Defending the liturgical reforms of Vatican II

Although not perfect, the post-Vatican II renewal brought positive changes that cannot be overlooked.

Question: I have been reading in various places that the Second Vatican Council never intended that Latin be replaced with the vernacular to the extent that has occurred. Can you comment? Also, what about the theory that Pope Paul VI erred in approving so many changes and that liturgical renewal should start over?
—Deacon John, Washington, D.C.

Answer:
Let me quote from Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy about the vernacular. It states: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (No. 36). It goes on to state: “But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants.”

Clearly the council envisaged some use of the vernacular. To what extent? “It is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority … to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See” (No. 36).

This leaves wide open the question of how much of the liturgy may be in the vernacular. After the bishops who attended Vatican II returned to their dioceses, they began to experience the positive effects of the use of the vernacular in the liturgy. This led Pope Paul VI to approve a very wide use of it.

Some have held that the reforms of Pope Paul in the matter of the vernacular went beyond what the council intended. I do not think this to be true, given what I just quoted. There is also the very important consideration that Pope Paul had the authority to be the principal interpreter of the conciliar decrees. Those who criticize him often find themselves in the troublesome position of according their personal opinions as much, if not more, authority as the pope in the matter of interpreting Vatican II.

The theory that he made a mistake in approving so many changes is rash and problematic in that it accords excessive importance to personal interpretations. Much criticism of post-Vatican II liturgical reform is historically ill-informed, out of touch with the pastoral benefits and often ends up subtlety questioning the very legitimacy of the council itself.

History cannot be undone. The liturgical reforms that came after Vatican II were not perfect, but they are what we have. Starting liturgical reform all over again is as unrealistic as trying to put toothpaste back into the container. Liturgical reform properly grows slowly and organically.

Some hope that Pope Benedict XVI will initiate a whole new direction in liturgical reform and that we should expect to see new liturgical books and rites. I believe this hope is unfounded. Nothing that Pope Benedict has written (and here what he wrote before he became pope is very instructive) suggests that he thinks Vatican II was a mistake and that liturgical reform should start all over again. Certainly, he has called for a new liturgical movement. But when one reads the fine print of what he proposes, it is evident that he wants to see a recovery of the rich spirituality of the 20th-century liturgical movement. I say amen to that.

Msgr. M. Francis Mannion is a priest and theologian of the diocese of Salt Lake City.

Source: Our Sunday Visitory (OSV) Newsweekly

85 comments

  1. “Starting liturgical reform all over again is as unrealistic as trying to put toothpaste back into the container. Liturgical reform properly grows slowly and organically.”

    Of course, the question becomes, do the liturgical reforms after Vatican II qualify as either slow or (more importantly) organic? Does, then, the period after the Council showcase proper or improper liturgical reform?

    Seems as if there’s a sense in which, by defending the exceptionally quick permission for the whole Mass to be in the vernacular, Msgr Mannion wants to have his cake and eat it.

    As far as the impossibility of a new reform goes, yes, it’s difficult to put toothpaste back in a tube, but it is possible to just wipe it all away and use a new tube. 🙂

    1. I’m unconvinced that “organic” development is a major liturgical principle at all. Compared to active participation (stated in other Vatican II documents as well as every follow-up liturgy document) it’s almost a non-starter. If we needed to turn liturgy on its head, reverently, to lasso back inactive Catholics and engage the disaffected, we would be addressing a far more important principle. Much (but not all) the conservative complaint is reminiscent of the elder son pouting on the front porch.

      My sense would be to put the dishtowels away and leave the toothpaste be.

      1. But organic development is referred to in SC 23. If it isn’t a major principle, why is it even mentioned?

      2. Organic development is mentioned once, in a specific context: the relationship between tradition and the present. It is not the major heading of section 23, or even the main idea of its paragraph. It merely suggests that an innovation (like placing the Liturgy of the Word after a sacramental celebration) would be deeply inappropriate–unfounded by the centuries of experience and the notion of allowing the Word of God to serve as a grounding for the sacramental experience of Christ.

      3. SC 22-25 are called “General Norms” (Normae generales). I think that makes it a major principle of the reform as far as Sac. Conc. is concerned, even if it isn’t a “major liturgical principle” in the wider picture.

  2. Allowing the “unreformed Mass” as an extraordinary expression of the one Roman Rite preserves Latin in the Latin Rite. This was made possible by the very same papal authority that made possible in Advent of 1969 the reform of the Mass, now called the Ordinary Form, which is the normal Mass of the Latin Rite which can in part or in its entirety be celebrated in Latin or the Vernacular. There is great flexibility with it.
    To denigrate the liturgical books of the post Vatican II reform to the point of calling these invalid does indeed denigrate the authority of the Holy Father in interpreting and promulgating reforms as well as subsequent decisions he might make, such as promoting Liturgiam Authenticam and approving the liturgical text that evolved from it.
    We might have our preferences for the order of the Mass, its language and the translation of the language, but should we denigrate the processes that lead to papal promulgations or simply work to implement them the best way we can?
    The current translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass can be just as beautiful if done well, with good music keeping within our chant tradition and attention to the details of the various ministries and choreography. The same will be true of the new translation. It’s the banal forms of sloppy and super creative expressions of the Mass that are to be lamented. These go way beyond the reforms promulgated by Pope Paul VI.

  3. “Some have held that the reforms of Pope Paul in the matter of the vernacular went beyond what the council intended. I do not think this to be true, given what I just quoted.”

    But there is another passage in SC that is not being quoted here:

    “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (54).

    No. 54 does not lend itself to mere opinion, it is highly specific. It is just as pointed as no. 14 but is even more specific. According to the the Council Fathers we have to see to it that the faithful know the ordinary in Latin. Pope Paul’s allowance for the expansion of the vernacular does not eclipse this specific conciliar directive.

    1. In 1974 a little booklet was issued by the Vatican entitled “Jubilate Deo, Easy Latin Gregorian Chants for the Faithful According to the Intent of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Second Vatican Council.” It refers to #54 specifically. It was issued by the Vatican to help promote Gregorian chant of the parts of the Mass, greetings, Kyrie (Greek of course), Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith and Agnus Dei in Latin.
      The booklet was sent to all the bishops of the world by the Vatican in response to the “wishes of the Supreme Pontiff.” “In this way Gregorian Chant will remain a bond which , in the name of Christ, can gather many peoples together into a family united in heart, in mind and in voice. Such a thrust toward unity, expressed by a harmony of voices singing in a variety of words, rhythms and melodies, wonderfully manifests the diverse harmony of the one Church.”
      For some reason, this didn’t reach the majority of our parishes.

    2. Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (54).

      No. 54 does not lend itself to mere opinion, it is highly specific. It is just as pointed as no. 14 but is even more specific.
      ———————————————
      The fact remains, being specific in #54 doesn’t mandate anything. One doesn’t need a law degree to realize the Council Fathers created more escape clauses and loopholes as big as the Holland Tunnel. Permitting most dioceses in this country to just ignored any call for retaining Latin.

      Why else do we have 40 years of priests who know no Latin and parishes which to this day have no experience whatsoever in celebratingLatin masses?

    3. I’m sure a scholar of Msgr. Mannion’s stature is well aware of SC 54!

      The first point is that the bishops of the world (who had just approved SC), with the full approval of the Pope, approved the possibility of an entirely vernacular liturgy. They did this as an authentic interpretation of the entire constitution, including but not limited to SC 54.

      The second point Mannion argues is that the proper authority on all this is Pope Paul VI, not Anthony Ruff or Daniel McKerman or anyone else.

      awr

  4. Msgr. M. Francis Mannion: The theory that he [Pope Paul VI] made a mistake in approving so many changes is rash and problematic in that it accords excessive importance to personal interpretations.

    Quite true. As I have recently said, I must be obedient to Pope Paul VI despite my strong angst and intellectual conflict about his reign. There is no non praevalebunt without tu es. (Mt. 16:18)

    Mannion: Much criticism of post-Vatican II liturgical reform is historically ill-informed, […]

    One example: liturgists have often drawn upon Mediterranean late antique anthropology and archaeology to justify versus populum celebration. Numerous studies have demonstrated stable συμπόσια/triclinia arrangements throughout hellenistic/Roman antiquity. Still, furniture arrangement cannot account for social protocol, posture, and movement within antique banquets, let alone Mass today. The praxis of “banquet” in antique secular and sectarian associations is still unfolding.

    Manning: […] out of touch with the pastoral benefits […]

    Manning’s simultaneous call for magisterial obedience to the Pauline reforms and advocation of the pastoral benefits of the reformed liturgy inaccurately reflect conflicts within the post-Summorum Pontificum (SP) Roman Rite. Could Pauline vernacularism supersede the aspirations of the traditional faithful? Could a bishop deny a traditional Catholic a requiem Mass on the grounds that the lack of vernacular prayer would disadvantage certain congregants or question the supremacy of the vernacular liturgy in a parish?

    While most readers here are probably apathetic or even hostile to SP, the integrity of all liturgical legislation rests on discrete rulings. Manning’s strong adherence to Pope Paul’s magisterium might implicitly undermine SP and consequently jaundice Pope Benedict’s magisterial decisions in favor of traditional Catholics.

    1. Ack! “Manning” should be “Mannion”. This is the second time I’ve confused or misspelt names. I am convinced that I am either losing my marbles or otherwise the neurological mess upstairs is turning to grey wallpaper paste. Most likely the latter.

      In any event, let me correct my last paragraph.

      Mannion’s strong adherence to Pope Paul’s magisterium might implicitly undermine SP and consequently jaundice Pope Benedict’s magisterial decisions in favor of traditional Catholics.

      Summorum Pontificum is a motu proprio and not ordinarily magisterial, while the apostolic constitutions Sancrosanctum Concilium and Missale Romanum are magisterial. Mannion is entirely right to privilege MR 1969 over SP. Still, the presence of SP, even though it is a motu, complicates pastoral decisions. I suppose that a bishop could make the argument that SC and MR supersede SP, and use this argument to block traditional Catholic aspirations regardless of the terms of SP or successor documents.

      1. And the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, which we are still waiting for implementation of worldwide. Quite its’ solemn promulgation, being signed on the Altar of St. Peter’s. There is clearly an agenda to ban Latin in the Catholic Church.

  5. Jordan – IMO, this is the crucial part of what both you and Mannion are stating:

    “Summorum Pontificum is a motu proprio and not ordinarily magisterial, while the apostolic constitutions Sancrosanctum Concilium and Missale Romanum are magisterial. Mannion is entirely right to privilege MR 1969 over SP. Still, the presence of SP, even though it is a motu, complicates pastoral decisions. I suppose that a bishop could make the argument that SC and MR supersede SP, and use this argument to block traditional Catholic aspirations regardless of the terms of SP or successor documents.”

    Supposedly, the three year period of SP will result in some type of papal statement later this spring. What direction that will take – who knows at this time?

    Contrary to what Fr. Allan has said – would caution many folks on how they interpret and implement SP as if it is equal or even more authoritarian than SC.

    The pattern over the last 20+ years seems to be an effort to reinterpret; develop (manufacture); and implement an alternative plan to what the bishops of VII and Paul VI set out and did!! VII’s almost unanimous decision was to REFORM the liturgy….instead, we now have a “temporary” one rite with two forms (not sure that has ever happened and sure isn’t the result of a church council). There are significant “unintended consequences” to these decisions without even addressing the fact that various national bishops’ conferences have been resistant – for good reasons.

    1. While I’d like to see more freedom for the EF, I certainly agree Bill that the issuance of SP as a motu proprio and not as a constitution has created great problems for episcopal conferences and bishops. Pope Benedict’s decision to issue SP as a motu might not have been the best strategic move for a liturgically conservative Pope. Perhaps Pope Benedict’s decision to issue SP as a motu reflects a hesitancy to reject the Pauline reforms even by implication. Pope Benedict or his successor will eventually have to issue a magisterial statement to stabilize the currently uncertain liturgical legislative distinction between the EF and OF.

      Your observation that the situation is “temporary” is quite sharp. Now neither progressive or traditional Catholics have solid liturgical legislative footing.

      1. There’s also the fact that the MP had a legal finesse on the issue of abrogation. One way you can tell it’s a finesse is that the MP’s existence now implies that all editions of the Roman Missal other than the 1962 edition and the current preconciliar edition have indeed been abrogated, but no express legislative act of abrogation was needed (and, if an active act of abrogation is needed, then prior versions of the reformed missal are not yet abrogated, either….).

        This finesse had a laudable formal goal: to reduce the ostensible reliance on pontifical fiat (I know this will be counterintuitive to many, but there you have it). But, as Galileo might say, it still moves…

        Oh, and while we’re at it, one thing the MP (and apparently the forthcoming instruction) didn’t address is the issue of bination/trination. If the MP were to be read as forcefully as many traditionalists would like it to be read, the failure to address that issue is rather telling.

      2. If I’m not mistaken, SP explicitly forbids pastors from permitting more than one celebration of the 1962 Missal on a Sunday. The EF can be celebrated in a parish church more than once a day during the week.

        Karl, you are quite right that the above stipulations do not address bination and trination at all. Each celebration of an OF or an EF counts as one celebration of a Roman liturgy. In the parish I attend in the United States, both the priest-celebrant and priest-subdeacon at the EF solemn Sunday Mass celebrate the OF some other time that day. Certainly, the priest-celebrant binates, but what about the priest-subdeacon? We have a permanent deacon, so thankfully the situation isn’t as complex as it could be.

        Also, I suspect that some traditionally-minded priests celebrate both the EF and an OF in the same day. The EF Mass might be private. I must be cautious and say that I do not know, nor should know, if these priests have the facility to binate or even trinate daily. Rightfully, I am not privy to that information.

        Even so, I strongly doubt that priests have the casual right to binate or trinate out of devotion to the EF or for the benefit of the traditional faithful. If a priest may not binate, and must celebrate the OF every day, I strongly suspect that he may not brush off the implications of binating without proper authority.

    2. “Summorum Pontificum is a motu proprio and not ordinarily magisterial, while the apostolic constitutions Sancrosanctum Concilium and Missale Romanum are magisterial.”

      Sacrosanctum Concilium is magisterial only in its theological aspects and not in its disciplinary aspects. Almost any specific program in Sacrosanctum Concilium (Latin, vernacular, the need for reform of the rites, etc.) is disciplinary and not magisterial.

  6. The problem with Bill and others’ reasoning is that in many ways, the constitution SC’s directives have been & continue to be more consistently implemented in contemporary celebrations of the EF than they are in too many contemporary expressions of the OF. Just some relevant directives from V2’s SC that seem to be most consistently implemented in today’s EF celebrations include:

    #23 (new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing, … and ….notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided).
    28 (liturgical ministers perform only their proper role),
    29 (liturgical ministers discharge role with sincere piety and decorum, imbued with a pre-1963 “spirit of the liturgy”);
    30: (people use proper gestures as well as proper responses & silence);
    36: (Latin is preserved).
    54: (people say or sing Mass ordinary in Latin).
    116: (Gregorian chant given “pride of place”);
    117: (chant fostered).
    I would contend that V2 in general and SC in particular have already had a deep impact on the EF, vernacular readings, frequent homilies on Sundays, popularity of sung Masses over recited Masses, sense of community in parishes, love for the liturgy among the laity, use of chant, active participation by the laity in the liturgical prayer.

    1. This is blatant proof-texting. It obviously ignores the passages in SC (they are numerous) providing principles and directives less amenable to you. Read the whole document, please.
      awr

      1. Of course, the document has to be read as a whole. But that means we can’t, e.g., play off SC 36.1 against SC 36.2-3. The very fact that SC 36.1 exists implies (to me) that the Council never envisaged a liturgy entirely in the vernacular. Latin is to be preserved; the vernacular has “limits” that may be “extended” (not abolished!); the Holy See or bishops’ conference are to observe “these norms” (i.e. 36.1 and 36.2).

        Part of the reason the celebration of the liturgy is in the mess it’s currently in is the systematic ignoring of those sections of SC that Daniel points out. Obviously, the solution is not to ignore in turn the other sections, Father (and if you could provide some examples of what you’re thinking of here, that would be great)–that would fall into the same error. But I don’t see anyone claiming that that is the solution.

        I don’t read Daniel as “proof-texting”, just asking for a consistent implementation of the Council’s constitutions.

      2. Here’s one post where I tried to show that some people proof-text by only citing the first list of passages, while ignoring the second list or making its citations subordinate to the first list of citations
        http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/12/04/sacrosanctum-concilium-at-47-the-second-spirit-of-the-council/

        Here is the expert John O’Malley on the revolutionary change at Vatican II:
        http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/OMalley-What-Happened-at-Vatican-II-129-141.pdf
        And here is my commentary and summary of O’Malley on the revolutionary language change at Vatican II:
        http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/08/09/the-spirit-of-the-vatican-ii/

        Vernacular: the council fathers as a whole probably didn’t envision an entirely vernacular liturgy. (Some or many individual fathers perhaps did.) But 36.3 and 22.2 clearly provide the legal framework necessary to bring about an entirely vernacular liturgy. The fact is, once the people and priests and bishops of the world experienced some vernacular, and then much vernacular, there was very widespread agreement that entirely vernacular is desirable. This decision was made by the world’s bishops and the pope based on their postconciliar experience of vernacular. That just how it works, and I don’t see any big smoking gun or “gotcha” moment. The church was in one place for vernacular by 1963, and in another place by 1967. That’s all.

        awr

      3. I have read the whole document and I believe that my point
        stands. The fact that the new 1983 code still requires that seminarians know Latin together with the texts of V2’s SC, Pope Paul VI’s issuance of Iubilato Deo underscores the point further despite Fr. O’Malley’s, Fr. Ruff’s, Dan McKernan’s or ++Lefebvre’s interpretation. Let us not forget that the same Paul VI, much referenced here as championing the vernacular, said in 1969 in an address devoted to lauding the place for the vernacular in the Mass that “… in any case, the new rite of the Mass provides that the faithful “should be able to sing together, in Latin, at least the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father” (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 19)” – Paul VI Gen. Audience 11/26/1969.
        Obedience to Paul VI’s magisterium and to the council means giving plenty of room to our liturgical language, Latin, in the ordinary of the Mass.

      4. Looking over Fr. Ruff’s examination of alleged proof-texting SC as given here:
        http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/12/04/sacrosanctum-concilium-at-47-the-second-spirit-of-the-council/
        I observe that SC’s nos. 36, 54, & 116 are extremely specific and are direct – there is no ambiguity in them and they leave no room for misinterpretation as to their meaning. The latter citations offered by Fr. Ruff: nos. 1, 14, 21, 23, 31, 34,
        & 38 are ambiguous enough to leave wide latitude for interpretation. Whenever one speaks of reading the whole document SC one is faced with some explicit directives (no. 36) and more generalized statements like nos. 14 or 21. Allowing the document to interpret itself would normally begin with the specific statements and then read the more generalized statements within the light of the more specific ones.
        The progressive’s usual practice has been quite different. The specific directives from SC are simply ignored whereas ambiguous statements are then interpreted to suggest the opposite of the constitution’s own specific stipulations. It is a point-of-view but one cannot clearly place Paul VI in that camp when he published and sent every bishop in the world a copy of Iubilate Deo and when he proclaims in 1969 that the new rite of Mass provides for a Latin ordinary.

      5. The quotations you like in SC “allow no room for interpretation” ?

        I think that says it all.

        awr

      6. I said “they leave no room for misinterpretation as to their meaning” and I don’t think I discussed SC’s directives in the context of like or dislike. I don’t think there is anything in SC that I would say I dislike per se.

      7. You clearly like your interpretation and dislike others’. And in the passages most central to your hermeneutic, you think there’s no room for any other interpretation.

        awr

  7. Jordan, the architectural evidence is ambiguous, and you know it. Different arrangements survive in different regions and from different periods. You are “twisting” the evidence in favour of your own point of view. Others “twist” it in favour of theirs. The fact is that while versus populum celebrations were widespread, they were not the exclusive way of doing it.

    Your rewritten Mannion paragraph now seems to be avoiding the question of whether a bishop can step in and say that the vast majority of the flock are being denied what they clearly have a right to, just because of the personal preferences of an individual priest. The answer to that is surely Yes, he can. The instances where a priest has changed the principal Mass on a Sunday morning to EF for a minority, thus forcing OF worshippers (the majority) to move elsewhere, has been disedifying, to say the least.

    1. I will not deny the variability of liturgical orientation in either late antique pre-Constantinian Christianity or the early centuries of the institutional Church. Recent archaeological research into secular and sectarian symposia/triclinia could support or refute the versus populum celebration style. Nevertheless, archaeology alone cannot support or refute the (re?)introduction of versus populum celebration into postmodern Catholicism.

      Even the discovery of a fresco or relief of a presbyter standing at a freestanding altar would not necessarily resolve the question of versus pop for 21st century liturgical Christians. An equivocation between late antique archaeological findings and anthropological theories of either antique association banquet behavior or the eucharistic liturgies of pre-Constantinian ἐκκλησίαι (assemblies) sets false expectations that versus pop as practiced today is the “real” patristic manner of eucharistic sacrifice. A quantum leap from late antique anthropological research to 20th and 21st liturgical Christianity overlooks the many centuries of Eucharistic evolution in the West. This evolution includes a gradual but steady displacement of Roman basilica-arrangements in favor of ad apsidem celebration. This historic evolution cannot be discarded in favor of patristic era conjecture.

    2. Paul, with regards to my rewritten analysis of Msgr. Mannion’s opinion (here):

      <a href="http://goo.gl/bXjRf"Karl's observations on the practical implementation of SP, and in particular questions of bination and trination, confirm what I have also suspected: SP is a weak document that satisfies neither progressives nor traditionalists.

      I agree with your contention that a priest’s personal liturgical preference should not over-ride the pastoral needs of his parish. In my opinion, a bishop acts justly when he censures a priest for not attending to the pastoral needs of his (OF attached) flock. Likewise, a bishop acts justly when he censures a priest for abusing bination/trination to satisfy a personal devotion to the EF. Salus animarum suprema lex.

      However, there are parishes where a significant number of parishioners support the Extraordinary Form. In the parish I attend in the United States, the solemn EF attracts the most parishioners on most Sundays. The weekday EF Low Masses also attract numbers comparable to daily OF Mass attendance. I cannot see how a bishop could justify the cancellation of a Sunday EF If the priest-celebrant and priest-ministers of the Solemn Mass have bination or trination facilities. At my parish, both a low and high OF are offered before and after the solemn EF. Parishioners of either persuasion are accommodated. A bishop who forcibly cancels an EF in this particular case would, in my opinion, act quite unjustly.

    3. If I were a priest (thankfully an impossible contrary-to-fact statement), who is unable to lawfully binate or trinate and in the service of a parish whose parishioners are accustomed to and desirous of the Ordinary Form, I would consider myself ethically and morally bound to say the OF. If I were a temporary replacement, I would certainly try to maintain some liturgical continuity with previous parish practices so long as these practices are rubrically sound.

      I need never worry about these matters fortunately.

    4. The instances where a priest has changed the principal Mass on a Sunday morning to EF for a minority, thus forcing OF worshippers (the majority) to move elsewhere, has been disedifying, to say the least.

      And where did this happen?

      1. I think that question has been asked and unanswered before… It would be nice to quantify the prevalence of this.

      2. Just for a start, the dioceses of Leeds, Southwark and Clifton have examples where this happened. They are not by any means the only ones.

      3. Where did it happen? What parish? Your reporting on attendance at Latin Mass attendance figures has not always been accurate in the past. If you have specific examples you should provide them. If not you shouldn’t generalize.

    5. “The instances where a priest has changed the principal Mass on a Sunday morning to EF for a minority, thus forcing OF worshippers (the majority) to move elsewhere, has been disedifying, to say the least.”

      Come now, no-one is “forcing” anyone to move anywhere. It is, after all, still Mass. And in any case, most parishes in England and Wales have more than one Mass on a Sunday.

      I agree, it would be pastorally insensitive for a typical parish priest to suddenly switch over wholesale to the EF, and say all his Masses in that form. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it? We’re talking about one Mass out of two or three (at least) on a Sunday being in the EF. Would you rather the pastoral needs of members of the parish be ignored and marginalised?

      By the way, if you’re not going to name parishes or name names, your criticisms are more than a little vague, give the impression of being based on hearsay, and are pretty meaningless. “Just for a start… they are not by any means the only ones”… how very apocalyptic and fear-inducing! Quick! To the Batmobile!

      1. If you don’t like the answer, don’t ask the question. (No, I know you didn’t ask it, Matthew)

        We’re talking in some cases about the principal Mass, the one with the largest attendance, being switched so that those parishioners either had to attend another Mass at an inconvenient time (or even the evening before) or go elsewhere, in other cases about wholesale switching to Tridentine rite usage.

        I’m not going to name names because in one case the parish has now been closed down as a result of the ruckus, the priest’s refusal to comply, and the consequent departure of most of the parishioners; in other cases the Bishops asked the priests in question to consider the welfare of the vast majority of their flocks, and they agreed to do so and rescheduled the Tridentine Mass; while in yet others the priest still continues in defiance. It would be wrong to tar them all with the same brush.

        A number of cases have received publicity on blogs and even in the national Catholic press, so it should not be difficult to identify them if you are that interested.

      2. It would be wrong to tar them all with the same brush.

        Indeed it would, which is why you should cite specific and verifiable examples, rather than generalizing about “The instances where a priest has changed the principal Mass on a Sunday morning to EF”.

      3. Samuel,

        If you don’t want to believe it, that’s your privilege. But the evidence is there if you look for it.

      4. “We’re talking in some cases about the principal Mass, the one with the largest attendance, being switched so that those parishioners either had to attend another Mass at an inconvenient time (or even the evening before) or go elsewhere…”

        Those poor people, having to go to Mass at an “inconvenient” time or “even the evening before”…! Shock! Horror!

        Forgive my sarcasm, but if Mass is subordinate to the other things one may do in the course of Sunday (or Sat evening), then I think one would have their priorities severely skewed.

        In any case, they don’t have to go to another Mass. The “Tridentine use” (the correct term being EF) is still Mass. Even if it’s the “principal” celebration of Mass, no-one is forcing anyone to go anywhere purely through using the EF (or, for that matter, OF) for one Mass out of a total of at least two or three.

        Oh, and even if the information is easy to find, the burden of proof still lies with you.

  8. I am in two minds about Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical pluralism, as some people call it. On the one hand, it shows a generosity of spirit and a willingness to accommodate different liturgical sources within the tradition: Eastern rites, Tridentine, Novus Ordo, Anglican Use, etc. On the other, I think we risk going down a road of fragmentation, one which (from the outside) it sometimes seems that the Anglicans have walked: “We are a Prayer Book parish”, “We use exclusively Rite 3GX4.2” etc.

    Liturgical positions always seem to be tightly held: “The Novus Ordo is licit, usually, but the real thing is the EF, and spiritually mature people will always turn to it.”. Or, “The EF can be allowed, but it’s really only there for nostalgia”, etc.

    The Harvard psychologist Robert Kegan describes stages of adult development in which, at the highest or ‘fifth order’, someone can “hold a point of view but not be held by a point of view”. An adult at this stage is supposed to be far more comfortable with contradiction and paradox than one at the earlier stages, where ideologies are formed and developed.

    Perhaps Benedict XVI is one of those “fifth stage” people – Kegan says they are very rare – and the rest of us at earlier stages. Or maybe liturgy tends to knock one back at least a stage in his developmental schema.

    1. “Liturgical positions always seem to be tightly held: “The Novus Ordo is licit, usually, but the real thing is the EF, and spiritually mature people will always turn to it.”. Or, “The EF can be allowed, but it’s really only there for nostalgia”, etc.”

      I can’t help but think these attitudes stem mostly from the “indult” days rather than from allowing multiple liturgies. The more a group gets marginalized, the more it has to justify its existence. A mere preference for a particular liturgy can then turn into an attitude that it is the only correct one – thus making it worth fighting for (and worth driving long distances to inconvenient locations for a Mass the bishop openly dislikes and wants to die out).

      I’ve noticed, in my own experience, that it’s older people who have a lot of bizarre prejudices towards one form of Mass or another. I can freely talk about my involvement with the EF amongst my 20-something peers and they see nothing wrong with it provided I don’t put down the Mass they attend. There’s also a lot of acceptance for it among my Protestant and non-believer friends. On the other hand, I’ve learned to not mention it to older people since I don’t care to be treated like I’m somehow destroying the Church and undoing Vatican II, or stuck having to listen about how transubstantiation cannot possibly occur at those Novus Ordo Masses where the clowns dance around to Polka music.

      The extremes allowed for within the celebration of the OF makes me wonder why anyone would think allowing the EF or Anglican use is a big deal. I can understand people not liking the calendar and lectionary differences (which probably should be rectified at some point), but the fact is one can grow up in an OF parish and never recite the Confiteor, sing the latin Gloria, hear the Roman Canon, smell incense, hear sanctus bells, etc – conversely someone could grow up in an OF parish and never experience anything other than those things.

      1. I am in my early 30’s, and I was a traditional Catholic in the “indult days”. I remember the “catacomb Masses” well. These Masses were sort of exciting in a clandestine way, but I am glad that Pope Benedict has finally liberated the traditional christifideles.

        The bishop of the diocese I grew up in and lived in through my mid 20’s was exceedingly cruel to traditional Catholics. He only offered two Masses a month, separated by 90 miles. One of his auxiliary bishops and a dean of the cathedral would disparage traditional Catholics as regressive and reactionary whenever they had editorial space in the diocesan paper. Oh, we hated the bishop and his senior clergy with a burning passion.

        This bishop was the peritus to the previous bishop. He attended the entire Council. I sometimes wonder if this bishop sincerely thought that traditional Catholics were merely defiant or obstinate. This bishop destroyed our Gothic cathedral reredos and high altar, plastered and whitewashed the paintings, and installed a concrete cube as an altar. Still, I am convinced that he wreckovated our beautiful cathedral as an act of “renewal” and charity for his diocese.

        Obedience, forgiveness, charity, reconciliation. I am not at the point where I am willing to reconcile with the bishops, priests, and laity that were so cruel to traditional Catholics in the past. I still harbor the hatred years after. I am a bitter man.

        If a country such as South Africa, with its history of apartheid, racist violence, and human atrocities, can be placed on the path to human forgiveness and reconciliation, then we Catholics can also end our civil war.

        I pray for the strength to be a reconciler.

  9. Jordan, some observations on the personal background you provided.

    In your early 30’s, you have no experience of the time when everyone was required to attend non-participatory, foreign language Mass. See my previous summary of lay choices as being private devotion, daydreaming, or subtly sleeping. Your taste for Tridentine Masses may obscure how grateful and enthusiastic the vast majority of people were for the change to vernacular and turned altars instead of mumbling and concealment.

    I find your repeated use of the word “cruelty” to be interpretive and self-serving. That “we” hated indicates a militant and politicized mindset which often accompanies actually being regressive and reactionary. Did your underground group make any attempt to use the new Missal in Latin? Did your nurtured hatred make you sound defiant and obstinate? Were there personal issues for the priests involved? Describing yourselves as the christifideles seems to be a negative judgment on the decisions the council and the bishops subsequently made for the good of the vast majority of American Catholics.

    Your description of the cathedral renovation also contains many terms which indicate a difference of taste. Did you try to understand the reasons given at the time?

    “Traditional” Catholics is a convenient, self-selected, and self-flattering term. Forty years ago, the people who rejected the liturgical changes were a tiny minority, many of whom actually were defiant, obstinate, and, if not regressive, certainly reactionary. I and many others on this list lived through their disparagement of the bishops and their clinging to what they misunderstood as what the church had always done and their closed minds regarding the longer history of Christianity.

    In defiance, these people organized and recruited. I am sorry to see that you have taken on and “still harbor” their negative interpretations.

    part two follows.

    1. Tom P—-everyone was required to attend non-participatory, foreign language Mass. See my previous summary of lay choices as being private devotion, daydreaming, or subtly sleeping. Your taste for Tridentine Masses may obscure how grateful and enthusiastic the vast majority of people were for the change to vernacular and turned altars instead of mumbling and concealment.—

      Hey Tom!

      What in the world?!! You could at least throw in a IMHO when you editorialize!

      You disparage the Mass which produced a large portion of the Catholic Church’s canonized Saints and Martyrs, as if it were nothing ‘to die for’. Our Martyrs’ outlook on this topic cannot have been in agreement with yours.

      1. I did not disparage the Mass. I described what I experienced over many years and many parishes and which matched the descriptions common at the time.

        It is a cheap slam on your part to say that I disparage the Mass itself.

    2. Tom, please do remember that a good number of the laity were fond of the Tridentine Mass, but were obedient and did not say anything in public. My father was a senior in high school when the interim Missal came out, and he missed the Latin. His parents were emotionally shattered when the Latin Mass was abrogated. Ditto their devout sisters and brothers. All were obedient to the changes and experimentations, but privately grieved at their loss. My father was so very happy when SP came out, and immediately went back to his “childhood Mass”. Not everyone found the Tridentine rites boring. Many were edified and uplifted by their majesty, even if they only knew the Mass from a missal or rosary.

      Priests suffered as well. My elderly high school Latin teacher, a religious, spoke fondly of saying Latin Mass. He also was very saddened at the lost, but kept moving forward for the sake of the lay-brothers who preferred the new Mass. Touchingly, we boys would recite the judica me with him before class.

      Why do you refuse to acknowledge both the public dissent and private sorrow at the imposition of the OF? The imposition of the reformed rites cut so many Catholics to the bone, even if they did not sorrow in public. Sure, perhaps they were ignorant for not accepting “liturgical renewal”. What was wrong with their love of Low Mass and the simple devotion to Our Lady who led them to the profundity of her sacrificed Son? Why must your evaluation of history rest solely with your adulation of the reformed liturgy?

      Pope Benedict has liberated traditional Catholics to worship in joy and gratitude through our beloved rites. Our devotion never impedes your worship at the OF. Why must you continually suppress our aspirations? Let us live in the joy and wonder of our ancient folkways.

      1. Well said…Many, maybe millions voted with their feet when the NO was thrust upon them. That speaks silent volumes. And the loss of these Catholics has been lamented ever since. When will people not just liten to why they left, but quantify it?

      2. But there’s no proof I know of that the reformed liturgy caused lots of people to leave. We’ve been through this topic several times on Pray Tell now, and we’ve talked about the logical fallacy of claiming that because something happened after something else, it was caused by the prior thing.

        But if you wish to believe in the logical fallacy, you’d have to ask why adult baptisms, and church marriages, and Mass attendance rates, have fallen so much under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, much more than they did in the 1970s, and why the dropoff has been especially sharp since the election of Benedict XVI. I personally don’t think it’s simply caused by these two popes and their more traditional/conservative direction. But I’m curious how you would argue against such causality, since you think the reformed liturgy had that causative effect.

        The other question would be – how much do you predict Mass attendence will increase with the new translation? I’d be curious what you expect, and how much your predictions would come to pass in the next 10 or 20 years.

        awr

      3. I would like to get some of the marijuana that inspires the “silent volumes” argument. Because that’s a mighty powerful hallucination.

      4. Strange – many times on this blog we’ve seen people blame declining Mass attendance on the recent clerical scandals without suggestion that verifiable data is necessary but whenever one brings up the dramatic downturn in Mass attendance following the introduction of the 1970 RM there seems to be a quick
        recoil to proclaim that sufficient evidence cannot be found.

      5. Mitch – you are living in your own dreamworld.

        A couple of references for you:

        First, historical……http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=5250

        Second,

        hermeneutic…..http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11375

        Highlight which tries to explain:\

        “One might have expected Pope Benedict to call the position he favors the “hermeneutics of continuity,” and careless commentators have used that term to describe his view. Instead, he calls it the “hermeneutics of reform.” He devotes the greater part of his talk (85 percent by word-count) to explaining what he means by the phrase. And the greater part of this explanation sets out why at the time of the council there was need for a certain measure of discontinuity. After all, if there is no discontinuity, one can hardly speak of reform.”

      6. Bill – Benedict did call it the “hermeneutic of continuity” in Sacramentum Caritatis:

        3. […] Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities. {I am referring here to the need for a hermeneutic of continuity also with regard to the correct interpretation of the liturgical development which followed the Second Vatican Council.}

      7. I do not deny that there was a small amount of dissent and some sorrow, but it was a very small number and often offset by gratitude for the vernacular.

        You are welcome to your aspirations.
        You are not welcome to impose your tastes on the majority or to misrepresent history as to the reception of the changes by the majority of US RCs of the OF.

  10. Part two

    Jordan,
    You should also be aware that your diocese may have had a rather extreme experience.

    Here in St. Louis, we had the Abp. who pushed through keeping thy and thou in only the Our Father despite the ecumenical agreement on using modern English for all the common parts of the Mass. We had a central and separate parish set up for using the Tridentine Mass and was often favored by the presence of the Abp. We had another Abp. bring in new orders of priests specifically to promote the old forms of the Mass. We had an Abp. who ordered all parishes to place the tabernacle in the center of the church, even where there had been excellent Eucharistic chapels designed for the building.

    We have had our excellent priest doctor liturgy find out second hand that he was being replaced by minimally experienced masters of ceremony without liturgical training after not being consulted for two years on liturgical matters before the bishops’ conference as he and his predecessor had been under previous Abps.

    None of this fits with the liturgical studies and general direction of the reforms of Vatican II. It is mostly autocratic imposition of one man’s tastes on a very large and quite varied diocese.

    reflection on civil war follows

    1. Tom, no, actually Jordan’s experience is typical and it is St. Louis that is the abberation. We can go into details about this if you like, but to have personal parishes for the E.F. as is the case in your diocese is very unusual.

      1. have one in Dallas – have commented on this trend frequently. It is echoed by folks such as Fr. Allan who has taken the originally stated reasons for SP – (temporary, exceptions due to age, etc.) and have transformed that into a separate form (if not rite) and have broadened the original indult so that it justifies recruiting, training, and attracting young catholics to the TLM and EF.

        In this period of lack of clerics, resource dollars, and pressing needs – we see valued money/time/clerics being redirected to EF parishes – how does one justify that? It is sort of like the phenomenon of creeping infallibility.

      2. Jordan was referring to the pre-Summorum Pontificum situation, which was as he described it and not as Tom did (St. Louis was unusual).

        You have a personal parish in Dallas only since Easter 2010, which is well after Summorum Pontificum. Having a personal parish is still the exception rather than the rule. There is, for instance, no such personal parish in all of New York State.

        It is echoed by folks such as Fr. Allan who has taken the originally stated reasons for SP – (temporary, exceptions due to age, etc.) and have transformed that into a separate form (if not rite) and have broadened the original indult so that it justifies recruiting, training, and attracting young catholics to the TLM and EF.

        Please quote the section of S.P. (which, furthermore, is not an indult) that reflects these limitations on the reasons one may attend the EF.

      3. “…..broadened the original indult so that it justifies recruiting, training, and attracting young catholics to the TLM and EF.”

        Which is so horrible because?

        “In this period of lack of clerics, resource dollars, and pressing needs – we see valued money/time/clerics being redirected to EF parishes – how does one justify that? It is sort of like the phenomenon of creeping infallibility.”

        Who else do you consider not to be worth the Church’s resources and effort?

    2. Yes Tom, my diocese not only had a SSPX mission but also the headquarters/convent of the SSPV, a sedevacantist order, and Fr. Gommar DePauw’s sect. I always worshiped indult, and had little care for my rad-trad crypto-Lefevbrist fellow travelers. The bishop, quite unwisely, decided to push traditional Catholics towards schismatics. The faithful loyal to Rome were not given safe haven, but rather berated. Wouldn’t a shepherd of souls rather provide worship in communion with the church than hand people off to the Lefebvrists or worse?

      Re: #42 by Tom Poelker on April 4, 2011 – 1:18 pm

      The desecration of our cathedral was done with the fanatism of the Lord Protector. Many Catholics of the diocese tried to save the cathedral, but the Bishop insisted that the altar had to be a third of the way into the nave for “active participation”. But why the severe iconoclasm? Has not the human eye a delight for beauty? No, that beauty would take away from the “centrality of the liturgical community at prayer” or similar. What then of those who drew great comfort from liturgical architecture? The immediate post-conciliar focus on the Mass as a didactic-semiotic event ignored the sensory and devotional aspects of worship facilitated by the previous cathedral architecture and interior furnishings.

    3. Tom, Tom – past history….let it go. Burke is gone, gone, gone…..let the good times roll.

      Could add to your list of woes by citing seminary profs & formation directors who watched the same ABP take seminarians and ordinands under his wing and demand ordinations that overruled faculty and formation staff input. Or, two years ago, you would have seen almost the whole ordination class do EF for their First Masses.

      And you now know what happens when these folks get to their first parish assignments.

      1. Don’t forget the preceding Rigali era which included some of the incidents I cited, nor how badly May was treated, a pastoral and reasonable bishop.

  11. Jordan,

    You are quite right to describe RCs as being in a civil war.
    However, the war is not over liturgy. Liturgy is merely the most visible battleground.

    The actual war is about ecclesiology. It is about a top down versus bottom up view of the church. Is it more important that uniformity and central control exist or that the needs of the local diocese and parishioners be understood and served?

    The centralizers and regulators are currently dominating the battles. It is in their interest to promote things in the liturgy which have little to do with whether the liturgy is more oriented to the wondrous or the communal.

    Instead, they have focused on getting control, regardless of the quality of their results. They happen to find it easier to get control if they argue for the least change, even when some big change, such as the vernacular, is nearly unavoidable. So, they favor Latinate English.

    They focus on control through centralization and monarchy and court etiquette and court politics. This is supported by a clericalized, sanctuary focused liturgy which tends to separate the clergy “celebrants” more than does the idea that all celebrate with the designated presider. They favor “priest” over the Scriptural word “presbyter”. They favor antique court dress and sumptuary laws which draw attention to distinctions instead of common baptism. All these accidentals support a particular structure of power.

    They also favor making a strong distinction of RC liturgy from the rest of Christianity because it is only in that distinct culture that their centralized and idiosyncratic preferences are supportable. They find appearances of Christian unity to be a challenge to their uniqueness. Thus, they also favor uniformity withing RC liturgy as a way to avoid drift toward unity.

    The above are obvious to students of politics and government.

    More reprehensible is the opposition to recognizing the roles of women.

    1. “The actual war is about ecclesiology. It is about a top down versus bottom up view of the church. Is it more important that uniformity and central control exist or that the needs of the local diocese and parishioners be understood and served?”

      The EF really only exists today because of people working from the bottom up. The number of EF Masses imposed by bishops and priests upon unwilling laity seems rather small compared to the number of Masses established by determined laity often working against the hierarchy. There isn’t a single EF in my area established because a priest or bishop who held power wanted it – it was entirely the work of the people.

      1. It is true that bottom up pressure is the basis for most regular Latin Masses.
        It has always been a very small number of people, but they have organized and found ways to apply pressure.

        Those who want to have more communal liturgies have to learn to apply the same kinds of pressure, but they won’t be getting the same kind of sympathetic hearing from the curialists.

    2. Tom: More reprehensible is the opposition to recognizing the roles of women.

      You might be surprised to learn that I support the expansion of the minor orders of reader and acolyte to adult men and women. In particular, I would prefer that men and women be trained and instituted as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist within the regular clerical structure. As of now in the OF, a bishop, priest, or deacon is the ordinary minister of the Eucharist. A “seminarian” (most often an acolyte) is the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. Lay distribution is only possible when all of the ordinarily licit options are exhausted.

      I am not at all pleased with the irreverence of many of the poorly trained laity who have been chosen for a “ministry” truly reserved for emergencies. Rather, a program of candidacy, study, and institution of acolytes should be encouraged. After submission and acceptance for study, men and women should take a brief theological course of study on eucharistic theology, sacramental theology, and a practicum for Mass and the communication of the infirm. These acolytes would be the only authorized ministers of the Eucharist outside of the clergy. Even these acolytes would step down in the presence of a sufficient number of ordinary ministers at Mass.

      Instituted acolytes would also have priority as Mass servers. Also, both male and female instituted acolytes should be permitted choir dress (surplice and cassock) or alb, depending on the sensibilities of the parish.

      The solution to layperson involvement in the Mass is not the delegation of the ministration of the Eucharist to untrained laity. It is better to open minor orders to both men and women.

      1. It’s refreshing to find someone else who prefers the EF who doesn’t oppose an expanded role for women within it (even though we would be an extreme minority amongst EF-goers).

        I wonder if, as the EF gains a more mainstream status, there will be more sympathy for such a position. The more the EF becomes a normal part of Catholic life (even if it always remains a minority liturgy), the more it will be attended by Catholics who are used to seeing female readers, servers, etc. IMO, I think the opposition to women amongst traditionalists is yet another symptom of the indult years that perhaps would not exist or be so prevalent if there had been a freer allowance for the Latin Mass or more traditional options within the structure of the Novus Ordo.

      2. Re: #55 by Jack Wayne on April 4, 2011 – 11:02 pm

        In Ministeria Quaedam (1972), or the motu proprio that introduced the post-conciliar orders system, Pope Paul VI stated that acolytes could be considered subdeacons. I would have no problem with women as subdeacons. You are quite right — I am well in the minority. I also agre, however, that the absolute ban of women in the EF sanctuary might soften in subsequent generations.

      3. Pope Paul VI stated that acolytes could be considered subdeacons.

        No he didn’t he said they could be called subdeacons: “There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops.”

        Calling them subdeacons is competely different than them being considered subdeacons, since, after all he wrote: “the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church.”

        A “seminarian” (most often an acolyte) is the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.

        This reflects a similar confusion. A seminarian is not, ex officio, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. An acolyte is. If someone is a seminarian, but not an acolyte, they must be comissioned in the usual way as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (either stably or for a particular occasion). Furthermore, distributions by acolytes is lay distribution, because only bishops, priests and deacons are clerics according to the 1983 code of Canon Law. Seminarians, Acolytes, Lectors, Candidates for Holy Orders, religious brothers and sisters, etc. are not.

        However, Ministeria Quadem does say that acolytes are “set aside in a special way for the service of the altar” and notes that the reservation of these ministries to men is an “ancient tradition of the Church”, which you don’t seem to have addressed at all here, but merely the practicalities of it (as you see them.)

      4. #59 by Samuel J. Howard on April 5, 2011 – 10:03 am

        Yes, Sam, you are quite right that not all seminarians are acolytes. In my diocese, seminarians have both a “parish practicum” after their institution as acolytes, and then their transitional diaconate ministry. Hence, the parish assistant seminarians I have known have all been acolytes during their practicum. This might be different in other dioceses.

        I fully understand that both Ministeria Quaedam and the current code of canon law both restrict the ministries of lector and acolyte, as well as the major orders, to men (vir). Still, it seems to me that the prohibition of women as lectors or acolytes is not magisterially defined in the same way as the prohibition of women in Holy Orders. The institutions of lector or acolyte are not ordinations. These liturgical roles do not carry the ontological change of ordination. I wonder then if there is a theological bar to women participating in the institutions of lector and acolyte. I think a good case could be made that women are not theologically barred from these ministries.

        It is true that instituted lectors and acolytes are not clerics. I recognize that the clergy are the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist. This should not change and should receive more respect. However, wouldn’t it be better if the extraordinary ministry of the Eucharist be delegated to men and women who receive more than the little or no training given to EMHC’s? Perhaps there is a fear that instituting women as acolytes might give the impression that they are clerics. I don’t necessarily see this as a problem, but perhaps some would be scandalized.

        While I do not have conceptual difficulty with women as acolytes in the EF, the issue has been all but settled by PCED. I wouldn’t worry about changes in OF ministries migrating to the EF given that the EF has different rubrics.

      5. Still, it seems to me that the prohibition of women as lectors or acolytes is not magisterially defined in the same way as the prohibition of women in Holy Orders.

        Sure, but neither was the restriction of Holy Orders to men magisterially defined until Ordinatio Sacredotalis in ’94:

        Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

        But surely it would have been incorrect for an orthodox theologian to argue in 1993 that there was no reason not to make women priests because there was no magisterial definition. There was an ancient tradition restricting major orders to men, just as there is an ancient tradition (referenced by Paul VI in Ministeria Quaedam) reserving (at least aspects of) these ministries to men. Your argument needs to address this theological issue, not just the legal and practical aspects.

        While I do not have conceptual difficulty with women as acolytes in the EF, the issue has been all but settled by PCED.

        I’m not aware of any settling of this issue by PCED. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has written in the past that there seems to be no legal prohibition on women serving at the altar in the E.F. Cardinal Burke has written the opposite (but only privately).

        …wouldn’t it be better if the extraordinary ministry of the Eucharist be delegated to men and women who receive more than the little or no training given to EMHC’s?

        Training can improved w/o institution.

  12. The translation theater of the RC civil war opened with the firing on the Catechism. At the final moment, a long developed and already approved translation was pulled from the publishers and replaced with obvious changes to horizontally inclusive language.

    Liturgiam Authenticam requires male language unnecessary in a language without gender declensions only because Latin languages require gender of all nouns.

    Behind all this is the rejection of the Pontifical Biblical Commission report that there is no Scriptural basis for not ordaining women. Having suffered that strategic defeat, and having ended the debate over clerical celibacy in the West through fiat, the curial centralizing male celibates defended their ancient system of power through patrons and clients by using what power they had to reject possible implications of the equality of males and females in Christianity, despite the words of St. Paul.

    Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the political cover and search for allies by the claims for more wondrous language. The starting point remains female exclusive language, emphasizing the male imagery of God and the royal imagery of a king and court.

  13. Paul Inwood’s allegations about priests displacing novus ordo Masses, which were the principal Sunday Mass, in favour of the usus antiquior seem to have been dropped from this thread. He suggested that it is commonplace, but nobody seems able to find any examples of this happening. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    Surely, the problem is a different one – one of insufficient usus antiquior Masses. Many people in England and Wales have to travel 60 miles or more each way to find a Mass in the older form. The problem is far worse in Scotland.

    1. I have never suggested that it is commonplace. But even one instance is one too many. In the 22 dioceses in England and Wales there has been rather more than one instance.

      I also have not observed any of my posts being dropped. They all seem to be there still. What I have noticed is the Chairman of the LMS getting his knickers in a twist again on his blog, quoting and attempting to demolish what I have said here. Methinks he doth protest too much. The poor chap must feel really threatened. Or perhaps it’s just that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does.

      He seems to think that I am against EF celebrations. I am not; I grew up with them; I trained altar servers to serve them and priests to celebrate them. But I do object to them being used as a means of advancing a priest’s personal preferences. Yves Congar in Challenge to the Church was very strong on this. His opinion was that Archbishop Lefebvre was using the Tridentine Rite of Mass as a political tool.

  14. I’m pretty sure that Mr. Inwood is having a dig at Fr. Finigan, parish priest of Blackfen. There was a bit of a fuss when one of the Sunday Masses was changed to the EF, but it was NOT the principal Mass, it was the one at which the adult choir sang. There was NOT a huge exodus of parishioners, some parishioners left to go to a neighbouring parish, less than 10 minutes’ away.

    A survey of the parish was later carried out (and given to the Bishop) in which the majority of parishioners reported that they had been unaware of any controversy at all, and most were unconcerned about the introduction of the EF Mass provided that not all the Masses were changed.

    In addition, numbers at the EF Mass are going up steadily.

  15. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    But there’s no proof I know of that the reformed liturgy caused lots of people to leave. We’ve been through this topic several times on Pray Tell now, and we’ve talked about the logical fallacy of claiming that because something happened after something else, it was caused by the prior thing.</P
    And other blogs state the opposite.
    But if you wish to believe in the logical fallacy, you’d have to ask why adult baptisms, and church marriages, and Mass attendance rates, have fallen so much under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, much more than they did in the 1970s, and why the dropoff has been especially sharp since the election of Benedict XVI. I personally don’t think it’s simply caused by these two popes and their more traditional/conservative direction. But I’m curious how you would argue against such causality, since you think the reformed liturgy had that causative effect.
    The other question would be – how much do you predict Mass attendence will increase with the new translation? I’d be curious what you expect, and how much your predictions would come to pass in the next 10 or 20 years.
    awr

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    The only proof I need is my entire family falling away because of the “changes in Mass”. Perhaps I am an isolated incident. Talking to former Catholics of my generation and many have the same story. The only fallacy seems to continue to deny it. I will not predict what will be in 10 years as I believe the damage has been done. I returned as a direct result of SP. My idea of the best of both because I believe in both EF and OF Mass validity would be something akin to the…

  16. Karl Liam Saur :
    I would like to get some of the marijuana that inspires the “silent volumes” argument. Because that’s a mighty powerful hallucination.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Inflammatory and really uncharitable because I will assume your reading of statistics, data, and history are different than mine. I don’t simply dismiss everything I read as unprovable, I assess like everyone else here and throughout the blogosphere. My apologies if that makes you uncomfortable.

    1. Mitch, you’ve offered no statistics or data or history. There are data that people have left the church because of the sex abuse scandal (and its mishandling by bishops and Rome). There are no data showing a massive exodus because of liturgical reforms. Your family is really important, of course – but that’s an anecdote, not data.

      You’re being taken to task by several people because you’re making unfounded and rather extreme statements.

      awr

    2. My remark was directed to your argument, not you. I don’t feel the least bit uncomfortable. As Fr Ruff has indicated, the thesis of your argument has been deconstructed many times here, and we don’t have to repeat it ad nauseam.

  17. Liturgical Shipwreck by M. Davies comes to mind. But OK I will concede the abuses that went with the introduction of the Pauline Missal probably contributed greatly to the confusion of families and disorientation of the Faithful than had it been done faithfully according to the letter. (The Heresy of Formlessness) But it wasn’t. People left. The truth is there will never be a definitive answer because the Catholic population was never polled and many have passed on.

    1. Actually, they were polled many times. Repeatedly the surveys showed that the vast majority supported the liturgical changes, and those who did not were a very small minority.
      awr

      1. And the shift in attendance in the US is much more attributable to things like the collapse of the Catholic ghettoes via out-migration in post-war prosperity and assimilation, overcrowded Catholic schools (which were in worse shape in many areas than the crowded public schools, and once permission for parents to send their kids public schools became more common after Vatican II, there was another out-migration), the general collapse of authority from the mid-’60s through mid-’70s*, and, um, that little iceberg called Humanae Vitae that came after a revolution of rising expectations that the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception would likely change.

        * Probably amplified in many areas by brittle preconciliar catechesis. For example, the change in preceptual rules of fasting and abstinence. People who had the idea that they committed mortal sin by eating meat on Fridays, and suddenly it’s not so outside of Lent, and whose catechesis was not retained at the more subtle level of the 4th commandment (obedience to authority as grave matter) rather than the substance of eating or abstaining from meat. In crowded post-war classrooms, even if the subtlety was taught by the occasional subtle nun or brother, it was not likely to be reinforced elsewhere, especially in the home. Et cet.

      2. So people who left were polled from home? Could you link that poll or statistic? No one that I know that left was ever polled or asked. And if what you state is the case why did a certain ArchBishop Bugnini state in his book that there is quite of bit of unrest and dissatisfaction to the reform in the communities of the Faithful? Certainly from a different poll that he received his information to form that analysis.

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