciples who got with the numbers by running away, rather than with those who stood at the foot of the Cross.

I know it is difficult for a priest these days to give any favour to the traditional rite without incurring trouble with his bishop but do not let that skew your vision or compromise your intellectual impartiality."

He got cross with that and replied:

"...Based on 20 years of experience, I believe that such folk will be sadly disappointed, no matter what the yet-to-be published (or even seen) motu proprio may or may not say..."
Someone replied to him beginning: "I catch a glimpse of a straw man in your last comment..."
Well, indeed!

There were other replies to Fr Newman but - mysteriously - they were removed from Fr Dwight's blog. US-style "free speech"? See how it works? I am free to say whatever I like but if you say something I don't like, I just erase it. This is called "free speech". Apparently!

But then, all of a sudden, and within only a few weeks, out came the motu proprio.

Whoops! Now the boot was on the other foot. The "long-rumoured and yet invisible" and the "yet to be published (or even seen)" had suddenly been seen, published and hugely exceeded the expected minimalist concessions that aggressive Novus Ordo priests like Fr Jay had expected.

And it came from the Pope himself!

Golly! What to do, now? Um, err, aaah....

You guessed it - back-peddle. Fast! (But without apologising to anyone - never apologise, never explain, apparently!).

Here's an extract from Fr Jay's very grudging back-peddle:

"In any event, last Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI threw a spanner in the works with his long-awaited, much-rumored, and oft-debated Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which more or less (kinda, sorta) gives any priest of the Latin Rite the choice of which Mass to offer: the Mass codified by Pope Pius V after the Council of Trent or the Mass codified by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this document will have on the life of the Church as it is lived in parishes, religious houses, seminaries, etc..."
Get that, folks? The Pope "threw a spanner in the works". And this from a priest who thinks himself a papal loyalist. And Paul VI apparently only "codified" the new mass - no new Eucharistic prayers or anything like that...err...But let's read on:

"In February 1962, Pope John XXIII promulgated an Apostolic Constitution called Veterum Sapientia, mandating very specific requirements for the teaching and preservation of Latin in the Church, but because of the radical changes taking place in the world at the time, this authoritative document was Dead On Arrival and had zero effect in the life of the Church. Today, if this document is read at all, it is usually read with mirth. Well might we all mourn the passing away of Latin from wide use in the Church, but pass away it has...."
Oh really? So we should rejoice in our ignorance of our own history, culture and the language in which most of our theology is written, should we? We should think it's all "DOA"? And we should read "with mirth" the writings of a beatified pope, should we? More papal loyalism? Err, sorry Father, I don't think so! But there's more...

"Will Summorum Pontificum be DOA in the same way as Veterum Sapientia? I honestly don’t know, and to tell the truth, I don’t much care one way or the other..."
"Don't much care..."! Does this sound like loyalty to the Pope? I doubt that many would see it that way!

So whilst Fr Jay has been forced to back off he has done so with singularly bad grace. That is a great shame because he is a priest who made much of his loyalty under Pope John Paul II but is acting rather differently under Pope Benedict. But even more so because he is not a bad guy at all. Indeed, he is basically a very good guy but he has allowed his thinking and theology to get sloppy and complacent.

Come on now, Fr Jay. You can do better. Don't cheat yourself or your parishioners!

Pray for him, folks, and for all our clergy!


Anonymous said...

Dead on analysis. You must be a psychiatrist. A good one at that.

Anonymous said...


Dead on blog. Keep up the good work on the Anglo Catholics in Greenville, SC.

Tribunus said...

Gratias vobis ago, amici mei!


Anonymous said...

There's also the point that the laity have some rights here, too, at least as far as Pope Benedict is concerned. We can ask for the Mass of Blessed John XXIII and, if we do, Fr. Jay Scott Newman would be obliged to consider the request and do his best to make it happen. His attitude toward the liturgical and cultural heritage of the Church puzzles me. It is not on the level of dogma or canon law, but as Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Truth and Tolerance, the principle of interculturality presumes that the Church is a living, cultural entity in her own right with a history that cannot be dismissed. Nor can Catholic dogma be considered discarnate. The Church has its own culture and part of that is its liturgy. Fr. Newman reveals his own ignorance when he discounts this.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Dwight is fantastic, but it has struck many that Fr. Newman is all about building a little kingdom there in Greenville, and in some weird way, the Motu Proprio threatens that.

Anonymous said...

Here's a quotation from the 1 July 2007 Bulletin from Fr. Newman's parish. In it, Fr. Newman writes:

"When this document is finally published, there will no doubt be a circus of media attention of the most sensational kind, but please do not be confused or disturbed by what you read in the papers or see on television. Whatever else may be the case, there will certainly be no changes made in the present way we celebrate the Missal of 1970 in our scheduled liturgies, and pending a careful study of the document, I do not anticipate that a regularly scheduled Tridentine Mass will be celebrated here at St. Mary’s. For now, simply know that a document will probably appear this summer, and when it does, we will study it together."

Seems like Fr. Newman made up his mind before the Motu proprio was published that he would offer no TLM Masses, no matter what. Seems like this is going against the Holy Father, at least to me.


Anonymous said...

The crucible here is not dogma, but Catholic identity. What Frs. Longenecker and Newman seem to want is a discarnate Catholicism. All that is required is a "valid" Eucharist and the NO fulfills that. The TLM, on the other hand, calls up all the essentially Catholic identity that many Protestants and many converts find hard to take. So the NO, as a more "generic" service, if you will, is more acceptable.

It reminds me, somewhat, of the criticism frequently lodged against neo-Scholasticism, i.e., that it was ahistorical and rather disembodied in its approach to Catholicism, by taking dogma out of its context and simply presenting it piecemeal.

However, one of the marks of a true conversion is one's acceptance (or, submission) to the tradition of the religion one has adopted as one's own.


Tribunus said...

Thanks all. Good points.