Wednesday, January 26, 2011
BEING REALISTIC ABOUT LITURGICAL CHANGE AND ITS SPEED
An excerpt from Bishop Athanasius Schneider:
An interpretation of rupture of doctrinally lesser weight is shown in the pastoral-liturgical field. One can cite under this topic the loss of the sacred and sublime character of the liturgy and the introduction of more anthropocentric gestural elements. This phenomenon makes itself evident in three liturgical practices well known and widespread in nearly all the parishes of the Catholic world: the nearly total disappearance of the use of the Latin language, the reception of the Eucharistic Body of Christ directly on the hand and standing, and the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the modality of a closed circle in which priest and people continually look each other in the face. This manner of praying, that is: not all facing in the same direction, which is a more natural bodily and symbolic expression with respect to the truth of everyone being spiritually turned toward God in public worship, contradicts the practice that Jesus Himself and His Apostles observed in public prayer at the temple or in the synagogue. Moreover, it contradicts the unanimous testimony of the Fathers and all the prior tradition of the Eastern and Western Church. These three pastoral and liturgical practices, in noisy rupture with the laws of prayer maintained by generations of faithful Catholics for nearly a millennium, find no support in the conciliar texts, but rather contradict either a specific text of the Council (on the Latin language, see Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 36, § 1; 54), or the “mens”, the true intention of the conciliar Fathers, as can be verified in the Acts of the Council.
Pope Benedict himself seems to indicate in SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM that having two forms of the one Roman Rite (Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms) will allow a more organic develop of the Mass. One could infer from this that eventually the Church will once again have one form of the Latin Rite Mass that will have developed organically from celebrating both forms freely. My suggestion below this post is based on that possibility.
But we must be realistic. It took over 40 years for the older, unreformed Mass to be re-instituted as the "out of the ordinary" form of the celebration of the one Roman Rite.
It may take as long if not longer for the Roman Missal to be revised to reflect a more "organic development" in its reform than what we got on the First Sunday of Advent 1969 and through the design of a secretive committee of specialists in Liturgy in Rome.
However, we must acknowledge that the Second Vatican Council's document on the Liturgy SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM is still the most authoritative document we have concerning the reform of the 1962 missal. We can't ignore it, we must simply interpret it properly. That document has been seriously misinterpreted by many and some of that many in high places.
Keep in mind that Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, gave a presentation at a conference of cardinals and bishops held in Rome on December 17, 2010 and the proper interpretation of Vatican II and his call that the Holy Father issue a apostolic teaching on the correct interpretation. The author is auxiliary bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. He is also a student of Joseph Ratzinger. The bishop's presentation certainly implies and also makes explicit that there are some seriously flawed interpretations that have been used by many in the Church, some of the many in high places, that led to ill-advised reforms or reforms in the wrong direction. You can read his suggestions for the proper interpretation of Vatican II HERE. His presentation is significant although many will ask, "Who is this obscure auxiliary bishop from Karaganda, Kazakhstan? Can anything good come from Kazakhstan?" Of course many asked the same question about Jesus and where he came from. So keep an eye on this lowly auxiliary bishop. He may be destined for higher places.
So folks, don't hold your breath for a new Roman Missal that is markedly different than the Ordinary Form we celebrate today; but we are getting a new English translation of the Roman Missal on Saturday evening, November 26, the Vigil of the First Sunday of Advent. This new missal is based upon the typical edition of the Latin Missal that was released in 2002 and it does have some minor changes from earlier post Vatican II Latin missals. This new missal is a monumental step forward, although the English parts of some of the priest's prayers are a bit lacking in beauty although accurate in translation. We've had a lack of beauty and a lack of accurate translation since the Roman Missal of 1970. So this is a monumental step forward.
The only reforms that I think we could see in the near future will be the clear option of kneeling for Holy Communion which may lead to the recovery of altar railings and the preference of Holy Communion received on the tongue.
The option of Mass ad orientem will be made clearer also.
But just remember I am not clairvoyant although I might be.
Let me conclude with another quote from Bishop Schneider's recent presentation:
Two groupings that maintain the theory of rupture are evident. One such grouping tries to protestantize the life of the Church doctrinally, liturgically, and pastorally. (My comment: I think this first form of rupture is the most insidious becasue it often is presented to the laity as coming from the Magisterium, the living, visible one.)
(Back to the bishop's theories:)On the other side are some traditionalist groups that, in the name of tradition, reject the Council, and avoid submission to the supreme living Magisterium of the Church, the visible Head of the Church, submitting for now only to the invisible Head of the Church, waiting for better times.
In the arena of rupture, which one are you? How do you "reform" your rupture and get with the Church of today?