The kind folks at Angelus Press, the publishing arm of the SSPX, recently sent me a copy of The Problem of the Liturgical Reform: A Theological and Liturgical Study by the Society of Saint Pius X.
I have no doubt that those of you who are followers of the SSPX have seen it. I ran into it in a footnote in Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics by the liberal Jesuit liturgist at Boston College, John Baldovin, who has a very useful and fair-minded book which identifies the main arguments of critics of the Novus Ordo and then responds.
While I am just starting to dig into this short polemic against the Novus Ordo and the theology the writers believe was behind it, I found something interesting right away in the open letter by SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay written in 2001 to His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II. Felley wrote, with my emphasis:
The Liturgy has certainly evolved over the course of history, as is shown by the reforms made during the past century by St. Pius X, Pius XII and John XXIII. But the post-conciliar liturgical reform, by its extension and brutality, represents a disturbing upheaval, as a radical rupture from the traditional Roman Liturgy. Above all, this reform contains disconcerting elements, ambiguous and dangerous for the Faith.
What I find interesting here is that this, with the probable exception of "radical" and "dangerous", might have been written by Joseph Card. Ratzinger before his election.
The Forward states:
While this study goes to very root of the problem with the Liturgical Reforms, the analysis will focus for reasons of clarity on the Missal of Paul VI. The Mass is after all, the very jewel in the crown of the Catholic Liturgy.
The study comprises of three theses, each of which introduces a separate section. Firstly we will show how the publication of the New Mass of 1969 constituted a liturgical rupture. Secondly we will show how that rupture is explained principally by a new theology of Redemption, which we will call the "Theology of the Pascal Mystery". This complex second part forms the very heart of our study. Thirdly, we will seek to evaluate the new theology in the light of the infallible teachings of the Church, and to establish what attitude one should have towards this Novus Ordo Missae. In support of this attitude, an appendix treating the canonical status and rights of the Mass of St. Pius V is attached.
While by no means exhaustive, this work gets to the central issue at stake; the official texts show quite categorically that the "Pascal Mystery" is the key to interpreting the entire Liturgical Reform.
I haven’t got much farther than this.
However, I was intrigued by the language used, in light of Pope Benedict’s identification of a "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture" that has plagued the interpretation and implementation of the Second Vatican Council. It certainly plagued the implementation of the liturgical reform from the moment Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated.
We are so accustomed to making reference to "the Paschal mystery" in our post-Conciliar liturgical practice and preaching that we perhaps don’t consider more fully what may be involved in this theological category.
This little book might prove to be interesting.
There are a couple chapters which have especially interesting titles:
"From Christ, Priest and Victim, to the Lord of the Assembly"
"The Sacrament as Mystery"
At the end is a rather less relevant examination of the abrogation of the older, traditional form of Mass, now a moot point since Summorum Pontificum.
So, I am intrigued and will read this closely.