Re-Reading Sacrosanctum Concilium: Article 25

This article concludes the list of “general norms” the Council Fathers articulated for the reform/restoration/renewal of the Liturgy. I will take a short break from my Monday/Thursday posting of these texts and reflections and will take up the next set of norms after the New Year.

Vatican website translation:

25. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.

Latin text:

25. Libri liturgici quam primum recognoscantur, peritis adhibitis et Episcopis consultis ex diversis orbis regionibus.

Slavishly literal translation:

25. The liturgical books are to be reviewed as soon as possible, with experts employed and bishops consulted from diverse regions of the world.

The final “general norm” for the reform/restoration/renewal of the liturgy articulated by the Council Fathers calls for a review/revision of the official liturgical library guiding Roman Rite worship (and the other rites insofar as the principles of the Constitution on the Liturgy should apply to them [art. 3]). The process of reviewing/revising the liturgical books is entrusted to two groups: experts and bishops (although what their qualifications might be, how they might be chosen, and how they are to work with one another remained to be worked out). I take the phrase “ex diversis orbis regionibus” to apply to both the “experts employed” and the “bishops consulted.”

We are blessed to have various accounts of the process by which the liturgical books were revised for the Roman Rite, foremost of which is probably Annibale Bugnini’s La riforma liturgica (1948-1975) and its various translations. Pray Tell readers may want to evaluate the effectiveness of the process by which the reform of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite took place in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, how these revised books were accepted, adapted, and translated by local territorial authorities, and what processes (e.g., for determining categories and credentials of “experts,” for surfacing bishops [and other categories of church leaders?] to consult) for future liturgical reform/restoration/renewal might be helpful.

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42 comments

  1. “As soon as possible” is the key word here and even in the 1970’s many were realizing that the revision of the liturgical books went to fast, with little preparation for it for not only the laity but for bishops and clergy too and what was given as the rationale, the means by which people were told why things were changing was abysmally poor and based upon denigrating what the old was in order to promote the so-called new and improved. Certainly now with 20/20 hindsight we see the danger of committee work and producing a giraffe behind closed doors. Certainly there wasn’t then and there isn’t now a consensus on how to implement what SC requested.
    With that said, though, the process of renewal is on going and is more like the medieval building of a grand cathedral. Cathedrals took decades sometimes centuries to complete and the liturgical renewal of Vatican II will certainly not be finished or properly completed within the span of a few short decades. What happened in the 60’s and 70’s was just the rash judgment of a particular committee that didn’t realize that their work could be reformed just as they were reforming what came before them.
    So a more organic approach I think is happening today that is involving both the clergy and more importantly the laity. The liberal allowance of the EF Mass helps both younger clergy and laity to see just what was asked to be reformed and then we’ll be able to see that a more modest and humble reform may be the answer to SC or simply applying SC to the 1962 expressions of the Liturgy in a more thoughtful , conservative way–that’s radical! I didn’t hear a sung Gradual at Mass until five years ago when we sang our first EF Mass since the 1970 missal supposed replaced the former Mass. Today, I’ve heard the Gradual sung at OF Masses today; we’re singing the official Gregorian chanted Propers at OF Massses and even hearing the Gradual again at St. Peter’s as recently as Midnight Mass. (I wonder if they got the idea from my parishes Schubert’s Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in an Extraordinary Way last March 19th with a sung gradual?) 🙂 Reform/restoration/renewal of the liturgy is happening and it is happening with the Ordinary Form based upon the Extraordinary Form. Who would have “thunk?”

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #1:
      In one parish I know the prayers at the foot of the altar used in the EF rite have been substituted for the Pauline introductory rite. The priest’s chair is gone with a sedilia in its place. So is the Novus Ordo “Ikea-style” altar. Ad orientem is the posture for all EF and OF masses.

      All the propers are in English. All commons, with the exception of the Lord’s Prayer are in Latin. The three year lectionary is used. All readings and the gospel are read or sung from an eagle lectern AND from an ambo. There’s a sung Gradual in the vernacular, as you’ve experienced.

      One of the litanies from the Anglican ordinariate’s Book of Divine Worship is used in place of the prayers of the faithful. If I recollect correctly, there was an offertory procession and the kiss of peace using the book of the gospels as an instrumentum pacis. Very nicely done too.

      Part of the Roman canon is said silently with the words of institution and the anamnesis said or sung in Latin. The entire major elevation is sung in Latin. Communion is still given standing and under both forms. The preface, collect, secret prayer, and post communion are sung in the vernacular.

      No doubt about it this church and I suspect others are just going ahead and doing it. Going far beyond just making a few changes in the wording of the MR3. The Vatican may see it as rebellion and anarchy, but others seem to think of it as reform/restoration/renewal.

      I might add, the EF has been dropped from the schedule of masses with this new hybrid of EF and OF uses replacing it. It seems to be a compromise which works well, as it is well attended with people of all age groups. Which wasn’t the case before this hybrid was introduced.

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #1:

      “As soon as possible” is the key word here and even in the 1970′s many were realizing that the revision of the liturgical books went to fast, with little preparation for it for not only the laity but for bishops and clergy too and what was given as the rationale, the means by which people were told why things were changing was abysmally poor and based upon denigrating what the old was in order to promote the so-called new and improved. Certainly now with 20/20 hindsight we see the danger of committee work and producing a giraffe behind closed doors. Certainly there wasn’t then and there isn’t now a consensus on how to implement what SC requested.

      This, alas, is historical nonsense, Allan. The principal reason why the reforms and revision of liturgical books went so quickly is not only because SC stipulated “as soon as possible” but also because the bishops of the world were clamouring for these reforms, all well documented in Bugnini, Marini, etc. The Consilium could scarcely keep up with the demand from dioceses and conferences all over the world.

      As for the dangers of committee work, what the Consilium produced was the result of collaborative work by a large number of acknowledged experts from around the world. Certainly far more were involved with this work than the small number responsible for recent revised English translation, for example.

      The only point where you and I would be in agreement would be that the laity were not given adequate information about the reforms as they came about. This was because the clergy had little or no information to give them. And the reason for that was that, in their haste, the world’s bishops did not inform the clergy. And this in turn was down not only to haste but lack of liturgical formation on the part of the world’s bishops. They knew what they wanted, because they could see very quickly how pastorally sucessful the initial reforms were; but they didn’t know why they wanted this, and so had little or nothing to offer the clergy in that regard.

      I reject entirely your accusation of people denigrating the old in order to promote the new. This is an inaccurate caricature. There was simply no need to denigrate the old because almost everyone could see straightaway how good and desirable the new was. (I’m talking here about the reforms themselves, not about translation issues.) In that respect, too, your statement that there wasn’t a consensus about how to implement the reforms mandated by SC is way off the mark. There was indeed wide consensus, the only naysayers being the same small band of devotees of the Tridentine Rite that are still with us today. They are more organized and more vocal than they were then, but they are nevertheless a very small minority in proportion to the rest of the Church.

  2. Hello Paul,

    The principal reason why the reforms and revision of liturgical books went so quickly is not only because SC stipulated “as soon as possible” but also because the bishops of the world were clamouring for these reforms, all well documented in Bugnini, Marini, etc.

    You’re on to an uncomfortable point (for “reform of the reform” traditionalists, at least) here, but I think it’s more complex than you allow. It’s a difficult reality for RFR types to reconcile the fact that most of the world’s bishops signed off on not only the Pauline missal but many of the other reforms that accompanied it, with the assumption that the same bishops were only voting for a modest liturgical reform when they approved Sacrosanctum Concilium. Perhaps they expected more modest reforms in 1964, but later came to change their minds. Or at least were more willing to swallow their reservations when confronted with demands for them. I think there’s evidence that this was the case, quite often.

    Of course, there were exceptions, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that fact. For example: After a rising incidence of spontaneous resort to communion in the hand was documented, Paul VI allowed in May of 1969 in the document ‘Memoriale Domini’ to allow Hand Communion where it had already been illegally practiced. But when canvassed the previous year, nearly two thirds of the world’s bishops opposed allowing reception in this way. Nonetheless, the Pope disregarded their concerns.

    All that said, a clamor for major changes – especially of the scope and scale that took place in 1965-1973 – doesn’t mean that it is prudent to simply grant everything asked for in such a short period of time, especially when it’s less clear just how broad the clamor really is. The Church has never seen anything like the sweeping changes in the liturgy seen in that period, and even many progressive liturgists have come to concede that too much was attempted too quickly, and not enough done to prepare the laity for it all.

  3. They are more organized and more vocal than they were then, but they are nevertheless a very small minority in proportion to the rest of the Church.

    What you’ve elided in your formulation here is that while they remain a small minority in proportion to the rest of the Church (in the U.S., the number of Catholics who attend Mass every week is accurately described as a “small minority”) they’re not only “more organized and more vocal” but also larger both numerically and proportionally than they used to be.

  4. There was, in the 60s, no recognition that “consensus” was needed. Several hundred years of autocratic attitudes in the Church meant that the Pope could make what changes he wanted and everyone would accept it. The Council proposed a collegiality that enables us to see consensus as a possibility, even something necessary, but the Church has still not fully realized what this means.

    Also, iF it is legitimate to complain that liturgical catechesis in the 60s was “based upon denigrating what the old was in order to promote the so-called new and improved…” then it might be good to avoid denigrating the OF in order to promote the reform of that reform.

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #6:
      “Also, iF it is legitimate to complain that liturgical catechesis in the 60s was “based upon denigrating what the old was in order to promote the so-called new and improved…” then it might be good to avoid denigrating the OF in order to promote the reform of that reform.”

      As Twain’s aphorism goes, history does not repeat, but it does rhyme….

  5. Paul, thanks so much for your response to Allan’s fantastical comments about events surrounding the liturgical reforms following Vatican II. I don’t know what was going on in England, but my recollection here is that there was very little objection or confusion regarding those developments. What I notice going on here among the ROTR folks is a revision of history as the foundation upon which to advocate their desired reforms. Take their insistence that SC’s provision for the retention of Latin components and the favoring of chant as particularly suited for the Mass. They overlook that once some vernacular was introduced it set off a clamor for more. Bishops around the world petitioned for an all vernacular Mass. When hymns were introduced in the people’s own language few asked for chant instead. The truth, of course, is that chant had never been widely employed in parish Masses. It amazes me that this small segment of the rank and file church members wanting a ROTR receives so much attention.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #8:
      Just remember what Jesus said about the mustard seed and what others said about Jesus and what basic sociology 101 says about small groups on the ascendency and the reactions these groups provoke from the status quo majority.

      Finally most ROTR groups critique the horrible casual, liturgies where priests make it up as they go, music is banal, happy clappy, and there is no attention to detail and no solemnity, bells or smells and no one has a sense of being well prepared, decorum or choreography. Most us is would be thrilled with the reformed missal celebrated by the book, the dreaded read the black, do the red.

      1. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #9:
        Agreement with Jack. My perception is that most reform2 members stumbled into a basement sometime about 1972, tripped over a clown shoe, and accidentally tapped their toe to “Blowin’ In the Wind.”

        If one’s whole premise is based on a misdiagnosis from one’s spiritual bunker, and a decades-old bitterness–one’s own or passed on from an internet mentor–then one’s ideology will consistently get shredded not only by reality, but by many people who have been doing thoughtful ministry over the past half-century.

        Entertaining to read about, but not really Gospel.

      2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #10:
        Thanks, Todd – had some of the same reactions as you and Fr. Jack (fantastical)

        Fr. Michael – sorry that the initial commentors hijacked and diverted the review of this SC article. As you stated initially in this project, what does SC say in this article about – *how to evaluate the effectiveness of the process by which the reform of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite took place in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, how these revised books were accepted, adapted, and translated by local territorial authorities, and what processes for future liturgical reform/restoration/renewal might be helpful.?* (not, what is your ideological bias repeated endlessly)

        Some thoughts:

        Always interesting to me that one ROTR approach is to state that you have to read SC as it is written (can’t appeal to the *spirit of VII*; guess you can’t appeal to other VII documents that are connected to SC; it is pastoral (meaning of less value than a *dogmatic council); it happened too quickly; Consilium hijacked SC; ultraliberals hijacked SC; appeal to *lex orandi, lex credendi* except when it doesn’t work for their opinions; some folks were hurt and ignored by the too quick changes; SC wasn’t rolled out correctly; and, of course, the usual mantra about clown masses that justifies any ROTR opinion.

        So, the first commenter took Fr. Michael’s suggestion and highlighted a phrase – *as soon as possible* to state his opinions. Some reactions:

        – interesting that the comment contradicts any effort to read/interpret the *literally written article of SC* (wasn’t that a ROTR principle and objection to current VII interpretations?). Instead, we get the opinionated *Certainly there wasn’t then and there isn’t now a consensus on how to implement what SC requested* – and we know this how? this opinion contradicts history; contradicts or ignores historical records such as Bugnini, Congar, ICEL’s recorded transcripts, Consilium’s consistent liturgy announcements/explanations, recorded votes and notes from Paul VI, episcopal conferernces, etc.
        – then, you find this opinion – *What happened in the 60′s and 70′s was just the rash judgment of a particular committee that didn’t realize that their work could be reformed* – and we know this how? As Paul Inwood correctly stated – this rewrites the historical record; it replaces peer reviewed, researched, and discussed historical interpretations from documented participants; *particular committee* – appointed and moderated by Paul VI; a committee that planned for liturgical reform to be on-going (e.g. 1998 translation, RCIA, new EPs, new sacrament orders/prayers, etc.); it repeats the *mantra* – hijacked SC; bad old 60-70s; change was offensive; plants the*new ROTR mantra* that B16 has brought the *correct interpretation of liturgy and SC* marked by whatever as long as we add – *organic development in continuity*, or this bit of hilarity….*more organic approach I think is happening today that is involving both the clergy and more importantly the laity*; (really), etc. Think this commentor yearns for the 2012 missal but with all of the 1962 missal rubrics, RTBDTR. (guess this somehow doesn’t challenge the fact that sacramental theology, ecclesiology, etc. changed with VII and this was expressed in SC and Consilium) (Yes, Richard, this means that the old 1962/Trentan missal language changed because VII shifted/ressourced/changed the eucharistic theology (e.g. prayers, etc.) to reflect a broader theological understanding than just a narrow Trentan or older sacramentary approach).
        – what appears to be *rupture* is taking the ROTR approach to SC (just as it is written literally) and forcing it into the EF/OF comparisons – was the JPII or B16’s EF around when SC was approved by a council? Feels like another contradiction?
        – and finally, we have the ROTR’s alternate universe – *why the EF will mutually enrich the OF* – let’s not get hung up on theology, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, ecumenism, etc. Let’s just disconnect EF liturgy completely and call ti *in continuity* and watch because lex ordandi, lex credendit will now work miracles.

        Simple historical facts – the 1973 translation, RCIA, sacraments, etc. were quickly implemented and drove even more episcopal conferences to request additional and quicker liturgical reform/changes. Richard mentions communion in the hand – review Bugnini’s books about how an earlier group of bishops did not approve of this but the next year Paul VI did – why, because the initial episcopal group was not representative; they went back home and realized that this is what people/priests were asking for, etc. (and this leads to another contradiction with the ROTR approach – if Paul VI was wrong to do this; how is this different from B16 and JPII unilaterally and secretly changing translation rules, appointing VC (talk about a *particular committee*); and imposing a new missal by changing the council directives (not even Consilium pulled that one). Sorry, these comments just feel like pay back and result in more and more confusion; folks not caring; folks leaving.

    2. @Jack Feehily – comment #8:
      Problem is Fr. Jack, that the pointed and highly specific directive of the council that the people use Latin and chant during Mass remains whether it is our personal preference or not. We cannot ignore Vatican II.
      I wonder if the tendancy to ignore or explain away this kind of specific directive of SC (and, therefore, of Vatican II) is part of the reason that the Church is divided over these issues today?

  6. Mr. McKernan – if you study and read the actual journals of some participants during VII both pre, during, and post, they explain well the context and reasons for why these specific sections were included in SC (e.g. chant, Latin).
    Subsequent notes, records, documents explain well exactly what happened before VII even ended in terms of vernacular (e.g. increasing episcopal conferences wanting vernacular; seminaries had already long stopped teaching in latin; etc. Same with chant)

    We can bemoan what happened historically in terms of organic development in continuity but that is the historical fact. Did that organic development ignore/abuse/break the intent of those specific sections in SC? The records indicate that this is not the case; what it tells us is that you can’t take a literalist approach to these sections – you have to understand the context; what happened afterwards, etc.

    Would suggest that we are divided because a very small contingent reads SC (in some sections) as literal, set in concrete, etc. VII and SC are dynamic documents; they are living documents which means that they will continue to develop. (sorry, using this method to then justify harking back to pre-VII ways doesn’t cut it….to do so rejects that SC/VII *reformed* theology, sacraments, ecclesiology, and thus liturgy)

    There is also something about the picking and choosing that the ROTR folks appear to do. Their method is inconsistent, contradictory, etc. You can find lots of things in the VII documents that are no longer part of the church’s every day practice – some of this is good and some have had unintended consequences. Examples – what about VII’s directives and principles around collegiality, synods, conferences approve liturgical decisions? Aren’t some commenters here involved in ignoring or explaining these things away?
    Yep, it works both ways.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #13:
      It works both ways.

      That’s the problem. It doesn’t work both ways. It breaks both ways. One mistake or injustice does not excuse another.

      You say that Vatican II is a dynamic council and that its documents are dynamic documents, but then imply that to deviate from its theology, sacraments, ecclesiology, and liturgy is to “reject” them. If that is the case, why isn’t deviating from SC 54.2 a “rejection” of the council? Why are the documents dynamic but their result not-dynamic?

      You bring up the example of collegiality. It’s well-known that SC 36 (which expresses support for Latin and the vernacular simultaneously) goes on to say that “translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority“, and that the Apostolic See’s role in this is simply to approve (i.e. confirm) the decisions of the territorial authorities in terms of WHAT will be translated (cf. SC 36.3-4). It has also been discussed here (“A Cold Wind From Rome”, 11 Jun 2010) that the 1964 motu proprio Sacram liturgiam interprets SC 36.3-4 as extending the role of the Apostolic See (in granting approval) to not only decrees of what will be translated, but the very acts of translation themselves.

      So here we have two cases of going beyond the letter of SC. In one case, SC 54’s statements about Latin (“Nevertheless steps should be taken…”) seem to be downplayed because of the popularity of the vernacular; in another case, SC 36’s statements about the role of the Apostolic See are embellished.

      What is the state of these two cases? Is one legitimate and the other not? Are both legitimate (or not)? If one is and the other is not, what are the deciding factors?

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #16:
        Thanks, JP – excellent questions and well written anlysis and points.

        “That’s the problem. It doesn’t work both ways. It breaks both ways. One mistake or injustice does not excuse another.” Well stated and completely agree.

        Wish I had a magic ball to give you the answers – some of this is beyond my pay scale and folks such as Paul Inwood, Fr. Michael, Fr. Ruff, etc. have much more extensive and current knowledge.

        Allow me to suggest a couple of things that you can probably pick apart but here goes:
        – as you say well, one mistake or unintended injustice does not excuse another. My point exactly in my last sentences…..any reform or change will not be perfect; it will contain both intended and unintended consequences. My point is that the ROTR only compounds the organic development by repeating the historical mistakes; copying some of the same methods to attain their ideological ends. Thus, my list in #11 in terms of how they justify ROTR.
        – sorry, but do think that you can posit & identify significant differences between VII principles (theological, ecclesiological, ecumenical, liturgical) and reform implementation decisions. For example, VII principles that start with church as communio, people of God, start w/baptism versus a clerical hierarchical or institutional model. Thus, you can define, judge, and identify actions/results that are non-dynamic e.g. decisions that re-clericalize church structures or veer to legalism; diminishing community understanding; and treating liturgy as if man was made for it. (refer to Congar’s book, “True and False Reform in the Church”…without those distinctions, you will always see any change as reform..it is not)
        – actually think your collegiality example is dead on….but you have to re-read Fr. Michael’s introductions to articles and sections. You can’t make the mistake of reading/interpreting every article in SC as equal and the same. SC is structured and laid out in sections – begins with principles and defintions/beliefs. Then, it takes those principles and lays out directives in terms of decisions and implementations. Thus, the earlier principle starts w/collegiality; local episcopal decisions…thus, SC 54 was revised in its development/implementation based upon a SC principle – collegiality and pastoral focus. SC 36 is a principle. SC 54 is a directive but both the principles of collegiality and local pastoral focus take precedent in how a bishop or conference interprets and acts on the later directives.
        In your example, ROTR folks take a conciliar principle (part of the heart of SC) and allow a solitary pope or small group to embellish or distort the conciliar principle (IMO – not sure that our *Cold Wind* post on Sacram Liturgiam reached the conclusion you posit here?). To equate or place the same value/weight on the article on latin to the article on collegiality is to misread SC. Would also suggest (borrowing from canon law) that there are differences in the wording/intent of SC 54 (latin) – more a contingent recommendation that recognizes the historical legacy versus SC 36 that is a structural change that underpins SC and all of the subsequent directives.

    2. @Bill deHaas – comment #13:
      Mr. deHaas,
      The late Cardinal Dulles answered your conjection re. the value of diaries, journals, historiography, etc. in relation to the actual documents vetted and approved by the Council Fathers. SC’s reference to the continued use of Latin/chant is pointed, direct, and highly specific. These cannot be dismissed unless one is willing to weaken the authority of the rest
      Would suggest Bill, that if you choose to see SC as a “living document” that you get on board with the ROTR which seems to be reflecting the “signs of the times”.
      V2’s directives about collegiality are still very much alive, the synod just happened again, and the US bishops approved the new translation.

      1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #22:
        Have posted many times about Dulles’ late in life series that was responded to by Ladislas Orsy.

        Orsy did a good job of diagraming and responding to Dulles’s points. His conclusion was that this series by Dulles was an *advocacy* piece – not well researched, documented, or serious peer-reviewed publication.

        And yes, it is a favorite of Allan’s to use and quote from – it supports his *organic development in continuity* mantra. Sorry – experts do not agree with your interpretation about the latin article – let me be clear: am not dismissing the article; rather putting it into a context; allowing for added development (see Paul VI’s later pronouncements about latin, etc.) This in no way weakens the authority of all of SC, etc.

        And, yes, the *alternate universe* sees the dying days of B16 as reflecting the signs of the times and the beginning of a whole new liturgical landscape – really?

        No, VII’s principle on collegiality is not alive; current synods do not reflect in any way what VII directed; and the US bishops did not *approve* the new translation – they accepted/confirmed it because they had no choice; no leadership; etc. Thus, turning the SC directive that conferences approved and Rome confirmed upside down.
        But, please, keep trying to put lipstick on that pig.

  7. Dunstan Harding : @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #1: In one parish I know the prayers at the foot of the altar used in the EF rite have been substituted for the Pauline introductory rite. The priest’s chair is gone with a sedilia in its place. So is the Novus Ordo “Ikea-style” altar. Ad orientem is the posture for all EF and OF masses.

    I am of course highly interested in knowing which parish this is. But I understand if you’d rather not say.

  8. Todd Flowerday : @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #9: Agreement with Jack. My perception is that most reform2 members stumbled into a basement sometime about 1972, tripped over a clown shoe, and accidentally tapped their toe to “Blowin’ In the Wind.”

    My perception of most “reform2” members is that they grew up with the reform and found it to not be as spiritually fulfilling as you do. They then experienced more “traditional” liturgy and were blown away by it and want to share it with others.

    My perception of the anti-reform2 crowd is that they are mad not everyone loves the same type of liturgy they do (or feel threatened that not everyone wants it), and therefore want to vilify them and the EF crowd as much as possible by getting hung up on a few of the crazier internet comments.

    I really don’t get the animosity towards the “reform 2” Mass so many here have. Vatican II and the rubrics of the OF obviously allow for it. I can *sort of* understand the animosity towards the EF crowd (but can’t sympathize with people who want to rob others of meaningful relevant liturgy while claiming to promote meaningful liturgy), but I don’t get why this blog has so many folks against the ROTR.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #15:
      Thank you for responding, Jack.

      My honest sense is that Vatican II was poorly implemented in many places, and many Catholics gravitated to a location where they experienced good liturgy. Quality always triumphs over ideology where the spiritual life is concerned.

      Like many others, you seem to interpret opposition as anger. It might be that the critique is just pointing out inconsistencies, and even things that skirt dangerously toward schism. On a pastoral level, I note a lot of the same hamfistedness that accompanied, sadly, much of the liturgical reform of the 60’s and early 70’s.

      I’d say one of my main objections is appropriating the virtue of reform and applying it to what “others” have done, hence “of the reform,” and an unwillingness to apply it to one’s own liturgy.

      In my parish, we are constantly discerning how to refine our celebration of the modern Roman Rite. We don’t need the TLM. We want input from people of all sensibillities. We are less concerned with what the parish across town is doing or what the basilica up the road offers. We aim to celebrate more artfully tomorrow than yesterday.

      My biggest objection to the reform2 movement is its utter misdiagnosis of modern liturgy, especially where it is celebrated well, and the continuing strain of caricature and insult directed at what I would characterize as a loyal opposition. If reform2 people were serious about celebrating the liturgy they want, they would take care of their own clowns, thank you.

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #19:
        Quality is always best – I agree – be it contemporary, EF, reform2 or what have you. I think quality rather than form of Mass is most important, so there’s nothing to oppose when it comes to people wanting the EF or a more traditional OF Mass when they are done well. It’s wonderful that your parish strives for quality even if they don’t want the EF, but it is equally wonderful when a parish is celebrating an EF or reform2 OF well and have no need for more contemporary liturgy.

        I interpret a lot of opposition as anger because it comes off as such. I’ve seen very little real critique of traditionalist or reform2 liturgy, and a lot of insult and caricature.

      2. @Jack Wayne – comment #26:
        “I’ve seen very little real critique …”

        The Benedictine altar arrangement, the rollback of congregational singing (choir-only music at the propers and ordinary), too much finery in clergy vestments (see SC 124), the Tridentine Low Mass–all the repetitions and unreformed ritual and none of the fine music,

      3. @Todd Flowerday – comment #27:
        Those things are rarely talked about seriously – it’s mostly a lot of hyperbole.

        The benedictine arrangement leads to clutter? That seems to be the top argument against it, and a rather weak one. Some say it blocks the view of the celebrant, which I suppose is one real critique. Having a special role for the Choir isn’t a rollback of congregational singing since you can have both at Mass and they can support each other, and it ignores that many traditionalists and refrom2 folks advocate for the congregaton learning and participating in the ordinary. Too much finery in church vestments seems to be a “problem” at a teeny-tiny minority of Masses that is blown out of proportions because there isn’t anything else to critique, and the Tridentine Low Mass isn’t considered an ideal by anyone in trad or reform2 movements. So you listed one good argument against overly large candlesticks. Even in the cases where the critiques you listed apply, they do not form a strong argument against the reform2 or EF movements.

        How about the way “say the black/do the red” is characterized here – like those who advocate for it don’t also want good preaching, meaningful liturgy, solid music and ritural (and constantly say so) and supposedly just think every priest has to be a robot droning out the words. It seems to be a favorite strawman. Or constantly mentioning that the EF is less participatory because the GIRM for the OF mentions the congregation more – as if people show up at Mass knowing what the GIRM says about them.

      4. @Jack Wayne – comment #31:
        Thanks for engaging Jack.

        Clutter is one argument against. The other is the nature of the altar as a locus for sacrifice. One places candles on a dinner table for atmosphere, and a place setting in front of each one who dines. Note how often the corporal and candles are placed as if it is the priest who dines at the Eucharist.

        I also criticize the candles because they obscure and overpower the Eucharistic elements.

        I think too much focus on stbdtr obscures the real problems in modern liturgy: better music and preaching, for two big starters. Most priests stick to the rubrics fairly well. Those who don’t, don’t trangress in major ways, from what I see. But poor preaching and music drive people away from church. At least it would seem that bishops should focus there on investing diocesan resources for their clergy and seroius musicians.

        And Daniel, my suggestion for making your case more strongly is to read what your opponents are writing about the liturgy in the immediate post-conciliar period. Today it is very easy to cherry-pick through the opposition and convince oneself that a dozen voices constitute some sort of concensus. The reality is that the council bishops went home, and were eventually emboldened by their clergy and people to advocate for an expansion of the reform. And Vatican II, being a pastoral council, gave them (at that time) the duty and responsibility to implement what their people were asking them to do.

  9. Paul wrote about the post conciliar liturgical reforms indicating that
    “there was wide consensus” & that the bishops of the world “clamored for reforms”- I am confident there was great consensus within certain specific circles but a survey of the periodicals of the period (Tablet included) reveal widespread consternation & confusion among rank-and-file clergy & laity and signficant division within the Church. The complaints of bishops to the work of the consilium seems of interest. For example, there was the 1967 Roman synod which insisted upon certain revisions to the consilium’s work on the liturgy. These revisions include the restored Orate fratres. Some of the reforms desired by the bishops were of ICEL’s translation work. Two examples are the dismay by which so many greeted the ICEL translation of the Roman canon in 1967 and the dispute over the funeral rites into the 1980’s.

    H. P. R. Finberg’s detailed and public criticisms of ICEL’s work on EP 1 in 1967 are now validated in our contemporary translation. There also was turmoil within ICEL itself during that time. Fr. Somerville’s stated reasons for his resignation from ICEL in 1964 seems relevant and finds some echo in L.A. & the current English translation. Paul mentioned widespread celebration of an all-vernacular Mass but the literature of the time and the words of Paul VI continue to reassure that Latin will always have a place (i.e. Iubilate Deo 1974). It was the laity who propelled the Agatha Christie indult and founded the Latin Liturgy Assoc..

    The English bishops were reluctant in accepting the ICEL funeral rites (+Wheeler of Leeds letter to ICEL 1971). In 1987 the Holy See rejected ICEL’s pastoral notes for funerals. We also see Cardinal Heenan, ++Dwyer in the US, Cardinal McIntyre and even Cardinal Spellman among the prelates who publicly worried about the direction taken by ICEL/consilium in the years following the council. By 1984 we had Quattuor Abhinc Annos.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #17:
      Sorry – you are using and stating things that are not facts.

      You state that there was *SIGNIFICANT* division within the church; widespread consternation/confusion……we have been down this road frequently. Not sure any of us can provide actual documentation that indicates or supports what you have just written. e.g. Tablet article is not representative nor can it be used to make over-generalizations such as significant, widespread, confusion, etc. (yes, we know that there were some small groups; yes, we know that there was some resistance but, from a global church perspective, your comments are not factual)

      You cite the time period from 1965-1970 – you cite some episcopal feedback, criticisms, etc. These are part of the historical record and have been acknowledged but don’t think you can then draw the conclusion that this was *significant* or *widespread* division. You are confusing the VII process and Paul VI/Consilium development (which included episcopal feedback; criticisms, etc.) as final judgments on the overall liturgical reform project – that is a gross over-generalization.
      We have frequently dealt with Fr. Somerville and his antics. Let’s leave it at the fact that Somerville was a very troubled individual….and it is very questionable if not unwise to footnote him. Finberg/Somerville’s objections can be found today in LA/2011 – yes, you are probably correct but that doesn’t make it right or pastoral good in terms of the 2011 process. Many good experts have reached the conclusion that both the 2011 process and missal product are *significantly* corrupt.

      Yes, Paul VI did reassure that Latin will always have a place – but it appears that you have again taken this out of context and reached a sweeping generalization that can then be used to condemn/criticize.

      We just recently posted and debated about the genesis of the Agatha Christie indult….no, the laity did not propel this indult. Folks such as Paul Inwood, john francis robert, and Fr. Endean corrected the myths around this indult.

      Finally, you list (guessing you must be taking this from some traditionalist website) a number of the most conservative bishops at VII – Dwyer, McIntyre, Heenan. We again have posted on these folks many times – not sure they raised any substantial objections and in some cases (e.g. McIntyre’s comments from the floor of St. Peter’s which created much hilarity or Dwyer’s anger & stubbornness) were dismissed by the overwhelming majority of bishops who voted at VII. BTW – McIntyre could neither read nor proclaim in latin; what a great standard bearer)

      Mr. Howard – sorry, will try to improve my complete sentences and paragraphs.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #21:
        Mr. deHaas, my response was to Paul’s earlier post where he stated that
        “(t)here was indeed wide consensus (about the post V2 liturgical changes), the only naysayers being the same small band of devotees of the Tridentine Rite that are still with us today.”

        Leaving aside that many of the original “naysayers” are no longer with us physically having been replaced by a new generation, I gave evidence of what I see to be a lack of consensus among English speakers & others from the period. You begin your reply by stating that what I’ve offerred for consideration are not “the facts” and then go on to admit they are part of the “historical record”. I realize you do not agree with the prelates I mentioned but they seem to have been prophets given subsequent events & the contemporary reform of ICEL.

      2. @Daniel McKernan – comment #25:
        You say: “I realize you do not agree with the prelates I mentioned but they seem to have been prophets given subsequent events & the contemporary reform of ICEL.”
        Actually, you make my point with this statement. It supports the fact that now, since 2000 onwards a small curial group hijacked liturgy via LA, VC, etc.; and yes, it has echoes of some of the *prophecies* of this tiny minority that was fearful of Vatican II, of reform, and were overwhelmingly outvoted in VII. Thus, what we have experienced in the past 10 years has been the hijacking of a council by the few.

    2. @Daniel McKernan – comment #17:
      Thanks for that history correction. Those of us who lived through that period and read the Catholic papers and periodicals know that there was much consternation about post Vatcan II renewal in most if not all areas being reformed but especially with the Liturgy. This consternation for the most part did not translate into rebellion but rather pre-Vatican II Catholics obediently embracing the changes in a humble way even if they didn’t like the changes although the original English Translation of the Tridentine Mass was well received. As well as a sign of still having to sell Varican II to aging priests and reluctant laity, my seminary education precisely gave us a hermeneutical method to do it which shows the controversies about Varian II was still percolating well into the late ’70’s.

    3. @Daniel McKernan – comment #17:

      This reply takes some of the ripples and tries to turn them into a tsunami. It doesn’t work.

      Herbert Finberg was a dinosaur, and a thorn in the side of the ICEL Advisory Committee, off which he was a member for a number of years. ICEL deliberately wanted other voices in order to provide alternative points of view in its work.

      Stephen Somerville did not resign from ICEL in 1964. His undated public letter of resignation refers to a deceased Marcel Lefebvre, who did not die until 1991. Somerville, too, was a member of the ICEL AC for a number of years. It was only after his breakdown that he repudiated ICEL’s work.

      Both Finberg and Somerville, then, were intimately involved in the early translation work of ICEL. Your comment gives the impression that they were sniping from the outside.

      The name of the body you reference is the Latin Mass Society, not the Latin Liturgy Association. Yes, an Association for Latin Liturgy was later founded, but that was not the body whose pressure was responsible for the “Agatha Christie” indult.

      And so on and on. It is easy to cite a few conservative prelates, and the very vocal minority who regularly and tediously expostulated in The Tablet (“widespread consternation & confusion”), but a deeper reading of the history of the time shows that these ripples were of little significance in relation to the broader sweep of what was taking place at grass roots level, as those of us who were around then can attest.

  10. Paul, you are not engaging the worthy points men like Finberg made. This is unfortunate because so much of what he said was implemented in the most contemporary translation of ICEL. You attack these men personally but even Somerville’s letter hints to much of what the reformed ICEL would achieve.
    I did not reference the Latin Mass Society but the Latin Liturgy Assoc., an American body.
    Cite a few conservative prelates – the list is much longer then those I mentioned. Archbishop Hannan of New Orleans, Cardinal Cooke of New York and Cardinal O’Boyle. What does ring true, however, is that the history of the time reveals far more discord than your claim of consensus would suggest. The grass roots level you mention includes the LLA and those who fell from regular practice due to this lack of consensus.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #30:

      I think we will agree to differ on your interpretation of facts, facts which you do not always represent correctly.

      I am not aware that the LLA had anything to do with the England & Wales indult.

      I say again, Herbert Finberg was a dinosaur, one of those with whom it was impossible to have a serious discussion. He was a tiny voice crying in a wilderness which had already left him far behind, and he could not take it. If he had been able to dialogue, life would have been so much easier for him, as well as for others. His principal failing was in not understanding that the function of liturgical language is different from that of “literary” language. It’s rather like cantors who do not understand that Bel Canto singing may be fine in some contexts, but not for a cantor in liturgy.

  11. Daniel McKernan:

    The type of assertions you make need quotations and citations. What are your sources?

    For example, what were Cardinal Spellman’s (died December 1967) criticisms of the vernacular implementation? As well, criticisms of the same by Cardinal Cooke, Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop Hannan? (I grew up in the Washington archdiocese, and Cardinal O’Boyle was immediate in introducing the liturgical changes, including textual changes. I would certainly know had he been an opponent.) Some sources, please.

    Father Stephen Somerville did not resign from the ICEL Advisory Committee in 1964. That’s the year he was appointed. He remained on the Committee until the completion of his term in the early 1970s.

    In the late 1980s the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments did raise objections to various elements found in the Order of Christian Funerals as approved by the English-speaking conferences of bishops. After dialogue between the conferences and the newly-named Prefect of CDWDS, Cardinal Martinez Somalo, in the autumn of 1988, some changes were made and the text was granted the Roman confirmation of the conferences’ individual canonical approvals. You will find the pastoral introductions in the ritual book, printed in some conferences in 1989, in others in 1990. (Would that the same model of collegial dialogue had been allowed by Cardinal Medina Estevez in 2002 when the Roman confirmation was denied to the Missal revision of 1998. A great deal of time, to say nothing of money, could have been saved. The new Missal would have been ready for implementation in 2005 or 2006.)

    Using phrases like “so many were dismayed” is just not helpful. When challenged, you instance the Latin Mass Society and the Latin Liturgy Association, throw out the names of a few opposing bishops among hundreds in the English-speaking world, and close your case. Again, with respect, assertion is not history.

  12. Re. comment 33.

    Mr. Francis,

    A book frequently lauded on this blog,”What Happened At Vatican II”,
    J. O’Malley discusses Cardinal Spellman’s views:
    The cardinal spoke at the council against the vernacular: ” In particular, though the vernacular might be fine in the administration of some of the sacraments, it should not be introduced into the Mass. Later in the course of the debate he was seconded in this opinion by Cardinal Mclntyre of Los Angeles: “The sacred Mass should remain as it is.” Spellman had meanwhile taken a swipe at professional liturgists by reminding the council fathers that as far as the liturgy was concerned, the perspective of real pastors was often different from that of liturgical scholars” (pp 134-138).

    Cardinal McIntyre joined in Spellman’s objections.
    Cardinal Spellman also spoke against the restoration of the married diaconate (179-180).

    Nevertheless, a careful read of my post above will show that I indicated that certain prelates can be considered conservative, they did not share the liberal or progressive “consensus”, not that they necessarily opposed the extension of the vernacular. Caridnal Hannan was considered more conservative as he worked with Cardinal Spellman in council to mitigate criticisms of the US’ cold war military policies during the council (O’Malley 266). Cardinal O’Boyle is well known for his dealings with dissent in the Church after HV. Cardinal Cook maintained a steady pro Roman course in NY similar to O’Boyle, we never saw the polarization there that we saw elsewhere due to his leadership.
    My point has always been that the widespread consensus that Paul saw in the Church following the council existed among a select few, but was not reflected in the larger Church. I’ve pointed to specific bishops who reveal a broad contrary view, I’ve reference lay organizations and lay voices who articulated a differening perspective and I’ve brought forward objections articulated in the press of the period. I think I’ve demonstrated evidence that Paul’s Church-wide consensus of bishops who “clamored for reforms” was illusory.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #34:
      Daniel, you cite a small handful of bishops as evidence that there was not a widespread consensus among bishops for the vernacular. This is absurd. It would be tedious and time-consuming work to look at what every bishop wrote in diocesan newsletters and newspapers and mailings, but it would show that nearly every bishops, except the handful you cite, strongly favored vernacular.
      awr

  13. Problem is that even Spellman favored the vernacular in certain instances but not in others. When we say “favored the vernacular” we need to clearly define what we mean. There was a wide diversity of views. Furthermore, “favored the vernacular” does not equate to liking what the earlier incarnation of ICEL produced. All these areas of disagreement mean that there was no real “consensus” about the extent of the vernacular or about the work of the earlier ICEL. Suggesting there was a consensus without stipulating just what that means can be misleading.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #36:
      All the evidence is that support for the vernacular was overwhelming, with few exceptions, and that the response to its inititial introduction was so overwhelmingly positive that support for entirely vernacular liturgy was also widespread. You haven’t yet given any evidence to suggest otherwise.
      awr

  14. That Cardinals Spellman and McIntyre opposed the vernacular in execrable, schoolboy Latin during the Council is well known. (Isn’t it ironic that Cardinal Spellman favored the breviary in the vernacular for priests who supposedly knew Latin while being opposed to the vernacular in the Mass, when only a tiny number in the pews knew Latin!)

    After the debates on Sacrosanctum Concilium ended, both cardinals voted FOR the Constitution on 22 November, and again on the day of solemn promulgation, 4 December 1963. On his return home McIntyre signaled to the people of Los Angeles that he was ready to implement the Council’s decisions by famously saying, in mangled Latin, “Papa locuta est.”

    Both cardinals went along with the overwheming decision of the US bishops to introduce elements of the vernacular in the Mass as early as 1965.

    Neither of them took any great part in the US bishops’ debates, again overwelmingly favorable, on the proposed ICEL Missal. The first ICEL text, the interim text of the Roman Canon, was issued in 1967, the year Cardinal Spellman, already in failing health, died. And Cardinal McIntyre retired in 1970.

    Yes, Cardinal Spellman spoke during the Council against married deacons. Yes, Cardinal O’Boyle disciplined a number of Washington priests for their oppposition to Humanae Vitae in the summer of 1968. Yes, Archbishop Hannan (auxiliary of Washington till 1965) succesfully lobbied bishops at the Council to ensure that the Council would not make a strong statement against the use of nuclear weapons. What does any of this have to do with THE IMPLEMENTATION of the vernacular in the liturgy? I know firsthand that Cardinal O’Boyle and Archbishop Hannan were enthusiastic and prompt in the implementation of the reforms, including the vernacular.

    And yes, Cardinal Cooke was a wise, gentle pastor. He welcomed the vernacular introduction in NY. There was no contention. Nor was there any significant contention in any other US diocese. The opposition was negligible.

  15. He welcomed the vernacular introduction in NY. There was no contention.

    Well now we’ve clearly tipped over to the other extreme. It’s clearly false that there was no contention over the introduction of the vernacular in the Archdiocese of New York.

    Nor was there any significant contention in any other US diocese. The opposition was negligible.

    Well it’s a judgment call, eh? How large does the opposition have to get before it’s no longer “negligible”?

  16. Thank you, Samuel Howard. I accept your first point.

    I was right up against the count mark, and had to keep making changes. In that particular instance I went too far. I should have said “no significant contention.” But having lived through the period 1965 to 1975, I’ll stay with “negligible.”

    On a totally different point, my comment will make the forty-first on this thread, all by men. That’s not uncommon on this site. The only other blog I follow is dotCommonweal. The same striking disproportion is altogether absent.

  17. Yes in the last 2 months, women who are not contributors have made only 5% of the comments.

    The 11 living male contributors have made 16.3% of the comments while the 4 women contributors have made 1.6% of the comments during the same period.

    You would think that we all the women in lay ministry that we would have a lot more women commenting.

    In my work life in the public mental health system, at least at the management level including the CEOs it was pretty evenly divided. The same was true for the American Psychological Association.

    I once went to a meeting of American Academy of Religion/Society for Biblical Literature. Far too male.

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