Sayings of the Fathers: Agathon 5

5. They say about Abba Agathon that some came to him, hearing that he had great discernment, and wanting to test whether he would become angry, they say to him, Are you Agathon? We hear about you that you are a fornicator, and a proud man. But he said, Indeed, a gossip and slanderer? And he said, I am he. They say further, Are you Agathon the heretic? And he answered, I am not a heretic. And they asked him, saying, Tell us why whatever we said to you, you also accepted, but this word you would not bear? He says to them, The first ones I ascribe to myself, for it is of benefit to my soul. But the heretic, that is a separation from God, and I do not wish to be separated from God. And they heard, amazed by his discernment, and went away strengthened.

Note that there is a duplication of saying, Tell us why…bear? occurring in the original. I have omitted one occurrence.

Motu Proprio et Catena Aurea

As many are already aware, on 7 July Pope Benedict XVI released a letter entitled Summorum Pontificum (unofficial translation here, translation of the accompanying explanatory letter here), given motu proprio, that is, “of his own accord,” and not necessarily in consultation with any others. It is a decree of the Roman shepherd to all his flock. In it, Pope Benedict essentially derestricts a particular edition of the Tridentine Latin Mass, particularly (and only, by the way) that of Blessed Pope John XXIII promulgated in 1962. Since 1970, a newer edition of the Mass, called the Novus Ordo, the official edition of which is Latin but which is also more often celebrated in various approved vernacular translations, has been the standard, with the Tridentine Mass celebrated outside Rome in only a relatively few places which have received special permission for it. Pope Benedict’s motu proprio and explanatory letter make clear that the older mass was never abrogated, and encourages its use by making it easier for individual priests to celebrate it, and for groups of parishioners to request it. He charitably avoids blaming any of his subordinate bishops for being too stingy in their permission to allow celebration of the older form of mass, some of whom would apparently rather have clowns dancing through the sanctuary than ever allow an ancient form of the mass to be celebrated in Latin. The liturgical world for such people begins in 1970, while for many, they likely felt it ended. This recent derestriction of the older mass will hopefully be taken up by many in the months and years ahead. May their lives be greatly enriched by it!

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