Re-Reading Sacrosanctum Concilium: Article 38

In response first of all to the events surrounding the election and initial actions of Pope Francis and the celebration of this year’s Paschal Triduum in the Roman Rite, I chose not to post any articles for discussion in our on-going re-reading of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, believing that there would be little energy for these topics. (The fact that there was so little discussion of article 37 seemed to confirm my intuition.) I will today begin reposting on a Monday/Thursday schedule.

Vatican website translation:

38. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.

Latin text:

38. Servata substantiali unitate Ritus romani, legitimis varietatibus et aptationibus ad diversos coetus, regiones, populos, praesertim in Missionibus, locus relinquatur, etiam cum libri liturgici recognoscuntur; et hoc in structura rituum et in rubricis instituendis opportune prae oculis habeatur.

Slavishly literal translation:

38. The substantial unity of the Roman rite having been preserved, a place should also be given for legitimate variations and adaptations to diverse groups, regions, and people, especially in Mission lands, when the liturgical books are revised; and this should be held opportunely before the eyes in the structure of the rites and in the constructing of the rubrics.

After articulating in article 37 the foundational principles, both negative and positive, for adapting Liturgy to the cultural ethos of various peoples, the Council Fathers now begin the decrees germane to this topic. They state that all revised liturgical books are to provide opportunities for cultural adaptation of the liturgy, especially citing the way in which the rituals are structured and the rubrics guiding ritual action.

Fifty years after the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was promulgated, Pray Tell readers might wish to discuss: 1) what characterizes the “substantial unity of the roman Rite”; 2) what the Council Fathers may have meant by “varieties” and “adaptations” (as well as the term “accommodatio”/”accommodation”) in speaking of the construction of the reformed rites and how helpful these categories are today; 3) how “groups, regions, and people” were to be distinguished from the Council Fathers’ perspective and how helpful those distinctions are today; and 4) a recognition that adaptation of the roman Rite to culture is not confined to, but especially exemplified in mission territories, which raises many issues about the adaptation/accommodation of the Liturgy in cultures that have already received the gospel but may be the addressees of the New Evangelization.

61 comments

  1. As a quasi-Thomist, I am of course attracted to the question of what constitutes the “substantial unity” of the Roman rite. This is a question that is relevant not only to the issue of missionary adaptation, but also to the question of whether what we now call the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite is still substantially the Roman Rite. Many advocates for what we now call the “Extraordinary Form” seem to say that it is not, but is in fact a new Rite.

    So how much can a rite change before it stops being one thing and begins being another? The substance/accident distinction implied in this article might seem to offer an easy answer: you can change the accidents but ought not change the substance. But when we are talking about a rite, can substance and accident be easily distinguished? Can they be distinguished at all? What is part of the “substance” of the Roman Rite? The last Gospel? Almost certainly not. The Roman Canon? That one’s a bit tougher. The preconciliar lectionary? Hmmmm. . .

    1. Fritz Bauerschmidt : As a quasi-Thomist, I am of course attracted to the question of what constitutes the “substantial unity” of the Roman rite. This is a question that is relevant not only to the issue of missionary adaptation, but also to the question of whether what we now call the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite is still substantially the Roman Rite. Many advocates for what we now call the “Extraordinary Form” seem to say that it is not, but is in fact a new Rite. So how much can a rite change before it stops being one thing and begins being another? The substance/accident distinction implied in this article might seem to offer an easy answer: you can change the accidents but ought not change the substance. But when we are talking about a rite, can substance and accident be easily distinguished? Can they be distinguished at all? What is part of the “substance” of the Roman Rite? The last Gospel? Almost certainly not. The Roman Canon? That one’s a bit tougher. The preconciliar lectionary? Hmmmm. . .

      As another quasi-Thomist, let me join you in wondering just what the text means. Obviously the rite is not a substance in the literal sense of a unit which cannot be reduced to something simpler. But let’s assume that what is meant is that the Mass is some sort of unit, which because of its purpose (telos), has certain necessary characteristics or parts. In the old theology that I was taught, the necessary (“essential”) parts of the Mass were the Offertory, Consecration and Communion.

      I don’t find any problem with that — if any of those parts are missing, it isn’t a Mass. But what are its “accidents”? In the Thomistic metaphysics which gave birth to these notions, an “accident” is a reality belonging to a substance which contributes to its flourishing and is part of the complex whole, in this case, a Mass.. So what are the…

  2. Keith Pecklers, in his book The Genius of the Roman Rite, proves quite conclusively that the “unity of the Roman Rite” is no more than a myth; and he is only stating what other scholars before him have also demonstrated. I don’t believe that the inclusion of this phrase in SC 38 was a pious hope on the part of those who drafted the Constitution, but simply a political expedient to assuage the fears of those for whom any sort of change was/is tremendously threatening, let alone “legitimate variations and adaptations”.

    We surely witnessed one such legitimate variation/adaptation in the much-commented papal washing of feet in the juvenile jail last week, and indeed it did prove to be immensely threatening to some.

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #2:
      “the inclusion of this phrase in SC 38 was … simply a political expedient …”

      It seems one could say this about almost anything in SC that challenges our pastoral preferences.

  3. Father, the article suggests that adaptations might be appropriate in mission lands. No clue is given as to what adaptations might be appropriate. One might consider using simplified language for those with little education or having to use a colonial language. One might simplify the parts for the people if they are illiterate and cannot read from missals. In a country which forbids alcohol it might not be practical to use wine.
    I think that it might also be worth thinking how one would approach a country where Protestant missionaries got there first.

    1. @Peter Haydon – comment #3:

      […] legitimis varietatibus et aptationibus […] praesertim in Missionibus […] (my ellipses) likely refers to inculturation efforts already underway at the time of the Council. For example, the Congolese Missa Luba of 1958 comes to mind. I am convinced that the Council bishops likely had this and similar liturgies in mind when drafting SC 38.

      Once at a panel discussion Francis Cardinal Arinze commented on the growing use of liturgical dance in North America and Europe. Here Cdl. Arinze contends that some expressions of body movement as a part of liturgy are native to Africa and Asia but not native to North America or Europe. Subsequently, he asserts that while liturgical dance can be a part of African and Asian liturgy, liturgical dancing is absolutely unacceptable in North America or Europe given the solely secular context of dance in the latter two cultures.

      I am inclined to agree with Cdl. Arinze. Sometimes inculturation best remains within its place of origin, unless for example an immigrant community on another continent integrates liturgy from their place of origin. Perhaps an implicit aspect of Cdl. Arinze’s answer is the difficult but pertinent question of whether persons not of the originating culture can unilaterally integrate foreign traditions into their worship. I would consider the latter not only inappropriate but also an affront to the originating community.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #4:

        Jordan,

        Cardinal Arinze was of course notable for setting up windmills to tilt at. He was also very unpopular with his fellow Nigerian bishops and archbishops because of his attitudes to things such as liturgical dance.

        There is a difference between dance in the liturgy and movement in the liturgy. A rather crude definition would say that dance is done by “solo” performers; movement is done by everyone. If you have ever seen an entire Anglo congregation doing simple and yet powerfully symbolic arm movements to the Taizé chant Salvator mundi on the Sundays of Lent, you will know the kind of thing I am talking about.

        Perhaps an implicit aspect of Cdl. Arinze’s answer is the difficult but pertinent question of whether persons not of the originating culture can unilaterally integrate foreign traditions into their worship. I would consider the latter not only inappropriate but also an affront to the originating community.

        Once you start going down this road, you can reject much of what happened in liturgical history. The notable differences between the cultures of Gaul and Rome spring to mind as a first and rather obvious example; and yet these melded into what became the EF. More recently, those who use “Protestant” hymnody in Catholic worship, let alone Black spirituals, are presumably to be censured for transculturalization, rather than praised for enriching their own traditions with features of worth. The wise householder and treasures both new and old, and all that.

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #9:

        Once you start going down this road, you can reject much of what happened in liturgical history

        Your example from late antiquity is not entirely accurate. Yes, the distinctive Gallican and Roman liturgies eventually blended to eventually become the EF. It’s also important to know that by the middle to late Roman Empire, and well before the Christianization of the region, Gaul was thoroughly Roman in outlook and culture. This is attested to in the ritual artifacts (esp. Mithraism) and inscriptions. It is also well known that retiring soldiers of the travelling legions of the Empire frequently retired far from their homeland.

        More recently, those who use “Protestant” hymnody in Catholic worship, let alone Black spirituals, are presumably to be censured for transculturalization, rather than praised for enriching their own traditions with features of worth.

        I will concede that I am a great proponent of Anglican hymnody in Roman Catholic worship (an unqualified yes to the English Hymnal and The Hymnal 1940 !). This enthusiasm weakens my argument against the sharing of any hymnody.

        Still, I contend that some reflection should accompany any liturgical borrowing from culture to culture. Regardless of Cdl. Arinze’s agenda, his advice that what belongs to the secular sphere in dance and music probably isn’t suitable for Mass still stands. Intuition and discretion are key.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #4:
        Thank you Jordan
        I wonder if this paragraph is also used as the authority for the various children’s liturgies.
        If the text of the Mass is simplified the problem of what meaning to emphasise and what to let slip brings to the fore the same sort of issues as in the translation of the Latin text to the different vernacular language. Any effort is open to legitimate criticism as “dumbing down”. Those at whom these liturgies are addressed may be aware of the differences and feel that they are being short changed.
        Thinking specifically of mission territories there may be only a limited pool of well educated people who could draw up such adaptations or provide the critical analysis of proposed texts.
        So drafting these liturgies may be a challenging exercise even before considering what, if any, local tradition or practice might be included.
        I wonder how many readers live in a mission territory or have ever done so. It is many years since we lived in Africa and I have little memory of Mass there. The priests were, I believe, Italian so English was a foreign language as was Chichewa.

  4. I am also convinced that […] legitimis varietatibus et aptationibus ad diversos coetus […] (my ellipses) could be interpreted as protection for traditionalists. Could not we traditionalists claim that coetus (“association”) and legitimis varietatibus (lit. “legitimate variety”) permit a slower and more selective interpretation of SC? I would even assert that legitimis varietatibus […] ad diversos coetus also protects exclusive worship in Latin in the EF. Put another way, coetus implies that traditionalists not only have a defensible reason to exist, but also have a choice between limited vernacularization (e.g. the “1965 missal”) or no vernacularization.

    The Council bishops could not have foreseen the rise of a traditionalist movement at the time of the Council, perhaps because relatively few knew the Consilium project which would culminate in the 1970 missal. Cdl. Heenan and some of his colleagues, for example, did not encounter what is now the OF until 1967 and a at a late stage of its development. For this reason, the current questions with regard to the abrogation of the 1962 missal cannot easily be retroactively applied to SC. If SC 38 is to be interpreted plainly, traditionalists and their liturgy enjoy quite a bit of autonomy from the constitution’s prescriptions.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #6:
      The Council bishops could not have foreseen the rise of a traditionalist movement at the time of the Council, perhaps because relatively few knew the Consilium project which would culminate in the 1970 missal. Cdl. Heenan and some of his colleagues, for example, did not encounter what is now the OF until 1967 and at a late stage of its development.

      Jordan, this doesn’t strike me as historically accurate. Daniel has already referred to A Bitter Trial, which captures letters and articles by Evelyn Waugh, complaining about liturgical changes. Several of Waugh’s exchanges were with Cdl Heenan; and all this happened in the very early 1960s. Waugh, in fact, was most upset about changes that began long before Consilium, in particular those introduced by Pius XII. In March 1963, Waugh wrote to The Tablet — back then, the conservative paper, in contrast to the progressive Catholic Herald — calling for “the establishment of a Uniate Latin Church which shall observe all the rites as they existed in the reig of Pius IX”.

      It is simply not the case that a secret committee, led by Abp Bugnini, went into a room and then emerged, a few years later, with an entirely new Mass that surprised everyone. The changes that upset the traditionalists, before, during and after the Council, started to emerge well before 1960.

      Incidentally, I have no idea how many of the laity shared Waugh’s bitter reaction to the changes. His letters give the impression that he found himself somewhat isolated, including from Heenan, who, he says,

      has been double-faced in the matter. I had dinner with him a deux in which he expressed complete sympathy with the conservatives, and, as I understood him, promised resistance to the innovations which he is now pressing forward … The Catholic Press has made no opposition. I shall not live to see things righted.

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #21:

        It is simply not the case that a secret committee, led by Abp Bugnini, went into a room and then emerged, a few years later, with an entirely new Mass that surprised everyone. The changes that upset the traditionalists, before, during and after the Council, started to emerge well before 1960.

        Thank you for all these comments Jonathan. You are quite right in what you have written. Another traditionalist shibboleth supposes Annibale and “his gang” secretly plotted to overturn the “Mass of the Ages”, and let the “monster” loose on 1st Advent 1970 against an unsuspecting Church. As you note, all of this is completely wrong. However, Evelyn Waugh’s appraisal of Holy Week 1955 suggests that he and perhaps others had foreknowledge of further significant reform.

        I don’t want to interfere with Fr. Joncas’ fine series on Sacrosanctum Concilium, but perhaps one day I might piece together a more accurate and well annotated account of who knew what about the pending reformed missal both during the council and from 1966 — 1969. It appears that there are many myths to dispel about this period.

  5. Jordan – agree that it can be used in this way by traditionalists. Would suggest, tho, that this approach skips over history and how episcopal conferences were involved, requested, and pushed the reformed mass/sacraments from the end of the council. (*relatively few* – that is a stretch). *Cdl. Heenan and some* – again, this is a very small percentage of the worldwide bishops and ignores the reality that every episcopal conference not only accepted the reformed mass but were pushing the Vatican/CDW for quicker implementations of reforms….you also phrase this as if the reformed mass was a *surpirse* to folks such as Heenan (the notes from the Agatha Christi indult suggests that this is not true).
    Finally, would also question your conclusion that this question can not be retroactively applied to SC…..suggest that most council fathers knew that a reformed liturgy/missal meant abrogation of the former missal – this was the tradition.
    Using your logic, would suggest that the council fathers, when discussing and approving SC 38, used Paul Inwood’s approach without any concept that it might cover or allow the use of an abrogated missal. (if you go to the Actae and participants’ comments, there is no discussion that mentions either two forms or allowing an earlier unreformed mass nor any intent to allow negative voters to maintain their liturgy. It is also interesting that this interpretation only has *legs* with Benedict’s SP literally 40 years after the end of the council.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #7:

      *relatively few* – that is a stretch). *Cdl. Heenan and some* – again, this is a very small percentage of the worldwide bishops and ignores the reality that every episcopal conference not only accepted the reformed mass but were pushing the Vatican/CDW for quicker implementations of reforms….you also phrase this as if the reformed mass was a *surpirse* to folks such as Heenan (the notes from the Agatha Christi indult suggests that this is not true).

      Thank you for letting me know that a good number of bishops understood the then new development which eventually became the OF. I will re-investigate this part of history. The Jesuit college I went to is chockablock with Vatican II correspondence — could be very distracting. I have to finish my novel eventually.

      if you go to the Actae and participants’ comments, there is no discussion that mentions either two forms or allowing an earlier unreformed mass nor any intent to allow negative voters to maintain their liturgy.

      Again, I will read and reread, but couldn’t one say that some of the Council fathers, even as late at 1965 or even 1967, believed that the 1962 missal with revised rubrics and guidelines for vernacularization was the fulfillment of SC‘s directives? A common traditionalist shibboleth paints the Council fathers as supporting the Tridentine missal with vernacularization and not what would become the 1970 missal. I suspect that the truth is rather complicated — some bishops knew well of the Consilium project, and others were less informed. The vast majority of bishops might have ratified SC, but the mere ratification of a constitution does not account for individual or factional motivations.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #22:
        Jordan – didn’t mean to not respond, sorry. Yes, there were some but probably it is better to frame this historically and take into consideration Rita’s comment about latin, vernacular, etc.

        By the second session of VII, a core minority group formed called, *International Group of Fathers* (10-20 core) led by folks such as Siri, Ottaviani, Larraona, Ruffini, Browne, whose stances encompassed much more than just liturgy (and this happened after the vote on SC). At no time did this group ever go beyond 80 bishops (out of more than 2700 different bishops who attended VII – thus, 3% at the highest and usually less than 1%. And this included Lefebvre (interesting – he was from Dakar, North Africa and had been the superior-general of the Holy Ghost Fathers – missionary in nature so his rejection of VII included placing his personal convictions even above his religious community’s vows, mission statement, etc.)
        Most of this tiny group’s theologian advisors merely repeated what could be found in the textbooks in seminaries of that day; you also had some highly visible spokespersons e.g. Fenton vs. CUA.

        So, yes, it is a complicated narrative and individual motivations are always difficult to ascertain. But, keep in mind that this group rejected working with conference heads (fear of collegiality which they equated with modernism) and their position by the end of VII had proved to be in a distinct minority.

        My concern is that the conciliar goal was to dialogue, discuss, and arrive at consensus. To posit a position, action plan, or approval for each bishop to go off and act on his own in terms of liturgy makes no sense – nor does allowing less than 3% of the council to do the same…it also reeks havoc on episcopal conferences. Thus, as awr said, support Paul VI – and you know that his overriding concern was lack of consensus so that conciliar documents, goals could later be questioned.

  6. Before entering seminary I belonged to St. Pius X parish which employed the dialogue Mass and the Missa Cantata. During the seminary years it never occurred to me or any of my profs or fellow students that the emerging NO was in any way different in substance from the “old” Mass. That form presumed that it must be in Latin and that the priest took all the parts save for the altar boys. It began with a penitential act followed by the Gloria and collect and scripture readings. Then came the godawful sermon followed by the collection while the priest said prayers while preparing the elements. I could go on but my point is that nearly all Catholics perceived the new mass as a huge enrichment and far more understandable improvement.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #8:
      While the emergence of the NO was accepted as being in homogenous continuity with what went before, there was also the sense that it was even more clearly modeled on practices of the early Christian centuries. In its juxtaposing of word and sacrament, the Mass was presented as a combination of what happened in the synagogue (study of Torah) and the blessing of God over the elements of bread and wine (berakah) which took place in the home. The expulsion of followers of the Nazarene from synagogues before the end of the first Century was one of the factors which gave rise to this combination.

      By the time the Missal of Pius V was promulgated, the two parts of the Mass had become so rigidly ritualised that their original impulses had been, to say the least, obscured. Even today with the NO, and for understandable historical reasons which include the issue of large congregations, there is a wide gap between how Torah could be studied and what we have in the Liturgy of the Word.

      If we were to push considerations such as these to their logical conclusion, we would be asking educationalists to help with transforming the liturgy of the word into a more effective learning experience. We would be ensuring that the teaching was done by whoever was competent regardless of gender or lay/clerical status. At the same time, the highly ritualised form of the TLM would make it unsuitable for such a project.

    2. @Jack Feehily – comment #8:
      Which “reformed” Mass Jack? Some of these comments presume that there was only one but there were many post V2 “reformed” Masses making it difficult to judge how warmly any particular version was received by the people. Reading Alcuin Reid’s “A Bitter Trial” could be helpful to those who have forgotten how pastorally difficult the situation really was for many laity who loved the sacred liturgy and for some bishops. Bishops did push for further reforms, however. The Synod of Bishops did much to restrain the consilium in 1967 and the UK bishops pushed for and received permsission to maintain the EF in 1971. The year 1971 is instructive because that is the same year that the Pauline missal with its propers and calendar went into full effect (11/20/1971) but the US Sacramentary waited until 1973. Pope Paul issued I. Deo in 1974 to help bishops implement SC ‘s call to maintain Latin in the Mass. This is the same year that the English US Sacramentary was “confirmed”. 1974 was also the year that the UK bishops granted every British Catholic the right to have an EF funeral upon request. Only ten years later, Pope JP II granted bishops permission to allow the EF in Quattuor abhinc annos thereby extending the 1971indult to the whole world. This was further liberalized in 1988. Note that all the permissions originated either in the council, from the laity, or from local bishops’ conferences.

      1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #15:

        The year 1971 is instructive because that is the same year that the Pauline missal with its propers and calendar went into full effect (11/20/1971) but the US Sacramentary waited until 1973.

        Not so. The Pauline Missal, etc, was already in full effect in the UK by early 1970. The ICEL Sacramentary of 1973 was not published in the UK until 1975. Prior to that, another translation of the Pauline missal was in use for the collects, etc. ICEL had made the Order of Mass and the Holy Week rites available as 1969 became 1970, but nothing else.

        There is nothing especially significant about the year 1971, except perhaps for the fact that this was the year that the Congregation for the Clergy hijacked the Chrism Mass and changed it from a Mass of the Oils into a Mass celebrating priesthood. (The Congregation had the peculiar notion that this would somehow stem the large-scale defections from the priestly ministry that followed Humanae Vitae (1968).)

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #44:

        It seems 1971 was significant in terms of the new Pauline missal. Consider the Instruction Constitutione Apostolica of 20 October 1969:

        “14. The individual conferences of bishops are to decide on the date when the texts of the new Roman Missal are to become obligatory, except for the cases that are specified in this Instruction nos. 20-21. It is better that such a date be no later than 28 November 1971 …”

  7. Continued —

    There’s the rub — It seems to me that there are an infinite number of practices that could be incorporated into a Mass and still be consistent with what a Mass is “substantially”, and these practices/accidents can vary from sub-culture to sub-culture..

    Is it necessary that all the Catholic sub-cultures appreciate the accidental forms of the Mass in other Catholic cultures? I think not. But maybe the point is arguable. The question is: how much unity should the varied rituals have?

    1. @Ann Olivier – comment #11:
      I can more or less get my mind around a “substantial unity” of the Eucharistic ritual itself (in scholastic mode, that would be the “matter” — bread and wine — and the “form” — the words of Christ, at least implicit in the prayer), but what is more difficult is the substantial unity of a particular liturgical “rite”, in the sense of a liturgical “family”, like the Roman Rite. Here, there has been so much variation over the course of history that distinguishing the substantial unity from accidental unity seems pretty much impossible.

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #13:

        Analogies never quite work, but I am trying to understand your position. Is it like saying you can understand the “substantial unity” of all people, but not that of the French, Africans, or any other subgroup?

        To pursue this idea, even if it is not yours, discussions of the substance of the Roman Rite would assume the substance of the Eucharist, and look at other elements, accidental to the Eucharist but substantive to the Roman Rite. We need not establish if the French have two eyes or walk upright, because all humans do, but how French people differ from Germans in a substantive way.

        That reframed the question for me. What is characteristic of the Roman Rite, part of it but not part of any other rite? What must be maintained for practices to remain Roman rather than become English or Zairan?

      2. @Jim McKay – comment #26:
        I think I’m just trying to figure out what is meant by the language of “substantial unity.” I presume that it has some relation to the scholastic use of “substance.” What I can’t figure out is how that understanding of substance could be applied to a liturgical rite. But maybe I’m wrong in trying to understand “substantial” in a scholastic way. Maybe “substantial unity” is simply a way of saying “the same in the most characteristic ways,” which would lead to the question of what those are. Presumably they would have to be things that distinguish the Roman Rite from some other traditional Eucharistic liturgies (i.e. things true of the Roman Mass but not of all traditional liturgies. What would those be? Some that spring to mind are (off the top of my head):
        1. the private prayers at the foot of the altar.
        2. the Gloria at the beginning of the Mass.
        3. the traditional Roman collects.
        4. the placement of the creed in the liturgy of the word.
        5. the exclusive use of the Roman canon.
        6. the placement of the sign of peace before communion.
        7. use of the Agnus Dei.
        8. the Last Gospel.

        These are all thinks that are not found in other traditional Eucharistic Rites, and so might possibly constitute what is distinctive about the Roman Rite. Numbers 1, 3, 5 and 8 have disappeared from the Novus Ordo, so let’s presume that they are not distinctive characteristics of the Roman Rite. Would the same be true of the others? Even Pope Benedict contemplated changing 6. The proposed 1998 sacramentary would (if I recall correctly) getting rid of 2.

      3. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #32:

        Thanks for the reply.
        Is it appropriate to limit the substance of the Roman Rite to what is in the liturgical books?
        Other elements should be considered, like obligatory celibacy, religious orders, historucal ties to the Pope, etc. These things characterize the rite even if they are not specified in the Missal. Perhaps concern for the poor belongs on the list.

      4. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #13:
        Indeed, it is impossible because the Mass is not a substance in the literal, metaphysical sense of the term “substance”. Rather, the Mass is an artifact, specifically a well-ordered process whose constituents include many persons and things and their accidental perfecting parts. It is not some biological entity with its own soul and properties, a necessary, unvarying product of nature.

        That it is an artifact implies a certain contingency of form because it is something that we humans put together. However, this doesn’t prevent its various instantiations from having necessary, defining parts plus, shall we call them, adventitious parts which enhance its defining parts.

      5. @Ann Olivier – comment #56:
        I agree completely. The problem with applying “substance” in a strictly Aristotelian manner to the Rite is not unlike the use of “substance” in the language of “transubstantiation” — obviously, bread and wine are not substances but artifacts (fruit of the earth and the work of human hands, as we now say). So perhaps we could use “substantial” in regard to the Roman Rite in the same loose way that we use it to talk about Eucharistic presence.

        Which still leaves us with the problem of discerning the defining parts versus the adventitious parts. But perhaps the desire to define, to draw a bright line around what is the Roman Rite and what is not, is doomed to failure. I would think it obvious to any observer how the Roman Rite, in all the various ways it gets celebrated, differs from the Byzantine Rite, even if one could not come up with a list of defining feature. Perhaps it is more a matter of what Wittgenstein called “family resemblance.” Perhaps the line is not bright but ragged. And perhaps, as Wittgenstein said, “What’s ragged should be left ragged.”

  8. The unity or disunity of the rite seems to focus on peripheral issues. In terms of the EF or OF, apart from language, there is continuity between the two in their basic forms, the differences are stylistic, lay involvement and one form simplified in non essentials over the other, but the basic structure remains.
    In terms of the Ordinary Form’s variations, these too are peripheral and usually involve non essentials and accretions that are added that are not essential. For example, the long prayers at the Foot of the Altar in the EF, the more complicated Offertory ritual and the double communion rites of the EF are accretions, things added over the course of time that were paired back. What do we do to the OF today that are actually accretions? Long introductions after the greeting, not only introducing the “theme” of the Mass and what’s coming up, but introducing people, welcoming them, etc. At the offertory, there could be an elaborate bringing forward of the offerings, dressing the altar, dancing included preceded by multiple persons reading endless petitions and at the rite of communion an elaborate “Breaking of the Bread” and complicating what normally is nobly simple. As well facing the congregation or not are peripheral and only show a breach in style not in substance. Finally the most obvious discontinuity is style of music, apart from multiple languages, whether one relies more on chant or contemporary music or none at all.
    We must also contend with the casualness introduced to the rite as though this is a form of inculturation. This afflicts the OF and can truly introduce a breach in style and substance if vestments are not used and Mass is celebrated in a living room atmosphere with a literalistic approach to the Liturgy. However, if one follows the GIRM and rubrics of the OF Mass even allowing for some flexibility, creativity and local adaptations, there is a great deal of unity in the rite.

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #14:
      The Byzantine rite has two forms, the Liturgy of St. Basil and the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Liturgical rites include the canon law, the disciplines, even marriage customs. In my view, any suggestion that the OF and the EF represent two different rites misses the broader concept of what a liturgical rite is.

      1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #16:
        Daniel,

        Do you read the responses of other people when you comment at this blog? You’ve said at least a dozen times that the multiplicity of Eastern rites is like the EF and OF. But others have responded at least a dozen times that this is something different: the EF is an earlier form of a rite which was reformed into the OF. To my knowledge, you’ve never responded to this point. You’ve just ignored it and kept on saying the same thing. Please stop this.

        awr

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #17:
        And the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a 5th c. “reform” of the Liturgy of St. Basil with both liturgies accepted into the Eastern Church by the 6th century. The similarity to our own situation is convincing & given the history of the Church and the reality of our own liturgical situation it seems unwarrented to ignore it. Maybe one day we will see the EF celebrated in all our churches and monasteries on at least ten days of the year or more. I’d vote for the rogation and ember days, the feasts of St. Gregory, Pius V, Pius X, Dedication of St. John Lateran and the Sundays of Advent.

      3. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #17:
        It doesn’t appear that you understand Daniel’s point at all, which has nothing to do with the “multiplicity of Eastern rites,” but rather that one rite (Byzantine) has two forms of the Divine Liturgy, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. I’m not entirely convinced by his argument, but your comment seems to miss the point.

      4. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #23:
        I understand his point and reject it. Like you, I’m not convinced by his argument.

        Daniel’s analogy doesn’t hold up. There is nothing like a Vatican II call-to-reform that changed the Liturgy of St. Basil into the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, in the way that Vatican II changed the unreformed 1962 rite into the 1969 reformed rite in accord with the Vatican II’s reformist decrees.

        The 1969 rite is faithful to Vatican II and has been reformed in accord with it. The 1962 rite is not and has not been. I follow Pope Paul VI on this point and agree with his judgment.

        awr

  9. Evidently, this is what JPII thought it meant:
    “In my numerous pastoral visits I have seen, throughout the world, the great vitality which the celebration of the Eucharist can have when marked by the forms, styles and sensibilities of different cultures. By adaptation to the changing conditions of time and place, the Eucharist offers sustenance not only to individuals but to entire peoples, and it shapes cultures inspired by Christianity.”
    ~ from Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, #51
    John Paul II (May 18,1920 –April 2, 2005)
    Serendipitously, it showed up on the FDLC Feed on Facebook! It was accompanied by a photo of riotously colored and feathered (I am guessing – I can only see them from the back) Africans bringing the gifts forward against a background of hundreds of white and gold miter-clad bishops!

    1. @Linda Reid – comment #18:
      If JP II thought the stadium Masses that were routinely devised for his visits represented the liturgical life of Catholics around the world, he was a lot less savvy than I thought.

  10. One of the facts about the liturgy debate at the council, which I did not realize very well until recently, is how much the language debate (Latin / vernacular) overlapped with the debate concerning adaptation to culture. These topics were frequently discussed together, and many of the comments on the floor showed that in thought they were closely related.

    Because Latin was proposed often as a symbol and guarantee of unity, the comments about adaptation to culture and use of the vernacular both had to respond to the manifest concern that unity would be fragmented by both regional diversity and use of modern languages. The point: that unity would NOT be thereby lost, was argued vigorously.

    The question of adaptation was not unique to bishops of Africa and Asia, although bishops from Japan, China, Africa and Madagascar, and India spoke to it.

    Adaptation came up in relation to East Germany and South America in light of the rise of communism. Adaptation to the mentality of the people, and making the language accessible to the people, were proposed as evangelical counterweights both to the power of the communist state to suppress religious practice, and to the attractions of communist propaganda. “It’s a matter of life and death” Bishop Spulbeck of Meissen said, for example.

    Finally, it’s important to know that thinking about mission was undergoing vital development at that time too. There’s too much to go into here, but for example, Gabriel Marty, then Archbishop of Reims, spoke of the Church’s missionary character as essential to its nature. Adaptation to culture is about mission, but isn’t mission necessary to reach out to all people who do not believe?

    It was later, in the synods held for each global region under JPII that the cultural adaptation of the liturgy was downplayed everywhere except Africa and Asia.

  11. The conversation began with a discussion of the concept of liturgical rite and the supposed innovation of two forms within one rite. I pointed out the obvious; there are two forms in the one Byzantine rite giving us significant precedent. I also pointed out that the one Byzantine form is a “reform” of the earlier form.

    Fr Ruff wrote: “(T)he EF is an earlier form of a rite which was reformed into the OF.”

    Daniel: Agreed, just as the Liturgy of St. Basil is an earlier form of the Liturgy of St. John C..

    Despite this seeming agreement Fr. adds: “I’m not convinced by his (Daniel’s) argument. There is nothing like a Vatican II call-to-reform that changed the Liturgy of St. Basil (LSB) into the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (LSJ), in the way that Vatican II changed the unreformed 1962 rite into the 1969 reformed rite in accord with the Vatican II’s reformist decrees.”

    Granted the historic contingencies are different but the history shows us that there was a perception that a reform was necessary to meet the religious needs of the people then as in the 1960’s. It seems that much of our disagreement is grounded in loaded words like “call-to-reform” (demands interpretation), “unreformed” and “reformed” (why can’t we agree that the LSJ is a “reformed” version of the “unreformed” LSB), “reformist decrees” (we know that many here disagree about the interpretation of these). There are those who insist that most contemporary celebrations of the EF have implemented many of V2’s reformist decrees while some other decrees in SC remain seemingly unfulfilled in the OF.

    Removing ourselves from the widely divergent interpretations of the experts, that is, limiting ourselves to reading & praying the text of the two forms, the prayers, and their rubrics can be both revealing and an opportunity for meditation. The continuity between the two forms becomes manifest when we pray the text suggesting to the reader that what we have is two forms of the one Roman rite.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #29:

      Daniel, Byzantine churches celebrate the Liturgy of St. Basil only on specific days in the liturgical calendar. The coexistence of the Liturgy of St. Basil and Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a longstanding convention which has been resolved in the late antique through medieval periods. This Byzantine liturgical practice differs greatly from the current controversy in the Roman rite, in which traditionalists wish to celebrate the 1962 missal at every opportunity.

      A more interesting tangent is to consider the ways in which the EF might be an inculturated liturgy. Is the traditionalist movement a cultural movement, a movement based on missal similarities and differences, or both?

  12. Two observations on the current thread:

    1) Cardinal Cushing of Boston wrote in a pastoral letter of early 1962: “The Church is in fact only adapting liturgical legislation to the present needs – both pedagogical and aascetic – of her members amd to a changed and metropolitan society in which they must live. In similar manner, we might well expect to see some adaptations in the language and liturgical ceremonies as celebrated in the church of Africa and Asia, whose cultures are different from what we call Western civilization.” I think this is a useful historical marker of what was expected before the Council began. Once the bishops gathered in Rome, the reality of the ‘different’ cultures became all too clear.

    2) The UK bishops were kept in the loop regarding the Missa Normativa: see Bugnini’s book at page 350 with footnote 16. Their conservative reaction was not so much about the process of reform (or so it would appear), but about the fear of too much music, “too long”(!) and possible loss of respect for the real presence.

  13. Fritz,

    There’s a wonderful little essay by Burkhard Neunheuser, OSB, called “Roman Genius Revisited,” in the book, Liturgy for a New Millennium. In it he lays out the history of Edmund Bishop’s “The Genius of the Roman Rite” and offers his interpretation of EB’s insight for the post-Conciliar Church. In addition to Bishop’s conclusion that Roman genius can be summed up in two words: “soberness and sense,” he adds his own criteria.

    They are theological: that the liturgy is the action of Christ the priest, that it is an action of the whole church, surpassing all others, that the prayer is offered to the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, that it is a celebration of the Paschal Mystery which enables the faithful to live the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.

    In other words, he argues that the theological core of the liturgy is likewise part of the genius of the Roman Rite. That substance is not reducible to ritual details but is expressed through them.

    Substantial unity and Roman Genius are related but not identical concepts, it seems to me. Bishop’s original contention was about a quality of the most ancient prayers, those that date from the fifth century, or old Roman rite.

  14. Because of business travel I spent a good bit of Holy Week in the USA, and went to Easter Mass at a large suburban parish in New York. Easter Sunday Mass at home would have been Novus Ordo Latin, with a professional choir and, most likely, a Mozart Mass. It would have been reverent but not Tridentine in style: priest facing the people, exchange of the peace, offertory procession, communion in both kinds, extraordinary ministers of communion; but all done with ceremony.

    At this parish, Mass was far more informal. A cantor greeted the enormous congregation – a very large church was “standing room only” – and asked us to greet our neighbours at the start of the Mass. She led us in singing the entrance hymn, Gloria, psalm, etc.

    The priest asked the children to gather around the altar before he said the Eucharistic prayer. He interjected lots of commentary into the Mass, as did the cantor. Children howled throughout the liturgy.

    The music was somewhere between traditional and modern. We sang well-known Easter hymns. There were extra, repeated “amens” and “alleluias”.

    I mention all this because it was, in many ways, an “inculturated” liturgy. It fit the setting well. It was reverent in an informal way, if that makes any sense. It came across to me as a “legitimate adaptation and variation”, very much in line with SC 38. Had I been assigned as this group’s pastor, I would have hesitated to introduce Latin, incense, bells, etc.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #35:

      I mention all this because it was, in many ways, an “inculturated” liturgy. It fit the setting well. It was reverent in an informal way, if that makes any sense. It came across to me as a “legitimate adaptation and variation”, very much in line with SC 38. Had I been assigned as this group’s pastor, I would have hesitated to introduce Latin, incense, bells, etc.

      What is culture with respect to liturgy? Does culture refer to the shared society outside of the church doors, or is each parish a microcosmic culture?

      I live near two churches whose Sunday Masses are roughly similar to the Easter Mass you have described. I attend two EF/ROTR parishes in the same region, one of which is my parish. At my parish all Masses are celebrated ad orientem and a third of Masses per week on average are EF.

      All of these Masses are in a fifteen mile radius. The culture outside of liturgy and the church doors is identical. Each church is quite different inside the doors. For this reason I’m not sure if “inculturation” is an apt term if it connotes liturgy modeled on a random sampling of an environment. Rather, the above four cases suggest that parish liturgy is influenced by a self-selected and rather small set of persons. It’s not surprising that my parish tends to attract Catholics who think similarly about liturgy. Yet, persons from all four parishes work and live within the same general society.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #38:

        Please excuse me for asking these questions in the midst of a complex discussion:

        Do we adapt the Church to the culture, or adapt the culture to the Church? Was Jesus attempting to adapt to the existing culture? Should we be inculturating faith or should we be leading culture toward God? Isn’t liturgy a part of the process of leading culture toward God? Put another way, what is the objective of our actions within the Kingdom?

      2. @Tom Diebold – comment #55:
        “Do we adapt the Church to the culture, or adapt the culture to the Church?”
        I think that if the culture of a country includes things such as child sacrifice or slavery the answer is that the church should try to change the culture. The question in the more restricted context of liturgy is not so sharply focussed. Should, indeed could, one introduce Gregorian plainchant to Africa or Asia?
        One perspective may be that Western pop music, clothing and sports have been widely adopted around the world so the introduction of Western liturgy might also be possible. It would be condescending to imply that some peoples are not capable of learning such practices. I suspect that the difficulties would speak for themselves. The discussion so far does not seem to have given a consensus as to how much variation and local adaptation in liturgy is envisaged by article 38.

  15. Varietates legitimae (1994) makes reference to the unity of the Roman Rite in a couple of places. See nos. 2 and 36. The typical editions of the ritual books, published both in Rome and by local episcopal conferences, are referred to as the expression of this unity. This is a new development, which at this point and taken in itself seems to allow for considerable diversity within the unity of the Roman Rite. Yet, when read in dialogue with the subsequent instruction, Liturgiam authenticam, it would appear that the direction is opposite to this, and the location of unity in approved texts is preparatory to reducing these texts toward conformity with a single model. Having “let out” the possibility of inculturation, we are now “putting the toothpaste back in the tube” of close adherence to a single text as the way to assure unity.

    1. @Rita Ferrone – comment #36:
      Rita, thank you for pointing out the reference to “the substantial unity of the Roman Rite” in Varietates legitimate (1994).

      It appears to me that this term in SC 38 is quite baffling. I wonder if anyone has written a thesis or dissertation concerning the term, beginning with its use in the Acta Synodalia.

      From personal experience I know that the term was used as a kind of mantra by the CDWDS beginning in the mid-1980’s or so. From 1980 until about 1995 nearly all the liturgical decisions of the then-NCCB requiring confirmatio of the Apostolic See had to do with parts of the Roman Ritual, and not the Roman Missal. SC 63, which we will get to eventually, implies that more adaptation in the rituals of the sacraments and sacramentals was envisioned by the Council fathers than is the case for the Roman Missal. Yet, beginning with the Order of Christians Funerals (1985), the timeline for obtaining recognitio of conference decisions became more and more protracted. Even matters such as the rearrangement of texts in a particular ritual book to facilitate greater ease of use by ministers was deemed as a threat to the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. (Anyone who has ever tried to use or even make sense of Latin editiones typicae knows that it is a formidable task, with so many of the texts contained in appendices toward the end of the books.)

      For me personally, a number of the elements of the Order of Mass which Deacon Fritz proposed as contributing to the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, or the “substance” of the Roman Rite – to use his term – would not be my choices. But the present-day CDWDS may well agree with Fritz and add another dozen elements! I don’t think a simple fiat by Pope Francis will undo that mindset. But what seems to be needed is a serious discussion of the scope and limits of “substantial unity.”

      1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #40:
        Thanks, Ron. I know what you mean, and it seems to me that anxiety around the application of these principles was rising in Rome during that time, signaling a breakdown of trust or perhaps also a general disagreement about the nature of the task?

      2. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #40:
        Just to clarify, I was not saying that the things I listed were in fact what constituted the “substantial unity” of the Roman Rite. I was simply trying to think through the term “substantial unity” while keeping in mind its Aristotelian provenance. That would imply that substantial unity would involve features of the Roman Rite that distinguish it from other Rites and not simply things (such as the reading of scripture and some sort of Eucharistic prayer) that it shares with other Rites. It’s a bit like saying that rationality, and not simply the capacity for sensation and self-motion (which we share with other animals), is a necessary feature of the “substantial unity” of the human race.

        My inclination in fact is to say not that anything on that list is necessary for the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, but that “substantial unity,” at least as understood in an Aristotelian sense, is perhaps not a helpful term in this context.

  16. I do not think it would have entered anybody’s head at the council to think that “substantial unity” was demonstrated by the existence of approved liturgical books. What would the alternative be? Improvisation? Make it up as you go along? I think, actually, this formulation in VL represents an impoverishment of thought in favor of a sort of juridical approach to the subject. This may be unfair, however. Certainly one can’t expect Rome to say that the approved typical editions are NOT expressions of the substantial unity of the Roman Rite!

  17. OK, one more comment, and I’m through here. There may be two different lenses through which liturgy is being viewed on this thread, and it will make a difference in how we read this article of SC. One is to think of liturgy as a collection of texts. The other is to think of liturgy as a system of signs.

  18. I’m not so sure how helpful a methodology it is to begin by identifying how the Roman rite is different from other rites. I think that is, methodologically, a secondary issue. When the core of the rite has been determined it may then be helpful to contrast and compare.

    In my view the essence of the Roman rite is the combination of the reading of scripture and a prayer of blessing/thanking of God over the elements of bread and wine for the Paschal Mystery, followed by the consuming of the elements as a ritual endorsement of the prayer.

    1. @Gerard Flynn – comment #46:
      Perhaps it was my early exposure to structuralism, or a later exposure to Aristotle, but it seems to me that you only arrive at the essence of something by way of contrast (i.e. you only know that it is this by distinguishing it from that).

      I entirely agree that part of the essence (and thus the “substantial unity”) of the Roman Rite is “the combination of the reading of scripture and a prayer of blessing of God over the elements of bread and wine which refers to the Paschal Mystery, followed by the consuming of the elements as a ritual endorsement of the prayer..” Without these things there is no Roman Rite. But this can’t be the entire essence since this is true of every Christian Eucharistic Rite. Or, put differently, if this is the entire essence of the Roman Rite, then there is no essence that distinguishes the Roman Rite from any other Christian Eucharistic Rite — and thus no essence or substantial unity to the Roman Rite per se. Which is a conclusion that I would be happy with, except that this would leave us with some difficulty in interpreting SC 38.

  19. In the second list, the separation of confirmation and first communion (as well as the reversal of their traditional order) is a quite recent innovation, so I would wonder whether this pertains to the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. As for first penance before first communion, I’d need to know more about the history of this practice.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #49:
      or *marriage in the parish of the bride* – really? You insist upon this at your parish, correct, Deacon?
      Appears that the shift on Lent and seasons and holy days of obligation is a substantial part of the rite – when? It has changed throughout history – may be we need to go back to the Julian calendar?

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #50:
        I mentioned two points connected in initiation. Just because I did not mention other points does not mean I agreed with them.

        As a matter of fact, if the couple is not getting married in the bride’s church I usually ask why, simply because it can surface some interesting information about the couple and their approach to marriage (e.g. he’s more religious than she is, there is some sort of estrangements from the family etc.). But, no, I don’t insist on it.

        We don’t use sanctus bells either.

        PS: the original comment seems to have disappeared. Curious.

  20. Fritz Bauerschmidt : In the second list, the separation of confirmation and first communion (as well as the reversal of their traditional order) is a quite recent innovation, so I would wonder whether this pertains to the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. As for first penance before first communion, I’d need to know more about the history of this practice.

    The separation of confirmation from baptism is characteristic of the Roman rite, as the practice was adopted wherever, and whenever, the Roman rite prevailed. The position of the bishop is the underlying basis for this, so this fits with other clerical elements, like obligatory celibacy, that shape the Roman rite. Not that these clerical elements have to be part of the Roman rite, but they have been prominent elements that are probably more important than anything written in the Missal.

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #52:

      I completely agree Jim that “the separation of confirmation from baptism is characteristic of the Roman rite, as the practice was adopted wherever, and whenever, the Roman rite prevailed.” However, the celebrant of the sacrament of confirmation in particular often changed, especially after the Reformation. The Reformation liturgical churches, as offshoots of the Roman rite, have started with the basis of the Roman rite discipline but have changed their celebrations of confirmation for different reasons.

      Scandinavian Lutherans have for centuries designated the parish pastor as the normative celebrant of confirmation. I suspect that stems from the large size of dioceses in this region and the inability of a bishop to travel to all parishes in a timely manner. Perhaps this custom was already developing before the Reformation. Conversely, only bishops without exception may confirm in Anglicanism, which is an even stricter interpretation of the sacrament than Rome’s.

      The current Roman rite insistence that the bishop be the normative celebrant of confirmation, with relatively few dispensations for priests to confirm, appears rather arbitrary. The delegation of confirmation to priests has a long history both inside and outside the Roman rite. Priests should be more frequently permitted to confirm especially if chrismation were permitted again on a large scale. Of course, a bishop might wish to confirm catechumens or baptized Christians received into the Church during an Easter Vigil. I don’t think that significantly attenuating the role of bishops as celebrants of confirmation is a wise idea either.

  21. Fritz and all,
    The more comments there are on this thread, the more I think this discussion of “substantial unity of the Roman Rite” is off the mark.

    I’m more and more thinking that the way the CDWDS has interpreted or, perhaps, misinterpreted “substantial unity” has something to do with the Latin typical editions of liturgical books, as Rita suggested. Certainly one cannot argue that the ritual separation of the sacraments of initiation – while still permitted for children – or the misordering of these sacraments for children – owing to decisions by conferences of bishops – or for adults in certain defined situations spelled out in the RCIA – is somehow part of the “substantial unity of the Roman Rite” when the Council was clear that the traditional sequence was to be reestablished. Certain reforms of the Council, now reflected in church law and in the liturgical book, are elements of that “substantial unity” to be preserved, are they not?

  22. Tom, thank you for your questions. I will answer two interconnected questions.

    Do we adapt the Church to the culture, or adapt the culture to the Church?

    “culture” is a rather difficult concept to quantify. There are two broad aspects. First, all persons are to some degree influenced by their upbringing, background, and family customs. However, persons also live within their society of residence. In my earlier post to which you have referred, I neglected to provide the first of these two aspects.

    Jonathan’s experiences at Easter Mass remind me of my own upbringing and personal cultural conditioning. A church near my house also practices the “turn to your neighbor and say hi” gesture before Mass. In my peculiar cultural background, this introduction is extremely rude. There are persons in my life whom I call by their professional title or honorific and last name even after years of acquaintance. For this reason among others, my family gravitates towards “high church” formal worship, given that this style does not attempt an artifically informal style.

    This is why I have said that parishes are micro-cultures or respite from a shared environment.

    Isn’t liturgy a part of the process of leading culture toward God?

    Yes, but liturgy must be attuned to the requirements of parish micro-cultures in order for liturgy to lead worshipers to God. This is why I suggest caution in adopting inculturated worship, or the expressions of a particular background, when these expressions are not native to a parish. Conversely, liturgical cultures should not be forced on parishes or communities where this culture would be obviously incongruent. For example, St. John’s Abbey has a particular mission centered on the ordinary form; this must be respected.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #56:

      The modern tendency regarding the relationship between the Church and the world is problematic. We should be less inclined toward adapting the Church to the world, and its “culture,” and more inclined toward adapting the world to the Church, and to Christ. I realize that “adapting the world to the Church” will raise eyebrows, and that the Church/world, either-or dualism is a simplistic way of conveying what is, in reality, a complex relationship.

      However, we should not be principally focused on adapting the Church to the world; we should be focused on adapting the world to the Body of Christ. Liturgy is an essential way of accomplishing this, as is a more faithful grounding in Sacred Scripture. We must not be afraid to inspire people to transcend their present-day, cultural comfort zone.

      While it is easier to fill the pews when people are more “comfortable” – as the mega-Church phenomenon in Evangelicalism has clearly demonstrated – Christ calls us, individually and as a Church, in all that we think and do, to transcend our world and our reality, not to conform or to adapt to them. In our efforts to be effective in reaching out to people, we must not overly focus on adapting the Church to the world, lest, in connecting with people, we disconnect from God.

      This will strike some as an archaic way of thinking. But has the modern approach concerning the relationship of the Church and the world, seeking to make the Church more “relevant,” strengthened or weakened the effectiveness of the Gospel? Was Jesus attempting to adapt to the existing culture?

  23. With respect, Fr. Anthony’s remark comparing the differences of the usus antiquor with the OF juxtaposed with the Byzantine Divine Liturgies of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great is not an entirely valid comparison. In the former, there are two clearly distinguishable usages of the one Roman Rite. In the latter case apx 96% of the external texts and all of the ceremonies in the Divine Liturgy (i.e. the non “presidential” portions heard by the people) are identical, except perhaps for alterations in the length of some parts of the Ordinary, e.g. the Sanctus to adjust for the Anaphora of Basil (which is longer than Chrysostom). It puts me in mind of the statement of Ven Paul VI who asserted that the use of several Eucharistic Prayers imitated a practice of the Eastern Churches. That is likewise not factually accurate, except perhaps in the case of the Chaldeo-Assyrian Rite. The two anaphoras (at least in the Byzantine Rite usages) are prescribed for certain days and are not subject to discretion of the celebrant–as in the same fashion of the 4 Eucharistic prayers.

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