Tuesday, March 24, 2015
POINTS FOR LITURGICAL DISCUSSION ON THE CONVERGENCE OF THE TWO FORMS OF THE ONE LATIN RITE ACCORDING TO VATICAN II
Homework: Read & Discuss:
The two [points of view] most often heard are the lack of obedience to the Council which reformed the liturgical books and the rupturing of unity which must necessarily follow, if one allows other different liturgical forms to continue. It is relatively easy to refute in theory these two arguments. The Council itself did not reform the liturgical books but rather ordered their revision. To that end it laid down some fundamental rules.
Primarily the Council defined what liturgy is and this definition gives valid criteria for every liturgical celebration. If one wishes to scorn these essential rules and to put aside the normae generales which are bound at numbers 34 to 36 of the Constitution "De Sacra Liturgia", then one violates obedience to the Council! One must judge liturgical celebrations, whether they be according to the old or the new liturgical books, based on these criteria.
An average Christian without special liturgical formation would be hard pressed to distinguish a Sung Mass in Latin according to the Old Missal from a Sung Mass in Latin celebrated according to the New Missal. The difference, by contrast, can be enormous between a liturgy faithfully celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI and the concrete forms and celebrations in the vernacular with all the possible freedom and creativity!
Firstly, one judges the two liturgical forms by their exterior elements and arrives at the conclusion that there are two fundamentally different outlooks. That the new liturgy be celebrated in the vernacular, facing the congregation and that there be great leeway for creativity and the active exercise of roles by the laity, is considered essential by the average Christian. On the other hand, it is deemed essential that the old liturgy be in Latin, the priest face the altar, that the rite be strictly controlled and that the faithful follow the Mass by praying privately without having an active role. From this view appearances and not what the liturgy itself considers important, are essential for a liturgy. One must realize that the faithful understand the liturgy from visible concrete forms and that they are spiritually impregnated by them and that the faithful do not penetrate easily the depths of the liturgy.
This is why it is so important to obey the essential criteria of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which I cited above, even if one celebrates according to the Ancient Missal. At the moment when this liturgy truly touches the faithful by its beauty and depth, then it will be alive and there will be no irreconcilable opposition with the new liturgy - provided that these criteria are truly applied as the Council wished.