Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DID POPE BENEDICT JUST LIGHT A FUSE TO A BOMBSHELL ON THE LITURGY?




Today at Wednesday's General Audience, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Liturgy and lit a fuse to what could be a bomb shell on the Liturgy, but of course I'm not clairvoyant about these things or am I?

These are some excerpts from the Holy Father's talk today:

...Thus, participating in the liturgy, we make ours the language of Mother Church, we learn to speak it and for it. Of course, as I have already said, this takes place in a gradual manner, little by little. I have to progressively immerse myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.

...The liturgy is not a kind of "self-manifestation" of a community, but it is emerging from the simple "being-oneself", being closed in on ourselves, and accessing the great banquet, entering the great living community in which God nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality and our awareness of this universal character must always be renewed. The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple which is the Risen Christ, whose arms are stretched out on the cross to draw us all into the embrace that is the eternal love of God. It is the cult of the open skies. It is never only the event of a single community, in a given time and space. It is important that every Christian feels and really is part of this universal "we", which provides the foundation and refuge to the "I" in the Body of Christ which is the Church.

MY COMMENT: AND HERE IS THE FUSE BEING LIT TO THE FUTURE BOMBSHELL:

It is not the individual - priest or layman - or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.

The entire Church is always present, even in the liturgy of the smallest community. For this reason there are no "foreigners" in the liturgical community. The entire Church participates in every liturgical celebration, heaven and earth, God and man. The Christian liturgy, even if it is celebrated in a concrete place and space, and expresses the "yes" of a particular community, it is inherently Catholic, it comes from everything and leads to everything, in union with the Pope, the Bishops , with believers of all times and all places. The more a celebration is animated by this consciousness, the more fruitful the true sense of the liturgy is realized in it.

In his book, "The Feast of Faith" the future Pope Benedict writes:

"“The Council did not create new articles of faith, nor did it replace existing ones with new ones. Its only concern was to make it possible to hold the same faith under different circumstances, to revitalize it. As for the work that preceded the Council, it seems to have been more intensive in Germany than elsewhere, for Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, the primary source in which the documents of the Council had their origin. But many of these documents were issued too abruptly. To many of the faithful, most of them seemed to be a challenge to the creativity of the individual congregation, in which separate groups constructed their own “liturgies” from week to week with a zeal that was as commendable as it was misplaced. To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness. The difference between liturgy and festivity, between liturgy and social event, disappeared gradually and imperceptibly, as witness the fact that many priests, imitating the etiquette of polite society, feel that they ought not to receive Holy Communion until the congregation has received; that they should no longer venture to say “I bless you” [German euch: familiar form of plural “you”]—thus dissolving the fundamental liturgical relationship between them and their congregation. In this context belong also the often obnoxious and banal greeting which, it must be admitted, many congregations tolerate with a kind of patient forbearance. In the period before the new missal made its appearance, but after the old one had already been characterized as “old-fashioned”, people forgot that there is a “rite”, that is, a prescribed liturgical form, and that liturgy is genuinely liturgy only if it is not subject to the will of those who celebrate it.” See: The Feast of Faith, pp. 83–85.

Describing J A Jungmann as “one of the truly great liturgists of our century”, our future Pope agreed with his definition of liturgy as “the fruit of development”. But Cardinal Ratzinger continued: “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.

My final comment:

The Holy Father says today: "This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church."

As Cardinal Ratzinger he said about the post Vatican II Mass: “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."

The question remains, is the Holy Father going to detonate the bomb, the fuse of which he himself has lit, and return us to the Tridentine Order of the Mass and its rubrics and then scrupulously follow what Sacrosantum Concilium desired for the Tridentine Mass, which was not a new Order, but some vernacular, more Scripture and "noble simplicity." As for noble simplicity, will the current Holy Father make clear what that means and also the elimnation of "useless repition."

14 comments:

rcg said...

“What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."

That pretty much summarises this entire blag since its inception, doesn't it?

ytc said...

As an example of noble simplicity, I would put forth the image that you use at the top of this post.

Now, I do not think every Mass should be simple, nobly or otherwise. Solemn Papal Mass, even now, is not characterized by noble simplicity. It is characterized by noble, courtish pomposity. I think it is quite alright to have court etiquette and lavishness bordering on the extreme for events like Solemn Papal Masses and even those types of Masses celebrated by bishops, which Popes and most bishops only celebrate a few times a year anyway.

I am quite confident that relevant liturgical topics will be addressed by action during this imminent Year of Faith. To me it seems inevitable.

Henry Edwards said...

The phrase to "light a fuse to a bombshell" would seem to imply something really new or some big change.

However, what the pope said sounds to me like just the same old same old that the Church has always believed and taught. For instance, in Sacrosanctum Consilium 22 that no individual priest has a right to add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy. Surely, by logical extension, no liturgical expert or committee can properly advise a priest to do so.

When has it ever legitimately been taught otherwise? If never, what's so earthshaking or even new here?

Andy Milam said...

@ Henry:

DING DING DING!!!!

This is much ado about nothing in my book. We have heard the same hypothesis for almost 20 years now, with not even one movement into the theoretical, let alone the concrete proof.


@ Fr. McD;

If the Novus Ordo is as then-Cardinal Ratzinger said, "What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."

Why has it not been dealt with? The so-called changes to the translation are a non-starter, because the editio typica didn't change, just the English translation in places.

If the Novus Ordo is fabricated, if it is banal, if it is on the spot, then why keep it? What is the point? Clearly, the TLM is none of these things, yet the Pope refuses to move out of the realm of the hypothetical and into the realm of the theoretical or even the practical.

In an off-handed way, this is akin to a Catholic politician saying, "I personally think that abortion is wrong, but I can't impose my personal beliefs...yadda, yadda, yadda."

If you can see the writing on the wall, Father...and I know you can, I've seen you come close, why don't you make the change? Why don't YOU eliminate the banal, on the spot, and fabricated? Why don't you make the Novus Ordo the extraordinary form in your parish and the TLM the ordinary form, de facto? There is nothing stopping you...certainly the hypothesis is presented. How about the theory and the application?

Just sayin'....

Gene said...

Amen, Andy Milam! Do it, Fr!

BTW, no bombshell here. Certainly, I agree with what the Pope says, but it is all a rhetorical lament. True, a lot of substance but no real action. In the most positive light, perhaps he neeeds to lay some theological groundwork for later implementation. All the above brings to mine is the last section of Hamlet's famous sililoquy..."sicklied oe'r with the pale cast of thought and lose the name of action...."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What is radical about what the Pope said and has been saying, even before becoming pope is that you can't manufacture the Liturgy. I think he is speaking of Bugnini and friends and even of Pope Paul VI--that's the bombshell and what this cadre of well-intentioned pastors did was to open the door to more tinkering and manufacturing by the unwashed Mass in the post-Vatican II Church.
I think we are hearing rumblings and words of preparation that a third Roman Missal is being developed which will be more like the Tridentine Mass in Order and style, (chant being a big part of this reform) and that what we will see with the Tridentine Mass is what the Council actually suggested, noble simplicity that has to be viewed in light of what occurred in the 20th century prior to the Council, leading to the 1962 missal, a bit more vernacular, especially for the Scriptures and changing parts of the Mass, eliminating useless repetition, i.e three confiteors to one, three "Lord, I am not worthy, to one and the duplication of the priest's communion rite and the communion rite of the laity. It also called for the more lavish use of Scripture--I will post a separate post on this

Andy Milam said...

That would be a fourth Roman Missal. We are already in the Editio tertia. 1970, 1975, 2000.

James I. McAuley said...

Andy,

Respectfully, I suggest you need to re-evaluate the situation. Let us look at the circumstances. Changes were made in the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal, especially as compared to what came out in 1969. The addition of proper prefaces for the Sundays in Lent is one. This was a useful change, as it more effectively tied the Sunday Readings to the Mass. I find this positive.

More important are the changes in the new translation are helpful. They more clearly reveal the impoverishment of the OF compared to the EF, or more the sake of argument, the Byzantine Rite. The Byzantine Liturgy has always focused on the fact that it is participating on the Heavenly Liturgy described in the book of Revelation. The traditional Western Rites (Roman EF, old Ambrosian, and Mozarabic) are focused on the sacrifice at Calvary. The modern rite is confused, vacillating between a ceremonial supper for the community and the concept of sacrifice. This is the fundamental problem with the OF. In this, the OF decisively failed to fulfill what Sacrosantcum Consilium asked for, that the rites be more clearly understood. In their effort to make things clear, the experts who created the OF muddied the waters. This is a point that I have seen almost all of us Latins overlook, and was first articulated clearly by the late Melkite Archbishop Joseph Raya.

Are we not, as it states in Hebrews to “offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for indeed our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:28-29). But it is clear, that the OF does not bring us in to the sense of mystery, awe, reverence, and to lay aside all earthly cares. Rather, we start off with a silly parade and then a banal blessing. This is so artificial and forced, as this is the anthropological reason why priests have a human urge to do something to set the stage – and they normally do the wrong thing, and bring us back down into this world by saying “[g]ood morning.”

The Holy Father and Father McDonald both recognize something needs to be done, but it must be done prudentially, as to prevent a great act of injustice, similar to what took place in 1969. However, keep in mind that Father has to act within the bounds of legitimate authority, lest he make himself into a self styled liturgical expert, as we find an over abundance of over on Pray Tell.

Henry Edwards said...

Andy,

I interpreted Father M as meaning, not a 4th edition of the Missal of Paul VI, but a (third) "Missal of Benedict:, in addition to the Missals of Pius V and of Paul VI.

My own prediction would (instead) be the 4th edition of the Missal of Paul VI, making it more along the lines Father M has enumerated, and much closer to the Tridentine than to the Novus Ordo as most frequently seen.

Andy Milam said...

@ Henry;

I guess I didn't read it that way. Obviously, I read it as I interpreted it. Thanks for the different perspective though.

I too think that if something is going to come about in this Pope's lifetime, it will be another revision to editio typica (a fourth). I cannot see this Pope having the gumption to follow his own hypothesis. I think that he will leave that to his successors to work out, if they so choose.

I think that this Pope has done good things and has started the stone down the hill, but I think that it will be the next Popes who continue the momentum.

Honestly, and this is my pure opinion, I would like for them to simply tip that stone over and bury it. It was an experiment that failed. The Novus Ordo has brought forth no fruit. It is the chaff blowing in the wind.

Rather, I would argue that the TLM should be restored to the normative form of worship, then...in light of the restoration the vision of Vatican Council II be studied and applied, if it can be.

Much like Ratzinger's hypothetical, I think that Sacrosanctum Concilium has nothing concrete to base a reform or a revision or a restoration. It simply dealt with the abstract and I think that was done on purpose, so that Bugnini and his cohorts could re-imagine the Mass in their own image and likeness.

I think that the restoration of the TLM is the only prudent play. I think that the best course of action regarding the Novus Ordo is to send it the way of the Mozarabic. History, baby (to play on Al Davis' words about the Raiders).

Andy Milam said...

@ James I McAuley;

" Changes were made in the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal, especially as compared to what came out in 1969. The addition of proper prefaces for the Sundays in Lent is one. This was a useful change, as it more effectively tied the Sunday Readings to the Mass. I find this positive."

I fear that we have differing views of what is positive and what is not. To be clear, I do not consider there to be any positive aspects of the Novus Ordo compared to the TLM. I am not being mean spirited, but rather I am being a realist. The texts at best are watered down, even in the new translations. The new prefaces don't amount to much, other than flowerly language which is banal at it's very best. I don't see the uptick when compared to the traditional Roman prefaces. Sorry to disappoint.

"This is the fundamental problem with the OF. In this, the OF decisively failed to fulfill what Sacrosantcum Consilium asked for, that the rites be more clearly understood."

Sacrosanctum Concilium did not ask for anything of the liturgy. It simply spoke in hyptheticals which could not even begin to be approached in the concrete. And that was by design, incidentally. So, I fail to see where you are going with that.

"This is a point that I have seen almost all of us Latins overlook..."

Clearly, you have not read my responses in these comboxes...LOL!!! I rarely overlook that issue.

As for the allusions to the East, I don't really care too much. I'm not Eastern and my spirituality isn't based upon Melkite or Byzantine practices. We have our own tradition and we should be adhering to that, which incidentally all Catholics, East and West should be showing deference to.

"The Holy Father and Father McDonald both recognize something needs to be done, but it must be done prudentially, as to prevent a great act of injustice, similar to what took place in 1969."

Ah, the great invocation of 1969! LOL!!! This is the great reason to do nothing. 'Oh we don't want to do it like we did it in 1969!' (gasp)...1969 gave us something which was fabricated, banal, on-the-spot and utterly non-Catholic. The confusion came not in that there was little to no catechesis, but rather that we were imposed with something which was inherently non-Catholic. The difference in restoring the TLM is that it IS Catholic and the faithful, even without knowledge of it's workings (which is not necessary, btw), inherently know that it is Catholic. 1969 would not happen again. I can assure you. When you present a Catholic with something Catholic, they get it...by virtue of their baptism.

James I. McAuley said...

Andy, lets go through what you said:

“The new prefaces don't amount to much, other than flowerly language which is banal at it's very best.”
Have you read the new prefaces for Lent, or any of the others? If you think they are banal, you sound like you should be keeping company with Dom Anthony Ruff OSB. Here is a preface you would probably describe as banal, the one under votive masses, for Our Lady as Mother of the Church. This Preface is theologically rich and beautiful, but Andy, in your blanket derision of the OF, you have sweepingly dismissed this wonderful Preface.

“Sacrosanctum Concilium did not ask for anything of the liturgy. It simply spoke in hyptheticals which could not even begin to be approached in the concrete. And that was by design, incidentally. So, I fail to see where you are going with that.” Funny, this statement does not jive with what you said to Henry, to wit: “Rather, I would argue that the TLM should be restored to the normative form of worship, then...in light of the restoration the vision of Vatican Council II be studied and applied, if it can be.”
Have ever actually read Sacrosantcum Concilium? Your statement does not reflect familiarity with the document. I would suggest you read The Development of Liturgical Reform by Nicola Giampietro. In this way you could learn how and why Sacrosanctum Concilium was drafted as it was. By the way, Sacrosanctum Concilium was not a pure Bugninni document, despite the implications of your repeated assertions over and over again through your comments in Father’s blog. For the record, I do not agree with everything in this document, especially the suppression of the Office of Prime.

“As for the allusions to the East, I don't really care too much. I'm not Eastern and my spirituality isn't based upon Melkite or Byzantine practices. We have our own tradition and we should be adhering to that, which incidentally all Catholics, East and West should be showing deference to.” Well, sounds like somebody needs to learn we are all part of the mystical body of Christ, and we have two lungs, but one body in Christ. You could read the Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen by Bl. John Paul II and Pius XII’s Encyclical Mystici Corporis. To sweepingly dismiss the East is typical Latin arrogance and lays the foundations for actions as pernicious as those of Archbishop John Ireland. By the way, Melkites are a branch of the Byzantine liturgical family, so it is not an “or” situation.

I wrote: "The Holy Father and Father McDonald both recognize something needs to be done, but it must be done prudentially, as to prevent a great act of injustice, similar to what took place in 1969." You responded: “Ah, the great invocation of 1969! LOL!!!” Too quote Ronald Regan, “[t]here you go again.” You never addressed the point, which is that you want Father McDonald to act as a Protestant, to act against the directives of his Bishop to do what you think is best for the Liturgy. That would make Father McDonald no better than the “bad” Liberals.

Andy, I do not dispute with you that something is seriously wrong with the OF (I truly do not care for it), but I believe in addressing the issue honestly. To say the OF is “inherently non-Catholic” tells me you do not understand the OF. For all of its faults, the OF is still a mass, and no honest sola scriptora protestant would claim the OF to be “non-Catholic,” as they would recognize it papist notions of sacrifice a mile away.

So, Andy, do me a favor, after you read this, as a good lover of the TLM, pull out your TLM breviary and say the Office of Prime for me. I’ll do the same for you from my Baronius Breviary.

James I. McAuley said...

Andy, one thing you are spot on about, the statement asking Father why the suppression of the triple "Dominus, non sum dignum . . " I agree, this is not useless repetition, because we learn from repetition, and if something is important , we drill it into ourselves by repetition.

Andy Milam said...

@ James,

"Have you read the new prefaces for Lent, or any of the others?"

Yes, I have. I have been an MC for both the Novus Ordo and TLM for going on 20 years (I have within the last 3 years abandoned being an MC for the Novus Ordo). I am well aware of what the texts say, even though I don't serve in the Novus Ordo, I still keep up with it. Compare the Novus Ordo prefaces to the TLM prefaces and they are absolutely banal. They are most definitely on-the-spot, and without question, they are fabricated. I was making a comparison between the two, not speaking of them independently when I made the statement I did.

"Have ever actually read Sacrosantcum Concilium?"
More times than I would like to count. I am very familiar with it. But the GIRM is not Sacrosanctum Concilium. Sacrosanctum Concilium makes no concrete definitions, but rather, as I have said, it speaks in hypotheticals with regard to actual reforms.

"I would suggest you read The Development of Liturgical Reform by Nicola Giampietro. In this way you could learn how and why Sacrosanctum Concilium was drafted as it was."
I have read it, I understand Giampietro's premise as presented from Card. Antonelli, but I also understand the politics behind it. I am not a huge fan of Antonelli's anyhow. I think that his positionings which led to the 1955 reforms were abysmal. But that is my opinion.

"Well, sounds like somebody needs to learn we are all part of the mystical body of Christ, and we have two lungs, but one body in Christ."
And that somebody is entitled to his opinion. I have not denied the validity of the Uniate Churches. I prefer the West and I don't pay much attention to the East. My perogative, no? Yes.

"You never addressed the point, which is that you want Father McDonald to act as a Protestant, to act against the directives of his Bishop to do what you think is best for the Liturgy. That would make Father McDonald no better than the “bad” Liberals."

No, I have not asked Father to do that. If Father finds a pastoral prerogative in promoting the TLM as an important part of his parochial life, then he has the right to express that. That is all I am saying. If he were to offer 3 TLM and 2 NO, there is nothing which prohibits him from doing that, is there? No. It is within his privy, as pastor? Yes. Should his bishop be influencing that decision? No, per Universae Ecclesiae and Summorum Pontificum, but I will concede (actually I never brought up the politics) that it would be a difficult decision to make and follow through on, from a peer pressure point of view. But, if Fr. Robert Pasely can do it in New Jersey, certainly someone else can too, right? Right.

As I have already prayed my office up and to Vespers, I will offer my Compline for you this evening.

We are not so far apart, but we are in two different places. In a game of foursquare, I'd be in square 1 and you in 2. We are talking past one another to an extent.