“Extraordinary Form” returns – Updated

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Holy See recently clarified that the use of “Extraordinary Form” here is a proofreader’s mistake and it will be corrected (deleted).

Today, the ninth anniversary of the start of his Pontificate, Pope Francis released the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”).

So far it is only available in Italian. I gave a quick look at the section on the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Apart from the tweak in the name (the departments of the Curia are all now called “Dicasteries”), I didn’t notice much change.  Article 88 starts the section clearly stating that “the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments promotes the sacred liturgy according to the renewal undertaken by the Second Vatican Council.”

The only other noteworthy point that struck me in my first reading is that the name of “Extraordinary Form” seems to be back.  Thus solving the linguistic quandary as to how we should refer to the celebrations of the Eucharist according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII.  Article 93 says “The Dicastery deals with the regulation and discipline of the sacred liturgy as regards the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”  While there is a lot that could be said about the merits of this term, at least it gives us a common vocabulary for these debates.


Photo Credit: Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Oxford by catholicrelics.co.uk on Flickr


  1. Oh, I suspect they’ll edit that out later. The draft was probably written before TC had trickled down to all the levels of bureaucracy involved. Don’t pin too much on a single reference.

    1. Apparently a further revision is coming, incorporating the concession made to the FSSP to use the 1962 rite.

      1. Why would this need further revision, Paul? The text says it pertains to the older rites. That covers everything.

      2. Just passing on what was on Twitter, March 21: “Bishop Mellino said the redrafted section will also refer to the recent concession given by Pope Francis to the traditionalist group, the FSSP, to continue to use the pre-Vatican II liturgy.” I believe the Tablet’s Rome correspondent, Christopher Lamb.

      3. Since the concession would not necessarily only refer to the 1962 Missal but, for Holy Week, potentially the 1947 Missal (but with Pope Benedict XVI’s modification of the Intercessions for Good Friday), if the decision to continue its 2018-2020 experiment by indult is renewed.

  2. And here was poor me thinking that an Apostolic Constitution was the kind of thing that isn’t normally tweaked once it was promulgated!!!!!!!

  3. I don’t think it will happen any time soon, but I hope that before I’m too old to care, the Holy Father (who ever he may be), will have the guts to simply supress (outlaw entirely) even the 1962 Missal and sacramental rites. FSSP will just have to suck it up, make a profession of faith, including the validity and lawfulness of Vatican II etc.

    1. Oops! just stumbled on to your blog so forgive me for any misunderstanding. When I saw Mr. Woodland’s comment, I went to the Vision statement of your blog. At first, it seemed that his comment ran contrary to the statement that the blog provides: support to encourage fruitful dialogue, to build up the churches, to foster equity and just relationships. But then I realized that the Vision statement is perhaps contradictory if it is understood that the remainder of the statement is intended to disregard our two millennial heritage in favor of the recent past: to promote the conciliar, ecumenical heritage of liturgical renewal, and to serve as a prophetic voice for the modern world. I hope that before I’m too old, the Holy Father will realize that Summorum Pontificum has helped to foster fruitful dialogue and that Traditiones Custodes appears to be blocking it. Veni Spiritus Sanctus.

      1. It works both ways, of course.

        Many of us have had years — too many years — of experience of traditionalists not only being totally uninterested in dialogue but in fact intent upon attacking the rest of the Church, often in the most vitriolic terms. It has been extremely wearing over time. I view Stephen Woodland’s post as a simple venting of his frustration at this, expressing his wish that it would end once and for all.

        Having said that, this blog is one of the few places where respectful dialogue does take place, and we have seen people who started off by being diametrically opposed modify their views because they were prepared to listen to each other. There is an art to being in respectful disagreement.

        As far as Summorum Pontificum is concerned, a contributor to this group once described it as a reward for disobedience. It had the effect of increasing the self-justification and the vitriol, which is why Traditionis Custodes was seen as necessary.

      2. Most traditionalists just want to be left alone and allowed to celebrate the Mass as their fathers had for nearly 2000 years. It needs to be remembered that is has been those attached to the ancient form of the Mass who have been subject to severe restrictions, not those who are attached to the reformed Mass. If you truly wish to stop the vitriol then stop the attacks on the ancient form of the Mass and embrace those who are attached to it as your fellow Catholics. Nor should either side use the extremism found on both sides as an excuse to delegitimize the other. As has often been said before: Unity in diversity.

      3. With respect, the issue is not so much what form of liturgy people are going to celebrate with, but the very visible vitriol of the numbers of traditionalists who sneer at the rest of the Church and view them (us) as merely second-class Catholics, or even as not truly Catholic at all.

        If it hadn’t been for that, my feeling is that a lot more tolerance would have been shown. And the outpouring of yet more disgraceful vitriol in the wake of TC only serves to demonstrate the need for it.

        If only the traditionalists had thought to say “Thank you” for the various indults and papal decrees that came their way over the past fifty-something years, instead of “We have a right to this and you can’t stop us, you imitation Catholics!”, we’d be in a very different place by now, and conceivably the mutual influencing that Benedict naively thought would happen might have actually taken place in a small way.

      4. Paul,
        I cannot support vitriol from either side but you have a misstating of the problem by an order of magnitude. Yes, there have been some loud voices from the traditionalist side but you are discounting the fact that for the past 50 years it has not been just some isolated voices seeking to suppress any traditional form of worship but the entire liturgical establishment that has effectively forbidden not only the ancient form of the Mass but also any attempt at a traditional form of the new Mass.

        It has always been my position that if a traditional form of the new Mass had been widely available that there would not be now the growing interest in the ancient form of the Mass. But even this has not be tolerated, although it is fully authorized by the present Roman Missal. It is those who wish to have a traditional form of the Mass who have been made the true second-class Catholics in the Church today; in deeds and not just in words. How many of my own comments here at PrayTell have been taken down because they were deemed contrary to the spirit of Vatican II?

        And why should the vast majority of adherents to the ancient form of the Mass be punished for the excesses of a vocal minority? Most adherents to the old Mass just want to be left alone. Should the new Mass also be suppressed because of a vocal minority who seek the complete suppression of the old Mass and who charge that traditionally minded Catholics are less that true Catholics because “they reject Vatican II”?

        Paul, I will give you a challenge: work for the establishment of fully traditional form of the new Mass in your own parish, welcoming those who would seek it as full members of the parish who are in complete compliance with Vatican II. Otherwise the complaints against the vitriol from traditionalists rings hollow.

      5. I would not agree with you that it is a small but vocal minority who have caused the trouble, nor that the vast majority of adherents just want to be left alone. If that were true, we should not have seen the great energy put into proselytising that has in fact taken place on both sides of the Atlantic.

        Instead of understanding Benedict’s decree as a kind and pastoral gesture, it provoked a massive attempt by traditionalists to gather further and younger members to what Benedict had considered was a dying breed. You can read the writings of people such as the Latin Mass Society in England and the corresponding bodies in France, boasting of the increase in numbers of their adherents (numbers which, even though increased, are still miniscule in comparison with the mainstream) as proof that their cause was the only right way for the Church to proceed. And this sort of thing had been going on ever since 1969, which is one reason why the English and French bishops begged Benedict not to issue SP. They knew things would get worse, and indeed they did.

        As far as your challenge is concerned, at the instigation of the bishop the cathedral where I work has had a TLM celebration every Sunday morning for several years. The attendance barely numbers 20, and, despite the hospitality the cathedral shows them, a proportion of them are quite rude to regular parishioners arriving for the following regular parish Mass. They frequently run very late, disrupting the regular parish schedule. (Another cathedral has moved its TLM from Sunday to Wednesday for that reason.) The clergy who service the cathedral TLM celebration are well known in the neighborhood as anti-vaxxers. In their own parish, many parishioners have left because of the fundamentalism of the clergy. It has all the appearance of a splinter sect, alas, and not one of people who are “in complete compliance with Vatican II”.

      6. Why should those who favor the ancient form of the Mass be more reticent in promoting their preference than those who favor a radical reform? The fact that you object to the expansion of the ancient form of the Mass is part of the problem and reveals that you do not accept it anymore as a valid form of worship, that you do not see its adherents as equal members of the Church, characterizing them as a splinter sect. If other Catholics wish to celebrate according to the ancient form, what business it of yours as long as you are free to use the new Mass?

        How is intolerance and vitriol against against the old Mass and its adherents any different than that of the traditionalists of whom you complain? How is the position that a radical form of the new Mass is the only right way for the Church to proceed any different from a similar opinion expressed by traditionalist Catholics? Tolerance needs to be a two-way street. And how does what in the end is just rudeness compare to the actual suppression of traditional forms of the Mass that has occurred for the last 50 years? You complain about those who have left the parish because of perceived fundamentalism of the clergy. Do you have the same concern for those who have left because their own perception of excessive liberalism among the clergy?

        We now have two radically different ways to look at the liturgy. Let both forms be widely available and let the faithful attend whichever one they prefer. If either side continues to push for a maximalist, winner take all position, then there will never be peace.

        There is a growing desire for a return to a traditional form of worship. This can be satisfied either by again accepting the ancient form of the Mass as continuing to be valid or by a reform of the reform that at a minimum stops the suppression of the options that are already in the present Missal for a traditional form of worship. Radical reformers are no longer the only voice to be heard in the Church.

  4. I can’t say I am a fan of either SP or TC. SP allowed priests to ignore the wishes of their bishops and of their parishioners, though of course most traditionally minded pastors did not misuse it. TC proclaims the primacy of bishops, but in part indulges in ludicrous micro-managing by the Vatican. Both would benefit from a good dose of synodality.
    The view that 1962 was the way our forebears had worshiped for 2 millennia is mistaken. The Roman Court etiquette had been everywhere modified to bring Mass nearer to the people before it was republished in 1570. And the Council of Trent called for greater pastoral awareness, not less, particularly in its demand for liturgy based homilies. (Session 22, chapter 8)

  5. I’m no traditionalist, but if influential people were going around falsely implying that an ecumenical council had anathematized the form of liturgy which formed me, and at the same time heard them sharpening their knives as they wait for the opportunity to rid the liturgy of other approved elements (kneeling, genuflection, bells, “magic moment of consecration”, homily reserved to the ordained, etc), i’d be pretty cantankerous too.

    When you repeatedly tell people that the council fathers wanted a new missal written the contents of which would contradict the previous missal, or that Paul VI thought that the new missal had content that contradicted the old one, that’s gaslighting. If you do it long enough to someone, they will eventually snap.

    1. To me the most relevant datum in this discussion is that the final vote on Sacrosanctum Concilium was 2147 to 4. The complaint that the implementation of the reform went faster and farther than the council fathers envisioned can be answered by pointing out that it was in the hands of the national conferences to direct the implementation of that process, and they were the ones asking for more sooner. Narratives need to be based on facts.

      1. Exactly, thank you for pointing that out. If the more radical changes come from the national conferences of bishops, then they cannot be attributed to the council itself. Hence, someone who disagrees with these more radical changes asked by the national conferences shouldn’t be accused of rejecting the council.

  6. What you fail to recognize is that after the council a radical reform movement took on a life and momentum of itself. Even Archbishop Lefebvre voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium but no one can honestly argue that he desired the radical reform that came afterwards. The best, and truly the only way, to judge the intentions of the council is by the words of Sacrosanctum Concilium itself, a document which was of a compromise nature reflecting many differing views.

    That said, it must also be remembered that the recommendations of Vatican II concerning a reform of the liturgy falls under the headings of discipline and prudential judgment, not doctrine. After these 60 years it is just as fair to raise questions about them as it was to raise question about the then current liturgy during the council.

    1. I am curious about how you would know what I do and do not recognize about the history of the 20th Century liturgical reform since I lived as an adult through the conciliar and postconciliar period. I stand by my statement that the “radical reform movement” was the bishops’ conferences responding to the requests of their people for further reform as well as the guidance of scholars.

      As for Bishop Lefebvre, from my encounter with the SSPX folks, I would say that their adherence to the unreformed rite is due more to their problems with ecumenism and aggiornamento than liturgical considerations.

      In regard to the placement of liturgical reform under discipline and prudential judgment, the ecclesiology embodied in the post-Tridentine Mass if markedly different theologically from that of the post Vatican II Mass–witness again the Lefebvrists.

      1. That you admit that the “radical reform movement” was the bishops’ conferences responding to the requests of their people for further reform as well as the guidance of scholars just proves my point that this was a result of a post conciliar movement and not of the council itself. And just as the bishops at that time listened to calls for such a radical reform, they should now listen to those who wish to return to a more traditional form of worship.

        And if, as you say, there is a different ecclesiology in the post Vatican II Mass, it must be remembered that the new Mass was a product of Pope Paul VI, not of the council. The reform movement used the momentum that was started by the council to push an agenda that went beyond what the Vatican II actually called for.

        For the past 60 years a radical changes have been pushed under the alleged authority of Vatican II when in reality these changes post-dated the council. If the council itself had wished for such far-reaching changes it would had said so explicitly, and we would not be arguing today about what it meant. Just crying out “Vatican II” will no longer silence those who, like Pope Benedict, view Vatican II in continuity with the entirety of Church teaching and history.

      2. I’m afraid this betrays a total ignorance of the Liturgical Movement, which is considered to have begun properly in the early 1900s. The fiction that the Ordo Missae and Missale of 1969 were the product of Paul VI and not the Council fails to realize that both Mass and Missal were the culmination of a fifty-year long process of preparing for renewal whose roots in fact stretch back into the 18th and 19th centuries.

        The reforms were not suddenly produced like a rabbit out of a hat. Nor, as we have discussed in this forum many times, can you appeal to Sacrosanctum Concilium and say that the bishops never asked for X, Y and Z. The fact is that those same bishops did ask for those things in the years immediately following SC, and in that sense you can say that the Council continued in the succeeding years as the Consilium began its work of implementation.

      3. I am fully aware of the history of the Liturgical Movement but the Liturgical Movement and Vatican II are two separate realities, the former was only one faction present at the council. While Vatican II was clearly influenced by by the Liturgical Movement, it would be a mistake to identify the council with the movement.

        Yes, the Mass of Paul VI was the culmination of that movement that pre-dated the council, but it was still not a product of the council itself. What the council, as apposed to liturgical reformers, called for must be limited to what is stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium. This, and only this, is what the council fathers voted for. That those same bishops would subsequently embrace more radical reforms is irrelevant; people change their opinions over time. The problem, and falsehood, it trying to invest the agenda of the Liturgical Movement and the subsequent reforms with the authority of an ecumenical council, putting them beyond valid criticism. The goals and results of the post-conciliar reform may still be valid, but they do not have the authority of the council. So I stand by my statement, the new Mass was the product of Pope Paul VI, not of Vatican II.

    2. I have read that Abp Lefebvre welcomed the revised rubrics of 1965, and it is my impression that many French SSPX congregations do proclaim the scriptural readings in the vernacular within the Mass, and give liturgical homilies. I suspect that the serious mistake was the insistence in Quattuor abhinc annos by CDWDS in 1984 on a reversion to 1962, rather than maintaining Paul VI’s stance on 1967 (the Missal antecedent to the reforms of 1969).
      Of course I understand that some bishops (such as Shehan in Baltimore) had mis-used 1967 to ban the use of Latin. Which reinforces the point made elsewhere in this discussion that the wrecking was more the work of bishops than of the Council

      1. I am sorry that you misunderstood my statement. To clarify, from my lived experience I can assure you that the process of reform which the council mandated and gave general guidance for was in continuity with the subsequent postconciliar movement. Just as the Mass of Pius V was the result of the Council of Trent so the Mass of Paul VI is the result of Vatican II. The 2147 bishops who voted for SC were the ones participating in the national conferences that asked for a swifter pace of reform. Similarly, trying to distinguish between the ecclesiology of the Vatican Ii documents and that of Paul VI as expressed in the liturgical reforms requires proof rather than assertion as a hermeneutic of disruption.
        As for Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity, the reformed Mass is still the Mass, yet the vote to reform the Tridentine Mass was 2147 to 4. Clearly there was a felt need for change. I keep thinking of words that begin the letter from the Council of Jerusalem to the new Christians in Antioch: “The Holy Spirit and we have decided….” They then proceed to ask the Gentiles to show courtesy and respect to their Jewish sisters and brothers in the common meals by keeping some degree of kosher while refusing to mandate circumcision.

      2. Michael H Marchal –
        Although I largely agree with your stance on continuity, different bishops adopted quite different attitudes to the changes national conferences allowed. There was no uniformity, particularly in relation to music and to Latin. As I pointed out above, Shehan in 1967 banned any use of Latin in Baltimore, just 4 years after voting for SC with its call for the primacy of Latin in the liturgy.
        As for 1570 being what Trent called for, I disagree. In Session 22 Trent made two strong pastoral points – the desirability of general communion of the faithful at every Mass, and a norm of liturgical catechesis/homilies at every Mass with a congregation. 1570 is no more than a reprint of the existing Curial Missal, which had none of the pastoral adaptations found in the Use of normal dioceses. There is no mention whatever in the Missal of ‘feeding the sheep’ on the liturgical texts, and although the rubrics provide for the communion of the faithful, the Canon Missae barely mentions it. Both these points from Trent were repeated by SC, and substantially corrected in 1965.
        The match between SC and the 1969 Missal is clearly better.

      3. Let’s run through it again. Bishops voting on SC voted for a continuance of Latin. It was, after all, the only thing they had any real experience of. However, they also allowed the introduction of the vernacular, and, once they had experienced it, very quickly realized its pastoral benefits and so pushed for more of it as rapidly as possible.

        The actual conversion from a fully Latin liturgy to a full vernacular one was accomplished in stages in just a few years years, from 1963 to 1966. In retrospect, we might say that this was too short a period, but the enthusiasm for change was not to be denied at the time.

      4. To state that the process of reform which the council mandated and gave general guidance for was in continuity with the subsequent post-conciliar movement is to have the status of the question backwards. The question is: Was the subsequent post-conciliar movement in continuity with the reform which the council mandated? And the answer is clearly no. The reform called for by the council was clearly stated was to be of a limited nature, not a wholesale replacement. That is was so is clear from the words of the Council itself: “Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”

        This is also highlighted by two specific directions given by the council:

        1) Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

        2) The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

        All of this has been ignored by the subsequent reforms. Other than an expanded Lectionary that the council called for, I cannot see how it could be argued that the changes made by going from the reformed 1965 Missal to the Mass of Paul VI were certainly required or grew organically out from forms already existing.

        The fact that 2147 bishops voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium does not mean that they were at that time calling for the massive changes that occurred subsequently. All that it means it that they approved of the reforms contained in that document. Nor can their later calls for greater changes be read back into their votes in the council. People change their minds and after the council there arose a growing anticipation for more changes that was later embraced by many bishops. These changes may have their own merit but they were not called for by the council itself.

      5. Not to get between Mr Inwood & Fr Forte, but I would note the following:

        To some extent the pithy version of *both* sides of the liturgical wars is “history happened”. That is, what was actually promulgated liturgically after the Council – and, moreover, what happened and did not happen on the ground in particular places in the decades thereafter, was “history” in reality. That said, it is no less true that the reaction to that “history” in terms of non-acceptance of some/many of its fruits is *also* “history” in reality. To a considerable degree, the two “histories” are inextricably interwoven with it each, and, pace Traditiones Custodies, I would be quite surprised if one can be cleansed of the other, all the more as the generations vested in the Council (I am probably to be counted among the youngest of those, as my formative liturgical/sacramental youth was during the decade following SC) pass from this mortal plane.

  7. I find some of these comments fascinating in their omission of a crucial and central ecclesiological fact: Vatican II clearly articulated an ecclesiology in which the Bishop of Rome is included in the College of Bishops–successors of the apostles–to whom responsibility is entrusted for the sanctification, teaching, and governance of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. But as the Successor of Peter, as defined at Vatican I, the Pope may exercise immediate and ordinary power over the entire church. All the successors of Peter beginning with St. John XXIII and continuing through St. Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis have embraced the teachings of Vatican II including the Novus Ordo as promulgated under the authority of Paul VI. I entered seminary in 1965 after living for 24 years with the Missal of Pius V and can attest that what I have witnessed ever since in terms of liturgical development is consistent with the reform called for by SC. We normatively worship in the vernacular because Latin is a dead language. This does not mean the faithful cannot profit by the employment of Greek and Latin chants of the ordinary of the Mass on special occasions. We don’t employ Gregorian Chant because “all other things are not equal”. In the “old days” music was solely provided by choirs and scholas some of whom employed chant from time to time in parish Masses. But parishes, seldom if ever, encouraged the people to sing Gregorian chant. They didn’t encourage them to sing anything for the most part. The “low Mass” with its provision for brevity prevailed. All are entitled to their opinions but not to distinctly different facts.

    1. I am not questioning the authority of the pope and the bishops to regulate the liturgy. Rather, what I deny is that these regulations subsequent to the Vatican II are acts of the council and are thus invested with its authority. One can fully embrace Vatican II and the reform as articulated in Sacrosanctum Concilium and still take issue with the way in which this reform as implemented. The Mass of Paul VI is not a part of the teachings of Vatican II; it is an act of Pope Paul VI.

      I should also reiterate that most of my objections with the post-conciliar reforms are not even mandated by the Mass of Paul VI. Argue for these changes if you wish, but for the sake of honesty stop claiming that they are mandated by Vatican II. And stop claiming that those who object to them are rejecting Vatican II.

  8. It is a collegial act rooted in the reform called for by the council. Most of the bishops who collaborated in one manner or another on the development of the novus ordo were Council fathers. SC gave to bishops and bishops conferences the authority to regulate translations and the rites themselves, including cultural adaptations. I looked at the website of the parish where Fr. Forte serves and found nothing that acknowledges that there was an ecumenical council known as Vatican II.

    1. Are you saying that we cannot criticize the executive decisions of the bishops in implementing the reform called for by Vatican II? Are you saying that the decisions of the generation of bishops at Vatican II are irreformable by the present generation of bishops? Do you yourself accept the Mass of Paul VI as written which allows for a very traditional form of worship with Latin, Gregorian chant, worship ad oreintem, etc.?

      1. I think what disappoints me the most is the co-opting of the term “traditional” to mean the way things were in 1960. The reform came out of a developing historical awareness that in the earliest centuries of our Church’s history, Latin was the vernacular, and chant was “popular” music. Moreover, archaeological research has shown that the altar was part of the congregation’s space–otherwise why would the Roman Canon refer to the “circumstantes.”? This is our deepest tradition and Vatican II called us to reclaim it.

      2. You are confusing “traditional” with “ancient.” Traditional is not just what is older but what has been handed down through the centuries, what has been confirmed by the passage of time. The Mass that existed prior to Vatican II is what had developed over time and had been handed down in a fairly stable form for over a thousand years (and no, it was not just the creation of the Council of Trent).

        I find it interesting that you would dismiss what Vatican II explicitly affirmed, Latin and Gregorian chant. How is it that obeying the explicit teaching of Vatican II has become to be contrary to Vatican II?

        As for “circumstantes,” you are taking the word too literally. It does not mean that we must stand on all four sides of the altar, only that we are standing in the vicinity of the altar. Evidence of a screen separating the chancel from the nave goes back to at least the 5th century. This would follow the practice of the bimah in Jewish synagogues. This separation, as is mandated also in the Mass of Paul VI, is what has been handed down for at least 1500 years and this is our tradition.

  9. I find your assertion that I have confused “amcient” and “traditipnal” odd when you then claim traditional status for practices because of their antiquity. Actually, using your description of the traditional would turn ” Gone with the Wind” into a movie preserving Southern heritage at least for white Southerners.
    As for the contorted logic around Latin and chant, the implementation of Vatican 2 when the council fathers got home and the national conferences set to work seems to reveal an ongoing process rather than a disruption. My point was that both began as the living language and music of real congregations. Why should 20th and 21st Century worshippers be denied the same experience?
    Lastly in some versions the word is “circumadstantes,” those standing close around. ” The best preserved Roman basilica in this regard is the least renovated, St. Paul Outside the Walls, where the word would make quite good sense. There is ample other archaeological evidence for a lack of separation.
    The underlying issue is not antiquarianism vs. tradition but what underlying ecclesiology is shaping the building.

    1. The distinction between “ancient” and “traditional” is quite simple. Traditional is what has been handed down from the past. What is important is not just that these are ancient practices (that would just be antiquarianism) but that they have been handed down through the centuries. If you need to go back to the 8th century to find a particular practice then it has not been handed down; it has not survived the test of time and it is no longer traditional.

      As for Latin and Gregorian chant, I am just supporting what Vatican II actually declared. That the bishops disregarded this later does not show that their actions were in continuity with the council. The council sparked a movement for greater reforms than the council itself actually called for. The bishops merely followed this movement rather than the council. How can it be said that reversing the directives of the council is actually following the council? Your arguments against Latin and chant may be valid, but then you would be the one who is opposing the teaching of Vatican II, not me. Nor do I want to deny worshippers of experiencing the living language and music. I accept that these are valid options, but they are only that: options. It is the progressives in the Church who want to deny the faithful the equally valid option of the traditional use of Latin and Gregorian chant.

      This does bring up the matter of what we mean by “Vatican II.” When I speak of Vatican II I mean the council itself and its decrees. If we are to broaden the definition to include the actions of the implementation of the reform after the council, then we should make this clear by referring to it as the “Vatican II movement.” As such, however, it does not carry the authority of the council itself and is no more binding and irreformable than any other movement in the Church.

      I would suggest that you take another look at St. Paul’s. The altar is not situated in the nave but in the transept reserved to the clergy and set apart from the nave with steps.

  10. The exposition of the traditional as what has stood the test of time is a flawed analytical tool since it abstracts from concrete historical reasons for the survival of a practice. In the ancient western world people were praying an singing on their vernacular idioms. For me on the 1950’s to be mouthing their language and singing in that music happened because of specific political and theological decisions. What were they? We’re they still valid? As I said nefore, using this criterion turns “Gone with the Wind” into tradition.

    Vatican 2 was also part of a historical movement with antecedents and consequences. To ignore its historical context is to deny the best means of iOS interpretation, just as the US Supreme Court uses the Federalist Papers to interpret the Constitution.
    And may I suggest that you reconsider the layout of St. Paul’s. Because of the number of ministers, not all of them ordained, the altar would have been surrounded by people. It also faces down the nave, not because of the confession since St Mary Major has the same layout and by infallible definition there is no need for a confession there.

    1. While Latin was indeed the vernacular language in late antiquity, Gregorian chant (other than the hymns from the Office) was not popular music. It was a distinct liturgical form. And even though the use of Latin started as the use of the vernacular, that is not the end of the story. The Church, including at Vatican II, consciously decided to continue to use Latin, as well as Gregorian chant, for over a thousand years after it had ceased to be the vernacular. It is not as if the Church devised the liturgy in the 4th century and then did not think about it again until the 1960’s. The entirety of Church practice, not just that of late antiquity, must be considered.

      While Vatican II was indeed influenced by the Liturgical Movement, that was not the only voice present at the council. Nor was the Liturgical Movement itself monolithic in its goals. The council also included many who were opposed to a radical reform. Thus Sacrosanctum Concilium was a compromised document. This is highlighted by its support for Latin and Gregorian chant, as well as the caution that changes should only be made were required. It is a misreading of the council to read it only through the lens of those who advocated for a radical reform.

      As for St. Paul’s, of course there were a number of ministers who surrounded the altar. This would be true of any arrangement. I was responding to your assertion that “the altar was part of the congregation’s space.” This was clearly not true at St. Paul’s, where the altar and the sanctuary were physically demarcated from the congregation’s space. Nor does the fact that the altar looks toward the congregation signify that it was in the midst of the people. The orientation was such because it was directed toward the east, not because it was turned toward the people. Indeed, during the Eucharistic prayer the congregation would also have turned with the priest toward the east; they would not be looking at the altar. Thus the altar would have actually been behind the congregation, not in its midst.

  11. The origins of chant are unclear because of the fragile nature of the manuscripts on which the early examples were written. It is clear, though, that music was a “popular” part of Christian worship, both antiphonally and responsorially. (St. Ambrose’s metrical hymns added a whole new level of engagement.) The relationship to “pop” music of the period, what was being sung in the theaters and the taverns, seems unknowable. To say that “the Church” did such-and-such for centuries is an example of the logical fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Concrete people in specific historical situations made decisions for their era based upon their own insights–for better or worse. Vatican II is simply the latest installment of that long conversation.
    That is why there might be some justification for calling its work “compromised.” What is historically documentable is that the Fathers of the Council, when they got back home, proceeded to advance an agenda of what you, by the logical fallacy of a “petitio principii,” call a “radical” reform. (I actually like that term since its etymology is “radix,” “root,” and so much of the liturgical reform was a return to the roots of Christian worship.)
    As for St. Paul’s, the congregation was always facing the east, and the altar faces west. The assertion that the pope would have turned his back to the laity and to the altar itself for prayer needs architectural and textual justification.

    1. I don’t think one can base a sound argument on what bishops did to the liturgy after VII. Most clergy would have had a lamentably bad ‘training’ in liturgy, focused on getting the movements and gestures ‘right’ and not on meaning, either for themselves or for congregations. That is why chaos ensued so rapidly once they had freedom to think, most had no liturgical roots. This left them easily swayed by self-appointed ‘experts’. People remarked to Fr L Bouyer that it was easy to see that he was a convert, since he was interested in liturgy (and in the Bible).

    2. To say that the Church did such-and-such does not fall under the fallacy of misplaced concreteness because the Church is a corporate reality established by Christ, made up of its members and directed by its hierarchy. It is not just an abstraction of the collection of believers. Thus the statement that the Church did such-and-such is a statement of fact, just as we can say that the United States passed a law by an act of Congress. But if we are going to dismiss this collective action of the Church as merely “concrete people in specific historical situations [who] made decisions for their era based upon their own insights–for better or worse,” the same, as you have noted, can be said of Vatican II and the subsequent reform. As such it would not be binding on following generations and there would be no reason that they, based on their own insights, could not disregard and change them.

      The historical documentable fact is that the Fathers of the Council, when they got back home, proceeded to advance an agenda that was significantly different from that which was decreed by them in the council itself. This is not an example of begging the question since all one has to do is compare Sacrosanctum Concilium with what followed. Rather the conclusion is assumed when it is posited that these two agendas must be the same because they were implemented by the same bishops.

      And while the post-conciliar may claim that they are returning to the roots of Christian worship (a doubtful claim), this falsely assumes that early form of worship is the “pure form” and that the intervening development was a debasement and without merit. Again, following your own logic, such an early form of worship would mere be the result of people in specific historical situations making decisions for their era based upon their own insights and thus would not be bind on us today.

  12. This post is based on another logical fallacy, argumentum ad hominem. Bishops and clergy are denigrated as a group with little evidence, and the knowledgeable are labeled self-appointed experts, despite distinguished careers in academia. Leaving aside the repeated and varied fallacies, I keep asking myself where is the love.

    1. The contrary is also an argument ad hominem: that those who disagree with the conclusions of the post-conciliar reformers are uneducated and do not understand Vatican II. As is the assumption that those who are advocating a radical reform are the ones who are knowledgeable a logical fallacy of a “petitio principii.” Indeed, where is the love?

    2. It is not denigrating clergy (including bishops) to say that they had been carefully trained in the performance of a rigidly defined ritual, but not encouraged to think about the development of liturgy. Or that they had been generally discouraged from any form critical thinking about scripture before Divino Afflante Spiritu, as Providentissimus Deus had been overtaken by the extirpating of modernism. It is just a description, in line with the testimony of Bouyer and Knox, both of whom were genuine experts, both of whom had been clerics before becoming Catholics, and retraining as Catholic priests. They could make the comparison of training programs from their own experience.

  13. I actually wonder how pertinent a discussion about the legitimacy of decisions in the 1960s is for the current pastoral situation. Most Catholics today grew up after the conclusion of Vatican II, which is for them an event of the past, just like the Council of Trent or Lateran V, not a defining moment of their biography.

    It appears that – besides the large group of those who were baptised as Catholics and either never took up going to Mass regularly or gave up doing so – there are quite a few active Catholics who became increasingly disenchanted with the Novus Ordo liturgy familiar to them, discovered that the Pre-Vatican-II liturgy and experienced that it provided richer nourishment for their souls. This is hardly a question of the legitimacy of decisions more than 50 years ago, but a question of meeting spiritual needs of Catholics living today.

    Two questions come out of it. The first is pastoral: How will the Church will deal with the faithful who felt spiritually starved by the liturgy introduced in 1969 and hence consciously walked away from it and found a more helpful alternative in the Pre-Vatican-II liturgy? Secondly, does God want to tell anything to his Church through the growing numbers of the faithful, but also of young priests, seminarians, and religious, who made the decision to attend largely or exclusively the Pre-Vatican-II liturgy?

    1. But there were good reasons why at VII a Council repeated demands made by the Council of Trent, but not implemented in the Missal of 1570 or any revision until 1965 in the light of VII. [ SC#35(2); SC#52: Trent Session XXII ch viii ] Spiritual starvation was exactly what both councils complained about. “lest the hungry sheep look up and are not fed “. I see the subsequent malpractice as due to the same inadequate liturgical grounding as made the usual parish performance I remember before 1962 generally unsatisfying. It is not inherent in the prayers, readings, etc. of either 1570 or 1969 but in the ars celebrandi, particularly in the manner of engaging with the congregation. (I would follow with the parable of the beauty contest, but it is no longer Politically Correct, so I just quote the punch line “both are worse”)

      1. It is not only the case that many faithful walk away from the Post-Vatican-II liturgy but also that some of them then find a home in communities celebrating the liturgy in its Pre-Vatican-II form.

        Do you think that the priests offering this form have in average a higher standard of Ars celebrandi so that they attract the faithful to a form of liturgy they had never encountered beforehand?

      2. Berthold – I do think that, in general, priests celebrating the VO these days have thought more deeply about liturgy than those celebrating the NO, and much more deeply than they would have done, on average, when I was a child 70 years ago.
        Serving Mass for several different monks it was obvious that some had a more considered attitude than others. Years later I came across the obituary of Fr G., which included “for him the Mass was the still centre of a turning world”, and I thought ‘exactly’, it was evident just in the tone and movement with which he celebrated Low Mass at a side altar in the Abbey.
        But I do not think that personal style of the celebrant is the main reason for a preference for the VO, a preference which I do not myself share.

  14. A thread that never dies … A few comments.

    The notion that the Church emerged solid and ready for a statue niche on 8 Dec 1965 swims against the intention of the Council as a starting point. Not an end product popping out of a mold.

    More illustrative than the interim 1965 rituals would be to study the whole of the post-conciliar documents, 1964-1970. A reader gets a fuller picture of the immediate years after Vatican II and exactly what the pope, curia, and bishops were doing.

    Complaints about how badly the reform was implemented are many. Pastoral insensitivity and a lack of interpersonal abilities probably were at least as much to blame as a lack of liturgical education.

    Raising the issue of ars celebrandi is important. In order to access it, one has to be an artist. Some study and a broad appreciation across the arts would be helpful. I suspect that communities of any sort, traditional or wildly progressive, are fruitful not because of good liturgy alone. I’ve visited many parishes with average liturgy that are alive. It is a function of a clear mission and a broad buy-in from the parishioners. Some of these communities worship in traditional ways. Others, especially many in the late 60s and 70s pushed the boundaries on liturgical experimentation. They were fruitful because leadership identified pastoral priorities and the people bought into it.

    If we want a church that is alive, liturgy is not the first place to look. There needs to be a mission.

    1. There also needs to be a strong, welcoming and engaged community that demonstrates the fruits of the liturgy they celebrate.
      But these EF centred threads grind over the same ground to a point that is beyond tiresome.

    2. Tiresome things are the opportunities for the gift of patience, not only with others, but also with ourselves as co-sufferers of the human condition, and with God who does not wave a magic wand over it.

      1. The call for synodality is a call to give the actual corporate reality of the Church a voice after the long years in which some portion on the hierarchy had become the voice of the “Church.” (misplaced concreteness)
        Questioning those who disagreed with the post council jar adaptations is not an argument um ad hominem if it asks for their credentials. And though liturgical trading had focused on rubrics, the liturgical movement was decades old, and the Piano reform of Holy Week in the Fifties revealed that theologically and historically based change was a possibility.
        And I think it would be fair too say that those who have hypostasized a ritual into an almost Platonic “pure form” are the Tridentine Mass advocates. Consulting antiquity makes sense if it is the last period in which full, conscious and active participation by the whole group gathered for a service.
        As for those who walked away, for decades they were in general schismatics.

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