Msgr. Wadsworth, ICEL head, praises sedevacantist’s liturgy book

This will interest Pray Tell readers. Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth is probably best known in liturgical circles today as the head of the International Commission on the Liturgy (ICEL), the translation agency that worked with the world’s English-speaking bishops to produce the forthcoming English missal. (Although that translation got pretty hacked up by the Holy See before final approval… but that’s another story.) As someone so intimately involved with the post-Vatican II Missal of Paul VI in his ICEL position, Msgr. Wadsworth is obviously a supporter of the reformed rite. Among his labors for the reformed rite are many speeches concerned with its worthy celebration.

But there is a diversity to Wadsworth’s liturgical interests, including a lively interest in the pre-Vatican II rite of Mass celebrated in Latin according to the 1962 missal. As The Tablet reported it is January 31, 2009 issue, “His keenness for the old rite was evident when he acted as deacon at the Tridentine Rite celebrated by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the ‘Ecclesia Dei’ Commission, at Westminster Cathedral” the previous year. The Tablet added, “His supporters say that it would be wrong to see him through a single lens when he has a great love of liturgy in all the rites of the Church.”

It seems that Wadsworth’s great love of liturgy in the old rite extends surprisingly far. He recently wrote a rather glowing review of a book by a sedevacantist – that is, someone who believes that the bishop’s “seat” in Rome is “vacant” – sede, sedentary, sitting around, seat, see, I think you get the connection – because there is no valid pope in the See of Rome since Vatican II. The author of that book sees a “threat to Catholic doctrine inherent in the Mass of Paul VI.”

The book in question is Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI by Rev. Anthony Cekada. Rev. Cekada is, as Wadsworth puts it, a “well-known sedevacantist apologist.” (And here I admit: he wasn’t known to me until now.) Cekada says that he is clear about “rejecting the new liturgy in favor of the old liturgy on the basis of a clear theological rationale.” That is to say, Cekada does not believe that the new liturgy is theologically defensible.

To be sure, Wadsworth’s review  of the book is nuanced, and he states his disagreement with some of the author’s opinions. But it is striking how much he seems to agree with, as for example when he writes this: “Cekada’s identification of a paradigm shift in Why Change the Offertory? goes a long way in explaining a diminishing of an understanding of the priesthood and the sacrifice offered in the Mass, as does his inference of a deliberate wish to subvert on the part of some.” According to Wadsworth, the sedevacantist’s book is “full of ..credible analysis” and “an important contribution to the current debate.” He writes, “I encourage others to read it.”

For a fuller account of Msgr. Wadsorth’s review of Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, see Cekada’s kindly response to Wadsworth. For the full review itself, you’ll need to get your hands on the most recent issue of Usus Antiquior, or else shell out $39 here to buy the review.

awr

343 comments

  1. 1. “In reviewing a book it is always important to understand who the author is and, in the case of this book, it is particularly important.”

    It seems very unlikely that a person with Cekada’s sedevacantist views, not shared by the vast majority of Catholics, or other Christians, would produce a valuable unbiased scholarly work on liturgy.

    2. “Unlike most critiques of the novus ordo which tend to concentrate on analysis of the ordo missae, Fr Cekada’s work (both in 1991 and 2010) considers the corpus of proper texts in the Missal in an attempt to assemble a comprehensive picture of the theological implications of the liturgical reform.”

    Most scholarship is very narrow, and therefore it is possible for a relative amateur to do serious work. If this volume merely documented and catalogued the textual changes of the Propers in a relatively quantitative descriptive way as the beginning (here is the data that must be explained) it might have been valuable. If Wadsworth had demonstrated that Cekada had done this and organized it well, I might have bought the book.

    3. “On reflection, it is the assembly of a detailed chronology that is Cekada’s most significant contribution in this study. Drawing heavily on secondary sources (majorly Bugnini, Antonelli, and Bouyer), he charts the evolution of the mind of the Missal in terms of the development of the Liturgical Movement.”

    Unlike a textual study it is not likely that Cekada’s has made a significant contribution to the historical scholarship of the liturgical movement. Much more ability required. Obviously, Cekada has taken some historical positions that Wadsworth likes.

    4. “the study certainly goes a long way in reconstructing the all-important narrative of how the liturgical reform came about. In many ways it makes a legitimate claim to being the fullest account of this narrative currently available in English.”

    It totally incredible that Cekada got this breath and depth of scholarship right.

  2. Another review of the Cekada book:

    http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2010/features_oct10.html

    The following paragraph of this review may clarify the book author’s polemical viewpoint, and its last sentence may be of particular interest in this forum, regarding the role of Vatican bureaucracy in translation matters–if only in the “nothing’s new under the sun” category:

    [Same quote as above, just clarifying its pertinence (if any) here.]

  3. Mr. Rakosky,

    As regards your four points:

    1. “Unlikely” I would produce a “valuable, unbiased scholarly work on the liturgy”?

    My response is: Read the book, and write a critical review making your case.

    Otherwise, you’re just woofin’.

    2. If my book merely “documented and catalogued the textual changes of the Propers in a relatively quantitative descriptive way as the beginning (here is the data that must be explained) it might have been valuable.”

    But of course, I DID extensively document and catalogue the textual changes in the revised orations (Chapter 9), as well as the dodgy treatment of of New Testament pericopes in the revised lectionary (Chapter 10).

    What I suspect you really object to is that I DARE to offer an analysis of this material without the imprimatur of the professariat.

    But again the response is: Read the book, and write a critical review making your case.

    3. “It is not likely that Cekada’s has made a significant contribution to the historical scholarship of the liturgical movement.”

    Here, history has long been written by the victors — the left wing of the Liturgical Movement whose ideological roots and critical methods derive in a straight line from early 20th-century modernist heretics. This point was made not only by the Movement’s contemporary opponents (Abp. Groeber in the ’40s) but also even by its admirers (Ernst Koeneker in the ’50s).

    Among contemporary scholars, Alcuin Reid has pointed the adverse effects of Jungmann’s corruption theory.

    But once again the response is: Read the book, and write a critical review making your case.

    4. “It totally incredible that Cekada got this breath and depth of scholarship right.”

    And join me once again in reciting our response: Read the book, and write a critical review making your case.

    1. How are you qualified to judge the treatment of the New Testament pericopes, given your maverick ecclesiology?

      1. I’ll let Fr. Cekada answer for himself, but in case anyone is interested in knowing which NT passages present in the 1962 Missal are not present in the revised Lectionary…

        Matt 12:43-45
        Matt 15:3-9
        Matt 15:15-20
        Matt 21:12-17
        Matt 21:44
        Matt 22:41-46
        Matt 23:34-39
        Matt 24:15-35
        Matt 26:1-13
        Luke 18:31-34
        Luke 22:1-13
        Luke 22:70-71
        John 5:4
        John 7:3-9
        John 7:11-24
        John 7:31-36
        John 8:46-50
        John 12:17-19
        John 12:34-36
        Acts 2:15-21
        Acts 14:1-4
        Rom 12:17-21
        Rom 15:10-13
        1 Cor 10:7-9
        1 Cor 10:13
        1 Cor 11:27-32
        1 Cor 12:2
        2 Cor 11:19-20
        2 Cor 11:31-33
        Gal 3:16-21
        Gal 4:1-3
        Gal 4:25
        Gal 4:28-31
        Gal 5:26
        Gal 6:1-10
        Eph 3:13
        Eph 4:25-28
        Phil 4:2-3
        1 Thess 5:14-15
        2 Thess 2:4-8
        Titus 2:15
        Heb 1:7-12
        Heb 9:4-10
        1 Pet 2:1
        1 Pet 2:13-19
        1 Pet 3:8-13

        The context of these verses (in the Scriptures and in their liturgical setting) is important, too. For example, 1 Cor 11:27-32 is Paul’s warning not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily, and it was used on Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi; it is completely absent from the modern Lectionary.

      2. Of course, it would be more interesting to know which NT are present in the current lectionary that were not present in the old missal….

      3. In Chapter 10 of Work of Human Hands, I begin by quoting Paul VI on what the new lectionary was designed to do — provide for the faithful a “fuller exposition of Scripture,” its “most important part,” the “foundation of Christian instruction,” the “core of all theological study,” etc.

        I then compare the text of the New Testament with the pericopes that actually made it into the new lectionary, and demonstrate that passages expressing certain themes were excluded from use on Sundays, made optional or kept out of the lectionary altogether.

        There’s nothing unfair about trying to ascertain whether Paul VI implemented the principles he himself enunciated.

      4. Liam, I would like to claim a pretty good sense for the scriptural coverage in both missals. The newer missal, from having attended OF Mass daily for many years, paying careful attention as much as a student as (hopefully) a worshiper, the older missal more from having studied it than from daily EF Mass attendance (not usually having had the opportunity).

        It is easy to point, as Jeffrey has done, to “hard passages” that are contained in the EF missal but not in the OF missal. But I doubt that one could give a similar list of doctrinally significant passages in the OF missal that are missing from the EF missal. The greater breadth in the OF missal comes largely from “narrative” rather than doctrinal passages in the 2-year weekday cycle and in the Old Testament Sunday readings, and from duplication–e.g., between equivalent readings in different Gospels in the 3-year Sunday cycle (where as the old missal makes a single choice for its 1-year cycle).

        In that sense, it seems unlikely to me that a list of OF but not EF passages would be “interesting” in the sense you suggest. Of course, it would be better to have objective data, rather than a personal impression, however well-based.

      5. which NT are present in the current lectionary that were not present in the old missal….

        Well, the current lectionary has the advantage of having a three-year Sunday cycle and a two-year weekday cycle. I think the more relevant question is, given the aim of the expanded lectionary (cf. SC 51), why did some of the readings from the EF not make the cut into the OF?

      6. Well, as I assume Jeffrey is aware, the go-to place online is, as it has been since the late 1990s:

        http://catholic-resources.org/Lectionary/

        Having grown up in with the pre-1970 lessons, and then since, I would say that there is too much attention paid to what is missing from the current lectionary and not enough paid to what was missing from the pre-1970 lessons. This is not the place to go further on that point.

      7. Yes, Karl, I’ve used Fr. Just’s web site for a lot of my own projects. (I’ve noted a discrepancy, however, between the Lectionary reading numbers on his web site and those on the USCCB web site. That being said, I’ve also found some problems with the Lectionary reading numbers on the USCCB web site too!)

        The pre-1970 lessons were a one-year cycle that didn’t even provide readings for every liturgical day. It certainly doesn’t stack up to the robust 3/2-year cycle lectionary. There’s only so much you can fit into a year, especially when you don’t use every day. There is also a clear bias toward the New Testament.

        But I think there’s room for both questions. Why was the 1962 lectionary so paltry, and why didn’t certain readings make the cut into the 1969 lectionary?

      8. I would also like to see the answer to this question,
        “why did some of the readings from the EF not make the cut into the OF?”

        Naively, I supposed that the old reading were simply supplemented in the new lectionary.

        What is the story?

    2. Father Cekada:

      Perhaps I should have included in my review of the review, which of course is not a review of your book, what most regular readers of PrayTell know from my frequent comments, namely that I am a social scientist and only an amateur theologian.

      I simply don’t have the expertise to review your book on its face value, nor do many other intelligent people. We are dependent upon people like Wadsworth to determine whether or not to read your book.

      I was simply evaluating what I thought of Wadsworth’s review, not your book. Incidently I did not join the conversation until Wadsworth’s review was posted.

      As someone with a Ph.D. who spent some time in academia but who spent most of his time doing applied research in the public mental health sector, I understand better than most the limitations of academic work. I presented my research regularly in professional meetings alongside academics.

      I am probably more willing than most people to see the value of writing done from outside academia. I am especially willing to see the value of talented amateurs. In fact I participate in this blog mostly as an amateur, trying to bring my social science perspectives to the conversation.

      By the way, I was happy to read your explanation of your ecclesiology; I can see it makes sense for you. I was interdisciplinary trained in psychology and sociology. So it makes sense from a psychological viewpoint. But from a sociological viewpoint, you have a “SMALL” problem!

      1. Thanks much for your explanation. Since I am new to this blog, it’s difficult to get an accurate reading on the background for each person in the cast of characters.

        As regards your own two fields of expertise, the psychology would tell you that I probably don’t lose sleep worrying about the sociology!

        Best wishes!

      2. A lectionary, by definition, is a compendium of readings. Every collection which doesn’t include the entire Bible is defective. From that perspective, there is a strong argument against the use of lectionaries at all and in favour of using the Bible from Genesis to Revelation on a lectio cursiva basis.

        After the Second Vatican Council, the commission charged with reordering the mass and divine office decided to omit certain passages deliberately. For example, many violent passages in the psalms, and three entire psalms were removed from the public worship of the church. One of these, Psalm 58, expresses anger to God in very strong terms, about corrupt religious authority. They provided a list of the sections of psalms to be omitted and there was no insidious subtext.

        We could do with restoring Psalm 58 to the church’s liturgy and making it the obligatory responsorial psalm every Sunday for the next ten years.

  4. Fr. Cekada,

    I am possibly the only one here who responded promptly to this post by actually ordering a copy of your book. Not because I agree with you about the illegitimacy of the Novus Ordo and recent Popes–I emphatically do not–but because I recognize the distinction between fact and opinion. And am confident that, in reading your book, I can distinguish pertinent historical facts from irrelevant personal opinions.

    In the meantime, since Msgr. Wadsworth seems no longer to be with us, I was intrigued by his sentence

    “Cekada claims rather too much of the reforms of 1962 and 1965, giving the ludicrous impression that these revisions constitute the beginnings of the novus ordo.”

    and wonder whether (in his absence) you might care to speculate (briefly) on what this might mean. What is alleged to be “ludicrous”? Do you take Msgr. Wadsworth to be indicating disagreement with a claim in the book that 1962-1965-1969 was an essentially continuous development? (Please, I am not suggesting any extended discussion here.)

    1. I found the comment in bold puzzling, since Msgr. Wadsworth said earlier in the review that my identification of the 1951 Easter Vigil as the prototype for all subsequent reform and revision is perhaps my “most illuminating insight.”

      On pages 68–9 of Work of Human Hands, I summed up the precedents for the Novus Ordo that had been contained in the previous reforms, including the 1962 reforms.

      So, I’m really not sure what he meant.

  5. A recent homily, given (as it happens) by Msgr. Wadsworth himself, illustrates vividly a feature of the older lectionary that cannot be claimed for the newer one.

    Speaking as celebrant of a solemn TLM on Ember Saturday after Pentecost at the June chant conference in Pittsburgh, he quoted the introit, antiphons, allelulias, lessons, Epistle, and Gospel of that day’s Mass–fully integrated and tied together thematically, and in many EF Masses but essentially no OF Masses (especially when one does not even hear the propers). See the whole (brief) sermon at

    http://www.chantcafe.com/2011/06/ember-saturday-homily-msgr-andrew.html

    “If a person were to walk in from the street, and one knowing nothing of the Faith that we hold, if that person were enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand what they were witnessing at this Mass, just about the whole truth of the Catholic faith is laid before them. Today’s great feature is the distinctive sequence of prophecies, alleluias and collects of this Ember Day Mass. Our faith is made so much clearer to us; for we hear of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2,28-32); we hear of the harvest which God expects (Lev 23, 9-11;15-17;21); we hear of the possession of the land (Deut 26,1-11) and the fruitfulness of that land (Lev 26,3-12); and we hear, finally, of the purification by fire, which is the suffering and the trial through which we must all pass (Dan 3, 47-51).

    In today’s great Epistle (Rom 5,1-5) we hear that we have, through God’s great mercy, access through faith in Christ, to grace. And then, the Gospel we’ve just heard (Luke 4,38-44) tells us how that grace is put to work, by God, in our hearts, to heal us. In this, Simon’s mother in law is a picture of the Church. This morning at Matins, St Ambrose in his wonderful homily commenting on the Gospel, makes it clear that the fever of Simon’s mother-in-law is an expression of the weakness and the vulnerability that we know so well.”

    Wow!

    1. “were witnessing at this Mass, just about the whole truth of the Catholic faith is laid before them. ”

      Seems the preacher and the poster have liturgy confused with catechesis or apologetics.

      Of course, one would first need an excellent translation to understand this impressive set of integrated texts.

      Liturgy should have its visible effects through its very experience, not requiring translation, study, contextualization, literary analysis, or other studies.

  6. Wow! A reaction really not so rarely evoked upon hearing the propers and readings of a single day’s EF Mass, and marveling at how they fit together like the pieces of a fine watch. Though admittedly this one is a bit exceptional. As Jeffrey Tucker remarked of this occasion, “Ember Day Saturday Mass in the Extraordinary Form with full Gregorian propers is like nothing else on this earth.”

    1. Unbelievable! Waxing eloquent over the integrated propers and texts whispered reverently to God in a language that even most priests wouldn’t understand let alone ordinary worshipers. And because they don’t understand they turn to private prayers and devotions which in turn are justified as a form of interior participation. The Mass was reformed because it had long since ceased to do anything but formally accomplish it’s objective. It was not nourishing the faithful. It was not calling Christ’s faithful to participate as a priestly people. It was not making the link between Eucharistic worship and the worship reflected in the daily loves of the people. The comments here–including mine–reflect two different views of both the world and the kingdom of God. I am thoroughly familiar with the documents of Vatican II and the developments which flowed from it and believe firmly that the reformed rites are on the right track. With all due respect, I don’t recognize true church, doctrine, or praxis in Fr. Cekada’s writings. Should I expect to since its author is in formal schism and regards the See of Peter as vacant? Give me a break.

      1. “And because they don’t understand they turn to private prayers and devotions which in turn are justified as a form of interior participation.”

        Nonsense. I am the one who prepares the 4-page folded leaflets of propers and readings to use as inserts with the Order-of-Mass missalettes we provide for our parish’s Sunday EF Mass. This is necessary because nowadays almost everyone–who’s old enough to read–wants to follow the advice of Pope Pius X: “If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the Altar.”

        This surely is what “prayerful interior participation” means. Most of the people I see at EF Mass appear to follow this advice. Most of the people I see at OF Mass appear not to. Although it is certainly possible–I myself prepare for OF Mass and follow it prayerfully in the same manner as an EF Mass, and with the same spiritual rewards.

      2. … it had long since ceased to do anything but formally accomplish it’s objective. It was not nourishing the faithful. It was not calling Christ’s faithful to participate as a priestly people. It was not making the link between Eucharistic worship and the worship reflected in the daily loves of the people. **

        In all sincerity, does anyone think the situation has really improved? Are Catholic communities really stronger, more charitable, more intimate, and nurturing than before? Is the majority really more “eucharistic”? Are the laity *really* conscious and inwardly participatory because they can accomplish the new gestures they were instructed to? I can think of many examples of family members and community members who I’ve not heard utter an iota of liturgically inspired Christian wisdom in their lives. They all seem to “go along with it”, whatever the priest and liturgical committee have happened to decide on. I don’t really see the majority running around talking about their new found priestly prerogatives, ect.

        Honestly, I don’t think the majority of people care about liturgy. This is why many people are comfortable worshipping in an Non-Denom “worship and sermon service” once they’ve dropped the notion of brand loyalty instilled in them. Perhaps more people do care about a semblance of ritual consistency, and this remains the draw of liturgical churches over their competition. Textually, I think most are unphased.

        The only people that really care about liturgy are right here, on sites like Pray Tell and others. And I think our types are all perfectly capable of comprehending elegantly integrated propers.

        The liturgy was dumbed down and de-mystified, simplified so that the simpletons could “get it”, and it have its “effect [immediately?] through the very experience”. But what proof is there that this has worked? That the great majority have really internalized the new liturgy and aren’t just doing, as they always did, what they were told? What do you mean by nourished, and how can we tell?

  7. “The comments here–including mine–reflect two different views of both the world and the kingdom of God.”

    I think that’s spot on. I also think it would be disastrous for the Church if either view were to prevail to the categorical exclusion of the other. Perhaps I’m reading into things but it does seem apparent that those here who espouse the “ordinary” view, if you will, feel quite threatened by SP.

    Meanwhile many here who espouse the extraordinary view feel quite threatened by the reforms. And that’s been the case since the 1960s. Ever read Evelyn Waugh’s Spectator article from 1962? The gist of it was, “why can’t the church just leave us alone, we like the liturgy just fine.” And that may be an immature sentiment but was it an extremely rare sentiment? Waugh — normally an unabashed, over-the-top snob — didn’t think so at all. He thought that for once in his life he was speaking for the common man when he penned that essay.

    So I just have to wonder about the accuracy and usefulness of the categorical assertion that in the 50s and 60s the liturgy had long since ceased to nourish the faithful.

    1. Another precisely backward straw man.
      It is the EF people who want to categorically exclude other interpretations. There is plenty of room in the OF for a variety of interpretations. It is right to feel threatened by SP in its path toward one view when both views are already allowed in the current Missal with its provision for both Latin and vernacular and for local choice on levels of formality.

      The liturgy had long since ceased to nourish the faithful, which is why they mostly followed private devotions during Mass which they attended/heard on pain of sin but flocked to other devotional public prayer in the vernacular.

    2. “He thought that for once in his life he was speaking for the common man when he penned that essay.”

      I believe he was, with a single proviso. Waugh himself loved the Mass in Latin, just as it was. The initially positive reaction to the first post-Vatican II reforms–and specifically the 1965 rite–were (in my experience) due to appreciation of the vernacular among many of the people who were happiest with and most nourished by the old Mass. Initially, the vernacular did indeed appear to open up still more of its riches.

      The disillusionment set in–among many of those people–later when the Mass itself appeared to change. Whereas they had thought that the Mass could remain just as rich and beautiful as before, except in English. It could have but (in the view of many) did not.

  8. “So I just have to wonder about the accuracy and usefulness of the categorical assertion that in the 50s and 60s the liturgy had long since ceased to nourish the faithful.”

    There must have been some who were not nourished by the liturgy then, just as there are now. There may even have been many then, considering the fact that Mass attendance was still considered mandatory for anyone who claimed to be Catholic.

    But I know that for a majority of those Catholics I myself knew then, the liturgy was deeply and profoundly nourishing in a way that one despairs of either the OF or the EF being again, for the majority in the near future. Participation in the iturgy was at the center of the lives of multitudes of ordinary people.

    Although I realize that different time scales were in effect in different places. I grew up in a mission area in the southern U.S where Catholicism was “enriched by healthy persecution”. There may have been older areas where the Church was already in decline because of cultural, historical, and societal factors that plague it (and its liturgy) almost everywhere now.

    1. Mis-statement identified:
      it was attendance at, not participation in the liturgy which was at the center of the lives at multitudes. Of course that attendance was under pain of mortal sin, but if one had to be there, then one often made the best of it. The use made of the required time at Mass might have been nourishing, but that is different from what Edwards would have us believe.

      [Note the von Daniken approach of stating the something must have been, without proof, then going on to draw conclusions from the “must have been” point. It is like reading a religious version of Science Fiction where one posits conditions and cultural beliefs, asking for a “willing suspension of disbelief” for the duration of the story. Most of us Science Fiction fans, though, know better than to discuss these imaginary worlds as if they were real except at SciFi conventions.]

      I was a hand missal user from about 1956 until the vernacular was fully in place. I was also a server for that time. [Servers participated at Mass, otherwise the laity just followed along.] During the second half of that time, I was required to study Latin. I found the details and complications of following along challenging and interesting and a good occupation of my time.

      I understood that it was better to use the hand missal than doing something else while Mass was said by the priest. Until the introduction of the Dialog Mass, I do not think that anyone taught participation in Mass as a value for the laity. The Dialog Mass and four hymn format seemed to be the beginning of that.

    2. Henry Edwards:

      I think the biggest indictment against the pre-conciliar rite is the fact that (1) all but four of the bishops at VII voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium and (2) when it comes down to it, there really wasn’t that big of a backlash against the reformed liturgy when it was introduced. With respect to (1), I know we all go round and round on what exactly the bishops thought they were approving in SC, and I tend to come down on the side on the “reform of the reform” types on this question as it relates to the Mass. But a point which is often overlooked, is that SC itself actually mandated some of the more radical reforms that are reflected in the post-conciliar office (e.g., suppression of an hour and the abandonment of the weekly Psalter). It is often pointed out by traditionalists, and not w/o good reason, that the post-conciliar Liturgy of the Hours constitutes a more significant “break” w/r/t pre-conciliar liturgy than the Pauline Missal. There *had* to be something not quite right with the pre-conciliar Divine Office if approx. 2600 bishops, who had lived with and prayed that office everyday of their life, voted to approve such significant changes.

      With respect to (2), I really just don’t see the evidence of a “silent majority” opposing the post-conciliar reforms of the Mass. I can’t speak from experience, but based on what I’ve read and have heard from family and others was that there was a general period of unease or awkwardness, but that the majority eventually just went along with the change. I highly doubt that if a similar liturgical reform was introduced in Eastern rite communities the laity in those communities would have so easily acquiesced. There is probably a lot of reasons for this, not least of which was/is the Roman Church’s emphasis on law and genius for fostering obedience to centralized authority. But surely an even simpler cause contributed to this phenomenon: people just weren’t that attached to the liturgy.

      1. Mr. Crouchback:

        I do not regard Sacrosanctum Concilium as an indictment of the traditional Roman rite. I have studied not only SC but the minutes of the 50+ meetings of the Council’s commission that they drafted, and regard the final document as a positive response to the liturgical movement that dated back at least to the effort of Pope Pius X to engender actual (prayerful) participation in Holy Mass. Along with Pope Benedict (I believe) I think the rupture with tradition came not with SC, but in the post-1965 years after the Council.

        Incidentally, you may not (or may) know that, by the time the new order was introduced in 1970, it was in many places a relief from the preceding chaos with no immediate backlash, because it imposed a modicum of stability, for instance, with only four EPs in place of the hundreds that were in informal circulation.

        As my posts make clear (I hope), I love the Roman rite in both forms. My regret regarding the OF is that over the past four decades it has in general parish practice disintegrated (Benedict’s term) to the point that it simply does not achieve the objectives of SC, hence his reform of the reform.

        Finally, in the FWIW category, though I attend the EF Mass on Sundays, I pray daily the (complete) new Liturgy of the Hours (in Latin), preferring it personally to the traditional Divine Office. I also lead a (lay) morning prayer group, and believe the vernacular office to be a wonderful contribution for laymen, though of course it suffers much (like the Mass) from the current translation.

  9. ““If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard,”

    Problem identified!
    People satisfied with hearing the Mass rather than seeing themselves as participants in the communal prayer which is the Mass.

    What an interior substitution for the words of SC “full, conscious, and active participation” is “prayerful interior participation.” Praising exactly what has been taught to be good but inadequate.

    There is no point in reading posters who do not understand even these most basic of matters about liturgy.

    1. “There is no point in reading posters who do not understand even these most basic of matters about liturgy.”

      Amen! Finally, Tom, you and I are in complete agreement on something.

  10. In the opinion of JdJ
    “The liturgy was dumbed down and de-mystified, simplified so that the simpletons could “get it”, and it have its “effect [immediately?] through the very experience”. But what proof is there that this has worked? That the great majority have really internalized the new liturgy and aren’t just doing, as they always did, what they were told? What do you mean by nourished, and how can we tell?”

    The elitism of this entire comment, with its many patronizing comments about the People of God, is lacking both in charity and in fact.

    It is very hard to produce the immediate good effects of liturgy when the clergy will not study and acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be good presiders.

    The problem is not in the reforms of the liturgy but in the failure to carry out the education of the clergy which SC also taught were necessary. The seminaries [and their episcopal sponsors] have been abysmal failures. They are now the locales of the late 1960s, in reverse. The faculty, for the most part, remains incompetent and unconcerned relating to liturgy, being more focused on theology as apologetics and canon law. The seminarians bring in their outside reading about liturgy, which is of great concern to them looking forward to their ministries. The faculty goes along with the liturgical trends among the students in so far as it does not affect the faculty or their classes directly. Meanwhile the priests of the faculty go about presiding in the same lame ways as their peers, setting no high examples, no experiential basis for higher aspirations among the students.

    Do not blame the lack of blossoms on the liturgy itself. Blame it on those who have fought its planting and poisoned the ground for it. Blame it on the priests who are unwilling to give liturgy the care it needs or get their hands dirty with the rehearsals and other details.

  11. Fr. Ruff: This looks fruitful, but may belong elsewhere:

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/07/the-excellence-of-the-latin-novus-ordo
    The Excellence of the Novus Ordo
    Richard Upsher Smith, Jr.

    “As a convert to Roman Catholicism from old Prayer Book and High Church Anglicanism, I resolved to tolerate the current translation of the Novus Ordo (the Latin Mass as revised after Vatican II) because it was the Church’s, not because it was edifying or beautiful. After recently translating the Ordo Missae for use at Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I have become convinced that the Novus Ordo contains much that is beautiful and edifying.”

    “The language of the Novus Ordo is robust, the rhetoric persuasive, and the theology a complement to the “revitalization” of Catholic thought aimed at by the theologians of ressourcement before Vatican II. All this despite the fact that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini’s “euchological pluralism and rubrical flexibility” (his prodigality with forms of prayer and his leniency with liturgical rules), advocated over a supposedly rigid “fixism,” displaced the traditional collects from the Mass, promoted a radically simplified ceremonial that tires the eye and deadens the imagination, and introduced a three-year lectionary that contains too much spread out over too long a period to shape a pious memory effectively.”

    [ snip ]

    “These are the elements of the Novus Ordo that ring in my ear and sparkle in my imagination. Moreover, they intrigue and edify my mind. If such passages were few and far between, I would not attempt to justify the ways of the Novus Ordo to frustrated Catholics. However, such passages are found throughout the Latin of the new Mass.”

  12. Comments are now closed on this post. Everything that needs saying – and then some – has already been said.
    awr

Comments are closed.