New liturgical provisions? Maybe not.

I didn’t write on this before, though I usually follow the intrepid Andrea Tornelli when he writes about liturgical things.  Still… this struck me as a little odd, for one, and I was really busy.

Have a look at this from CNA:

Vatican denies liturgical reforms being formalized

Vatican City, Aug 24, 2009 / 05:24 pm (CNA).- The Press Office of the Holy See today denied reports in the Italian press that Pope Benedict is poised to make changes to enhance the sacredness of the liturgy.  The statement added that there are currently no institutional proposals to alter the rites being used to celebrate the Mass. [The key here is "institutional".]

The Assistant Director of the Press Office, Father Ciro Benedettini, said that "so far there are no institutional proposals for amendment of the books currently in use."

Fr. Benedettini made the statement after the Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli wrote that the bishops who comprise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments had voted on March 12 to recommend a series of liturgical reforms to the Pope.

Tornielli wrote that the bishops of the Congregation voted almost unanimously to “restore greater sacredness to the rite, to recover the meaning of Eucharistic adoration, to restore Latin [!] in the celebration and to revamp the introductory parts of the Missal to put an end to abuses, experimentation and inappropriate creativity.”  [hmmm]
 
The bishops also reportedly voted to reaffirm that the norm for receiving Holy Communion is on the tongue and not the hand. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] However, noted Tornielli, some bishops’ conferences have received an indult from Rome to allow the reception of the Eucharist on the hand.

 

 Here is the deal.

We don’t need new provisions.  We need to have a few exceptions and options canceled.

We don’t need new provisions.  We need to have greater liturgical discipline and oversight from ecclesial authority.

We don’t need new provisions.  We need to stop tolerating liturgical abuses.

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25 Responses to New liturgical provisions? Maybe not.

  1. pberginjr says:

    Amen! Wish I had read this before bed last night, I’d have slept better.

  2. chironomo says:

    Hmmm.. is right! This is a carefully worded “denial”. I saw the Rorate article over the weekend and wondered why this would be released if it were in fact true…better to keep such things under cover until the right time. And also right… the way forward is not to “increase” the number of proposals and options available, but to reduce them. I feel strongly, given the past writings of B16 and the reality of the CDW vote that this is on it’s way… it just isn’t an “institutional proposal” yet. Pray.

  3. Thomas G. says:

    Provisions, shrovisions. What’s needed is not new provisions but a change of heart. Those who see the Mass as a blank canvas for their creative improvisation will simply ignore new (and old) provisions.

    There’s a deeply held belief among some that the action of the Spirit is contrary to all ritual or, even worse, that ritual kills the Spirit. I don’t know why they think this, but it seems to be an excrescence of American culture in general.

  4. Just getting rid of the anti-Tradition (capital ‘T’) indults such as altar girls and Communion in the hand will help remove a great deal of Protestantization currently in the Church.

  5. Mitchell NY says:

    Why would the Vatican confirm what the NO Missal already has as the norm..Ad orientem, kneeling, and Latin…To reform it would mean it was not there in the first place..My bet is they are speaking strictly about not reforming the Mass because those provisions are already in the Missal…Perhaps the word we need to watch for is “enforcing” the New Mass..Maybe that is was they are planning so it would make perfect sense to say they are reforming nothing…

  6. Gabriella says:

    Well, I sincerely hope they’re not considering a reform of the reform!
    Isn’t it so much easier to just go back to the Mass of All Times, the Mass of ALL our saints?

  7. Traductora says:

    Maybe I read a different article, but the “proposals” that I saw didn’t look like anything new or particularly threatening at all, but were simply statements of the need to enforce particular already existing standards and instructions. One of the problems is that Vatican II made so many things optional that nobody dares now to say that some things aren’t options at all and there’s simply no picking and chosing permitted if you want to stay Catholic. In fact, things like altar girls and, IIRC, Communion in the hand actually started in blatant defiance of the rules, and then indults or other forms of permission were granted for them retroactively because somehow any personal option, even if not initially permitted, won out over any directive from Rome.

    The Vatican has a track record of being very weak on these things and enforcement has been a wink-wink nudge-nudge affair. I saw this statement as laying the groundwork for serious enforcement and also suggesting some strategies for achieving it.

  8. stgemma_0411 says:

    Interesting thought of the “on the tongue” comment. I happened to have a conversation with a friend of mine who is the Pastor of a parish. He went to his bishop with revised plans for a new church to be built on their land because the old church holds maybe 50 or so people and they have been having Mass in the parish hall/rec centre. In the plans is the idea to have a “sanctuary rail” placed at the foot of the steps leading up to the altar/sanctuary. The bishop did not dismiss his request and at the same time he said a fairly puzzling statement, which may add more flame to this fire. The bishop had said in context to permitting a sanctuary/communion rail, “…we don’t even know how we might be receiving communion in 10 years…”.

    Combined with this story, I’m inclined to believe that the gravitational effect is having a much larger and faster pull than anticipated. Granted the gravitational “mass” is not simply the Extraordinary Form itself, but also combined with a fairly large pull from a certain German Shepherd :)

  9. Random Friar says:

    To your triple coda, I add my triple Amen!

  10. RichR says:

    Are we trying to read too much into this? The Press Office said there was no plans for these alleged changes. What’s with all the “Amens” if the Vatican is reporting that this Tornielli report is off?

  11. ssoldie says:

    Oh! lets just return to the Mass that has been, since St Gregory the Great put it all together, then codified at Trent, (with minor additions). Although I suspect those of the N.O.M. will have a diffecult time, learning to use all thier senses to activily participate in the Mass of all time. There will be no holding hands, shaking hands, or pating on arms or head, or any place else. Their whole concentration will be to the worship of God.

  12. Father, March 12th was a long time ago! before the CDWDS got a new
    secretary. Achbishop de Noia is a tabula rasa. Which way will he go?

    k.c.

    http://kneelingcatholic.blogspot.com/search?q=noia

  13. Ioannes Andreades says:

    It was frustrating to me during the most recent synod how few of the interventions proposed ideas that Joseph Ratzinger’s espoused in his writings, such as encouraging ad Orientem posture. Nobody at the time seemed to take it as a snub of the Pope’s preferences, but it was hard for me not to. I wonder if at the time the Pope thought that going to bat for such traditional practices was not worth it, as there would be little if any backup coming from the world’s bishops. All the same, I hope Tornelli is right or at least not completely wrong.

  14. I think we’re likely to get more and more catechesis of everybody, and that more and more priests will fall into line as more and more bishops fall into line.

  15. everett says:

    While I fully support receiving on the tongue, unless I am misinformed, there is a history of receiving on the hand as well (I remember a reading in the office of readings regarding receiving on the hand from my time in seminary). I don’t understand the push to remove receiving on the hand, unless this is just a reaction to people having been subject to abuse for receiving on the tongue.

  16. robtbrown says:

    And also right… the way forward is not to “increase” the number of proposals and options available, but to reduce them.
    Comment by chironomo

    What if one of the options would be to use the EF Offertory in the Novus Ordo?

  17. rwprof says:

    I was in Indiana for Dormition (Assumption), so I attended the only local parish, All Saints Antiochian. We don’t have the liturgical uniformity Catholics are used to — different traditions do things slightly differently — so I was not expecting sameness. I wasn’t surprised that the parish had liturgy on Friday evening; the peculiarly Antiochian practice of anticipating liturgies is well known.

    However. We started with Vespers. After the third Old Testament reading was chanted, the deacon came out from behind the iconostasis and started chanting an Epistle — at which point I wondered, “Uh, there’s no Epistle in Vespers!” Then, the priest (the priest? not the deacon?) chanted the Gospel, which was immediately followed by a sermon.

    I was completely thrown. I no longer had any idea what service was going on. But as soon as the sermon was completed, the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom resumed where it had (not) left off. This, I found, is what the Antiochians call a “Vesperal Liturgy,” kind of a mix and match Vespers plus Divine Liturgy service (as opposed to what other jurisdictions call a Vesperal Liturgy, done only during Holy Week, which is Vespers in full immediately followed by Liturgy in full).

    But when people started coming at me to shake my hand at the Kiss of Peace, I was really thrown …

  18. chironomo says:

    What if one of the options would be to use the EF Offertory in the Novus Ordo?
    Comment by robtbrown

    An interesting idea…that would certainly be an example of a welcome proposal! However…in general…what is needed is …

    a) a reduction in the number of abuses that are passed off as actual options

    b) a reduction in the number of options that have effectively become norms

    c) an effective effort at “enforcing” those actual norms that are currently in force.

    None of this would involve any “new proposals” or new legislative acts. This may well be what was meant by the Vatican denial of the Tornielli story… there actually are no “institutional proposals” at this time…and those are three important words.

    I don’t think this is “reading too much into” the story…this is a central theme and top priority of Pope Benedict. It would be foolish to think that these issues are not foremost in his thinking. The question is how, and when to act…

  19. dcs says:

    While I fully support receiving on the tongue, unless I am misinformed, there is a history of receiving on the hand as well

    Yes, there was a history of it, but it had not been practiced for many centuries.

  20. robtbrown says:

    It was frustrating to me during the most recent synod how few of the interventions proposed ideas that Joseph Ratzinger’s espoused in his writings, such as encouraging ad Orientem posture. Nobody at the time seemed to take it as a snub of the Pope’s preferences, but it was hard for me not to. I wonder if at the time the Pope thought that going to bat for such traditional practices was not worth it, as there would be little if any backup coming from the world’s bishops. All the same, I hope Tornelli is right or at least not completely wrong.
    Comment by Ioannes Andreades

    The Exhortation from Synod covered some very good things, among which are: the Eucharist as Sacrifice, the need of every priest to understand Latin and to able to say mass in it, authentic Participatio Actuosa, which is based on interior conversion (rather than conscripted responses), and the Eschatological nature of the Eucharist.

    Put all those together (even excluding Latin), and ad orientem celebration easily follows.

  21. mibethda says:

    The ‘key words’ may actually be that there “are currently no” proposals and “so far” there are no proposals. The choice of these terms and their repetition seem to invite the conclusion that there are serious discussions underway that may lead to such proposals.

  22. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Someone asked above why this story would be out there…

    1) Someone opposed to these developments leaked it — i.e., to gin up outrage and back the Vatican off;
    2) Someone supportive of these developments leaked it — i.e., the more these questions are discussed, the less “out of left field” will be whatever happens.

    I thought the response of the Vatican was carefully worded. Why so careful? Could have said, “there’s nothing to that at all.”

  23. everett says:

    While I fully support receiving on the tongue, unless I am misinformed, there is a history of receiving on the hand as well

    Yes, there was a history of it, but it had not been practiced for many centuries.

    Still, if it was a valid tradition, then I don’t see why there’s such strong opposition to it, properly done/catechized. So many people on the “traditional” side automatically throw out any tradition that isn’t associated with the Extraordinary Form, when there are other valid traditions out there. The problem on this, and many other issues is a lack of catechesis.

  24. MichaelJ says:

    everett,

    It is my best understanding is that there is historical evidence that early Catholics sometimes received on the hand, but that this practice was not widespread, was discouraged and was eventually abandoned as the faithful gained an improved understanding of the Eucharist.

    I would not at all characterize this as a “valid tradition”. I also suggest that anyone who is “properly catechized” would reject this practice except for the most extreme conditions and emergencies