His Hermeneuticalness reviews a review

His Hermeneuticalness reviews a review.  Let’s have a look at the great Fr. Tim Fingan’s latest interesting entry.

A recent book by John Baldovin SJ, "Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics", published by the Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, is reviewed in this week’s Catholic Herald by Alcuin Reid. (See: At last, the liturgical establishment is taking on its critics. Let the debate begin. Dr Reid pertinently quotes the saying of Mahatma Ghandi:

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

He notes that in Baldovin’s critique of Klaus Gamber, he does not dispute Gamber’s claim that there has been "a radical reform of the liturgy" which represents a "radical shift in Catholic theology and piety". For Baldovin, such a radical discontinuity is not an issue.

Baldovin also offered a critique of the work of Dr Reid, stating that he denies many of the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium. He has apparently since accepted that this was inaccurate and that Dr Reid nowhere denies the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This exchange is significant: as Dr Reid points out, it is important to be able to study the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy critically if there is to be any dialogue about the post-conciliar liturgical reform. [Exactly!] I would add that Dr Reid’s contribution to the study of the Sacred Liturgy goes a considerable way to furthering a correct and organic interpretation of the second Vatican Council in accordance with the hermeneutic of reform and continuity.

Dr Reid is right to point out the significance of Baldovin’s new book: that the "mainstream agenda" should now include the "question of the liturgy" without ignoring the rehabilitation of the traditional form of the Roman rite is very much to be welcomed. To invoke another of the themes of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, we are engaged in a common search for the truth. ["cooperatores veritatis"]

I love that quote by Gandhi!

 

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

 

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29 Responses to His Hermeneuticalness reviews a review

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for the review, Father. :)

    Re: “a radical reform of the liturgy” which represents a “radical shift in Catholic theology and piety”.

    Bingo! When we change how we worship and give thanks to God, we change how we view and love God.

    Re: the rehabilitation of the traditional form of the Roman rite is very much to be welcomed

    Yes indeed! The grace of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass will, I pray, inflame many Catholics with love for God.

  2. Kevin in Texas says:

    Regarding that particular quote from Gandhi, I’ve seen it used a few times by liberal Catholic “liturgical reformers” (that’s what they seem to think of themselves as, meanwhile, they appear to be jettisoning far more than traditional liturgy). They see it as what is happening to them now that traditional Catholics are pushing back against reforms that have gone too far, be they liturgical, doctrinal, etc.

    I suppose it’s ironic that they don’t realize that their position and views have been entrenched since the late 60s, thus Gandhi’s quote certainly no longer applies to them because they are effectively the modern status quo in Catholicism. Well, now those of us who wish to reform the reforms, much like our Holy Father, can read Gandhi’s quote and take strength from it. Thanks be to God!

  3. Gail F says:

    From the review:

    \”Baldovin then accuses Gamber of a \”kind of \’idolatry\’\”, asking: \”What needs to take priority … worshipping the liturgical rite or the God whom the liturgy addresses?\” Such a question is either something of a cheap shot or evidence of a failure to understand the theological value and sacramental efficacy of the liturgical rites which, in Catholic theology, are by no means a matter of \”mere externals\”.\”

    I am studying modern liturgical theory — or whatever you call it — right now for a class. It seems to me that the truth is the other way around. People who love the modern liturgy are more attached to it than to \”the God whom the liturgy addresses,\” or at least they can be. That\’s because they truly believe that God is only correctly worshiped according to their modern sacramental theology, which of course means that no one has ever correctly worshiped God before (unless, as they fondly think, people in the Patristic era did.) As someone younger who is looking at it all, not someone who lived through or helped concoct these changes, I think that what passes for modern sacramental theology is very thin. It makes a great addition to the historical understanding of sacraments and liturgy, but there isn\’t enough there to base one\’s whole faith on. But they don\’t see this. I also think it\’s clear that many decades, if not centuries of development, are needed to plumb the depths of any branch of theology. Less than 50 years is nothing and cannot possibly be the last word. Patristic theology clearly was not adequate for more than a few hundred years, or else it would not have changed. Later theology was not a perversion or refutation of it, but (if we believe in the Church\’s magisterium) a necessary development. Patristic and new understandings must be combined with the medieval and Tridentine understandings for us to arrive at richer and deeper theologies. If not, then we\’re not any different (in terms of method) than the Protestsnts — picking and choosing what we want to believe and reinventing it all every few years. Or so it seems to me.

  4. Pes says:

    “Then you win”? Not often, alas.

    A very good primer on political tactics is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. I urge everyone to read it. During his years as a “community organizer” in Chicago, President Obama knew this book very well. These tactics are used constantly, and people have been rather successful with them. They are simply refinements of old-fashioned bully tactics, but of course that doesn’t stop the unscrupulous. It’s good to be aware of them, because “then you win,” however touching a sentiment, is often wishful thinking. Sorry to be a downer here.

  5. therese b says:

    I have been researching Alinsky since latekate mentioned him on another post. Interestingly the book begins with the following:
    “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

    It is a paeon to moral relativism, to such an extent that I am almost tempted to believe rumours that the oath against modernism and prayer to St Michael were indeed a response to a vision by Pope Leo, of the methods to be used by Satan in the 20th Century.

  6. Nick says:

    Gail F:

    You gave an incomplete link. Here is the full link: http://www.pray4apriest.com

    Pray for priests!

  7. Don’t drag this down a badger hole.

  8. Of course we win. Yes, it takes a while, but that is what meritorious long-suffering is all about. The whole church is waiting for Jesus to come and bring the ultimate win.

  9. Pes says:

    I’m still waiting to hear any defender of the liturgical status quo argue that the following paragraph is part of Vatican II’s mandate to abandon Latin chant:

    116. Ecclesia cantum gregorianum agnoscit ut liturgiae romanae proprium: qui ideo in actionibus liturgicis, ceteris paribus, principem locum obtineat.

    Ignore it? They’ve done that. Ridicule it? Check.

    Fight it? Bring it on. The circumstances have changed.

  10. Mark says:

    I agree with Pes. I’d love to believe that’s true, but I’m starting to believe that “brick by brick” is just a distraction. I mean, why must it be done gradually? I’m starting to think that, far from the tide changing in favor of tradition, the current church/hierarchy are really instead more like dying atheists who are willing to try anything, even religion!! But, alas, without exclusive commitment to it, there will be no miraculous healing. Co-opting tradition as simply one more tactic thrown into their bag of tricks, into their eclectic collection of heresy, bad-taste, neoconservatism, and lip-service to tradition…isnt going to fool anyone for very long. Remember, this “traditional” pope is the same one who hasnt sacked that bishop who just denied the sacrificial nature of Christ’s death, under whom the statutes for the Neocatechumenal Way were just approved, and who has yet himself to say the Old Mass we keep hearing he loves so much. If they want to hold onto anyone…they’re going to have to let some people go. The big-tent-like-Anglicanism model WILL NOT WORK. And yet, that’s what they seem to be trying. Far from the “vindication” of traditionalism, it seems to just be the co-optation of it. Far from being moving “back in the right direction” it really seems to be just a further stage of decay. Before “anything goes! (except traditionalism)”…now it’s just, “Anything goes! Even traditionalism!” Far from being a sign of reactionary mindsets, it is the sign of minds even more liberal than before, so liberal they’ll even (gasp) tolerate those who arent. I dont know if that’s better or worse institutionally. But my experiences with PEOPLE who have personalities like that…suggest to me it will be even worse. Petty liberal ideologues are easy enough to deal with because they’re so ridiculously hypocritical, getting just as dogmatic about their un-dogmaticness as anyone. But truly indifferent/tolerant liberals…are very hard to deal with. I hope that my analysis is incorrect.

  11. RBrown says:

    I agree with Pes. I’d love to believe that’s true, but I’m starting to believe that “brick by brick” is just a distraction. I mean, why must it be done gradually?
    Mark

    This has been answered before. For c. 40 years the laity has been taught that vernacular mass versus populum is the way to go.

    Further, at least 50% of priests not only are not proficient in Latin, but they also have been trained to think the mass is a meal–they’re anti Latin and anti ad orientem.

    The first step is not only to allow priests to use the 1962 Missal but also to encourage them. Along with that is seeing that seminarians learn to say the Gregorian Rite, which of course means that Latin must be re-instituted in the curriculum.

  12. Mark says:

    That’s neither here nor there. Tell them that under pain of mortal sin (and loss of salary, lol) that they must return to the old rite within one year. Distribute FSSP DVD’s or whatever. And voila. And if “whole dioceses go into schism” (as if these spineless bishops would have the balls to that!) so be it. The faithful Catholics will reassociate themselves with Rome. Yes, it would be shaking things up! “Doth it scandalize you?” Good! If people’s obedience is conditional, that is to say…they’ll only pay vague lip service to the idea of communion with the pope and obedience, but will leave “if” certain circumstances arise that they dont like…then they’ve already left the Church in their hearts. Why keep them around? Why try to appease them? Prune the tree or it will die.

  13. joe says:

    Why brick-by-brick? For the same reason it takes longer to climb 10 flights of stairs than it does to tumble down them.

  14. London Calling says:

    Dr Reid is always thoughtful, whether he is writing in The Tablet or The Catholic Herald. This paragraph was especially important in his review:

    But Gandhi\’s saying is partially inadequate: Baldovin does not seek a fight. He wishes to treat the critics with \”respect\” and he \”would not have written this book if he had thought that the critics [of liturgical reform] had nothing to offer\”. This augurs well for serious, charitable discussion of the vital issues at stake, for the liturgy is the \”source and summit\” of the entire life of the Church.

  15. LCB says:

    Why brick by brick?

    Because we care about the feelings, emotions, experiences, and sentiments of the faithful… but also care about their soul.

    Unlike certain responsible parties, we don’t want the faithful to show up to Church one Sunday, only to find the Mass they had attended faithfully for 40 years is now totally different.

  16. Mark says:

    Changing it over night is one thing, but letting them know it is coming a year or two in advance, but definitely letting them know it is coming as opposed to trying to sneak up on them, as it were, seems like it would be fine. If people have already left the Church in their heart (ie, they’d leave if the latin mass came back), why should we be still appeasing them?

  17. Tomas says:

    “…we are engaged in a common search for the truth.”

    So apparently, we really haven’t had the truth for the past 2000 years?

    Modernism strikes again. [Nooooo... This is unhelpful.]

  18. Tomas says:

    Joe: regarding the 10 flights of stairs, the Church could just as well take the elevator back up, since it took the elevator down. I have to laugh every time I hear about the “lack of demand” for the Traditional Mass. What “demand” was there for the Novus Ordo?

  19. Tomas says:

    Didn’t mean to be unhelpful, Father, but please then, help with the meaning of the “common search for truth.”

  20. RBrown says:

    That’s neither here nor there.

    Actually, it’s both.

    Tell them that under pain of mortal sin (and loss of salary, lol) that they must return to the old rite within one year. Distribute FSSP DVD’s or whatever. And voila.

    You’re proposing an erroneous view of the Church that is–yet another–reflection of naive American anti-intellectualism. It is, BTW, the MO used by the Montini papacy.

    NB: Even soldiers, who are required to respond to commands, receive training for it.

    And if “whole dioceses go into schism” (as if these spineless bishops would have the balls to that!) so be it. The faithful Catholics will reassociate themselves with Rome. Yes, it would be shaking things up! “Doth it scandalize you?” Good! If people’s obedience is conditional, that is to say…they’ll only pay vague lip service to the idea of communion with the pope and obedience, but will leave “if” certain circumstances arise that they dont like…then they’ve already left the Church in their hearts.

    Life in the Church cannot be reduced to obedience.

    Why keep them around? Why try to appease them? Prune the tree or it will die.
    Comment by Mark

    In many cases nature itself does the pruning.

  21. RBrown says:

    I have to say that I am glad for the Jesuit book. It reveals what many have known for years–intellectual dishonesty was the foundation for the change to vernacular/versus populum Eucharistic celebration.

    > Despite what has been maintained for years, the changes were not driven by Scripture and Tradition.

    > The foundation for the changes was a Community of Man ideology masquerading as Ecumenism. In many cases the changes were opposed by Scripture and Tradition.

    > It is always amusing when Jesuits write on liturgy simply because, unlike Benedictines or Dominicans, they have absolutely no tradition of high mass in their houses.

  22. chironomo says:

    Mark;

    I’m assuming (no offense, really!) that you are maybe… umhh… of the younger generation of Catholics? Believe me… many here would really love for changes to be made the way you suggest, except that it would be unlikely to happen, and less likely to succeed in having the desired outcome.

    I do agree (and have said so often) that there are some changes that could, and should, be made in the way you suggest. The idea of suggesting that communion on the tongue is a more reverent way to receive communion, and then just waiting around until it “catches on” seems like a waste of time. Just revoke the indults and make it law. People will get over it. But on an issue such as the refutation of Vatican II, the restoration of the TLM…etc… this would be a recipe for disaster.

    My heart leads me in much the sameway as yours, but my head knows better than to follow…..

  23. Mark says:

    “A disaster”…people keep saying that, but what exacly do you imagine will happen, concretely? That there’ll be an “uproar”?? Oh, I’m so scared .

    Desire to be “popular” on the part of the clergy (and to get the money associated with that) is just the modern day form of corruption.

    Would you deny that only bad Catholics, only Catholics whose Catholicism is already conditional and half-hearted at best, would leave? And why should they drag the rest of us down in kitsch-liturgy and spiritual mediocrity? Because they donate, apparently…

    Otherwise, why do we need them? They’re already lying to themselves by being a part of all this, they’re not really Catholic anyway if the traditional liturgy and more rigorous discipline would cause them to leave.

    However, good Catholics will stay and embrace the directive. The neocons are generally good people, just misguided. And they’re such papal-yes-men that they’d immediately jump on the bandwagon if the Pope made this rigorist approach the official party-line. So, why not? What have we got to lose at this point? A year or two would be enough time to educate everyone.

    Sadly, I think more of this is tied up in MONEY than anyone is willing to admit. All the royalties for ICEL translations, bad hymnals, cantor salaries, the fear of loss of donations, etc. It’s really just as corrupt as ever.

    The only real fear is, I suppose, whole dioceses leaving (though, again, I doubt the bishops have the guts to do that seeing how spineless they are)…but the Pope could do something like lower the retirement age for bishops to 60, replace all those bishops with “his” men, and then there is no fear of the property being taken because the bishops generally control it, not the parishes.

    Sadly, I think the Pope has been friends for too long with some of these questionable men and doesnt want to step on toes or hurt feelings. This is why the Saints are always warning about detachment. This isnt a game or high school debate. One should not be friends with heretics. But the Pope has, for example, worked too long with someone like Kasper and gotten too personal, so he’d be wary to “offend” him by calling him out. It’s why we need a total outsider next time. Someone not afraid to make overpaid undersexed old men in capes fume.

  24. Pes says:

    (Actually, by “bring it on,” I meant the fight in general, not some sudden return to status quo ante.)

  25. Maureen says:

    Why brick by brick?

    Because, unlike many posters here including myself, the Pope has spent a long life getting to know how to get a human flock from Point A to Point B. He knows that you don’t do it by beating them unconscious, dragging their floppy bodies to Point B, and then keeping them groggy enough that they don’t stray.

    The Pope has said many times that he believes that truth has power to win people over adn change them, and that the trick is to get them to realize that they want truth. So he’s spending a good long time catechizing people, making small demonstration moves, sending out other people to do a lot of the legwork of running out in front to get things ready, but himself staying behind the sheep whle keeping them moving in the right direction.

    It’s only been four years, and yet I’ve seen things — even done things — that I never thought would ever happen in my lifetime. I appreciate folks’ impatience, but you don’t know when you’ve got it good! Think about how many former thorns in the side have started to fall meekly into line, finally seeing no objection to the EF after years of gritting their teeth against it. And remember how much other work the Pope has been doing to “strengthen the brethren”, and how many weak bishops are finally finding their voices. Think about how many storms have been weathered, even over minor things, and how the Pope just continues steering the barque on the course he set. It’s maybe too slow a process for some, but it just keeps going, and the obstacles seem to keep falling away as it goes.

    It’s pretty awesome, honestly. The man obviously learned something from faculty and Curia politics.

  26. joe says:

    Tomas,

    I stand by my assessment that this has been a case of tumbling down stairs which must be scaled again, and not a case of an elevator ride up or down.

  27. RBrown says:

    Sadly, I think the Pope has been friends for too long with some of these questionable men and doesnt want to step on toes or hurt feelings. This is why the Saints are always warning about detachment. This isnt a game or high school debate. One should not be friends with heretics. But the Pope has, for example, worked too long with someone like Kasper and gotten too personal, so he’d be wary to “offend” him by calling him out.
    Comment by Mark

    Incorrect.

    JRatzinger and WKasper have never been close, and their disagreements have often been public. The obvious example is their dispute over Dominus Jesus.

    Sadly, I think the Pope has been friends for too long with some of these questionable men and doesnt want to step on toes or hurt feelings. This is why the Saints are always warning about detachment. This isnt a game or high school debate. One should not be friends with heretics. But the Pope has, for example, worked too long with someone like Kasper and gotten too personal, so he’d be wary to “offend” him by calling him out. It’s why we need a total outsider next time. Someone not afraid to make overpaid undersexed old men in capes fume.
    Comment by Mark

  28. RBrown says:

    When I was in Rome, I lived with priests from more than 15 different nations around the world. With very few exceptions they were good men, but almost none of them knew the Salve Regina.

    The pope is not merely interested in reforming the liturgy. He knows that the entire system must be reformed.

  29. meg says:

    Fr. Baldovin was on sabbatical this yr at Fairfield University. I assisted at Mass on Wed Jan 21,and in his homily he spoke with such great”hope” and anticipation about the wun and his inaugural. Very sad, especially in light of the Gospel that day..Mark 3:1-6..”Jesus said to the Pharisees,Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than destroy it? Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart..”We need to keep praying for these men..their minds are darkened.