Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The following from St.Justin Martyr is the earliest description of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Of course since the Second Vatican Council, liturgical theologians especially in the 1970's thought that the Church should recover the earliest expressions of the Mass as described in this video. That meant forgoing the subsequent organic development that occurred over the centuries and negating that development as things that were accidents of history or of such a cultural nature for the times in which these occurred that they were to be considered as outdated.

Yet, they would not apply that "outdatedness" to the primitive ways in which the Holy Mass were first experienced in its infancy.

Those who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass with all its organic and maintained cultural developments over the centuries have every right to appreciate and have this form of the Mass.

Those who prefer the revised order of Mass since Vatican II have every right to have it as it is meant to be celebrated according to the books. They have every right to noble simplicity, some vernacular, a revised lectionary and approved liturgical ministries for the laity.

Those who prefer the rites of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church have every right to have those rites too with all their cultural accretions over the centuries.

Where clergy and laity go wrong is trying to convince those who have a valid affinity to valid rites of the Church in whatever form, that their affinity is wrong, outdated and not to be allowed to them--that their affinities have been abrogated.

Worst yet is the clericalism of priests who could provide the fullness of the two Masses on the one Roman Rite, but becasue of their prejudice they will not.

For example if an FXSSP parish were established that only had the EF Mass and all of the sacraments in the EF, and there was not an Ordinary Form Mass offered within 50 miles, it would be wrong for that FXSSP priest not to provide the Ordinary Form of the Mass for a stable group desiring it.

The same is true of the priest who has an Ordinary Form Mass parish and there is no parish that offers the EF Mass regularly, at least during the week. It would be the height of clerical arrogance for any priest to be so opposed to that which is allowed that he would refuse that which is allowed and denigrate it in the process.

This is a two way street of criticism I offer those of the clergy or laity who denigrate either form of the one Latin Rite or any of the eastern rites in union with Rome. It is the height of arrogance.

This theology of the Mass and the priest is now being recovered in the modern era and is the basis of the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the symbolism of each aspect of the Mass and Church architecture. It is also the basis for the recovery of the full theology and doctrine of the priest and his function during the Holy Sacrifice which unfortunately is obscured by theologians in the modern era and in describing his function in the Ordinary Form Mass:


ytc said...

The first video was nice. But its implications, and the implications of the OF, are arrogant beyond belief. They say, "We are embarrassed of our liturgical development." They say, "Our agenda is to wipe away 1700 years of history." Oh really? I am sick of that. When the "poor Easterners" are forced to destroy 75% of their liturgical patrimony, all hell will break loose.

Our culture is not that of 250AD Rome. Regardless of what anyone says, our cultural zeitgeist has far more remnants of Baroque Europe than it does of third century Rome. Tsk, tsk.

Marc said...

For example if an FXSSP (sic) parish were established that only had the EF Mass and all of the sacraments in the EF, and there was not an Ordinary Form Mass offered within 50 miles, it would be wrong for that FXSSP (sic) priest not to provide the Ordinary Form of the Mass for a stable group desiring it.

So, you see the problem in our current situation, then? I contend it is wrong for diocesan priests locally to refuse to say the Tridentine Mass where there is no such Mass offered within 90 miles. Failure to offer the Mass according to the 1962 Missal is clearly opposed to the will of the Holy Father.

As for liturgical development, there is a long history of development in the liturgies of both East and West. But, Fr. Adrian Fortescue's The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy has convinced me of a few things:

First, the Eastern Divine Liturgy is by far the oldest and most consistent liturgy in Christendom. The structure of the liturgy, particular litanies, and Eucharistic prayers have a direct correlation to the oldest extant liturgical accounts and are likely directly traced back to the Liturgy of St. James, believed to have been written by that apostle. (Of course, pious tradition has St. Peter writing the Roman Canon, making the Roman Rite "the most venerable Rite in all of Christendom" according to Fr. Fortescue.)

Second, the attempted "restoration" of the Roman Rite in accordance with a false archaeologism in the wake of Vatican II was either based on an erroneous understanding of liturgical history and development or was a deliberate attempt to deconstruct the Mass. There is a legitimate development of liturgy (and doctrine, for that matter) separate from the revisionist and evolutionist theory espoused by Modernists and others. The method of revision deployed in fashioning the Novus Ordo was more akin to the latter than the former.

Which leads to the third point: Elements from the Tridentine Mass, the Eastern Divine Liturgies, and Protestantism (compare the reforms of Vatican II to those of Thomas Cranmer) were combined into the Novus Ordo in an effort to create a liturgy on which everyone could agree whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

These are important points for people to be aware of as they attempt to understand why many of us are agitating so steadfastly to have the Tridentine Mass more widely available.

Marc said...

ytc - I saw your comment after I wrote mine. You make an excellent point by saying that hell would break loose if the Easterners destroyed 75% of their liturgical patrimony.

The Eastern Orthodox have had internal schisms over how to join your fingers when making the Sign of the Cross. Their is internal argument currently over which calendar to use: Julian, Gregorian, or some combination of the two.

In other words, they would go completely "ape doo-doo" if their liturgy were changed because they recognize that the Liturgy is not only the principle worship of the Body of Christ, but the principle method of catechesis (that is the liturgy is experienced, not that the the homily includes discussions of the tenets of the Faith). Also, they recognize and appreciate that their liturgy is very ancient. Finally, for obvious reasons, they have not been influenced by Protestantism like Catholicism has and they are quite anti-ecumenical (in the sense the modern church means the word "ecumenical").

Also, for some reason I would LOVE to be able to comprehend, the Orthodox have not had to contend with Modernism to the extent western Christianity (both Catholic and Prot) has. I think there is a relationship between Modernism and Scholasticism that does not exist in the same way with the eastern mysticism. I want to try to understand that more when I have time.

Robert Kumpel said...

I suppose if one really longed for a more primitive form of Catholic worship, this is a great time to be alive because our government would like to drive Catholics back into the catacombs...

Seriously, wasn't this all addressed by Pius XII in Mediator Dei?:

62. "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.

63. "Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.

64." This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "deposit of faith" committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn.[53] For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls' salvation."

Now I do not have the colossal effrontery to suggest that the Novus Ordo Mass is a huge mistake or not valid. However, we cannot ignore the suspicious atmosphere (and membership) of the Consilium, the group that concocted the current Mass. I think it is a valid question to ask ourselves, given the fruits of the Novus Ordo culture we've lived through, if this development was truly from the Holy Spirit's guidance or were other forces at work attempting to weaken the Church?

Finally, I am not so sure that it would be wrong or arrogant for a priest from the FSSPX to refuse a Novus Ordo Mass to anyone (then again, what is the likelihood of a FSSPX parish being the only Catholic parish within 50 miles?) Any young man who joins that society does so because of a deep conviction that the Traditional Latin Mass is the most effective liturgy and he is ordained to offer that Mass exclusively. Wouldn't he be abandoning the very charism of his order to stray from that commitment? I seem to remember a similar controversy a few years ago when there was a rumor that members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter might be forced to offer the Novus Ordo Mass--which never came to pass. I don't think it's always arrogance that causes some of these priests to make difficult decisions.

Henry Edwards said...

ytc: They say, "We are embarrassed of our liturgical development."

More precisely, they are denying the Holy Spirit and His guidance over the centuries of organic development of the Roman rite.

-Brian said...

Very good Blog Father, your time is serving you well. Thank you. :)

rcg said...

Is it not fair to say that our understanding of the Mass and worship has evolved of the millennia? The basis of the original Christians worship was usually a heathen religion. If this is a Revealed religion, then what come after conversions of cultures could more valid than what was replaced. Vatical II was not a revelation, but a reasoned document with a clear objective. I is valid, but not necessarily even inspired, is it? Understanding of earliest writers and prayerful study of them seems to lean toward a slow, incremental approach, which the implementations of Vatican II was not. It now appears that changes were made out of context, to put it mildly, or more severely, were done with selective readings to allow pre-existing goals.

Without continuity, we are at the mercy of the person who comes forward to lead the parish. If it is a priest, then we have the sacraments, but even with a priest, do we always have catechesis? The OF allows that at greater risk then the EF does.

I just returned from a place where the priest rarely visits. The local Jeffe led the service, his sone performing the readings. There was homily, with discussion among the congregation and some argumentation. Authority was challenged, interpretations were made by a layman. Scary stuff.

And we had a guitar, upright bass (not in the spiritual sense), bongos and an accordion. It is my impression these people would have been very happy with a good chant, sung Mass, and strong homily based on the readings.

Templar said...

The Laity's Rights? The Clergy's Right's? What about God's Right's? Isn't he entitled to the reverence due the King of Kings?