Sunday, October 10, 2021


These are the comments that the politburo of Praytell, a sometimes obnoxiously progressive liturgical blog, allowed to be posted or haven’t had time to delete some of them. These are comments about a less than stellar academic talk given by the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship to an elitist group of academics who are studying the liturgy. Hopefully they were snickering under their breath at his mostly inane presentation. But here are Praytell’s comment section. Interesting, no?

  1. The of late increasingly popular assertion of some that the Pauline Missal is “irreversible” is amusing given the passion with which it’s been asserted by the same people that the Missals of other popes are most certainly reversible. Consistency please.

    1. An ecumenical Council is the deciding factor here. It is Vatican II that in effect did away with previous Missals and set the foundational terms for future missals.

      So, if another ecumenical Council decides otherwise, then you’re in business! ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Benedict disagrees with you. Paul and Francis agree. A future pope may agree with Benedict. Who knows.

      2. Here’s the real question: Did Benedict disagree with Vatican II? The key question will be a proper interpretation of Vatican II. As you know, I think the evidence is that Benedict is the outlier and his views will not prevail. But as you say, a future pope could do who knows what.

        Enough said on this one. I think your position and mine are abundantly clear to anyone who cares. And I think that most of our readers don’t care – not if it’s repeating old material.


      3. I think I remember (old age!) a spoof interview written by Michael Frayn at the time of Humanae Vitae, where a Vatican Official is asked about the Church’s position regarding the Pill. Asserting that the Church was aginst it, he said ‘The Church holds a position of absolute certainty on this.’ 

        The Reporter then asked ‘So what if the Pope changes the teaching?’ The Official answered ‘Then the Church will have moved from one position of absolute certainty to another position of absolute certainty.’

        Hey Ho.


      4. For the sake of clarity, it must be pointed out that the Missal of Paul VI is not the product of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium is. The Missal is just one interpretation of the recommendations of the Council, albeit with papal approval. Nor did the Council call for the old Missal to be replaced, just modified. Other than the call for an expanded Lectionary, the revised Missal of 1965 fulfilled the recommendations of the Council. A future pope could return to the Missal of 1965 (with an expanded Lectionary) without rejecting anything of Vatican II.

        I would be satisfied if we could just accept the new Missal as is, without the de facto suppression of the options for a traditional form of the new Mass. Those who oppose this are rejecting the reformed Mass and Vatican II just as much as those who reject the new Missal as a whole.

      5. Thanks for your comments, but I disagree.
        Modified and replaced.
        1965 was seen as interim by those who issued it, and there were things in SC not yet fulfilled in it. Joseph Shaw, who is a critic of the reform, has pointed this out.

    2. I don’t see ‘irreversible’ as meaning irreformable. The 1962 Missal, before the Council, was a significant modification of the previous editio typica of 1920. Foillowing the Council, and in accord with it, the 1962 Missal was modified with a new rite of Concelebration, a new editio typica of the rubrics (1965), and a further revision of the rubrics in 1967 by an ‘Instruction’. It is this 1967 edition which is “the Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970”, as Paul VI made explicit when granting its continued use to aged priests, and in the “Heenan indult”. 1962 was as thoroughly superseded as 1573.

  2. This is a wise and well-grounded exhortation. Archbishop Roche’s comments are the fruit of many years of study and experience, and he is also speaking out of a deep love for the church. We cannot afford to neglect the role of liturgy as an ecclesial ministry. His comments about the Missal of Paul VI were right on target.

    1. I hope to respond to Matthew Hazell – if I find the time and I make no promises! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think there is something profoundly mistaken about Matthew Hazell’s starting points, and hence there is a certain tragic quality to his very careful and industrious work.

      1. I’ll do what I can, Matthew, but it’ll be a challenge. I’m doing a teaching overload to offer Gregorian Chant online this term, and laboring mightily to bring to complete a hardbound hymnal of nearly 1,000 hymns, only for our use (for copyright reasons).

  3. What seems tragic to me is the dismal state of the liturgy in most parishes and the overwhelming obsession of some , to obliterate the old rite for those Catholics who are nourished by it.

    1. It’s because the Second Vatican Council decided to reform it out of existence.
      It’s tiresome repeatedly having to defend the basic and fundamental teachings of an ecumenical Council. There was a reason why they reformed the church, and reformed the liturgy to be, as they put it, an expression of the true Church. They gave a long, detailed list in Sacrosanctum Concilium of things to change in the liturgy which is, in effect, a list of reasons why the old liturgy would not remain in use in their minds
      All this is church teaching. But to state it is highly controversial. That is where we’re at.

      1. Where exactly did the council fathers state that the liturgy up to that point was not an expression of the true church and that it needed to be reformed in order to become such an expression?

  4. “…combining of parts of two or more orations to create what is effectively a newly-composed prayer”
    “edited in some manner”
    “found their way unchanged into the reformed Missal”
    These quotations from Hazell’s article suggest that the criteria used for “measuring” the amount of change is a bit slippery. “combined”…how? why? how much? are we talking about a few words, a sentence or two, or whole pages? Have historically obscure references been modified for clarity? Have other aspects of the text been modified for clarity? What’s meant by “found their way unchanged”? Does a single change ( a comma, a period) “count” in the “measurement” ( a quasi scientific sounding term–with charts!–promising dead certainty that in fact isn’t applicable when it comes to textual criticism). And has Mr. Hazell enquired or reported anywhere as to the rationale behind the changes mentioned? Etc.

    I would suggest a comparison with Shakespeare’s texts. We have a few first folios, but ambiguities abound. After all, printing errors, variances between portfolios, etc. require interpretative evaluation. Attempting to solve the issue of what constitutes the most “authentic” version of Hamlet…through “measurements”….(!!!!) misses the point. Hamlet…measured out to find the best text?
    We can’t measure our way to understanding prayer. The missal isn’t information that can be measured. It’s a living text abounding in meaning that opens out over time.

    1. You are more than welcome to download the PDF file linked to in my article, which contains all the relevant texts (except the centonised texts, as that’s a much more complex issue that requires further analysis), side by side for edited orations, in which some of your questions will no doubt be answered.

      Or, just click here:

      In that file, I have also provided references to the Corpus orationum, for those who wish to do their own text-critical study of the prayers. The CO gives all the necessary information – how many manuscripts a given oration is extant in, its usages, textual differences (if any) in each manuscript, biblical allusions, etc.

      (For what it’s worth, even a cursory glance at the CO will demonstrate that the majority of edits Coetus XIII and XVIII bis made to extant prayers cannot justified with reference to the textual tradition. E.g. «in tot adversis» was removed from the collect for Holy Monday – an edit not attested in any of the 44 manuscripts dating from at least the 8th century that this prayer appears in.)

  5. So it was the Council Fathers intention for the Roman Church to have dry truncated liturgy with stripped down churches devoid of beauty? When these unfortunate alterations were enacted in 1970 the Church possessed gravitas and a willing faithful. This is not the Church we have now, having squandered its spiritual capital with poor catechesis and an iconoclastic purging of Catholic tradition.This is why I suppose repeating over and over again that the Council ‘s liturgical changes are non negotiable and will bear much fruit is tiresome;
    Catholics today either no longer care or know better , and hold tightly to the Old Rites.


TJM said...

Shocked that Ruff allowed dissenting views to appear. Mr. Basile nailed it

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I just checked Praytell and yes, that last comment was deleted, glad I saved it in the nick of time!

TJM said...

Father Ruff can't handle the truth. Shocker, Father McDonald. Did you see the story at Rorate that claims the Pope lied about the results of the EF bishops' survey? That is a not a shocker but what I have come to expect of this papacy

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Ruff and his kool-aid drinkers at PrayTell have this fanciful notion that the Missal of 1970 was effectively authored by the fathers at Vatican II, and as such, it is to be treated as infallible. Now, Father Ruff doesn't go quite that far in actuality, but that is the logical conclusion of the arguments he continually makes. Thus, they cannot entertain the possibility of the 1970 Missal (i.e., the one we now use as "ordinary") being flawed or actually being a misfire.

So the question I ask: if you agree with that perspective, what metric would need to be met in order for the proposition that the 1970 Missal is flawed to be demonstrated?

It's impossible to go back to, say, 1970 and ask that question, but had the question have been answered, then, I think many of the metrics would have been amply met by now. But that is speculative.

So I ask again: what are the metrics? So that, in 2031, we can answer the question?

TJM said...

Father Fox,

I recall reading when the Novus Ordo was being demonstrated in the Sistine an overwhelming majority of the bishops present cast a “non placet” vote. Yet the Novus Ordo went through pretty much unchanged. Pretty interesting because the word “collegiality” was the word du jour during this period. I guess collegiality really meant, “ agree with me, and then we can be collegial.” I think we are seeing the last days of Pompeii

Anthony said...

I should point out that I did have two comments removed from that thread.