We haven’t heard much from His Excellency Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith lately. He is the indomitable and clear-thinking Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
CWN has posted that Archbp. Ranjith wrote a forward to a book by Nicola Giampietro, a CDW staffer, about the personal papers of the late Ferdinando Card. Antonelli, OFM, one time Secretary of a previous incarnation of the CDW, the Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments (1965-69). Antonelli was no fan of Bugnini’s Consilium or what it did.
The book will be published in English by Roman Catholic Books next September under the title True Development of the Liturgy.
In his ten page forward, Archbp Ranjith makes pointed observations about what happened after the Council mandated a reform of the liturgy.
PERTAINENT DIGRESSION: There is a huge disconnect between what the Council’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, actually mandated, and what we actually got after the Council. The body called the Consilium, set up under the leadership of Card. Lercaro and Fr. Annibale Bugnini, had their own ideas about what liturgy was all about. They were able to use the authority of the Council to batter away at the Church’s ecclesiology and sacramental theology set forth by the Council of Trent. You can get an insider (favorable) view of what happened in the book that came out under the name of Archbp. Piero Marini, once the papal MC and apprentice of Bugnini.
I haven’t read the book by Giampietro yet, but I suspect it in part balances Marini’s book.
Thus endeth the disgression.
Here are some quotes of Ranjith’s forward included in the CWN entry. You readers will probably resonate with these observations.
Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum, Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favor of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of "active participation." …
Basic concepts and themes like Sacrifice and Redemption, Mission, Proclamation and Conversion, Adoration as an integral element of Communion, and the need of the Church for salvation–all were sidelined, while Dialogue, Inculturation, Ecumenism, Eucharist-as-Banquet, Evangelization-as-Witness, etc., became more important. Absolute values were disdained. …
An exaggerated sense of antiquarianism, anthopologism, confusion of roles between the ordained and the non-ordained, a limitless provision of space for experimentation– and indeed, the tendency to look down upon some aspects of the development of the Liturgy in the second millennium– were increasingly visible among certain liturgical schools. …
Clear and accurate.
Ranjith observes that we need a "reform of the reform" inspired not merely by a "desire to correct past mistakes". It must be "true to what the Liturgy in fact is and means to us and what the Council itself defined it to be."
I wonder if The Tablet will review the book.