Saturday, September 7, 2013


In a previous post, I mentioned what a traditionalist Catholic told me just last Saturday. He goes to Atlanta for Mass at the FSSP parish there. He does not like the Ordinary Form of the Mass at all.

Of course, I love both the EF and OF Masses when celebrated by the books and with "flair."

But he made a good point that has stuck in my mind. He said, if a person passed a Catholic Church walking outside and its doors were wide open during Mass, that person would instantly tell that it was a Catholic Church by the sounds coming from the opened doors in terms of Gregorian Chant and the Latin words wafting toward the sidewalk.

But if that same person heard the sounds of the Ordinary Form, with its ecumenical hymns and English words, that person would not be able to tell the difference between those sounds and the sounds coming from the Baptist Church next door.

Some would say that this is a good ecumenical development and brings Christians closer to Christian unity desired by the Lord. Others would say that while there is superficial unity, that in reality the various Protestant communions have moved further away from Catholic truth in the post-Vatican II push for ecumenism and bland liturgies that seem similar to the Protestant ones.

But let's talk about reverence apart from ecumenism, although ecumenism might be at fault in the loss of Catholic identity as it regards reverence.

In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the spirituality of this Mass is clearly very Catholic in terms of sights and sounds, silence and Gregorian Chant, movements and words, rubrics and uniformity.

The reverence of the laity was a quiet passive sort of form. It is highly pietistic and filled with a sense of quiet awe and wonder devoid of eternal enthusiasm.

But compared this with the style of music at the liturgies, even with the pope, at World Youth Day in Rio where there was indeed a lot of lio and some it (lio) quite annoying as well as loud and boisterous.

The music was of the entertainment genre and the actors singing, clearly sang in an entertainment mode with fuax smiles good for the audience, live and on television.

I think also of the development of folk music for the Mass in the 1960's and its contemporary counterparts since that time. None of these have a truly Catholic sound or ethos.

I think of charismatic spirituality that engulfed the Church in the 1960's and of the Protestant movements of enthusiasm in the 1800's and 1900's. Pentecostalism prior to the Catholic Charismatic Movement was clearly Protestant in spirituality and ethos. It was about hype and enthusiasm and feel good religion. It was about liberation and doing your own thing in a public setting for all to see and hear. It is clearly more narcissistic than traditional Catholic piety.

But the main line piety of the Ordinary Form of the Mass today is rather bland and nondescript. It is blah and non inspiring.

The blah piety of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, leads people to dress in informal ways for Mass; to get up during the consecration to go outside and answer the cell phone or go to the bathroom and to be easily distracted by the antics of others during prayer.

The authentic piety of the EF Mass leads people to dress nicely for Mass in one's Sunday best. At our EF Mass last Sunday there were several young families with small children and all of them dressed in Sunday best as it was once common for the Catholic Mass.

No one would think to get up and go to the bathroom during Mass let alone the consecration. They know to do this before Mass! They realize they are not at a ball game or some other entertainment venue where they can take an intermission of this sort while the entertainment is going on!

Somehow, I think a recovery of Catholic reverence must occur. I don't think it will happen any time soon, but eventually it will. The EF Mass is laying the foundation for this, much to the chagrin of post-Vatican II gnostic progressives who had hoped that the complete suppression of the EF Mass would allow them to deconstruct traditional Catholic reverence for a Protestant version of it leading to faux Christain unity.


Joseph Johnson said...

The irony is that a bedrock principle of Sacrosanctum Concilium is "full, active and conscious participation" of the laity at Mass. The liturgical reform was supposed to make this ideal more possible. Yet, what you write, Father, about the lack of engagement (leaving to go to the restroom or answering a phone call during the Consecration) in the OF is, too often, sadly true.

My own personal experience is that exposure to the EF as an adult sharpened my knowledge of the parts of the Mass and what is going on. I am much more conscious and engaged in the liturgy (EF or OF) since my EF experiences in the 90's. One of my younger brothers had fallen away from regular Mass attendance and I took him to an EF Mass once on a trip to Florida and he will tell you now, in no uncertain terms, that this changed his life. Though he now also wants the EF in our parish, just as I do, he has regularly attended Sunday Mass and is very much engaged in the liturgy since that time. He is an avid cook and I learned just this week that he has plans, along with our deacon, to cook Thanksgiving dinner for poor and shut-in people this year at our parish hall.

The EF Mass: it's not nostalgia and it's not about Latin. It's about changing people's hearts and minds about the nature of liturgy and what it means to be Catholic.

Gene said...

But, Fr, even as you write you will not do certain things, discussed before on the blog by several others, that would facilitate a return to a more traditional Catholic identity and a more reverent and traditional liturgy. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance here.

rcg said...

The OF seems to work against itself. Humana are by nature a rowdy and self absorbed species. By allowing creative expressions of Liturgy it encourages distractions and seems contrary to growth and maturation as a person.

John Nolan said...

As Pater Ignotus perceptively pointed out recently, the EF and OF, or if you prefer, the Roman Rite and the Novus Ordo have different ecclesiologies. They can only exist side by side in those places where the New Mass is celebrated in the spirit of the Old, otherwise there is an obvious disjunct. Those who have embraced the new ecclesiology regard a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem in Latin, with chant and polyphony, as a form of liturgical abuse. To be fair, they would also probably regard a "clown mass" as an abuse. They believed that the Old Rite with its attendant ecclesiology was suppressed, which explains their hostility to SP and the EF. They still call the shots in most parishes (as priests or laity) and form the majority on most Episcopal Conferences, although they are not as secure as they were twenty years ago.

"Changing people's hearts and minds about the nature of liturgy and what it means to be Catholic" is what they have been doing for the last forty years, following the spirit, and they would argue the letter, of the Council.

Henry said...

Though I've sometimes argued it myself, I wonder whether it's really true that the OF inherently encourages irreverence. Or is the current situation the almost inevitable result of several generations of ill-formed priests who themselves have not only inspired irreverence but almost forced it by their own casual or abusive attitude toward the Mass?

Although I attend an EF Mass on Sundays, I attend the one day my schedule permits a weekday early morning OF Mass celebrated by our Sunday EF celebrant, with the same care and reverence that he displays in the OF. The people attending this Mass are equally serious, and the result is an OF Mass as reverent as the typical EF Mass.

So although the optionitis of the OF and the flexibility of its rubrics allow casual if not abusive celebration by ill-formed priests, it is entirely possible for priests and people to be fully reverent in OF worship. I myself, equally familiar with and (at least in principle) equally devoted to the OF and the EF, can find nothing in the structure and prayers of the OF Roman Missal that makes the prevalent irreverence inevitable. Doesn’t the fault lie not in our Mass, but in our priests?

Should we not blame the past several generations of priests--and the bishops responsible for both their seminary education and their performance as priests--and not the Catholic people who, despite all, still follow the example (whether good or bad) set by the clergy and episcopacy?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Agreed but with one caveat--music, especially, most especially contemporary, high energy enem if technically or splendidly executed lend to a ethos of entertainment and casual hype.

John said...

What you write Fr is very true. Since Trent, and probably under the influence of Protestant theology, Catholic Christology has devolved to the point that folks such as the "Nuns-on-the-bus" have moved beyond Christ himself. They told us this clearly.

Well, the Mass emphasizing Christ's sacrifice and suffering on the cross was not meaningful for such Catholics. They needed the OF to feel comfortable in Catholics. If Christ is just a good man then an anthropocentric worship model is what makes sense. This is the Spirit of Vatican 2 that was incorporated into the NO. It is not in the documents in so many words but the people deconstructing the EF acted under the very strong influence of the times.

Everyone understood it at the time. Hence, apart from a few who did not approve, most in the magisterium did not object to revolution. They were stunned but most were really true believers.

George said...

From reading Padre Pio The True Story:

The Capuchin sigmatist accepted with humility the directives of Vatican II. What troubled him the
most were the changes within the Church. he requested and received permission to celebrate the Tridentine Latin mass because being of advanced age, he feared he could never learn and remember
the new Mass.
What saddened him greatly was the attitude of dissent and unbelief that seemed to pervade the Church. He was distressed at the decline in vocations, especially among the Capuchin order.
More than once he was heard to remark, "Thank God I am old and near death!".
The rampant materialism and immorality that Pio saw all but drove him to dispair. He
increasingly warned that television was destroying family life. He strongly advised his spiritual
children not to watch TV.

It's been almost 45 yeras since his death

There is a video on Yuotube showing Padre Pio Celebrating Mass Versus Populum.

Anonymous said...

"As an incarnational religion. Catholicism should be the last to suffer gladly the dismantling of its traditional forms of worship. And yet that is what the new rite has done, as a whole and in its parts. We all know what a new-rite Mass looks like, with its denuded sanctuaries, embarrassing "hymns," and barren architecture. The Last Gospel, which was St. John's own meditation on the Incarnation, was removed. The wonderful texture of the liturgical year, with its various seasons, the Ember Days, and its countless traditions, has been flattened out into what the new rite refers to as "ordinary time," a designation we believe speaks for itself. One could go on and on. The neo-Catholic insistence that all that matters are the so-called "essentials"--e.g., the words of Consecration--reflects a profoundly sterile and anti-incarnational attitude that would have filled churchmen with contempt in every other generation but our own. It is, truly, a Protestant approach to worship, emphasizing the purely spiritual nature of worship and neglecting our created nature as human beings. The view that the sacred traditions of Catholic worship can safely be viewed as matters of indifference has absolutely no pedigree within the Catholic tradition."

-Ferrara and Woods, The Great Facade

Pater Ignotus said...

A reader's review of "The Great Façade" from the Amazon website:

"If you're looking for a screed from radical traditionalists who (like Lefebvre) don't understand and/or accept the legitimacy of Magesterial authority and the authority of Vatican II -- well then look no further. If you're obedient to Rome -- yes, postconciliar Rome -- and don't think authority in the church is a personal plaything to be manufactured every time a small sect doesn't get it's way, then this book is definitely not for you. And at least one of the authors (see his Politically Incorrect Guide to American History) thinks Lincoln had it all wrong and slavery was just going to go away in short order because the South would see to it. Bad history and hubris all the way around."

Other reviews are far more positive.

I note also the book is highly praised by a former seminary classmate, Dr. Thomas Drolesky: "Must reading. Will be used as a tool in the decades ahead."

Dr. Tom, as we knew him, is an ardent sede-vacantist and general loon. His own website, "Christ Or Chaos" is available for your perusal.

Gene said...

That Ferrara and Woods quote from. "The Great Facade" is really nice...and so true.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
Of course, you are right about what some have been doing and thinking for the last forty years.

I must say, though, that I don't think about ecclesiology when I go to Mass. No, I think about my obligation as a Catholic to worship God in Spirit and in Truth by participating in the Holy Sacrifice. The EF Mass, in my experience, more consistently expresses the True Nature of the Mass as Sacrifice.

To me, the Mass is about Sacrifice and worship. Ecclesiology is a subject for adult religious education.

Templar said...

In my youth I always felt disconnected from my Faith, it had only the minimal amount of relevance to my life. I went through motions but did not believe. Come Benedict XVI and SP and curiosity, coupled with disdainful reaction by my Pastor led to investigation, which lead to experience, which led to revelation. With the EF my faith came alive. I love Benedict and SP and the EF not so much for what any one of those was, but what they represented. I sensed a rebirth of the Faith not just in me and my family, but in the Church in general.

But it was a dream. I struggle now to keep my faith, to hold fast to what matters of it until I can escape to a Latin Rite only Community where I know my Faith can be salvaged. No "ordinary" parish, not even one so extraordinarily ordinary as St Joseph will ever suffice for me. In the NO Church I see not the vision of Crucified and Resurrected Lord, I see only the vision of the Empty Tomb.

Anonymous said...

We often see what we want to see. It is the most difficult vision problem to corrtct.

Anonymous said...

Pater Ignotus:

Predictably, instead of dealing with the quote from The Great Facade, its content, its merits, or lack thereof, you have taken the MSNBC approach of merely attacking the source.Most of us who have been going to indult Masses since 1988 have been called "general loons" and worse by our "mainstream" pastors for years now. Of course, that is certainly your right, but it would be far more interesting (and would give your "argument" more integrity) if you actually dealt with what they wrote. Prove its falsity instead of attacking the messenger. So prove the falsity of the quote.

Then again, I'm not holding my breath.

Lorne Greene said...

I've read The Great Facade. Can't speak for Drolesky, but the book attacks the sede-vacantist position.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - Dr. Drolesky was my classmate for, I think, a year. I know why he was "released" by his diocese - you do not. He is a sede-vacantist as a cursory look at his website will show.

I'm glad that The Façade does not fall into that error.

As for "proving" something, why don't you "prove" that 1)what has been dismantled is Traditional, not merely traditional; 2) that any and every hymn is "embarrassing;" 3) that the mass cannot be the mass without the Last Gospel; 4) that "countless traditions" are preferable to Ordinary Time; 5) that all "neo-Catholics" (whatever that means) are concerned only with "so-called essentials;" 6) that neo-Catholics are anti-Incarnational; 7) that neo-Catholics hold every generation except their own in contempt; 8) or that neo-Catholics view certain historical elements of the Church's liturgy with "indifference."

John Nolan said...

Joseph Johnson

Being old enough (just!) to remember the pre-conciliar Mass and to have served it, I would agree with you that the EF has the greater integrity and by far (1500 plus years) the more impressive pedigree. I have argued that those who cite SC (and both traditionalists and progressives do this in support of their respective positions) are in effect "a-wasting Christian kisses on a heathen idol's foot".

The said document is basically the Bugnini draft, the only schema to have survived into the first session of the Council. I have read and re-read it several times, in both English and Latin, and have come to the conclusion that it is at best ambiguous and at worst dishonest. It has all the hallmarks of the more avant-garde faction of the 20th century liturgical movement (and let us not forget that its authors already had a good idea of what the future liturgy would look like).

The fact that the bishops voted for it (most of them did not realize what they were voting for) and that a pope signed it off, and indeed signed off the Novus Ordo six years later, without apparently paying much attention to what it contained or implied, is neither here nor there. It appears to me absurd that 20th century liturgists could sit in judgement over the Latin rite as it had existed for a millennium and a half, declare it wanting to the extent that they had to suppress the Roman Canon, apply to it an archaeologism which might have been dans le vent in the 1920s and 1930s but has long been discredited, and then impose it on everyone else.

No-one told us in the 1960s that the theology (or ecclesiology, or what you will) of the Mass had been changed. In fact, we were reassured that this was not the case. I was a teenager at the time, and had other fish to fry, but by the time I came down from University in the early 1970s I realized that we had been sold a pup.

Gene said...

"One reader's review?" Well, Ignotus, it certainly fits your milieu of unbelief.

Gene said...

RE: Lincoln and blacks. Lincoln had it all wrong, but not about black/white relations. Mr. Lincoln needs some serious demythologizing, however, his words are being proven in practice everyday in this country:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying any to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."

Lorne Greene said...

To be fair, the remarks about Lincoln come not from Pater Ignotus, but from the review he lifted from Amazon--but then again, it doesn't do much to enhance the credential of the reviewer.

America will probably never come to terms with the reality of Lincoln vs. his myth, but the important thing is that even though Lincoln did not believe that black people were the equal of the white people, he still saw the injustice of slavery. This speaks to us today, as it should be far more important how we treat each other vs. how we think about each other, which is why hate-crime laws are so ridiculous. If someone thinks another person is awful but still treats them well, I'd say that person at least has a center of decency. To punish people for what they think is--I can't think of the words, but they're not nice.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

A truism doesn't have to be "proved" in the sense that a theorem of Euclid has to be proved. All that is required is sufficient evidence to validate it in a general sense. Of the eight points you make, 1) is probably a truism. Capitalization or non-capitalization of a word rarely changes its definition, and the word 'tradition' is no exception. Look at the strict meaning of the Latin 'traditio' (Oh, I'm sorry, you think Latin is unnecessary, but in this case it is germane to the argument). 2) is a straw man - the most ardent traditionalist would not claim that the Office hymns are embarrassing. 3) likewise. The Last Gospel was a comparatively late addition to the Roman Rite, but did not have to be jettisoned on that account. On the other hand, there are things in the Novus Ordo (including three out of four Eucharistic Prayers) which are entirely novel. 4) is a truism, in that one doesn't need to prove a preference, although I can point you to a number of liturgical scholars who deplore Bugnini's drastic revision of the calendar.

As for points 5-8, there is plenty of evidence to support their validity, but like all generalizations they do not depend on absolute proof. Nor can absolute proof be provided. I should know, since I am an historian.

Gene said...

John Nolan, no matter you are a historian and a conscientious student of Liturgy. No matter the logic of your arguments is impeccable. No matter you are far more knowledgeable of things Catholic than Ignotus. The arrogance of ignorance will trump you every time. You may as well be talking to the cat...

Henry said...

Gene, the human mind is sometimes strange. Somehow, this thread has just conjured up in mine an evocative name for a new priestly blog:

Southern Disorders

Sounds better than "PrayTell South", doesn't it.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - If you think capitalization doesn't matter, don't eat any polish sausages any time soon. That is, unless you like the taste of shoe wax...

And don't plan a march during March, and don't plan to be august during August, don't divine the location of water without Divine assistance. You may do so, however, during May.

While Good Father McDonald is in the Holy Land, do you think he will be able to see any Mosaic mosaics?

Words that change meaning when capitalized are called CAPITONYMS.

Tradition and tradition are not the same word. And the Catechism makes this distinction: #83b "Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium."

Tradition is to be distinguished from traditions.

Gene said...

Ignotus, most of us understand words based upon their context as well as their spelling...unless your thinking is so concrete that you are unable to do that. We have medication for that problem...

John Nolan said...

"Tradition and tradition are not the same word". The reason why that does not make sense is because the capitalization of 'tradition' is obligatory since it is the first word in the sentence. Capitalization is certainly useful in English, but the meaning of a word is usually obvious from its context. I, like most Catholics, capitalize the word Mass out of respect for the Holy Sacrifice; you, Pater, do not do so, and yet I don't assume you mean mass in the physical sense. In this case they are indeed different words, although spelt the same.

Capitalization can be something of a minefield. As late as the nineteenth century it was often used to emphasize a word (see, for example, Queen Victoria's letters). In German all nouns are capitalized; in Spanish or Italian few are, except for the names of places or people. Latin originally had no lower-case letters. So relying on something peculiar to the English language, and about which there are no absolute rules, is probably unwise.

I think the real distinction is between tradition (or Tradition) and local custom and usage. The CCC is unusual in that it was originally published in French in 1992 and the Latin editio typica was only approved in 1997. It does use the term 'traditiones' with reference to local churches, although it puts the word in parentheses, which suggests that they aren't traditions in the strict sense of the word. Perhaps it would have been better to have used the terms 'usus' or 'consuetudines'

BTW, I did polish off a Polish sausage today, and very good it was, too.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - The Church, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 83, indicates that Tradition is to be distinguished from traditions.

The former, Tradition, is not subject to change, while the latter, tradition, is.

This is not a matter of context. It is a matter of distinguishing between that which constitutes Tradition and that which is only (merely) traditional.

Including the Last Gospel, for instance, is not a part of the Church's Tradition. That it is removed from the mass is not, in any way, a corruption or diminution of Tradition. The mass remains 100% the mass without it.

John Nolan said...

All right, PI, can you give us your opinion as to what cannot be removed from the Mass in order for its not to remain the Mass 100 per cent? I would be interested to know, since I don't normally simply dismiss contrary opinions, but make an effort to understand them. If someone who was validly ordained sauntered up to a coffee table upon which was placed a glass of wine and a bread roll and said "this is my body" and "this is my blood", would you regard this as a valid Mass? Such things were certainly done by Jesuits and others in the 1970s.

I do not automatically dismiss your opinions even when I disagree with them, but I would really like to know where you stand.

Templar said...

The Priests I grew up around would call what Pater is engaged in as school yard lawyering (actually they called it something closer to outhouse lawyering, but y'all get the idea). Like most evasive, 50 shades of grey type liberals, they like to obfuscate, which is why Liberals make such God awful Clergy.

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar: I don’t get the allegation that Pater Ignotus is engaging in “schoolyard lawyering.” You will need to explain that one to me.

In the meantime perhaps Pater should have quoted more of the relevant passages from the CCC Sections 80-83:

II. The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture

One common source...

80 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal.”40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age.”41

...two distinct modes of transmission

81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”42 (113)
“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition. (1202, 2041, 2684)
Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical, or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium.

And here are some further sources that explore the distinction further. They seem to be impeccable sources (the second is Pope Benedict), albeit not long on detailed examples illustrating the distinction and enabling John Nolan’s question to be answered in a concrete way:

I hope that the foregoing will help to shed more light than heat on the issue.

John Nolan said...

1378I suspect this is leading is towards a restating of the liberal nostrum that when he authorized the new missal Paul VI "abrogated" the classic Roman Rite. By reducing the Rite to the status of a local custom they argue that it can be abandoned (derelinqui) if the Magisterium so directs. They point to Paul VI's remarks that his decree overrode even immemorial custom. But Bugnini was not fooled. He needed a de jure statement that the Old Rite had been abrogated, and to his chagrin he was prevented from even applying for one.

Since then, a cardinatial commission and two popes have confirmed that the classic Roman Rite was never abrogated. Summorum Pontificum even went so far as to give it parity of esteem with the Novus Ordo, which was all that the Latin Mass Society was asking for back in the 1970s.

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - I am sorry you find the Catechism too "lawyerly." I find it helpful and instructive.

John - To be the mass, there must be, it seems, the appointed prayers, the Scripture readings, a Eucharistic prayer, and the consuming g of the sacrifice.

But back to the more fundamental issue, how do we determine what in the celebration of the mass is Traditional and, therefore unchanging, and what is merely traditional (historical) and, therefore subject to change.

Pater Ignotus said...

The entire Rite is not a matter of "local custom" but certain elements certainly are. These are the aspects that are subject to change, which includes being eliminated.

Templar said...

Anon2: I suspect I don't need to go cut and paste what Quo Primum says about the Missal, yet here we are debating with Priests what capital T versus lower case t means. It's Clinton and the definition of "is" is all over again. That is school yard lawyering. This is the Missal for ever and ever is clear, black and white, no greay area. The NO Missal has no right to be, period, and I don't care whether you capitalize it or not.

Gene said...

Looks like Anon 2 might break his nose if Ignotus made a sudden stop...LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar: Thank you for the helpful reference to Quo Primum. Pope Pius V appears to make some very sweeping claims and assertions of authority regarding the approved Missal to be used by all in the Roman rite “in perpetuity”:

But, of course, the fundamental question is a constitutional one regarding the proper interpretation and effect of those claims. This underscores yet again the importance and value of us all gaining a better understanding of the proper hermeneutic for interpreting and applying magisterial documents. This fundamental issue keeps of resurfacing, and until we grapple with it we will go round and round making no progress on these questions but just continuing to disagree. That is why I proposed the study group to examine these “constitutional issues.”

But one does not need to have done this to infer as a matter of logic that the Vatican II Council and those who implemented its mandates, and who made a distinction between Tradition and traditions (with many liturgical matters falling in the latter category):

(a) Were ignorant of Quo Primum (unlikely) or

(b) Deliberately acted in violation of infallible binding Church norms that could never be changed, or

(c) Appropriately limited the effect of fallible Church norms through legitimate hermeneutical techniques of interpretation of magisterial documents, or

(d) Inappropriately and mistakenly purported to do so through the use of illegitimate hermeneutical techniques of interpretation of magisterial documents.

Do we know what those who authorized departure from Quo Primum said about that? In other words, how did they justify it?

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - You're not debating with me. You are rejecting what the Church says in the Catechism.

It's easy to take mis-aimed pot shots with me, but to reject what the Church says is another matter.

John Nolan said...

"The entire Rite is not a matter of 'local custom' but certain elements of it certainly are. These are the aspects which are subject to change, which includes elimination".

To get an idea of this, it is useful to examine other Uses of the Roman Rite, and not just the Tridentine. An obvious starting point would be the Dominican Use, which predates Trent by three hundred years, and is now undergoing something of a revival. Since the friars moved around a lot, it made sense to have a uniform rite rather than have to adapt to a number of local Uses. So a committee was appointed to draw up a distinctive Dominican Use. It was used with only minor changes for over 700 years.

The prayers at the foot of the altar are different from the Tridentine, and the rite is briefer. The Confiteor is as short as the one in the Novus Ordo, but is said first by the priest and then by the ministers. The Offertory rite is quite short - the chalice has been prepared earlier, and the bread and wine are offered together to the Trinity (Suscipe Sancta Trinitas). The Roman Canon is identical, with slightly different rubrics (e.g. no minor elevation at the doxology). In the thirteenth century only the Host was elevated; the elevation of the Chalice was added later. The priest's private prayers at the Communion are different. The Last Gospel is read.

This gives us important clues as to what is local custom and what is essential to the Roman Rite. The essential elements, which were not subject to local custom, can be identified as:
1. The Roman Canon. Eliminate this, and you can have a valid Mass, but it won't be the Roman Rite.
2. The invocation of the Trinity at the Offertory.
3. The double Confiteor, whatever form the Confiteor takes.
4. The separation of the priest's and people's Communion.

All these were swept away in the 1960s. Paul VI intervened at the last minute to save the Roman Canon, but the celebrant can opt not to use this.

I wouldn't say that the Last Gospel was essential, and despite the fact that the Roman Rite was always in Latin (the change from Greek occurred before the Rite became stabilized) even the exclusive use of Latin is not essential.

I think there are two separate questions here. 1. Is the Novus Ordo, celebrated according to the approved texts and rubrics, in Latin or the vernacular, a valid rite of Mass in the Latin Church? Of course it is, and moreover at this point in time it is normative. 2. Is the Novus Ordo essentially the Roman Rite with the removal of certain late medieval accretions? Emphatically not, since it removes essential items (essential to the Rite, that is, not necessarily essential to what would constitute a Mass) and adds many entirely novel ones.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan: Thank you for that illuminating analysis. I assume you disagree with Templar that Quo Primum renders the NO invalid or illegitimate (“no right to be”).

Gene: Regarding the broken nose, yes, I suppose that is always a risk when people take the CCC and magisterial authority seriously. Of course, I realize that taking seriously the official universal Catechism of the CATHOLIC CHURCH and the magisterial authority of the CATHOLIC CHURCH makes one a very bad Catholic in the eyes of some. For them people like Templar who apparently do not take the CCC and magisterial authority seriously insofar as they reject the Novus Ordo are good Catholics, and those who accept and take seriously the CCC and magisterial authority on these liturgical matters are the bad Catholics. What exquisite irony!

Why does it have to be this way? Why not just accept both the EF and the NO as valid and legitimate? Pope Benedict does. So does Pope Francis (as far as we know regarding the EF); and so does Father McDonald. It is, after all, the official position of the Church.

If both Forms are made readily available to people (something that has not yet happened for the EF but should), shouldn’t that end the matter? But no, such a reasonable solution, recognizing a legitimate liturgical pluralism, isn’t good enough for many. Instead they must PURGE – eliminate the EF (the progressive purge), or eliminate the OF (the traditionalist purge). It has to be either/or never both/and, and never mind the official position of the Church articulated by the magisterium. After all, they are only the Pope, and Cardinals, and Archbishops, and Bishops. What do they know and who are they to tell us what to do? Protestantism anyone?

And it isn’t even an informed Protestantism because apparently those who would purge do not seem very interested in actually learning about how the relevant magisterial documents should be properly interpreted and applied. So, when I suggest studying the matter carefully in a study group, I am either met with a stony silence or some push back excuse about how we can’t trust the sources that explore and explain the hermeneutic (as if we were incapable of reading sources critically) or about how we could not possibly be in the same room together. Go figure.

John Nolan said...

Reading Quo Primum makes me smile. Here we have a pope, following the decrees of a recently concluded General Council, entrusting the reform of the liturgy to a group of 'learned men' who trawl through the archives with the aim of 'restoring' the Mass to its ancient purity; a new Missal is produced and the pope commands it be used to the exclusion of other rites, however immemorial the custom. Ring any bells? However:
1. The Missal of 1570 was no root-and-branch reform, and it is little different from the first printed missals of a century earlier.
2. Rites and Uses with a pedigree of only 200 years were not affected.
3. The command that nothing be added to the Missal was assumed not to include the Propers. In 500 years new feasts were established with their own Mass (and Office). If you look at the first half of the 20th century we have added to the Missal, inter alia, the Preface for the Dead (1570 has the Common Preface), the Feast of Christ the King, and a completely new Mass for the feast of the Assumption.
4. By the 1960s liturgical scholarship was far more advanced than 400 years previously and the Liturgical Movement had been pushing for more radical reform, including changes to the Ordinary of the Mass. Quo Primum was seen (rightly or wrongly) to be a product of its time, and times had changed. Moreover, no pope has the authority to bind his successors.

Whatever on thinks of the post-V2 liturgical reform (I personally think it was a disaster on a number of levels) Paul VI was within his rights in insisting that his new Missal be universally used, Quo Primum notwithstanding. He didn't need to specifically abrogate that law, and did not, and probably could not, abrogate the Roman Rite. Although the Heenan Indult of 1971 was reluctantly conceded by Bugnini who specified the 1967 form (which is not the Roman Rite anyway), England had an earlier indult for 1962, granted in 1967, and so it was the 1962 Missal which was used for Indult Masses.

Templar said...

Anon2/Pater and anyone else who see fit to decide what I take seriously:

1) I take The Church very seriously.
2) I take the Catechism very seriously.
3) I am not entirely sure that you and I would agree on what The Church and the Catechism really are any more.

Heresy has infected The Church to it's very top in the past, so forgive me if I don't jump on board your starting position of assuming that it couldn't happen again and every word from Rome is some sort of golden nugget to be worshipped. Authority must be questioned, questioned ruthlessly and repeatedly, and after you get to the Truth, you must start the process again. If you believe that makes me a Protestant, then fine, just remember that Protestants view Catholics as heretics too (well at least they used too before they became social justice leagues...kinda like modern day Catholicism.)

John Nolan said...

"Authority must be questioned, questioned ruthlessly and repeatedly ..." This is what the LCWR is saying, what ACTA is saying, what every dissident group is saying. When we start saying it as well, we might as well give up and make common cause.

Templar said...

You just don't get it. The LCWR types are the authority in The Church. You're too blinded by loyalty to physical Rome when you should be loyal to Eternal Rome.

Anyway, have at it. I stayed away for a long time because this Blog had become nothing but a source of frustration...all talk and no action. I should have stayed away, and will now resume my self imposed exile.

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar: I do take what you say seriously. And my questioning of your taking the CCC etc seriously was qualified by an “insofar as.” I also suggested a constructive action – studying together how magisterial documents are to be properly interpreted. Why doesn’t this count as “action”?

Gene said...

"...the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied oe'r with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action."
A study group, indeed. Now, there's some resolution...LOL!

Gene said...

BTW, Anon 2, Your boy Obammy, Harvard law and all that jazz, just referred to America as a "constitutional democracy."

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene (8:57 a.m.): Yes, I am familiar with the quote, having studied Hamlet at school and indeed having played the part myself in my youth. But, of course, the quote is not appropriate in this context. Or perhaps it is indeed very appropriate given that Hamlet was agonizing over the question of suicide in this soliloquy and in effect you may be urging that we commit collective metaphorical suicide as we divide and are conquered.

It seems to me, however, to be a better course of ACTION that_before_one reaches a judgment about what to do or how to solve a problem one should first_understand_that situation or problem. Indeed, this seems rather basic. In the present context, then, we would all do a lot better in our discussions on the Blog if we had a shared informed understanding of the proper hermeneutic regarding magisterial documents (There was a similar discussion last week about Syria, as I recall). My suspicion is that were we to do that, some of those matters that currently seem perplexing and vexing may seem less so (although I could be wrong and perhaps the opposite is true).

Going around opining on the meaning and application of magisterial documents without understanding the rules and methods for their proper interpretation is rather like someone who has not studied law giving legal advice or someone who has not studied medicine treating patients or some cowboy plumber fixing your water heater. I think we can all agree that this is generally not a good idea. Ergo, study how to do it right first; in other words, get the proper training.

BTW, Hamlet’s situation wasn’t actually that simple.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene (at 10:06 a.m.): And your problem with that is what, exactly?

FYI: He is not “my boy Obammy.”

Gene said...

Anon 2, America is a constitutional REPUBLIC. Although some may use the term "democracy" to loosely refer to the founding, it is incorrect. Now, Shamika down at Eric Holder High, might not know the difference (and I am betting she does not), but your boy from Harvard Law certainly should...especially when he speaks publicly.

Gene said...

You know, Anon 2, I would also expect a Mercer Law professor to know the difference between a democracy and a republic. I asked my daughter, who is a practicing attorney, and she explained it quite well. Perhaps we should have a moment of silence for those poor districts your graduates will be serving...

Pater Ignotus said...

John - The Church determines what is and what is not the Roman Rite. If the Church determines that without Latin, without Gregorian chant, without maniples the Rite is still Roman, that is the Church's prerogative.

When Rolls Royce began to install air conditioning on their automobiles in the late 1950's - a significant change - the cars were still Rolls Royces. They were most certainly not the Rolls of the 1920's, but they were Rolls nonetheless. None of the changes introduced over the decades by Rolls Royce has negated the fact that the product remains a Rolls Royce.

The Roman Rite does not determine what is or is not the Roman Rite. The Church does.

Anonymous 2 said...

Oh dear, Gene, there you go again, assuming things without knowing, or to continue one theme under discussion: leaping to judgment without understanding. Why do you continually do that? Instead of shooting first and asking questions later, perhaps you might try asking a few questions first before you shoot. A good one might be: Is it really conceivable that Anon. 2, a Mercer law professor, would not in fact understand the distinction between a democracy and a republic? Too much “resolution” and not enough study perhaps?

I am, of course, quite well aware of the difference between a democracy and a republic, and indeed have taught the difference in various courses by examining the political experience of the ancient Greeks (including Aristotle’s Politics) and Romans (including Polybius) and then tracing the emergence of constitutional representative government under the rule of law in the history of the West. What I was not aware of was your particular quibble with what Obama said. After all, you often complain that he disrespects the Constitution, so perhaps you found it ironic that he referred to a “constitutional” democracy.

Moreover, while you and I may be aware of the distinction between direct democracy and representative government as a matter of political and constitutional theory, it has now become quite acceptable to use the term “constitutional democracy” to refer to the United States as well as many other countries that also have representative government governed by a constitution and the rule of law, etc:

Your mistake, I believe, is in not recognizing the distinction between direct democracy and constitutional democracy. Thus Obama’s use of the phrase “constitutional democracy” was, it seems, quite unobjectionable. Of course, I am aware of the astounding Orwellian ability of the political Right in this country to engage in “doublethink” and to make lavish use of the memory hole so that while they may believe A today, once Obama says A, then suddenly they believe not A and indeed claim always to have done so. One wit coined a new word for this phenomenon: “blacktrack,” and I fear there may be some sad truth in the jest. I just hope the same tendency is not at work in you too.

Anonymous 2 said...

My computer said I lost interent connection as I sent the follwing so I am trying again:

Gene: Here are some additional sources for you:

On accepted use of the tern “constitutional democracy”:

On the use of the terms “republic” and “democracy” in the early Republic:

The Britannica discusses how, against the background of an unsettled usage of these terms in the colonies, the framers and early leaders variously described the Republic as a “republic” or a “democracy” depending on the particular distinctions they had in mind. Thus Madison described it as a “republic” in contrast to “direct democracy,” whereas Wilson, John Marshall, and Jefferson described it as a “democracy” in contrast, for example, to a “monarchy” or “aristocracy.” Indeed the Britannica notes that “[e]ven among his contemporaries, Madison’s refusal to apply the term democracy to representative governments, even those based on broad electorates, was aberrant.” So, just as had been true earlier in the colonies, some of the framers and leaders in the early Republic equated the terms “republic” and “democracy.” And famously, of course, Tocqueville described it as a “democracy” (“Democracy in America”):

All the above seem to be mainstream sources. I have also found sources where the distinction between a “republic” and a “democracy” is asserted (perverted?) by some today to serve some narrow ideological point on the Right or the Left.

I trust that the above helps make us all a little wiser.

Gene said...

It is basic civics, Anon 2. The president was incorrect even from a HS perspective. You are quibbling.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

If the Church solemnly declared that a dog was a cat, it would remain a dog. You yourself said that the entire Roman Rite was not a matter of local custom, but that certain elements were, and these elements could be changed or eliminated. I agreed, and attempted to identify those elements that were essential to the Rite, and those which were not.
I did not say that maniples, Gregorian Chant or even Latin were essential (although Latin and Chant are certainly integral).

Rites exist as liturgical and historical entities. The Byzantine Rite does not depend for its existence on what the Church (which Church, by the way?) might say at any given moment. Neither does the Roman. Liturgical scholars are in general agreement that the Novus Ordo needs to be seen as sui generis, not as a development of the existing, and now equally esteemed, Roman Rite.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene, I will concede that you are not alone in your view that Obama made an elementary error when referring to the United States as a constitutional democracy. I have read the same criticism elsewhere. However, my researches suggest that he was not wrong and I have given you the sources. Have you read these sources? If you have, how can you dismiss Wilson, Marshall, Jefferson, and Tocqueville as mere quibbles? Do you claim to know better than the Encyclopedia Britannica, for example?

Of course, you might still have a point if Obama really did not know about the accepted use of the term “constitutional democracy” with reference to the United States and just got lucky while really being ignorant of the distinction between a republic and a direct democracy. But how likely is that, I mean, really?