Monday, June 9, 2014


It depends on the liturgist. Yes a corrupt form of Catholicism turns liturgy into a false God. The form of the liturgy is what is adored rather than the One God in three Divine Persons which the liturgy is meant to enable the people of God to adore and worship.

Also, when faith in the liturgy is disconnected from the good works that should flow from those who worship God in spirit and truth, yes Liturgy has become a god and those who worship at this altar are idolaters.

Prior to Vatican II, most people understood the Liturgy as a given. True, some Catholics loved the High Mass (one step below the Solemn Sung Mass with deacon and subdeacon). But most Catholics attended a low Mass on Sunday with no singing or perhaps four hymns, but the Mass was not sung. They preferred a simple Mass that was over quickly. While they preferred not to attend a Mass with a lot of pomp and circumstance, they did not despise it and they realized that this type of Mass in most parishes was the exception and the low Mass the rule. For example in a large parish, there might be five to six Sunday Masses only one of which would have been sung as the principal Mass. The vast majority of Catholics in that parish would have attended a low Mass on Sunday.

Since Vatican II and all the tinkering with the Liturgy even beyond the official tinkering by the legitimate authority of the Church, Pope Paul VI and the Consilium he put together to revised the Mass as they understood Vatican II had asked, has led to a sort of liturgical idolatry in the Church. The greatest form of this idolatry does not come from the official texts and order of the Mass of Pope Paul VI. It comes  from subsequent liturgists and faux liturgists. It flowed from diocesan offices and liturgical commissions and worse yet from local parish priests and their dictatorial liturgy committees who foisted upon the rank and file laity of parishes a corrupt experience of the Liturgy based upon novelty and creativity as well as a casual, man-centered form of worship. Yes this is idolatry too and of the most pedestrian type and is to be lamented for its deliterious effect upon Catholics and their spiral into true idolatry, the idolatry of secularism!

Now we have Pope Francis who has said very little about the Liturgy and has yet to confirm the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship or name a new head. Liturgists in the Church thought for certain that this would be the first congregation that Pope Francis would address and they hoped beyond hope that the first Marini (Archbishop Pietro Marini) would be named the new prefect.That does not seem to be plausible now. On top of that the Pontifical Master of Ceremonies has been confirmed in his post, the much maligned by progressive liturgists in the Church and at the Vatican, Msgr. Guido Marini, my hero! If the Congregation for Divine Worship is suppressed and placed under another dicastery as a mere committee, I hope Msgr. Guido is the head. Praytell would then owe me a huge sum of money on a bet Fr. Anthony Ruff made last year!

Sandro Magister of the Blog Chiesa writes the following:

"No newly created cardinal, therefore, has been made a member of the congregation for divine worship, which until Paul VI was part and parcel of the congregation for the causes of saints, under the name of the congregation for rites."

A simple coincidence? Or [is this precisely where] the curial [dicastery is] on the verge of being "streamlined" and "consolidated?"

MY FINAL COMMENTS: Having watched Pope Francis closely in person and on Television as he celebrates the Liturgy of the Church, he models simply the Liturgy of the Church, and as I have said over and over again, praying in an ad orientem way while facing the congregation during his celebration of the Mass. He is not prissy or fussy about the Liturgy. He simply does it. He is elegant in his noble simplicity and uses vestments that are tasteful but certainly not flashy or archaic but modern in a classic sort of way.

If the Congregation for Divine Worship becomes as it was prior to the Second Vatican Council, simply a smaller dicastery within a larger congregation,such as the Congregation for Saints, this will tell us that Pope Francis is moving Liturgy back to the Pre-Vatican II level of interest on the Vatican level. The liturgy will be a given and the liturgy wars in the Vatican are over, at least under this pontificate.


JBS said...

The challenge today is that every priest is expected to be a liturgist, whereas before only certain theologians occupied this position.

JBS said...

To what extent can we really separate the liturgy from the sacraments? For example, if Christ is the principal actor in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, then devotion to His actions there, which are directed towards the Father, can hardly be labeled "idolatry". It seems there can be no purely spiritual worship pertaining to the sacraments, so that the temporal elements are essential.

Gene said...

JBS, Yes, and the OF suddenly made every Priest think he was a liturgist!

Anonymous said...

I've attended Masses in both old and new ritual, in English, Spanish, and Italian.

In simple chapels and at St. Peter's. Both in the pew and in the choir.

Masses in Italian with the Pope on the beach...and with the Pope in St. Peter's (the altar position in the middle forces the celebrant to face the people).

Liturgy ought to help us focus on God and the heavenly reality just beyond our sight... it ought to be means, not end. Medium, not message.

Sure, I love architecture and well done music like the next guy. I appreciate reverence and a well thought out homily. Pomp helps. But the whole point is always the encounter with Christ.

For the other sacraments too - I've participated in simple baptisms and more elaborate ones. Certainly some have been more beautiful than others. I really appreciated the explanation and heartfelt testimony of the deacon who baptized our first children.

In my experience when clergy have a sense of awe (reverent fear) you can sense it in their gestures, serious demeanor, the deliberation they show with gestures and movements. Perhaps it's the non-verbal cues that make up so much of interpersonal communication.

You know when someone 'means it' and when they're just faking it or going through the motions. Little children get it.

I emotionally prefer the Mass in English...but intellectually I get more out of the prayers of the Latin rite - the preparatory prayers before ascending to the altar, the more overt reference to 'enemies' (we being the Church militant, it's nice to be reminded we have them and thus need the grace we get in liturgy!).

I love to sing Gregorian chant...but wish I knew Latin better so I could pray while I sing.

Perhaps eventually the Latin rite will have a Mass that incorporates many of these elements - which now we have Aramaic and Greek (amen, alleluia, Kyrie) added to the Latin or vernacular. Perhaps in few decades we'll have Spanish and the final Gospel re-added etc.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Cardinal Cañizares Llovera prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship met with Pope Francis on Saturday. What does this mean?

Joe Potillor said...

Hardly, I'd say abusers of the Liturgy are idolators, placing themselves above the mind of the Church. (A physical inability does not constitute an abuse, just so we're clear)

Who am I to judge?! said...

Cardinal Cañizares Llovera is a long way from retirement, and a key ally of Pope Francis, so I'd be surprised if he was to be put out to pasture just yet. Perhaps the Pope is intending to re-merge the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with the Congregation for Divine Worship, and put Cardinal Cañizares in charge.

To judge from Sandro Magister's article, things look a bit bleak for Cardinal Burke.