Friday, 29 May 2009

Are the Servi Jesu et Mariae traditionalists?

This question has been put more than once. It must be admitted that many 'traditionalists' don't consider the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus and Mary, the Servi Jesu et Mariae, to be a traditionalist Congregation. Since they celebrate the Sacraments using the régime of 1969 as well as that of 1962, there is some room for doubt whether they fall into the pidgeon-hole of traditionalism.

The effect of Summorum Pontificum upon the question is also debatable. Is traditionalism now a broader sub-set of the Church since the Holy Father has called for a mutual enrichment between the Missals:

"For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal." - Benedict XVI, Letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum

On the other hand, since the Liturgical Regime of 1962 is firmly placed within the mainstream of the Church, can exclusivist and exclusionary traditionalism continue?

At any rate, the appearance of the guitar in this video from will hardly conciliate the traditionalist sensibility on the question, especially if 'fiddleback' vestments start to be called 'guitarfronts' instead:

However, what can be said of the Servi Jesu et Mariae, and it is no small boast, is that their purpose is the restoration of traditional religious life in the Ignatian mold, doing so by means of the Traditional Liturgy. The founder and first Superior General, Father Hönisch, entered the German Province of the Society of Jesus in 1952. In 1976, while still a member of the Society, he founded the KPE, the Catholic Scouts of Europe, to counter what was happening to Catholic youth ministry at the time. His solidly Catholic teaching and youth work brought him into conflict with his superiors, which led to his expulsion from the Society of Jesus and his incardination into the Diocese of Augsburg.

While a Priest of the Diocese of Augsburg, he was approached by several members of the KPE who asked him to found a Society that might permit them to persue their vocation that had been formed through the KPE. Fr. Hönisch was said to be extremely reluctant to establish an entirely new Society and attempted to encourage them to join existing Congregations. Eventually, he bowed to the zeal of his spiritual children and, in 1988, established the Servi Jesu et Mariae, along the lines that he had learned while a member of the Society of Jesus. His wish, it has been reported, was that, once the situation in the Church and the Society had settled, that the the Servi Jesu et Mariae could be absorbed into the restored Society, an admirable and generous spirit of gratitude to the Society of his formation and ordination.

Are the Servi Jesu et Mariae traditionalists? Does it matter? Is there salvation outside the strict lines of traditionalism? The answer is probably best found in the souls of those who find there vocation among those who set out to be Servants of Jesus and Mary.


berenike said...

This is a spoof commentary, right?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. That's the self-serving way they always describe it. Try living with him in religious community and you might think differently: "His solidly Catholic teaching and youth work brought him into conflict with his superiors, which led to his expulsion from the Society of Jesus and his incardination into the Diocese of Augsburg."

Ottaviani said...

The whole purpose of communities that use the older liturgical books, is that they wants to form their whole priestly (or religious life) through them. It is not a question of rejecting the Pauline liturgy, although many people who would join the FSSP or ICKSP have personal problems with it and may have a good conscience why they wish not to celebrate in practice according to the new books. Reading through many works about the reform of the liturgy and the dubious people who supervised it, would indeed lead some to question whether the ordinary form can really be part of the same rite as the extraordinary form.

Celebrating mass according to two different missals on a regular basis would pose problems - what calendar do they follow? Would they also have to revert to the older breviary too? What about other sacraments? I find that bi-rutualism always ends in a messy and unhappy affair. It can probably work on a diocesan level but in a community, it becomes difficult if one considers all the pros and cons.

It's best for societies of apostolic life to stick to one thing, rather than switch here and there all the time. That is why communities like the FSSP are united in one font because of the mutual devotion to the traditional Roman rite in all aspects and not just the mass. Their mission is propagate the traditional liturgy so that it one day becomes the mass of our descendants, just like it was of our ancestors.

Mark said...

...but, Ottaviani, surely you don't mean we should get rid of the New Mass(TM)? ;-P

Ottaviani said...

The novus ordo will get rid of itself. We can see how much of a success it has been in Europe, since its introduction. Even Archbishop Bugnini admitted that his reform would only last for 20 years before another one had to put in place. Traditionally Catholic church isn't so fickle enough to change it's worship just like that.

Mark said...

Sorry, I was being trite. But you got my drift! ;-)

Matthew said...

The video seems too big for the width of your blog body section. Maybe you could add a smaller size and it would fit better.

Or it may be my a problem on my end. I'm using XP right now while I usually use Vista. Might just be XP resolution.

Mark said...

thanks for that, Matthew. The problem was at this end; I have fixed it.