The Genius of the Roman Rite, by Keith Pecklers SJ

Subtitle: The Reception and Implementation of the New Missal

Published by Burns & Oates (Continuum) – UK (ISBN 978-1-4411-0403-8, £10.99); Liturgical Press – USA (ISBN 978-0-8146-6021-8, $19.95)

Five brief chapters and a conclusion in the space of 118 pages may not sound like a big deal, but this book packs a punch far above its size and weight. The author, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome, is a well-known writer and speaker; and he has done us all a service with this timely book. It should be required reading for anyone concerned with the forthcoming new Missal, translation for the liturgy, and pastoral dimensions of liturgical change.

The book is a reworking of lectures and talks given to different academic institutions and clergy gatherings around the world, and the tone of the book will be very accessible to the general reader. This is not to say that the book is unscholarly: indeed, it is the fruit of Pecklers’s many years of academicism at the highest level, but distilled and presented in a way that constantly maintains the reader’s interest.

The book’s title is borrowed from Edmund Bishop’s famous 1899 paper of the same name, and the author is inspired by Bishop to penetrate the heart of that somewhat mysterious animal, the Roman Rite.

For the interested student, the book would be worth the purchase price for the first chapter alone. In the space of twenty pages, Pecklers provides a masterly summary of the history of the evolution of the Roman Rite from its beginnings up to the beginning of the Second Vatican Council. Demonstrating how it changed and evolved over the centuries, according to the surrounding culture, practical considerations and pastoral needs, he proves beyond any shadow of doubt that “recent appeals to the unchanging Roman Rite that has been in continuous usage until the Second Vatican Council would appear to be disingenuous. Indeed, while maintaining the ‘substantial unity of the Roman Rite’ as Sacrosanctum Concilium demanded, if we are to remain consistent with those who have gone before us, the Church must continually work quite intentionally at contextualizing and incarnating that Roman Rite within the diverse cultural contexts in which it is lived and celebrated.”

Chapter Two, “Recovering Tradition”, covers the conciliar reforms of Vatican II and the postconciliar liturgical renewal. Pecklers situates Sacrosanctum Concilium in the context of the Liturgical Movement and the papal documents that had preceded it and paved the way for it during the previous hundred years. As well as providing a brief history of the Constitution, he reminds us of the main threads running through it: a consciousness of history and a desire to return to the sources, a recovery of liturgical theology and spirituality, and the pastoral desire to promote the full, conscious and active participation of the laity. He points to the renewed emphasis on scripture, the desire to find a unity between word and sacrament, the striking of a balance between “sound tradition and legitimate progress”, the collegiality of bishops and the responsibilities of bishops’ conferences and local bishops. Next he discusses the implementation of the reforms and the work of the international Consilium, the body responsible for overseeing the implementation. Here, he is extremely balanced, pointing out areas where things did not initially go as well as they might have in the first flush of overenthusiasm, as well as indicating other areas where the reforms were not in fact new at all (how many of us are aware that distributing Communion from the tabernacle was banned as long ago as 1742 by Benedict XIV?). Following this is a section dealing with the Extraordinary Form, giving its history from Paul VI’s charitable indult of 1970 through to Summorum Pontificum and its aftermath. A section entitled “Find a way forward” is once again very balanced about areas where progress has been achieved and others where things have gone off the rails, and he makes the important point that there is far more in common between liturgical scholars on both sides of the argument, certainly concerning liturgical abuses, than those on the traditional wing sometimes realize.

One of the underlying problems is that, because of the speed of change, the required catechesis and formation was simply not done. (I wonder if Pecklers was also thinking of the almost unseemly rush to get a new translation of the Missal into the pews without adequate prior catechesis and formation.) He also acknowledges the tensions that remain in the Church today concerning what exactly the “substantial unity” of the Roman Rite might mean; and he is frank in his recognition of the fact that the Eucharist, which is supposed to be the sacrament of unity par excellence has in fact become the sacrament of disunity, as readers of this blog will be only too well aware.

Chapter Three, on the process of liturgical translation, gives the reader an abbreviated history of the vernacular since Vatican II, including the history of ICEL and its foundation, the genesis of the instruction Comme le prévoit, the work of ICEL during the 1970s thru 1990s, and the remarkable instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Gently but thoroughly, Pecklers takes the reader through how this latter document has been comprehensively demolished by scholars on both sides of the argument, and that its implications for ongoing ecumenical cooperation are grave. His final paragraph of the chapter acknowledges, however, that the new Missal text is what we are going to be given, and the challenge for us will be how to make the best of it.

Chapter Four unpacks the provisions of the 2002 General Instruction on the Roman Missal. Starting with the Council of Trent and proceeding through the liturgical parameters of the Second Vatican Council, Pecklers lays the foundation for a detailed rundown of many of the changes to be found in it. He does not, however, refer to the somewhat checkered history of the development of this document, which was signed off on by Pope John Paul II as early as January 2001 (though dated Holy Week the same year) and was then continually tinkered with (partly to resolve errors and ambiguities in it) until it reached its final Latin form in 2002, and its final English form in 2003 (for the US) but not until 2005 (for the UK – indeed, Pecklers does not allude to the fact that the US, UK and Australia all have their own versions of the document which differ in some significant details). There is a wealth of material in this chapter, both in the details drawn out of GIRM and in the areas that Pecklers suggests would be useful to concentrate on in catchesis. If I were to make a critcism of the book, it would fall in this chapter. The material is somewhat confusingly organized, almost as if two different lectures were conflated and the publisher’s editor did not do a very good job of it. Additionally, Pecklers mentions a number of points as if they were new in the 2002 version when in fact they were already present in GIRM 1969. Once again, he points out the necessity for proper catechesis – catechesis which we did not have the time and the leisure to do in the early 1970s when everything was changing so rapidly.

In Chapter Five, Pecklers looks at the reception and implementation of the new Missal. For those who are not familiar with how these things are done, he begins with an outline of the drafting and approval process for new texts, and the role of bishops’ conferences. From there he moves to some comments on the new translations. Most of these consist of explanations of some of the principles undergirding the improvements to the translation, and they will not be new to most readers of this blog, but he also points out where difficulties in language will make acceptance harder. He looks at the challenges that the ICEL translators have had to confront with the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam now in force, not least the constant interference of the CDWDS and Vox Clara in the process, and notes that Eucharistic Prayer IV is probably the least satisfactory of the major texts in the new Order of Mass (though mercifully an improvement over previous recent drafts). The next section deals with changes in the new Missal and Order of Mass brought in by the editio typica tertia, a useful listing along with a commentary on what will be some of the neuralgic issues (such as pro multis). A section on liturgical catechesis and implementation includes the South African débâcle and notice of the international DVD which is in the course of preparation under the aegis of the “Leeds” Group and which promises to be a very useful formational tool.

An interesting lacuna is that he does not allude to what happens if in fact the new Missal is not “received”. Some would say, of course, that Liturgiam Authenticam has not in practice been received by the Church as a whole, and therefore canonically cannot be said to be in force. It would have been good to have some of his thoughts on what may happen if the new translation is in fact not accepted in the pews (or in sanctuaries, come to that).

In his brief concluding chapter, Pecklers is very clear that the future of our liturgy lies not in its continuing to exist as an abstract object, fossilized in time and space, but in its ability to be inculturated and contextualized in a situation which is already very different from that of Sacrosanctum Concilium only 47 years ago. It needs to speak to those who celebrate it today, not yesterday, or its future is very bleak. As he puts it, the future of liturgy is the future of the Church.

Useful supplementary reading for Chapter Two will be Archbishop Annibale Bugnini’s compendious volume The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975 (Liturgical Press, 1990), which provides all the documentary evidence that anyone could need about how the reforms were accomplished, and Archbishop Piero Marini’s A Challenging Reform (Liturgical Press, 2007), which gives the inside story of what went on – including much on the obstructionist politicking behind the scenes during the period that the Consilium was doing its work as well as details of how and why the Consilium did what it did.

For Chapter Three, Peter Finn, Denis Hurley and James Schellmann (ed.) Shaping English Liturgy (Pastoral Press, 1998) gives a comprehensive history of ICEL and its work.

A further insight into the politicking behind the dismantling and re-establishment of ICEL, and in particular the sidelining of the English translation of the editio typica secunda of the Roman Missal that the world’s English-speaking bishops sent to Rome in 1998, is to be found in the important fifth chapter, “A Cold Wind from Rome”, of It’s the Eucharist, Thank God (Decani, 2009) by Bishop Maurice Taylor, chair of the ICEL Episcopal Board at the time when everything was being turned upside down. It shows just how incredibly bad at communicating, how incapable of dialogue and in fact how downright rude the CDWDS can be when it puts its mind to it – and this to representatives of the world’s hierarchies…. That translation is still lying on a desk somewhere in Rome, but those interested in seeing how it not only does contain all the improvements that are vaunted about the forthcoming text but how it also uses a language that is immeasurably better than the forthcoming text will find some examples in Bishop Taylor’s book – the complete text only exists in the 162MB of PDF files (too large to be sent over the internet) if you know who to ask!

So why is Pecklers’s book so important?

The first two chapters prove quite conclusively, if anyone still needs convincing, that the reforms of Vatican II were organically connected with the multifaceted history of the Roman Rite during the previous two millennia, and that those who criticise those reforms need to remember the lessons of history. It gives an invaluable overview for the general reader of the issues we are now facing, without prejudging any of them. It provides a healthy corrective for those who would maintain that the Extraordinary Form has been with us from near the beginning of Christian history and is therefore the only form that matters. It complements the other books mentioned above, especially (for the general reader) Marini and Taylor. It contains refreshingly few misprints, the most serious of which is on p. 32, lines 7-8, where “translated into Latin” should read “translated into the vernacular”! In sum, it deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelves.


  1. Good Heavens! Mr. Inwood’s summary is nearly as long as the entire first chapter! And as for Mr. Inwood’s conclusion…there are many who will remain unconvinced of the organic pedigree of the modern Roman Rite, and rightly so regardless of what this book may add to the morass. It is short enough that I might dedicate an afternoon to reading it so that I can comment on it, but I’m not hopeful given the insights and summaries given here.

    In the end, any honest treatment of the modern “Roman Rite” is going to have to deal with the serious, and I do mean SERIOUS, discrepancies between the actual reforms of the council as contained in the text of the documents, and the resulting product that has largely been the result of interpretations of those documents shaped by the social and political leanings of individuals who have either been given authority, or in many instances taken it.

  2. I know of no scholar in the reform of the reform camp who champions the belief in an “unchanging Roman rite” in “continuous usage”. There are non-specialists who clearly hold this position, but to an extent, the author’s comment is directed at a straw man.

    Outside of math and science, rarely in scholarship and academia is anything “proven”, so when I read that so and so “proves”, I immediately become a little sceptical. When the reviewer writes, “The first two chapters prove quite conclusively…that the reforms of Vatican II were organically connected with the multifaceted history of the Roman Rite…,” I have some doubts. Although I am unconvinced that the same can be said about Vatican II’s changes in the breviary, I would be willing to say that the changes to the mass specifically requested by Vatican II could very well all be organic. What we got is a different…

  3. As a priest, I’ve celebrated the OF Mass for almost 30 years and the EF for about 3. There is clearly continuity and the real presence. The Real Presence, the most important, as well as the Sacrifice and “meal.” All three are celebrated in both forms. While Latin is important to our Rite, the vernacular does make things easier for people in terms of comprehension. There is a “stripping” down in the OF of ritual action which was unnecessary. There is in the EF a visual “grace” in the prayers at the foot of the altar, that is totally devoid in the OF penitential rite. The whispered voice used in the Roman Canon in the EF has an “awe” that is lacking in the “proclamation” of it in the OF. To whom is it being proclaimed in the OF? Certainly to God, but the looks and sound of it can be deceiving as it appears to be proclaimed to the assembly. Kneeling for Holy Communion is “awesome,” & needs recovering.

  4. The post V2 missal has many changes in line with continuity. But it also has some revolutionary changes. For instance, the idea of a vernacular canon spoken out loud, and using non-Roman canons in the Church at Rome was not even called for by the council.
    But the greatest revolution was not conjoured up at V2 but was mandated in its guise. It is the novel idea of the priest facing the people to celebrate the mysteries, rather than towards the majestic Lord in the East with everyone else. The change towards a man-centered worship was a product of the 1960’s, when acceptance of Hegelian/Marxist thought influenced the idea of community, replacing the traditional understading of it as a communion of saints throughout the ages. The result is worship as a kind of feel-good family meal devoid of any awe of the divine. Even for pagans, the meal always followed their sacrifice.

  5. Pray Tell will go down in a blaze of glory if the same five posters have nothing better to do. Of course this is the point of such “crusades.”

    This generation-X Catholic can hardly believe that they take as novel and revolutionary a vernacular canon spoken out loud, claims that the internal structure of pre and post conciliar roman rite one finds major aborations, etc. Such propositions are all foolish under the weight of history.

    There will never be another Council that can muster credibility because of such “reform of the reform” nonsense. The Council, the Consillium, and the Pontiff of Rome who promulgated the liturgical reform are one in the same act. At least the Society of Pius X are logically consistent on that point.

    My mother left the church becuase of the un-reformed liturgy I returned because of it. Something siesmic did happen and thank God for…

  6. I’ll be sure to pick this book up, or hope it makes its way through my university library system.

    The progressive liturgical establishment has developed an established hermeneutic of the Pauline Missal. Paul Inwood’s synopsis affirms many points prominent in this stable interpretation. Meanwhile, the conservative/traditional Catholic community has focused on extraordinary form apologetics and scholarship. A conservative/traditional Catholic interpretation of the new translation would establish a needed hermeneutic of contrast. This hermeneutic would affirm the new translation’s connection with the philology of propers and prefaces that survived liturgical reformation. The rigor of the new translation rests on congruence with the syntax, semantics, and style of ancient prayer, not “assembly reception”.

  7. Jordan: It always amuses me when someone trivializes and dismisses a serious point simply by placing it inside quotation marks, such as “assembly reception.” While the doctrine of reception may not fit a narrow concept of a top-down ecclesiology, it is nonetheless an ancient and venerable tradition in canon law. Broadly stated, for a law or rule to be an effective guide for a believing community it must be accepted by that community. If a community does not receive a law there is a juridical effect, just as its practices can have the juridical effect of establishing a custom which eventually takes on the force of law. So yes, “assembly reception” does matter-both pastorally and canonically.

    1. Except that, under Roman canon law, the failure of a parish or oratory to receive a law duly issued by proper authority has no juridical effect and cannot establish a contrary custom. You must start with something like a diocese under direction of an ordinary, the failure cannot be the subject of reprobation, et cet.

      1. Agreed. I am speaking of the sensus fidelium of the whole church, or at least a large segment such as a bishop’s conference. It is not up to each parish to take or leave Church teachings as they wish.

  8. Jeffrey:
    Since V2 the second commandment has become the first, despite St Paul’s warning that even the pagans can take better care of their neighbours than many Christians. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s capacities, and from there the second follows because each peson is an image of God.
    To love God entails worshipping Him, which means a worship worthy of the great King of the cosmos.

  9. OK, just so I get all of this straight. Free standing altar and versus populum is Marxist; Social justice and working for justice (as in Paul VI’s saying, “if you want peace, work for justice) is also Marxist; and awe and transcendence is achieved by a silent Canon so the faithful can pray during the canon. So we are called to pray AT the liturgy but not pray THE Liturgy. Ergo (Latin), the Liturgy must be the prayer of the priest functioning in persona Christi but not the prayer of the Body of Christ. Do I have all of this correct? If I were Roman Catholic I think I would end this comment with “St. Oscar and all Salvadoran Martyrs, Pray for us.” But since I am not, I won’t.



    1. How many people out there can explain why the adjective “actuosus” was used to modify the word participation in Sacrosanctum Concilium instead of the more usual adjective “activus”? Both are usually translated “active”, but in Latin they are not really synonymous. Unfortunately, most people read Sac. Conc. as if it had employed the adjective activus.

      1. I thought that this old thing had long since been clarified. The first use of the term was by Pius X in 1903, and his Italian original had “attiva.” Some German wrote a 2-volume study, “Aktive Teilnahme,” and concluded (after a zillion footnotes) that the most accurate translation in the context of the liturgical movement and papal documents is “aktiv.” I see nothing to gain in pursuing the above charge – surely a term like “active” can be understood in a rich variety of ways, informed by all the church’s teachings and good theology. I think that would be more constructive.

    2. Try preaching on one of the Gospel or OT passages that cries out to justice in our world today…you’ll be accused of preaching the Democratic, liberal, left-wing line…I have to believe these accusations arise out of a Church which sees orthodoxy and word-for-word (as opposed to meaning of the words)…orthopraxy goes over the heads of the majority of Catholics…I would think catechesis on the NT would be an excellent introduction to Catholics that Jesus demanded action, not words…

  10. Like all things this too has a history and did not fall out of heaven in a tin box (any more than did the Scriptures themselves). It would behoove us to learn that lesson and please realize that change has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen in the Eastern Rites, where silent canon or not, elements like the narrative of institution and Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit are recited aloud to which the faithful respond Amen. Also, any Eastern liturgiologist worth his or her salt talks about reform, one of those reforms being prayers recited silently or aloud. Let me suggest that before anyone on this blog pontificate about the “unchanging” Christian East he or she do the rest of us the courtesy of actually studying the Eastern Rites by reading someone like Robert Taft, SJ, who is the world’s leading authority on the Byzantine Rite and is the go to person for all of the Eastern Rites.



  11. Once again, knowing one’s history can be a liberation, and prevent sweeping statements and generalizations.

    The “New Rite” was accepted because people, in experiencing it, found that it did indeed truly feed them. Many of the postconciliar changes were requested by the bishops because in their wisdom they knew what would nourish their people’s spirituality.

    As far as silent canons are concerned, why do you suppose there are vestigial people’s acclamations in the Roman Canon if the people could never hear what the priest was saying? And if you want to see a traditional Rite, still in use today, with a Eucharistic Prayer stuffed full of acclamations for the people (not to mention the clashing of cymbals), go to the Coptic Catholics or Coptic Orthodox.

  12. I don’t disagree necessarily but what is the connection you are ascribing here to the Missal of Paul VI? Were there dreadful celebrations? Yes, I lived through many of them even as a Lutheran in many Roman Catholic environments. In fact, I was privileged to be in a Roman Catholic parish on Palm Sunday, 1970, where the current Missal was used for the first time. My only point is that social justice, including baptismal equality, is not Marxist, nor, given the fact that papal liturgies in Rome (and at Sant’ Anselmo and elsewhere in Europe) were often versus populum you cannot make a cause and effect relationship. I suspect that the real history of both versus populum is both Ordo Romanus I and how Roman basilican-papal liturgy was and is done in the major basilicas. That’s what the Missal of Paul VI copies whether well (as in many places) or poorly (as in many places)…

  13. Does time immemorial begin at the 9th 10th or 11th cent? Nor are the laity to pray in their own personal way. They are to pray the church’s liturgy, its living words and gestures. Pius X, XI, XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II all atested to this. Along with the liturgical reformers beginning in the late 1800’s. I have plenty of “AWE” and use it to pray loudly and sing loudly. Indeed, standing in the orans in joyful hope. At the liturgy!

    Job 21:12 “They sing to the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the flute.Psalm 45:8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad. Psalm 149:3 Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.

    Praise him with organ, saxaphone, bass, drums, synthesizer, sampler, cello, viola, trombone and electric…

  14. Did anyone hear Cardinal Levada’s homily at todays FSSP’s consecration of their new seminary chapel in Nebraska? He speaks of liturgical diversity in the Church which now includes the EF Mass as well as the OF Mass and the Anglican Use Mass, plus all the Eastern Rite Liturgies and their particular customs. But all of these combined are but one Liturgy–God’s action in the world and in our lives, in our human history. We have two ways today in the Latin Rite to pray the Canon, EF–silently, OF out loud-both are valid and in fact it is in the rubric of the OF that the canon “may” be prayed out loud–which sounds like an “option” to me, but this rubric is not in the EF canon, where it is prayed quietly, not, “may” be prayed quietly–we have choices today folks, many of them! Be happy, not sad!

    1. In the OF, the GIRM is clear that presidential texts – of which the canon forms a significant part – are “to be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen with attention”; it’s only in a handful of incidental prayers where the rubrics create a specific exception to the general rule and provide that a quiet tone may be used, and the canon is very notably not one of them. The rubrics also specifically require the words of Institution to be distinctly uttered, which is a command above and beyond that of GIRM 32. A silent canon in a public OF Mass would be illicit under current law.

      1. Well then there is a discrepancy, because in my outdated 1975 missal, in red rubrics in the missal part that is “The Order of the Mass” and right under the Holy, Holy, it says in bright red: “In all Masses the priest may say the Eucharistic prayer in an audible voice. In sung Masses he may sing those parts of the Eucharistic prayer which may be sung in concelebrated Mass.” (This is the page before the first preface which is Advent I). I’ll have to check the Latin 2002 missal to see what it says tomorrow!

    2. Did he include mention of the Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire, or John Paul II’s admission to the aboriginal people of Austrailia that they deserved a catholic way of praying the liturgy reflective of their own cultrural genious (which never happened)? Or must one be white and european with a web-site, or a derivative of the Eastern church, in order to endulge in this liturgical smörgåsbord?

  15. “Once again, knowing one’s history can be a liberation, and prevent sweeping statements and generalizations.

    The “New Rite” was accepted because people, in experiencing it, found that it did indeed truly feed them.”

    Mr. Inwood, that second sentence certainly seems to me a ‘sweeping generalization’ if there ever was one.

    “Many of the postconciliar changes were requested by the bishops because in their wisdom they knew what would nourish their people’s spirituality.”

    Really? All bishops, or merely a select minority from Western Europe and North America? Plus, if the spirituality of the faithful was nourished so wonderfully by the changes, why did so many of them leave as soon as the latter were introduced?

    Regarding cymbals: Why is it special that the Copts use cymbals? In the ancient Roman Rite we use bells. That’s just as festive if you ask me.

    1. Taking these points one by one:

      Ask people what they feel about the “New Rite” and they will tell you. (Perhaps not your friends, but the great majority of people.) It is noticeable that there has been no discernible increase in demand for the EF since Summorum Pontificum. The people who are going on about it loudly are the same people who were going on about it before. Statistical fact.

      Bishops from all over the world, as a matter of fact (all well-documented).

      Ever heard of Humanae Vitae in 1968?

      You are obviously unaware that the many acclamations in the Coptic Eucharistic Prayers are accompanied by the clashing of cymbals. For the Copts, that is reverence, incidentally.

      Once again, it is necessary to base opinions on facts and on a knowledge of history.

      1. Here in Connecticut, there has certainly been an increase of supply of the E.F.–and not just at odd hours; one can attend them now on Sunday mornings in at least four churches or chapels. Before Sum. Pont. I only knew of one. I don’t know whether there has been a corresponding increase in demand. I don’t know how you have statistical facts about the demand one way or another.

        I would like to know more about the the vestigial acclamations in the Roman Canon. Have never read anything about them. I’m aware that the text has received an awful lot of source- and form-criticism, but I’ve never read anything about acclamations. Was it simply “Amen” to the repeated phrase “Through Christ, our Lord,” or do we actually have the texts of the original acclamations?

      2. Paul;

        I think the term “demand” has a wiggly enough meaning to allow one to ascribe any fact one wishes to it and have it be interpreted as true. I don’t know if we’ve had an “increase in demand” for the EF liturgy in our diocese, because prior to 2007 there was practically no access to it. Now we have 18+ Masses a week in the EF in our diocese, attended by some collective 1100+ Catholics. From “0” before 2007 to “1100+” now….is that an increase in “demand”? Or is it an increase in access that creates a demand?

        And as an additional point…the EF parish here is growing fast enough that they have had to add an additional Mass, are securing an additional Priest (there are 2 now…they need 3) and are already planning to build a new sanctuary. The growth is incredible. Was there “demand” from these families before, or is it something new that is happening?

    2. Interesting that you should mention bells – an ancient gift to the western church from the Celtic missionaries of Ireland.

      There is a Catholic Guild of Bell Ringers, whose members were mobilized to ring at a ceremony at Winchester Cathedral for the 150th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.

      Their preparations to ring for the ceremony were vetoed at a late stage by the Director of Liturgy of that diocese.

  16. What I am so confused about is the negative attitude on this blog about the Missal of Paul VI. Just what is the problem? This separated brother does not quite understand what many of you are complaining about or what your understanding of authority is to challenge both an ecumenical council which, like Trent, merely called for reform of the Liturgy, and the authority of Paul VI,, who like Pius V, set up “experts” to do just that. What’s the issue for so much negativity…

    1. Maybe it’s best if I just speak for myself. I contend that many of the innovative options presented in Paul VI’s missal do not follow Vatican II’s directives that, “[T]here must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” (Sac. Conc. 23).

    2. I don’t think most people have any problems with the Missal, but rather with the way the Mass is celebrated. The same could be said for the previous Missal. 12 Minute low Masses were not what the Missal conceived, just as many of the abuses of the current Missal are not from a defect in the rite itself, but from individual instances of celebration. I also think that many are turning to the EF not due to nostalgia (as is the stereotype) but because in their own parish of setting the OF is not being celebrated reverently or appropriately. I guess a good analogy could be a car accident–most likely not caused by the car but the actions of the driver. (Toyota being the exception).

      1. Since I began our monthly Sunday high EF Mass, I have had very good, active Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday tell me that the EF Mass brings more dignity and respect to the Liturgy and their piety concerning God. Now these are people who attend our OF “high Mass” every Sunday where we sing everything, including the priest’s parts and use incense at all the correct times and are formal celebrations done by the book. There is something about the EF that indeed inspires awe and wonder in people and brings them to their knees. The OF Mass seems to have created haughty Catholics who have lost a sense of the Sacred and believe that all things are equal–a false egalitarianism. There is no comparison between the Most Holy Trinity and God’s creatures. The EF Mass makes that abundantly clear.

    3. Max,
      I think MAYBE the problem is that they think they are the authority and they know more than what you called “experts”. They nay also be thinking that they are the majority, so it may seem because you can find their names almost in every blog of this site. But it is good that they express themselves. They are my brothers. Taking time reading their comments is an exercise in fraternal charity.
      Sorry for the confusion, “separated brother”. Thank you for all your scholarly contributions to liturgy, and even to the devotion of the faitful (e.g. Guadalupe). You seem to be more catholic than many of us …

  17. from T Krasnicki:
    J Thomas:
    Since time immemorial the priest’s job has been to pray to God on our behalf, this has freed the faithful to pray in their own peronal way to God during the canon. In other words, a silent canon promotes more and better actual participation of the faithful during the liturgy by bringing each soul closer to God. The idea of a loud understandable canon is of Protestant origin, and really works against the intensity of prayer in the individual soul. But the question of “awe” is perhaps the most important question for the Mass. Without “awe” we merely have a fellowship meeting, not “worship” of the infinite Creator by finite creatures. As Kierkegaard pointed out, there is an infifite chasm between the finite and the infinite “resolved” in Christ, the Absolute Paradox for reason. Awe of this ineffable mystery is what makes us want to worship.

    1. Note: the original post from Ted Krasnicki was mistakenly deleted, so I have re-posted it on my account, tho it was from TK. He had posted it March 3 at 5:21 pm.
      With apologies,

  18. Ioannes said I don’t know whether there has been a corresponding increase in demand. I don’t know how you have statistical facts about the demand one way or another.

    The dioceses of England and Wales have undertaken an informal survey via their liturgical commissions, and have detected no discernible increase.

    There are, as Ioannes says, more opportunities than there were previously, but the numbers attending have not increased. In my own diocese, it’s the same 30 people who go around to the churches where EF celebrations are provided (and we already had a good number of such celebrations even before the Motu Proprio ─ more than most other dioceses, in fact). They just have more occasions to go to than previously.

  19. he proves beyond any shadow of doubt that “recent appeals to the unchanging Roman Rite that has been in continuous usage until the Second Vatican Council would appear to be disingenuous

    Would anyone care to comment on this extraordinary accusation?

  20. I live in the diocese of which Paul Inwood is Director of Liturgy and Music, Portsmouth. I requested that an EF Mass be offered. Our Parish priest said that he had received requests from others in the parish. No EF Mass is offered.
    Those who have requested an EF Mass here do not go to the EF Masses that Paul Inwood mentions. To do would mean buying an air ticket and flying to England and then hiring a car to get to the Mass. This is very costly. For those of us in the Channel Islands there is no provision of EF Mass. So if numbers attending have not increased that is because of the decision not to apply the provisions of Summorum Pontificum here.

    1. Fr Keith Pecklers has some interesting views. In an interview on 1 May 2007, published at…-a0162470170

      he is asked the question, “It’s expected that the pope will soon give permission for wider use of the Tridentine liturgy. Can we think of that liturgy as just another liturgical style to be offered?”

      This is the response Fr Pecklers gives – prepare to be amazed –

      “No, for several reasons. In this case it’s more than just the liturgical style that’s being offered. Such a move would be an ultimate negation of Vatican II. It would say basically that Vatican II was not right in abolishing the Tridentine liturgical style.”

      This seems both ignorant of the point made in Summorum Pontificum, that the classical rite was never abrogated, and (perhaps more importantly) that if it was abrogated, it was not by the second Vatican council.

  21. Many scholars have questioned the claim that the pre-Vatican II rite was never abrogated, because there are statements of Pope Paul VI which clearly state that it is not to remain in use. Of course the Second Vatican Council didn’t do this – like the Council of Trent, it left the reform up to a commission which did its work after the Council. But the work which this commission did, and which Paul VI approved, was done because Vatican II called for it.

    1. I’ve read some of the documents you site and agree with you. However, I do wonder if the old rite was ever truly abrogated practically speaking. My understanding is that as soon as the new rite was promulgated, there were permissions granted for the continued use of the old rite (wasn’t the first that British indult Agatha Christi signed?), and that this permission has only broadened over the years.

      So it really does look like, according to the texts, that the old Mass was not to remain in use, but that doesn’t seem to be what the actions from 1970 onward have indicated.

      As for the Second Vatican Council not abrogating the old Mass because it had delegated that task to another group – I think we always need to look at what that group did in relation to what Vatican II specifically wanted and be honest about how faithful it was or was not to the aims of the council. The Council, from what I can tell, certainly wanted to reform the Mass then *currently in use*, rather than to displace it with something very different (even going so far as to caution against drastic changes). While there was certainly the authority after the council to create a “new” missal, it’s difficult to square that with what the council seemed to want when looking at the documents approved by the bishops (which always seemed surprisingly conservative to me).

      1. Jack you are claiming that the Missal was displaced by something different, that Paul VI had no mandate to “create” a “new missal” but that’s just not a responsible claim.

        First of all, the resulting text that came from the reform of the Missal was the Roman Rite, not something “different.” Second, Paul VI had the mandate to do what was done, and he got it from the Council. He authorized the reform with full knowledge of what was in it. He did it in obedience to the Council’s wishes, not against them.

        You may have read the whole of SC, but the assumption that the Council fathers wanted and authorized only something that was very similar to the old liturgy is an assumption on your part, and it is false. SC does ask for a reform of the whole liturgy, not just some tinkering. The Mass, the sacraments, the whole thing. If what they wanted is the sort of minor adjustments that the Pope himself could do, and did do, in years past (as Pius XII and John XXIII did, etc.) they did not need an ecumenical council to enact it. If what they wanted was the 1962 Missal, they already had it. What were they asking for, if not a new Missal, new ritual, etc.? You say “let’s be honest” and yet the facts are squarely against your interpretation of the situation. Yes, let’s be honest. By all means.

      2. Perhaps my comment above was out of line and not well reasoned. Apologies.

        I am curious what others here think of my other thought in regards to the old mass not being abrogated. As I said above, the language that accompanied the promulgation of the OF would seem to indicate that the old Mass was not meant to remain in use, yet the subsequent actions of Paul VI and future Popes have preserved the old rite and allowed for its continued use. It would seem that there has never been a time since the promulgation of the OF that the now-EF was totally suppressed. Can something be abrogated, yet still allowed?

  22. Well I’d be very careful at presuming to second-guess how Pope Paul VI implemented Vatican II and thinking that I understand the Council better than he – although I know a lot of people now think they can do exactly that. Vatican II said many things, and plenty statements in SC suggest thoroughgoing revisions, perhaps further than what we got. Other statements suggest caution. It is outrageous that some people are now picking only a very few statements from V2 to say the reforms didn’t follow the Council faithfully. This is pure baloney – no matter how often it is now being repeated – and it is high time someone gets called on it. Read all of SC, not just 3 or 4 articles.

    I’m always amazed that people making the most noise about “the reformed liturgy didn’t follow the intent of V2” have no problem with the Holy See taking over translation, though V2 says explicitly that this is the role of bishops within a territory, not the Vatican. If these people really believed we should follow the letter of V2, they would be crying bloody murder at the illegitimacy of the upcoming missal. That they aren’t is a good illustration of their selective reading of V2.

    My point isn’t that the upcoming missal is illegitimate. I don’t say that. My point is consistency in interpretation.

    1. Perhaps you shouldn’t condescendingly assume that those who disagree with you haven’t read all of SC. I did, and was rather disillusioned by it. I’m not claiming I know the council better than anyone else, but I think I have a right to read the documents and raise concerns that seem to come from that reading. Perhaps I would have had to have lived through the 60’s and 70’s to “get it,” I don’t know. Maybe the Vatican II reform only makes sense if you read virtually everything that came out for the decade afterward (something I have not done). But the concerns I raised above echo those of other younger Catholics I know (even those who don’t like the old Mass) who have read Vatican II documents. Those of us who actually look for the documents, read them, and try to understand them tend to be puzzled at how they don’t *seem* to jibe with what we’d been led to believe.

      1. OK, I’m sorry for my tone. But I find it frustrating that the charge “illegitimate reform” is now made so often without being backed up. My only point was that there are things in SC which justify all the structural reforms Paul VI approved, and some things in SC would justify even further reforms, and that is being overlooked.

        I was in grade school for most of the 70s. My beliefs about Vatican II, and the legitimacy of Paul VI’s reform, come from my more recent study. I’m sorry that I was too zealous in defending the Pope.

  23. It’s an easy-enough assumption: Catholics don’t read documents. Unfortunately, it’s borne out on any number of sites. But this site probably not so much.

    Perhaps some well-meaning Catholics watch too much tv: looking for gotcha! moments in the documents, rather than read them in a logical, if not a Roman way. Maybe said Catholics have some of their number in curial hallways, too.

    1. I don’t think they are looking so much for a “gotcha” moment in the documents, so much as noticing some things mentioned in the documents are conspicuously absent from the liturgies they grew up with or have experienced since the council.

  24. “he proves beyond any shadow of doubt that “recent appeals to the unchanging Roman Rite that has been in continuous usage until the Second Vatican Council would appear to be disingenuous”

    “Would anyone care to comment on this extraordinary accusation?”

    Of course the Roman Rite has known many changes — even between Trent and Vatican II. Note that the change of liturgical language from Greek to Latin in the 4th century was itself a great change.

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