Saturday, March 12, 2016


As we all know, progressives think fundamentalism is bad, very bad! Of course they mean it when it comes to traditionalists who are faithful to the Magisterium and decry how the documents of Vatican II have been implemented. Traditionalism for them is fundamentalism and it is nasty, very nasty!

However, the true fundamentalists in the Church today are progressives who have deified not only the documents of Vatican II (all of them, even the pastoral ones) but also its spirit.

They view the documents as a rupture with the pre-Vatican II Church. Of course in the 1960's and 70's anyone who didn't like this rupture and they weren't just traditionalists mind you, was considered a heretic by the fundamentalist left in the Church who placed more value on the documents of Vatican II and  its spirit than on Jesus Christ, the Bible and Tradition.

The symbol of fundamentalism as it concerns the reading of Vatican II centers on the manner in which the Mass is celebrated.

Over and over again, we are told by progressive fundamentalist that Vatican II was a rupture from the past in how the Mass is understood.

This is their mantra expressed very well by the Vatican II fundamentalist, Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB:

There is both continuity and rupture between Vatican II and everything that went before. The most important rupture is the way that it implicitly but clearly retrieves a communal liturgy (entire congregation as actors) and rejects “clerical sacred drama which inspires lay people” such as began in the Carolingian era and was in place in 1962. Preconciliar papal documents are moving in the direction that would end up being Vatican II, but they weren’t there yet. They were still trying to make the Tridentine liturgy work a bit better.

The rupture of Vatican II is that they bit the bullet, admitted what the problem was, and went to the radical solution: retrieve the earlier part of the tradition and jettison or move beyond everything in between that is in the way. This still leaves room for continuity (there’s still bread and wine and priest and congregation and [Liturgy of the Word] with Gospel reading etc.etc.). But if you push the continuity ideology and fight against the rupture that really happened, you’ll never get Vatican II right. 

My comments: The ideology of Fr. Anthony is breathtaking and manipulative as were the liturgical theologians of the 1950's through the 80's who are now responsible for the miserable state of how the liturgy in the reformed tradition is celebrated today, ie. think southern California. 

A communal liturgy is not the antithesis of the 1962 Missal and its predecessors.  It is implied in the Missal itself although in practice may have been lacking in some places in the world. There is no reason for the congregation not to be able to participate in the spoken and sung responses of a 1962 Roman Missal Mass. And there is no reason to force the congregation to respond as long as the principles of active participation are present, which means understanding and sharing in the offering of the one Sacrifice. 

It was not Vatican II that  "admitted what the problem was, and went to the radical solution" because Sacrosanctum Concilium is a very conservative albeit reforming document. It called for minor changes to the 1962 Missal. The greatest error though were the terms such as "noble simplicity", "useless repetition" and "some vernacular but maintain the Latin." 

It was Pope Paul VI's committee on the reform of the Mass and other liturgies, "Consilium" that "admitted what the problem was, and went to the radical solution:"

Noble simplicity was interpreted in a fundamentalist sort of way by going backwards to the early Church's liturgy, prior to a complete understanding of it that had developed organically over the course of centuries and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Tradition) and stripped it down to the basics. It would be like a Scripture Scholar saying that the Gospel of John, the last of the four Gospels to be written, has too much complicated theology and accretions, so dump it and just keep the Gospel of Mark!  This ideology applied to the Mass is hogwash!

I would suggest that what Sacrosanctum Concilium was referring to in terms of "noble simplicity" was the Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass of bishops and perhaps to the Solemn Sung Mass in general, but certainly not to a parish High Mass or Low Mass! The fussiness and complexity of a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form could be a turn off to many people who are traditionalists when it comes to the Liturgy.

Useless Repetition was interpreted as eliminating the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar with its double confiteors, shortening the Kyrie from three to two tropes, eliminating the double communion rite for priest and then laity and eliminating the three fold "Lord I am not worthy..." as well as eliminating the Last Gospel.

But then more useless repetition was added with the refrains sung over and over again for the Responsorial Psalm and Communion Antiphon. The Agnus Dei in some places added additional tropes to "cover the action" of the Breaking of the Bread into additional plates and Pouring of the Precious Blood into additional chalices.

Some vernacular but maintain the Latin was completely twisted to mean having an all vernacular Mass or all all Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form. Within five years, Latin in practice was completely eliminated from most parish Masses and the Ordinary Form Missal allows this in practice although Latin in maintained in an all Latin Ordinary Form Missal and a hybrid of vernacular and Latin is allowed but most parishes don't know a lick of Latin today thanks to progressive fundamentalist liturgists. 

I would say that Latin is the culprit in preventing a goodly number of people from being completely engaged in the Liturgy. One could still have the 1962 Missal completely as it is but allow for the vernacular and in an all vernacular 1962 Missal, there would be the same amount of participation if not more by the congregation as in an OF vernacular Mass. 

I still contend that the Roman Missal that is the Ordinariate's Divine Worship, the Missal is what Vatican II envisioned for the Liturgy, not what the normal Latin Rite has, which is what Pope Paul VI's ideological, fundamentalist committee Consilium desired for the Mass. 

The only fault I find with the Ordinariate's Missal (apart from the Anglican Use elements that could easily be eliminated for general Ordinary Form use) is that there isn't an official mandate for the use of Latin in any part of the Mass.

 I would suggest that the Gloria, Kyrie, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei be mandated to be sung or spoken in Latin and everything else in the vernacular as an option, which means Latin for everything else could still be chosen.  Then one would have a non fundamentalist Roman Missal desired by Vatican II!


Rood Screen said...

Indeed, the complex unpredictability of the reformed Mass seems to be more a complication of the Sacred Mysteries than simplification of them.

GenXBen said...

Progressives see Vatican II as a second Ascension and Pentecost. At the Ascension, Jesus finished His instruction, then entrusted the Apostles to speak for Him and implement His commands. But He was no longer on Earth in bodily form to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Pentecost emboldened the apostles and ushered in the Age of the Church, with it's intimate connection with Jesus as both the Bride of Christ and the mystical Body of Christ.

Jesus marked continuity and rupture with the past. The heretics like the Gnostics and Marcion saw no connection between the God of the Old Testament and the God preached by, and personified by, Jesus. The orthodox saw that the Old Testament has to be read with the New Testament in mind. The New is contained in the Old and the Old reveals the New. Difficult passages, tedious recitation of geneologies and laws, virtue and vice are interpreted as God's revealing grace. God is knocking off the hard edges on His people's stony hearts to prepare them for The Messiah. The Catholic view is that the Bible is not self-interpreting. That when there's an apparent conflict or dispute (such as the necessity of baptism) the Magesterium has the authority to determine the correct interpretation.

In the progressive mind, Vatican II ushered in the age of Newchurch. The fathers at Vatican to wrote their documents and then essentially abdicated in a way not dissimilar to the Ascension. Their inspiration remains but they are no longer around to comfort the afflicted or afflict the comfortable. Instead they established a new magesterium to carry on the mission. The Newchurch crowd disslike expressions of Papal Authority, or authority by any Bishop for that matter, because the Pope and Bishops were supposed to check out after Vatican II. Jesus left His church alone, except for a few visions here and there, after the Ascension and the Newchurch magesterium would appreciate the same courtesy from the Pope.

There is continuity and rupture in the eras before and after Vatican II. Heretics would claim that the church prior to Vatican II is a different church than the one that came after. Others will stress continuity and look a the old in light of the new. I would argue that even the "continuity" statement can be taken to far to the point that the previous generations are viewed pitifully as poor savages who tried their best but were unable to achieve the glory of Newchurch liturgy. It's a generational arrogance that defines the 60's and 70's crowd.

The documents are not self interpreting. If the documents say retain latin and the Newchurch magesterium interprets that to mean "get rid of Latin except for an occasional Agnus Dei when we feel like slumming it" then that's what it means. The beauty of Newchurch is you don't have to go to seminary for 10 years and work your way up the ladder for 20 years before you get to be part of the new magesterium. You just read NcR, pledge your devotion to Hans Kung, feel "deeply" about something and you're in.

After all, why should the people who lived in the First Century have all the fun? The Newchurch group all have PhD's. Shouldn't they get to tell the next generations what to do?

Victor W said...

Looks like the ivory tower people are getting restless in the face of the grass roots "fundamentalism" cornering them.

Fr Ruff seems typical of the ivory tower "experts" who made up history stories during the so-called "reform" of the liturgy following the Council. What proof does he have that the Carolingians were responsible for the so-called clerical sacred drama? Jesus Himself was pretty dramatic when, as the High Priest, He said that the simple bread and wine in front of Him was His Body and Blood. Fr Ruff sounds a lot like Luther, if you shift everything a few centuries back, that between the early Christians and the 16th century the Church was totally corrupt, requiring a Protestant Reformation. Perhaps he would be more at peace being a Lutheran, instead of trying to make the True Church Lutheran. But the point is, with so few documents from that past, making up ideologically driven history stories has been easy.

Even so, what is wrong with the Mass as a Sacred Drama with the priest as leader? That would certainly be a positive progress of evolution. His psychological extroversion seems to be affecting his views, since not everyone is comfortable being an actor in a drama, particularly the introverts. The Mass is about the Sacrifice. The faithful go to Mass to obtain spiritual merits from the Sacrifice. Without the Sacrifice, there is no need to go to church. And sacrifice, since the ancient times of Israel, meant a priest in a sanctuary that is separated from the profane world. One cannot get more clerical than that.

A large portion of the ivory tower world (the "experts") has had too much influence on the Church. This is something Ratzinger alluded to, even though he himself was comfortable in an ivory tower. Too many in the Church hierarchy are the result of this ivory tower world. After World War II, very many ivory towers in the affluent countries became infected by this affluence. The problem with this today as 50 years ago is that it gives its members the illusion of grandeur, removing them radically further from the thoughts and lives of the ordinary people. After the demise of the mediaeval universities for which Faith sought understanding, the universities of the so-called Enlightenment became Reason seeking understanding. By the 19th century, they were already far removed from the ordinary people. The rational theology of Hegel at the big universities had little in common with those "ignorant" peasants that Kierkegaard admired so much for their spiritual innocence. It seems their ignorance of those "experts" in theology was their spiritual treasure.

James said...

I'm sure that in practice, the Gloria, Kyrie, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei are sung in Latin in many Ordinariate parishes some or most of the time, just as they would have been when these churches were still part of the Anglican Communion.

When I was a student, I occasionally played the organ for masses at Pusey House (Fr John Hunwicke's old stamping ground), and Latin was invariably used there (except for the Credo, which was chanted in English).

John Nolan said...

Fr Ruff knows a lot about Gregorian Chant but not a lot about liturgical history. I would dearly like to ask him to provide evidence of a Carolingian rupture (something that progressive liturgists have been peddling for sixty years) but cannot do so since I am automatically barred from his PrayTell blog, and have been for the past four years.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What's more he writes this absurd embarrassing statement: “clerical sacred drama which inspires lay people” is rejected by the Council! Yet this drivel informed the implementation of the 1970 missal! It is the smoke of Satan!

Anonymous said...

What strikes me about Ruff's interpretation of Vatican II is that the Council itself and then Bl. Paul VI afterwards tend to speak of the Liturgy becoming more accessible, more intelligible, more participatory. They never speak of true participation as being made possible for the very first time since the 8-9 centuries. Of course, Ruff states that his view is only implicit in the document, but then the question may be asked: why is it only implicit if it is so radical? I suspect that the answer would be that if the bishops knew that this was the document's true meaning, then a significant number of them would not vote for it. But then, if that is the case, then implicitly Ruff's view holds that the bishop's didn't know what they were approving. To which I would ask: doesn't that put the council into question then if this is indeed the case? If the Council really did hold the radical position that Ruff presents then why can't it be stated out loud in magisterial documents to expunge all doubt? Again, I suspect that the answer is that to attempt to say it officially entails having to acknowledge and contend with other possible interpretations, and so would require Ruff and friends to have to acknowledge other points of view as legitimate. In this light, the comment policy of Praytell makes sense: ridicule, mockery and disrespect of the other side is tolerated, but challenging the collegeville party line gets you banned.
In this bold new church sung into being the key words are control and manipulation. (think of the stunt that Paul Inwood tried to pull with Summorum Pontificum)

Anonymous said...

The idea that everything since Carolingian times is somehow wrong or corrupted the liturgy/Church sounds perilously close to Luther's position, i.e., that time and change corrupted things. Both are what an American would call a whig view of history, which is hegelian and Marxist in approach.

Victor W said...

It has occurred to me that what Fr. Ruff is doing is very important. A lot of history was being fabricated by the experts to make changes in the liturgy: the scandal of EP II, sacrifices facing the people, what early Christians did or did not do, and so forth. When you do not know history you are easily controlled by those in authority who claim they do. George Orwell (1984) said it well in the face of tyrannical governments: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” By controlling history you control the minds of the people, even the pope, which is precisely what happened during the reform of the liturgy. Controlling history is not that difficult for people with power since only a fragment of the past is ever known with any certainty. Revisionism is an important tool for this.

John Nolan said...

Fortunately some of us are historians and not so easily fooled.

Anonymous said...

One of the tallest tales I heard was how the Mass came to be said by the priest ad orientem. We were told by a priest that in the big cathedrals in Europe there were altars on every pillar and so some people just happened to end up with the priest not facing them and so it grew from there. He managed to say it with a straight face and I don't recall anyone at the time questioning his version of "how it happened" either. In those days people believed every word the priest said.

TJM said...

Father Ruff is a standard modern day liberal: narrow-minded, authoritarian and tyrannical. He will block you at "Pray Sniff" if you don't buy the party line. Sad, truly sad.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

With Fr. A. It is his German arrogance, snooty VII fundamentalism, intellectual elitism/clericalism and high strong musician personality combined with being a liturgists which we all know that d
The difference between a liturgist and a terrorist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist but not a liturgist!