ROMA, October 3, 2007 � In restoring full citizenship to the ancient rite of the Mass, with the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” Benedict XVI said that he wanted in part to react to the excess of “creativity” that in the new rite “frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.”
In view of what happens in some areas of the Church, this creativity affects not only the liturgy, but also the very foundations of Catholic doctrine.
In Nijmegen, Holland, in the church of the Augustinian friars, each Sunday the Mass is concelebrated by a Protestant and a Catholic, with one presiding over the liturgy of the Word and the sermon, and the other over the liturgy of the Eucharist, in alternation. The Catholic is almost always a layperson, and is often a woman. For the Eucharistic prayer, the texts of the missal are passed over in favor of texts composed by the former Jesuit Huub Oosterhuis. The bread and wine are shared by all.
No bishop has ever authorized this form of celebration. But Fr. Lambert van Gelder, one of the Augustinians who promote it, is sure that he is in the right: “In the Church there are different forms of participation, we are full-fledged members of the ecclesial community. I don’t consider myself a schismatic at all.”
Also in Holland, the Dominicans have gone even farther, with the consent of the provincials of the order. Two weeks before the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” went into effect, they distributed in all the 1,300 Catholic parishes a 9,500-word booklet entitled “Kerk en Ambt”, “The Church and the Ministry,” in which they propose to make into a general rule what is already practiced spontaneously in various places.
The proposal of the Dominican fathers is that, in the absence of a priest, a person chosen from the community should preside over the celebration of the Mass: “Whether they be men or women, homo or heterosexual, married or unmarried is irrelevant.” The person selected and the community are exhorted to pronounce together the words of the institution of the Eucharist: “Pronouncing these words is not thought to be the sole prerogative of the priest. The words constitute a conscious declaration of faith by the whole community.”
The booklet opens with the explicit approval of the superiors of the Dutch province of the Order of Preachers, and its first pages are dedicated to a description of what happens on Sundays in the churches of Holland.
…The Dutch bishops’ conference is refraining from making an official reply. But it has already let it be known that the Dominicans’ proposal appears to be "in conflict with the doctrine of the Catholic Church."
As Sandro Magister notes the number of Masses in Holland has dropped from 2,200 to 1,900 in just two short years due to the shortage of priests. The Dutch bishop’s are now just reaping what in part they have sown. The infamous Dutch catechism that only got worse after the Vatican demanded changes is evidence of the wide-spread experimentation that has occurred on all levels.
I remember hearing Fr. Roderick, a Dutch priest and podcaster extrodinaire, talk about as he became a more convinced Catholic seeking a priest to go to confession. When he did, the priest he went to had not heard a confession so long that he could no longer remember the rite, though he ended up doing it in Latin since this was all he could remember.
It seems the evidence is overwhelming that experimental theology and liturgies never lead to attracting vocations or increasing Mass attendance. Though they are often justified so as to be more appealing to the people. The truth is that these practices are like throwing the seed into rocky soil. At first their is attention to to the novelty, but they fall away.