Some liturgical commentators who once called for pluralism and ‘reform of the reform’ have hardened their views. Where they once held that Summorum Pontificum established two legitimate and equal forms of the Roman Rite, and that mutual (two-way) enrichment of the two forms was possible, the most ardent ‘traditionalists’ – and they proudly own that label — now believe that the only effective ‘reform of the reform’ would be the abolition of what is now called the Ordinary Form, and its replacement by some version of the older Mass.
Fr Thomas Kocik set out this perspective in a 2014 New Liturgical Movement essay, in which he describes how his own thinking changed, to the point of believing that
the ‘reform of the reform’ is not realizable because the material discontinuity between the two forms of the Roman rite presently in use is much broader and much deeper than I had first imagined. …
To draw the older and newer forms of the liturgy closer to each other would require much more movement on the part of the latter form, so much so that it seems more honest to speak of a gradual reversal of the reform (to the point where it once again connects with the liturgical tradition received by the Council) rather than a reform of it.
Fr Kocik was careful to note, in a follow-up posting, that he was not questioning the legitimacy or orthodoxy or sacramental efficacy of the reformed rites. But others have come close to doing so, labeling the Mass of Paul VI as “diseased”, “deeply flawed”, the product of ignorant, arrogant “eggheads”, etc. The normative Mass may be “valid”, they say; it even may convey some spiritual benefit to those who participate; but there is virtually nothing about it that represents an improvement from ‘the traditional Latin Mass.’
But which traditional Latin Mass? To put it another way – and this is the focus of this posting – when did the irreformable ruptures actually take place? If a ‘traditionalist’ pope were to be elected, how far back would he have turn the liturgical clock to restore continuity? Fr Kocik, in a comment to his first posting, writes
Leaving aside the question whether the ‘Novus Ordo’ should be abolished or simply left to go its own way, the ‘reset point’ would be 1965. In abbeys such as Barroux and Fontgombault, experiments have been made in this direction.
Pray Tell readers, what year or what era, defined as narrowly as possible, do you see as the ‘reset point’?
Please weigh in, but please focus on this question alone.
Some believe that no rupture ever took place, and that the two forms of Mass remain as parallel, equally valuable expressions of the Church’s beliefs and tradition. Others – I am one of them — hold that a substantive change did take place, one that was necessary and good. Some ‘traditionalists’ assert that a deep change happened, but a bad one. Let’s leave all of that out of the discussion, focusing only on when, or over what period, the rupture, if there was a rupture, actually happened. Was it Pope Pius X’s liturgical reforms? Or those of Pope Pius XII – which, after all, were influenced by Annibale Bugnini? The Second Vatican Council itself? The Mass of 1965? Or the normative Mass as we know it today, promulgated a few years later? Or did the changes arrive in centuries before the 20th?
If you believe that a positive change did take place, how far back could the clock be turned without losing those benefits? If you believe that there was an irreformable rupture, what, to use Fr Kocik’s term, is the most recent ‘reset point’ that would restore the value of the Mass?
Disquisitions about the value of the reform, positive or negative, are off-topic and a distraction from this discussion; there are plenty of other places to hold them.