Disaster or Opportunity?

Hey hey, “Inside Catholic” has taken note of PrayTell! See their post “New Missal: Disaster or Opportunity?” I want to take it as a compliment – Inside Catholic thinks PrayTell is a “place where more sober language usually prevails.” Except the “usually” here means not this time, at least for one or the other of our contributors on the new missal. May well be. Read the full post – it’s interesting.

They say that Pray Tell is “of self-described liberal leanings.” Fair enough. Here’s a relevant excerpt from our opening editorial:

Some will ask, Is this to be a liberal blog? Well, what else would you expect from Collegeville?! But more needs to be said than that. If liberal means open-minded, self-questioning, ecumenical, attentive to contemporary culture, and avoidant of romantic nostalgia, then we surely hope to be liberal. But if liberal means yesterday’s progressivism, yesterday’s ideals as if the culture and the churches haven’t changed dramatically since the 1970s or 1980s, then we hope to be not at all liberal. Those in the “old guard,” if there be such, can expect to be challenged and engaged.

Personally, I think that PrayTell so far has done pretty well on the fourth sentence above, but not so well on the last sentence. We’ll work on it.

awr

57 comments

  1. I enjoy logical argument, and if it has “sales” all the better. I hope, though, that there is some room to express anger, frustration, happiness, relief, etc. To an extent, I hope the blog can be a place where “cor ad cor loquitur.” Logical argumentation can only be successful in an environment where everyone is of the belief that his/her interlocutors desire mutual enrichment and growth. Yes, perhaps Paulus flew off the handlebars, but it is valuable for me on the other side to understand the alienation and frustration experienced by someone who holds a position contrary to mine.

  2. If you meant the sentence that reads, “If liberal means open-minded, self-questioning, ecumenical, attentive to contemporary culture, and avoidant of romantic nostalgia, then we surely hope to be liberal”, then I think you have done remarkably well!

  3. Took the trouble to read the ‘Inside Catholic’ article and comments and, as somebody who lives in an international community of people who try to treat each other with great gentleness, I found the intolerance rather hard to take. The mass is a gift; the Latin was a gift, the old translation was a gift and the new translation is a gift – and one for which I should like to gratefully thank all concerned.

    I post here what I posted there; I hope it is not too infantile!

    1. I like the first sentence of Joel Baden’s recent CBQ article regarding the morpho-syntax of Genesis 12:1-3:

      “All translation is a form of interpretation.”

      Yes, it is…and the new translation of the Roman missal does not fit with current sensus fidelius theology…it fits better with the old “pray, pay, obey” & hierarchical “I said so”…it is trying to fit us into a broken mold of the old “lex orandi, lex credendi”…but we don’t believe as we once did…we know firsthand God’s love for ALL of us and forcing us to pray (?) in a shower of unintelligible “words” will not stuff us back into an old way of believing. We’re beyond needing interpretation from a hierarchy which is no more knowledgeable than lay people in theology & Christian life.

      1. Several statements you make trouble me.

        “new translation of the Roman missal does not fit with current sensus fidelius theology

        What is the “current sensus fidelius theology”? Have we adopted a new concept of the sensus fidelium since Vatican II?

        “trying to fit us into a broken mold of the old “lex orandi, lex credendi”…but we don’t believe as we once did… we know firsthand God’s love for ALL of us and forcing us to pray in a shower of unintelligible “words” will not stuff us back into an old way of believing.”

        Could you please explain this? How is “know[ing] firsthand God’s love” somehow at odds with the new translation? What is this new “way of believing”?

        “forcing us to pray in a shower of unintelligible “words””

        You’re calling to question whether the translation includes things that aren’t even words? And which are unintelligible? The ones you don’t yet know? Are you unteachable; is there nothing left for you to learn?

        “We’re beyond needing interpretation from a hierarchy which is no more knowledgeable than lay people in theology & Christian life.”

        This sounds like the “we’re adult Christians” line of argumentation which finds displeasure in things like kneeling. Are we all to become our own magisteriums, once we attain some arbitrary degree of knowledge of theology?

  4. “And with your spirit
    May 18th, 2010 | 5:23am
    Peace be with you!

    We live in Wales GB. Those of us who are old enough to remember the translation of the liturgy into English, remember what a joy it was to hear God’s Word in our own language and the awe and understanding it evoked. Personally, I have never heard the Extraordinary form, or seen it. But you know, the Gospels are written in Greek, preserving, the scholars tell us, the tones of the Aramaic that Christ used. It was rapidly translated into Latin. Now, the Son of God could have used the current liturgical language of Hebrew, but He did not do so: He wished to be understood!

    We have been given a New covenant, a New commandment and New wine; we are invited to bring forth things both New and old. He put the New before the old, because, according to St Augustine, He gave it preference. Could we accept a New translation, with love and gratitude and keep moving forward to a New heaven and a New earth?

    With very humble respect, the perfection of the Gospel is to forgive seventy times seven, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and love one another. In Matthew 25, God does not even ask people how they celebrated the Eucharist.

    If I am wrong enlighten me…..”

  5. It is fun reading and responding to this Pray Tell blog. What I find fascinating after all these years is that our liturgy seems to be going into a more classical mode and that liberalism today in terms of liturgy is acknowledging there will be a liberal variety of liturgical forms in the classical idiom. We have the OF which is becoming more classical in language and style, we have the EF which is, well, quite classical. We have the AU which will in the future give us a very classical English OF Mass with some flairs of Anglican good taste in style and language and now it is being suggested by Fr. John Hunuicke, SSC that an Anglican Use Missal, Tridentine Mass with the laity’s part in Cranmerian English be issued by the Vatican.
    Now, as I count it, that ‘s four forms of the one Roman Rite that could be possible in the future. The liberal that I am in these things causes by heart to palpitate and I can’t wait to see how this blog will promote four forms of the one Roman Rite in all their glories. What raging liturgical liberal way back in the 1970’s would have thunk that the 2010’s could be so ragingly and wildly liberal liturgically? Not me!

    1. I should have made clear all the abbreviations that our liberal ways of celebrating the four forms of Mass of the one Roman Rite will have: OF, EF, AU and AUEF, the latter of which makes me want to AUEF, AUEF like a mixed bread mutt in joy!

  6. Lynne wrote:

    “…current sensus fidelius theology…”

    “…it fits better with the old “pray, pay, obey”

    “…old “lex orandi, lex credendi”…

    “…but we don’t believe as we once did”…

    “… will not stuff us back into an old way of believing.”

    These phrases are an almost perfect illustration of the “progress” ideology that I analyze in my article.

    1. Fr. Rob, I just read your article in full and it is excellent. A few months ago when I was younger and naive, and for a few weeks I actually experimented with the new English translation of the priest’s parts and asked my parishioners to comment. Everyone thought it was much more eloquent in style and that it would eventually promote more reverence in the liturgy. There was not one negative comment except for one parishioner who did not like “for many” instead of “for all” in the consecration of the Precious Blood. The only places where there might be “Mass” hysteria concerning the new translation are in those places where the priest baits his parishioners with negative stereotypes of this new translation and has not properly prepared them to accept it when it comes in the not too distant future. In those places with “Mass” hysteria it will be because of ideology and not the realty of the actual translation that hysteria will occur.

      1. As a social scientist who has worked most his life in applied settings, I applaud your homegrown research. If nothing else, it tells people you are interested in their opinions, which often is a key variable in their response to new things.

        Priests might want to consider introducing people to the Eucharistic prayers (at the same time doing their own practicing in saying them) in a research mode, something like a focus group. Have a group of ten to twenty people go through prayer section by section. Have several members of the parish trying saying a section of the prayer as they would do it. Have the rest of the group critique their performances, discussing meaning of words, phrasing, style of prayer etc. People probably have different prayer styles, and difference responses. After some these meetings the priest could begin developing his style of praying by also participating. If the priests waits, the people are probably more likely to be critical.

        Advantages: helps the people to think of this prayer as their prayer, that they are partners with the priest in shaping the liturgy, helps them to be more attentive when the priest says the prayer, and gives the priests motivation to do well.

    2. Fr. Rob,

      What you say is a reasonable critique of the former translation and assessment of the new version as an effort to present more completely what the Latin says. As a graduate of the Boston Latin School who did very well indeed in his classics study, I see the difference very clearly.

      However, what you don’t talk about in your article is what grates the ear. The text is no kind of natural English: not formal, not colloquial, not poetic. It has the sound and feel of words being pumped out of a machine, the sonority of a sight-singing test. It may accurately present Latin words in English equivalents, but it is tone-deaf in the “target language” (as the professional translators say). It makes schoolboy mistakes on some very basic principles, such as a literal translation of the ablative absolute in the priest’s conclusion to the penitential rite.

      The old “sacral language” in places like the Book of Common Prayer was the actual formal language of the day. It didn’t have to be constructed out of whole cloth, as the new Mass translation appears to be. It is an embarrassingly poor piece of work, and — by freezing artists of English prose and poetry out of its production — a major missed opportunity. Change is not necessarily improvement, as the new translation amply demonstrates.

      1. Why, pray tell, does the Latin use the ablative absolute in the conclusion to the Penitential Act?

        Why does it read Misereátur nostri omnípotens Deus et, dimíssis peccátis nostris, perdúcat nos ad vitam aetérnam instead of Misereátur nostri omnípotens Deus, dimíttat peccáta nostra, et perdúcat nos ad vitam aetérnam? Why is the translation “and lead us, with our sins forgiven…” instead of “forgive us our sins, and bring us…”?

        Could it be, perhaps, that there is difference between the old “have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us” and the new “have mercy on us, and lead us, with our sins forgiven”?

        I think that there is a difference between the two. It’s not just a matter of steps (have mercy, forgive, bring), but a matter of dependency/necessity: our being lead to eternal life requires a present state of forgiveness. Consider the following analogy:

        A ten-year-old boy is playing outside at home, and his mother comes out and tells him, “put away your toys, wash your hands, and get into the car so we can go to grandma’s house.” The boy puts away his toys and washes his hands, but on the way to the car he manages (as only boys his age can) to get his hands dirty again. The boy did as he was told, did he not? Now imagine if his mother had told him, “put away your toys and, with your hands washed clean, get into the car…” While her intention is no different – either way, she expects her son’s hands to be clean when he gets into the car – she has expressed that intention more concretely: the boy’s hands are to be “washed clean” when he enters the car.

        That is what this absolution of the priest is saying: being forgiven of our sins is a necessity for entering into eternal life – just as having clean hands was a necessity for entering the car for that boy – for “nothing unclean shall enter” the Temple of God in Heaven! (Rev. 21:27)

      2. If my previous post and analogy seemed too wordy, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: it’s not simply that we ask God to have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to eternal life, but that the being led to eternal life is not just something that happens after having had our sins forgiven, but that it is dependent upon our sins being forgiven.

        This is my approach to the Latin (and to the new translation): the words used are used for a reason, so we must meditate on the words of the Mass and, through prayer and study, seek to reveal that meaning.

  7. Sister Maria wrote:

    “Took the trouble to read the ‘Inside Catholic’ article and comments and… I found the intolerance rather hard to take.”

    Sister, I would be grateful to know what was “intolerant” in my article.

    1. In my experience, it is hard to find someone more intolerant that a liberal preaching tolerance.

    2. The Inside Catholic site is a pretty rough place. You need a strong stomach and tough spirit to last there. And yes, it is a fairly intolerant place not only for liberals, but for those who dare question the ethic there.

      My main problem with Fr Rob’s essay is his picking and choosing his liturgical adversaries. It’s easy enough to poke at extremists (heaven knows I like to do the same) but it’s far more difficult to engage the serious critics, even the conservatives who have criticized Liturgiam Authenticam.

      That said, IC is a mainstream site, though Republican-driven, and perhaps a more involved discussion on the nitty-gritty of liturgy and translation take better root in a place like this.

      As for who is the “most intolerant,” I think Fr Costigan is wrong. Extremists tend to be the most offensive, regardless of the particularrs of ideology.

  8. Sorry, Jeffrey, but there was no button available on your post to do a reply…

    Wait & see how the people like the “new English language”…there’s not going to be reception of this translation because it’s the real and complete sensus fidelium of the people…we have a relationship with God without an intermediary…we don’t need someone to give us a “magical formula” of bad English in order to pray to God…

    And as far as kneeling, it’s a sign of slavery…we don’t kneel in the majority of cultures. in our world..we stand as a sign of respect (kind of like the Eastern/Orthodox rites standing thru the entire liturgy). Just wait until your knees become a tad old…kneeling is impossible for a large portion of our aging Catholic population…check out my parish…the older people don’t kneel…they may have their knees on a kneeler, but their bottoms are firmly on the pew…or they are sitting in chairs where they don’t have to kneel.

    Most of this is just practical, down-to-earth, everyday common sense. It’s a ploy to take back power…it may work for a time, but we’re educated & we understand what Jesus said…the church is all of us, not just the hierarchy who have badly sinned against our children & us.

    1. What do you think the “real and complete sensus fidelium of the people” [sic] is? The Catholic faith is not determined by mob rule. Just because a person is Catholic does not mean everything he thinks belongs is protected from error by the “sense of the faithful”.

      As open as our relationship with God is, that relationship cannot exist outside His Body – that is, outside the Body of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ – and that Body is His Church. Whatever worship and prayer we offer God private, we also come together corporately (that is, bodily) to worship and pray to Him as the Body of Christ.

      Your comments about kneeling are myopic. You can’t write it off as “a sign of slavery”. It’s also a sign of humility and reverence: we kneel before God as His sons and daughters, not as His slaves. Even Jesus Christ knelt. And just because older people are unable to kneel does not mean that no one should kneel at all; they are the exceptions to the rule. The liturgy is not a realm of “lowest-common denominator”ism. (And I will welcome pain in kneeling, just like I welcome pain in extending standing.)

      The Church is all of us, not just the hierarchy – some of whom have sinned grievously – but all of us, even those of us who sin grievously. You and are I of that number.

      This is not about power… not about human power, at least. This is about God; to Him be the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever.

      1. I might be wrong, but Sensus fidelium is exactly that the “sense of the faithful” not the sense of the “unfaithful.” So if the majority of Catholics believe in abortion, women priests, birth control, gay marriage, etc, this is not sensus fidelium but the exact opposite. When it came to the pope exercising his infallibility apart from an ecumenical council, it was on two Marian doctrines, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, which had roots in the early Church fathers and was believed by the sensus fidelium. The pope didn’t make up any new doctrine in extending infallibility to theses doctrines and thus making them dogmas to be held by all the Catholic Faithful, which includes the clergy relgious and laity.

      2. Jeffrey,

        You said in another thread that you had only been interested in liturgy for three years. I take it, therefore, that you haven’t yet read Tertullian (2nd century) on liturgical posture. Essentially, he describes three postures: standing for praying, sitting for listening, and kneeling for repentance or self-abasement.

        It’s only in the Middle Ages that kneeling replaced standing as the posture for praying, and by that time standing had also become used for showing respect. There’s no space here to go in detail into the theological perspectives which brought all this about, but I’d be very wary of writing someone else off as myopic. The accusation is likely to rebound.

        You might also be interested to take a look at Church edicts up to as late as the 10th century which said “You must not kneel in church!” Sometimes they would add “especially not during Eastertide, since this is a season of joyfulness and kneeling is a gesture of repentance. Kneeling during Eastertide contradicts the sense of the season. You must not do it!” (A vestige of this remains in the Ordination rites, where people kneel during the Litany of the Saints, except during Eastertide when they stand.)

        Myopia can more easily be attributed to those who do not have a knowledge of history. The Church’s traditional posture for prayer is standing — for everyone.

      3. Paul, I am aware of the prominence of standing in the first several centuries of the Church’s worship. But is Tertullian the final authority on liturgical posture? (PS – I also know of the prohibition on kneeling in Canon 20 of Nicaea.) This sounds like antiquarianism to me, as if any developments in the Latin Rite (especially those from the Middle Ages) are de facto erroneous and defective because they are different from the earliest practices.

        I’ve read what Card. Ratzinger (and others, but primarily him) have written on liturgical posture, specifically kneeling. I’m surprised no one here is defending the adoption of kneeling as inculturation.

        Kneeling has many meanings. Not every act of kneeling means the same thing, which is why even some Orthodox defend the practice of kneeling as a posture of adoration during the Eucharistic liturgy.

        “The Church’s traditional posture for prayer is standing — for everyone.”

        And in the Latin Rite, her tradition also includes kneeling for some people at some times.

  9. Lynne wrote:

    “Wait & see how the people like the “new English language”…there’s not going to be reception of this translation because it’s the real and complete sensus fidelium of the people…”

    I get the impression that you haven’t read my article. That’s OK – if you don’t want to , no one will force you.

    But I think some of the work I for that piece, and the results I describe there, at least call the ideas you express above into question.

  10. Todd wrote:

    “My main problem with Fr Rob’s essay is his picking and choosing his liturgical adversaries… it’s far more difficult to engage the serious critics, even the conservatives who have criticized Liturgiam Authenticam.”

    Todd, your criticism would be valid if I had set myself the task of responding to all of the critics of the Missal. I did not. My purpose, as described in the article, was to respond to those forecasting “ecclesial doom” regarding the implementation, and to analyze the ideological nature of much of the criticism and resistance to the Missal.

    As far as how “serious” the critics are: The “What if We Just Said Wait” campaign was taken seriously enough by the editors of this blog to feature it more than once. One contributor to this blog waxed rhapsodical about how all the right-thinking liturgists supported the petition. I in turn took it seriously enough to examine it. If you think it should not be taken seriously, you should have taken the editor and contributors here to task.

    Furthermore, I responded, at least in part, to the posts of “Paulus” here. “Paulus” is considered a “serious” contributor and critic at this blog. I took him seriously enough to respond to him. If you don’t consider him “serious”, you’ll have to take that up with him and the editor of this blog.

    If you think that WIWJSW and Paulus are serious, then it makes no sense to turn around and criticize me for not addressing the “serious” critics. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. Fair enough.

      Personally, I don’t give much credit to people who preach “doom.” This is the Church, and we do have the Holy Spirit. Whether we feel beset by the print media or pseudonymous pessimists, the believer’s orientation must always include the virtue of hope. However vain it might seem. There are opportunities to be mined with MR3. That doesn’t excuse the incompetence of the CDWDS, Vox Clara, and ICEL, however.

      I appreciate there might be theoretical reasons why a person would want to remain anonymous. I’ve made the choice–as have many others–to use my full name in print in the blogosphere from the beginning. Twelve years and there’s still the occasional fuss that has appeared on the desk of my pastor or bishop. So be it.

      If I couldn’t be honest about who I am and the positions I take, I wouldn’t post online. Other people dissent from that, and while I respect that to a degree, the lack of courage or potential sacrifice just doesn’t appeal to me.

      I think we need intelligent pieces on the liturgy itself, not those focused on its critics. But I see where you’re coming from with this clarification, and I appreciate it.

      1. Todd:

        Thanks for the acknowledgment.

        However, I think my effort to analyze the “ideologization” of the liturgy, while perhaps not quite about “the liturgy itself”, is an effort to address a widespread category of error and misunderstanding about the ontology of the liturgy. If we are to understand the liturgy correctly, we must first understand what it is. Sometimes that involves clearing away the detritus of error. Part of understanding clearly what something is often involves clarifying what it is not.

      2. As for the “ideologization” (a term that inspires a shudder–not dissimilar to the incessant verbing of English words) we have that across the board in the Church. We see it coming from the CDWDS and any number of liturgical commentators.

        The potential damage is no different whether people apply their personal feelings or their personal intellect. At some point, analysis of any sort fails (and fails to satisfy), and one is obliged to realize Christ’s act of worshipping the Father invites a believer to the deeper encounter than mere emotions or intellectual analysis.

  11. Paul (in reply to #19 above),

    But the meaning of kneeling in the West also changed after the first millennium. While many Catholic writers today assume it only acquired ritual meaning as a gesture of feudal fealty, they forget that it very much also acquired the connotation of a gesture of loving service in the same period (a meaning it retains to this day, unlike the meaning of feudal fealty, which has since lapsed). Jesus did not remain standing during the washing of the feet, after all. One would think progressive Catholics would want to champion this gesture of selfless love and service in our liturgy….

    Our tradition is thus layered. We are not stuck with Tertullian’s understanding, or the late Roman & Byzantine inheritance from Persian court ceremonial. The development of meaning happened and can’t be wished away. (Btw, I am always struck by folks who selectively insist on following Eastern practice against kneeling during Eastertide but refuse to commend its balancing gesture of prostration during Great Lent.)

    Anyway, due to knee and hamstring injuries, I cannot kneel well anymore. I now appreciate better what I once took for granted. I don’t elevate kneeling as the best posture for all liturgical purposes, but I do cast a gimlet eye on arguments that denigrate its developed use in Western liturgy.

    1. “One would think progressive Catholics would want to champion this gesture of selfless love and service in our liturgy.”

      But of course, what stands in the way of that is that it’s the laity (and the deacon too… if he knows…) who kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, not the priest. It’s a difference between the priest and the laity, and that’s not cool, that’s not progressive, that’s not liberal.

  12. What I found most interesting about the article was the idea of “ideologization”, which Fr. Rob explores well. It is a problem that I have noticed, and it emerges in comments throughout the blogsphere, the current blog not being immune.

    Fr. Rob explores “ideologization” in relation to the liberal/progressive/left viewpoints, but I would also be interested in an exploration of the same thing from the conservative/traditional/right viewpoints, which I think are equally problematic.

    1. Indeed. It shows up most clearly in shibboleths that are designed to show which party or side one shows fealty to, equally among progressives and traditional and other parties/sides, which all imagine themselves to be Right-Thinking(TM). (In fact, IIRC, there was a post or comment by a very progressive contributor here in the past that referred to right-thinking about liturgy in a very un-ironic way; while I’ve had my fill of irony in our Age of Irony, the lack of self-awareness troubled but did not surprise me.)

  13. Jeffrey and Karl,

    You seem to be accusing me of antiquarianism in one form or another. What I think I am actually espousing is SC’s desire to return to a purer form of the rite with the mediaeval accretions stripped away.

    This debate is partly about which accretions are valuable and should be preserved, and which are not and should be ditched. Or, to put it another way, how far back in time we should go, and whether the answer to this is variable, depending on the rite in question.

    I suspect that it will remain difficult for opinions on this to converge. I also suspect that for some coping with change is more difficult than for others.

    But this debate is also about the fact that we cannot stand still. The rite has to continue to develop and even change, if it is to continue to have life and be relevant in the world in which we live. It always has developed and changed in the past; and if it does not continue to do so we will eventually have an ossified liturgy that those who follow after us will have to do proportionately more violence to in order to resuscitate it. (Excuse the mixed metaphors!)

    Much better to move forward gently now than to have a more drastic upheaval later. In this, I am reminded very much of the way the Iron Curtain countries kept the lid firmly on the pot, resulting in pressures that could eventually not be withstood, and change that was sudden and explosive rather than gradual and controlled. (ctd)

    1. (ctd) To some extent, I think that this is what happened in the wake of Vatican II. The Liturgical Movement pot that had simmered over the previous 50+ years did explode rapidly after SC, and no doubt things went a little far in some places in an excess of enthusiasm.

      What I think is not very sensible is to try and jam the lid back on tightly now, because the genie is already out of the bottle (more mixed metaphors, I’m afraid). Instead, we need to find a way to move forward, rather than continually being told that we have betrayed our inheritance and must go backward.

      Reinstatement is never going to work, but this is precisely what the Medina/Arinze era has been attempting. Given that the toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube, what processes can we devise to ensure that future development is well moderated, but that it does continue?

      That is where blogs such as this, where at least some dialogue takes place, can be instrumental in drawing some of the threads together.

      1. But you are assuming that what is happening now is somehow not a further development, that it’s “not forward” because it seems “backward”. Your assumption is at least questionable.

        Btw, I don’t agree with all current developments. But I try to avoid an ideological framework for preserving things The Way I Prefer Them To Be. Epistemic closure and all that, you know.

  14. Paul, it is very easy to take your argument and simply replace “medieval accretions” with “70s and 80s accretions,” the right having to move forward into 2011 and not be frozen in 1973 or 1987, to not put the lid on liturgical reform of the last ten years and say it didn’t happen, and we should keep going forward and not be told we have betrayed our liturgical inheritance from the 1970s.

    1. Christopher, I agree with you up to a point. We should not be frozen in 1973 or 1987, but neither should we be frozen in any other date. The liturgical ‘reform’ of the past ten years could be interpreted as a little blip in the generally forward motion that has been in progress since 1908. No reason why we should not continue to progress beyond the blip!

      Onwards and upwards!

  15. Karl,

    But you are assuming that what is happening now is somehow not a further development, that it’s “not forward” because it seems “backward”. Your assumption is at least questionable.

    I think I am not alone in interpreting what is happening as a retrogressive tendency. In any case, the pact between Medina and Ratzinger is clear evidence of that.

    1. The fact that you are not alone is not dispositive. Ideologies are often popular. It doesn’t make them correct in point of fact. What I encourage you to be *more* critical than you’ve shown yourself to be, and less sweeping, in assuming which aspects of this necessarily cannot be a way forward. Your lenses so far seem as fixed as those of Medina and Ratzinger, at least in your comments here. Your positions are very often read as establishmentarian defenses of The Way We Have Done Things vs The Way They Want To Have Things Done.

      1. Karl, I think what I am afraid of is people adopting ideologies from positions of ignorance. I have no interest in defending establishmentarian positions. I do, however, have an interest in debating with people who actually know the historical facts and who do not simply throw out statements that have no foundation in reality but only in opinion.

        I’m not accusing you of this, by the way, but some of those posting here do not want to listen when the facts are presented to them.

        As far as going backwards or forwards is concerned, when I hear people saying “Let’s go back to such-and-such” or “the best choice is such-and-such (which we had in the past)”, then my reaction is that here is someone who has not analysed their own position in sufficient depth. Actually, the past is gone. We build on the tradition, and move on, not stand still.

      2. Paul

        I agree with much of what you wrote in this comment. As I have noted many times elsewhere, I don’t view all developments of the past as necessarily providential and therefore meriting an uncritical acceptance, but I no less apply this same gimlet eye to the very common ways people have ipmlemented and defended their implementation (or desires for further implementation) of liturgical reforms. I see so much defensiveness, imperiousness and dismissiveness from many (not all) fellow progressives that I find it hard to find the progressivism any more, and it’s picked up rather than slacked off, as some perceive a tsunami of regression heading their way (frankly, while I think Cdl Ratzinger indulged in some slighti-of-hand in his liturgical musings, as pope I do think he has been more tempered than what his musings led many to expect; one very important if technical aspect of Summorum Pontificio was that his (dubious) assertion that the 1962 was not abrogated in any way had the effect of reducing the reliance on positive papal prerogative in matters liturgical.

  16. Is it possible to express the difference between ‘ideology’ and sound theological and pastoral insight without circularity? I rather doubt it.

  17. Karl said one very important if technical aspect of Summorum Pontificio was that his (dubious) assertion that the 1962 was not abrogated in any way had the effect of reducing the reliance on positive papal prerogative in matters liturgical.

    Here’s an extract from an interview with the late Pierre Jounel:

    What would you say to those people who don’t want to know the Missal of Paul VI, and to those who, while respecting it, regret that it was imposed to the exclusion of the Tridentine Missal?

    “I would say to them that they use computers, that they live with the instruments of the culture of their time, and that they have no reason to get stuck on the 1570 date when the Missal of Pius V was promulgated. Why should the liturgy be frozen then, when it had been periodically renewed up to that date? These people lack historical knowledge. Msgr Lefebvre was absolutely convinced that the ancient formula for Confirmation goes back to the time of the apostles, when in fact it only dates back to the 13th century.”

    Jounel then goes on to demonstrate how Paul VI followed exactly the same procedure with his Missal as Pius V had with the Missal and Breviary in 1570, Clement VIII in 1595 with the Roman Pontifical, Pius X with the psalter of the Breviary in 1911, and Pius XII with the Holy Week rites in 1955. In all these cases, the previous usage was abrogated and replaced by the new. This is the Church’s constant practice. (ctd)

    1. (ctd) In other words, Jounel would have agreed that the pope’s assertion that Paul VI never abrogated the Missal of Pius V was completely untenable.

      Karl makes an interesting point, too, about the diminution of papal authority as a result of this assertion (and indeed as a result of the entire Motu Proprio).

      Benedict said on September 12 2008: “This Motu Proprio is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim for people who were formed in this liturgy, love it, know it, and wish to live with this liturgy. It’s a small group because this presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But for these people, having the love and the tolerance to allow them to live with this liturgy seems to me to be a normal requirement in faith and pastoral care for a bishop of our Church.”

      I have no problem with the pope’s love and concern for a small group of people who had constantly campaigned for the retention of the former rite. Eventually, they would die out and the problem would resolve itself.

      Where I do have a big problem is with the way in which the Motu Proprio is being used as an excuse for illegal proselytizing for an expanded use of the former rite. This was not the intention of the papal initiative — those who had consistently asked for it could continue to use it; but there is no provision for its use to be expanded to those who had not consistently asked and indeed had perhaps never previously experienced it, nor, worse still, for it to be imposed on those who do not want it.

      1. Thus far, while there are curial folks who are putting words in the Pope’s mouth (a time-honored institution in Rome, of course, and people by now should realize the practice is not necessarily reflective of truth) regarding his intentions for the EF, the Pope himself has yet to offer that form publicly and in fact has pretty much limited his personal flavoring of the OF to matters that are fairly well within what the ritual books contemplate. And this five years into his pontificate.

        But I do think we also should get over the notion that the EF is only for people who grew up with it and will eventually die out. I realize that’s a popular theme among some in the UK, but it’s just not true as a matter of fact. In the US, at least, there’s a mix of old and young, and in between, and the old do not dominate the demand. That said, the demand is not very strong: the explosion predicted by (some loud) proponents of the EF has been more like a delicate blossoming. And, were I an enthusiast of the EF (which I am not), I’d be happy it was like this, because quality control suffers the wider and deeper the frequency of use grows. Also, so far, pastors have not been imposing the EF to displace existing OF Masses; when that happens, they can reap what they sow…

      2. Karl said Also, so far, pastors have not been imposing the EF to displace existing OF Masses; when that happens, they can reap what they sow…

        Alas, this has happened in England in a few places, with predictable results. The fragmentation of parish communities that has ensued is not a pretty sight.

  18. New Missal …

    – This is certainly an opportunity to teach people archaic words – consubstantial, ineffable etc. – but did Jesus die on a cross to enable us to do this?

    I’m sorry, but I do not see the point in translations that do not make sense, Latin, altar rails, the priest facing the wrong way, reducing the NT readings fron 70% to 17%, banning women from the choir and altar, and calling women men.

    The above obviously appeals to American right-wing ‘catholics’, (such as Jeffrey Pinyon), but I do not see what this has to to with the Gospel.

    1. OK – but I’ve heard Jeff Pinyon say a lot about the new translation for the Missal of Paul VI (he wrote a book on this), not about the 1962 missal, which is what your second paragraph is about. Maybe he’s interested in that too, I don’t know.
      I don’t always agree with Mr. Pinyon, but I wouldn’t want to call him or anyone “right wing,” unless if that is how they identify themselves. It sounds a bit polemical. And they’re certainly Catholics, with a big C and no sneer quotes!
      Pax, and working for peace,
      awr

      1. I kind of agree with you… although I can’t recall where. I first learned of the word “ineffable”. I’ve heard/read it used outside of liturgical and magisterial texts. I find that “ineffable” says a lot (no pun intended) in a single word. “Unspeakable” can have the wrong connotation, so can “unutterable”. “Indescribable” falls short. Maybe we should just “ineffable” and tell people exactly what it means… and why it’s used in the Latin and why the English cognate is the right choice to use.

        I understand the word “euphony” only because I know of “euphoria” (and the “eu-” prefix) and “cacophony”. But I’ve never heard it before, to the best of my knowledge.

    2. Dom. Ruff, while I haven’t been speaking much about the 1962 Missal, I am of the following opinions:

      * Latin, altar rails, and the priest facing “the wrong way” are appropriate in both the EF & OF.

      * It’s good that we hear more of the OT & NT in the Mass, but unfortunate that some EF readings are never heard in the OF.

      * There is nothing wrong with women in the choir.

      * As for women as altar servers, EMHCs, and readers, I am ambivalent. I see potential for confusion arising from those situations (some of the time), whereby a woman is given the impression that she might be ordained someday. I don’t believe women can be ordained; I’ll put that right out there.

      * As for “calling women men”, I assume John is referring to things like “for us men and for our salvation”. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the word “men” can be used in a generic sense. Or are women safe around man-eating sharks?

      (I have been to maybe six Masses in the Extraordinary Form over the past three years.)

      John, you don’t know my political affiliation. I’ll admit I didn’t vote for Obama, but I have voted for Democrats in the past. I’m not always thrilled with Republicans, and I have regretted voting for some politicians of both parties. Unless you’d like to bring race, age, and sexual orientation into the discussion as well, let’s leave political ideologies out, please.

      You admit that you “do not see the point” of certain things in the liturgy. So why do you demand the removal of things you don’t understand? I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s words about tearing down fences. I seek to understand those things and find their value.

      I do see value in altar rails and ‘ad orientem’ worship, for example.

  19. Jeffrey

    I have never asked for altar rails to be removed.

    However, the RC Church has.

    I have never said that ‘ad orientem’ is the wrong way.

    ‘Men’ does not mean women.

    1. John, the bishops of England and Wales may have said that altar rails have no liturgical value and can/should be removed and should not be built in new constructions, but that does not mean other bishops from other countries, nor the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, agree with their private decision on the matter. Nor do many priests, deacons, or laypeople necessarily agree. So I wouldn’t say “the RC Church” has asked for altar rails to be removed, but simply that the bishops in England and Wales have done so.

      May I ask you for some clarity on the matter of ad orientem worship? What is it you are referring to when you speak of “the priest facing the wrong way”? I assume you mean the priest standing in such a way that his back is to the people rather than his front. This is generally called ad orientem, even though the direction all are facing may not actually be the east.

      While I would never use the word “men” when speaking exclusively to/of women, I would use it when speaking of/to a mixed-sex group. So yes, “men” does not mean “women”, but it can (and does!) mean, in a non-circular understanding, “men and women”.

      Some languages do this, and English has historically done it. In French, for example, the pronoun “elles” is used for multiple feminine nouns, but the pronoun “ils” can be used for multiple masculine nouns or for a mix of masculine and feminine nouns.

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