Fr. Anthony Ruff of Praytell informs us about something Pope Benedict recently wrote about liturgical reform after Vatican II (my comments follow):
The context is the introduction Benedict recently wrote for a book of essays honoring Cardinal Müller on his 70th birthday. Benedict said that in today’s confusing times, both the competence of academic theology and the wisdom of those authorities who must make the final decision are very important. Applying this to the liturgical reform, Benedict wrote:
“I think for example that in the liturgical reform, things would have ended up differently if the word of the experts had not been the final authority, but if, alongside this, a wisdom able to recognize the limits of the approach of a ‘simple’ scholar had judged it.” (tr. awr)
Fr. Anthony Ruff of Praytell, an academic, just doubly suseptible to clericalism of the clergy and the worst kind of clericalism, that of academics, writes this:
But with all due respect to the venerable pope emeritus, it is not quite accurate to claim that experts were the final authority on the reform of the liturgy.
As the great leader of the liturgical reform under Blessed Paul VI, Annibale Bugnini, notes in The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (English edition p. 383), Pope Paul wrote a handwritten letter to the Secretariat of State, which was then included in a communication of that office approving the reform of the Mass to Cardinal Benno Gut, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. It read as follows.
My comments:Wednesday, November 6, 1968
7:00 – 8:30 pmTogether with Father Annibale Bugnini, I have once again read the new Order of Mass compiled by the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, now that observations on it have been made by myself, the Roman Curia, the Congregation of Rites, and the participants in the eleventh general meeting of the Consilium itself, as well as by other churchmen and members of the laity. After careful consideration of the various changes proposed, many of which have been accepted, I give the new Order of Mass my approval in the Lord. Paul VI, Pope.
The fact of the matter is that most bishops to include Pope Paul VI relied completely on the liturgical academics of the 20th century to guide them in revising the Mass. These bishops and popes were not liturgists and they were in "awe" of academics and trusted their judgement and thus often simply allowed these academics to bully them into allowing reforms. These academics for the most part looked down their noses at these popes and bishops because the academics knew that they (the academics) knew better.
And we know that academics certainly look down their noses at the ill-informed or what they would call the malformed laity. Just think about how these academics shoved their ideologies and theologies down the throats of the laity after Vatican II.
But a part from the reliance of Pope Paul VI on Father Annibale Bugnini, which His Holiness later came to regret and finally exiled him out of Europe (and this is extremely important footnote to say the least) after the 1970 Roman Missal was promulgated, it was liturgists who gave workshops around the world and in the USA who further deformed the 1970 Roman Missal by suggesting the most idiotic things that should be done to the Mass and church architecture not only for renovations of splendid edifices, but in new construction.
Once again, bishops allowed these academics to rule the day and most parish priests who went to these workshops or conventions immediately implemented the most outrageous reforms that evenally ran off nearly 88% of Catholics from attending Mass.
And the bishops, they went along with the academics until the academics of liturgies, the doctors of liturgy became such a powerful force that by 1998 they had suggested even more outrageous changes to the Mass and finally Pope Benedict gave us Liturgiam Authenicum and Summorum Pontificum and renewal in continuity.
Unfortunately with the return of the 1970's mentality of many bishops, Pope Benedict's insights and direction are being reversed much to the glee of academic liturgists.