Fr. Bux responds to the “not enough Scripture” argument against TLM

A bit late, but better than never, which is often the case when I am on the road, I picked up the this interesting piece from our friends at Rorate who do such a splendid job.  The original is in Italian from FIDES.

You often hear critics of the TLM and Summorum Pontificum say that the Novus Ordo is superior because it is far "richer" in use Scripture Scripture.

There are various ways to approach that claim.  First, one might observe that the odler form certain had plenty of Scripture but not so much that people couldn’t remember it.  Second, Mass isn’t a didactic moment.  Etc.

Fr. Bux – remember that name – has more views, along with Fr. Vitiello, as the comment on "Words of Doctrine", timely because of the Synod.  I have added emphases.  Maybe comments later.

As the Synod on Holy Scripture is opened by Pope Benedict XVI in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, a good article on the forms of the Roman Rite and the Scripture readings.


WORDS OF DOCTRINE
Two theories born of Biblicism
Fr. Nicola Bux and Fr. Salvatore Vitiello


Some say that the post-Conciliar Mass is richer in Readings and Eucharistic Prayers, while the Missal said of Pius V would be poorer and less accurate. The theory is anachronistic since it fails to consider four centuries of distance; it is as if we were to say the same about "Sacramentaries" some centuries earlier than that of Pius V. What is more, it is forgotten that the pericopes of the Pius V Missal were formed on the basis of old capitularies with epistles, such as St Jerome’s Liber comitis– dated 471 - or with Gospel pericopes ; a tradition in common with the Church of the East, as the Byzantine liturgy still shows today.

Secondly, the brief readings help memorize the essential and express the sobriety of the Roman Rite. Some even go as far as to say that the Extraordinary Form of the only Latin Rite gives too little emphasis to the presence of Christ in the Word, when the latter is proclaimed in the assembly; in this case the liturgy loses its very essence, the ‘two tables’ – in Dei Verbum, n. 21, there would appear to be only “one” – forming one act of worship!

It is said that the Missal of the Council of Trent moves in a vision far from the tradition of the Church Fathers; that the Missal was planned for the priest only, not for the participation of the assembly because the congregation is merely irrelevant. In fact, it is said that the priest celebrates on his own and so does the congregation; they say the Mass of Paul VI is quite different because it is not the priest who celebrates but the Church, sacramentally present in the assembly, of which the priest, by reason of order, is the natural president.

This position is considerably problematic because it reduces everything to Word and Assembly. However “Jesus is not just the teacher, but also the redeemer of the whole person. The Jesus who teaches is, at the same time, the One who saves ” (J.Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, Gesù di Nazaret, p. 65) and this comes about effectively only through the Eucharistic Sacrament.

Another theory, widespread due to the customary phenomenon of substitution and exchanging one thing with another, is to equal the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament with the presence of the Word in the Book of the Scriptures: the latter presence takes place only “when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 7). It is necessary to reaffirm that Christ’s presence in the Word exists on two conditions: when it is read out “in the Church assembly ”, not privately, and when Sacred Scripture is ‘read’. Therefore the holy book placed on the lectern or the altar is not sufficient for this presence.

To conclude, it is more than ever urgent for preaching and catechesis to return to making the proper distinction between Revelation, Word of God and Sacred Scripture which, although closely connected, are not equivalent. At times in fact, not without surprise, we see in this regard considerable confusion and not only among the lay faithful. Some even think that the Bible is to be interpreted with the Bible and not, as the Catholic Church has always held, with Tradition and by faithful listening to the Magisterium.


_________________________
FIDES translation, adapted according to the Italian original.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Fr. Bux responds to the “not enough Scripture” argument against TLM

  1. Ioannes Andreades says:

    In Alucuin Reid’s book on the development of the liturgy, he mentions that reorganization of the gospels in the N.O. lectionary was perhaps an example of inorganic development. Worth considering.

    I have to admit that the first reading, usually Hebrew Bible, is often just kind of floated out there without any context. Most of the time the epistle and gospel progress in sequence week to week. Homilists rarely dwell on the first reading, as if it’s meaning and relevance are completely obvious.

    Although I like the idea of the responsorial psalm, recovered from centuries past (being the archaeologizer that I am), its placement between the first and second readings seems problematic to me at least, as historically it had been between epistle and gospel. Hearing more verses of a psalm than the gradual used to provide seems welcome to me.

    All the same, it would be interesting to hear about the reasons why the Council Fathers desired a wider and more varied selection of Biblical readings.

  2. Tina in Ashburn says:

    This is good. I’d like to see this thought better developed. Many do miss the fact that much of the running text [for lack of a better term] in the EF is scripture-based. I’ve read the conjecture, without the time to compare the text myself, that the EF actually has more Scripture than the OF.

    It is interesting that scripture quotes per se, are not an end unto itself in the Mass. Scripture must be taken into context of purpose, tradition, revelation, interpretation. Where did I see it written that scripture is a result of tradition, not the other way ’round.

  3. Laszlo Dobszay makes the point in his excellent book “The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform” that the quantity of Scripture in the Novus Ordo does not make up for the quality of the selections in the Traditional Mass.

    Some years you get a more abbreviated form of a Gospel which leaves out intimate details about the event because of the differences between what the Evangelists emphasized.

  4. Maureen says:

    Re: context of the first reading –

    Is the context supposed to be provided, initially, by the introit, and then filled in by the priest in the homily?

    Re: hearing more of a psalm –

    But do we? A lot of times when the psalm is sung, we end up cutting it short on orders from Father to keep it down to 2 verses, or similar. Also, a lot of psalm settings leave out the concepts they find “inconvenient” or politically incorrect.

    Of course, the main problem is that nobody ever mentions the idea of reading the psalms as Jesus’ prayers; and many people are never told that the readings are meant to be tied together by concepts and prophecy. (But we’re so much smarter and better educated than churchgoers in the past!)

    Re: distinctions between revelation, Word of God, and Scripture

    This sounds very interesting. What is the distinction? (I wish they wouldnt’ put out cliffhangers like this, if they’re not going to include a weblink….)

  5. Some say that the post-Conciliar Mass is richer in Readings and Eucharistic Prayers, while the Missal said of Pius V would be poorer and less accurate.

    I doubt you’ll ever hear such a statement from anyone who’s equally familiar with both missals. Typical of comments I’ve heard from priests who celebrate both the older and newer forms is the article “A new look at the old Mass” by Fr. Kenneth Myers (diocesan priest and chaplain of the Pittsburgh TLM community) in the March 2007 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. In regard to the lectionary question he says

    “Yet another complaint lodged against the TLM is its dearth of Scripture texts in comparison with the new rite. I have been celebrating the ancient rite of Mass for fourteen years now so I have some experience with its lectionary and Scripture passages. ….. In fact, my understanding of Scripture and delving into its meaning has never been as keen as it has become through studying the Scripture texts of the Traditional Latin Mass. I might add that the traditional Mass provides a wealth of passages from the Bible in its Introit, Offertory, and Communion antiphons, as well as its Tracts, Graduals, and Alleluias. These deserve study and prayerful reflection and are almost entirely missing from the new rite of Mass.”

  6. Mitch says:

    This may be a case where someone can argue Less IS More…..I agree that there may be less scripture readings in the EF but they can be retained and entrenched….In the NO I feel bombarded with information……Same can be said for the arguement for the retention of a one year calander….It just seems to make sense to come accross something once a year, like a holiday, Do you want to celebrate Christmas in Year A, Easter in Year C, etc?

  7. m.a. says:

    “I have to admit that the first reading, usually Hebrew Bible, is often just kind of floated out there without any context. Most of the time the epistle and gospel progress in sequence week to week. Homilists rarely dwell on the first reading, as if it’s meaning and relevance are completely obvious”

    **************

    I have to disagree with you there. The first reading more often than not, has a connection to the Gospel reading. The homilist usually makes that connection during his homily.

    There are times when the second reading (epistle) is the reading that often stands alone. The psalm also connects more often than not, with the first reading.

  8. What makes said argument so much more absurd is that it stands the principle of “lex orandi lex credendi” on its head. There was a liturgical tradition before there was a Bible or a Creed, and it was to the liturgical tradition that the Fathers and Councils referred when defining exactly what the Bible and the Creed should say.

    The strongest argument for including this or that book in the canon of Scripture was that it was commonly used in the liturgy.

    So to replace the liturgical lectionaries, for the sole purpose of including more of the Bible is absurd, because it is only through the traditional lectionaries that the Church has every really known what the Bible is.

    More thoughts.

  9. m.a. says:

    It just seems to make sense to come accross something once a year, like a holiday, Do you want to celebrate Christmas in Year A, Easter in Year C, etc?

    I don’t think that can happen, can it. The Liturgical year (whichever cycle) begins on the First Sunday of Advent and continues until the next First Sunday of Advent. Sooooo, all the readings emcompass the liturgical year. By having a 3-year cycle, one gets to hear much more of Scripture than if only one cycle is used.

  10. Nathan says:

    I’ve heard some traditionally-minded folks argue that the EF lectionary also suffers from “selective reduction,” leaving out sections of the readings not “in tune with modern sensibilities.” A quick glance at October’s readings in the EF has some removal of verses from readings, but nothing that looks like anything systematic.

    For those more familiar with the issue, does this critique have merit? If so, I would think it would bolster Msgr Bux’s point. If not, then thank God for it–it works to the benefit of the faithful.

    In Christ,

  11. I ordinarily attend the newer form of Mass 6 days per week, but typically the dose of scripture seems more effective at the single Sunday TLM I attend.

    The celebrant of my Sunday Mass — who is deeply devoted to both the old and new Masses — habitually begins each TLM homily with a mention of where (if at all) that Sunday’s readings appear in the new lectionary. It’s amazing how often a Scriptural text seems so crucial that without it the scriptural support of that particular Mass would be sorely lacking, but we hear something like “While this reading is heard every year in the old Mass, in the new Mass it is heard only every third year on the Thursday of the 17th week in Ordinary time.” So the typical “Sunday-only” Catholic has never heard it at Mass in the last 35 years.

    For instance, this was the case with yesterday’s TLM Epistle — St. Paul’s great passage from Ephesians 6: “Put you on the armor of god … the breastplate of justice … the shield of faith … … the helmet of salvation … the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” What a shame that such powerful imagery had never been before been heard at Sunday Mass in that particular parish Church, which only since Summorum Pontificum has been enriched by the TLM.

    Based on careful study of old and new lectionaries, year in and year out, in Mass and outside of Mass, I have come to believe that the greatest single weakness of the newer form of Mass may well be — paradoxically since it certainly includes a wide swatch of scripture in it’s 2- and 3-year daily and Sunday cycles — impoverishment in the depth and liturgical integration of its scriptural readings.

  12. Nathan: I assume you meant to refer to the claim of “selective reduction” in the OF (Ordinary Form) lectionary.

    Yes, this seems pretty conspicuous if you follow both missals regularly. When this topic came up earlier, I wrote a post about the TLM readings for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost:

    EPISTLE Romans 6:19-23
    “… For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God is life everlasting.”

    GRADUAL Psalm 33:12,6
    “Come, children, … I will teach you the fear of the Lord …”

    GOSPEL Matthew 7:15-21
    “Beware of false prophets … By their fruits you shall know them … Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven …”

    Obviously, key texts that lie at the foundation of our Catholic doctrine of sin and punishment. But the epistle reading above appears in the OF lectionary only on the 29th Thursday in ordinary time, every other year. And the gospel reading above appears only on the 12th Wednesday.

    So in an ordinary parish, neither has ever been heard in a Sunday Mass since 1970. Even daily Mass goers for the past 35 years have never heard them both at a single Mass.

    And so far as I can recall from my year-after-year daily attendance, you will NEVER EVER hear three such “hard” readings on sin and punishment (as cited above) in a single OF Mass.

  13. Nathan says:

    Mr. Edwards, you are exactly right–I used “EF” when I meant to refer to the Ordinary Form. Obviously, the coffee has yet to kick in this morning.

    In Christ,

  14. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Henry Edwards: “…the typical “Sunday-only” Catholic has never heard it at Mass in the last 35 years…”

    Great point [!] about how us daily-Massers get the benefit of the 3-year cycle of readings, that Sunday-onlys do not. How astute.

    I must admit by attending daily NO Masses I have heard much Scripture completely new to me, for which I am grateful.

    I prefer the old Mass and the way the Propers relate to each other, as well as to the day of the liturgical year, or the saint, or observance. To me, the driving repetition of the related texts makes a point that I cannot miss. In addition, the effect of the clearer translations and untruncated/rewritten texts cannot be overestimated.

  15. Andrew says:

    Perhaps this is where, as the Holy Father puts it in SP, the co-existence of forms can be mutually enriching. I think the addition of many Old Testament readings in the OF contributes to what be called a “catechesis of Truth”. These readings provide a wonderful prophetic context for the Gospel, showing how Christ is the fulfilment of all that went before. Priests who understand the relationship between these readings, in my experience, routinely comment upon the relationship in their homilies. (c.f. comment above by m.a.)

    Obviously these Old Testment readings cannot be worked into the EF, nor can the EF cycle of readings be inserted into the newer 3-year cycle. However, a person who attends both forms draws a deeper awareness of the Real Presence from the EF but has the Scriptures from the OF to continually point to the coming and Truth of this fact. Perhaps if more homilies were given about the relationships between the readings and the purpose of the Mass and big-T Truth, rather than “love everybody social worker” homilies, then we would begin to draw upon the richness of Scripture from both forms.

  16. Johnny Domer says:

    Fr. Bux is one of the new consultors for the Office of Pontifical Ceremonies, correct? This is a pretty darn good sign…

  17. The last trad standing says:

    At (NO) Mass yesterday, the Priest announced he was not going to read the Gospel proper to the day, but had chose another one (the Good Sheperd discourse) instead!
    Needless to say, my family and I made a quiet exit. Needles to say (2) this never happens when we attend the TLM..

  18. Brian Day says:

    All the same, it would be interesting to hear about the reasons why the Council Fathers desired a wider and more varied selection of Biblical readings.

    I\’m at work so I can\’t confirm this at the moment, but Monsignor Klaus Gamber in his book \”Reform of the Roman Liturgy\” touched upon this issue. His speculation was that the EF readings were to be retained and enhanced with a psalm and/or O.T. reading. According to Monsignor Gamber, the V2 fathers never envisioned a three-year cycle.

  19. Origen Adamantius says:

    Why do the differences necessitate an either or reaction?

    THe changes in use of scripture were put into place because of what was perceived as a larger loss of scripture by the faithful [often because it is/was seen as a Protestant thing]. While particular readings had been given due focus, the larger biblical narrative was lost, that is while selected passages were known they were often known out of context by the faithful; the council Fathers sought to capture over the three year cycle a fuller experience of the sacred texts within the liturgy; that is a worthwhile goal. One can question, as many have on both sides, how well that goal has been implemented.

    The idea of \”quality\” selections (as compared to \”appropriate\”) can be problematic if it leads one to conclude that some scripture is more sacred than the rest. (That said the Church\’s measure of scripture is Christ, so the accounts of his life (the gospels) are given more weight and likewise the NT over the OT).

    One interesting change was the traditional ancient reading at the Easter Vigil was replaced for the purpose, in my opinion, to remove any foundation for a phallic interpretation of the Easter candle and the font that was and still is proffered by many liturgists (The prayer interprets the actions).

    THe idea that scripture arises out of tradition needs some nuance. Scripture is the inspired recorded reflection of God\’s people on revelatory events (Sinai, incarnation, death, resurrection, etc..) and their impact upon their lives. Tradition is the ongoing reflection and worship of the Church to God as manifested fully in Christ (concretely expressed in Scripture) .
    Strictly speaking it is false to say that the liturgy predates the bible or the creed. It does predate the complete canon and Nicene Creed that we use today. For the early Church, belief, worship, and sacred texts existed concurrently–Early creeds (kerygmas–which are summary statements of the faith-not the full content of preaching) are contained in Paul\’s writings and he gives string indications that they predate him. While the NT did not exist, the OT was readily used by the early church as well as the oral proclamation of Jesus which would eventually be recorded in what is known as the Gospels.

  20. David Andrew says:

    @last trad standing: That’s an abuse worthy of reporting to the local Ordinary.

    On a side note, I thought it was an interesting exercise many of us witnessed yesterday, hearing the readings about the “vineyard” and the various ways our priests managed to figure out a way to incorporate the “respect life” message into it. I’m no theologian, but I considered how the vineyard could be seen as the liturgy of the Church, the tenants were the Council Fathers and those amoung the “liturgirati” who decided the liturgy belonged to them instead of to God. You see where I’m going with this.

    Permit me to put another spin on this claim that the NO is richer in scriptural texts. I think that might be true, only if the the chant texts (introit, etc.) based on psalms and/or scripture verses as they appear in the Gregorian Missal were applied regularly, however that’s not the case in most typical suburban “spirit of VC II” parishes. I find it a constant source of frustration as a music director, trying to cobble together music for Mass from the popular hymn/song resources that can even come close to what the original texts intended. Despite the fact that many contemporary composers attribute their texts as adaptations of scripture, often their re-working so severely dilutes or obscures the original meaning they are often rendered heterodox or even heretical, thus un-doing any benefit that might have been derived from “opening the scriptures more lavishly at Mass”.

    The Eucharistic Prayers are a weak soup, the wording is so sing-songy and bland that I find it difficult to stay focused on the rite, let alone gain any sense of theological reinforcement. If there is any “scriptural richness” to be found in anything from the NO other than the “liturgy of the Word,” I’m hard-pressed to identify it.

    ISTM that if we were to do even the chants from By Flowing Water (the English-translation version of the Graduale simplex by Dr. Paul Ford), we’d be closer to the goal of infusing the Mass with the richness of scripture than we are now.

  21. Mike Acgric says:

    Someone forward this to Scott Hahn: QUICK!

  22. dcs says:

    I have to disagree with you there. The first reading more often than not, has a connection to the Gospel reading. The homilist usually makes that connection during his homily.

    I haven’t assisted at the Novus ordo regularly in 3-4 years, but in my experience it was not “usual” at all for the homilist to make the connection between the Lesson and the Gospel.

  23. IMHO the NO has TOO MUCH Scripture. (Not saying that Scripture in of itself is a bad thing as it isn’t at all)…but only so much of it has the ability to be proclaimed in front of the Congregation if you get what I’m saying. I believe that the EF does a better job with Scriptures that are proclaimed to the congregation. The mind only has the capacity to comprehend so much. The 1 year Lectionary was perfect for this purpose. Not to mention the continuity with the Eastern Churches.

    3 year cycles are good for other things, like my lectures in Maths and Physics, (don’t need anyone copying from the previous semester), and since I don’t have the same students each semester it works.

    I wouldn’t do the 3 year cycle if I had the same students for each semester.

    While the thought’s in my head, the EF Lectionary and the Roman Catechsim (or Catechism of Trent) are similar. In a year you could learn the entire Catholic Faith. I believe that this aspect has been lost in the OF.

  24. Liam says:

    Just to confirm what some have touched on here:

    In Ordinary Time, the thematically-linked lections are the first reading, psalm* and Gospel; the second reading is a course reading through large sections of the epistles, which sometimes coincides with the theme of the other lections, but usually does not, at least in any obvious way. In my experience, homilists frequently make the connections clearer to the congregation.

    * Sometimes, one finds a psalm prescribed that is somewhat more related to the second reading.

    In Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, and on feasts/solemnities, there is more clear linking among all the lections.

  25. Tina in Ashburn says:

    dcs: “… in my experience it was not “usual” at all for the homilist to make the connection between the Lesson and the Gospel.”

    Same experience here. I attend the NO regularly and frequently daily. At a nearby parish here, the pastor is an orthodox scripture scholar. I know this only because I was told this by a friend, as I have seen little evidence of this. “Keeping a light under a bushel basket” comes to mind.

    Ignorance can be the root cause of meaningless homilies. I can’t explain those who hide their knowledge.

  26. Fr. BJ says:

    Tina Ignorance can be the root cause of meaningless homilies. I can’t explain those who hide their knowledge.

    Preaching every day gets to be tedious, especially when the readings are continuous from day to day (because if you explain the larger context one day, it often includes yesterday’s and tomorrow’s readings as well…). Even when the readings aren’t continuous, daily preaching is tedious. Father’s failure to preach substantial daily homilies could be simply because he is worn out and has a lot of other things to do and doesn’t have the time to write a magnum opus every day. I would cut him a fair amount of slack on daily homilies.

  27. Tina in Ashburn says:

    You are right Fr BJ. In fact daily homilies aren’t required, correct? I don’t know how priests come up with a daily sermon frankly. The assistant pastor rarely does a sermon at daily Mass, which is fine with me.

    Unfortunately, I was thinking of the Sunday sermons. Rarely does this good priest enlighten us on the Scriptures, their meaning, and interrelationship.

    This is not to say his sermons aren’t good. Its that this shy priest hides this valuable knowledge.

  28. Tina in Ashburn says:

    My poorly-made point, agreeing with dcs, is that I rarely [never?] hear an explanation of the readings, let alone the relationship amongst them. And even in the best cases of a faithful orthodox scripture scholar priest, it doesn’t happen.

    If the homilist is expected to make this connection, I’m not hearing it anywhere that I go, succinctly or otherwise.

  29. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    Any priest has access to the grace of a daily homily, if he chooses to pray for it and exercise it. I do a 5 minute homily at all daily Masses, usually without formal preparation but *with* formal prayer, and the longer 20 minute variety on Sundays. One need not write down everything as for a formal published document. God the Holy Ghost will enlightened the priest to expound on the infinite riches of Scripture, no matter what the readings are that day.

  30. dcs says:

    Daily homilies are not required, though I think they are recommended. But frankly I wonder if a homily every day isn’t too much.

  31. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Origen Adamantius – “…The changes in use of scripture were put into place because of what was perceived as a larger loss of scripture by the faithful [often because it is/was seen as a Protestant thing]. … sought to capture … a fuller experience of the sacred texts.”

    This is the generally understood objective of these added texts. However, the argument is: is this a worthy objective? There is an opinion that sheer quantity is not a good reason. And the former use of Scripture in the Mass worked well, why fix what ain’t broke?

    “some scripture is more sacred than the rest”

    Never considered this thought before. Hmmmm, I wonder. I would call it “appropriateness” since Scripture is most effective when used in context. This context is defined by the Church alongside teachings and doctrines, history, tradition, the many levels of representation that can exist in single Scriptural phrase, lives of the saints, and so on.

    “One interesting change was the traditional ancient reading at the Easter Vigil was replaced for the purpose, in my opinion, to remove any foundation for a phallic interpretation of the Easter candle and the font”

    HUH? I don’t want to get indelicate here, but this is a powerful representation of the generation of life intertwined with the fire of the Holy Spirit infused into water/grace. There are many layers of truth represented by this rite of blessing the fire and water. But times are changing, and as certain words become way too profane and need re-translation, perhaps there is wisdom in this change. Or maybe not.

    “The idea that scripture arises out of tradition needs some nuance. Scripture is the inspired recorded reflection of God’s people on revelatory events (Sinai, incarnation, death, resurrection, etc..) and their impact upon their lives. Tradition is the ongoing reflection and worship of the Church to God as manifested fully in Christ (concretely expressed in Scripture) .”

    Maybe you are trying to be succinct, but scripture and tradition are way more than this. But I don’t think I can properly describe them either without looking it up. :-)

    “Strictly speaking it is false to say that the liturgy predates the bible or the creed.”

    Not sure what you mean by ‘strictly’.. but gee, liturgy is described in the bible. From the time Abel’s smoke fell to earth, God has been telling us how to worship Him. He clearly speaks of acceptable sacrifice and the unacceptable. God’s description of how to build the ark of the covenant, the temple is another example. Liturgy is described in the priests’ actions in the OT, and what about the description in the NT of the Last Supper? Its all over the bible.

    Again, there is the argument that our Bible was given to us by the Church, not the other way around. It was born of verbal and written traditions, in the light of truth. As you sorta say, scripture is a story, a written description of pre-existing events before the canonical collection known as the Bible.

    Succinctly: Scripture must serve the Mass, the Mass is not simply a vehicle for presenting Scripture.

  32. Richard says:

    It is a silly argument to say there is not enough Scripture in the TLM because essentially every other liturgical tradition, except the current Novus Ordo, has as much Scripture as the TLM does. Eastern liturgies have just as much Scripture as the TLM. This would be to say that there is something wrong with how all these other traditions have developed, which is absurd.

  33. F C Bauerschmidt says:

    The Eucharistic Prayers are a weak soup, the wording is so sing-songy and bland that I find it difficult to stay focused on the rite, let alone gain any sense of theological reinforcement. If there is any “scriptural richness” to be found in anything from the NO other than the “liturgy of the Word,” I’m hard-pressed to identify it.

    Scriptural allusions from EP III:
    “Father, you are holy indeed. . .” — Not strictly speaking “scriptural,” though it does allude to the Sanctus, which is scriptural; the text is from the Mozarabic liturgy.

    “From age to age you gather a people. . .” — Malachi 1:11, a text given a Eucharistic interpretation since the Didache.

    “at whose command we celebrate this Eucharist.” — the translation obscures this, but the Latin– “haec mysteria celebramus” – alludes to 1 Timothy 3:16 and connects the Eucharist to the incarnation.

    “On the night. . .” — well, this is sort of obvious.

    “this holy and living sacrifice” — Romans 12:1.

    “One body, one spirit in Christ. . .” — 1 Corinthians 12:13.

    “the inheritance of the saints. . .” — Ephesians 1:18.

    “Made our peace with you. . .” — Ephesians 2:14.

    “your pilgrim Church on earth. . .” — OK, not scripture, but Augustine is almost scripture for some of us.

    “the entire people your Son has gained for you.” — 1 Peter 2:9.

  34. musicus says:

    As one who appreciates the NO lectionary, imperfect though it might be, comments solicited: Is there anything standing in the way, in principle, from substituting the NO propers for those of the TLM, while maintaining the trappings of the TLM in other cases, such as what goes on at the altar? At some point, it seems, these two forms will need to come together, but not w/o papal directives. IMHO, the NO did some appropriate trimming (viz., private prayers of preparation for holy communion, as well as amplification (viz., prefaces).

  35. Origen Adamantius says:

    Tina,

    The difficulty is subordination language in reference to scripture and liturgy. Worship (liturgy) is the proper human response to God\’s self-revelation (led by God incarnate). Scripture is a strong part of that revelation- a true encounter with the person of Christ. Liturgy is not reducible to a vehicle for scripture, nor is scripture reducible to simply an aspect of liturgy. The two have a more dynamic relationship.

  36. Tina in Ashburn: “some scripture is more sacred than the rest”

    Never considered this thought before. Hmmmm, I wonder. I would call it “appropriateness” since Scripture is most effective when used in context.

    In a Fall 2007 Latin Mass article, Peter Kwasniewski (Wyoming Catholic College) argues that the use of scripture in the EF is liturgical rather than didactic (in the OF); the heavily integrated scripures quotations, in not only the readings but also the propers, infuse the whole EF Mass of the day:

    “The readings serve, in other words, to frame, adorn, and bring to light the face of Christ and the faces of all His imitators. The use of Scripture is iconic, not homiletic. We are not being lectured at, but rather summoned to worship, to bow down before mysteries. The readings are to function as verbal incense, not verbose information. ….. Not all passages are equally suited to the purpose of liturgy per se. With all due respect to the inspired word of God, probably only about 10 percent of the Bible is liturgically suitable. The other 90 percent is fertile ground for lectio divina, the practice that all of us should be engaged upon in some of the hours when we’re not at Mass.”

    My life is literally indescribably enriched by the daily OF Mass I attend — hearing virtually every single day, incidentally, a sermon that is incisive, substantial, and newly enlightening even to scripture wonks — but when I follow a whole Sunday TLM in my missal I am totally immersed in scripture throughout the whole Mass to an extent that an OF-only Catholic could scarcely imagine.

  37. David Andrew says:

    In response to F C Bauerschmidt’s retort, perhaps I was trying to give voice to something that troubles me about the English translations of the NO EP’s, especially EP III, something I can’t quite put my finger on.

    Whatever it is, and perhaps someone else can help here, there’s something clumsy or lacking in liturgical beauty about these EP’s in their translation, the presence of scriptural allusions notwithstanding. In some sense it feels like these EP’s were written not as prayer but as some kind of didactic exercise. To be sure they contain dogmatic truths about the faith, but is that really what the EP’s are for?

  38. Origen Adamantius says:

    Henry Edwards,

    I cannot speak directly to Peter Kwannieski’s article, not having read it, but as presented he strongly overstates his case. The idea that 90% of scripture is not liturgically suitable and should be relegated to lectio divina finds no support among either the father’s or the council’s.

  39. Origen Adamantius: I agree. Having extracted Prof. Kwasniewski’ paragraph from its context, I suspect that he as a theologian cited the 90% estimate somewhat in the figurative way numbers are used in the bible, and not the precise way I as a mathematician use them.

    I cannot speak for him but — having read his whole article — I suspect he’d agree that a good deal more than 10% of the scriptures is, in fact, used to good liturgical purpose in the traditional missal. This seems obvious since the bible might be printed in not much more than 1000 pages with the small font size used in a hand missal, where as a 1962 missal surely (at a glance) contains much more than 100 pages of scripture.

  40. I have preached the entire Sunday cycle at least one in over 20 years of priesthood–and all the weekdays of the two-year cycle again at least once. I currently celebrate the older use (Dominican Rite) daily and most Sundays. Here are my reflections on this issue.

    1. Although I think the old one year cycle should certainly be the norm at EF There is nothing wrong with a three year cycle for Mass, even for use with the EF: BUT
    1. Three readings are too many for anything but a night vigil
    2. The Epistles are lectio continua and it is only accidental if they have anything to do with the other two
    3. The division of the 3 years by Gospels is arbitrary and produces problems of selection
    4. There little or no attempt to match the propers with the readings–esp. in Ordinary time.

    2. A redone lectoinary should take the the traditional lectionary as year A and then construct analogous cycles for years B and C: using a mixture from MT, MK, LK, and sometimes JN, with a first reading from the OT or NT that really fits with the Gospel. Only two readings. And care should be taken to have these cycles match the propers as well as the E.F. one-year cycle did.

    3. Having a weekday lectionary that doesn’t just repeat the Sunday or something from the Commons is a great improvement. BUT

    1. The use of lectio continua for both readings is a disaster–they virtually never have anything to link them together
    2. In practice, what we have is merely one bible passage after another.

    4. A redone lectionary for week days should have Gospels that elaborate on the message of the previous Sunday in different ways. And first readings that are specifically chosen to throw light on the Gospels. Put the Lectio continua in the Breviary, where it belongs. Such a lectionary might best be a three year cycle like the Sundays–so that the ferials actually tie together for the week.

    Needless to say, this would take a bit more work than the mechanical way in which the new lectionary was produced, but it would have great spiritual and preaching benefits. Revision might start by producing weekday readings to supplement the traditional Sunday cycle to replace the repetition of the Sunday readings on weekdays. Then some people with liturgical sense (which does not mean just cram in as many different readings as possible) would use this as a model to produce two more years to complete a three year cycle. Why it was not done this way the first time is beyond me.

  41. Andy K. says:

    I’ll take Christ in the Eucharist over Christ in the Word at Mass any day. That’s why the Bibles are printed…

  42. sacertodale says:

    The sad truth is that the vast majority of Catholics get most of their scripture from attending Sunday Mass. On that basis, the Lectionary of the Novus Ordo (leaving aside translation issues) is better because it gives the people “more.” In the “good old days,” it was not uncommon for a priest to ignore the scriptures for the day entirely in his preaching. Even if he did not, there was precious little of the Old Testament and in general the Psalms were not read at Mass in English. On this issue, the Holy Father has wisely permitted the use of the “new” lectionary with the “Old” Mass.

  43. SpEdLaw2 says:

    HI,

    Congratulations on being in the top three for the Bloggers Choice Awards. My blog is in the top three in the education category.

    I just voted for your blog. Would you please return the favor at:
    http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/21620

    Thanks,

    SpEdLaw2
    http://specialeducationlawblog.blogspot.com

  44. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Origen Adamantius: – “The difficulty is subordination language in reference to scripture and liturgy. Worship (liturgy) is the proper human response to God’s self-revelation (led by God incarnate). Scripture is a strong part of that revelation- a true encounter with the person of Christ. Liturgy is not reducible to a vehicle for scripture, nor is scripture reducible to simply an aspect of liturgy. The two have a more dynamic relationship.”

    Nicely said!

    Henry Edwards: – “The use of Scripture is iconic, not homiletic. We are not being lectured at, but rather summoned to worship, to bow down before mysteries. The readings are to function as verbal incense, not verbose information”

    I see your point in this interesting quote in the context of liturgy. I’d add that beautiful liturgy would have nothing extra, neither anything lacking, whether its text or action. Over the centuries, this perfection has been sought in the proper balance of the usage of Scripture as the Mass developed. I’m considering that maybe that balance had been achieved when “anathama” was called down on anyone who changed the Mass in Session 22 of the Council of Trent. But who am I to conclude this, just wondering.

    Your quote amplifies the idea that Scripture should be prayed, not only used on the level of an informative narrative [which is one of its many levels]. Adds more meaning to the triple crossing of one’s forehead, lips and heart at the Gospel. Scripture does teach in many different aspects, the heart in prayer and the mind in instruction.

    The more this is discussed, the more I recognize the mystery that the Mass is itself.

    Its a two-way street: liturgy further reveals the meaning of Scripture, while Scripture enhances the liturgy.

  45. Jordanes says:

    m.a. said: The first reading more often than not, has a connection to the Gospel reading. The homilist usually makes that connection during his homily. There are times when the second reading (epistle) is the reading that often stands alone. The psalm also connects more often than not, with the first
    reading.

    If you’re talking about Sunday lections, you’re right that the first reading always has a connection to the Gospel, indeed, to the second reading (formerly called the Epistle) as well. But for daily Masses following the two-year mechanical cycle, there is no intentional link between the first reading and the Gospel: sometimes you’ll find one, but not because the Church planned it that way, quite unlike the Sunday readings. This is one of the greatest weaknesses in the new lectionary.

  46. John R says:

    Other points to consider, which no one seems to have mentioned:

    1. In the EF, the “lack” of Old Testament readings at Mass are very amply made up for in the Divine Office. Taken together, Mass & Office, you have a different picture. The whole month of October is devoted to the two Books of Maccabees, for example. The traditional Divine Office should have been promoted first and foremost among the laity before any other method of Scriptute exposition was employed.

    2. Is it so difficult or somehow unfathomable to actually encourage (dare I say expect?) people to read the Bible on their own time in addition to Mass?

  47. Geoffrey says:

    I had always heard the old story about how the Ordinary Form better opened up Sacred Scripture, which in essence is true. By that argument I had always assumed the Extraordinary Form had very little.

    The very first time I ever examined a missal for the Extraordinary Form I was amazed at all the scripture throughout, both in the ordinarium and in the proprium. Introit antiphons, Offertory and Communion antiphons, etc. Granted these exist in the Ordinary Form as well, but are very rarely used.

    I actually like the 3 year cycle of readings (2 year cycle on weekdays in Ordinary Time).

    I always wondered if something like this would have been more acceptable:
    Year A – Readings from the 1962 Missal.
    Years B & C – new selections (combine and edit the current A, B, C).

    In that way, you would retain the “old” lectionary, and still add a little something. Just my two cents.

  48. Felix says:

    1. perhaps the greatest problem with the Novus Ordo readings is that most (almost all the laity) have insufficient background to understand the Old Testament readings.

    for example, when I gave a talk to some Dominican tertiaries, I found that a large proportion didn’t know who Melchizedek was.

    while St Paul is usually incredibly pastoral, sometimes his epistles are extremely obscure. Why compound things by adding another difficult reading?

    2. turning to “the year of Luke” etc – this is an abstract construct by scripture scholars for would-be scripture scholars.

    and, to the extent that the laity pay any attention to it, this gimmick tends to adopt the problem with modern biblical studies. It focuses on biblical theories and the genesis of the documents, rather than on the central message

    3. by the way, the Novus Ordo omits verses from the Psalms because they are considered pastorally appropriate. So the NO accepts that some scripture is not suitable for liturgical use

    (whether this is appropriate, given the fact that all scripture is inspired and given for our use, I leave to others to debate)

    4. re the comment that “some scripture is more sacred than the rest”. Quite so, if we mean that some is more relevant than others. But let’s be clear – all scripture is equally inspired and has plenary inspiration.

  49. o.h. says:

    Speaking as a convert…

    The epistle readings in the OF are frustrating. They’re often a fragment of a sustained Pauline thought, and seldom seem to be explicated in the homily. If you’re not already familiar with the epistle as a whole, it’s hard to see what you could get out of the short, decontextualized, unexplained set of verses.

    Maybe this is too “Protestant” of me …. But if the Church wants people more exposed to Scripture, why not more encouragement to purchase a small Bible–maybe just a NT + Psalms, like the Gideons give out (Ignatius Press sells a nice RSV-CE NT + Psalms in a pocket size), keep it on your person, and READ it? Why aren’t Bibles or NTs given out, or sold for cost, at Catholic Churches? Many children in my CCD class have never seen a Bible; this at an age when Baptist children would have been given their own and taught how to use it.

  50. Jon K says:

    In the traditional rite, the readings are an integral part of the proper of Mass. The various parts of the Proper answer eachother. Changing the readings would destroy the harmony of the classical Roman missal.

    Anyway, Mass is not the proper place for Scripture studies.

    Also, I very much resent the idea that the liturgy should be redesigned in order to cater to uninterested Catholics who do not even own a Bible. The idea that readings at Mass can “save Scripture” is ludicrous.

  51. Jon: In the traditional rite, the readings are an integral part of the proper of Mass. The various parts of the Proper answer each other. Changing the readings would destroy the harmony of the classical Roman missal.

    How very true. It’s difficult to compare the two forms without experience worshiping in both. Inserting scriptural bits and pieces (either readings or antiphons) from the ordinary form into the extraordinary form would be like trying to replace parts of a precision Swiss watch with parts from a desk clock.

    For a typical EF Mass is, indeed, crafted like a finely-jeweled watch. For today’s feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, for instance, aptly chosen scriptures pertinent to Our Lady were used in 7 different propers — the Introit, the Epistle, the Gradual, the Allelulia, the Gospel, the Offertory Verse, and the Communion Verse. With the exception of the annunciation Gospel, the corresponding parts (if any) of today’s OF Mass — from which I just returned — were generic scriptures with no obvious connection to the particular feast being celebrated.

    In addition, the Collect (opening prayer), Secret (prayer over the gifts), and Postcommunion (prayer after communion) — which are the polished pearls of the propers in the EF, but usually pretty nondescript in the vernacular OF — all three centered today on the Rosary, which was not even mentioned in the corresponding OF propers.

    And this sad impoverishment of the liturgy happens day after day in the OF calendar. The sanctoral cycle suffers especially. I am sensitive to this, because I attend the OF about 300 days each year.