Liturgy under Benedict XVI

Liturgy Under Benedict XVI” by Anthony Ruff, OSB

Reprinted from GIA Quarterly vol 22.1 with kind permission of Fred Moleck.

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  1. Fr. Ruff makes an important contribution to the liturgical conversation by seeking to distill the unique contributions of Pope Benedict. I am very happy that our Holy Father is being true to his promise, not long after being elected, not to impose his personal views on the church. This is perhaps most borne out in the preface of Jesus of Nazareth where he clearly states that the material in the book reflects his personal understanding and is not to be considered in any way infallible.

    Nonetheless, he seeks to influence the shape of the liturgy by his own personal styles and preferences. There are many priests, unfortunately, who need little more than papal example to launch imitative styles and preferences which they seem to claim as infallibly correct. The world is a large place as is the Church. And the 12 Apostles have been succeeded by bishops of countless races, languages, and cultures. Vive la difference!

    Among those cultures is the one which flourishes in contemporary America and in the many nations that have been influenced by it. Despite its shortcomings and flaws, it has exerted its influence on the Roman Rite as celebrated by English speaking parishes and religious institutions. While the Rite is called Roman, we are not in Rome and thus have been developing our own distinctive styles of celebrating the Mass. Notice I said styles. We need to resist the notion that we would be more catholic if the Mass were celebrated more uniformly. Over the span of its long history, the Mass has been offered by the learned and the ignorant, the literate and the illiterate, the highbrows and the lowbrows and in all instances, I believe, God is worshiped in spirit and truth. Wherever the following are constitutive elements, God is well worshiped: Prayer and song, the Sacrifice of Praise and Thanks, the Real Presence of Christ in the gathered assembly, in the ministry of the priest, in the Word proclaimed, and–most especially–in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.

  2. As one who rarely agrees with Fr Ruff on anything I have seen here, and whose long term vision of the church is, I suspect very different from my own humble one, I have to say I thought the article well balanced. Also, speaking form the ‘other side’ of the house, so to speak, that style of writing, rather than the more polemical style (sometimes by me!) often found here (perhaps a natural difference in style given the different venues but let’s not get into matching formality of language to formality of situations here!) more conducive to rational discussion of the problems and differences we face.

  3. the Christian people, so far as
    possible, should be enabled to understand
    [the reformed texts and rites] with ease.”…suggests that texts and rites will need far-reaching changes for the sake of the people.

    My guess is that the reformist camp and the liturgical movement in general had in mind more and better liturgical catechesis, not a reduced and impoverished liturgy.

  4. Good irenic stuff–and beautifully balanced. I suspect Anthony is right in summarizing BenRatz’s liturgical conviction as he does: ‘the liturgical reform after Vatican II had gone off the rails in one key aspect: the liturgy was now viewed as something of our own making, something that we construct for ourselves, rather than a gift, a precious inheritance to be accepted with gratitude’. And the point needs to be made that the antithesis here–despite the intellectual quality of the one making it and his present high office–is too simple: if we are Christians, if we have any feeling for standard Chalcedonian doctrine, we cannot afford to make straightforward contrasts between what we do as ourselves and what we receive from God. There may well be hints of Nestorianism and Pelagianism in post V2 liturgy; there is much docetism and quietism implicit in the rhetoric of reform-reformers. Wisdom and orthodoxy consist in aiming for the middle space.

      1. maybe it does sound naff and disrespectful–but there are grounds for a distinction between Benedict and Ratzinger, even granted their identity, and I was trying to be brief and unclumsy.

  5. The liturgy must not become a museum appealing to the few with a cultured taste for that
    sort of thing. It should be a home for the great masses of people, beckoning and welcoming all
    sorts of people back to their heavenly Father. The liturgy must not become an escape from the
    real world; it should be the world at its most real, redeemed and sanctified by God.

    This says nothing about how the liturgy should be, but only about how we should be in relation to the liturgy. As a result, it assumes facts not in evidence, that the people of today can’t be formed and shaped to appreciate the “traditional” liturgy.

    1. I’ve encountered people who view things like a homily as an interruption in an otherwise “good” traditional Mass. People will complain about other people singing the Mass Ordinary, etc. I’ve known those who have said that they want their own ghettoes away from the “modernists” so that they can create a “real” Catholic culture.

      I agree that people can be formed and shaped to appreciate the “traditional” liturgy. Even so, I know people who are intent on making sure that said liturgy is a pristine museum piece, akin to an opera, and see most attempts at making it more accessible (for instance, vernacular readings) as heretical.

      1. Generally, your comment doesn’t bear on my point (which I suppose it doesn’t have to.)

        I’ve encountered people who view things like a homily as an interruption in an otherwise “good” traditional Mass.

        Well, a bad homily will be a bad homily no matter what kind of Mass it is.

        To view the homily as purely aliturgical, obviously contrasts wrongly with the view (doctrinal in this case) of S.C. However, to view it as somehow essential is also wrong. It’s not neccesary and it’s permitted on weekdays to omit it. To have an opinion that it should be omitted when it’s permitted to omit it is permitted (if somewhat useless.)

        People will complain about other people singing the Mass Ordinary, etc.

        What part of the ordinary? Sometimes people sing parts they’re not supposed to. Sometimes they sing badly. If someone thinks the people should never sing under any circumstances they’re wrong.

        I’ve known those who have said that they want their own ghettoes away from the “modernists” so that they can create a “real” Catholic culture.

        As you’ve framed it, this has almost nothing to do with the liturgy.

        I agree that people can be formed and shaped to appreciate the “traditional” liturgy. Even so, I know people who are intent on making sure that said liturgy is a pristine museum piece, akin to an opera, and see most attempts at making it more accessible (for instance, vernacular readings) as heretical

        Vernacular readings make part of the liturgy more accesible. But they also obscure other parts of the liturgy (e.g. obscuring the aural connection with other parts of the Mass). They are also not neccesary for making available the vernacular version to the people unless your congregation is also illiterate and you don’t reread the readings in English at the beginning of the homily as is done most places. (I take it you mean “heretical” in a loose sense.)

    2. Samuel, you have taken this out of context. It follows the contrast in the paragraph preceding it, proposing a course between those extremes. Fr Ruff clearly stands in the middle, encouraging the traditional “depth, beauty, holiness, and evangelical fervor” be united with the “art, architecture, music, speech, and customs of the people of our day.” If we find “Do Not Touch” everywhere, then people are kept separate from the liturgy, but if people can be formed and shaped to properly participate in the traditional liturgy, then we are on that middle way, not in a museum.

  6. I happily join the others in thanking you for this article. I would especially like to thank you for unmasking the misappropriation of the term “hermeneutic of continuity”.

    I’m curious, however, as to how implementing Pope Benedict’s vision “to excess” would be a betrayal of the vision found in Gaudium et Spes. From what you had said in the article previous to this, it appears that we are dealing with someone who is interested in reclaiming our heritage rather than someone involved in a project of restoration (my own terms, clearly). Were he simply engaged in the latter, I would agree that, particularly in the area of liturgy, it would be a matter of maintaining a museum piece.

    It appears (to me, at least) that his intention is to utilize these traditional elements as evangelical tools (in particular, I can think of his mentioning the entrance psalm, Psalm 2, in his Christmas homily). This seems rather an attempt to bring the patrimony into dialogue with modern people.

    That’s not to say that I’m not aware of restorationists who want to create little Catholic navel-gazing ghettoes while ignoring the Great Commission. I just see something very different going on here.

    1. Mr. Shea – read his comments as saying that some could take the pope’s words/expressions; misinterpret them; and take it to excess – examples are some of what we see by those who espouse the “reform of the reform” as the true spirit of Vatican II. IMO, he is trying to walk a balanced approach between any specific interpretation that goes too far to any one side.

  7. No doubt Vatican 2 fundamentally changes how the Church interacts with the world at large. A Church for centuries closed off from the world was forced to grow up overnight to try to discern the good from the bad. Like a teenager going off to college for the first time, many, many bad choices were made that will have lasting consequences. Will this period of tumult, suffering and despair drive the Church back into the “safety” of isolation, or will we learn from our failures, admit our faults, and journey on?

  8. Robert B. Ramirez :

    My guess is that the reformist camp and the liturgical movement in general had in mind more and better liturgical catechesis, not a reduced and impoverished liturgy.

    What is the evidence for a reduced and impoverished liturgy?

    It is such insistent claims that one’s own taste represents a higher and richer liturgical tradition which need to be proven not just assumed.

    It is obvious that the pope has a more refined and classical taste in liturgical music than my own, but that does not make liturgy using such music higher or richer for me. He has been acculturated one way, I another.

    It works the other way, too. I have enough Latin that I can usually recall the meaning of each word I sing in that language. This is not true for the overwhelming number of people in the congregation or choir. To require them to sing in Latin is to impose on them another culture.

    You or I may think it a better thing if more people studied Latin and think so for many reasons, but wishing it so does not make it so.

    Liturgy is meant to be formative and supportive of the faith of the members of the congregation. The vernacular liturgies of Paul VI are precisely in continuity with the RC faith tradition. EP II goes back to some of the earliest texts available. To call something more ancient “reduced and impoverished”, to so call more variety, and something which draws from all of Christian tradition rather than just he past 25% of it is very subjective and irrelevant to what Fr. Ruff wrote.

    1. What is the evidence for a reduced and impoverished liturgy?

      I doubt if you had substantial experience with the traditional form that you would ask this question. But we’ve discussed that in another thread.

      1. This amounts to either an ad hominem attack or an obiter dicta, either way it is insulting and judgmental and avoids actually defending your claim. Personal experience or preferences do not prove anything as to whether one thing is reduced or another is enriched.

        Please retract and return to the actual content of the discussion.

      2. Todd, folks complained about the reformed liturgy long before the existence of the internet.

        Tom, the evidence for an impoverished liturgy in the ordinary form is the testimony of people who have experience with both well celebrated. I have yet to meet anyone with such experience who didn’t find an impoverishment with the ordinary form that led to the conclusion that, at the least, both were worth preserving side by side in the life of the Church.

      3. Samuel,

        Really? You don’t know anyone with “substantial experience” of the EF who does not find the OF impoverished?

        I suppose this could be the case, since the only ones today who would have “substantial experience” of the EF (i.e. would attend it on a regular basis) would be those who prefer it to the OF. Those who attend the EF and find it baffling or fussy or have some other negative reaction to it simply return to attending the OF.

        In other words, it might in fact be the case that you don’t know anyone with substantial experience of the EF who does not find the OF impoverished, but this proves absolutely nothing except that people who prefer the EF are more likely to attend it on a regular basis. Which is hardly something that needs proving.

      4. Deacon Fritz, doesn’t your first paragraph somewhat contradict your last. If you think this is merely an artifact of preference, then why would you doubt it in the first paragraph? Or perhaps I am misreading what is actually sarcasm?

        I understand the epistemological problem here, but it’s hardly entirely avoidable is it? And it works both ways.

      5. Samuel,

        I don’t know how you define “substantial experience,” but I did have at least five years experience with the pre-Vatican 2 Latin mass as a youth. As noted on another thread, I recently pulled out my 1961 missal and looked through it again for the first time in many many years. Having refreshed my memory of that rite, now referred to as the Extraordinary Form, I have no feeling that the Ordinary Form of today is in any way an impoverished version of the Extraordinary Form. To the contrary, I find the Ordinary Form as it exists now to be elegant in its simplicity, not to mention its understandability.

      6. For the record, I should mention that every Sunday I am an altar server at two solemn Masses — sung masses with incense, chant, etc. One is EF; the other is OF. Both are celebrated in the same sanctuary, one after the other. In both the same liturgical “sensibility” obtains — indeed, the OF also is celebrated ad orientem, with Gloria and Credo sung in Latin. Accordingly I’m well positioned to observe and comment on the relative formlessness and impoverishment of the OF.

        In any case, this is incidental to the more on-topic point made above, which seems to interest no one: the Council’s call for an adequate liturgical catechesis. It is more worthy to achieve greater comprehension by enhancing the people’s ability to understand rather than by dumbing down the material. It’s we who assemble to be changed and converted, not the other way round. Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis.

      7. Samuel,

        My apologies. You are a victim of my own progression of thought. At first I started out genuine doubting that it could be the case that there was no one you had encountered with substantial experience of the EF who did not think of the OF as impoverished. Then I started to think that this could be the case, but that this wouldn’t tell us anything due to sampling error. I could have gone back and eliminated my first paragraph, but ended up leaving it as an artifact of my own thought process.

        I think that the only way one could really test this would be to take a random group of people and ask them to attend both EF and OF for a year and then see what percent see the OF as impoverished.

        As for me, I can think of many enrichments in the OF in comparison with the EF: the flexibility with regard to music (no longer a stark choice between high Mass and low Mass) allowing for progressive solemnity; the inclusion of a scripture reading from the Old Testament; the homily as an integral part of Mass, closely related to the scriptures; the restoration of the prayer of the faithful; the treasury of prefaces, which unfold over the course of the year the mystery of salvation; the Eucharistic prayer spoke aloud and in the vernacular, so that the faithful may experience its wonderful theology of Eucharistic sacrifice aurally, and not as an act of private reading; the assembly’s participation in the Our Father; the restoration of communion under both species. All of these seem to me to be enrichments, and are among the reasons that, all other things being equal, I would rather participate in an OF Mass than an EF Mass.

  9. I was particularly interested in the quote saying that councils before V2 used words of “threat”, “intimidation”, “surveillance”, “punishment”, “superior speaking to an inferior”, and that V2 was a sharp departure from that.

    The current missal, or at least my experience of it, emphasizes our relationship to God as one of love, family, friendship, closeness.

    I find that it actually stands in a bit of contrast with the New Testament, where Jesus is loving but also demanding.

    That, in turn, stands in further contrast with the new missal, where we find many words expressing God’s distance and superiority to us. The gist of many prayers: we are humble lowly servants, whose destiny depends solely on whether the all-powerful master will approve of our deeds.

    This is a puzzle: the change of tone and descriptions suggest that the God of the new missal is different from the God of the current missal, and both are different from the God of the New Testament.

  10. Philip Endean SJ :

    Thereby pulling off the mean (in several senses) feat of being unclumsy and inelegant at the same time. I took it as a somewhat hamfisted short hand reference to his writings both before and after election as pope.

    maybe it does sound naff and disrespectful–but there are grounds for a distinction between Benedict and Ratzinger, even granted their identity, and I was trying to be brief and unclumsy.

  11. “To view the homily as purely aliturgical, obviously contrasts wrongly with the view (doctrinal in this case) of S.C. However, to view it as somehow essential is also wrong. It’s not neccesary and it’s permitted on weekdays to omit it. ”

    Samuel, I’ve always been under the impression thatthe sermon was an intergral part of the Mass. It is at this point that the priest will explain the scriptures, some of which may have been difficult to understand. Am I wrong in this?

    1. Since the sermon is not required except on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, it can’t be an essential part of the Mass.

      It’s integral in the sense that it’s integrated with the Mass, not something apart from it (as some pre-conciliar liturgists did hold), but it’s not integral in the sense that without a sermon the integrity of the Mass is somehow lessened.

      1. That may be true, but in practical, pastoral terms, the homily (and the music ) are the things that people most often carry with them when they leave the Mass. The homily is where theology meets reality. At least, it’s supposed to be.

        I found this analysis very interesting. And very hopeful.

  12. Thanks, Fr. Ruff – don’t want to repeat what has been said but you follow in a great tradition of thinkers – O’Malley, Komonchak, Foley, etc. would appreciate your thinking, writing, and expression. Yes, balanced; challenging at appropriate times; never making sweeping generalizations, blaming, etc.

    You have truly captured the theological heart of catholic christianity – both/and.

  13. Thank you, Anthony, for your many contributions.
    In this article on Liturgy Under Benedict XVI, you remark: “He administers Holy Communion only on the tongue to kneeling communicants, even when this is contrary to the liturgical norms of the country he is visiting. He does not insist that other eucharistic ministers follow his personal practice.”
    Perhaps the following may cast some light on this. A friend told me of an occasion when a highly-placed Catholic family were visiting John Paul II, and they were to come to Mass in the private chapel. When they arrived, they were informed by an assistant that JPII would give communion on the tongue. One of the visitors demurred, saying that she had been receiving in the hand for 20 years, and did not wish to change.
    The assistant went in to confer with JPII, and returned to say that of course there would be no problem. The difficulty, he explained was this: Some people, on receiving Communion from the Pope, had been found to treat the communion host as they would, for example, a rosary which he gave them, and would take it away as a souvenir. This was the reason why it had been felt necessary for the Pope to offer communion only on the tongue.
    There may be no way to verify whether this is true, apart from a communication from the Vatican, but it seems not entirely unlikely.

  14. There is a major issue lying beneath Benedict’s view of liturgy, and it’s a view that is echoed by some here and certainly by others on the ‘traditional’ wing of the Church.

    He and they appear to think that the liturgy has some kind of ontological existence all of its own, and that all we have to do is submit to it. This view likens the liturgy to the Ten Commandments, set in stone on tablets, that were brought down from on high.

    And yet we know that this cannot actually be the case. The liturgy has its antecedents in Jewish synagogue worship, and has constantly changed, developed, evolved in an organic fashion over the centuries. In my view, it can continue to change, develop and evolve.

    The problem with Benedict’s view is that it ‘freezes’ the liturgy at a particular point along the historical timeline of its evolution, and allows of no development and — rather more importantly — no questioning of the purpose of the rite and whither it might be going in our day. Guéranger had a similar blind spot, in my view. Those who espouse the Extraordinary Form are stuck in a late mediaeval timewarp and do not seem to be able to escape from it. They should re-read Guardini…

    Vatican II challenged us to return to the traditions and, more importantly, the ethos of the early Church, in order to see where we have come from. I believe that the opinion of the reformers was that the Roman liturgy had got itself up something of a blind alley and so it was time to return to the source in order to revitalize and move forward once again. What in fact happened was a return to some of the earlier forms, in modern guise, but I wonder whether we really ever returned to the ethos of that earlier age.

    I don’t see us making any real progress until we do that in a serious way; and the setting-up of the liturgy as an entity with its own life, rather than an artefact which has been lovingly moulded and fashioned over the centuries, is not helping this process.

    1. “Those who espouse the Exraordinary Form are stuck in a mediaeval timewarp”
      I think the Holy Father might disagree, and the thousand of people who died for it over the centuries might also.
      The Holy Father has made it clear that the two forms are equal , you clearly disagree.
      I rarely get the chance to attend the EF as our Bishop also disagrees with the Holy Father and will not allow one in the Diocese. I have no problem attending the NO as I have done for the last 30+ years, but the EF has something very special about it. Mystical, yes even Jewish. Its where we came from, and its never a good idea to cut oneself off from one s roots.

      1. “The Holy Father has made clear that the two forms are equal” – if you can show documentation on this opinion, let us know.

        Very clearly, other opinions including the pope himself have stated that the EF is approved as a pastoral concession for that small minority that can not accept 1974. SP was a concession; not a blanket approval via local bishops. Yes, subsequently B16 has asked bishops to be more open to the concesssion.

        Keep in mind that SP also had built into it a temporary time period and required that feedback and follow up was to be done in three years time.

      2. the EF is approved as a pastoral concession for that small minority that can not accept 1974.

        Hmmm… don’t think he said that. He said “for those who are attached to the pre-concilliar liturgical form”, not those who reject the post-concilliar form. There is a difference, actually quite a big difference. You are trying to fit the narrative that the purpose of SP was to accomodate the SSPX.

        There are many, many Catholics who are “attched” to the EF who do not in any way reject the OF.

  15. Thank you Fr. Anthony for this excellent article.

    In quoting “Guadium ut Spes” , “The liturgy must not become a museum appealing to the few with a cultured taste for that
    sort of thing. It should be a home for the great masses of people, beckoning and welcoming all
    sorts of people back to their heavenly Father. The liturgy must not become an escape from the real world; it should be the world at its most real, redeemed and sanctified by God.”

    How appropriate as Catholics are bombarded with countless appeals to carry us back to the liturgy of St. Pius V. The Church is not to look before Trent, and definitely nothing after 1962.

  16. Paul Inwood –

    But the Pope has never said that he wanted to ‘freeze’ the liturgy. The entire idea of continuity necessarily implies development and change. The pope knows as well as you or I (and probably better) the history of the liturgy and how it has changed over time. He clearly does not want to stop development (thus he only celebrates the ordinary form). He clearly does want to ensure that the liturgy develops in a coherent way, without a clean break from the past (as it has developed in history). The liberalization of the EF is an attempt to ensure that the two forms are juxtaposed, and as he says, mutually enrich one another. His entire approach, from start to finish, requires forward movement and development. Your comments are strange, to say the least.

    There certainly are people who want to freeze the liturgy – they object to the development of the OF, in ongoing dialogue with the history of the Church. There are also people who want to ‘go back’ to the EF exclusively (which would be turning back the clock, although to the Renaissance rather than the Middle Ages). The pope clearly does not fall into either camp.

    Also, the liturgy develops over time – but it does so through the church’s liturgical legislation and reforms. These can very well have grass-roots origins, but the liturgy by definition only officially changes as the church implements certain reforms. So many people want to make the leap “the liturgy has always changed, therefore we have the right to continue to change it.” Well, the (heavenly) liturgy does have a life of its own – it transcends space and time. The specific ritual forms in which we participate in the liturgy do change, and will continue to change. When they do, we submit to the new forms (as many people, some unwillingly, submitted to the post V2 liturgy). Until they change again, we submit to the current forms (and petition for reform, if we are so inclined). Is any of this news to anyone?

  17. On a side note, museums keep being mentioned here…

    I have never been to a museum in my life (from ‘high art’ museums to the chocolate museum in Cologne, Germany) without running into every possible age range. School field trips, families, old people, university students, etc.

    I object strongly to the stereotype that museums or other organizations promoting ‘great masterpieces’ are somehow limited to “appealing to the few with a cultured taste for that sort of thing” (from the article). I hope that Fr. Ruff is criticizing a theoretical poorly run museum, which makes no effort to attract people of different age groups – or to continue to expand its exhibits with contemporary examples of great masterpieces.

    There are many children’s choirs around the world which teach young singers primarily music (and singing) of a high artistic standard – and the kids love it! One thing I have noticed about those few Catholic parishes which promote high standards of music and liturgy is the inter-generational involvement, community, and excitement about ‘high’ things.

    Another perspective would be that people of all ages and backgrounds are inspired and uplifted by contact with great things – whether artistic or liturgical. Isn’t that why we have and promote museums? They do not merely preserve (a bank vault could do that) – they encourage the interaction of future generations with the great fruits of human creation. If we promote continuity and interaction with tradition (more than we have in the past 40 years) where is the proof that this only appeals to a snobby minority? If people really believe this, they need to get out more. Go look at the vibrant life which surrounds the great liturgical/musical Catholic centers in this country.

    And by the way, what language/cultural style should we celebrate in to appeal to the great masses of people? Good luck with that one – the ‘great masses’ are not homogeneous.

    1. Of course museums are working hard to attract more people of all ages. But the question is how much of the population is drawn to visit museums. I am personally. I have no doubt that others, who like me are drawn to art museums, are a rather small slice of the population. I have no doubt that those who visit museums are higher educated, have higher IQs, are wealthier, dress better according to older standards, are more likely to listen to Public Radio, and so forth, than the population as a whole.

      My parents (farmer, housewife) would never have visited an art museum in their life if their son the priest didn’t drag them to it when they visited him in Europe. In my home parish (farmers, workers in small town), I doubt that most of the adults have ever been in a museum in their life. I don’t believe that my brothers have ever been to an art museum.

      We can argue all we want that people should visit art museums. We can point to exceptional anecdotes all we want about a variety of people attending a museum under this or that outreach program.

      But none of this disproves my point: art museums appeal to a fairly tiny slice of the population. Most of the population, given a choice, never goes near one.

      All the ideology in the world doesn’t change sociological data.

      awr

      1. But none of this disproves my point: art museums appeal to a fairly tiny slice of the population. Most of the population, given a choice, never goes near one.

        This is also true of Catholic liturgy.

        And that’s why it’s useless to begin with the sociological data.

      2. Nope. Not if we’re Christian. Our Lord commissioned us to teach and baptize all peoples. Even if any of us find it more comfortable to retreat into a museum, our faith doesn’t allow it.

        The biggest problem with conservative liturgical ideology, I am convinced, is the way it thinks we can simply ignore culture or pretend it doesn’t exist. Chant is timelessly perfect, and how it relates to our culture simply isn’t an issue. The Extraordinary Form is timeless, and there are no cultural issues about how liturgy relates to contemporary society. In general, contemporary society does not exist as relevant theological data for some folks.

        I am not arguing for dumbing everything down, or for using peoples’ tastes nowadays as our starting point. I’ve never said that in my life, though conservatives keep hearing things and somehow hear me say that.

        I am saying that we treasure our heritage and preserve everything of value which meets our evangelical ends today, but we not make any decision without taking our culture seriously. We should not view any aspect of our heritage as somehow being above or outside of culture, because all of it comes from a particular culture. Its meaning is always changing, however slightly or more greatly, based on how it is interpreted in our ever-changing culture.

        For us humans, nothing – past or present – happens outside of culture. The unstated presumption behind much conservative liturgical thought is that liturgy is somehow exempt from this basic human truth. The whole program collapses with such a fundamental methodological flaw at the outset.

        awr

      3. Fr. Ruff, it sounds like you haven’t read much of what “conservative” writers actually have to say about the liturgy.

        For us humans, nothing – past or present – happens outside of culture. The unstated presumption behind much conservative liturgical thought is that liturgy is somehow exempt from this basic human truth. The whole program collapses with such a fundamental methodological flaw at the outset.

        Books like “The Heresy of Formlessness” by Mosebach, “The Restoration of Christian Culture” by John Senior, etc. are all about the fact that Christian worship doesn’ t exist outside of culture. To suggest that they don’t care about culture or its relation to the liturgy is completely untrue. They just think that rather than submitting to the predominating mass culture, Christians should, as applicable, create, sustain, and recreate, their own authentic culture.

      4. Father R—My parents (farmer, housewife) would never have visited an art museum in their life if their son the priest didn’t drag them to it when they visited him in Europe. In my home parish (farmers, workers in small town), I doubt that most of the adults have ever been in a museum in their life. I don’t believe that my brothers have ever been to an art museum.

        Thanks for sharing that! Perhaps they were not metropolitan, but I’ll bet few of them ever had a problem attending the Mass in Latin prior to all the experimentation. It is a sad undeniable fact that attendance, weekly, even yearly, has gone down since the Mass ‘became appealing’—-not up, as its salesmen rosily promised.

        This is why I think the Pope is right about us being deprived. Fewer schools, fewer nuns,fewer priests, fewer Catholics….and those we have are intolerant of chant or anything that doesn’t resemble popular entertainment.

        Father R–art museums appeal to a fairly tiny slice of the population. Most of the population, given a choice, never goes near one.–

        If we let the Church be Herself and stop trying to dress Her up like Britney Spears, or ….. She will regain the appeal she had prior to all the experimentation. That appeal was to a larger slice of the population than it is now.

      5. OK, Samuel, I see your point. Conservative or traditionalists do talk about culture. The problem (imho) is that they tend to dismiss contemporary culture all too easily and naively claim we can recreate an alternative Christian culture. The Christian culture they want to recreate is one mostly with cultural artifacts (music, architecture, vesture, etc.) of the past. And it tends to be the most elitist stratum (culturally, aesthetically) of the past which they favor. If that’s their view, fine. But then they need to confront the implications and consequences of this. If you create an alternative Christian culture based on the elitist artifacts of the past, the result will probably be escapist. And it will probably appeal to but a very small group of aesthetes and romantics. That doesn’t square with my understanding of Jesus’ mission and message. It would make Christianity unappealing to too many people, and not because they’re not potentially interested in Jesus’ message, but because their aesthetic tastes are different because, through no fault of their own, they happen to live in today’s culture.

        awr

      6. One of the weaknesses of progressive criticisms of the traditional liturgy is revealed in the living example of the Eastern Orthodox & Eastern rite Catholics. Calling the traditional liturgy a museum piece or implying that it draws only or primarily the cultural elite is belied by our history and the Eastern Church’s experience. The presumption that traditional liturgy does not appeal to contemporaries
        (of whatever time) is clearly not true because we can see that it always has and does.Throughout our history it has often been the simple people who most love the liturgy. It is the existing ICEL version of the OF that has had more difficulty engaging the contemporary culture as we can see that it was unable to offset the general decline in practice that occurred shortly after its implementation. The pastoral problem may be with the OF’s existing translation, not the OF itself, we shall see.

      7. Fr. Ruff’s comment at February 23, 2011 – 2:17 pm reminds me of Quentin Faulkner’s provocative triptych of articles, “Gothic Pillars and Blue notes”

        (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1010&context=musicfacpub)

        (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=musicfacpub)

        (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=musicfacpub)

        dealing with the problem of identifying and locating evidence of Christan culture that is both “indigenous” to the faith AND “contemporary.” Between the paths of putting too much store in artifacts and provisions of the past and and uncritical embrace of dominant culture in the developed North and West, Faulkner suggests a third, potentially unitive path: that of a radical Christianity that has the internal vigor and coherence of values to produce authentic and relevant artifacts. He carefully posits two examples of relatively recent import: The Iona Community (committed to, among other things, a radical expression of the social Gospel) and Taize (committed commtted to, among other things, a radical expression of ecumenism).

        There may be other signs of authentic Christian life in the midst of, on the fringes of, or even in retreat from the dominant culture in which we all participate to greater or lesser degree. By their fruits we shall know them.

  18. “The truth is probably somewhere in between.” Of course it is. This masterfully balanced transcendence of dichotomies is exactly what we need to keep hearing.

  19. “There certainly are people who want to freeze the liturgy – they object to the development of the OF, in ongoing dialogue with the history of the Church.”

    I think that such development is what most of us beg for, and found in the 1998 translations. The 2010 translators think that they have achieved this too, but they are deceiving themselves.

    1. we not make any decision without taking our culture seriously.

      I am all for that, because to take culture seriously is to ponder where it comes from and why it has one form and not another. What’s needed is a serious consideration of just what culture is, and how it relates to faith.

      Culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum: it emerges and evolves as the expression of what matters most to a community. In a secularist community, the culture reflects secularist values: possessions, power, pleasure, whatever. In a Christian community, the culture reflects and re-presents the Gospel. I really cannot see the sense of calls for inculturation without acknowledging that in an encounter between culture and a living faith, it is the culture that gives way or adapts. Certainly the liturgy may change over time, but that change must be on its own terms, with a view to changing the presuppositions it encounters, not affirming them. This is achieved best when liturgy becomes an experience of kairos, not chronos.

      Fr. Ruff does well to speak of the timelessness of chant. It is far from the only element of liturgy where timelessness is to be sought. One thinks of walking the streets of Rome: to the eye of the ignorant newcomer, everything appears “old”, but in time one learns the folly of applying such a word to surroundings better described as timeless: loved, lived-in, and relevant to the ordinary lives of ordinary people. They’d be baffled or insulted to have it explained to them that their attachment to places and things that transcend time is actually an aesthete’s pining for a lost past.

      Similarly it’s insulting and really not helpful to employ terms like “museum piece” or to paint those attached to the X-form as frightened, reactive aesthetes. Not unless one’s content to address only those already of like mind.

      1. Well, so much of the Internet discussion of liturgy is preaching to respective choirs, to reinforce and rouse the base, to parry and thrust primarily to reinforce the sense that We Are Right and They Are Wrong. Heresy hunting is mirrored by contempt and disdain. I keep waiting for liturgical parties to take on the names of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, given the sheer dominance of shibboleths in so much of the erstwhile conversation.

        I find this pattern dispiriting, and I no respect for it whatsoever when it becomes the dominant timbre of a contributor’s contribution, as it so often does.

  20. Go to Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. It is the northernmost Benedictine house in Europe and inhabits its original medieval buildings. It does the full Benedictine office according to the latest liturgical books (the new Antiphonale Monasticum is but a few years old). Mass is according to the Missal of Paul VI and the revised Graduale Romanum of 1974. This is the liturgy as reformed after the Second Vatican Council, with nothing added and nothing taken away.

    Everything (bar the Scripture readings at Mass) is in Latin and Gregorian Chant. I know of few places that better reconcile the ecclesia semper reformanda with the hermeneutic of continuity.

  21. JN – if I may following on Fr. Ruff’s comments above. You have just provided a perfect example of a “culture” – Benedictine abbey in northern Scotland – in which their liturgical expression captures both their “culture” and their liturgical legacy.

    But, IMO, Fr. Ruff is suggesting that communities have different cultures and their liturgical expressions, forms, etc. will have to both adapt and challenge that culture. Your example of the abbey would be completely out of place in downtown Chicago. What Fr. Ruff is suggesting is that the Chicago church has to start with both its culture and its liturgical legacy and then go from there. You can’t start with some type of “idealized, perfect” liturgy and place it into any type of culture.

  22. Fr. Ruff,

    I agree with your demographic point (on museum attendance), with one major exception – school children on official field trips. And to me, that is why the museum analogy is interesting. There is effort by the state to bring children in contact with ‘great masterpieces’ (whether in museums or concerts, plays, etc.). This is part of their state-run and funded education, and it does cross socioeconomic barriers (often pointedly so – since school trips may be the only way disadvantaged children are able to attend museums or events). These events are in no way exceptional – they are a regular part of life at public schools.

    When the analogy carries over to liturgy, it raises the critical question of education. In other words, if the state thinks it is worthwhile to address the demographic problem you mention through educational opportunities, why can’t the Church take a similar interest? To what extent is OF liturgy connected to tradition and ‘high’ music inherently off-putting, and to what extent is it a failure to invest in education on the church’s part?

    My contention, on examining choir schools around the world, is that children of all backgrounds can be taught to appreciate (and participate as singers) in ‘high’ liturgy and art music. My experience is that they take pride in it, and their parents and siblings become more involved as well. This is what I think of as ‘building Catholic Culture’. The proof lies in examining these places where children’s choirs and high liturgy/music are a central focus. They are vibrant and active, and certainly not limited to the upper classes.
    What is contemporary culture, anyway?
    Some people look around contemporary culture and see little besides generic, chain-store consumerism and media addiction. In the church I see a reflection of this, except when
    A – Catholic Culture is consciously built.
    B – There is a strong ethnic community, which has not yet been assimilated into…

  23. @ Bill De Haas @1.11
    The Last words of the first article of the Summorum Pontificum are ” They are in fact two usages of the One Roman Rite” Crystal clear in my book.

    1. And you are interpreting that one line as if B16 has now set up two forms of one rite…..not sure that is what he intended. It is outside of the liturgical tradition of the Western Rite over 1,000 years. But, then, I never claimed to be able to read B16’s mind.

      1. How else exactly would one interpret that? “They are in fact two usages of the One Roman Rite” seems non-ambiguous, even intentionally so. And it seems most definitely to be “what he intended”. What else would be the point of Summorum Pontificum that would not already be a part of Ecclesia Dei Afflicta? The reason why the 1962 books can be used without any additional permission needed is because it is one of two forms of the One Rite of the Church. What’s unclear about that? And Benedict did not “set up” two forms… they are, and have been in existence since the Ordinary Form was promulgated.

  24. Bill de Haas –

    Thanks for mentioning Chicago – it’s exactly the city I had in mind, with an amazing museum scene. In addition to museums and the symphony hall (a museum for the preservation and performance of art music), downtown Chicago is full of traditional church architecture. Holy Name, St. James Episcopal, 4th Presbyterian, etc.

    Some of the most ornate traditional churches were built by the large immigrant communities of Chicago. But all of these museums and architectural artefacts and churches are not part of the culture of Chicago? How could you identify any single “Culture of Chicago”, in the face of so many different races and classes and histories? How can you be so confident that something is ‘out of place’ in downtown Chicago? This is the problem – people throw around the term ‘contemporary culture’, without having a clear explanation of what it is. We are supposed to make the liturgy more compatible with culture, without knowing exactly what that culture is (and often without any critical engagement – i.e. are there harmful aspects of contemporary culture which we throw out?).

    Two other things:

    1 – you will find communities with clear cultural identity already celebrating Mass differently, i.e. in Polish or German or Spanish as the vernacular, with their own customs.

    2 – the abbey liturgy mentioned is not out of place in downtown Chicago…in fact it already exists there quite strongly. Visit St. John Cantius sometime, or go to their website. Visit St. Clement’s for a more varied, but still ‘high art’ music program.

    Sorry…I couldn’t resist – Chicago is a supremely bad example of a place where high liturgy and music are out of place.

  25. JO – actually you reinforce what I was trying to say (poorly). Clement’s, St. Pat’s, etc. do have their own cultures; national parishes; ethnic parishes – all have their own cultures.

    One of the tensions in the past 25 years has been the growing Hispanic presence in the US esp. Southwest. Do we duplicate the 19th century and build ethnic parishes or do we strive to develop truly bi or tri-lingual parishes? That really stretches the “culture” that has been historically present and can create tension.

    The abbey liturgy may have overtones and likenesses in a Cantius or St. Pat’s but they are not identical.

    So, understand your point about Chicago but still feel that it is very different.

  26. Samuel J. Howard :

    Tom, the evidence for an impoverished liturgy in the ordinary form is the testimony of people who have experience with both well celebrated. I have yet to meet anyone with such experience who didn’t find an impoverishment with the ordinary form that led to the conclusion that, at the least, both were worth preserving side by side in the life of the Church.

    Another subjective opinion citing those of like mind.

    On what basis, other than personal taste, do you claim impoverishment and reduction?

  27. BdH –

    It seems like you’re reinforcing my point.

    These distinct national parishes were built before all the options in post V2 liturgy – they operated in a stricter system, with Latin required. There are a hundred ways to express culture without changing the rubrics and texts of the liturgy. Art, furnishings, music (hymnody or vernacular Ordinary, sung while the priest recites in Latin as is the Germanic tradition), choice of vernacular, paraliturgical customs before and after Mass, etc.
    Mass mostly in Latin and chant can take place without crushing such cultural expression underfoot. I have been to such OF masses in different communities and countries, and I was always acutely aware that I was in a different cultural context.
    So I still can’t agree that such ‘high’ liturgy and music is automatically out of place in or antithetical to distinct cultures.

    And I’m still curious what the art, furnishings, national dress, and paraliturgical customs of modern American culture are…
    Again, if we want to engage contemporary culture in the liturgy we have to have some idea what it is.

    And as a side note, who ever said that the liturgy has to be the primary evangelical outreach tool? This seems at odds with mystagogic catechesis and early church practice.

  28. SP did not ‘set up’ two forms of the Roman rite, it merely recognized the legitimacy of the older form and gave priests the option of using it. I use the terms EF and OF because they are so used in the motu proprio, although I would prefer usus antiquior and usus recentior. In 1570 local uses in existence for 200 years were allowed to continue. Next month I shall attend a Gregorian Chant weekend at a parish served by the Dominicans, and one of the masses will be in the old Dominican rite (or use) which is pre-tridentine, while the other will be Novus Ordo (but with Dominican chant). Vespers and Compline will be according to the Dominican use.

    I don’t think liturgical preference (which we now have to accept as a fact of life) is determined by culture as most people understand it. When I’m on the Continent I look out for a mass in Latin. This is only partly because the language and the music are familiar; I know French and German and can get the gist of liturgical Italian or Spanish. It’s because I know I’m not going to be offended or scandalized by the liturgical abuses which proliferate in Europe. I would never, ever seek out a mass in English.

  29. JO, you say you were always acutely aware that you were in a different cultural context. I don’t, perhaps because I see my cultural context as European in the first instance. A bit like being in the Rudolfinum in Prague and hearing the Czech Philharmonic play Mahler.

  30. JN – sorry, you are merely describing your personal preference and opinions. This blog is about liturgy that the whole church – the people of God; national conferences; dioceses; etc. study, develop, plan, and live as they journey to the kingdom of God. Your last paragraph says little about church – it says everything about your individualism (which, btw, is the opposite of the gospel message).

    Disagree completely with your first statement – he did not “recognize the legitimacy of an older form” – he granted a “temporary” pastoral concession and it was written as “two usages on the one Western Roman Rite”. Nowhere does he state “recognize legitimacy”?

    Fr. Ruff has carefully outlined the possible dangers that this “exception” could lead to……B16 seems to still be articulating his liturgical thought and has used responses such as “enriching each other” again, IMO, in the sense that Fr. Ruff is writing – they take the best from each to develop a liturgical expression – both/and. He also points out that some have “exceeded” this understanding and run the risk of misunderstanding the pastoral concession. They have set up an alternative liturgy that, for some, focuses on the “accidents” and not the heart of liturgy.

    JO – don’t agree. My comments about bilingual/Hispanic parishes expressly stated in the “last 25 years” and yet you immediately misrepresent and jump to before VII? If anything, another “elephant in the living room” for roughly 30% of all US parishes is the fact that this VC2010 will not address their most pressing need – bilingual liturgies; music, etc. You will have a new english vernacular but an old spanish vernacular. It appears that USCCB is trying to address this but this blog has not.

  31. Jared Ostermann :
    Paul Inwood –
    Also, the liturgy develops over time – but it does so through the church’s liturgical legislation and reforms. These can very well have grass-roots origins, but the liturgy by definition only officially changes as the church implements certain reforms.

    REPLY

    I think this is historically incorrect. Only with Trent did “the church” change the liturgy. Up to that time, it was a more organic and local process. There were no legislated catholic rites. Then there were rites legislated in certain dioceses. There were also, in the days before printing presses, manuscript missals of common origin in various imitative traditions.

    Only with the uniformity possible with large print runs was it even possible to legislate a single form of the Missal. Missals originated as conveniences for priests who did not, for whatever reason, want to improvise their own Eucharistic Prayers. The earliest texts are not required words but advice to “say something along these lines”.

    We must get away from the idea that the inter-conciliar period between Trent and Vatican II was “how we always did it.”

  32. JO #58
    “… bring children in contact with ‘great masterpieces’ … they are a regular part of life at public schools.

    When the analogy carries over to liturgy, it raises the critical question of education. … why can’t the Church take a similar interest? To what extent is OF liturgy connected to tradition and ‘high’ music inherently off-putting, and to what extent is it a failure to invest in education on the church’s part? ”

    This seems like an excellent argument for one parish in every hundred, in large metropolitan areas only, to have a regular EF liturgy and to annually bring Catholic school children to experience this portion of their heritage.

    I do not see it as an argument having any relevance to rural dioceses where people have to go to the big cities to see other kinds of museums, nor for the daily experience of those children or the weekly experience of ordinary parish.

    Further, in my experience in the Archdiocese of St. Louis where there was an indult community of long standing and much encouraged by ordinaries, the argument from culture was not supported.

    When I took my students there, what they experienced was the same impoverished ritualism and poorly sung chant and poorly pronounced Latin which I suffered in four different childhood parishes. Same old organist doubling as poor soloist problem.

    Going back a few years later, it was the same sorry state. People were not participating in the Latin liturgy, they were saying their rosaries or had noses buried in their hand missals, because it was impossible to understand more than a random word of mumbled spoken or poorly enunciated sung Latin.

    What was visible was people doing what they were accustomed to do, not people or artists engaged in the liturgy. The museum needed better exhibit maintenance, more professional curators.

  33. Bill @ #68

    Would you not consider your first paragraph a tad sactimonious? And if the HF only intended “a temporary pastoral concession” he had no need to issue SP; we already had QAA and EDA.

    I think it’s permissible to illustrate a general point, which you are at liberty to disagree with, by relating it to personal circumstances and individual preference. I’m not trying to write an academic dissertation but just throwing in a few suggestions.

    And we’re all individualists, even you.

  34. This twenty-first Ecumenical Council can draw upon the most effective and valued assistance of experts in every branch of sacred science, in the practical sphere of the apostolate, and in administration. Its intention is to give to the world the whole of that doctrine which, notwithstanding every difficulty and contradiction, has become the common heritage of mankind—to transmit it in all its purity, undiluted, undistorted. It is a treasure of incalculable worth, not indeed coveted by all, but available to all men of good will.

    And our duty is not just to guard this treasure, as though it were some museum-piece and we the curators, but earnestly and fearlessly to dedicate ourselves to the work that needs to be done in this modern age of ours, pursuing the path which the Church has followed for almost twenty centuries…

    What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith, without forfeiting that accuracy and precision in its presentation which characterized the proceedings of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council. What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms. For this deposit of faith, or truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing; the manner in which these truths are set forth (with their meaning preserved intact) is something else.
    John XXIII

  35. I quoted a little more than I thought and was running up against the word limit. But I thought these remarks from John XXIII’s opening address to Vatican II were pertinent to the discussion. He discusses doctrine where we are talking about liturgy, but the handling is similar enough to shed some light on what we all are saying.
    I hope.

    1. “What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms.”

      I would claim that the original Missal of Paul VI and its second edition and the line of careful and continuing development under the original expertise of ICEL as directed and always vetted by the episcopal conferences, that these were exactly studying afresh and reformulating the liturgy in contemporary terms as JP XXIII envisioned and SC intended.

      The changes in rules and procedures, then the changes in actual texts imposed by the Roman curia seem anything but fresh or contemporary in intent or result.

  36. To clarify, I wholeheartedly endorse the Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated well which includes diversity in terms of language, music and cultural accouterments. However, I also endorse “saying the black and doing the red” which still allows for a great deal of flexibility in the OF. I endorse too the new English translation that is far superior in accuracy, piety and devotion to the one we currently have.
    I also endorse SP and the liberal allowance of the EF Mass. On a pastoral level though, it should not be forced down anyone’s throats just as so-called “creative forms” of the OF shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats.
    In my own parish we only celebrate the EF Mass as a High Mass once a month and at a separate time from our other OF Masses. We get anywhere from 60 to 100 people for this. If 150 to 200 were coming, I would have consulted with our pastoral council and our bishop about making one of our four Sunday Masses an EF Mass. I can’t justify doing that now. I don’t mind the extra work one Sunday a month and find it spiritually stimulating.
    What SP has done for those who attend and for myself too is the need to pay special attention to the details of reverence, mystery and awe that this form of the Mass engenders and which in the name of “noble simplicity” were removed in the reformed version of the Mass. But the OF Mass also shows those who attend the EF the need for verbal participation and singing of the Mass by the congregation and the need for a reformed, well proclaimed lectionary that allows the laity, male and female to proclaim it.
    I am conflicted on the silent canon in the EF and the proclaimed canon. I like both and see the value of both, silence as engendering a sense of awe and respect and proclaiming which makes audible these moments of mystery.
    We don’t need a dumbed down liturgy in translation or rubrics, but neither do we need a mystified liturgy that is like a museum piece. (The more liberal allowance of the EF takes it out of the museum though!) Hopefully Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of reform within continuity will meld the best of both the EF and OF.

  37. BdH:

    I said nothing about the Spanish language situation in the present. I was merely pointing out that the 19th century immigrant parishes you mentioned were able to develop a distinct cultural identity, without changing the liturgical texts and rubrics.

    As to the present Spanish/English situation, I completely agree that it is a huge issue – and one that has not been much addressed yet. Still, drawing on past experience I have to say that Latin and chant centered OF liturgy could provide a framework for authentic cultural expression on the part of the Spanish-language immigrant communities. Especially in border states like Arizona, where tensions run high on both sides, shifting toward Latin (i.e. in the Ordinary) could provide a common liturgical ground. This is opposed to either side feeling they are being assimilated by the other (English or Spanish) culture. The irony is that Mexico has a centuries-long interaction with ‘high’ European culture through the Dominican missions and other meeting points. Mariachi music, for example, is a descendant of European brass-band music (including polka!), mixing with local instruments. High liturgy and music, grand church buildings, and organs are actually more a part of Mexico’s past than they are of American frontier past in the border states.

    @Tom Poelker

    The church develops over time – I understand how things were done in the early church, but we now live post Trent and post V2. We are not called to improvise Eucharistic prayers any more. Post Trent, the church does have more centralized liturgical control. And local change before that – generally change by the local church (i.e. Bishop).

    And your comments on the museum piece and education – notice that I never said the EF would be the liturgy we educate children to take part in. I meant the OF, in continuity with tradition (music, solemnity, etc.). Eventually, this training will also help address the musical quality issues you…

  38. The new English vernacular is quite close to the old English vernacular- that’s the irony. Most bilingual catholics won’t have an issue with the more latinesque vocabulary of the new translation. Hispanic Catholics do not tend to see the church in terms of pre-vatican 2 and post Vatican 2 as so many people on this blog do. What is appalling is the ignorance of of most American liturgists regarding Latin american worship.
    The creeping syncretistic practices, the influence of the charismatic renewal, the use of sacramentals, the house churches, high Marian devotions, where does one begin?

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