Friday, January 20, 2012


The sole purpose of a "Reform of the reform" (Copied from the Rorate Caeli Blog, my comments below it)
From the interview granted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, author of Il Concilio Vaticano II: una storia mai scritta (The Second Vatican Council – a never before written history), to Austrian Catholic website

[]There is no renewal of the Church without a true liturgical renewal. What is the meaning, in your view, of the liturgy in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite which, with the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, once again enjoys full right of citizenship in the Church? Is it truly "a twofold use of the save and only Rite" (Benedict XVI, Letter on the publication of "Summorum Pontificum", July 7, 2007) or should the "form" that today is "ordinary" be considered a "phase" of that return to the origins in which the true future is found?

[De Mattei] The Holy Sacrifice is truly one, but the "Novus ordo" of Paul VI is, it seems to me, profoundly different, in spirit and in form, from the ancient Roman Rite. In this last Rite, I see not the past, but the future of the Church. Traditional liturgy is in fact the most efficacious response to the challenge of secularism, that attacks us.

Benedict XVI gave full citizenship back to the ancient Roman Rite. I am certain that it will go through a new development and a new splendor in the Church and in society. The "Reform of the Reform" which is mentioned makes sense and is worthy only as a "transition" of the "novus ordo" towards the traditional rite, and not as a pretext for the abandonment of the latter, that must be kept in its integrity and purity.

The essential question seems to me, though, that of recovering a theological and ecclesiological vision founded upon the dimension of transcendent and the holy. This means that it is necessary to reconquer the fundamental principles of Catholic theology, beginning with a precise view of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is further necessary that the idea of sacrifice shall permeate society in the shape, quite forgotten today, of a spirit of sacrifice and penance. This, and not anything else, is the "experience of sacredness" of which our society has urgent need. Without it, it is hard to imagine a return to an authentic Liturgy that has at its center the adoration owed to the one true God.


MY COMMENTS: "The correct understanding of the Council – the instructions for the Year of Faith specify – is not what is called the "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture," but what Benedict XVI has called "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church."

The Catholic Church prior to the Second Vatican Council was in need of reform and updating as it confronted and ministered to a very different world than that of the period of the Council of Trent which had dramatically shaped the Catholic Church of the 500 year period, in addition to the Church's reaction to the Protestant Reformation and anti-Catholic ideologies.

But what many now say the Second Vatican Council never intended is what has led to an even more urgent reform of the Post Vatican II Church but again going back to the Council of Trent, The First Vatican Council and yes, and most importantly The Second Vatican Council.

In reality the "Spirit of the Second Vatican Council" a spirit of rupture with the past not only in liturgy, but in the understanding of the Catholic Church herself, her priesthood, her laity and her spirituality and piety that flowed from a Catholic Culture that in many ways was universal in all the Catholic world although with variation in piety and devotions, was totally dismantled, torn down and only a remnant of her former self remained.

There has been rebuilding to be sure, but the new edifice is a shadow of her former self and glory.

One of the things that reformers lambasted about the Pre-Vatican II Church was her triumphalism. That may have been true, but it evolved from a very high Christology and the worship due to Christ and our unworthiness in His presence that led to silence in Churches, and a humble piety that was self-deprecating. All that changed with the 1960's and a jamboree attitude toward the Church, the Liturgy and her devotions and spirituality.

As well the great discipline of the Church in terms of prayer, fasting and almsgiving was nearly tossed out the window. Gone were meatless Fridays, Ember Days and a rigid Lenten season that only the strong could survive. Gone were indulgences, harsh penances and a strict Catholic piety at home, the praying of the Rosary was ridiculed as were all other devotions. The Mass became a mere shadow of its former self and church buildings were raped and reconfigured according to a flimsy theology and new churches looked cold and empty.

All this must be reformed and older and more time-tested forms of Mass and spirituality must be recovered and is being recovered, but it will take another 50 years or more.


Pater Ignotus said...

I think the Triumphalism flowed more from secular sources than any "high Christology." The Church adopted secular thinking, becoming a secular economic, military, and political power. This led to a twisting of our understanding of our proper role in the world. We came to understand ourselves to be dominators of others, not servants of the mission of redemption. We sought to control others, not to lead them to Jesus. We came to think of the Church as a nation among nations, and condemned to eternal damnation those who dared to take away the Papal States or the Church's sources of wealth. We went to war to "prove" to others that our god was more loving and compassionate and caring than their god.

Much of this triumphalist thinking found its way into our liturgies. Popes were carried on thrones, crowned with gold and jewels, fanned by psuedo-Nubian courtiers. Priests became mini-barons, ruling parishes with little regard for the dignity of the people they were supposed to serve by leading. Priests were given choice seats in restaurants, excused when caught speeding, and generally looked upon as "better" than the unordained hoipoloi.

Sadly, many popes and priests actually came to believe that all of this silliness was God's will, that the "t"radition of being the top dog was divine revelation, and that they, alone, were conduits of grace.

Much of what Vatican Two teaches is that this smugness has no place in a Church that is called to decrease so that the Lord may increase. Much of what Vatican Two calls us to understand is that we have deluded ourselves for centuries in order to be "better" than the world, rather than getting dirty in the world so that we can change the world.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The cult of the personality in a low Christology celebrated by priests who think they are the center of attention at Mass, because, well, they are, is much more of a problem and has led to many more problems for the clergy around the world than any of the things you bring to the table for discussion prior to Vatican II. I agree that clericalism complicates things when clergy to wild, but wild clergy has been more of a problem since Vatican II who used the "privileges" of the pre-Vatican II Church to hoodwink two generations of Catholics.
And small tokens of appreciation like paying for a priest's meal in a fancy restaurant are hardly born of triumphalism that is directed toward Christ.

Henry said...

"Priests became mini-barons, ruling parishes with little regard for the dignity of the people they were supposed to serve by leading."

I was a member of several parishes before Vatican II, many since then, in several dioceses in different regions of the country.

There can be no argument--between people who know both the before and the after--that clericalism is a far greater problem now than then. That is, the problem of priests who think it's all about them, that it's acceptable to impose their own personalities and preferences on everything in parish life from the liturgy and devotional life to style of church construction or renovation.

For instance, we now have a couple of generations of ill-formed priests who regard themselves as masters rather than servants of the liturgy, free to subject lay worshipers to their own personal whims and idiosyncrasies, with the result that it centers on them rather than on God. The "it's all about me" priest is the greatest problem I see now, and never witnessed anything like this prior to the 1960s.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I'm not too familiar with the word "clericalism" but have certainly experienced the shock and sorrow of the "cult of personality." Our former pastor, liked to vacate the "stage", after the gospel reading, during Christmas to return completely attired in a mouse costume from head to toe. I kid you not. The congregation was delivered a "homily" about a mouse hidden in the manger at the time of the birth of the Child Jesus. I would like to say the story was so inspired that the priest redeemed himself but it proved as shallow and disappointing as the costume. No problem with talented and creative priests outside of Mass but during Mass the focus belongs on the Son offering His Body as a sacrifice to the Father. Please don't distract the faithful; we haven't come to be entertained. We have gathered to worship God; to give thanksgiving to God and to praise Him. When Catholics leave Mass they should be able to witness,individually, "Yes, I was there with the Blessed Mother beneath the Cross; I saw the outpouring of His Blood and in partaking of the Eucharist received His resurrected and glorified Body. There was reverence, silence and we adored Him on our knees with no harassment." The clergy, including a few bishops, need to respect our baptismal priesthood during the Sacred Mysteries and spare us anymore of their clever idiosyncrasies. Is is too much to ask that our precious time of heaven on earth be celebrated without interference from the cult of cutting-edge individualism?

pinanv525 said...

Ah, Ignotus, it wasn't the Church who was called to decrease, it is spoken by John the Baptist when asked by his disciples about the person of Christ. To wit:"I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom...He must increase but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all...The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand..." (Jn: 28-36). This is a reaffirmation of Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, an unmistakeable association of Christ with the Church and a de-emphasis upon human initiative, i.e. theological anthropology.

Now, one must read between the modernist lines of people like Ignotus. All this gobbledygook about the Church decreasing, finding, the Lord in the world and in other people, and getting dirty in service sounds great...until you realize that modernist theology is based upon a radical kenotic Christology (God emptying himself...see "Death of God Theology" and radical kenosis) which sees the man Jesus as the perfect fulfillment of human nature...and nothing else. The Godhead emptying himself, for modernists, means that the old myths of creation, incarnation, and redemption have been "emptied" of their mythic content and embodied in the "Good Man," Jesus of Nazareth, who is "Christ" by virtue of his sublime self-understanding and existential honesty and integrity. The only place he can be found is in ourselves through self-realization and in others as the condition for our self-awareness. Funny, how these folks can say the same things about finding Christ in others and mean something totally different from true believers. Now, this may or may not be Ignotus' theological stance, but his words and responses on this blog certainly indicate that he leans that way. He is either incredibly theologically naive or disgustingly disingenuous.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin - I believe none of what you find (make up) "between the lines."

Templar said...

I dislike how Triumphalism has gained a negative connotation. (like the qords gay and queer but that's a whole other subject).

Anyway, Triumphalism allows for greatness. The Muslim Conquest in the 7th century, The Estalishment of Christendom in Wesern Europe, The Colonization of the New World the Manifest Destiny of America, or the Roman Empire. None of these things are possible without the Triumphal attitude. The Catholic Church shold behave in a Triumphal manner becasue it is superior in every way to the other Religions on the planet.

It's this miserable Marxist Utopian dream that believes all things are equal, all things are fair. The Chruch should be Triumphal and our Liturgy should reflect it.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, I don't make it up. Anyone with a modicum of theological education reading your posts and responses should see the same. Everything you write screams de-emphasize the Church, God's sovreignty, the priestly office, and eschatology, while focusing upon humanism, social work, immanence, and man centered worship. You espouse a radical ecumenicism evidenced by your earlier adulation of that female Episcopal Bishop Whatsername who openly states she does not believe Jesus was the Son of God and who aggressively supports homosexual unions and ordination. Ignotus, you are either with us or you aren't. You might want to ask yourself why a number of us on this blog (with whom I have spoken in person) doubt your belief and question your orthodoxy. A Catholic Priest should leave no doubt as to his belief and devotion. You need to learn to fake it better or just shut up altogether.

MHT Dissenter said...

"Priests became mini-barons, ruling parishes with little regard for the dignity of the people they were supposed to serve by leading." - Pater Ignotus

I have experienced this phenomenon (or curse) first hand. Two past pastors and my current one could be poster children for this "priestly attitude". (Hint: It takes one to know one.)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When I was at Most Holy Trinity, the only way I kept that diverse parish together was by ruling with an iron fist which is part of sharing in the bishop's ministry to teach, RULE, and sanctify--otherwise you have congregationalism that tears a parish to sunder! I'm not oppose to triumphalism based upon Christ the Head of the Church and Her Bridegroom and the priest signifying that by a loving iron fist! We are a hierarchy after all, aren't we and not a democratic Protestant congregationalism so of Church are we?

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - Greatness, in Christian terms, is found not in ostentation, political power, or military strength. And it is most certainly not found in the subjugation of other peoples. Recall the rich man who ostentaciously prayed in the front of the Temple for all to see and hear. He did not go home justified.

Pin - You are mistaken if you think I am subject to your standards. You are free to doubt and question all you want, but it is no skin off my nose. None.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, You are certainly not subject to my standards. They are much higher than your's.

You prefer to take the Church at her worst and use this in a distributive fashion to attack her traditions and structures with which you do not agree. You remind me of a hound dog puppy I had once who continually growled and bit his own tail...

Templar said...

I will have to disagree Ignotus. The whole purpose of the Church is precisely to make the World subject to Christ the King. That is text book subjugation, and another word that soft 21st century modernists like to throw about with a negative connotation.

Sing it now....

Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler !
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer !

Anonymous said...

FRAJM, your 1:53 pm post had me shouting halleluiah and rolling around on the floor. I wish more felt that way.

I like it when a Priest preaches from the lectern rather than running the aisles like a game show host.


Anonymous said...

The altar in the top photo looks just like the reredos at St. Joseph.

Hope I got my terms right...


pinanv525 said...

What is wrong with Triumphalism Have you read the Book of Revelation? What is the alternative...defeatism? This is more modernist/lib crap...devout Catholics are Triumphaists, devout Jews are Zionists,patriotic Americans are jingoists or xenophobes,normal heterosexual married couples are homophobes...bored yet?

Templar said...

I'm going to have to get a shirt made up that says "I'm with Pin on this"

Anonymous said...

I only disagree with the last paragraph. Revisionists have been flailing at the liturgy for 50 years, longer!, and they are staggered by a small translation correction. One more solid correction and the reclamation would be over night.


Anonymous said...

Because removing the Flabelli, the Throne,the papal red color, the Tiara has led to a better Church as is seen today in the examples of banal liturgies led by "Presiders" who will not tolerate anything that recalls the Churchs' past. Circa 1968 the things went down hill, fast. And the removal of external symbols which held meaning to people did nothing to stop the state the Church is in. Flabelli or not, the Church is where it is because of the attitude of Priests and Bishops who abused to the hilt their new found freedoms from Rome. Now to parse words and documents to the point where nothing means anything is the name of the game. All to support and perpetuate the cult of the person leading Parishes and Dioceases. They just call it something different. Individualism...Too many Priests and Bishops no longer feel obligated or dedicated to Rome, The Pope, or the Magesterium. We have Popes in every Diocease nowadays.