Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ECUMENISM AND THE MASS

Catholic or Lutheran?
Was the Mass redesigned to appeal to Protestants? I would say yes given my seminary education in the 1970's. In fact John Nolan proves this to be the case by quoting the primary architect of the revised Mass:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

Annibale Bugnini, L'Osservatore Romano, 19 March 1965.


Personally, I don't think this is entirely a wrong approach although it did lead to a deformation of the Mass as celebrated in rank and file parishes to this day. This fact is a result of not reading the black and doing the red but instead of being sloppy, banal and careless with the Mass especially when it comes to music and indiscriminate selections of lay ministries for the Mass with little or no real training. 

I can remember when I first got to the seminary having a heated discussion with another seminarian who thought we should not call ourselves Catholic anymore as it was too divisive when it came to reuniting Christianity. We should simply call ourselves Christian or the Christian Church.

Inter-communion became the norm and individual priests often made the decision to be magnanimous in inviting our separated brethren to the table of the Lord. In my previous parish I gave permission to a neighboring parochial vicar to celebrate the wedding Mass of one of his parishioners at my ornate downtown church. I just happened to be in the sacristy at the time of Holy Communion to hear him state to the congregation that anyone was free to come to Holy Communion at this joyous ecumenical event. Of course he even gave Holy Communion to the non-Catholic spouse. To say the least, he was not given permission by me to celebrate any more weddings or funerals at my parish church.

But I have to admit that the English Mass does make weddings and funerals more intelligible for non-Catholics. In fact in my southern parishes there are usually more Protestants in attendance at our weddings and funerals than there are Catholics. In fact I have had funeral Masses where the deceased and altar servers were the  only Catholics present at the Mass and the Church was full.

The English Mass was at least understandable to them in language even if the Protestants don't really get the mystical aspect of the Mass. But let's keep in mind that prior to the Council Protestant were converting to the Catholic Church in great numbers and appreciated the more complicated Latin Mass of that period. It was not a stumbling block to converts although to those who had no desire to become Catholic it didn't matter what language or how stripped down the Mass could be, they weren't becoming Catholic period!

Pope Francis is very suspicious of theologians and regularly denigrates them. He thinks ecumenism will come about at the grass roots. I thinks so too, but not in worship necessarily, but how Catholics relate to Protestants in the world.

On the institutional level ecumenism is best carried out in helping the poor through cooperative ministries. It is not occurring in worship, doctrine or morals. In fact we are further apart today than we were in the 1960's prior to the Council in these areas. And the reason for this is that Protestants have moved away from us even as we tried to move closer to them.

The ecumenism of tea and crumpets of the officials of the Church is a miserable failure. Annual conventions and workshops that these so-called ecumenists attend at diocesan expense have accomplished nada, nothing but good manners in social settings and a heady exchange if ideas and speeches not to mention some educational opportunities. I'm with the pope of this one, what uselessness!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretending that Catholics are some kind of Protestant denomination hasn't worked. The truth is that they didn't stop with simplifying rubrics and permitting the vernacular, they discarded the truths of the Faith. Belief in the Real Presence was not only ignored but denied by many. We have reached a stage where the majority of Catholics do not practice the Faith and don't believe what the Church teaches. The Faith has been denied and ignored by the clergy that now we are to the point that we are now questioning, by the Pope's personal representative, whether or not we can call adultrey what it is adultrey. The Church has reached a level of insanity unseen in her history. Ireland has officially turned from Christ and the pope remains silent. The primate of Ireland says he can understand. The result of all of these changes has been confusion, chaos, loss of Faith and empty churches. The reality in the Chirch in 2015 is that anyone who actuLly lives, believes and teaching the Catholic Faith as it has always been lived for 2000 years is ridiculed, marginalized, silenced and not made welcome. We are treated in the most uncharitable manner possible. And yet this wholesale denial of the Faith wasn't the Third Secret of Fatima, yea right. It was really about a pope being murdered, like that never happened before. God save us all.

jolly jansenist said...

Yes, Anonymous, and it is disgusting how Priests and Popes continue to joyfully plunge their heads into the sand while playing mental Twister trying to deny it all.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It seems the Bugnini "quote" seriously incorrect.

"We have seen the aforementioned attributed words cited throughout the years by many well-respected authors, particularly those who use the preceding words as proof that the New Order of Mass was designed to suit ecumenical goals with the Protestants. Moreover, it has been used to articulate how the liturgical reformers of the 1960's sought to "Protestantize" the way in which Catholics pray. However, it must be said, for the record that these are not the exact words of Annibale Bugnini in the March 19, 1965 edition of L'Osservatore Romano. What follows are the actual words (in which the reader will certainly still see the clear ecumenical goals aimed for in the liturgical reform of the liturgical prayers on Good Friday) from the article written by Bugnini titled Le "Variationes" ad Alcuni Testi della Settimana Santa (The "Variations" of Some Texts of Holy Week):

The passage "quoted" that is incorrect actually says:

"And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

Where do we go with this now?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Sounds the same to me but the one purported to be accurate is politically correct. And to what purpose has the painful sacrifices accomplished anything. We don't worship together except for rare occasions and special events and this isn't usually the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

To make the Mass more appealing to Protestants so their service and ours looks alike seems perverse to me as their services are not valid Masses nor are their clergy.

The Eastern Orthodox have a valid Mass and priesthood but the ceremony of their Divine Liturgy is quite different than ours and their informed used of icons and a spirituality based upon these is different than our own sensibilities in this regard as is our informed theology about Eucharistic adoration and piety toward the visual sight of the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord.

But we are on the same page about the Divine Liturgy. Protestants aren't no matter how much the Latin Rite and Protestant rites resemble each other in words and ceremony.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Well, if "We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants" sounds the same as "And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices" then there's not much to be said.

To my ears, "The love of souls," "the desire to help," "road to union," "removing...every obstacle or difficulty" doesn't sound anything at all like "We must strip from our Catholic prayers...".






Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't know of the two translations which one is equivalent and which one is literal. If the one John Nolan is equivalent, well then yes, we should all love it and if the one that PI former posts is literal well then we should all hate it.

Julian Barkin said...

So, um, $1 million question: did 6 Protestants play an essential role in the creation of the Novus Ordo?

Mark said...

Julian Barkin said..."So, um, $1 million question: did 6 Protestants play an essential role in the creation of the Novus Ordo?"

They played a role in the formation of the Novus Ordo.

But the key players...ultimately, the Novus Ordo is Pope Venerable Paul VI's Mass...in the formation of the Novus Ordo were Catholics.

Many key players were keen to promote the Ecumenical Movement via the Novus Ordo Mass. I have found it interesting over the years to have studied the formation of the Novus Ordo.

Years ago, I was amazed when I had discovered the name of one of the major players in the development...well, more so in attempting to influence Pope Venerable Paul VI to adopt the Novus Ordo...was...

...Father, later Archbishop, Rembert Weakland.

He played a critical role in January 1968 A.D. during a series of meetings with Pope Venerable Paul VI in urging the Pope to adopt the Novus Ordo. At that time, there was powerful resistance among the bishops to the Novus Ordo.

It is interesting to go in depth to discover the Churchmen who formed then presented to Pope Venerable Paul VI the Novus Ordo Mass.

Mark Thomas