Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WHY ARE SO MANY OBLIVIOUS TO THE OBVIOUS?


81 comments:

Catholic said...

Don't you offer Mass everyday versus populum? Are you oblivious? Or is your doing so made that much worse by virtue of the fact that you know it is incorrect and you persist in doing it anyway...? Tough things to think about for a priest, with the tensions between what's right and what the bishop wants or will allow, I'm sure.

I like the cartoon.

Robert Kumpel said...

I was reading with my 11 year old daughter about dictatorships and fascism. The text said that in such societies, no opposition will be tolerated. So it doesn't matter which makes more sense. And on we march in lockstep…just don't ask questions.

Pater Ignotus said...

Obviously, moving the crucifix to the front of the altar between the candles, as you have things arranged at St. Joseph, solves the dilemma.

That is, if facing the crucifix indicates the "position" of God during mass . . .

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I do what Pope Benedict heartily endorsed, simply placing a crucifix in the middle of the altar so that all look upon it, which is a timeless custom used by the Basilicas in Rome that face the nave such as St. Peter's which has always faced the nave for Mass, pre and post-Vatican II.

Catholic said...

I have to agree with Pater here, I think. It is the east that has always been seen as important.

Since, therefore, God is spiritual light, and Christ is called in the Scriptures Sun of Righteousness and Dayspring, the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship.

Moreover Christ, when He hung on the Cross, had His face turned towards the West, and so we worship, striving after Him.

This is why there was so much trouble taken to face east in the great basilicas. The eastward focus was more important than the position of the priest vis-à-vis the people or a crucifix.

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus is right. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, an image of the Crucifixion should be our focal point, unless we want to revive the old Roman basilica practice of facing the rising sun. Everyone should either face the Cross or face east, but not look at each other.

I suspect the hostility both to the Altar Cross and to the unified sacrificial posture is born of practical atheism, which reduces faith to a community-building myth. It could terrify some priests to find themselves standing before God without a smiling congregation looking back at them. If they doubt God's existence, a friendly congregation serves as substitute for faith.

JBS said...

I see someone else agrees with Pater Ignotus, too. First Pray Tell calms down, now Pater Ignotus gets applause. What's happening with the universe?

Joseph Johnson said...

Regarding placing the crucifix on the center of a versus populum altar: I have noticed that some churches where this practice has been implemented have a special double-sided (a corpus on each side) crucifix for this type of use. I call it the "Janus" crucifix.

While this practice is an improvement on no crucifix on the altar in versus populum Masses, I still see it as only a trasitional measure which should lead to a restoration of traditional ad orientem (versus apsidem) celebration.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - For someone who has faced a congregation during mass, your characterization of them as having "smiling faces" is a bit odd.

There is no "terror" in facing God. We face God regardless of which compass direction the axis of the church building follows.

And it is hardly "atheistic" in origin to suggest that versus populum is a legitimate, even preferable posture for the priest.

Catholic said...

But, Pater, as to origins, there is no real precedent for a versus populum orientation not rooted in the necessity of facing true East. It seems they you are suggesting that simply facing the people for the same of facing the people might be preferable. Why do you take that position, if you do?

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - I think that facing the people for a variety of reasons might be preferable.

And are you SURE that are no "real precedents" for versus populum? None?

Catholic said...

Pater, if you'd like to point out to me some real precedents not done out of necessity for facing East, I'd be interested to see them. I admittedly have not undertaken a comprehensive historical analysis of this subject, so I'm keen to read what you have.

In addition to that, can you elaborate on what some of the variety of reasons are that might make facing the people preferential?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

That would be quite educational for PI and good homework for him. I can't wait for him to report back.

Anonymous said...

EVEN HERE, it's been a while since I've seen such an inane conversation.

I kind of like to have everybody facing Atlanta.

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus,

I certainly do not aim at producing a congregation of smiling faces during the sacrifice of the Cross.

As for your second point, indeed, there should be no terror in facing God, but that does not mean that no one has this experience.

Finally, I agree that "it is hardly 'atheistic' in origin to suggest that versus populum is a legitimate, even preferable posture for the priest". Hostility to the practice, however, could have such problematic origins.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - I wonder how, since you, "...have not undertaken a comprehensive historical analysis of this subject,..." you are able to assert that, "...there is no real precedent for a versus populum orientation not rooted in the necessity of facing true East."

There's some good homework, Good Father.

Catholic said...

I have already done my homework. I'm basing my assertions on St. John of Damascus's Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, which I quoted earlier, and my study of the history of the Roman Rite as converted by Fr. Fortescue, who also goes into the history of Christian liturgy generally. So, I have not, as you insinuate, undertaken no study. I have, simply, not undertaken a comprehensive study. As I understand it from my study, there is no historical precedent for versus populum except in instances where doing so was necessary to face East.

Since you apparently believe there is some historical precedent, I hope you'll tell us what it is.

And don't forgot to include your various reasons for thinking versus populum might be preferential.

Now is your chance to disprove those who claim you never give a direct answer. These are two very simple questions, and we await your instruction.

Joe Potillor said...

I do believe that VP worship is an obstacle towards full unity with the Orthodox. If VP is done, as suggested there should be a crucifix on the altar...

Gene said...

VP is an obstacle to full unity with Christ in the Mass.

Templar said...

Given the construction of St Joe's it would make more sense for all Masses to be AO since the eyes areimmediately drawn to the carved crucifixtion scene on the High Altar when the Priest is correctrly oriented. As opposed to when the Priest says Mass VP, and our eyes are drawn to the Priest becasue he dwarves the 12" Crucifix on the Altar.

Assuming we're talking about what makes sense or course and not about "political" considerations.

Catholic said...

I think "Pater" is having some trouble finding those historical precedents. Maybe getting in touch with the disembodied spirit of Louis Bouyer is proving to be more difficult than he anticipated. It's nice that he's taking his homework seriously, though.

Pater Ignotus said...

Catholic" - Patience is a virtue.

JBS said...

Keep checking back here at this thread every few months or so, where I'm confident Pater Ignotus will eventually prove to us the solid historical precedent of versus populum for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - I'm not so much inclined to rely on historical precedent as I am a basis in the ecclesiology of Vatican II, a "Communio" ecclesiology.

Texts from the Cardinal Ratzinger have been helpful.

Remember Emerson's thought, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Stay tuned . . .

Gene said...

Ignotus does not need to cite historical precedent or prove anything. His usual modus operandi is to simply state it ex suus annuli and expect us to believe it.

Gene said...

So, Emerson is how you justify your careless theology, your inability to answer direct questions, and your dismissive attitudes on the blog…cool. I suppose you don't like the TLM because it is too foolishly consistent.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - "Moses supposes his toses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously."

As do you.

Catholic said...

Gene, you're distracting him from his homework!

Pater Ignotus said...

In response to "Catholic," here's Part The First:

Most commentators suggest that understanding and appreciating the importance of Vatican II and its impact on the Church is predicated on understanding the ecclesiology of Vatican II.
In September 2001, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger delivered a paper titled, “The Ecclesiology of Vatican II.” In May 2013, Cardinal Marc Ouellet delivered a paper titled, “Communio: The Key to Vatican II’s Ecclesiology.” Ouellet writes, “Blessed John XXIII set two main goals for the Council: to bring the presentation of the Church’s doctrine up to date and to promote the unity of Christians. These two objectives were intended to renew the Church’s relation with the modern world and thus to revive her universal mission. In order to attain these objectives, the Council Fathers undertook a fundamental reflection on ecclesiology, in the hopes of better defining the Church’s profound nature, her essential structure, and the meaning of her mission in a world increasingly emancipated from her influence and tradition.”

There are many, many other scholarly articles of similar content.

Now, ecclesiology was not a major component of the Church’s theological tradition for the first 1000 years. Neither was it a major component of scholasticism. There is no “De Ecclesia” in the Summa. Not until the end of the Middle Ages did such treatises appear, and then as creatures of Canon law.
The Protestant Reformation pushed the Church to define itself more clearly. St. Robert Bellarmine, among others, developed the idea of the Church as a “perfect society” which was primarily concerned with governance. Fr. George Karakunnel describes the elements of this early ecclesiology: It was apologetic in approach. It defined the church as a “perfect society” understood in terms similar to those of a secular state. It was mostly concerned with the visible aspect of the Church. It spoke chiefly of the governmental side of the society. It explained that government in terms of monarchy.

La Nouvelle Theologie (LaNT) took a different tack in considering ecclesiology. Its founders were praised by then Cardinal Ratzinger, and their thinking is evident in the writings of Benedict XVI. The essence of La NT was described by Charles Peguy, “…a [true] revolution is a call from a less perfect tradition to a more perfect tradition, a call from a shallower tradition to a deeper tradition, a backing up of tradition, an overtaking of depth, an investigation into deeper sources; in the literal sense of the word, a "re-source." Ratzinger, as peritus to Cardinal Frings at Vatican II, wrote that the texts of the Council “…should avoid the style of textbook theology and ‘speak instead the vital language of Scripture and the Church Fathers.’” (“Six Texts by Professor Joseph Ratzinger as Peritus Before and During Vatican Council II” [Gregorianum 89 (2008)])

In his September 2001 address, Ratzinger wrote, “Clearly the Last Supper anticipates the Cross and the Resurrection and presupposes them, otherwise it would be an empty gesture. This is why the Fathers of the Church could use a beautiful image and say that the Church was born from the pierced side of the Lord, from which flowed blood and water. When I state that the Last Supper is the beginning of the Church, I am actually saying the same thing, from another point of view. This formula means that the Eucharist binds all men together, and not just with one another, but with Christ; in this way it makes them "Church". At the same time the formula describes the fundamental constitution of the Church: the Church exists in Eucharistic communities. The Church's Mass is her constitution, because the Church is, in essence, a Mass (sent out: "missa"), a service of God, and therefore a service of man and a service for the transformation of the world.”

Part The Second coming…

Anonymous said...

Catholic, I really do hope you (and others including Fr. Shelton) are not holding your breath...
"...circumvent, deny, and/or obfuscate..." - the best way to answer a direct question.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I see nothing in your comments about versus populum…still waiting.

Gene said...

I just read another article today about the laity making the orans gesture and holding hands during the Our Father both constitute liturgical abuses. All a Priest has to do is say in the homily or announcements that this is an abuse and to stop it.

John Nolan said...

Gene, I am not aware of any rubric about what the congregation do with their hands during the Pater Noster. A relaxed standing position is best for voice production, and my hands are usually in my jacket pockets, thumbs forward in the manner of naval officers in old war films.

Pretending to hold a large parcel or an A3 music binder is a silly affectation rather than an abuse, and hand-holding should be confined to Auld Lang Syne.

On a similar note, at papal Masses in St Peter's, watch how the assembled prelates give the 'pax'. Some do so in the correct manner, whereas others shake hands. It's a good way of identifying the Freemasons.

Gene said...

I read the article by Colin Donovan, STL over on EWTN website. He cites sources.

Pater Ignotus said...

Part The Second
A change in ecclesiology – how the Church sees its internal structure as well as how it understands its relationship to God – leads, necessarily, to other changes.

The Second Vatican Council’s DECREE ON THE APOSTOLATE OF THE LAITY / APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM is one of those “changes.” Whereas the laity had not really been considered part of the juridical structure of the Church, and certainly not part of the hierarchical structure, this new vision of “Church” (Communio) ushered in a significant evolution in our understanding of the importance of Baptism as the sacrament that makes one a member of and gives one an apostolate in the Church. “The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself.” (LG 33) “Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land.” (ibid)

The laity participate, by virtue of their Baptism, in the Church’s salvific mission. Their role is not authenticated by their cooperation in the apostolate of the ordained or those in Religious life, but by the very reality of their baptism.

The juridical or monarchical model was replaced, and this did not begin with Vatican II. Then Cardinal Raztinger wrote, “Let us go back and look at developments in the pre-Conciliar era. Reflection on the Mystical Body of Christ marked the first phase of the Church's interior re-discovery;…” Ratzinger went back to St. Paul’s writing on the Body of Christ, then mentioned Henri de Lubac’s contribution to re-appropriating a Patristic understanding of the Mystical Body, which includes all those incorporated into Christ through Baptism, and even those who, not having been Baptized, can still be considered part of the Church.

In this regard, Cardinal Ouelette writes, “A fourth important milestone on the path toward an ecclesiology of communion seems to me to be the anthropology of the imago Dei, the image of God, which forms the basic framework of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes. This document is based on a renewed vision of human dignity in Christ (GS, 22). It highlights the divine vocation of the human person, which is expressed in terms of the gift of self in the image of God:…” In these passages, Ratzinger and Ouellette are practicing elegantly the resourcement that led to the “Communio” model adopted by the Council Fathers.

How the Church understands the role of the laity in the celebration of the Eucharist also was affected. No longer mere observers of the sacrifice, they now are called to offer with the priest (“…or they offer it for themselves and those who are dear to them…”) the Sacrifice of our salvation. This doesn’t mean that the unique role of the ordained priest is diminished or unnecessary, it means that our appreciation for the effects of Baptism has been expanded. The call for “full, conscious, and active participation” is a result, too, of this new ecclesiological vision, in which the laity are, again, more than mere observers of the sacred synaxis.

In a juridical/monarchical model, there is rigid definition of roles – of who is “in” and who is “out.” Lines delineating the various roles are exceedingly clear, and transgressions of the boundaries of these defined roles are considered serious offenses. Not so in a Communio model. While each member of the community has a role, that role is defined not by Ordination, but my Baptism. (This change in “structure” can also been seen in society in general, but it originates from a parallel evolution of our secular, more anthropological understanding of society, heavily influenced by The ideas of the Enlightenment.)

Part The Third coming…

Gene said...

Read Chapter 3 of Pope Benedict's, "Spirit of the Liturgy."

Catholic said...

I'm hoping the third part might get around to addressing historical considerations. So far, all I see is a post hoc apologetic for liturgical novelty. After all, the Christian East has always maintained a better balance in ecclesiology amongst the laity and the clerics. Yet, they have never dabbled in versus populum liturgical celebrations.

Still, I'm reserving judgment until I've read the whole thing. I just wanted to post so "Pater" knew he still had an audience.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI has given a nice try at 1970's aca-babel!

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - What I have posted is not "post-hoc apologetic."

The developments in ecclesiology were coming a hundred years, if not more, before Vatican II, as I noted in the quotes from then Cardinal Ratzinger. They are rooted, again as I have noted, in the Scriptural and Patristic traditions of the Church.

Now, if you simply dismiss that as "post hoc apologetic," then there's not much sense with finishing Part The Third. If, on the other hand, you wish to comment on what I have posted, I'd be glad to hear your thoughts.

Historical considerations - I assume you mean precedents - should not be the deciding factors in determining what we do or don't do in the liturgy. Before the use of maniples, burses, under-chin patens at communion, etc., there was no precedent for using them.

"Novelty" does not always have a negative connotation in matters liturgical. The Leonine Prayers were "novel" in their day, as was the use of a biretta, the bugia, and the buskins.

Good Father, if you have something intelligent to add - comments on the passages I have cited, for instance - I'd be glad to hear those, too.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Can one really take the words of any priest writing about the liturgy and still stuck wit a 1970's hermeneutic that was in vogue prior to the Holy Father's SP that forever changed that hermeneutic. We can not take seriously anyone writing about the liturgy today who has not celebrated the two forms of the one Roman Rite, thus your theology at best is outdated and at worse skewed.

Catholic said...

"Pater," I assure you I will give due consideration to your entire analysis once you have completed it. And I'll post whatever thoughts I have at that time.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - If you would care to point out where you think my theology is skewed, we could discuss your concerns and I could, again, show you your errors.

And how about trying to turn this: "Can one really take the words of any priest writing about the liturgy and still stuck wit a 1970's hermeneutic that was in vogue prior to the Holy Father's SP that forever changed that hermeneutic" into a sentence - please!

Gene said...

Ignotus, I understood Fr. perfectly. He says you are not worth listening to, a sentiment with which many of us whole-heartedly agree.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - That a person who skips mass, who calls African-Americans a "feral minority," who routinely bullies those who disagree with him, who calls Catholic bishops Communists, who refers to our culture as "fag infested," and who suggests that bishops should be ignored says I am not worth listening to doesn't bother me at all.

But, by all means, keep ignoring my posts . . . and then commenting on them!

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - On second thought, I'm going to ask for your further comments at this point. I say "further" because in referring to my posts as "post-hoc apologetic," you've already begun.

Again, how citing then Cardinal Ratzinger's references to Scripture and Patristic passages amount to "post hoc" anything I can't understand.

So, I'm not going to spend any more time putting my thoughts on this point into blog form if you're just going to dismiss them as something they clearly are not.



Catholic said...

"Pater" - This discussion results from your oblique assertion that (1) there are historical examples of versus populum worship not necessitated by the facing of true East, and (2) that there might be various reasons for versus populum even absent historical evidence for the practice. Thus far, you have provided support for the latter, but not the former. Based on that, I will assume that you now concede there is no such historical evidence.

With that assumption in mind, I will consider your arguments for versus populum as you have presented then thus far, if you feel like they are complete. It sounds like you have at least some more support for this proposition that you are holding back, though.

Even so, I will respond to you shortly after giving your argument due consideration.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - I never asserted what you say I asserted.

There are various reasons favoring versus populum.

I concede that there are few examples of versus populum before we celebrated versus populum, as there are few examples of using a maniple before we used as maniple, using the organ before we used the organ, or using under-chin patens at communion before we used under-chin patens at communion.

The absence of these precedents does not, I am sure you would agree, argue against their use today...?

Gene said...

Ignotus, I believe my exact words in that post were, "…fag infested, feminist dominated society." I stand by them...

Catholic said...

My response will be in two parts, but I have tried to respond somewhat holistically to what you've written instead of conducting a point-by-point analysis, as I don't that would be very useful to advancing the conversation:

"Now, ecclesiology was not a major component of the Church’s theological tradition for the first 1000 years." This is simply not true. I would agree, however, that the Church conceived her ecclesiology differently in the first 1,000 years. That is, I agree that the idea of papal supremacy didn't arise until around the ninth century. I further agree that the Church primarily was conciliar during the first 1,000 years. However, the arguments over ecclesiology during this time are well-documented. Of course the discussion over ecclesiology were not a major component of scholasticism because scholasticism, as such, did not exist. To the extent you assert that the Church had not, prior to the counter-reformation, referred to herself in monarchical terms, you are mistaken. As the Church was born into an imperial world, the Church always took on both the structures and the trappings of that world (for example, the use of dioceses, architecture, organization, etc.).

As to the quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger in the first part of your apologetic, it is further evidence of my point above. The Church's communion during the first 1,000 was one based on Communion. That is, the ecclesiology is rooted in the bishop around whom the Catholic ("catholic" meaning "according to the whole") church exists. The bishop is, in a manner of speaking, the source for the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. Although the two are inextricably intertwined, there is a difference between the Holy Eucharist as Communion and the Liturgy as worship and sacrifice. In the quote you present, Cardinal Ratzinger seems to be referring to Communion, the Holy Eucharist. In this connection, his quote has little to do with the manner in which the Liturgy is carried out.

Catholic said...

For purposes of this discussion, I will set aside references in your second part to the idea that the unbaptized are somehow part of the mystical body of Christ. Suffice it to say that claiming such as a "Patristic understanding of the Mystical Body" is patently false. But, I will not be distracted by that point as it isn't intrinsic to your argument.

Turning to the penultimate paragraph of your second part, we find your argument: "How the Church understands the role of the laity in the celebration of the Eucharist also was affected. No longer mere observers of the sacrifice, they now are called to offer with the priest (“…or they offer it for themselves and those who are dear to them…”) the Sacrifice of our salvation."

You have made assumptions here without support. First, you assume that the laity were "mere observers of the sacrifice." Second, you assume that "they now are called to offer with the priest" in a manner different somehow than before. Third, you again assume that "full, conscious, and active participation" has "result[ed]. . . [from] this new ecclesiological vision, in which the laity are, again, more than mere observers. . . ." This statement contains further assumptions: that there is more "full, etc." participation than before (it assumes a definition of "full," "conscious," "active," and "participation."); and that "observing" is somehow less than these things.

There are essential flaws in your argument. Most glaringly, you have not actually offered an argument in support of versus populum Liturgy. In doing so, in the context of what you have written, you would have to show: all of the assumptions listed above are preferable; that those things would be accomplished by a versus populum orientation; and that those things are hindered by an ad orientem orientation. You also have not demonstrated the larger point: that the "new ecclesiological vision" that you have set out is intrinisically intertwined with versus populum.

Finally, your argument is internally inconsistent. You have argued in your first part that the first 1,000 years of the Church offered a vision of ecclesiology that was more conciliar and less monarchical. This, you say, changed with the Scholastics and the counter-reformation. With Vatican II, then, there was a correction and return so that the "new ecclesiological vision" is really the "original ecclesiological vision" (with perhaps more explanation). As I said above, I agree with certain aspects of that because some of it is historical fact.

But, let's assume everything you say is true--the new is a return to the old. Why is there no historical evidence of versus populum during the heights of conciliar ecclesiology, which was rooted in the Eucharistic Communion? Remember, this is before the monarchical times according to your argument. So, there can be no assertion that ad orientem was an accretion based in subjugating the non-clerics or diminishing the worth and role of the baptized but not ordained.

I look forward to your reply. Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts so far. Since I know that it took me some time and mental strain to formulate a response, I'm certain you put quite a bit of effort into what you wrote, and I appreciate your doing so.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - Ecclesiology, as the subject of reflection and writing, was not a significant component of the Church's theological history for the first millennium. There was certainly an ecclesiology - we were a Church with a structure - but it wasn't the subject of much writing and it wasn’t juridical or monarchical. As texts on ecclesiology were written at the end of the Middle Ages, the question was, as Fr. Karakunnel points out, addressed in juridical and monarchical form.

This was not the ecclesiology of Patristic times.

I am aware that scholasticism did not exist in the first 1,000 years of the Church. That’s why I wrote, “Now, ecclesiology was not a major component of the Church’s theological tradition for the first 1000 years. Neither was it a major component of scholasticism.” “Neither was it a major component of scholasticism” refers to the period in which scholasticism arose – well after the first 1,000 years. Yves Congar noted, ““Aquinas…acted deliberately when he wrote no separate treatise on the Church in his Summa Theologiae, for his ecclesiology is constituted precisely by his pneumatological anthropology and Christology.” He further noted, “Perhaps the greatest difference between ancient Patristic ecclesiology and modern ecclesiology is that the former included anthropology, while the latter is merely the theory of a system, a book of public law…. The anthropology of Patristic ecclesiology is that of a human communion which finds its full authenticity in and through that communion, because in this way it rediscovers a resemblance to God.” The latter was juridical and, adopting the model of the time, monarchical.

It is this difference that Ratzinger was referring to in his 2001 address, not “…Communion, the Holy Eucharist.” Ecclesiology – along with Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Christology, etc. – underlie the manner in which the Liturgy is carried out.

If being a member of the Church – a question of ecclesiology - is necessary to enter heaven, and it is, and if those not baptized can enter heaven, and they can, then the idea that the non-Baptized can be, in God’s inscrutable plan of salvation, incorporated into the Church is not “patently false.” Canon 1183/1 “As regards funeral rites catechumens [unbaptized persons] are to be considered members of the Christian faithful.” Canon 1183/2 “The local ordinary can permit children to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites if their parents intended to baptize them but they died before their baptism.”

Further, from the International Theological Commission’s 2007 document, issued under Pope Benedict XVI, “Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision.”

I would maintain that there is greater “full, conscious, and active participation” by the laity in the mass of Paul VI. Examples would be congregational singing, service as lectors or extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, the recovered use of the Universal Prayers/Prayers of the Faithful, the expanded lectionary which engages the faithful more fully in the Divine Revelation in the Sacred Scriptures, laity bringing forward bread and wine for the celebration of the Eucharist, etc. And the use of the vernacular, rather than Latin, engages the lay worshippers in a way that using Latin does not.

If we can do in the liturgy only that for which there is historical precedent, then, Houston, we have a problem. Asking for historical precedents for versus populum celebration of the mass is a straw argument. I could ask, “Where are the historical precedents for the use of maniples before maniples were used?” or “Where are the historical precedents for the use of organs before organs were sued?” or “Where are the historical precedents for the use of under-chin patens at communion before under-chin patens were used?”

Catholic said...

"Pater," you continue to misrepresent the level of discussion on the subject of ecclesiology in the first 1,000 years of Church history. But I will set that aside to point out that it is, at best, immaterial to the discussion at this point because you have not shown any connection between the ecclesiology you are describing and the subject of this discussion, versus populum Liturgy. You have simply asserted indirectly, by juxtaposing conclusory statements, that an ecclesiology that includes "anthropology" supports versus populum. You have drawn no connection between these two ideas. In fact, your argument militates against a necessary connection with its internal logic that, again, proposes that the ecclesiology of the first millennium of Christianity has been, in some sense, rediscovered with the advent of Vatican II. Yet, it is clear that the historical evidence proves that during the initial 1,000 years of that ecclesiology there was no movement for versus populum Liturgy. I am not, as you say, arguing historical precedent here--I am pointing out that your argument is inconsistent with itself.

Turing to your more practical assertions, you have again resorted to simply listing conclusory statements. You maintain that there is "greater 'full, conscious, and active participation' by the laity in the mass (sic) of Paul VI." This participation you seem to define as an increase in "congregational singing, service as lectors or extraordinary ministers (sic). . ., the recovered use of Universal Prayers/Prayers of the Faithful, the expanded lectionary. . ., laity bringing forward bread and wine. . ., [a]nd the use of vernacular. . . ."

None of these things is intrinsically related to versus populum Liturgy, which is, after all, the topic of our discussion. Considering you haven't even attempted to demonstrate any of these various things actually results in a more or better participation on the part of the laity, you certainly haven't shown that they support the use of versus populum Liturgy or that they are coextensive with such a Liturgy. It is impressive that, after setting out this conclusory argument about things far afield from the actual topic of discussion, you have the gusto to say that I have made a "straw man argument" (which, as set out above, I have not actually done). So, your task is a clear one, you need to complete your argument and relate these things to the topic at hand.

Catholic said...


Your final paragraph gets somewhat closer to addressing something relevant to the discussion. For this argument to work, you would need to show that maniples, organs, and patens (your straw men, if you will) are in the same realm as facing East when it comes to liturgics. Clearly, reviewing the history reveals that they are not. Maniples, organs, and patens are historical accretions extinsic to the celebration of the Liturgy--they come and they go. In the case of the Divine Liturgy of the East, neither ever came in the first place, which is a very strong indication that they are not intrinsic to the Liturgy. They are true accretions of time and place as evidenced by the lack of universal application. Moreover, none have a universal theological significance despite the potential symbolic explanations developed over time.

Again, the reason the historical precedent for Eastward facing Liturgy is important is not simply for its ancient use. Although, the fact that it has always been the way of things and has been handed down for the entire history of the Church is a strong indication of its being tradition (that is, properly speaking, something handed on). The history, though, only serves to illustrate the theological importance of the practice. You have not negated the theological importance as discussed by the saints who addressed it, though, by simply lumping it into the same category as maniples, organs, and patens. So until you demonstrate that Eastward facing Liturgy is in the same category as those things with legitimate sources, coupled with a meaningful theological reason for change, you have not even begun to refute the venerable practice as it has existed throughout the entire history of the Church in all places.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Catholic" - I don't understand what you think I am misrepresenting. Please explain.

I have made no assertion that a Patristic ecclesiology (including anthropology) supports versus populum. I never got to that point, which may come in Part The Third.

No, none of the things listed is intrinsic to the liturgy. I would suggest that ad orientem celebration is also NOT intrinsic to the liturgy.

If you believe it is intrinsic, then your task is to show that it is intrinsic. As I stated above, I don't believe the orientation of the priest is intrinsic to the liturgy, but one or the other might be preferable, for a variety of reasons, including ecclesiological ones.

At this point the topic of our discussion is ecclesiology, which forms the basis for the practical matter of which direction the priest faces when celebrating mass.

So tired said...

Catholic, thank you for taking this on--fascinating and compelling reading, especially for those of us who have tried to "dialogue" with Pater over the years! Your patience, tenacity and over-riding logic, not to mention a true understanding of East-then-West Church history, are remarkable. We ALL have learned something, maybe even Pater...miracles do happen!
Again, thanks. I surely wish Fr. would repost this thread on the opening page of the blog.

Pater Ignotus said...

So tired - I will discuss anything with anyone, as long as the discussion is adult and respectful.

I wonder what you and I have discussed in the past...?

Gene said...

Ignotus does not even realize how dumb he has been made to look…sad. LOL!

Catholic said...

"Pater," contrary that what you've written, the topic of our discussion is not ecclesiology. This is a topic you are attempting to discuss. I presume it will form some portion of your argument for versus populum Liturgy since you say "I don't believe the orientation of the priest is intrinsic to the liturgy, but one or the other might be preferable, for a variety of reasons, including ecclesiological ones." However, you have yet to set out an argument for versus populum Liturgy based on an ecclesiological argument (or any argument for that matter).

You say that facing East is not "intrinsic to the liturgy." And you claim that it is my task to show that it is. First, I have shown through historical and theological analysis, supported by a selection from St. John of Damascus, that facing East is intrinsic to the Liturgy. Second, you are arguing for a change in liturgical orientation contrary to nearly 2,000 years of universal Christian practice. I am arguing to simply maintain the continuous practice handed down through the ages. Therefore, I submit that you bear the burden of demonstrating the necessity and propriety of the change.

Again, I truly look forward to reading your argument in "Part the Third."

Catholic said...

So tired - Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them very much.

John Nolan said...

'Turning Towards the Lord' by Uwe Michael Lang (Ignatius Press 2004) gives a scholarly defence of the ad orientem tradition; there is a foreword by Joseph Ratzinger.

The problem with discussing anything with Pater Ignotus is that in the end he falls back on the mantra that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once. This effectively shuts down the argument.

Gene said...

I thought Ignotus "logic" went like this:

Vatican Two said a lot of nice things about the laity.

This means we should focus on the laity.

Focusing on the laity means letting them do a lot of things.

We can better focus on the laity if we face them.

Letting them do a lot of things means letting them
run about all over the sanctuary.

Isn't that about it?



John Nolan said...

The ecclesiological argument would appear to be that Vatican II put the seal on a 'new Church'. This NuChurch required a NuMass, theologically distinct from that which preceded it. PI makes this clear by invariably using a lower-case 'm'.

PI's analysis is in line with that of the SSPX. So the real heretics are those like Frs AJM and JBS, not to mention Benedict XVI who deny this self-evident truth.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - No, I do not think, "...that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once." That is a misrepresentation of that I think.

I think that novelty can be justified when, after deliberation, study, and prayer, the Church decides to introduce change into the liturgy.

That such changes have happened hundreds, maybe thousands, of times in the history of the Church makes it clear that this is orthodoxy - right thinking.

I have no desire to shut down any discussion here. I am always ready to engage in discussion with my "Cultured Despisers."

"Catholic" - I see your earlier reference to John of Damascus, but I can't find the selection you are referring to. Could you post it again?

Unless we come to some agreement on the evolution of the Church's thinking and teaching on ecclesiology, moving to Part The Third isn't appropriate at this time.

At the moment, the discussion is on ecclesiology, moving in the direction of liturgical praxis.

I asked you earlier to clarify what you say I am "misrepresenting." I THINK you mean my comments on Patristic ecclesiology, but I want to be sure. Note that I will ask you to back up your assertions with appropriate references.

Pin/Gene - As is most often the case, you read your own thinking into what I have posted regarding the laity. It does not represent what I think - at all.

Gene said...

How many times does Catholic have to tell you, Ignotus, that the discussion is not about ecclesiology? LOL!

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - If you will refer to my post of May 16, 10:18, I quote Cardinal Ratzinger's and Cardinal Ouelette's and Fr. George Karakunnel's papers on...

Ecclesiology.

If you will refer to my post of May 18, 6:29, you will not it opens "A change in ecclesiology – how the Church sees its internal structure as well as how it understands its relationship to God – leads, necessarily, to other changes."

So, yeah, the discussion at present is about ecclesiology.

Oh, I forgot . . . LOL.

Gene said...

No, according to Catholic, the argument was not stated in terms of ecclesiology. It regards versus populuum specifically. You only drug in the ecclesiological discussion as a distraction because you have no real argument other than your usual babble.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Reread my posts dealing with ecclesiology.

Liturgical praxis doesn't float around the churchy ether without some grounding in the theology of the Church.

Last time I checked, ecclesiology was a pretty significant part of that theology.

Only you could turn theology into a "distraction."

Catholic said...

"Pater," this will, again, be a two-part post.

I refer you to St. John of Damascus's An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XII, "Concerning Worship Toward the East." This section begins succinctly: "It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East."

I am interested in discussing ecclesiology with you either in general or in the context of this particular discussion. However, if we are going to do so in connection with this discussion, you need to show that ecclesiology is relevant. I can think of many ways it might be relevant, but I'm concerned with why you find it relevant since the original questions that prompted this discussion were: (1) whether there is historical precedent for versus populum Liturgy, and (2) what are your "variety of reasons [versus populum] might be preferable."

In the end, while I am not without hope, I am not sure that we will come to an agreement as to "the evolution of the Church's thinking and teaching on ecclesiology[.]" But I am not convinced that our failure to do so will have any impact on the discussion of versus populum Liturgy because you haven't explained how the two are related other than that, in your opinion, "[a] change in ecclesiology. . . leads, necessarily, to other changes." In other words, I am deliberately avoiding jumping to my own conclusions about what you see as the necessary connection between the two. I am interested here in your arguments, not what I think your arguments might be. Again, so far you have proposed no connection.

Catholic said...

Now, with the hope that you will explain the connection between ecclesiology and the liturgical praxis at hand, my critique of your writings vis-a-vis Patristic ecclesiology is with your statement that ecclesiology was not a topic of much discussion during the Patristic period. This is disproven by very important ecclesiological debates, such as that between St. Cyprian of Carthage and the popes, as well as the writings of other ante-Nicene Fathers, including (and especially) St. Ignatius of Antioch. Later, after the advent of the Pentarchy, there arose an ongoing debate about the ranks of the various patriarchal sees. Various heresies that arose, such as donatism, also implicated questions of ecclesiology, which prompted a response from saints like Augustine.

So I disagree with your following statement: "Ecclesiology, as the subject of reflection and writing, was not a significant component of the Church's theological history for the first millennium." I also disagree that the ecclesiology of the Patristic era was not in a juridical and monarchical form. But, insofar as you are saying that the ecclesiology was not based upon a strictly linear monarchical form, along the lines of what would later arise with the advent of the post-Gregorian reform papacy (which also happened in the first millennium, to cap my earlier point), I agree. But there is more than one way to be monarchical--I am thinking here, among other things, of the pre-papal-supremacy-bishop as a "monarch" within his diocese, a geographical structure created by imperial law.

With that said, I do not see how Patristic ecclesiology is relevant to our discussion of versus populum Liturgy. (After all, the liturgy was ad orientem, that is "toward the East," during the Patristic period). In order to advance the conversation, you simply must set out the relationship you perceive between
ecclesiology and versus populum Liturgy.

Pater Ignotus said...

“Catholic” – Ecclesiology is relevant to this discussion for two reasons. First, many, many commentators, including then Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Ouellette, both of whom I have previously cited, have noted that understanding the ecclesiology of Vatican Two is essential to understanding the entire Council.

In the final report of the 1985 Synod of Bishops we read, “The ecclesiology of communion [NOTE: a 'communio' ecclesiology] is the central and fundamental idea of the Council’s documents.” (The Final Report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, The Church, in the Word of God, Celebrates the Mysteries of Christ for the Salvation of the World, 1985, II, C., 1.)

Second, ecclesiology speaks not only to the ways in which we understand the structure of the Church, it also informs the way in which we structure the rites of the Church.

There is no doubt, as I have said, that ecclesiology was an element of the Church’s thinking before the Middle ages. We were a Church with structure, ecclesiology is a reflection of Church structure, therefore, ecclesiology was present. It was not, however, a major part of the Church’s self-reflection. And while individual authors such as Ignatius of Antioch had ideas regarding, especially, where bishops fit into the Church’s structure, ecclesiology was not a major concern.

While Ignatius was concerned about structure, he seems to have been virtually alone in this. Jaroslav Pelikan writes, "It is interesting that in all seven epistles of Igatius the church was explicitly called ‘holy’ only once, while the unity of the church in the bishop was one of the overriding preoccupations of all the epistles, so much so that it seems accurate to conclude that ‘the most important aspect of the church for the apostolic fathers is unity.’ It has also been observed that the noun ‘unity’ occurred eleven times in Igatius and the verb six times but that neither was found anywhere else in the apostolic fathers.” (Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, Vol 1, p 159-160)

[According to one source, the earliest treatise of ecclesiology is generally considered to be James of Viterbo's On Christian Government (1301-1302), while the earliest systematic treatise of ecclesiology is usually attributed to John of Torquemada for his Summa on the Church (1436).]

Regarding the juridical/monarchical style model of pre-Vatican Two ecclesiology, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote, “Likewise in the scholastic tradition was the magnum opus of Charles Journet, ‘L’Eglise du verbe incarne.’ By contrast with the manuals, WHICH WERE NEO-SCHOLASTIC AND JURIDICAL IN TONE (caps mine), Journet’s ecclesiology was more directly rooted in the older scholastic tradition…” (Dulles, A Half Century of Ecclesiology, Theological Studies, 50 (1969) p. 420) (NOTE: I have found Dulles’ article very helpful in terms of understanding the evolution and development of ecclesiology leading up to Vatican Two and would recommend it to all my Cultured Despisers here. http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/50/50.3/50.3.1.pdf

Pater Ignotus said...

The ecclesiology of the 19th century and, subsequently, of Vatican Two is not the ecclesiology of prior times in the Church. “During the 19th century, however, a new ecclesiology was slowly being formulated that sought to integrate the ecclesiology of the Church's visible structure into a more complete and vital understanding of the mystery as found in the Scriptures and Fathers.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia)

One author has made the following comparisons. While in need of nuance, they give a flavor of the differences:

PreVat2 - Church as institution PostVat2 - Church as mystery

PreVat2 - Church as hierarchy
PostVat2 – Church as People of God

PreVat2 - Mission: Word and sacrament
PostVat2 - Mission: Word, sacrament and service

PreVat2 - Church as absolute monarchy
Post Vat2 - Church as communion

PreVat2 - One, true Church
PostVat2 - Church as ecumenical community. (Fullness subsisting in the Catholic Church)

PreVat2 - Triumphalism (Church as Kingdom).
PostVat2 - Church as eschatological community.


John Nolan said...

PI, I don't have a window into your mind, so my critique has to be based on what you write. If what you write and what you think are at variance, then that is your problem. Your last post which smacks of 'Vatican II - the hermeneutic of rupture as explained to primary school children' doesn't simply lack nuance - it is risible by any standards of intellectual or scholarly enquiry, and in fact contradicts the Council itself. I'm not surprised you are coy about attributing it, which gives me to believe you made it up yourself.

Today I was at a symposium in London and Journet came up in a paper concerning church-state relations. The proposer maintained that he was wrong. Your problem is that you have been conditioned to believe that if there is a contradiction between the opinions of modernist theologians and the magisterium of the Church, then the modernist theologians are right and the Church is wrong.

Your increasingly dated hermeneutic has been seriously challenged in the last 25 years and you might at least take cognizance of the fact.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - You will note that I prefaced the PreVat2 / PostVat2 items by saying, "While in need of nuance, they give a flavor of the differences."

And I'm not being coy - I simply didn't note the author (not I) when I found it and didn't bother going back to find it again.

Just as you were completely wrong when you stated, "...he falls back on the mantra that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once" you are wrong again.

John Nolan said...

PI, you are entitled to say that I am 'completely wrong' about what you actually think, but one can only judge an author by what he writes. You have certainly justified novelty in the liturgy by saying that everything was new once, including Gregorian Chant and maniples (a strange obsession of yours). You have also claimed that it is 'completely wrong' to state that the rite we call the OF or the Novus Ordo was made up (or fabricated, or assembled, or put together, or what you will) in the 1960s despite the fact that its authors said it was, its defenders make no bones about it, and its critics make exactly the same point.

As of course do you; and it's also clear that your interpretation of V2 is largely along the lines of the summary you posted yesterday morning (why post it otherwise?) The idea that the Council, all previous councils, all magisterial teaching, all theology, can be summed up in six bullet points is absurd. It's simply a manifesto for change based on a hermeneutic of rupture. It's not so much simplistic as simple-minded.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Read again what I posted May 22, 1:27 : "John Nolan - No, I do not think, "...that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once." That is a misrepresentation of that I think. I think that novelty can be justified when, after deliberation, study, and prayer, the Church decides to introduce change into the liturgy."

You are correct in saying, "... one can only judge an author by what he writes."

So, read again what I have written about the introduction of change(s) in the mass and stop misrepresenting what I think AND what I write.


John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

There is little point in rereading a comment (like yours of 22 May) which merely qualifies earlier statements which have subsequently been held up to scrutiny.

I sometimes have to modify, qualify, expand or even retract altogether things that I have written as a result of critical comment. I don't think I have ever claimed that someone has misrepresented me. It is a poor defence since it either imputes dishonest motives to my critics, or admits that what I originally wrote was expressed in such a way as to be open to misinterpretation. It also sounds petulant.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Anything can be misinterpreted by anyone.

When one is uncertain of what someone else means, one asks, "Is this what you mean?"

One doesn't say, "THIS is what you mean, and I am certain of it!"
Such disingenuous blustering makes conversation difficult.

I never said, suggested, or implied, "...that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once." That was your inaccurate interpretation, your misrepresentation of 1) what I said and 2) what I meant.

And just because someone stands up to your misrepresentations doesn't mean that that person is "petulant."


John Nolan said...

Actually, PI, I went back to February when I took you to task for dismissing out of hand another commentator's contention that the Novus Ordo Missae was 'made up' by a group of men [the Consilium] after Vatican II. The question, which concerned the validity of a form of Mass which was strikingly different from that which preceded it, was an honest one. However, to say that 'I am using "made up" as I understand Anonymous 5 Feb to have used it' [i.e. conjured up out of thin air] implies the sort of presumption for which you castigate others.

Since there is not room in a forum like this to develop an extended argument, the writer's point of view is often implied rather than plainly expressed, but if he posts frequently (as you and I do) inference becomes a lot easier. I think my views on a number of topics can be quite accurately inferred, as can yours. I (and others) have noticed that you rarely address substantive arguments, preferring to say 'that's not what I said', which might be literally true but ignores what is clearly implied by your comments.

As for suggesting that I am deliberately misrepresenting what you say, what would be the point in doing so? I bear you no malice. If I agree with you, I say so. If I don't, I say so, and give my reasons. I don't need straw men. By the way, to call those who challenge your ideas 'Cultured Despisers' is not just petulant, it implies an inferiority complex. Keep telling yourself there's nothing despicable about being wrong.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Your own bias leads you to misrepresent what I say. Rather than judging the arguments I put forth, and rather than dealing with the material found in the quotations I post, you jump to the conclusion that, simply because I say it, it must be wrong.

It is your bias that leads you to conclude, wrongly, that I think, "...that any novelty can be justified because everything was new once."

If it is NOT true that maniples, chalice veils, under-chin patens, etc., were once "novel" in liturgical use, then show that they have always, without exception, been part of the liturgy.

But you know that it IS true that these things were once novel, and that my point is valid. The Church can and does and, I suggest, always will introduce into the liturgy that which is "novel." This is simply not the tragedy nor the "rupture" you and others make it out to be.

John Nolan said...

'Because I say it, it must be wrong'. Petulant and solipsistic. I don't care who advances an argument; if I consider it flawed, I'll point it out. I don't know you from Adam, although I have come across people with similar views.

The evidence from the history of the Roman Rite and its organic development indicates that there was a rupture in the 1960s. I think it was JRR Tolkien who likened the liturgy to a tree; as it develops layers it becomes stronger and more deeply-rooted. Those who wish to return to a more primitive liturgy (and this would include the Protestant reformers as well as the more extreme wing of the Liturgical Movement which held sway after the Council) might well prefer the sapling to the tree. But even if you destroy the tree you don't recover the sapling.

No-one is suggesting that elements have not been added to the liturgy in the course of its development over two millennia. Usually Rome did not interfere, and even Pius V, faced with the Protestant challenge, respected liturgical Uses with a provenance of only 200 years. The idea of 'the Church'(i.e. the centralized Roman bureaucracy) mandating novel elements into the rite is very much a 20th century phenomenon. Previously Rome only intervened to restore the status quo when for example the Jansenists in France or Joseph II in Austria made radical liturgical changes on their own authority. This isn't my opinion, it's historical fact.

Catholic said...

To be fair, "Pater," I showed that versus populum has "always, without exception, been part of the liturgy." That's when you started arguing about ecclesiology...