I am delighted that Fr Hunwicke has resumed blogging. I have always enjoyed his blog, full of wit and erudition; the work of a discerning mind and a sharp eye. For long he was one of few blogs worth reading; but I must express my sadness at the tone and quality of many of his latest posts. I daresay that the closer he has moved towards Rome the worse things have gotten (to be Hobbitonian) over at Liturgical Notes. He has declined from the virtues of Anglo-Catholicism to the vices and hackneyed Pope Benedict this, Usus Antiquior that of Traddieland. He has become a RC Traditionalist. Almost I feel as Treebeard did when thinking of the fall of Saruman, a wizard should know better, he does know better, and all that...It doesn't do to be too starry-eyed about Mother Rome, does it? After all, it was Mother Rome that caused all the problems of 20th century liturgy. I am not content to blame scapegoats like Bugnini, who was but a servant or emissary. It was by the exercise of authority, far exceeding the legitimate limits of the Petrine ministry, that the Novus Ordo was ultimately created, and its senior, uglier, sister, the rite of 1962. Essentially by decrees and encyclicals such as Divino Afflatu (now in its centenary), Mediator Dei (1947), Maxima Redemptionis (1955), and Missale Romanum (1969), the Pope established himself master and arbiter of the Sacred Liturgy, and the dispenser of all liturgical law, notwithstanding custom, orthopraxis and the Tradition of our Fathers. This anti-liturgical and anti-traditional mentality, so entrenched in the Papal system as to go unnoticed or explained away by the Traditionalists (or worse, even to be seen as something God-given and necessary in the exercise of Petrine authority; and in defence are invoked previous popes from the history of the Church, such as St Gregory, who organised the Canon Romanus into its present form), is at the heart of the problem, and modern attempts by the Holy See to put the genie back in the lamp (seeing the desolation of their contemporary Liturgy) simply perpetuate the same problem; centralization and meddling, the undermining of episcopal authority over the Liturgy in their own dioceses, etc. I daresay that ineptitude and might-have-beens are the hallmark of the contemporary Roman Church, with millions of aliturgical Roman Catholics and a new translation of an impoverished Missal (which reads much like the bulletin I get every Monday morning at work) as the ultimate legacy of 60 years of Papal misuse of authority.
Does it really matter what the last sentence of Universae Ecclesiae said? It's this kind of Ultramontanism, this legal positivism, which I find so repugnant about modern Roman Catholicism. How can you seriously extricate yourself from an evident liturgical crisis by looking to the same old response, the same old authority, that made up the problem in the first place? It just seems sycophantic, romantic and foolish. Do I have any answers? No, and it's not as if anyone would look here for them.
Who am I to judge, though? I venture to add that the further away from Rome that I have gone, from eccentric Traddie to renegade, looking towards Rome as an ancient home which has since become the abode of dragons, the worse things have gotten here at Liturgiae Causa. This blog is one year old tomorrow. I wonder where I shall be one year from now? Lord grant that I come into that church which is most pleasing to Him. I shall, however, continue to pray for Fr Hunwicke; that he may grow some more Hobbit sense (Hobbits aren't Ultramontane, and even after Aragorn ascended as the new ''holy Roman emperor,'' as it were, none of them fawned over him like Ultramontane types fawn over the pope). As Hamfast (''stay-at-home'') Gamgee might say: ''There's no use joining that Roman church, folk in that church are queer!''