Interview following FSSP Ordinations - 30 May 2008
Darío Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos
On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos ordained 4 deacons of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to the priesthood at the Cathedral of Lincoln, Nebraska. Later, the Cardinal gave the following interview, which has been transcribed from a recording by EWTN.Words which complete the sense are suggested in parentheses.
FSSP Spokesman: His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is from Colombia. Until recently he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and then now his current position in the curia is President, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. So, the Cardinal will be available for questions for approximately thirty minutes.
Journalist: Well, I would just like to ask .. start out by asking ...
Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos: I would like to have Father [John Berg, FSSP] here because my English is not so … I am not so strong in English. I need help.
Journalist: I would just would like to ask him to explain what his role is and his current position, and some of the things that have happened since the Pope's letter or decision last summer regarding the Latin Mass.
[conversation in Italian]
Priest: He wants a question from each, then he will answer each.
His Eminence: Okay, my work today: I was more than ten years Prefect for the Congregation of Clergy and then during that time, since the year 2000, inside the Congregation for Clergy was the Ecclesia Dei, too. I was nominated President of Ecclesia Dei by Pope John Paul II. The purpose at the beginning was, according to the indult Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, to give the attention to the congregations born after the schismatic action from Archbishop Lefebvre in the ordination of bishops without permission of the Holy Father, the mandate of the Holy Father. The working of the Ecclesia Dei was especially for the Fraternity of Saint Peter and those who are...all those groups inside Ecclesia Dei preoccupations.
After the year 2000 I met the bishops of the St. Pio X fraternity [SSPX] and we began dialoguing with them. At that time, Cardinal Ratzinger was [a] member of my commission and we worked together on this point. Today, with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, it’s clear that the Holy Father considers as a treasure in the Catholic Church the liturgical tradition with the Mass from St. Pius V. But not only this: this is a tradition that has more than 1,200 years and the Holy Father appreciates deeply all the elements of richness that this kind of, this form of the Latin Rite has had during those centuries. It was the rite in which were sanctified many of the principal men of the Church, some saints, which are declared saints, and so he gives a big importance to this form of the Latin Rite.
I don’t like to name it (the) “Latin Mass” because the New Rite has Latin Mass too. Latin is in the New Rite one of the possibilities. In fact, in many dioceses in the world the Mass is celebrated in Latin, but with the new form of the Rite. The Gregorian Rite* is something different, not only the Latin language but many other elements. Think of the theology. During centuries, different currents of theology in the Church made contributions to (render more) precise the formulation of prayers and so forth in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite. It was many of those prayers were an answer to the problems the Church lived in that precise moment, to point out some point of theology according to the ecumenical council of that time. That's why it is very rich, the theology of the Roman Rite. In it was born the Gregorian music [chant] as a form of piety and a very high spiritual expression, musical expression, of the Faith. It was born inside the Rite. Many of the beautiful cathedrals of the Catholic Church were born in this kind of liturgy. And I would say that considering today these forms, these kinds of evolutions, I like to think about for instance the incense, and how the incense goes up, and how the cathedrals have taken the columns and all the structures, the architecture, of the churches, all according to this form of the Rite. It is very beautiful to hear today the Mass of Mozart or Beethoven. But, they attending to that kind of liturgy had the inspiration for their music. And so the music makes a "soul" within the Rite. The painter, if you look at the churches during those centuries, the way of painting was in accordance with this kind of worshipping God. It’s not only Latin. Latin is only a part of it and, as I told you, Latin is part in the New Rite too. Not only for the Gregorian rite, but for the New Rite, too.
It is not easy to make comparisons between the two Rites. But certainly the accent in the Gregorian rite is the sacrifice. It means that mystery that God is made Man, and, a human being and God in the same moment, the person of the Eternal Verbum (Word). And the sacrifice is possible because He is a man. God cannot suffer. So this is a high theological consideration. And we have to be grateful because He gave His life. The (Extraordinary) Rite considered the sacrifice. It is not necessary to have many other things but to put all the intensity, the contemplation, in this mystery of salvation.
The New Rite is very beautiful, too, because it is the new People of God who gather together as a family, and they make in the supper a convivial form. Its more convivial, the new one, and this is very good theologically-speaking for the People of God, the new People of God. The richness of the New Rite is very big too. For instance nobody can deny that in the New Rite the possibility to go into the Holy Scripture because there are more lectures, all the Bible in three years. This is a good thing for the People of God. But the contemplation, the adoration, in the old one is a factor of sanctity. That’s why we cannot (pedagogically compare) the two Rites.
Journalist: Does the Pope believe, do you believe that we are moving towards a time when the Gregorian or the traditional rite will be celebrated at least once a week in most parishes or would that be a goal?
His Eminence: Yes, this is a second point. If the Pope is aware that this is a richness, he likes to offer this richness, not only to those who clamor for it, but to make it known to all the People of God, so that the new generations can know and can experience the sanctity, the powerful force of the Old Rite, too. Not only as a privilege for some people but this is a treasure for all the Church and Our Holy Father likes to have it grow.
In the moment after the Council there was a commission of cardinals and Cardinal Ratzinger was a member of that commission - after the reform, the liturgical reform - and he presented the idea that it would be important to have any Sunday one Mass in Latin, either in the Old Form of the Rite or the New Form of the Rite. He thought like this when he was a cardinal and all the cardinals agreed with it. Only after that, the Congregation for Divine Worship did something a little different. But there was an agreement between the Cardinals - Cardinal Casaroli at that time - and there is a protocol of this in our archives.
So, if the Holy Father is convinced that this is good for piety, for sanctity, he exercises his duty as Sanctifier of the Church, the Munus Sanctificandi, the office for the holiness of the Church. He is making efforts to preserve this marvelous tool for the sanctity of the Church, not to impose it, because there are two (Forms of the Roman Rite) in the new culture. And he is a man of fides and ratio, faith and reason. Considering the new ways of development of the world, it’s necessary to make efforts in our liturgy to give an answer to the man of today. So the Motu Proprio assures to any priest, any priest, the right to celebrate (the Extraordinary Form) and when a priest goes to a parish, if the parish priest asks to see the documents, to see if he is really a priest in good standing, he has to allow him, not necessary to go to the bishop. If the parish priest does not allow, he should do, the bishop must tell him to respect this right of the priest, and not only of the priest but of the groups of faithful who have a special love for the traditional forms of the worship, of the liturgy.
Journalist: “So, your Eminence, would you say that what you just said now is this the main motivation for the Motu Proprio for the Holy Father, or is the motivation also the restoration of the Society of Saint Pius X back into the Church.
His Eminence: This is the second point, important too. But the main point is the importance of the sanctity inside the Gregorian liturgy. The second one (is) to avoid divisions in the Church and to open the door to the group of the Society of St Pius X. Because in the Catholic Church, according to the laws of the Catholic Church, the bishops of the Society of St Pio X are excommunicated, because according to Canon Law, the New Canon Law – not in the old one, the ordination without a mandate of the Holy Father gives excommunication. And that is why all the priests from the Society are suspended.
Journalist: There is a lot of confusion about this word "schism," though. We, as Catholic journalists, should we be using the word “schism” with respect to the Society? Is that the correct word to use?
His Eminence: It is not exactly correct, because there was a schismatical action, which is different. It was a schismatical action from Archbishop Lefebvre in the ordination [of the bishops], but they keep the obedience to the Holy See. They have not (the) exercise of power [of governance]. They are the bishops, they are auxiliaries of the Society. The Society was, the juridical personality of the Society, was cancelled by the Church, but they are, in their language, auxiliary bishops. We hope that they will come to the full communion with the Church. But some people are going too fast to schism and to the heresy, because if they begin to be teachers of the Pope, this is not schism, this is heresy. And if it is confirmed, people going with that kind of movement will be excommunicated, too, because of the heresy. But now, they are not really in schism or heresy.
Journalist: So “irregular standing,” what word should we use?
His Eminence: This is “irregular standing.” This is the way we speak about them.
Journalist: To change the subject, I’d like to ask you to comment on why you came here to do the ordination, and what your message was to the ordinands, and if you could summarize what your message was to them?
His Eminence: Well you know, this is my responsibility. I have the responsibility for the groups of Ecclesia Dei. And this is a very important day for the association, for the Fraternity, because it is its first ordination after the Motu Proprio, and the Fraternity did a very important action, a help to the dioceses, making a course to prepare priests from several dioceses to be able to celebrate in the Gregorian Rite. And this is a good collaboration with the bishops in the United States.
I spoke during the Mass that I came, too, because I like to point out the fidelity of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, which in the first moment after the schismatic action they abandoned even if they were in the Society of Archbishop Lefebvre, but they did not follow him after the schismatic action of the ordination of bishops, they come into full communion with the Church, inside the Church. I like to point out this, because fidelity is a need in the Church. When we read the Bible, I myself, I think always this kind of dramatic dialogue: fidelity of God, infidelity of the people. And in the new People of God, regarding in the Blood of Christ, the Eucharist, and making from the Eucharist a ground of battle, is not beautiful. So they came to the full communion in the Church and I appreciate it very much.
Journalist: Your Eminence, understandably you focused on the liturgy today and I’d like to know what types of things crossed your mind when you looked out and saw all the people, all the young people, who seemed to have a good idea what to do, what to say, as they apparently frequent this Mass. What occurred to you during or after the Mass?
His Eminence: Well, I am aware that participation in this marvelous liturgy needs a good preparation, catechetical preparation. Otherwise, it is not easy to understand, because I would say that every sign has content. There is matter inside, it is not only a vacuum, but there is a content in every sign. There is a deep meaning in every cross. Why we do this. Why we don't open the hands. Why the (exchange of) peace in the Mass is not a meeting of friends, after a separation, the way of greeting. There is something different, but we have to consider each moment. For instance, many, many ... many, many mass media, when the Pope celebrated the Mass in the Capella Sistina (Sistine Chapel), they wrote, they spoke about a Mass with his “back to the people.” This is ignorance! When a captain, when a general, goes with the troop, he does not walk backwards in order to not give the back to the soldiers. And, if I am speaking to a person to claim to, looking for a favor, I don’t make like this [turning his back to them]. Please tell the truth! It’s not ‘back to the people’. It’s face to God! Because, it’s a sacrifice, we are sacrificing to God.
I was feeling so well this morning, looking at the crucifix, ... sure that I was not alone, I was accompanied by the people of faith. I was not giving the back to them! I was with them giving our faith to God. It’s totally different. But you have to make catechetics about this.
Journalist: Can you say anything about the Instruction [Directory] that’s coming out for the Motu Proprio?
His Eminence: Well, there are many questions, and that’s normal, because there are real difficulties - for instance, the calendar. If in a parish, there is the principal feast of the parish, and it is in one calendar and not the other one, in two parishes who have the Mass, one has to regulate that. We have to study it, to see how to make go together this possibilities and this real difficulties for the calendar.
In the seminaries, we have not the Minor Orders as before, and so if the liturgy takes sub-deacons we have not what to do. We’ll have to regulate that, and the only one who regulates liturgy is the Holy Father, because this is the prayer of the whole People of God, and he represents it as the Vicar of Christ. So, we have to study to see how to regulate those kinds of things.
Journalist: And is it coming out soon, do you think, the Instruction [Directory]?
His Eminence: The Holy Father is hearing the bishops and we have the visits of many bishops, and letters of bishops. Some problems are real problems, others are not real problems. Because, if the Holy Father has the idea to offer, even if there are no priests, not many priests, the priests they have, bishops have, one of those priests can celebrate the Gregorian rite. And the community, it is not a sin for the community, it is a sanctity for the community to attend it, with explanations, with liturgical, catechetical explanations.
You see, it is not easy at all for the bishops to have priests prepared to do it, because in some countries it is not difficult because the language is a Latin language, and we have for instance in Spain, Portugal, Romania, and so on, but for English-speaking countries it is not easy if they don’t know Latin. To make ridiculous things, without preparation, is not a good way to sanctify the community. We need, we have to give time, to prepare priests and even young bishops to know well all the particularities of the Gregorian rite. I have found very good will, even if with difficulties. But when bishops see that there is a possibility – for instance, what they [the Fraternity] did now, how many priests did you prepare here?
Fr. John Berg, FSSP: Over one hundred already.
His Eminence: More than one hundred. That is good deal of priests, prepared for the celebration. And if they make a catechesis to the people, it will not be problematic. One has to regulate, too, how really make the mutual enrichment of the two forms.
Journalist: Down the road, long-term, do you think that the Holy Father would like to see the extraordinary form and the ordinary form co-exist?
His Eminence: Co-exist, yes.
Journalist: Or, would he prefer, is he still thinking of the "reform of the reform"?
His Eminence: I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so. Maybe, I am sure there will be corrected many abuses. But, I am old priest, and I knew the abuses in the old form of the rite. Where human beings are, there are mistakes. No, I think they are different. The unity is the sacrifice…the nuclear thing, the words of Christ. The catechesis they did before, the number of lectures, the kind of lectures, it’s changing according to the times. The new communities, they came from the Hebrew world. They had to have many, many, things from their world. The new communities came from the Greek world. They had to have that, and we have the Kyrie in our Mass. Today, we have new cultures and these new cultures have to be expressed in the action of the worship to God. So, perfection, and enrichment, together.
I thank you.
A Glossary of Terms
Gregorian Rite – This refers to the major codification of the Latin liturgy in the liturgical books issued by Pope St. Gregory I at the end of the 6th century, which in turn gave rise to the form codified after the Council of Trent by Pope St. Pius V.
Ordinary/Extraordinary Form – These are the terms which Pope Benedict XVI uses in his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum to distinguish the post-Vatican II Missal of Paul VI (1970) from that of Blessed John XXIII (1962), this latter being substantially that of Pope St. Pius V. These two forms are also commonly referred to as the Novus Ordo Mass and the Traditional Latin Mass.
Ecclesia Dei Adflicta – This is the title of an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio by Pope John Paul II in 1988, granting wider permission for the use of the Traditional Latin Mass.
Summorum Pontificum – This is the title of the Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 July 2007. It recognized the right of priests to celebrate privately according to the traditional Missal, and of the laity to have the Traditional Latin Mass publicly celebrated for them in parishes.
Motu Proprio – A type of juridical letter issued on the personal initiative and authority of a reigning Pope and containing specific provisions binding on all in the Church.