Andrea Grillo, Beyond Pius V: Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform

I’m spending the holiday weekend reading Andrea Grillo’s Beyond Pius V: Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform.

What a bracing book! His passion and clear thinking have grabbed me by the lapels. What must the book be like in the original Italian! Thanks, Barry, for translating it so well and for bringing it out.

I made the mistake of starting by drinking a cup of coffee. I may have to pour a Maker’s Mark!

The Preface, Introduction, and first chapter are online. Remember to sit down before reading.



  1. I opened it up and can see what you mean, e.g. re SP

    a master stroke of moderation risks becoming, more likely, a solemn mess for which no one is held accountable.

    and I have not yet had my cup of coffee.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #1:
      There is no doubt that there can be a mess with the interpretation and implementation of SP and in some cases there are some terrible messes. But why the selective ire of messes that are unintended when SC of Vatican II produced/ produces some unintended messes that are far more deleterious and prolific compared the the messes of SP which while present are insignificant in terms of how widespread?

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #2:
        There are messes and then there are messes. The question is: to what end the mess?

        The mess after Vatican II was toward the end of renewing the Church and undoing the problematic developments of the past 1,000 or 1,500 years. No, I’m not saying the whole tradition is bad. I love the tradition. I’m saying, as Vatican II says implicitly and explicitly, that within this tradition are bad developments that need to be undone. Undoing this and setting out in a new direction was bound to be messy. But toward a good end.

        The mess after SP is toward… what? Creating a parallel church? Giving support to those who reject Vatican II?

        When Paul VI was asked why he couldn’t just concede the pre-Vatican II Mass to the Lefebvrites, he said:

        “Never. This Mass … becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the council. I will not accept, under any circumstances, the condemnation of the council through a symbol. Should this exception to the liturgy of Vatican II have its way, the entire council would be shaken. And, as a consequence, the apostolic authority of the council would be shaken.”

        The mess here is that Benedict XVI has directly contradicted Paul VI and gone against the reform as implemented by Paul VI. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that he has shaken the apostolic authority of the council.


      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #3:
        You are not addressing my other point which is how widespread this is as for example in your community (broad Benedictines) and in your diocese. In my diocese the EF Mass is celebrated in only two parishes, the Cathedral each Sunday and my own parish once a month on Sunday. There is no mess in either my parish or in the Cathedral parish or in our diocese by threatening to undo the Council as you say. That doesn’t mean that in some parishes elsewhere and around the world and in some communities and some dioceses that what you decry doesn’t happen. In terms of progressive messes, yes, some of them call into question the legitimate message of the Council and it is unfortunate that you still seem to be in denial about this or don’t care. I don’t know of any of this progressive mess in my diocese or parish, but I suspect in isolated instances there might be some elsewhere in our diocese and in the broader Church. How about in your diocese?

      3. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #3:

        Were this still 1974, you might have had a point. Also, were we speaking of the SSPX, you might have a point. Also, had Paul VI not personally issued the “Agatha Christie indult” you might have a point.

        However, under present circumstances, you are simply wrong.

        1) SP and UE (and Ecclesia Dei before it) gave nothing to SSPX. Their priests are still suspended, and their Sacraments illicit (at best).
        2) Benedict XVI saw a legitimate need that was not being fulfilled — he was sympathetic to the needs of his flock and discerned that this was a necessary step. Never once did he speak ill of his predecessors for not giving a wider permission at an earlier time. Also, he specifically excluded those who reject the validity or liceity of the OF.
        3) Some of those faithful who do benefit from SP/UE desire the Sacraments in the older form because they found it themselves — maybe they weren’t being sufficiently fed in the OF or maybe they prefer the richness both forms offer (and the same could be said of the OF “refugees” who have found themselves attending Eastern Rite liturgies). Archbishop Lefebvre means nothing to them, because most in this group are too young to remember. This is the group I am a part of — a post-conciliar Catholic who found the riches of the tradition of the Latin Rite.
        4) Others of those faithful who benefit are the long-suffering who have been asking for the older rites for a long time, often being subject to ridicule or worse from those shepherds who should have been sympathetic to them. It would have been easier to go with Lefebvre, and yet they chose to be loyal. Yet you choose to “kick the dog” by ascribing to them anti-conciliar and schismatic tendencies without any reason to do so.

        If the implementation of documents so limited in scope and so clear in intention as SP and UE “shake the apostolic authority of the council” then perhaps it should lead you into some prayerful reflection — because that says far more about you and about the Council than it does about the Usus antiquior or SP or Benedict XVI.

      4. @Matthew Morelli – comment #9:
        “If the implementation of documents so limited in scope and so clear in intention as SP and UE “shake the apostolic authority of the council” then perhaps it should lead you into some prayerful reflection — because that says far more about you and about the Council than it does about the Usus antiquior or SP or Benedict XVI.”

        As Grillo says well in his book – some have adopted and used the ultra-liberal approaches to justify their own ideology. (e.g. your comment)

        Your whole last paragraph can also reveal much about your own statement – it appears to say more about YOU than the council or SP/Benedict.
        Always amused that Benedict introduced the *faux* argument about continuity and rupture and yet his own decisions in terms of continuity with Paul VI (see Fr. Ruff’s quote above) were more a *rupture* than continuity. As Grillo says well, each group misses the actual council reform in its haste to protect its own ideology.
        You also miss Fr. Ruff’s point aobut what we are experiencing now in terms of this: is it unity or division? (Grillo points out that SP, etc.have a tendency to be reduced to a subtle form of rejecting VII despite the denials)

      5. @Bill deHaas – comment #10:

        I saw Fr. Anthony’s point about unity and division, but I think that he, along with you (and Grillo, if he takes the same approach), are wrong, because of your inability to see SP as a positive development separate from the rejection of Vatican II demonstrated by groups such as SSPX.

        Pope Benedict was thoroughly consistent with Paul VI with respect to the fact that SP gives nothing to the followers of Lefebvre. Absolutely nothing. If anything, it takes away from SSPX by removing a reason that some had for attending their (illicit) Masses. Do not forget as well that the prior liberation of the Usus antiquior happened when JPII responded to the illicit consecrations of the SSPX bishops — the day that cost the SSPX everything else.

        Times have moved on and so must we — no small number of people wish to have the Usus antiquior and maintain unity in diversity, while carrying on a serious discussion about some parts of the postconciliar (and even of the preconciliar) liturgical reform.

        The insistence on equating them with SSPX and others who “reject the Council” simply because of a preference for the Usus antiquior is a way to marginalize and ignore that discussion. It is a false generalization … quite literally a red herring.

        And regarding the last paragraph of my preceding post — yes, it does reveal much about me. It reveals that I am not threatened by the idea that the Pope, chosen by the Holy Spirit, can implement discipline that surpasses or even at some time later “contradicts” the disciplinary directives of a Council, convoked under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, in reaction to needs unforeseen or non-existent at the time of the Council.

        It also reveals that I am content to see Vatican II for what it is — an Ecumenical Council situated in its own concrete historical situation — and not an end-all-be-all-fix-all Super-Council to “undo the problematic developments of the past 1,000 or 1,500 years”. Such an idea is patently absurd, considering that 12 or 16 other Ecumenical Councils (each just as legitimate as Vatican II) met during that interim and neither saw nor addressed those so-called “problematic developments”.

      6. @Matthew Morelli – comment #14:
        You say: “Pope Benedict was thoroughly consistent with Paul VI…..”

        Note: Paul VI, Address to a general audience, on the new ORDO MISSAE, 26 November1969:Notitiae 5 (1969) 412-416 (Italian) English translation, Documents on the Liturgy, 1963-1979 [ICEL] (The Liturgical Press, 1983)

        “Clearly the most noticeable new departure is that of language. From now on the vernacular, not Latin, will be the principal language of the Mass. For those who appreciate the beauty of Latin, its power, and aptness to express the sacred, substitution of the vernacular certainly represents a great sacrifice. We are losing the idiom of the Christian ages; we become like profane intruders into the literary sanctuary of sacred language; we shall lose a large portion of that wonderful and incomparable, artistic and spiritual reality, Gregorian chant. We indeed have reason for sadness and perhaps even for bewilderment. What shall we put in the place of this angelic language? We are sacrificing a priceless treasure. For what reason? What is worth more than these sublime values of the Church? The answer may seem trite and prosaic, but it is sound because it is both human and apostolic. Our understanding of prayer is worth more than the previous, ancient garments in which it has been regally clad. Of more value, too, is the participation of the people, of modern people who are surrounded by clear, intelligible language …. If our sacred Latin should, like a thick curtain, close us off from the world of children and young people, of work and the business of everyday, then would we, fishers of men, be wise to allow it exclusive dominion over the speech of religion and prayer?”

        The forgotten Pope.

      7. @Bill deHaas – comment #18:
        Thank you for the quotation, Mr. deHaas. This is far plainer language than the normal Vatican publication. Perhaps Pope Benedict had this in mind, realizing that some Church members have found the sacrifice too great and were/are deserving of compassion.

        This reflects recent concern about “Church rules” in other situations, such as divorced Catholics. It might be better if we could accept that there are legitimate differences among true Catholics, and that diversity and acceptance should not be limited to current “hot topic” concerns, but should include maintaining a Church that does not abandon others in its wake.

      8. @Matthew Morelli – comment #14:
        BTW – could you please name the 12 or 16 ecumenical councils that happened between, say 1575 and now (beyond Vatican I)?

        In fact, Trent did confront the “problematic developments” and gave directives to the popes to implement what they approved in the council.

        Your descriptions about decisions and motivations in regards to SSPX and papal announcements doesn’t have historical validity – your interpretation is an opinion only that plays fast and loose with the facts.

      9. @Bill deHaas – comment #19:

        Low-hanging fruit:

        Fr. Anthony claimed that Vatican II fixed “problematic developments of the past 1,000 or 1,500 years”. 12 Councils have happened in the last 1000 years; 16 in the last 1,500.

        Re: You say: “Pope Benedict was thoroughly consistent with Paul VI…..”

        When you cherry pick quotes, you can make it sound as though one is arguing just about anything.

        But I had said: Pope Benedict was thoroughly consistent with Paul VI with respect to the fact that SP gives nothing to the followers of Lefebvre. Not that he was consistent in every respect.

        Please take the time to actually read what I say before your half-cocked responses.

      10. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #3:
        I think another way to look at SP would be to see it as a natural progression within the spirit of Paul VI’s indult granting the use of the older missal in England & Wales in 1971, only a year or two after the existing missal went into effect. I wonder if Fr. Ruff’s quote from Pope Paul above came before or after this English indult?
        I don’t see the need for any concern about a parallel Church from SP unless one views the other ritual Churches as “parallel Churches” or even the other usages within the western Church. In fact, SC itself gives us the room for a plurality of different liturgical usages within the one Church (SC #4 & SC #37). If the Byzantine rite has two forms, why can’t we?

      11. @Dan McKernan – comment #11:
        Dan, we’ve been down this road about a hundred times. And every time you repeat the opinion about different liturgical uses someone answers – I’ll do it here.
        Those other differing liturgical uses have nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called two forms of the Roman Rite because, unlike all the other cases, SP allows for an EARLIER, UNREFORMED version of the rite for the use of those who do not accept the call for liturgical reform of an ecumenical council. The other cases of liturgical diversity all have to do with regional rites that grew up alongside each other over the same period of time.

      12. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #12:

        And Father, it is still a distinction without a difference, no matter how many times you repeat it.

        The ecumenical council did not pronouce the old missal to be in error, or heretical or anything else like that. It said nothing that should prevent the old missal being used, where it is pastorally desirable or requested by the faithful.

        The council fathers clearly thought the old missal could be improved, and made more spirtually useful to the faithful, but it seems to me to be at cross purposes to insist on its suppression in those instances where the faithful find the old missal to better meet their spirtual needs (even if I can not personally actually see why those needs can’t be met within the ambit of the new missal).

      13. @Scott Smith – comment #13:
        @Matthew Morelli – comment #14:

        Have you read Grillo’s book?

        It feels like you’re repeating the same old same old that we’ve done about a hundred times already at Pray Tell. No matter how many times I hear this, I can’t see how it follows from the teachings and directives of Vatican II. Sorry, but it really does sound like baloney.

        Please respond to Grillo’s arguments, so that we’re not just repeating the same old same old.


      14. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #15:

        I probably won’t read it in full until I get a chance to get it from the library, or to pick up a used copy — certainly not today.

        Worth noting, a review of Grillo’s book by Dom Alcuin Reid has been posted over at New Liturgical Movement.

        Some excerpt’s of Reid’s review (available in full and free at NLM):

        Indeed: the Liturgical Press is pulling out all the stops to defend the liturgical reform of Paul VI—presumably because it is considered to be in some danger. […]

        This is Grillo’s straw man: the conviction—often found amongst liturgists and prelates in Italy—that the new rites are themselves essential to liturgical formation, to the achievement of participatio actuosa and to the renewal of ecclesial life, and that the usus antiquior is, of its essence, antithetical to the achievement of these indispensible aims. Hence the book’s anxiety about Benedict XVI’s supposed liturgical regression in Summorum Pontificum: Paul VI ushered in the long-desired age of liturgical enlightenment, as it were, and there can be absolutely no going back. […]

        I will leave it to you and the other readers to go to NLM to find the rest.

      15. @Anthony Ruff, OSB (#12): SP allows for an EARLIER, UNREFORMED version of the rite for the use of those who do not accept the call for liturgical reform of an ecumenical council.

        No, I, and others like me, accept the Second Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform. I just don’t think much of the reform we got afterwards was necessarily a) what the Council Fathers had in mind, or b) in accord with the principles articulated in SC (e.g. paras. 23, 50).

        None of the post-conciliar reform is irreversible or unalterable just because it happens to be historically associated with the Council. Questioning the reform we got is not the same as “not accept[ing]” the Council’s call for reform.

      16. @Matthew Hazell – comment #22:
        So you don’t accept the lawful reforms carried out under the pope and approved by him? Yes, that is different from not accepting the council. There is the difficulty that the pope stated, very strongly and many times, that the reforms were faithful to the council, so in addition to not accepting his authority in reforming, you don’t accept his teaching and his judgment that the reforms were faithful to the council.

        So it’s less that you’re rejecting, but only a bit less. You’re rejecting a pope’s interpretation (in union with all the world’s Catholic bishops) of a council.

        What do you make of Grillo’s argument on all this?


      17. @Anthony Ruff, OSB (#23):

        I accept the lawful reforms, and I accept that the reforms were approved by Paul VI. I also accept that the reforms can be seen as more or less faithful to the Council (IMO some more so, e.g. SC 52-53; some less so, e.g. SC 79). I also accept that a Pope has the authority to reform the liturgy, be that Paul VI or St Pius X.

        What I don’t accept is that it is necessary to say that, just because the post-conciliar reforms were lawful, approved, and faithful (to some degree – but that is part of the debate!), that therefore means they are somehow beyond question and criticism. It’s not an issue of dogma to question, for example, the pastoral effectiveness of the reintroduction of the Universal Prayer into the Mass, or to question the historical grounds on which said reintroduction was proposed by some scholars before the Council.

        As far as Prof. Grillo’s book goes, all I’ve read of it is the online extract. It looks like an interesting read, but since my wife and I have just made a large-ish book purchase, it’s going to have to wait until our book budget is replenished in a few months.

      18. @Matthew Hazell – comment #26:
        I don’t think supporters of the reform think particular reforms are beyond criticism or question either. I enjoy discussions along the lines of what you’ve raised. But I’ve met very, very few traditionalists who are interested in anything more than resisting the council, parsing its teachings, and putting obstacles in the path of spirituality, evangelization, and the liturgical arts. The people I knew in the 80’s wanted to go their own way and were most incurious. Today’s internet bands circle the wagons. promote alternate economies, stick their fingers in their ears and shout loudly. They are even less interested in anything that disturbs their calm.

        The 1962 Missal was replaced by the 1970. Schismatics resisted, as schismatics often resisted after any council, major and minor. Ecclesia Dei is an artifice. And the unreformed rite is a backwater. The scenery is nice, and the setting is peaceful, I’m sure. But it has no future.

      19. @Todd Flowerday – comment #34:

        Todd: But I’ve met very, very few traditionalists who are interested in anything more than resisting the council, parsing its teachings, and putting obstacles in the path of spirituality, evangelization, and the liturgical arts.

        I sense your frustration with the rather fundamentalist EF types. I am frustrated with them as well for many reasons, and especially because many have an apparent disinterest in learning about their faith. However, I was “evangelized” by the EF (so far as I was “converted” from an apathetic Catholic to an eager one). Most importantly, I learned Latin through the EF. Latin is not only asthetically pleasing for many. Latin is also a highly cerebral synthetic language, often well suited as a vehicle for the both theological message and liturgical prayer. If the EF weren’t allowed at all, it is quite likely I never would have developed a lifelong passion for Latin.

        If a newer liturgy cannot provide (or implictly rejects) certain aspects of previous worship traditions, then there will inevitably be those who will yearn to worship either exclusively in the older liturgy or in the newer liturgy but with older aspects. The Consilium would have done better to leave some reforms to congregational discretion, such as celebrant/presider orientation. Certain bishops, rather than impede the use of Latin in the OF, could have permitted its predominate or exclusive use for certain congregations.

        Perhaps if the “five year plan” of 1964 — 1969 were a twenty-year plan, fewer traditionalists would have joined schismatic groups and lob vicious smears at the the institutional Church. The haste of reform, and not reform itself, has contributed to this backwater.

      20. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #36:
        We have some interesting commonalities. I was evangelized at the height of the burlap-n-tambourine era, a new Catholic coming from Protestant parents. But supported in a parish that accepted non-C’s into the parish school. I too learned Latin, but in a setting oft-derided for catechetical poverty.

        I’m not suggesting that traditionalists yearning for the 1962 (or earlier) Missal don’t present a substantial pastoral challenge to the Church. They surely do. And their care is, in part, our collective responsibility. But the issues are not really theological or administrative or even doctrinal. For some they are personal. I suspect it touches more at hearts than at minds.

        The reason why we had a five-year plan was the concern that an imperial curia would derail what the bishops had reformed. If only Ottoviani and others could have been neutralized, there would have been an atmosphere of trust and pastoral attention. The curia, that most untraditional, modernistic, and troublesome organ — should have been amputated. And for all of our good.

  2. I am reminded of the opening of Neil Postman’s book, The Disappearance of Childhood, where he suggests that “children are messages we send to a time we may not visit”. How true is that of a pilgrim church? What a great responsibility we accept?  The report in the Tablet recently, that there may be a review of the New English translation of the Mass, is to be welcomed, even if it is a little late. Since its introduction at the beginning of Advent, 2011, wehave experienced two difficult years during which time the convoluted language of literal translation from the historical Latin text has been imposed on 21st Century English-speaking peoples.And to what effect?For many, it has been a time of confusion, solved only by a Sunday Silence. The familiarity of well-used words has been lost, to be replaced by the aggravation of a text that hinders rather than helps our prayer.I have lost count of the times we are encouraged to be “gracious”.The ICEL translation from 1998 that was so unceremoniously set aside, had received…

  3. FWIW, from my samplings of parishes over the past months, the 2011 translation has pretty much taken root in most places, with about half the people still relying on reading for the Creed. If the Confiteor gets recited, that can cause a sudden scramble for the cards. And now there are children who’ve only memorized the 2011.

  4. I really liked his future oriented concept of tradition. It could support both strong evangelical as well as strong eschatological perspectives.

    Perhaps what is most lacking today is a strong awareness of this generational and pedagogical dimension of the Second Vatican Council, which was even then aware of being in need of “children and grandchildren” so that the tradition might have a future and so that it could therefore consider its own munus to be not simply the continuation of a traditum but the “beginning of a beginning”—never claiming a “beginning ex novo,” obviously, but also never presuming to be a continuation completely as before.

    The conflict of interpretations in liturgical matters that dangerously marks the life of the church today exists in large part because this authentic traditional concern “for the children and grandchildren” has been forgotten.

    As he begins to develop matters in chapter one, he is keenly aware that one generation does not write on the blank slate of the next generation. Rather as much contemporary sociological analysis has shown each generation starts out at a different place and is profoundly influenced by the events that occur when the members were in their teens and twenties, e.g. the great depression generation, the generation which went off to fight WWII, etc.

    So each generation experiences life and therefore liturgy differently than the preceding generations. The challenge for older generations “handing on” is to encounter Christ who is coming over the horizon in the younger generations rather than the Christ of past generations or the Christ of the older generations “present experience” which is in fact not the same “present experience” that is present among the younger generations.

  5. Confusion in my posting… this piece of text has gone missing. Apologies.The ICEL translation from 1998 that was so unceremoniously set aside, had received acceptance from the hierarchies in the English speaking world. But to no avail. Bishop Maurice Taylor, one time chair of ICEL, from 1997 until 2002, painfully described how that text was set aside in his book “It’s the Eucharist, thank God”, published in 2009.

    Now we are caught between a rock and a hard place, between the urgent need to re-appraise this Translation and the cost and confusion of doing so. But re-appraise it we must. If only we had taken the advice of the Seattle website prior to this change sweeping through the English-speaking Church, “What if we just said wait?” we could have ironed out many of the now apparent difficulties and be in a happier place today. But Fr Michael Ryan’s sound advice was ignored.

    It is time to look for realistic leadership from our Bishops as has happened in Germany. Might we not revisit the 1998 text? Is that too much to ask?

  6. The following quotes from Chapter 1 were all sweet music to this social scientist (bolding mine):

    It is important to resist the temptation of reducing experience to a monological and self-sufficient idea, which tries to answer the anthropological question without a willingness to take up the task of following the long way toward the authoritative word, the ritual symbol, and ecclesial communion. Here, frankly, the human and natural sciences not only are not “suspect”; what is extremely suspect is any attempt to get along without them

    One conclusion of all of this must be a reformulation of the “liturgical question” that—following the conciliar methodology—takes into account all fields of knowledge. And this has not happened yet.

    We need to rediscover today the delicate and vital contribution of authoritative exteriority, of one’s body and the body of another. For this reason, even the most unrelated sciences can prove to be not only helpful but even decisive for coming to a careful and thorough understanding of the structure and interrelatedness of the worshiping body, the confessing heart, and the believing intellect.

    One of the great values of this book is its emphasis upon the liturgy itself, the actual celebration by the people as the source of our concepts about the liturgy. The celebrations themselves tell us as much or even more about liturgy as a concept, rather than someone’s concepts telling us about the liturgy.

    All too many times liturgists of all ideological persuasions spend most of their time telling the rest of us about the liturgy and telling us what we ought to be thinking, feeling, doing, and becoming rather than providing us with good liturgies (e.g. music and homilies) that fill us with great thoughts, feelings, and deeds and inspire us to become.

    We experience each and every liturgy in the context of all the past liturgies good and bad that we have experienced. Therefore each of our experiences of the same liturgy may be very different.

    Liturgists, both academic and pastoral, should be spending much of their time going out to the peripheries listening to the people about their experience of liturgy including the fact that many times we find the liturgy boring.

  7. Well, here we are in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Seven years into SP. Two years into RM3. Good work, Benedict.

    Well, the handwriting is on the wall. SP must be revoked, the old Mass must be abrogated without question. Priests/faithful who continue to use the old rite will simply no longer be in union with the Roman Church. Harsh? Perhaps. But we should never have been brought to this point.

    1. @Sean Whelan – comment #20:
      I’d hate to see your thoughts on other Christians, then. If I’m happy to worship with you, but you refuse to have anything to do with me, then which one of us is the one causing the divisions?

      And brought to what point, exactly? Where you get tired of repeating the same old line about how divisive SP has been without evidence? Most of the division I’ve encountered comes from those opposed to it. The handful of cases worldwide where those actually attending the Masses are causing problems are the exception that prove the rule. My diocese has about four EF Masses – out of more than 200 Churches. Most of those parishes have three OF Masses a week, yet the tiny number of EF Masses has brought us to some kind of critical breaking point where anyone who attends it is no longer in union with the Roman Church? That sounds laughable.

      If I said the OF had caused the huge drop in Mass attendance and vocations seen since the 1960s, people here would rightly DEMAND hard evidence (and lots of it) to support that. Yet when it comes to the EF, it seems that repeating the same thing over and over again is evidence enough.

      No Pope since Vatican II has completely suppressed the EF. A Commission of Cardinals in the 1980s determined it had not been properly abrogated, and every Pope, except maybe John Paul I, since Pope Paul VI has expanded permission to use it (and if we are not allowed to question the liturgical reform because the Popes have reaffirmed its fidelity to Vatican II, then so too should we not question the indults and SP handed to us by the same authority). Hard evidence that it has posed a serious, or even mild, problem appears to be non existent.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #30:

        I’m happy to worship with you – through the liturgy of the Church. I’m not the one re-writing history so that some can worship using a previous rite.

        And what happens if Francis or the next pope completely suppresses it? Will he have stepped over his authority? Will you all obey him, like you did so well with JP2 and B16? Really no outcry from old Mass fans when Benedict took the local ordinaries out of the equation. Benedict himself said it was the Spirit who urged him to step down. I wonder why?

      2. @Sean Whelan – comment #33:
        The EF is the liturgy of the Church as well, according to official legislation. Do not stir up division and then point the finger at everyone else.

        I do worry that Pope Francis or a future Pope will someday lend a sympathetic ear to those who want to trump up false charges against the EF’s attendees and have it suppressed. Hopefully that Pope will see the truth and not fall for such a thing, but you never know.

  8. I look forward to reading the book when I can manage to get it. However here are a few comments.
    Comme le Prevoit of Paul VI and Liturgiam Authenticam (of possibly reactionaries in the Curia) seem to be in direct opposition.
    The main issue I have with the EF is its use of the old calendar and scripture readings. This is really in contradiction to the express wish of the Council fathers that we should be exposed to a greater amount of scripture readings hence the 3 year cycle.

    Perhaps if when the new liturgy was introduced there had been some allowance for retention of say the common of the Mass in Latin occasionally so that one didnt have to attend Anglican liturgies to hear some of these works there would have been less demand for the EF

  9. As a social scientist interested in liturgy I am finding this book fascinating just like I found Faggioli’s True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology not because of their positions in the “culture wars” spectrum but because they have a lot to say about liturgy and reform that has nothing to do with the culture wars, and in fact could be used by anyone in their thinking, e.g. myself as a social scientist.

    Like many social scientists I see the “cultural wars” as basically a myth of the media (church as well as secular) that are waged for the benefit of elites, both Right and Left (again church as well as secular) to make money (e.g. gay marriage raises money for both the Right and the Left), and to garner fame as well as fortune for their protagonists in the media, including the web media. But the issues themselves have little to do with the lives and experience of average people.

    As a Christian, I think ( in Francis colorful language) that the culture wars both in the Church and in Society are basically the work of the Devil. The fact that they are so involved with money, status and power and have so little to do with the lives of average people should make that obvious.

    Read the book, skip the Culture War Reviews.

  10. Would someone comment on #30. What commission of cardinals determined that the old liturgy had not been properly abrogated. Paul VI made it clear that the new sacramentary/missal was the law. Did he do it wrong? Why did no one tell him?

    1. @halbert Weidner – comment #31:

      Details on the non-abrogation of the Mass of Pius V can be found here in an article by Nicola Bux and Salvatore Vitello:

      This article briefly traces the “abrogation” question from the time of Paul VI’s Constitution Missale Romanum to the situation that existed prior to Summorum Pontificum. Obviously, SP (and Ecclesia Dei before it) presupposes the conclusion of the Commission of Cardinals (of which then-Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the nine) that the old Missal was never abrogated.

      1. @Matthew Morelli – comment #32:
        Enough of the abrogation – non-abrogation issue, we’ve already covered that many times here. The commission claimed it was never abrogated, but many scholars don’t think that adds up canonically, and the question was treated critically in an article in Worship magazine a few years ago.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #35:
        Abrogation is still a pertinent issue, regardless of how often it is hashed out. It cannot be ignored because it demonstrates how the competent authorities of the Church have ruled on the matter. You and some scholars may not agree, but that opinion is not official legislation and is not to be treated as such. It does not hold equal footing. Those who support SP are not the dissenters.

  11. Each rite reflects distinct points of view regarding Christology, Ecclesiology, Sacramental theology, and even anthropology. Because the 1962 Missal pre-dates Vatican II, it does not reflect the developments in all of those fields which arose from the council’s four Dogmatic Constitutions. Most of the church has clearly received those developments (though not without question or nuance) precisely because the reformed Roman Rite communicates and reinforces them. The Mass celebrated according to the unreformed Roman Rite communicates and reinforces significantly different understandings in all four areas. The EF continues to communicate a sharp line between the baptized and the ordained. The latter acts on behalf of the former. In it the priest can “say” all the parts of the Mass if he chooses. No need for other “ministers” save for its most solemn celebrations in which priests may assume the roles of deacons and subdeacons. It does allow for the participation of young males who can provide the responses to the priests prayers. Its manner of celebration centers around the transubstantiation of bread and wine, the only presence of Christ adverted to in this Mass. I have no doubt that all of this is carried out with reverence, beauty, and solemnity. Even majestic as in opera. When people report that this form of celebration helps them to express their love and worship of God, I have to respect that. Maybe we should just leave it at that. It may just be a matter that will always have an irresolvable dimension to it. Personally, I think SP was a mistake, but I’m just a fellow traveler.

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