Dear Deacon Sherman,
It seemed to me that Father Michael Cheah considers this issue to be roma locuta est, causa finita est. I wasn't convinced at all by his dogmatic (pardon the pun) approach to a controversial subject and after reading the article, I thought that he didn't seem to have grasp the issue at hand, which was one of insertion of the veneration into the Eucharistic celebration. My understanding of this issue is that it is one of liturgy first and foremost and therefore the document that I'd refer to would also be Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC); and not an obsure one like Summi Pontificatus which was written with the threat of Nazi Germany , rising fascism and gathering clouds in Europe.
The little I understand from reading Summi Pontificatus, I can't see how he can conclude specifically that ".. it gives the basis and foundation for the Rite of Veneration of Ancestors"? And worst of all, say that "This (Summi Pontificatus) is directed to the entire Church and non-acceptance or even partial acceptance of this Encyclical is tantamount to a rejection of some of the teachings, and inadvertently, leads to a rejection of a teaching of the Church! There is also no need to wait for any further instruction from our local Bishops as they are very clear on this matter and have fully accepted the teachings of the Encyclical". Most of us have never heard of this document and would have to claim invincible ignorance for a start.
SC No. 22.1 says "..Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." Even that said the document provides for adaptation and inculturation but the role of the bishops as custodians of sacred liturgy is reiterated.
His article would have been better served if he had used a liturgical document to eventually guide us through an examination of conscience to remind ourselves on what liturgy and Eucharist is about. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. But there is part 2 next week...
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas - for the moment, I am inclined to the second part, but I do think that the caritas part is missing from Father Michael's article.
With kind regards,
Below is a letter I've received from a learned parishioner in Petaling Jaya who has given her response to the most recent article on ancestral veneration in the Herald. Miss Rachael Wong has given permission for her correspondence to be published on my blog.