“… banality masquerading as modernity…”

In Il Giornale 2 July 2007 there is a piece by a non-Catholic noting some of the dopey things in the media coverage of the Motu Proprio to derestrict the older form of Mass.

The author points out that the MP is not a retreat into the past, as some opponents of the MP are claiming.  It is not a move against the Council.  Instead, use of the older Mass can be not a refusal of the Council, but rather a validation of the value of our tradition, lest the riches of our past by lost in modernization.

However, the sort of modernization we face today is really more of a banalization.  Mass is not like reading a Harry Potter book.  Mass is not just formulas or incantations.  

The use of the old Mass will allow (perhaps "push") the dialogue of present and past to move forward. 

 

Il Giornale 2 July 2007

Messa in latino, ritorno al futuro
di Maria Giovanna Maglie

Da non cattolica attenta a quel che fa Papa Ratzinger sulla scena mondiale e nello spirito dell’Occidente, ho notato alcune sciocchezze dette negli ultimi giorni sul ritorno alla messa in latino, il motu proprio.
La Messa in latino nessuno l’ha mai tolta. Il Concilio Vaticano II non ha mai eliminato la Messa in latino, ma ha permesso che venisse celebrata nelle varie lingue, e così è stato. Con Paolo VI si fecero i nuovi messali, che contenevano le indicazioni del rinnovamento liturgico conciliare, e tra queste c’era anche quello in latino, che lo stesso Papa Giovanni Paolo II ha rinnovato con la «Editio typica» nel 2002. Ciò che non era più permesso usare era invece il messale, il libro con le indicazioni di «rubrica», i gesti, i movimenti, le posizioni, di Pio V. La riforma liturgica aveva infatti sfrondato molte cose, aveva rivolto l’altare al popolo, aveva semplificato alcuni passaggi, anche se sostanzialmente la Messa non cambiava.
Per usare il messale di Pio V era necessario uno speciale indulto della Santa Sede. Perché? Dopo il Concilio, la corrente contraria alle riforme, che riteneva questa svolta della Chiesa un danno, aveva preso come paradigma proprio l’uso del messale di Pio V e della messa secondo il vecchio stile «con le spalle girate», proprio per girare le spalle al Vaticano II. Basti un nome: Mons. Lefebvre. Ciò che dice il documento di Benedetto XVI è che chiunque lo desideri, può usare ancora il messale di Pio V, senza dover chiedere l’indulto della Santa Sede. Tutto qui.
Il documento di Benedetto XVI va dunque letto come un documento «moderno» e non come un’inversione di marcia: basta avere il coraggio di guardare e di conoscere le cose prima di parlarne. Innanzitutto, dopo quaranta anni dal Concilio, la corrente che si schierava e si dichiarava totalmente contraria al Concilio Vaticano II si è ormai spenta: lo spirito della riforma non viene intaccato. L’uso del messale di Pio V, invece di quello di Paolo VI, in questi quaranta anni ha assunto una valenza totalmente diversa: dall’essere gesto simbolico di rifiuto del Concilio Vaticano, all’essere una rivalutazione della tradizione dentro lo spirito del Concilio, affinché la ricchezza del passato non vada persa nella modernizzazione. Questo Papa, da grande e fine teologo quale è, fa fare un passo avanti a tutti, e a un livello profondo. Se la Messa è un mistero, non ci si può perdere in una mentalità pop alla Harry Potter. Non si può dire che con un determinato libro «di formule» è valida, e con le formule vecchie invece l’incantesimo non funziona più. La mentalità «magica» non ha nulla a che vedere con la liturgia. Il mistero della presenza di Dio, per chi ci crede, è una cosa molto più seria.
Questo è un grande passo all’interno della Chiesa, perché chiude uno «scisma» che si era aperto dopo il Concilio: l’arroccamento della tradizione contro lo spirito della riforma. Si rimettono le cose al loro posto, e la modernità e la tradizione tornano a dialogare. Resta solo un piccolo accenno, che sembra puramente di stile, ma in realtà è portatore di una verità profonda. Oggi il pericolo più grosso della Chiesa è esattamente opposto a quello del dopo-Concilio: è la sciatteria mascherata da «rinnovamento conciliare», è la banalità mascherata da modernità. Come ama dirmi un amico sacerdote e intellettuale, perché le chiese «moderne» devono essere così brutte, le chiese antiche così disordinate, e quelli che frequentano la parrocchia devono presentarsi tanto male, così infagottati e dimessi? Perché sacro è tanto spesso sinonimo di sdolcinato, la misura di banalità, l’ordine di rigidità, la semplicità di noia? Perché essere moderni vuol dire essere condannati alla sciatteria? Solo una modernità che stia ben salda sulle sue radici, può guardare in faccia il futuro. Attenti allora alle sottigliezze che va introducendo il pianista Ratzinger, è molto più moderno di quanto sembri! Forse non lo sarà come immagine, ma lo è come contenuto. Cosa serve di più oggi alla Chiesa che deve sfidare i Mostri, l’immagine o il contenuto?
Maria Giovanna Maglie

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29 Responses to “… banality masquerading as modernity…”

  1. Jason says:

    Couldn’t it be said that the Motu Proprio is an act of obedience to the Council? Sacrosanctum Concilium says: “Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.” It seems to me that the Holy Father is just preserving and fostering this lawfully acknowledged rite.

  2. Maureen says:

    Besides, Harry Potter uses big words and stuff. Like “thwart”.

  3. Maureen says:

    Just like using chant and polyphony and Latin, and teaching the people to sing, is obeying the wishes of the Council. Heck, we need to print up Vatican II quote t-shirts, all the stuff that’s in Vatican II we need to obey. Maybe a whole list of “things that are in Vatican II that parochial school never taught you”

    Btw, Harry Potter uses big words and stuff. Like “thwart”.

  4. Maureen says:

    You could put the bibliography and footnotes on the back of the shirt. :)

  5. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr Z.,

    If you ever want to set up a second blog, how about WDTSVCRS:
    “What did the Second Vatican Council really say”?

  6. Does this mean that it’s just as banal in Italian as in English?

  7. whoah says:

    Of course the MP isn’t against the will of the Council. After all, all Vatican II called for a reform of the Roman Rite. Well, the Rite was reformed. That doesn’t mean that that reformed Rite necessarily has to be used in perpetuity. After all, if the TM was laid aside after 1500 years, what’s to say that the NO hasn’t outlived its usefulness after 40? Thus, we could get lay aside the entire NO and not contradict the will of the Council at all.

  8. Domenico says:

    In 1955 I was a young pupil in the elementary school of a small village in the north of Italy. While the teacher was striving to teach me Italian as my first foreign language – at home we spoke only dialect -, the parish priest managed to teach me ‘the answers’ of the Mass in Latin. I can still remember these ‘answers’ (Introibo ad altarem Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat animam meam.) and the feeling of awe during the Mass. At the time we had three priests in the parish. The main events of the village were the funerals with the solemn Mass ‘sung by three priests’. At the time we were involved in a liturgical reform, that of the Holy Week. One of the priests was in charge of the youth and in particular of the ‘Little Clergy’ and of his instruction. And we managed to have splendid liturgies. We even participate in competitions: I remember that we were asked to serve a Mass of a Prelate. We did not win.
    Some year later, I remember a young priest boasting about being able to say the still-Tridentine Mass in 15 minutes or even less. The time of the great escape of the priests and of the careless liturgy was approaching. Now in my village we have a part-time priest for the Mass in Sundays (in Italian Domenica sounds better, from ‘Dies Dominica’). The Mass is not prepared and the result corresponds.
    I am sorry to have bother you with my bad English. I have tried to make a point: painstaking pastoral work can obtain good liturgies even from the Novus Ordo. But in my village it could even happen that the sparse attendance would not notice that the priest has changed the language.

  9. As Pope John Paul told the monks of Barroux,the allowance of the prior liturgical forms was nothing more than carrying out the wishes of the Council that “all the rites of the church be preserved”. I always wanted to draw up a list of “Things VII said but you will never hear”.Included would be “latin remains the langhuage of the Latin rite”,”Gregorian chant has pride of place”,and “Those who know that the Catholic church is the Church of Christ but who will not enter it or who leave it CANNOT BE SAVED”.

  10. Stu says:

    Francis Brennan said: “What did the Second Vatican Council really say”?

    Wouldn’t that be something!

  11. Dana Cole says:

    I’m all for the T-shirt with quotes from Sacrosanctum Concilium. While we’re at it, how about lobbying for a new translation of the Council documents? The only translations in existence are from the 1970’s, and a fresh translation might shed even more light.

  12. Irulats says:

    What DOES the prayer really say?

    What DID the Second Vatican Council really say?

    What WILL the Motu Proprio really say?

  13. swmichigancatholic says:

    Even a non-catholic can see how stupid the objections to the classical mass are.

  14. john says:

    please help us at st agnes–we are being “sold down the river”–

    fr ubel is taking more– sacraments away from us –

  15. danphunter1 says:

    Francis,
    Read “Iota Unum”,by Romano Amerio,along with the documents of VII and you will see what the Council really said.
    God bless you.

  16. dan: And what translation of the V2 documents do you use?

  17. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    The translation I use is entitled,”The Documents of Vatican II”,The Message and Meaning of the Ecumenical Council.
    The General Editor is:Walter M. Abbott,S.J.
    The Translation Editor is:The Very Rev. Msgr.Joseph Gallagher.
    It was printed in 1966 with the Nihil Obstat:Felix F.Cardegna S.J.
    Imprimatur:Lawrence Cardinal Shehan,Archbishop of Baltomore,Feb 14,1966.
    Copyright 1966 by the America Press.
    Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 66-20201 an Angelus Book.
    God bless you.

  18. Dear Dan ,It was the late John Cardinal Wright who pointed out the lapses and mistakes of the Abbott translation especially in the opening address of VII by Blessed John XXIII.Abbott omits a section or rather one line of the talk which would have placed the talk in conformity with VI.It had to do with the updating of doctrine and the ommitted section states that the doctrine must have the same meaning as it always had.This omission caused great havoc in religious education in the late 60s and the 70s and continued until the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  19. danphunter1 says:

    Father Mcafee,
    Thank you very much.I did not know that the Abbott translation carried that much clout.
    What a shame.
    I shall no longer use Father Abbotts translation.For shame, a Jesuit should know better.
    Father can you recommend the exact translation for me and anyone else?
    Also Father,there must have been some carry over to the new Catechism as regaurds leaving things out.See CCC 2447 under The Spiritual Works of Mercy.The Catechism states them very differently than what the Church has always taught.
    The Catechism only says that the Spiritual Works of Mercy are:
    Instructing
    Advising
    Consoling
    Comforting
    forgiving
    Bearing wrongs patiently.
    I ask you Father:Instructing what?
    Advising whom
    Rather the Church has always taught:
    To give Counsel to the Doubtful
    To instruct the Ignorant
    To Comfort the Afflicted
    To Forgive Offenses
    To bear patiently the troublesome
    To pray for the living and the dead
    To Admonish Sinners.
    This is very different as well as less ambiguous and more presise,not to mention changes drastically what the newer Catechism says.
    Why do you think this is,Father?
    God bless you

  20. John V says:

    Dan

    The documents of Vatican II in English can be found on the Holy See’s web site at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/index.htm.
    Perhaps Fr. Z can comment on the quality of that translation and/or suggest others that have been published. Unfortunately, the Abbott/Gallagher seems to be the most widespread and readily available.

    John V

  21. danphunter1 says:

    John V
    Thank you sir.
    Father:I am sorry about the change of subject,but I have a brief question.
    In, Gaudium et Spes 14 the quote runs as follows,”By the almost universal consent of believers and non-believers alike,all things on earth should be directed towards MAN as their center and culmination”,and
    Gaudium et Spes 24:
    Man”is the only creature on earth that God willed for ITS own Sake”
    Now Father are these statements mistranslated in the Abbott edition of the Documents or is this what the Council actually said? Because they are untrue.
    All things on earth should be directed towards GOD as their center and culmination,not man
    And further God willed man for GODS own sake,not the anthropocentric man for mans own sake.
    I hope that the above is just a mistranslation of Gaudium et Spes,because otherwise it is wrong.

  22. danphunter1 says:

    Correction,
    The first quote is from #12 not #14 in Gaudium et Spes.
    I am sorry.
    God bless.

  23. Dan,The quotes from the catechism are not at variance with the faith.Just because they do not resemble what you or I were taught in the United States does not mean that a shorter version is suspect.As for the quotes fro Gaudium et Spes,I believe that the statement of man being the only creture created for its own sake would be interpreted this way.All the created tings we see were created for some external purpose eg.animals were created fro many reasons one of which is to provide food for man.But man is the only creature that God created for its own sake not for the sake of another created thing.Of course we know from Scripture and our faith that all creation was made for the glory of God,but the statement doesn’t contradict that fact.However,Gaudiem et Spes is the one document that has caused many interpretations.It is pollyannish and somewhat naive as well as wordy. On EWTN on reflecting on the Council,two men who were there,Cardinal Dulles and Archbishop Hannan both said that the documents were written in a style that seemed to relish verbiage.That is why it is said that Pope Benedict adheres to Lumen Gentium as the major document.My personal opinion is that many good things can be found in the documents but you have to wade through excessive optimism,contradictions,and confusiong statements to find them.

  24. danphunter1 says:

    Father McAfee,
    Thank you for the insight.It helps to clarify those statements made in Gaudium et Spes
    It is to bad that the document is ambiguous,and not that concise.
    One can see how there would be varying ways to read the document,and then a misapplication of its words.
    Sacrosanctum Concilium,also, seems to be rife with similiar misleading directives and ambiguous statements.
    Maybe the Holy Father will someday clarify and make more precise, exactly what was intended at the Council
    Again thank you,I have never before, heard an explanation like the one you have given.
    God bless you,and your Priesthood.

  25. danphunter1 says:

    Father McAfee,
    I apologize for taking up your good time,but I see that you are the pastor at St.Johns in McLean Virginia.My wife and I live in Northern,North Carolina,Hillsbourough to be exact.
    We assist at the only indult Classical rite in NC,but it is a 2 hour drive one way and as I have mentioned before my wife finds this drive very painful owing to advanced rheaumatoid arthritis.
    My question is Father,do you offer the Classical Rite mass?
    There are many people,Catholics and protestants who would love to assist at this mass but find the long drive very difficult.
    Could you possibly offer it down here in Hillsbourough,after the Motu Proprio is issued?
    We love the church that we assist at mass at,and the pastor is one of the great priests in the world,but again the drive has become excruciating for more dear wife.
    Needless to say,Father,we would make it worth your while.
    God bless and thank you.

  26. Legisperitus says:

    Dan,

    For a more faithful translation of the Vatican II documents, try the Austin Flannery edition at http://www.amazon.com/Vatican-Council-II-Conciliar-Documents/dp/0918344395/ref=sr_1_1/105-1415184-0803619?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183499043&sr=1-1

  27. Nathan says:

    I’m fascinated by the conversation in the combox, largely because I think it’s indicative of a sea change in the public conversation among Catholics in the past ten years. I can’t imagine, say in 1997, a public discussion where a priest (and pastor) in the mainstream, however devoted to Tradition, would be engaging in a respectful give and take with a layman committed to the Traditional Mass and (I hope I’m not being incorrect or offensive) sympathetic to the Traditionalist movement.

    I’m also fascinated by the fact that Catholics of good will are looking at and talking about both the pros and the cons of the Second Vatican Council and the content of its documents. I can’t imagine any public conversation ten years ago where anyone in the mainstream would point to the wordiness and over-optimism of Gaudium et Spes or suggest that anything from the Council was anything less than the full flowering of the “New Springtime,” or that someone who frequents the Traditional Mass would consider anything from the Council as less than a time-bomb out to destroy the Faith.

    Perhaps that is the true fruit of the Holy Father’s approach to liturgy and to the council—Deo Gratias!

    BTW, Father McAfee, I saw your name on a plaque as pastor in the church where I now go to the Traditional Latin Mass—I hope and pray that you can now appreciate the fruits of your pastoral work that have now ripened in that parish. God bless you and your hard work for souls.

    In Christ,

  28. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I found this, courtesy of the Creative Minority Report blog

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2007/06/motu-proprio-signals-new-dark-ages.html
    _____________________________________________

    Friday, June 29, 2007
    Motu Proprio Signals a New ‘Dark Ages’

    If you can’t beat them, join them. (Note: For those satirically challenged, please see the definition of parody)

    Rome — Pope Benedict, a former Hitler youth, will tell Roman Catholic priests in coming days that they can say mass in Latin— a dead language the no one knows anymore—as a concession to right wing extremists in the church, known as traditionalists.

    The decree by the Pope, a former Hitler youth, is known as a Motu Proprio. This cryptic latin phrase can be loosely translated “I can do whatever I want because I am the Pope and you can’t stop me.”

    The Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine mass, is a product of the ‘dark ages’ and was understandably jettisoned by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The latin mass is said by the priest with his back to the congregation whispering secret prayers that only he can understand. In the Tridentine mass the laity does not participate at all , so they often turn to knitting, macramé, or checkers to pass the time.

    The move by the Pope, a former Hitler youth, has raised concern about reviving parts of the old liturgy that Jews consider anti-Semitic, gays consider homo-phobic, women consider sexist, dwarves consider anti-dwarfic (communion rails are too high), and priests consider too difficult to learn.

    The publication of this document is to be accompanied by a letter from the Pope, a former Hitler youth, to individual bishops explaining why he is doing this against their will and better judgment.

    French Cardinal Singe de Reddition commented, “We are très disturbed by this action by the Pope, a former Hitler youth. We are très, très upset about this. We just managed to get all these people to stop coming to church and we are très afraid that the Churches will fill up again. If that happens, the rest of Europe is sure to look down on us, you know, the way we look down on everyone else.”

    It is widely believed that the Pope, a former Hitler youth, is restoring the mass as a copout to the right wing group known as Lefebvrists and that this constitutes a complete rejection of all the reforms of Vatican II.

    It remains unclear at this time, since the exact contents of the documents are still unknown, how long it will be before the Church sets up the Inquisition again. Details should be available in “a few days.”

  29. danphunter1 says:

    Mr Bennett,
    Excellent!