Friday, September 24, 2010

SOME IN THE ARENA OF LITURGY WON'T LIKE THIS SO DON'T READ IT!

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Who's the star of this talk show?

A Filipino Archbishop describes his feelings about Liturgical renewal. Liturgists of a particular ideology are not going to like it! The article originally appeared HERE but I've copied it below. I have a few comments below the reproduced article.

The Liturgical Renewal I Would Like To See
by Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamiz


Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the liturgy were the so-called “liturgists” who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of liturgy.

They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities.

A search for creativity and community were dominant projects in “reform-minded” Catholic circles in the 1960s and beyond. In itself, this might not have been bad. But the philosophy that the community was god, and that “God” was not fully “God” without the community was the source of ideas that have done most damage to the Church.

This secular notion of community made its way into the liturgy to gradually supplant the inherited Christian tradition.

These self-appointed arbiters of the reform were, and I hate to say this, liturgical hijackers who deprived ordinary parishioners – and bewildered pastors – of their right to the normative worship of their own Church. Hence, there was the need for a reform of the reform.

A major goal of Pope Benedict XVI is the restoration of our Catholic identity. Liturgy is a key component of such an endeavor.

Benedict’s broad liturgical approach can be described in terms of “continuity,” i.e. recovering elements of the liturgical tradition which he believes were too hastily set aside or downplayed in the immediate period after the Second Vatican Council.

The idea of a new liturgical movement came with strength from his book, Spirit of the Liturgy.

A relevant section: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy … in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not he speaks to us and hears us. … Such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope Benedict XVI in his Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Ireland situated the sexual abuse of children in the wake of fast-paced social change and a decline in adherence to traditional devotional and sacramental practices.

To his priests in the Diocese of Rome he said, “In the Eucharist we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. … Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely the reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle ‘lex orandi – lex credendi.’” (“the law of praying establishes the law of believing.”)

To be sure, the Pope has great regard for the Novus Ordo. He issued a Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum where he narrated why he wanted to expand the use of what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and, in so doing, he deliberately responded to the fear that this expansion was somehow intended to demote the Novus Ordo or undermine the Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform, saying it was unfounded.

For the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) the liturgy is of its nature an inheritance, a space we inhabit as others have inhabited it before us. It is never an instrument we design or manipulate. Self-made liturgy is a contradiction in terms, and he distrusts liturgies that emphasize spontaneity, self-expression and extreme forms of local inculturation.

In his own book, Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger scathingly compared such liturgies to the worship of the Golden Calf, “a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking and making merry … It is a kind of banal self-gratification … no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources.”

In his view, the liturgy is meant to still and calm human activity, to allow God to be God, to quiet our chatter in favor of attention to the Word of God and in adoration and communion with the self-gift of the Word incarnate.

The call for active participation seems to Benedict XVI to have “dumbed” down the mystery we celebrate, and left us with a banal inadequate language (and music) of prayer.

The “active participation” in the liturgy for which Vatican II called, he argues, emphatically, does not mean participation in many acts. Rather, it means a deeper entry by everyone present into the one great action of the liturgy, its only real action, which is Christ’s self-giving on the Cross.

We can best enter into the action of the Mass by a recollected silence, and by traditional gestures of self-offering and adoration – the Sign of the Cross, folded hands, reverent kneeling.

For the Pope, therefore, liturgical practice since the Council has taken a wrong turn, aesthetically impoverished, creating a rupture in the continuity of Catholic worship, and reflecting and even fostering a defective understanding of the Divine and our relationship to it.

His decision to permit the free celebration of the Tridentine liturgy was intended both to repair that rupture and to issue a call to the recovery of the theological, spiritual and cultural values that he sees as underlying the old Mass.

In his letter to the bishops of July 2007, he expressed the hope that the two forms of the one Roman liturgy might cross-fertilize each other, the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal, and the celebration of the Novus Ordo recovering by example some of the “sacrality” that characterized the older form.

It is just like Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution providing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, about which the Pope talked to the Bishops of England and Wales in their ad limina visit.

“It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all,” Anglicanorum Coetibus reads.

Despite Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict himself has only celebrated the ordinary form of the Mass in public, “facing the people” in the manner of the Novus Ordo, using modern languages, all as stipulated in the Liturgical Books of the different countries where he celebrated.

Many people, for example, were waiting for him to use “for many,” instead of “for all” in the United States, but he did not do so.

The Pope celebrated ad orientem (to the east) once more at the newly renovated Pauline Chapel, whose altar was repositioned so that it could be used to celebrate both ways – and the Pope chose the traditional direction in the Mass he celebrated with members of the International Theological Commission.

Small changes to the accessories, vestments and ritual rubrics point to the Pope’s Reform of the Reform. On Corpus Domini of 2008 he began to give Communion exclusively on the tongue to the kneeling faithful.

In November of that year with a new master of pontifical liturgical ceremonies, the Crucifix and candle holders returned to the papal altar, from which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform had taken them away putting the Cross to the side and replacing the candelabra, if at all, by little temple lights.

On the Feast of the Epiphany last year, the Pope wore the guitar-shaped so-called Philippine chasuble instead of the post-Conciliar flowing chasuble, to underscore the continuity between past and present, manifested through liturgical vestments.

Then there are the ritual silences during the liturgies, observed after readings, after psalms, after the homily, and most especially, after Communion.

With these silences, the Pope is starting to educate the faithful who follow papal liturgies to a better, more appropriate attitude of concentration and meditation.

What is the Pope up to? In the words of Monsignor Guido Marini, “I think what the Holy Father is trying to do is to wisely bring together traditional things with the new, in order to carry out, in letter and spirit, what Vatican II intended, and to do it in such a way that papal liturgies can be exemplary in all aspects. Whoever takes part in, or watches, a papal liturgy should be able to say, “This is the way it should be done. Even in my diocese, in my parish!”

And that is how I would like the direction of the liturgical renewal to take with the Mass to be recast, yes, but in order to remain what it is, Calvary and the Upper Room.


My comments:

One cannot downplay the significant role that "liturgists" played in the initial reform of the Mass immediately following Vatican II and well into the 1990's if not later. These "theologians" were elevated by many in the Church both clergy and laity and not a few bishops, to the level of a parallel magisterium. What they said, what they modeled at workshops and all of their suggestions about liturgical renewal were taken as gospel truth to be obediently and immediately implemented on the parish level.

What are some of the fruits of these "liturgists" that still linger with us today?
1. The stripping of traditional art, architecture and music from our churches and liturgies
2. Building churches in the round or semi-round so people can see each others faces while celebrating Mass
3. Music that is faddish and won't stand the test of time; disdain for Gregorian Chant and the actual music of the Mass, i.e introit, offertory antiphon and Communion antiphon
4. Kneeling forbidden for any part of the Mass, kneelers removed from churches in a Gestapo act to prevent those who want to kneel to have any comfort in doing so (Remember Mother Angelica making portable kneelers that you could carry with you to church?)
5. Any sense of private or traditional devotions either a part of Mass or during Mass frowned upon, for example beating one's breast at the Confiteor, Agnus Dei, bowing at the "incarnation" during the Credo, etc. Eucharistic adoration was truly disdained as well as Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and other popular devotions. God forbid that the tabernacle be central in the Church, best for it to be in a closet somewhere independent of the interior of the Church!

15 comments:

Lori said...

Do we have the option to use a kneeler at our church? Besides at Latin mass?

Frajm said...

Lori, I presume you mean for receiving Holy Communion. The problem of that in the Ordinary Form of the Mass is that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have as a general norm that we stand for Holy Communion, make a bow prior to receiving. The Vatican approved this norm. However, we as priests are instructed to allow the laity to kneel if they so choose, but they are choosing to disregard the norm in doing so. At this point I don't think I have a "right" to place a kneeler in front of me to allow those who choose to kneel to do so "comfortably." But with that said, I am not in prinicple opposed to having a kneeler in front of those distributing Holy Communion to have kneeling as a more comfortable option. I do think, though, that my bishop would see me doing this as actually encouraging kneeling, which technically I should not do as the norm in the USA is kneeling. So we really need a more universal norm established that would allow the option of kneeling as clearly a clearly legitimate option in the OF. I'd support that!
The fact that the Holy Father distributes exclusively to those kneeling makes me wonder if this will not come about in the near future. Let's hope and pray. Why is there hysteria about people kneeling for Holy Communion? Read the article above--liturgists hate it! They are a parallel magisterium! Gratefully those days were numbered.

Maximos IV Saigh said...

There is no such thing as "traditional" art or architecture in Catholic Churches. This is a straw man often employed by those who prefer Gothic art and architecture. Enjoy your preferences, but don't try to turn them into an ecclesiastical tradition, please.

The basilicas of ancient Rome had/have no kneelers and are designed so that members of the congregation can (and do) see each other during the celebration of the eucharist. History is older than 1500.

Gregorian Chant appeared when? Before that was there no "proper" church music? Do not elevate to "sacred" that which is merely historical.

Private devotions have no place - none - during the celebration of the Eucharist which is, in every sense, an action of the community -both the community gathered in a single church OR the community of the Church throught time and space.
Why WOULD a Catholic who understands what the Mass is want to pray a novena when THE perfect prayer is being prayed? Senseless. A poorly catechized Catholic who cannot understand the mass because it is "read" in a language unknown to him/her might be so amused. But, those days are . . . gone.

Mackja said...

Maximos, you seem to be some what diluted in you understanding. It was not until the 4th century that the Church was able to exercise the faith openly, free from persecution. At this point things developed quickly. To say there is no traditional church architecture is to be blind to history. You seem to confuse style with design. Cruciform layout quickly became the norm from the 4th century until the 20th century, the position of the altar, tabernacle, screens, and in many cases kneeling rails, where fixed very early on. Pew where a 12th century invention, prior to that people stood, and laid prostrate during the liturgy of the Eucharist, so the only thing the people looked at during communion was the floor. The interior design of churches has always, until recently, taught the faith with visual imagery, stained glass, statues, and paintings. The current striped down baron hotel meeting rooms called churches is a rupture from tradition. Just as the faith, architecture and art developed, so did music, Gregorian chant was the start of western music, and all early western music was sacred music. In this way chant has a firm root in the western church, and became the norm and still is, according to Vatican II council. Latin is also the traditional language of the western church, and has a universal nature to it. One of the problems with the rejection of Latin is we have lost the strong sense of communion, with the Latin we could go any where in the world and participate in the Mass and understand and pray together the entire Mass, only the homily would not be understood. By the way Vatican II also stated that Latin was to be retained. As far as devotions during the Mass, Fr McDonald is not referring to praying novenas during the Mass, but proper posture, and recognizing our position or relationship to God, acknowledging our sinfulness, and what is holy and true outwardly. All of this is part of our tradition, and is rooted firmly in the sacramental reality of the faith. What has happened is many rejected what Vatican II actually said, and went off on tangents that are ruptures and not in continuity with our faith. Development of the faith requires continuity with our past, remaking the faith to suite the whims of some is a rupture and distorts or rejects the true faith.

Anonymous said...

Wow in the face of all the evidence, congregations who fight to NOT have this done, they are still doing it. When wil it end? I woud not feel comfortable in this Church as a Catholic. Period.

Frajm said...

Thanks Mack, I couldn't say it better. I don't endorse devotions during Mass. Liturgist question these apart from Mass even Eucharistic Adoration. They object to kneeling during Mass and private thanksgiving with a pietistic flair after Holy Communion. They want to deny people the tabernacle centered in the sanctuary because they want to control piety!

Frajm said...

Thanks Mack, I couldn't say it better. I don't endorse devotions during Mass. Liturgist question these apart from Mass even Eucharistic Adoration. They object to kneeling during Mass and private thanksgiving with a pietistic flair after Holy Communion. They want to deny people the tabernacle centered in the sanctuary because they want to control piety!

Suburbanbanshee said...

The people beating the breast during the Confiteor and bowing during the Creed is still in the rubrics for Ordinary Form Mass, Maximos. It's been heavily discouraged and covered up by non-official liturgists, but it's still printed right there that we're supposed to do it.

Anonymous said...

The archbishop is dead on. I have an even more cynical view of what when on in the name of reform. I lived through the liturgical destruction of the 1960s and most "liturgists" were con men (and women)who were aided and abetted by music publishers, church "renovators", etc who all made plenty of money from ruining the Roman Mass and the interior of Churches.

kiwiinamerica said...

Q. What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

A. You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Andrew B said...

1) Overall I like the first picture showing the interior of a "modern" church. I like the windows, the stone work, the high ceiling. The only real issue is the altar & tabernable. They should be raised, and the pews should be positioned explicitly facing the altar (from the side is fine), not slanting away from. This church looks very inviting, which is important, everything about the building should draw people in. But once inside everyone should be immediately and keenly aware of the focal point of the building and the apparent reason for it - the lamb of God and the altar upon which His sacrifice is celebrated. That is what this building is missing, and the saddest part is it could easily be remedied (just noticeably raise up the alter crucifix and tabernacle, delineating it from the rest of the space, and shift some chairs). Its physical character is fine but its spiritual character appears to be lacking.

2) The central theme I seem to get from the apparent stripping away of aspects of church life, is a lack of reverence. Here's a little different example:
When I was in 2nd grade and preparing to receive First Communion, I was instructed how to receive in the hand. I was told I was receiving "Jesus", and that was that. Later on in my life, when I came to a fuller understanding that communion is not just "Jesus" (the way a picture or statue is "Jesus"), but that it is the Body Blood Soul & Divinity of the Living God Incarnate, and I also learned (by asking) what receiving on the tongue is all about and how to do it - I immediately desired to do so. And from the first time receiving that way, I knew I would never receive in the hand again. And I now, at mass, wonder how people can do so, and how I ever did either. But once I was receiving properly on the tongue, I not so shortly afterward came to Macon & St. Joseph's and discovered what alter rails were like (this was before the renovation). Since then, I often find myself desiring to receive kneeling. And if the church in the United States ever makes it possible to do so without interrupting the regular service of communion, I doubt I would want to give that up either. The point is - why is our default the least we can do? Sports teams always want to go undefeated. Students want all A's. Shouldn't we (as a church community) want to offer our best also?

Pagans throughout time have worshiped created things with more reverence than we, as a community, often find ourselves offering to the Living God present in our midst in the One perpetual sacrifice. Many people don't understand why purgatory exists. At times it seems obvious to me - apparently we need it!

Andrew B said...

1) Overall I like the first picture showing the interior of a "modern" church. I like the windows, the stone work, the high ceiling. The only real issue is the altar & tabernable. They should be raised, and the pews should be positioned explicitly facing the altar (from the side is fine), not slanting away from. This church looks very inviting, which is important, everything about the building should draw people in. But once inside everyone should be immediately and keenly aware of the focal point of the building and the apparent reason for it - the lamb of God and the altar upon which His sacrifice is celebrated. That is what this building is missing, and the saddest part is it could easily be remedied (just noticeably raise up the alter crucifix and tabernacle, delineating it from the rest of the space, and shift some chairs). Its physical character is fine but its spiritual character appears to be lacking.

2) The central theme I seem to get from the apparent stripping away of aspects of church life, is a lack of reverence. Here's a little different example:
When I was in 2nd grade and preparing to receive First Communion, I was instructed how to receive in the hand. I was told I was receiving "Jesus", and that was that. Later on in my life, when I came to a fuller understanding that communion is not just "Jesus" (the way a picture or statue is "Jesus"), but that it is the Body Blood Soul & Divinity of the Living God Incarnate, and I also learned (by asking) what receiving on the tongue is all about and how to do it - I immediately desired to do so. And from the first time receiving that way, I knew I would never receive in the hand again. And I now, at mass, wonder how people can do so, and how I ever did either. But once I was receiving properly on the tongue, I not so shortly afterward came to Macon & St. Joseph's and discovered what alter rails were like (this was before the renovation). Since then, I often find myself desiring to receive kneeling. And if the church in the United States ever makes it possible to do so without interrupting the regular service of communion, I doubt I would want to give that up either. The point is - why is our default the least we can do? Sports teams always want to go undefeated. Students want all A's. Shouldn't we (as a church community) want to offer our best also?

Pagans throughout time have worshiped created things with more reverence than we, as a community, often find ourselves offering to the Living God present in our midst in the One perpetual sacrifice. Many people don't understand why purgatory exists. At times it seems obvious to me - apparently we need it!

Andrew B said...

1) Overall I like the first picture showing the interior of a "modern" church. I like the windows, the stone work, the high ceiling. The only real issue is the altar & tabernable. They should be raised, and the pews should be positioned explicitly facing the altar (from the side is fine), not slanting away from. This church looks very inviting, which is important, everything about the building should draw people in. But once inside everyone should be immediately and keenly aware of the focal point of the building and the apparent reason for it - the lamb of God and the altar upon which His sacrifice is celebrated. That is what this building is missing, and the saddest part is it could easily be remedied (just noticeably raise up the alter crucifix and tabernacle, delineating it from the rest of the space, and shift some chairs). Its physical character is fine but its spiritual character appears to be lacking.

Linguist said...

Mack - you say "Latin has a universal nature to it."

Two questions: 1) What is this "universal nature"?

2) If it has this universal nature, how is it that only an infinitesimally small percentage of the known universe understands it, and, in corollary, that Latin was never spoken by much more than 1% of the human race at any time?

Mackja said...

Linguist, you are quite mistaken , you need to study the development of languages in western civilization. Latin was the language of the Roman empire, an empire that ruled all of the known world, Latin was spoken form Britton to Asia, from the middle east to Africa. All business, trade, legal documents, treaties, etc, etc... where in Latin. While the masses in any country never understood or had a common language until about 150 to 200 years ago. Latin is the root language of all western languages. It had a universal nature because it was the language of the Church, law and science. My mother took Latin in high school and so did most Catholics around the world (much more than 1%) Just as today those who attend the EF Mass learn Latin because of the familiarity and repetition of it's use. While we are not fluent in the language, we become familiar and do learn to understand it, this hold true for the past also, and in that regard Latin was more prevalent in civilization than the native tongues of the people. Even English is a new language, before the 16 & 17 centuries, England had so many dialects and languages that no one could understand anyone outside of their region of influence. Even today in Italy, the north and south speak two different languages, and have a hard time communicating. Latin still is the language of science and law, and the Church. Like I said in my previous post, when the Mass was in Latin we could prey and understand the Mass no matter where it was said, and that is the universal nature of the Latin language. I went to Rome in 2007 attended Mass at St Mary Major, could not understand a thing, not one word, now if I had been going to the Latin Mass since I was a child, you could bet your bottom dollar I could have understood the Mass in Rome if it was in Latin.