Tuesday, July 10, 2018


I have an excerpt below of a longer article in the New Liturgical Movement blog by Peter Kawasniewski. You can read the entire article by pressing the title below.

I think the photo of the priest only in clerics with arms crossed says it all. Blah. Yet this was the first change I experienced as a 13 year old when Vatican II began to be implemented in my parish in Augusta.

The first change was for an odd looking altar to be placed in front of the one against the wall. The Mass, like the one pictured below, was the 1962 Missal, not the 1965 one.  We were allowed to respond during the dialogue Mass with all of the parts normally associated with the altar boy parts. I still have the card that was passed out to us so we could actively participate with our spoken responses.

Most of us thought this would be the big change, Mass facing the people but no other changes. How deluded we were. Very quickly came the 1965 Missal with minor rubricaly changes, the shortened Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (actually Passiontide's version) which quickly become optional as did the Last Gospel.

Then the Roman Canon was allowed to be prayed aloud in Latin, then in English and then the rubrics were stripped for it and the next thing we knew there were three additional Eucharistic Prayers with number 2 unbelievably short and much to my liking as a 15 year old, because it was short. Keep in mind even in pre-Vatican II times the majority of Catholics preferred the Low Mass. Why? Because it was short!

Thus we can say that those who preferred the short Low Mass in pre-Vatican II times did not complain when the Mass was made simpler but most importantly shorter. Shorter was good, better, best!

But then, even those of us who liked short, shorter and shortest were confronted with things we did not like and found inimical to the Mass and Catholic reverence: standing for Holy Commuion as though in a chow line, Holy Communion in the hand, so-called extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion of dubious Catholic identity or morality, lay lectors terribly ill-prepared and sloppiness in the liturgy.

The icing on the cake was a low Mass with folk music and sometimes "meaningful" secular music that challenged the Vietnam war.


The Ill-Placed Charges of Purism, Elitism, and Rubricism

A television Mass versus populum, for Modern Man
In their myopia, partisans of the later phase of the Liturgical Movement thought that they, and not the providentially unfolded tradition of the Church, knew best what Modern Man™ needed. To them, it was evident that he needed as much vernacularization as possible. That is why Latin was eventually thrown out of the window completely. They also thought we needed to simplify, always to seek a greater and greater simplification — be it in vestments (away with the amice and maniple and biretta), in furnishings (away with six candles, antependia, and thuribles), in the texts of the Mass (away with the Propers, second or third orations, Psalm 42, Prologue of John, Leonine prayers), in the ceremonies of the Mass (away with osculations, signs of the cross, genuflections, ad orientem), in its music (away with ancient chant).

It never seems to have occurred to the Liturgical Movement that quite possibly what an increasingly secular and materialist age needed was precisely a movement in the opposite direction — towards greater liturgical symbolism, a richer pageantry of ritual, a fuller immersion in Gregorian chant with its incomparable spirituality, and so forth.[2] What modern man needed most of all was to be rescued from the prison of his own making, namely, the rationalist anthropocentrism that defines modernity and that, to our shame, made its home in the Catholic Church through the liturgical reform, in its many intended and unintended consequences. In this sense, the proposed cure turned out to be more of the same disease, which is why, predictably, it has made the patient worse, not better.


Anonymous said...

“...rubrics had become a cottage industry.”
The time wherein the Liturgy of the ages became the liturgy of the age of Aquarius.

Marc said...

I agree completely with Prof. Kawasniewski and am pleased he has taken up the mantle of advocating for a return to the old Roman Rite in its fullness. I've found in my adventures in Trad-dom that the low masses are always filled with more congregants than the high masses -- My hunch is that the low masses are almost universally earlier in the morning and shorter, both of which make it easier to get a young family through mass without undue fuss.

I think there is an element of familiarity breeding complacency amongst people who have ready access to the traditional mass. When we first had the opportunity to go to a Pontifical High Mass after moving here, I expected it to be packed with people excited to assist at such a rich (and relatively rare) liturgical event. Instead, I think many saw the length of the ceremony as a difficult proposition with young children (which it was -- and also no air conditioning in the Church).

God-willing, I will be going over for the ordinations of the Institute of Christ the King with Cardinal Burke in August. I'm interested to see if young children are present for that 4-hour event. But I'll be leaving mine at home!

TJM said...

Ah, I remember it well. It was the old liberal fruitcakes in our parish who were the most excited about the deformations. Unlike them, the Sisters who taught us, grounded us well in the Missa Cantata and so most of us thought the changes were unnecessary

Anonymous said...

Lest you think the chow line model will be going away any time soon:

John Nolan said...

Note that the main thrust of Kwasniewski's article concerns the abuses that occurred in Cardinal Sarah's Chartres Mass - abuses that were hailed on this blog as being 'organic development' or 'mutual enrichment'!

Anonymous said...

"...abuses that were hailed on this blog as being 'organic development' or 'mutual enrichment'!"

And so they were.

"Abuse" is greatly abused...

John Nolan said...

'And so they were'. Who says? Certainly not Prof. Kwasniewski, whose article we are discussing here. At least he gives grounds for his opinions. You merely state your opinion as if it were incontrovertible fact.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We cannot pretend that Sacrosanctum Concilium or Vatican II never happened or it can be overturned, but like Pope Benedict we can call for its proper interpretation and thus implement it with the hermeneutics of renewal in continuity.

Thus Cardinal Sarah's recent Solemn EF Mass is extremely important for the authentic renewal Vatican II desired.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might add that I agree with Pope Benedict that an OF Mass celebrated ad orientem, in Latin and with Propers and Gregorian Chant would appear to most laity as an EF Mass for the most part.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan - You are very fond of stating your opinions as if they were "incontrovertible facts."

What's sauce for the goose...

Henry said...

"We cannot pretend that Sacrosanctum Concilium or Vatican II never happened or it can be overturned"

Praytell, why on earth not. SC is a prudential disciplinary document, promulgated in a time of secular chaos to which the Church succumbed, which it's now clear has wrought inestimable damage to the Church. A creature of its benighted time, out of joint with both the past and the present, its sell by date having long since expired. With no lasting doctrinal status, it can be ignored, forgotten or reversed, as have so many documents from past council.

Seriously, whether or not SC should be overturned, what is a rational reason it "cannot be"?

Henry said...

"I might add that I agree with Pope Benedict that an OF Mass celebrated ad orientem, in Latin and with Propers and Gregorian Chant would appear to most laity as an EF Mass for the most part."

Which, however, says more about the current ignorance of the laity than about either the OF or the EF. You need only some minimal concept of liturgical worship to see the difference. Whatever textual overlap there may, one form exhibits the ceremonies and ritual of worship, and the other does not.

Marc said...

If we could pretend like the Missal of St. Pius V and 1,960 years of liturgical history never happened, one wonders why Sacrosanctum Concilium and a mere 50 years of liturgical history are so (pun intended) sacrosanct.

I daresay that even the uninformed would not mistake a Novus Ordo service ad orientem, etc. with a high mass. One could merely take note of something as simple as the candle placement or the absence of altar cards to discern the difference. The lack of the very first prayers -- the Asperges and those at the foot of the altar -- would give it away too. If one was accustomed to the old Rite, one would also quickly notice the lack multiple collects, vernacular readings, lack of Gospel procession, no removal of vestments for the sermon, complete lack of ceremonial during the offertory and Canon, lack of genuflections during the consecration, different formula and posture for receiving Communion, lack of multiple post-communions, and the lack of a Last Gospel. And those are just the major things that would be apparent at first glance!

TJM said...

Anonymous Bella Kavanaugh,

John Nolan backs up his opinions with facts, you most often don't. "It is my opinion, thus it is a fact" applies to YOU!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Whatever textual overlap there may, one form exhibits the ceremonies and ritual of worship, and the other does not."

The NO does exhibit the ceremonies and rituals or worship, but in ways that differ from the EF.

Both Shakespeare and Berthold Brecht were playwrights, and their works exhibit the essentials of writing and theatre, though in markedly different ways.

Both El Graco and Braque were painters, and their works exhibit the essentials of painting, though in markedly different ways.

The ceremonies and rituals of the EF are not divinely revealed. They can be and have been adjusted and changed by human intervention time and time again.

John Nolan said...

Whatever the status of SC, it was signed off in 1963. The EF Mass is according to the Missal of 1962, with two exceptions. One is that at a Low Mass the Epistle and Gospel may be read (at the altar) in the vernacular only. This option is not usually used, and at a High Mass the Epistle and Gospel are still to be sung in Latin. The other is that there is a new prayer for the Jews for use on Good Friday.

It was envisaged that in the future there might be additions to the EF (e.g. a greater selection of prefaces and extra Masses for more recent saints) but these would need to be authorized by the PCED.

What was not envisaged, and is indeed illicit, is for people on their own authority to take elements from later reforms (such as the interim missals of 1965 and 1967) and introduce them into the EF. Apart from anything else it is anachronistic.

TJM said...


The OF was created by a committee of left-wing loons who HATED Catholicism, no wonder you like it. It has eviscerated the Church. It's like the Edsel, Coke 1. No surprise you like it. If you were in the business world, where people buy-in was necessary to survive, the OF would have been abandoned after a year or two as an abject failure. I assume you are not disturbed by the fact that 20% of French Ordinands (exclusive of the SSPX) are committed soley to the EF. Epic Fail, Bella!!! Maybe in the nursing home you can use the barren, banal, 1969 translations

Victor said...

Fr. K:
"The ceremonies and rituals of the EF are not divinely revealed."

Are you saying the consecration with its command of "Do this in remembrance of me" are not divinely revealed?

It seems to me the Holy Spirit was guiding the Church in the development of Her liturgy from the outset, for almost 2,000 years, until the academy took over from God in the 20th century.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"The OF was created by a committee of left-wing loons who HATED Catholicism,,,,"

Wrong - on three counts. Not created by a committee. Not by left-wing loons. Not by people who HATED Catholicism.

"Are you saying the consecration with its command of "Do this in remembrance of me" are not divinely revealed?"

Victor, read precisely what I posted, please: "The ceremonies and rituals of the EF are not divinely revealed."

Are you suggesting that the use of, shall we say, the maniple is a matter of Divine Revelation? Or, for that matter, that ANY rubric is a matter of Divine Revelation and, therefore, eternally unalterable?

TJM said...

Kavanaugh, epic fail. Pope Benedict stated:

"The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. (Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)"

The folks on the committee were little Cranmers.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Taking a quote from the then Cardinal Ratzinger out of text is problematic for several reasons.

First, it is out of context. That context is a much longer article as well as a papacy with much ink spilled regarding the liturgy. And that context includes SC, and every other authoritative document on the liturgy.

Second, what a man writes as a Cardinal does not automatically become part of his teaching office as pope should he be chosen for that office. It's certainly worthy of serious consideration, but it's not part of the papal magisterium.

Third, in MANY places Ratzinger/Benedict has praised the development and evolution of the liturgy. In his "Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum" Benedict confronted the fear some expressed concerning the "demotion" of the NO. "This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy."

In that same letter the "Pope ended his discussion of the Novus Ordo by stating that the key to its use in unifying the Church is a reverent fidelity to the actual rubrics of the missal itself, and he closed by expressing his fundamental judgment of the value of this normal form of the rite:

The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal."

As much as you want to twist Ratzinger's words and ideas to suit your own preferences, the facts prevent you from doing so.

John Nolan said...

Taking quotations out of context is something we all do, since to contextualize every remark is beyond the scope of a blog discussion.

Benedict XVI as pope never publicly celebrated the Mass he referred to as the Extraordinary Form. This disappointed many of those attached to the old Rite, but there might have been a number of reasons for Benedict's actions.

1. The elaborate court ceremonial which accompanied a Papal High Mass as of 1962 was no longer practicable after Paul VI's reforms of the papal court in the 1960s.

2. Many of the Italian bishops were aghast at the idea. It was reported that some threatened to go into schism. When Francis was elected a number of them actually asked him to suppress the 'EF'. The new pope told them to 'respect tradition'.

3. Having 'liberated' the old Rite Benedict expected it to find its own level. Celebrating it as pope might suggest partiality.

4. He was certainly concerned with liturgy, but his priority was to re-sacralize the Novus Ordo and connect it to the Church's liturgical tradition. From 2008 onwards he used Latin from the Preface to the Pater Noster regardless of where he was celebrating. Yet it is noticeable that he used the newer Eucharistic Prayers as well as the Roman Canon.

Benedict is of course aware that the Pauline Mass is essentially a new creation. He could not refer to it as a 'use' of the Roman Rite, since it patently is not; hence the unprecedented terminology of two 'forms' of a single rite.

He would certainly not agree with those who maintain that the liturgy is merely a human construct and lamented that the idea of the given-ness of the liturgy has faded from the consciousness of the west.

Benedict remained convinced that the aims of the Liturgical Movement were basically sound, and his objection to the Novus Ordo was not an objection to the rite per se, which he was happy to celebrate. He deplored that it was too often used as a platform for subjectivity and spontaneity.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Considered as a whole, the liturgy is not a human construct.

I would not use the adjective "merely" since the elements of the liturgy that are of "human construct" are part of God's operation through the humans who have, using their own, God-given talents and abilities, constructed the mass, whether the EF of the OF.

There are elements that are given - it is a true sacrifice, it is the communication of God to His people, it is a mystical encounter with the Holy - and there are elements that are not given.

We choose the musical styles, we choose the colors of vestments, we arrange the Scriptural readings, which, themselves are "given" by God, etc.

The elements that are most certainly of human construct can be, and should be, and have been changed over time as the Church deems it necessary.