Monday, December 9, 2013



by Nicola Bux

Fifty years after December 4, 1963, when the liturgical constitution of Vatican II was promulgated, the statement of a scholar of that Council comes back to mind: "The fathers did not want a liturgical 'revolution.'"

How can this be proven? A brand-new website is making available the documentary sources concerning the preparation, drafting, and composition of "Sacrosanctum Concilium."

The objective is to make the documents known for the sake of an impartial history of the liturgical reform and therefore also for an authentic understanding of Vatican II, in continuity with the other councils of the Church, in the route of navigation marked out by Agostino Marchetto:

"In recent decades, the question of the correct celebration of the liturgy has become more and more one of the central points of the controversy surrounding Vatican Council II, or how it should be evaluated and received in the life of the Church."

The new website, free and easy to access, finally makes a very valuable resource available to all.

One must simply get one's bearings a bit in consulting it. The home page of the website, which is still under construction, says the following:

"In the next few weeks transcriptions will be presented of the documentation necessary for understanding how before the Council the liturgical commission came to draft the schema of the constitution on the liturgy proposed at the ecumenical Council Vatican II and how, during the two conciliar sessions, this schema was modified according to the wishes expressed by the fathers."

The liturgical commission held three conferences during which were organized, presented, and discussed the work done by the subcommissions. To present the material this division has been maintained on the website:

> I Conventus

> II Conventus

> III Conventus

After which the Council began and the work passed to the Commissio Centralis. The conciliar liturgical commission met during the first and second session, in 1962 and 1963, and also in the intermediate period. In this case as well the original division has been maintained on the website:

> Sessio I

> Sessio II

Almost all of the documentary material has now been collected in the Vatican Secret Archives and from there has been taken and made public on the website. While a search is underway for other documents that are known to exist but are not found in the Archives, so that complete documentation can finally be offered to the general public.

The texts are presented in the original language, which for the most part is Latin.

"Sacrosanctum Concilium" presents the liturgy as the continuation of Christ's work of salvation in every place and every time. The mystery of Christ is present in it, making it the source and summit of ecclesial life.

Pamela E.J. Jackson is right to identify the key to interpreting the document in paragraph 7, which ends as follows:

"From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree."

She has also noted that the sources of the theology of the liturgy, in the constitution, are Sacred Scripture and the liturgical, patristic, and theological tradition, interpreted by the magisterium, especially with the encyclicals "Mystici Corporis" and "Mediator Dei," to such an extent that one can say that in the liturgical field Vatican Council II "completed the work begun by Pius XII."

This corresponds to what Benedict XVI stated at the audience of October 10, 2012: "Sacrosanctum Concilium points out to us . . . the centrality of the mystery of Christ’s presence." As also in the speech of February 18, 2013 to the Roman clergy and in the preface to his writings on liturgical subjects:

"The first, initial, simple – or apparently simple – intention was the reform of the liturgy, which had begun with Pius XII, who had already reformed the Holy Week liturgy. [. . .] I find now, looking back, that it was a very good idea to begin with the liturgy, because in this way the primacy of God could appear, the primacy of adoration. 'Operi Dei nihil praeponatur': this phrase from the Rule of Saint Benedict thus emerges as the supreme rule of the Council."

If one does not want to agree with Benedict XVI, there is Henri De Lubac. For this great theologian as well the constitution on the sacred liturgy has been "often misunderstood and sometimes misrepresented in a sacrilegious way." Because after the Council the conviction took hold that the liturgical constitution postulated a reform in the sense of a rupture with the tradition of the Catholic liturgy. In at least four areas: the Eucharist as supper instead of as sacrifice; the assembly as subject of the liturgy instead of the priest; participation as an alternative to adoration; the central importance of the community in the place of the cosmic breadth of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

For this reason as well it is important to go back to the sources. The preparatory documents permit one to look at "Sacrosanctum Concilium" with more objectivity and allow the evaluation of its postconciliar execution.
Also in the light of the statements of the fathers in the assembly, the constitution was intended to be a normative framework but did not imply a fundamental transformation of the Catholic liturgy. In this - Joseph Ratzinger has written - it is necessary to "see in what area, so to speak, too much was pruned away, so that the connection with the whole history may become clearer and more alive again. I myself have talked in this sense of a 'reform of the reform.' But in my opinion this ought in the first place to be above all an educative process, which would put a stop to this trampling all over the liturgy with one's own inventions."


Anonymous said...

If SC has not been properly implemented then two questions come to mind: "why hasn't it been implemented correctly" and "What is stopping it's proper implementation today?". Bishops make a promise of obedience to the Pope. Secular priests make a promise of obedience and respect to their ordinary and his successors. Religious of both sexes freely profess the Evangelical Counsels. Does anybody in the Church live them? Or have 99 percent persisted in disobedience with no consequences to their actions? The Church has all these rules which nobody in the clergy follows. And it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that this is the problem. If the Council said Latin should be retained in the Mass, then it should be retained......period. The pope has supreme power in the Church but what priest will listen to him if he says V II says "no one, not even a priest may add, remove or change anything on his own authority". Entire congregations of "religious women" are in open defiance of Church teaching and what is being done to correct this? Nothing is being done because those in authority agree with them. These people know they will always have a roof over their heads and food on the table, paid for by the way by the laity who actually do real work and could never carry on in the workplace the way the clergy/religious do. That is the reform needed in the Church. Priests need to know they are not nobility and the laity are serfs.

Pater Ignotus said...

Many, even most, of the posts here assume that SC is the final word on how the principles laid out in SC would be implemented.

There are hundreds of subsequent authoritative documents that have to be considered and consulted if one wants to understand why we are where we are.

Anonymous said...

If we can recognize that the fathers did not want a liturgical revolution, this needs to be made known to the world in a credible way.

I suggest that the Vatican openly denounce Archbishop Bugnini once and for all and renounce the highly-flawed work of the Consilium.

Is there anyone up there with enough honesty and fortitude to admit that some serious mistakes have been made?

Jason said...

Nope, its Sacrosanctum Concilium itself that is the problem, which created the environment for the implementation. It was written a deliberately unclear fashion, with all sorts of loopholes built in to allow people to pretty much do what they want while citing the document for support of their actions. Its well past time to stop letting the council itself off the hook and to place the blame where it properly belongs.

SC - A Lawyer's Perspective:

Steven said...

A flawed premise is used throughout this article. One cannot cite the preparatory documents for SC in support of them being implemented improperly. Why is this, you might ask. Simple. The preparatory documents for this, and the entire council, which had been developed with much thought and care, were scrapped by the bishops with the approval of Paul VI.

The same documents which were thrown away by the bishops cannot then be used to explain that which came out of the council.

Gene said...

As strong as Anonymous brings it, I find myself agreeing with him most of the time. I think he is spot on in his first post in this thread.

Rood Screen said...

In my experience, Anonymous has it backwards. The innovators assume the old rites express a nobility-to-surf sort of ecclesiastical culture, and that VCII's SC called for an elimination of the supposed ritual barriers between these two classes.

And, I think Pater Ignotus is right. For years, the "reform of the reform" types have been accused of betraying VCII, but increasingly the old guard, faced now with the actual texts of the Council, must admit that the conciliar documents themselves were not quite so revolutionary as was once supposed. It was subsequent legislation and official interpretation that defined the present state of things, even in contradiction to the letter of VCII documents.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Realism needs to move us into the future. The EF Form of the Mass is back but there are few laity who want it and even fewer priests.

The solution is what the Anglican Ordinariate has and we in the primary Latin Rite should also, and English or vernacular Mass using the current Roman Missal but with the EF options that the Anglican Ordinariate already has.

It is that simple, plus using their nicely revised Roman Calendar.

Then if make it mandatory that the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons are sung or said then we will be well on our way to what Vatican II interpreted in continuity with the EF desired.

Rood Screen said...

Fr. McDonald,
I think you may be right. BXVI seems to have assumed that the OF could benefit from the EF, but he had no obvious belief that the EF would ever supplant the OF. The reality, which you call us to accept, is that the faithful are not, in any sizable numbers, calling for the introduction of the EF Mass into their parishes, and where the old Mass already exists, only a tiny minority attend. This lack of interest surprises me, but it is the reality we must now accept.
However, I would note that, at least in my experience, those few families attending the EF Mass are far more likely to produce vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the majority of seminarians I know are very interested in the traditional form of Mass. It should, therefore, be preserved.

Henry said...

FrJBS, I'd suggest that what Fr. McDonald is really right about is that only a tiny minority of current Catholics favor the Mass in Latin; whether OF or EF may not make that much difference. It's probably not a question of form or rite as such, but simply one of accessibility to the language used.

I'd conjecture that if the EF were available in hieratic English were available, it would attract considerably more, perhaps a majority in some parishes. (Of course, this would be much like the new Anglican Ordinate Mass choosing the more traditional options.)

At the same time, I suspect that the OF suitably reformed is the main hope for the re-Catholization of worship, and that the real reason for the preservation of the EF--aside from saving the great liturgical treasure of the historical Church--is its role as a model toward which to pull the OF out of its ditch and malaise in typical parish practice. One can't help observing that simply learning the EF cures most or all priests of any blemishes in their OF ars celebranda (Other than those, such as versus populum celebration, that allegedly are mandated by current expectations.)

rcg said...

I suppose it is only a riff on anonymous' post, but I simply do not believe that all that happened to the Liturgy and to the seminaries and convents happened either by accident or without the knowledge of the bishops. I do think that on the best side that they simply felt the preconciliar Liturgy was too hard for the savages in the pews. On the worst side the bishops had an agenda and exploited the flexibility of SC to push it. We may never know if the flexibility was there for that purpose, but everyone seemed to know it was there whilst universally ignoring what B-XVI eventually pointed out.

If FrAJM has composed a valid Mass based on the OF in 2012 what prevented it before then? Are there other examples? I missed them and it trended, and still does, toward the example Gene saw in Etlanta.

Henry said...

rcg, you are surely right in that what happened was neither by accident nor without the knowledge of the bishops. I think--both on the basis of observation at the time, and on the basis of ample documentary and historical evidence as to what actually happened--that it nevertheless happened without the consent or intention of most bishops. Because in the 1960s the bishops were not in control of the liturgical changes that were occurring (as has been amply attested by many in a position to know, for instance, famously by one Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger). They lost control of the liturgy to liturgical commissions and various agencies whose liturgical experimentations and innovations were however sanctioned by the consilium of experts and activists to whom Paul VI gave control (though opposed by the Congregation for Worship from whom control had been removed).

Anonymous said...

Vatican II was all about embracing the world, being open to the world and all it's constantly changing societies. Where in the gospel does Our Lord Lord ever say to embrace the world?

Rood Screen said...

Yes, I think you're both right. It is all but certain that the present EF crowd, on the whole, if given a choice between the new Mass in Latin and the old in fitting vernacular, would choose the latter. This would even more certainly be true of the present OF congregations.

Rood Screen said...

Where does VCII say to "embrace the world".

Pater Ignotus said...

Gaudium et Spes, that's where.

"1. The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.

2. Hence this Second Vatican Council, having probed more profoundly into the mystery of the Church, now addresses itself without hesitation, not only to the sons of the Church and to all who invoke the name of Christ, but to the whole of humanity. For the council yearns to explain to everyone how it conceives of the presence and activity of the Church in the world of today."

Among other places.

Anonymous said...

You ask "how did V II embrace the world"? Is that a joke or a serious question. I suggest you read Lamentabili Sane to understand what modernism is and why SAINT Pope Pius X condemned it. Or to put it another way, to allow someone to persist in error without correcting them is neither pastoral, Catholic or Christian. Just going around kissing and hugging people is not going to call them to conversion. Sin must be named, confronted, fought and conversion must be the goal. Making people feel comfortable in sin isn't pastoral. Christ said " I do not condem you, but go and sin no more". Today's church says who am I to judge but doesn't mention sin. Confusion is of the world not the Church, that is up until Vatican II. Confusion reigns supreme.

James said...

The suggestion that SC has not been implemented properly but the document itself does not stand up in the light of Papal statements to the contrary.

Pope Paul VI in November 1969,stated that the NO Mass was precisely what SC authorized. Pope John Paul II echoed those comments on the 25th anniversary of SC that the New Mass was precisely what the council intended.

This whole premise is flawed and ridiculous. It does not stand up even remotely to objective analysis.

Anonymous said...

Fr. AJ, how long do you think it will take before we will get to see a Mass closer to what VII intended, are we talking 5-10 years..or are we talking decades?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Because SC is sloppily written it is and was open to a wide range of interpretation unlike the better written other documents. Pope Paul VI embraced a particular interpretation and implemented the reforms with high level (but not the highest immutable level) of papal authority. Therefore future tweaking will be incremental. Allowing the liberal return of the EF is huge in this regard. I reiterate that the template for future reform lies in what we see with the Anglican Ordinariate Mass. This follows SC too but with 21st century sobriety !
I find it off how dogmatic some are concerning lower level papal promulgations but diss the highest level of an encylical --Humanae Vitae!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When will we see change? Don't know! 10 years?

Anonymous said...

Scripture tells us that false prophets will arise and by their fruits you shall know them. Anonymous is right. Nothing but confusion has resulted from Vatican Council II. And this new pope seems to be adding to the confusion. He has come down with an iron fist regarding the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception yet the LCWR continues merrily along their way.

Rood Screen said...

I'm not sure VCII uses the phrase "embrace the world" anywhere, but if by this is meant the need to convert the world to the True Faith, then yes, we must, "strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church" (SC 1), thereby embracing a converted world.

John Nolan said...

I was interested in Fr JBS's comment that the "EF crowd" would prefer the EF in English to the OF in Latin. This is undoubtedly true in some cases. Judging from comments on this blog, a lot of people see the older form as an escape from the excrescences which plague the Novus Ordo to the extent that they seem to be inseparable from it (failing to observe rubrics, dreadful music, ad-libbing, playing to the audience, EMHC, women in the sanctuary, and so on). Yet none of these is part of the rite. At its most solemn the OF is musically identical and ritually very similar to the EF, and a lot of people would be hard put to tell the difference.

I love the EF Low Mass I served as a boy, and know it so well I only need to open my missal at the propers; but faced with the choice at the London Oratory of a Low EF and a Solemn Latin OF, I would plump for the latter.

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,
I agree with you. The Low Mass is not the shining star of the Roman liturgical tradition, although it is sufficient.
I also agree with some other commentators that there is liturgical confusion in the Latin Church today, but the faith and morals of the Church are clearly spelled out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So, it's not all doom and gloom. Christ is still risen.

rcg said...

If I may carry John's comments one step further, I would not 'choose'. Parishes offer severe; Masses with varying degrees of solemnity. I would be thrilled to attend an OF in Latin done in a solemn high Mass style. I also think it might be a good thing to have the EF Low Mass in English, which it sort of is anyway in the '62, to make it more accessible to people. At this point in time the gap between the two Mass styles is a challenge for many to bridge. The effort is minimal, but scary to many that I think would otherwise be willing to make the trip.

Pater Ignotus said...

Women in the sanctuary?!?!? However did they get in???

Danny Boy said...

The most flawed premises in this entire conversation are that "tiny minorities" attend the EF Mass (not every parish is St. Joe's) or that it won't work because a "minority of people and even fewer priests" want it.

Where in the Church's history is it set in stone that policy is determined by popularity? That's hardly Catholic thinking.

John Nolan said...


Last night I attended a Solemn Mass at the Oxford Oratory for the (deferred) Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It was OF, Solemn Latin, with a Mass setting by Michael Haydn for organ and string orchestra and motets by Reinecke and the almost unknown Franz Regnart. No lay readers, no EMHC or female servers (the English Oratories have no truck with that). BTW, the only English in the 1962 Mass was in the Leonine prayers after the end.

PI, I don't know how women got into the sanctuary - when the NO came in (1970) they were still forbidden. It's still a complete break with tradition, does not obtain in the Eastern Churches, and your argument in favour of innovation, viz. that everything was new at one time is threadbare and spurious.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Danny Boy. Truth is not determined by popular opinion. And this nonsense that Pope Francis has opened the doors of the Church to include everyone. What an insult to all of the popes before him going back to Peter. The Catholic Church has always welcomed everyone, but not their sinfulness, until now. When you have a president of a country thanking the pope, to his face, for not preaching dogma and making room for doubt, and that pope just sits there, we have a problem. Francis is the perfect example of a priest who is a product of Vatican Council II. He doesn't come out and speak heresy, but his speech can be used to mean anything, just like the documents of Vatican II.

Pater Ignotus said...

Threadbare and spurious? Nope. Just the facts.

Gregorian chant was new once, as was the formulation of the doctrine of transubstantiation, as were jeweled miters, as were maniples. "We never did it that way before" is, alone, an insufficient argument.

How'd women get into the sanctuary? Baptism.

Anonymous said...

Any comment that is vitriolic and disrespectful of the laity in general, and Pope Francis, bishops and priests in particular will no longer be tolerated and will not be posted!

"And this nonsense that Pope Francis has opened the doors of the Church to include everyone. What an insult to all of the popes before him going back to Peter."

The farce continues...

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine recommended that I visit this blog. I guess she thought she knew me. She clearly she does not.

I am astounded at the number of frumpy, grumpy, whining people. The world will never change into exactly what you want it to be. The Church is part of the world.

I suggest that you look up and read and meditate on The Serenity Prayer.

rcg said...

@John, I am jealous!

fair enough on the English in the '62. I meant that the adequat translation is there and notwithstanding the clunk invests of chanting it in English it could be done so the people could at least follow. A local priest has taken to chanting the NO, although it remains outwardly identicle to the more common examples.

I am still of the opinion that Pope Francis is not being entirely interpreted accurately. If I have doubts of my position they are that he does not address them swiftly, nor exercise much caution in subsequent addresses, although he has tightened up a bit.

Anonymous said...

"I am astounded at the number of frumpy, grumpy, whining people. The world will never change into exactly what you want it to be. The Church is part of the world"

Oh I'm sorry that the total collapse of the Roman Rite which has lead to almost the entire destruction of the Faith causes concern in some of us.

Joseph Johnson said...

Baptism didn't get women allowed into the Sanctuary for most of the history of the Church--'must be some other reason . . .

Pater Ignotus said...

JJ - The dignity of Baptism is what got men into the sanctuary, not the dignity of Holy Orders.

Only when we recognized that were women, rightly, admitted to the sanctuary.

And if you think it is Holy Orders that gets men into the sanctuary, why, oh why, are un-ordained altar servers allowed in?

Joseph Johnson said...

"Why, oh why, are un-ordained altar servers allowed in?"

"The English Oratories have no truck with that (EMHC's and female altar servers). I guess I'm in "bad" company! Somehow I don't feel so bad about this . .
(BTW: I'm raising two daughters, aged 13 and 15 both of which haved served Mass in the past but have come to the viewpoint that serving is really, properly, for boys. They receive Communion on the tongue and, also, prefer to go to Confession behind the screen while their mother and I are comfortable with either screen or no screen--so it's not just because of any influence I might have!).

Maybe an English Oratorian Father (or someone familiar with the reasoning behind their practices) can kindly weigh in and enlighten us?

Gene said...

Anonymous, the Church is "in the world, but not of it." That is a fine point you are missing.
Does this mean you are leaving the blog and going to your girlfriend? Good luck getting to know each other better…LOL!

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here are so contrary to my experience with worship in Latin-rite Catholic churches in my community that I can hardly follow their arguments. If the Novus Ordo is well (I would say, more minimally, properly) done, then aside from the older prayers at the foot of the altar and the last gospel, and not taking into account the additional canons (I do think that the Roman canon should be said on all Sundays and Solemnities, rather than as in my experience just Christmas and Easter), then the differences pretty much amount to the three readings and responsorial psalm on three-year cycle, the changed offertory prayers, the greeting of peace, and communion under both kinds. Father McDonald a few months ago said what I think there is to be said about the offertory prayers. To me the former liturgy seems almost to give the impression that AT THAT POINT the Eucharistic sacrifice is effected. The new prayers seem very soberly to seek blessing on the bread and wine wherethrough the sacrifice will come about. (In either form, would that the offertory prayers were more "presented" to us, rather than being covered up with music!) But as for the additional scripture readings, and the glorious psalm (as opposed to the snippets used in the Extraordinary Form), the greeting of peace (I have seldom experienced the time-consuming, walk all over the church greeting people style that some - rightly - complain of), and communion under both kinds, the Novus Ordo is better. I am, in a manner of speaking, prepared to fight for the blessed and providential change in those matters that were introduced subsequent to the Council. It would have been better, however, if those changes had been done all at once. The drips and drabs of 1964-1969 introduced a feeling of changeableness that is at least in some degree responsible for the freewheeling that most posters here, and certainly I, deplore. - Ancil Payne (as I said once before, I cannot see how to do anything other than "Anonymous")

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Taking your argument to its logical conclusion, any baptized Christian should be able to offer Mass. The Church's official line is that baptism per se does not confer the right to service at the altar. You may think otherwise, but that is your private opinion and carries no weight.

Strictly speaking, service at the altar is the ordinary ministry of the instituted acolyte (since 1972 not one of the minor orders but, like the ministry of lector, reserved to men). A lay server is substituting for him, which is why he wears clerical choir dress, viz. cassock and cotta. If baptism does confer the right to be in the sanctuary, then explain why women are barred from the sanctuary in the EF Mass, and even in the OF a diocesan bishop is entitled to bar them, and if he does allow the practice in his diocese he cannot compel a parish, or even an individual priest, to accept a female server.

As with your assumption that you are better qualified to translate a Latin text than the Latinists at ICEL, it is clear that you are putting your private opinions above the sensus ecclesiae, which ill behoves you as a cleric. To put the doctrine of transubstantiation on the same footing as maniples and mitrae pretiosae is weird. My worry is that you may be leading your parishioners into schism and heresy.

Joseph Johnson said...

Ancil Payne,
I have no problem with the Novus Ordo "if properly done" (that seems to be the point of debate for many of us here as many of us think the Novus Ordo should not be so different from the Tridentine [Extraordinary] Form. Unfortunately, that has not been the widespread experience of most.

The problem is not Sacrosanctum Concilium or the Novus Ordo, per se--it is with much of what happened after SC and after the Novus Ordo was first introduced. I grew up from about age 9 with the Novus Ordo but no Communion in the hand (and no female altar servers), for example. I am the same age as Bishop Athanasius Schneider (author of "Dominus Est"). I share his views and prefer Communion on the tongue (and, preferably, kneeling). To me, these are the issues--not the Novus Ordo.

Womaninthesanctuary said...

Time chose Pope Francis because he doesn't have to be explained to the world. His actions speak 17,000 dialects.

John Nolan said...

Ancil Payne,

The Offertory prayers in the Tridentine Mass were originally the private prayers of the priest and were not added until the second millennium, which is one reason why the compilers of the NO wanted to get rid of them altogether. However, to assume that the Mass of the first millennium was intrinsically superior is to fall into the error which Pius XII identified as "archaeologism". Rites older than the Tridentine (eg the Dominican) include the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, the offering to the triune Godhead, which the lately-added Offertory prayers don't even attempt to replicate.

According to the GIRM the Offertory prayers may be said aloud, provided that no singing (eg the Offertory chant in the GR) is in progress.

Gene said...

Joseph Johnson, Yeah, but if kneeling and on the tongue are the issues,there are Calvinist churches and Lutheran churches that give communion that way. I did it as a Calvinist preacher in an old church with an altar rail. There was no rule against it…

It is more than that. I f they had received kneeling and on the tongue at that horrible Mass I attended last Sunday, it would have been no less horrible.

Anonymous said...

God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; TAKING, AS HE DID, THIS SINFUL WORLD AS IT IS, NOT AS I WOULD HAVE IT; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen (Emphasis added)

Pater Ignotus said...

John - No, that is not the logical conclusion of my argument. In fact, who is or is not admitted to Holy Orders has nothing to do with the "who gets into the sanctuary" discussion.

No one has a "right" to serve as a priest. It is a gift given from God. If you think otherwise, you don't know Church teaching nearly as well as you believe.

Women are barred from the sanctuary in the EF because the EF embodies an incomplete ecclesiology, one in which the dignity of the Baptized and the role of women is negated. This was as much a cultural lacuna as a theological one - maybe more so.

And if ordination is what admits one to the sanctuary, you still have not explained how the un-ordained altar servers get in . . .

I never claimed to be a better translator than the ICEL Latinists. I do claim to be a better editor of prayers intended for verbal proclamation to American audiences in English than those responsible for a number of the translations we now have in the missal.

The formulation of the doctrine of transubstantiation was novel at one time, as were jeweled miters and maniples. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply unhistorical and unsupportable in fact.

Joseph Johnson said...

'Sorry, I wrote that last comment hurriedly this morning while I was being summoned out the door by my family.

Yes, you're right that the manner of reception of Communion isn't the only issue. The idea I meant to convey (of which manner of reception is but one issue of several)is that most of the liturgical issues/problems are not things that are mandated in SC or in the Novus Ordo itself. Unsuitable music, ugly Church art, non-use of the universal option for Latin (at least for some Ordinary parts), EMHC's, female altar servers, use of table altars when original high altars are still in some older churches, priests who assume the "authority" to "edit" the approved prayers contained in the Roman Missal, these are all examples of things which have come about since SC and the Novus Ordo and many of which are the "norm" in most parishes but which are not specifically required by SC or the NO.

The fact that these controversial practices are not mandated is borne out by the kind of NO Masses that I have attended and that John Nolan describes as celebrated by the Oratorian Fathers in the UK. I only wish we had a large presence of Oratorians like the ones in Oxford, England, in the U.S.!

Looking ahead to the next post, while I appreciate what Bishop Mueller had to say on these issues, I can't say with honesty that I am in total agreement with him. Part of this difference in viewpoints may be attributable to a difference in age. He's more wedded to the "conventional" post VII practices while I (and many younger than me)are more open to seeing the liturgical reform being reshaped in light of what we know about the EF and what SC actually says. And, yes, this may mean a greater skepticism or criticism of later documents on liturgy especially from the Paul VI era which may cut against this hermeneutic.

Ad orientem celebration will, one day, again become the norm in the Roman Rite. It may not be in my lifetime but I truly believe that it is inevitable.

Gene said...

Joseph, you and I are in agreement. I understand what you meant now.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Nowhere did I say that anyone had a "right" to Holy Orders, nor did I maintain that only those in Holy Orders should be admitted to service in the sanctuary. The 1994 interpretation of Canon 230 which allowed women to serve at the altar added the following warning. "It must be clearly understood that the liturgical services mentioned above are carried out by lay people ex temporanea deputatione according to the judgement of the bishop, without lay people, be they men or women, having any right to exercise them". A further ruling in 2004 made it clear that a diocesan bishop has the right to impose a 'boys only' rule in his diocese, but cannot impose girls on any parish or indeed on any individual priest.

The reason that women may not serve in the EF is because juridical rulings made since 1962 do not apply; not because it "embodies an incomplete ecclesiology" or negates "the dignity of the Baptized" or the "role of women". Once again, your private opinion, and in this case probably heretical. The Novus Ordo was rolled out in 1970; in that year Paul VI affirmed that service at the altar was reserved to men and boys, and ten years later JP II reiterated the prohibition of women servers. So are you saying that the new Mass was ecclesiologically incomplete for the first 24 years of its existence, and is likewise deficient in those parishes or dioceses that still bar women from the service of the altar?

I would suggest that rather than criticizing me for holding opinions I don't in fact hold and have never advanced, you provide documentary evidence for the view that baptism confers the right to serve Mass.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan: "The Church's official line is that baptism per se does not confer the right to service at the altar." I did not say that it did.

We agree on this. But this is not a discussion or ordination, so the point is not germane.

I am rather certain that my opinion is not heretical and would suggest that you provide, if you choose, evidence to back up your charge.

The mass evolves - changes - for a variety of reasons, most good, some not so good. As our understanding of the dignity given to all by Baptism has expanded/improved, the roles of service in the sanctuary have been opened to them.

Any thought that the mass EF the EF is perfect and unchangeable, or that the theology (ecclesiology) that underlies that mass is perfect and unchangeable is simply not supported by 1) the theological or 2) the historical evidence of . . . (wait for it)...change.

John Nolan said...

PI, to say as you do that a fully recognized and indeed esteemed rite of Mass is theologically flawed and negates the dignity of the baptized is arguably heretical.

On the question of female servers, you say in an earlier post: "How'd (sic) women get into the sanctuary? Baptism". And subsequently: "The dignity of Baptism is what got men into the sanctuary ... only when we recognized that were women, rightly, admitted to the sanctuary". But nowhere in the relevant documents does it even suggest this as a reason for relaxing the former prohibition, which relaxation is in any case permissive, not prescriptive, to the extent that an individual priest can refuse to have a female server.

This was never a discussion about ordination, but about the service of the altar. It is my view that the 1994 concession is not unconnected with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, issued in the same year. There were subsequent rumours that it might be withdrawn, enough to worry the English and Welsh bishops who lobbied for its retention on one of their ad limina visits to Rome.

Your last comment is another "straw man" argument. No-one I know has ever suggested that the Roman Rite of 1962, aka the Extraordinary Form, is perfect and unchangeable, or that the various Rites and Uses of the Western Church did not change and evolve over centuries.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - So your contention is that the theology underpinning the EF is perfect. Explain, please.

And, again, if ordination is what gets a man into the sanctuary, how do we get un-ordained altar servers in?

John Nolan said...

PI, theology might indeed be the "queen of sciences", but does not aspire to perfection - how can it, since it deals with the ineffable? Also, you don't have to agree with Fr Faber that the classic Roman Rite is "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven" but to baldly state that the Church through her liturgy "negated" (strong word, that) the dignity of the baptized for at least a millennium and a half is, if not heretical, certainly preposterous.

No-one has the "right" to Holy Orders, but once these have been conferred, they entitle the recipient to perform the liturgical functions which go with the office, be it bishop, priest, deacon or acolyte. Since the suppression of the Minor Orders in 1972 the acolyte is an instituted minister, rather than a cleric. In the Novus Ordo he, along with the deacon, is permitted to purify the sacred vessels and is, ex officio, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

However, it has been a long-established practice to allow "lay clerks and sacristans" to substitute for clerics in minor orders if these were not available, which was the case in most parishes. This was not, and still is not an entitlement conferred by baptism, still less a "right" - it is strictly "ex temporanea deputatione", regulated by the local Ordinary. So that is why, for a long time, there have been non-ordained men and boys in the sanctuary.

It is reasonable that if someone is substituting for a cleric, and wearing clerical choir dress, he is a least theoretically qualified to be one - women of course are not. There are other reasons for restricting service to males, which have been amply aired elsewhere and which are given due weight in Rome and elsewhere. One the other hand, there are arguments for admitting women to the sanctuary, one of them being that it was done illicitly for years (in Germany since 1965) and, as with Communion in the hand, it is easier to retrospectively legitimize a custom than to suppress it. However, Rome has made it clear that if bishops allow it, it is for pastoral reasons and not theological ones.

I have explained this at length in the hope that you will not keep asking the same question over and over again.

Gene said...

John nolan…it is called "perseveration." Ignotus perseverates about the same damned things over and over again. He is like some kind of brain damaged parrot, squawking the same thing over and over from
his perch.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I appreciate your succinct answer. If you have posted this here before, I have not seen it.

"Negated" is a strong word, perhaps too strong. I might say that in the EF liturgy the dignity of the baptized is not sufficiently recognized or appreciated. This because our theological understanding of the dignity of the baptized, with its implications in ecclesiology and liturgical practice, had not sufficiently matured and, yes, expanded.

If regulation by the local ordinary is the basis for entry into the sanctuary, then you should have no beef if the local ordinary allows women to serve there.

I don't agree with your reasoning that one who is dressed in the costume of a cleric is, or even should be, qualified to be a cleric. Many male altar servers, dressed to the ecclesiastical nines, are no more qualified to seek ordination than, say, our friend Gene!

Simply being a male is certainly not qualification for ordination.

This "reasoning" by you is not, I don't think, supported theologically, but is, at best, a cultural taboo.

I will hold to Baptism being the theological basis for women taking on roles in the sanctuary once reserved to men.

In the one Body of Christ, all the members share “a common dignity” so that “no inequality arising from race or nationality,
social condition or sex” exists, for all are one in Christ (Lumen Gentium [Dogmatic Constitution on the Church], no. 32).

This common dignity and equality applies, long historical practice notwithstanding, to the service given to the community by the participation within the sanctuary by females.

John Nolan said...

PI, I see where you are coming from, and if a bishop wants to allow female servers in his diocese, the 1994 interpretation of Canon 230 allows him to and that's fair enough. No diocese in England and Wales forbids them, although many parishes do. (I don't know how many, and it would be interesting to have statistics - I would suspect that not a few are in the London area). Where females are employed I would prefer that they wore the alb (the garment common to all the baptized) rather than cassock and cotta, which is clerical choir dress.

I did not suggest that all male servers are qualified to be ordained, simply that they are not automatically disqualified. If the Pope were to issue a Motu Proprio to replace Paul VI's 'Ministeria Quaedam' and admit women to the ministries of acolyte and lector (at present seen as transitional, as were deacons until recently) he is competent to do so, as these ministries are not part of Holy Orders. If he were to do so (and I wouldn't rule it out) that might provide some justification for your view that the theology has changed or expanded.