The Consilium revisited

Piero MariniIn my recent reading, I happened again on a passage from the slim but interesting volume that came out a couple years back under the name of the former long-time papal master of ceremonies, Archp. Piero Marini.  That’s Piero Marini, not Guido Marini (the present MC). 

The book, so far only in English I believe, was probably written largely by the Jesuit liturgist Keith Pecklers and Mark Francis, CSV. 

The title is A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975.

The Marini/Pecklers book purports to tell the story of the glorious work of the Consilium, the entity established during the Second Vatican Council to implement the liturgical reform mandated in Sacrosanctum Concilium.  The Consilium was headed up by Annibale Bugnini and Card. Lercaro. 

The authors set out to defend the work of the Consilium and Bugnini against the dangerous encroachment of Pope Benedict’s vision, and the retrograde force he is exerting on the Spirit of Vatican II.  

In presenting their uplifiting story, the authors produce an unintended consequence: they expose clearly what the liturgical reforms were actually trying to accomplish.

But enough of that.

Here is the passage I wanted to share.  Context: The Consilium has just just taken a major step in moving from an informally meeting group to an officially and formally established body.  They have their first plenary session.

"They met in public to begin one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church.  Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine."  (p. 46)

They succeeded.  The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change they way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa

Change the liturgy, change the world.

Whether this was a good change or not is a matter of discussion.

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62 Responses to The Consilium revisited

  1. thomas tucker says:

    In what way did it change the Church’s doctrine?

  2. mdillon says:

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  3. “The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine.”

    Is it perhaps more accurate to say that the Consilium obscured rather than changed the Church’s doctrine?

    In other words, “Change they way you pray and you change what you believe” is most certainly true, but in this case I am wondering if the change isn’t of a more personal nature rather than ecclesial. Yes, the revised Missal changed the way people believe, but not necessarily the way the Church believes. This distinction seems like hair splitting and is admittedly confusing, but it seems to me that the people found their beliefs changed, albeit via an officially promulgated Missal, even as Holy Mother Church retained what she has always believed…

    Any thoughts?

  4. Magpie says:

    I temporarily stopped eating my Kellogg’s Coco Pops when I saw that word, ‘doctrine’.

  5. Thomas G. says:

    I forget where I got this, but it’s said that Sacred Tradition comes to us in three streams: the writings of the Church Fathers, the Creeds, and the sacred liturgy.

    If true, then to alter the liturgy is to tamper with Sacred Tradition, an activity that necessarily includes doctrine.

  6. Not surprisingly, Bishop Donald Trautman has a glowing review of this book in America Magazine:

    http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10727

    One has to wonder if Bp. Trautman even read Sacrosanctum Concilium…

  7. Thomas G. says:

    One glaring example of liturgical change that forces doctrinal change: the translation of pro multis as “for all”, a move that teaches Universalism in every Mass.

    A second example: the translation of the “Suscipiat” at the “Orate Fratres” of the EF Mass. In Latin it concludes with ” . . . for our benefit and that of all His holy Church [totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae]”

    In the N.O. Mass translation of this prayer, the “holy” is dropped, so that it concludes: ” . . . for our good and the good of all His Church.”

    Viola. The holiness of the Church has been effectively denied (though it is stil retained in the Creed – even Bugnini and his cohorts couldn’t get away with altering the N-C Creed).

  8. TNCath says:

    I am wondering when Archbishop Marini’s book tour is going to resume? Does anybody recall how Archbishop Marini’s book tour of America was originally scheduled for February 2008 was “postponed”?

    In the words of the late, great, Kate Smith: “When the moon comes over the mountain…”

  9. JohnW says:

    Change for the sake of change is never good. It amazes me that men that dedicated their lives to the church and then wanted to change our sacred Mass for the sake of change. We just need to look at the result.

  10. MarkJ says:

    This is exactly what the SSPX has been saying all along, and this book seems to vindicate their position. This is why the doctrinal talks between the Vatican and the SSPX are so terribly important and so essential to rescuing the Holy Catholic Church from those who would attempt to distort her doctrine. We must all pray that Truth wins out in these discussions…

  11. Jordanes says:

    Thomas G. said: One glaring example of liturgical change that forces doctrinal change: the translation of pro multis as “for all”, a move that teaches Universalism in every Mass.

    No, that doesn’t teach Universalism. It can be read that way, yes, but there is no denying that Christ did shed His blood for all men. Nevertheless, the problem with “for all” is that it’s not a translation but a substitution, and even worse, a substitution of words that Jesus didn’t say for the words He actually said. In that place, Jesus said His blood was to be shed for “many.” He never said He was shedding him blood for all, and He would have said so if He meant to. One advantage of translating “pro multis” accurately is that you don’t have to explain, “‘For all’ doesn’t mean everyone will be saved.” (What an absurdity — mistranslating the Mass and then issuing clarifications that the mistranslation doesn’t mean what it seems to mean! Doesn’t it make more sense not to betray the original text, to just translate it accurately and faithfully??)

  12. Erik P says:

    Louie,

    Is it perhaps more accurate to say that the Consilium obscured rather than changed the Church’s doctrine?

    Not entirely, SC states, “Gregorian chant is to have FIRST place” in the Catholic Liturgy and “the Latin language is to be preserved.”

    For those who continue to ignore SC and what it explicitly says, and use SC as an excuse to make up their own Protestantized approximation of Catholicism, there is no excuse. There is no error in translation there.

  13. Haec Dies says:

    It appears that the discussions between the SSPX and the Vatican indeed are providential as the SSPX has insisted that they must be doctrinal in nature.

  14. pauljk says:

    Certainly I would argue that there seems to be an inherent ecumenism in the new rites, and as with some of the texts of the council itself they also seem to be full of a kind of false positivism to the extent that nearly all mention of our fallen nature has been removed.

  15. Haec Dies says:

    Thanks Louie for the link to the America magazine article. One has to wonder when certain Bishops and indeed whole Bishop’s Conferences will unbury thier heads from the sand and face the facts. One only has to look at the devestation to the church and seminary vocations in France where 4% of Catholics attend Mass on Sunday and 10,000 churches are slated to close. Similar example aboud around the world. The springtime of V2 has turned to a quagmire of mud and the church is poised to be eclipsed in many parts of the world.But we have the promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail.

  16. SimonDodd says:

    The review linked above by Louie Verrecchio is quite striking in places. Their excellencies (Bp. Trautman and Archbp. Marini) seem to maintain that the consilium was admirable because it it pressed ahead with reforms and the curia was hidebound for resisting. Think about those interactions from an institutional perspective, though: The concilium was instituted, as I understand it, specifically, precisely, and uniquely to reform the liturgy. The motto of an entity so constituted will naturally be commuto ergo sum: to deny that reform is necessary is to admit that your existence is pointless, and the less reform is necessary, the less you are necessary. Accordingly, a body charged with reform will always seek to maximize the scope and content of reform because doing so maximizes its own power. The curia, by contrast, has broader concerns, and seems to lack the kind of corrupting (if that isn’t too strong a word) institutional incentives that will dog a particular and ad hoc body.

  17. Thomas G. says:

    Jordanes – true, the pro multis read as “for all” need not be understood as teaching Universalism, but it would not be the flashpoint of controversy which is has been if it were merely a matter of translation accuracy. The point is that the translation has doctrinal implications – implications which may be explicit or implicit.

    It’s also useful to recall that such mistranslations occur within a particular historical context which can either add to, or subtract from, their significance. A tendency towards Universalism (sometimes in the guise of Indifferentism) has been, and still is, a very common doctrinal error committed by many Catholics and even some clergy in this post-conciliar age. Given this context, replacing “for many” with “for all” certainly supports the view that a doctrinal change was part of the intention of the translators (as the authors of “A Challenging Reform . . .” explicitly state).

    In a similar vein, removing “holy” [sanctae] as an adjective modifying “Church” in the Suscipiat prayer in the NO translation need not be read as a denial of the holiness of the Church. It is simply passed over in silence in the NO translation.

    Now, why in the world would the translators want to drop an entire word from their translation, particularly one with the doctrinal weight of “holy”? Economy of words, perhaps? A desire to shorten the prayer? Perhaps, but then there are many other words with less importance in that prayer that could have been dropped.

    The more reasonable explanation is that translators did not want Catholics reminded of the Church’s quality of holiness, which points to her divine founding and character. Could that be because they themselves had lost faith in that divine founding and character?

  18. Warren says:

    Hmm… .

    The nexus between the Mass (Paul VI) and the current state of affairs in order to condemn the former is tenuous based on the slim evidence herein presented. I think we all can agree that there have been many less-than-faithful Catholics who have attempted to hijack the Liturgy to suit their purposes. And, unfortunately, many have been quite successful in confusing the faithful. That the Mass has been subject to distortions is nothing new.

    Not to go too far off in a tangent – it might also be useful to remember that doctrine requires clarification with the passage of time. An example is the concept of limbo, which has never been an official teaching of the Church. Newman reminds us that doctrine develops. The distinction between development versus change is important if we are to avoid creating further confusion and unnecessary elevations in blood pressure.

    Abusus non tollit usum. The Ordinary Form of the Mass is entirely orthodox; abuse has not rendered it any less so. Thankfully, we have a pope who is well versed in the art of the Liturgy and is deft in drawing others to reflect and deepen their understanding of the Mass. And, if the blogosphere has anything to offer, it is that the current dialogue between OF and EF is yielding abundant fruit across the globe in terms of contributing to a deeper understanding of the Liturgy and what truly happens at every Mass.

    Lastly, in English circles at least, with the introduction of the new translation the process of clarification and authentic renewal is getting back on track, and the aged hippies of yesteryear are losing their grip on the Mass.

  19. Sam Urfer says:

    You make good points, Thomas, but to be clear, the English translation of the Ordinary Form and the work of the Consilium in the 60′s are different projects.

  20. Thomas G. says:

    Sam – you’re right, I’m blurring the two. Good point.

  21. Thomas G. says:

    Warren – “The Ordinary Form of the Mass is entirely orthodox; abuse has not rendered it any less so.”

    You’re right; it is entirely orthodox. But think of the deposit of faith as an edifice of high walls. The Mass, as the highest instantiation of that edifice, supports and reinforces the various elements of that faith, i.e., the walls. The words, postures, gestures, clothing, music, and prayers of the Mass act like flying buttresses which support the walls of right belief.

    In the NO Mass, the edifice is still there, i.e., it is orthodox, or can be understood as orthodox by the properly catechized faithful, but many of the buttresses to orthodox faith which are present in the EF Mass are now gone. E.g., every properly catechized Catholic knows that the Mass is not a self-centered celebration of the community. But the buttress that supported right belief in this area (i.e., ad orientam worship) is now gone. The wall that that buttress supported is weaker, and in the minds of many poorly catechized Catholics (whose numbers are significant), it has crumbled down.

  22. Erik said:

    Not entirely, SC states, “Gregorian chant is to have FIRST place” in the Catholic Liturgy and “the Latin language is to be preserved.”

    For those who continue to ignore SC and what it explicitly says, and use SC as an excuse to make up their own Protestantized approximation of Catholicism, there is no excuse. There is no error in translation there.

    Exactly. I think you’ve missed my point which is simply that the Consilium’s (and thus the revised Missal it produced) shortcomings, which cannot claim recourse to the Council, do not amount to a “change” in Catholic doctrine per se, but a distortion of the same. In spite of whatever official capacity under which it operated, the Consilium did not have the authority to alter Catholic doctrine, i.e. override the Ecumenical Council, but what it did have was the ability to circumvent the Council’s wishes thereby distorting doctrine in the process.

    The question we could ask here is this: Did Catholic doctrine literally change thanks to the Missal produced by the Consilium? The answer is no, it did not.

  23. haleype says:

    They succeeded. The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change they way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa.

    Not in my case. I believe now what I believed then and I pray now as I prayed then, even though I nearly lost the faith in the wake of their actions. [That seems to make my point, but... whatever you say.] I don’t doubt their intentions but I wonder about their prudence or, perhaps, their lack of it. Thanks be to God there were those in the Church who threw to us a “spiritual life preserver”.

  24. MichaelJ says:

    Actually Warren, we don’t agree.
    I can agree that the liturgy we have today is not what the Council actually called for, but I disagree with the idea that it is not what the Council intended. There is no evidence that today’s liturgy was hijacked by less-than-faithful Catholics to suit their purposes.

    The fact that there is a difference between what the Council officially said and what can reasonably be deduced that it wanted is simply proof of the promise of Christ.

  25. thomas tucker says:

    That is an interesting analogy!

  26. About the Ordinary Form being entirely orthodox… OK, but this doesn’t mean that it is an exemplary model of orthopraxy, and we should aspire to a Liturgy that is both.

    The Liturgy contains signs that point to a greater reality, including that immutable Catholic doctrine which remains intact even when the signs are lacking and fail to elevate the heart and the mind to that higher reality. This is the case with the work of the Consilium, IMO. It was able to corrupt the signs to the point of distorting, rather than illuminating, the underlying reality, but it had no more ability to alter the immutable than you or I.

  27. SimonDodd says:

    Thomas, re “many of the buttresses to orthodox faith which are present in the EF Mass are now gone”: I realize that this is (per your exchange with Sam) an example from translation rather than composition, but we saw an example of your point just last Sunday. The mistranslation of the sanctus obscures one of its scriptural roots even when that root is in the reading.

  28. SimonDodd says:

    Michael, I don’t mean to take sides, but to play devil’s advocate: re “There is no evidence,” if the gap between what the Council called for and what the consilium produced happens to be demonstrably coextensive with the preferences of those who did the work, wouldn’t that be quite persuasive?

  29. MichaelJ says:

    Simon,

    I’m not entirely certain what you mean. I have no way of knowing the preferences of those who did the work other than to look at the work actually produced. I have to assume, for example, that since Pope Paul VI actually promulgated a Novus Ordo Missae, he really wanted and intended one to be created – despite that the Council never actually (to the best of my knowledge) actually asked for one.

    If there is evidence that he promulgated it under duress or that he did so despite his desires, it would be quite persuasive that today’s liturgy is different than what was intended. As it stands, though, I am unaware of anything that would indicate that today’s liturgy is anything other than what was desired.

  30. Hieronymus says:

    This admission, and many others like it from other members of the Consilium, shows precisely why using all of the traditional trappings at the Novus Ordo does nothing to fix the real problem. The men who undertook to toss out all of the liturgical books and write new ones did not have orthodox Catholic motivations. Their ideology lives on in their missal, no matter what music you set it to or vestments the priest is wearing.

    It is as if a people had the greatest treasure in the world and stored it in a beautiful, solid gold box, adorned with precious jewels. One day, the keeping of the treasure was entrusted to someone who didn’t agree with the way the treasure was esteemed, and decided to store it in a termite-infested wooden box. As more and more people lost faith in its value, the heirs of the treasure who still believed saw that there was a problem. But instead of admitting that the transfer of the treasure into the wood box was a bad idea and going back to the gold one, they decided to “fix” the problem by painting the box gold and adding glass replicas of jewels. To what end? In the end the most sacred treasure in the world is still being kept in a rotten wood box, it just looks nicer to the indiscriminate.

    How to make people see that the new liturgy — the mass, the other sacraments, the office, etc — was designed by people who did not agree with the traditional understanding of those things? No amount of ornament can exercise the influence of their ideology.

  31. WRT to what was desired, it seems very clear that the Council desired a reform of the one Latin Rite that the Fathers knew – Mass according to the Missal of 1962 – although this would have required a fairly ambitious revision of the 1962 Missal. Even so, the Council Fathers never envisioned or promoted a “new” Missal, much less did they envision 2 Missals – one EF that would be the untouched 1962 Missal and one OF that would be the Missal of Paul VI…

    The only reason we have two missals today is because the Council’s vision was utterly ignored. (And as someone said, God protected His Church.)

    Liturgical rites, as Cd. Ratzinger points out in “The Spirit of the Liturgy,” are not simply invented as the collective product of a committee’s creativity, yet it is difficult to argue that anything other than this is what happened. Seriously – who here is willing to argue that the new Missal is simply the Mass of Pius V revised? i.e. The EF and the OF sure look, sound, and smell like two different rites – both in appearance and in origin – don’t they?

    Benedict XVI offered a rather creative solution to this problem of what looks like a new rite that was created by committee when he deemed the 1962 Missal and the Mass of Paul VI two forms of the one Latin Rite. This was necessary in order to reaffirm the validity of the new Missal for those who might question as much – and it IS valid.

    Why did Paul VI promulgate the new Missal? I’m not sure that truly matters so much right now, to be honest. (Although it is an interesting question to which I would really like an answer!) What matters is that he did… it is therefore a valid form of Holy Mass, but as I said, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suffer from defects.

  32. TJerome says:

    When you step back and think about it – it takes hubris of an extraordinary kind to radically change a Rite which had been in pretty much the same form
    for 1500 years. I was a young teen when the “reforms” were promulgated. I was shocked then at the hubris and my initial reaction has never changed. Tom

  33. quovadis7 says:

    Some/many/most would argue that nothing definitively heterodox was promulgated in the Novus Ordo Missae. I’m sure that Fr. Z would agree that it would take FAR less than that to undermine the faith….

    There is no doubt, however, that MANY Catholic beliefs were either effectively dropped, substantially diminished, or completely ignored, or else they were made highly ambiguous in many of the prayers of the Novus Ordo. Even the official Latin version of EP II in the Novus Ordo appears to promote Universalism, which is a speculative belief at best and should NEVER have been promoted in the Liturgy – IMO, the current ICEL translation renders the Latin fairly well – “Bring these, and ALL the departed, into the light of Your presence.”

    Thankfully, there are some liturgical experts who have made an effort to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the prayers in the EF and OF Liturgies. One such person, whose publications are readily available for download, is Dr. Lauren Pristas. Check out her articles at the bottom of her faculty web page:

    http://faculty.caldwell.edu/lpristas/

    One of her papers available from her faculty web page, “The Collects at Sunday Mass: An Examination of the Revisions of Vatican II”, was especially eye-opening for me. If reading her entire paper is too overwhelming, just start reading this paper beginning at page 24 of the pdf document, where she does a direct comparison of the OF & EF Collect prayers for each Sunday during Advent – all of her English translations are “slavishly literal” based upon the official Latin texts of both Liturgies. Dr. Pristas’ astute analysis makes glaringly apparent a clear and prominent shift in the Novus Ordo prayers toward a more man-centered (anthropomorphic) focus/orientation, which in tandem with exceptionally poor catechesis certainly has accelerated the rapid decline in the faith amongst many Catholics.

    Dr. Pristas is preparing to publish her works in a new book, “Collects of the Roman Missal: A Study in Liturgical Reform (T&T Clark Studies in Fundamental Liturgy)“, which supposedly will be ready this Summer. Check it out:

    http://www.amazon.com/Collects-Roman-Missal-Liturgical-Fundamental/dp/0567033848/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=IK1ECQVXIYIBY&colid=3KR9MUVXLID16

    After this little educational exercise, just don’t let anyone tell you that the main differences between the prayers of the OF and EF Liturgies are merely ones of “subjective taste….

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  34. jlmorrell says:

    TJerome,

    I completely agree with you. Although I was not around when all the changes took place, whenever I studied what actually happened at the Council and after it, I felt like I’d been robbed of my patrimony.

    Indeed, it takes an extraordinary amount of hubris to think you can come along and change the entire liturgy and most of the disciplines of the Church that had developed for over a 1000 years.

  35. Mitchell NY says:

    An interseting post and topic…I am going to get that book….Everyone’s comments are really informative and put into words and analogies the feelings of a huge number of the faithful. That alone seems to defy what SC states about any changes being in the best interest of the faithful. Overall it seems the NO has been a dismal failure at breathing new life into the Church. Sadly it has been known for a long time and we can only pray substantial changes be made in our lifetimes, so the next generation will not suffer the pains of the last 40 years. But then again, even substantial change could probably not cause the devastation that has already happened to repeat. The faithful now have a tough skin.

  36. robtbrown says:

    I’m not entirely certain what you mean. I have no way of knowing the preferences of those who did the work other than to look at the work actually produced.

    You might want to read Cardinal Antonelli book:

    http://www.booksforcatholics.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=B&Product_Code=TDL&Attributes=Yes&Quantity=1

    I have to assume, for example, that since Pope Paul VI actually promulgated a Novus Ordo Missae, he really wanted and intended

    or permitted

    one to be created – despite that the Council never actually (to the best of my knowledge) actually asked for one.

    If there is evidence that he promulgated it under duress or that he did so despite his desires, it would be quite persuasive that today’s liturgy is different than what was intended. As it stands, though, I am unaware of anything that would indicate that today’s liturgy is anything other than what was desired.
    Comment by MichaelJ

    It’s irrelevant whether PVI was under duress. He promulgated it, and that is that. The Missal and its vernacular offspring is what is to be evaluated.

  37. Supertradmom says:

    two excellent books which might help-https://www.tanbooks.com/index.php/Liturgical-Shipwreck
    and http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1969ottoviani.html

    both are controversial, of course

  38. Steve B,

    Thanks for posting the link to Dr. Pristas’ work. Just started reading the PDF essays posted there. Looks very interesting!

  39. Maltese says:

    *Whether this was a good change or not is a matter of discussion.*

    I would say, NOT! I think our Pope agrees; God preserve him.

    Our Pope has said as much, but it really was a liturgy by “commission,” a manufactured liturgy, an industrial liturgy devised to placate the ecumenical divinations wrought after Vatican II, period. Even Paul VI admitted that he wanted his new mass to appeal to Protestants: so, they wanted a liturgy without the Cross, in essence…..

  40. MichaelJ says:

    robtbrown,

    I can agree that it is perhaps irrelevant whether Pope Paul VI was under duress (not that I ever suggested it) if we’re asking the question whether the NOM is valid or not. But that’s not what we (well, me at least) were discussing.

    We can all agree that the NOM (by virtue of its very existence if nothing else) is not what the Council Fathers actually asked for. The disagreement is whether it is what the Council Fathers actually wanted.

  41. thomas tucker says:

    Back to the original idea as to whether or not the revision changed doctrine, it seems to me that it did not change doctrine, but that it may have changed the emphasis or orientation of doctrine. I think the examples linked to above by
    Prof. Pristas are very interesting in that regard.

  42. robtbrown says:

    I can agree that it is perhaps irrelevant whether Pope Paul VI was under duress (not that I ever suggested it) if we’re asking the question whether the NOM is valid or not. But that’s not what we (well, me at least) were discussing.

    It’s not just a matter of validity. If I compare, say, the Offertories of the NOM and of the historical Roman Rite and find one deficient, it is irrelevant whether PVI was under duress, watching too much TV, drinking too much wine, or whatever.

    We can all agree that the NOM (by virtue of its very existence if nothing else) is not what the Council Fathers actually asked for. The disagreement is whether it is what the Council Fathers actually wanted.
    Comment by MichaelJ

    A few points:

    1. For all intents and purposes, we have three rites: 1)The 1962 Missal, 2) the 1970 Missal in Latin, 3) and the NO as it is commonly said, versus populum in the vernacular, with all the possible idiosyncrasies of every celebration.

    2. BXVI has written that the present state of the liturgy (cf the third above) is not what the Council Fathers had in mind. That notwithstanding, there are texts within SC that can be used to justify almost every liturgical stance–from the SSPX position to the goofiest liberal celebration. Of course, that means also that BXVI can also trot out texts for what he intends to do.

  43. haleype says:

    As I understand it from the teachings I received in my youth some 50-60 years ago, the Mass is supposed to signify two things: the Last Supper, of course, and the unbloody re-enactment of the Sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary. Now, here is the problem. If the ordinary form places so much emphasis on the “supper” part that the “sacrifice” part is more or less forgotten, then can we say that the Mass properly signifies that which it should? Of course, it should also be said that not only should the Mass signify these things but that it is these things.

    Put another way, if Christ did not Sacrifice Himself for the sins of mankind, what meaning would be then attached to the Liturgy? Would it be simply a commemoration of that Supper by the assembly, a memorial of a good man who preached many good things and who proclaimed himself to be the Son of God? Would, then, communion be as some protestant sects believe, be a symbol rather than a reality? You see where this is headed? It is headed to a conclusion that I don’t want to even think about.

    I don’t know the intentions of members of the Concilium but I do know what Cardinal Ottaviani said about the new Mass to Pope Paul VI and I take him at his words” “…the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.” As well, it reminds me of what someone said in relation to changing the Liturgy – frought with danger or something like that.

  44. MichaelJ says:

    I am beginning to suspect that clarifications are in order.

    1. I never suggested that Pope Paul VI was under duress, incompetent or otherwise incapacitated when he promulgated the NOM. In fact, I suggested just the opposite saying that there is no evidence of any of these things.
    2. This lack of evidence coupled with the fact that Pope Paul VI did officially promulgate the NOM is prima facia evidence that it is what was desired.
    3. If anyone wishes to believe that the “true” intent of the Council Fathers was somehow hijacked by dissidents, they are certainly free to do so, but must offer proof if they wish me to believe it also.
    4. Believing(as I do)that the NOM is a true and faithful representation of what was desired does not, in any way, imply anything at all about the quality, soundness status or condition of the NOM itself.

    I tried (and apparently failed) to avoid offering any opinion regarding the NOM itself. Since this is not working out, here it is:

    I believe that the Council Fathers took a luxury Mercedes Limosine that perhaps needed new tires and replaced it with a rusty old Ford Pinto with no seatbelts.

  45. robtbrown says:

    1. I never suggested that Pope Paul VI was under duress, incompetent or otherwise incapacitated when he promulgated the NOM. In fact, I suggested just the opposite saying that there is no evidence of any of these things.

    As I said above, it is irrelevant whether PVI was under duress, watching too much TV, overeating, undereating, etc.

    2. This lack of evidence coupled with the fact that Pope Paul VI did officially promulgate the NOM is prima facia evidence that it is what was desired.

    Whether or not it was desired is also irrelevant. It was promulgated.

    3. If anyone wishes to believe that the “true” intent of the Council Fathers was somehow hijacked by dissidents, they are certainly free to do so, but must offer proof if they wish me to believe it also.

    NB: I still recommend Cardinal Antonelli’s book.

    4. Believing(as I do)that the NOM is a true and faithful representation of what was desired does not, in any way, imply anything at all about the quality, soundness status or condition of the NOM itself.

    As I noted above, there are texts in SC that can justify almost every liturgical position.


    I tried (and apparently failed) to avoid offering any opinion regarding the NOM itself. Since this is not working out, here it is:
    I believe that the Council Fathers took a luxury Mercedes Limosine that perhaps needed new tires and replaced it with a rusty old Ford Pinto with no seatbelts.
    Comment by MichaelJ

    The Council Fathers did not promulgate the mass, nor did they order complete vernacularization of the liturgy or versus populum celebration.

    There is little doubt that the mass as meal concept has had a heavy influence on contemporary liturgy. There is no mention of this concept in SC. It can be found, however, in Gaudium et Spes.

  46. MichaelJ says:

    robtbrown,
    What exactly are you after? What point are you trying to make or what point that you think I am making are you trying to correct?

    I am at a loss here.

  47. Oneros says:

    “For those who continue to ignore SC and what it explicitly says, and use SC as an excuse to make up their own Protestantized approximation of Catholicism, there is no excuse.”

    Well, not that I like the New Rite…but there actually IS an excuse: namely, that they were authorized by the Pope to do what they did.

    Future Popes are not bound by the merely disciplinary decrees of Councils…so Paul VI was free to ignore, modify, or alter the liturgical vision of Sacrosanctum Consilium and approve something different. And he did. Let no one pretend that the Vatican didn’t approve the work of the Consilium (and continues to).

    People on BOTH sides need to realize that the merely disciplinary/prudential documents of councils are not Inspired Scripture and are not some sort of Divine Mandate. They are only valid in the first place if they are in union with the Pope, and future Popes are free to revoke their approval and change them.

    The Pope was free to go further than the changes proposed by SC, to be more conservative, to make different changes, or to change nothing at all. Just as a Pope today would be free do any of that or to reverse the changes that have happened completely. Again: the Pope is not bound by a Council on disciplinary questions. Yet a Conciliar ecclesiology seems to have even conservative Catholics believing he is so bound…

    Paul VI and his Curia did just that; they ignored/modified council directives, as they have every right to do. Sacrosanctum Consilium said that “Gregorian Chant is to be given pride of place”…but so what? The Pope is free to modify or ignore that, and he sort of did by approving a GIRM allowing the Propers to be replaced by “another suitable song” and tolerating the occurrence of that all throughout the world.

    What happened was bad because it produced ugly ambiguous liturgy and discarded tradition in favor of zeitgeist ideas and change for ecumenical reasons and change’s own sake. Critique it for THOSE reason, not because “it ignored SC” which is really neither here nor there (as the Vatican has every right to ignore SC). If SC HAD called for the Novus Ordo, I still wouldnt like it, and no one would be under any obligation to.

  48. Oneros says:

    “It is as if a people had the greatest treasure in the world and stored it in a beautiful, solid gold box, adorned with precious jewels. One day, the keeping of the treasure was entrusted to someone who didn’t agree with the way the treasure was esteemed, and decided to store it in a termite-infested wooden box. As more and more people lost faith in its value, the heirs of the treasure who still believed saw that there was a problem. But instead of admitting that the transfer of the treasure into the wood box was a bad idea and going back to the gold one, they decided to “fix” the problem by painting the box gold and adding glass replicas of jewels. To what end? In the end the most sacred treasure in the world is still being kept in a rotten wood box, it just looks nicer to the indiscriminate.”

    Bingo! “Dressing up” the Novus Ordo is just lipstick on a pig. The problems are inherent in the TEXT and RUBRICS themselves.

  49. Oneros says:

    “We can all agree that the NOM (by virtue of its very existence if nothing else) is not what the Council Fathers actually asked for. The disagreement is whether it is what the Council Fathers actually wanted.”

    “The Council Fathers” were 4000 different men who ran the gamut from Lefebvre to Bugnini! Trying to attribute a collective intent to all of them, is ridiculous. There was no individual concrete vision that went into SC, different bishops imagined different things, some more vaguely than others.

    The fact is, the Vatican is not bound by the disciplinary decrees of a Council, and the Consilium was the organ given charge of liturgical change.

    Council documents are not a Divine Mandate. The Vatican (and those the Pope authorizes and approves) were free to ignore or modify the vision of the Council and in many ways they did (whether that was a good idea, is another question).

    Though even some of the things in SC itself were offensive like, “The Hour of Prime is to be abolished”.

    “The fact that there is a difference between what the Council officially said and what can reasonably be deduced that it wanted is simply proof of the promise of Christ.”

    Again, a fallacy. This was a disciplinary decree. Infallibility is a negative protection not to teach heresy. It doesn’t guarantee the Church will make good disciplinary decisions. The Council could have just come out and described the Novus Ordo, and that would have been possible. At the same time, the fact that the Consilium implemented something somewhat more radical than SC seems to describe…is no defense of the Church either as if “the Council” was all-perfect and only the “wrong interpretation” made things bad. The right interpretation on disciplinary questions…is the one the Pope approves. And the Pope approved the Novus Ordo, and still approves it. But he could also totally revoke it and just go back to the Old Rite entirely. These attempts to save face and defend “the documents themselves” as opposed to their “misuse”…is a false and sophomoric dichotomy.

  50. Oneros,

    Question: For what purpose was the Consilium created?

  51. Oneros says:

    “For the implementation of the Constitution on Liturgy”

    I’m not trying to claim they didn’t act disingenuously or with impure motives. They obviously did. But, they had the authority. What “the implementation” ultimately means…is defined by what the Pope approves. The Pope approved the Novus Ordo as the official implementation of SC. The bishops didn’t all rise up and say, “That’s not what we imagined!!!!” They accepted it, some enthusiastically.

  52. “I’m not trying to claim they didn’t act disingenuously or with impure motives.”

    OK… but if impure motives WRT carrying out the implementation of SC doesn’t constitute a reasonable defense for Sacrosanctum Concilium itself, I don’t know what does. I can see blaming the Consilium, and faulting the pope for approving their work, but one would be hard pressed to read SC for what it plainly states and lay blame there.

    “What ‘the implementation’ ultimately means…is defined by what the Pope approves. The Pope approved the Novus Ordo as the official implementation of SC.”

    Not exactly… Just because Paul VI approved the NO doesn’t make it a reasonable implementation of SC. It simply makes it valid in and of itself. At present, the Council’s vision for liturgical renewal as expressed in SC remains entirely unrealized in two ways. One, the 1962 Missal remains untouched, and secondly, the new Missal bears little resemblance to the directives found in SC.

    My point is that I don’t think it really is a false dichotomy to hold the text of the Council documents blameless when they are so clearly misused or ignored.

  53. Oneros says:

    “OK… but if impure motives WRT carrying out the implementation of SC doesn’t constitute a reasonable defense for Sacrosanctum Concilium itself, I don’t know what does.”

    I don’t think it constitutes a defense of SC. Just because SC was implemented (with full papal approval) rather more radically than most of us would think can be justified by the text itself (if the text were the only standard), doesn’t mean the text in itself was any good either.

    There are many offensive things like: “The Hour of Prime is to be abolished”…and “both the ceremonies and texts of the ordination rites are to be revised”…and the part about allowing concelebration…and the stuff about the Scriptures being “more varied”…and about the Rite “not being encumbered by repetition” and being “simple and not requiring much explanation”…and the part about restoring “Prayers of the Faithful”…and the part about picking one of the three when it comes to Terce, Sext, and None…and the part about Matins being shortened and sayable at any time of day…and the part about spreading the Office psalms out over a cycle longer than a week. I could go on and on. These things are IN the text itself. Thankfully, a future pope is free to simply discard those things.

    The disingenuous implementation may mean SC isn’t the root of ALL the problems of the Novus Ordo. But that still doesn’t mean that it would have produced anything valuable (which is to say, anything better than the un”reformed” Missal) even if it had been implemented in a more strict-constructionist sort of way. There are still lots of bad things in there that presumably would have been just as much a part of the “intended reform”.

    Many Catholics who defend “the documents themselves” dont realize all that, because they havent actually read SC. A lot of what happened is actually in there. The Consilium’s implementation was still a stretch, but not as much of one as lots of Catholics seem to think.

    “I can see blaming the Consilium, and faulting the pope for approving their work, but one would be hard pressed to read SC for what it plainly states and lay blame there.”

    I’ve made a long list above of problems IN THE SC TEXT ITSELF. The Office was hit worse than the Mass, admittedly, but it’s terrible, and no sacrament escaped it.

    “Not exactly… Just because Paul VI approved the NO doesn’t make it a reasonable implementation of SC. It simply makes it valid in and of itself. At present, the Council’s vision for liturgical renewal as expressed in SC remains entirely unrealized in two ways. One, the 1962 Missal remains untouched, and secondly, the new Missal bears little resemblance to the directives found in SC.”

    And?? Is there some sort of mandate to implement SC “reasonably” still? Even 50 years later, when needs have probably changed?? The Council of Vienne called for a Crusade that never happened…are we still bound to try to implement that???? When can we just move on?

  54. Hieronymus says:

    One thing that has not been mentioned yet: Bugnini was in charge of the preparatory commission for the liturgy which wrote SC, and then he was in charge of its implementation as secretary of the Consilium. The new Mass may not have been what some of the council fathers intended because Bugnini’s wording in the document is ambiguous and — dare I say — duplicitous, but I think it is safe to say that we ended up with liturgy which SC was written to bring about.

    As is obvious from my post above, I am with Oneros here, why are people clinging to this liturgical “reform” as though to admit that it is trash would be an indictment of the Mystical Body of Christ? Let’s just appraise it honestly — we have the liturgy of Vatican II, and it is a horrible failure. It has brought about the change in attitude which was intended by its architects, and the new attitude is not Catholic. Take up the old missal, and let’s move on.

  55. TJerome says:

    Hieronymous, I think that’s why Benedict is calling for a reform of the reform. He is attempting to salvage the good in the OF but I believe eventually we will have a Mass much more like the 1965 version. Tom

  56. quovadis7 says:

    Oneros – “Is there some sort of mandate to implement SC “reasonably” still? Even 50 years later, when needs have probably changed??”

    While I agree with a LOT of what Oneros says above, the foundation of sand that liturgical reform was built upon – aiming to meet the “needs of modern man” – is obviously undergoing some serious deterioration – no surprise there, eh???

    Besides duplicitously promoting the fallacious idea of the “needs of modern man” as the main premise for proposing the liturgical changes (my all-time favorite lay-Catholic author and philosopher, the late Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, completely obliterates the idea of “modern man” in several of his books), SC NEVER listed, much less explained, what those “modern needs” actually were – no surprise there either, eh???

    The pragmatic side of me is highly doubtful that Pope Benedict nor the CDW will be able to peacefully institute a program as Oneros advocates – to “Take up the old missal, and let’s move on.” (although I’d be THRILLED if that did happen!). That kind of radical change first of all would fly in the face of the Holy Father’s “hermeutic of continuity” approach, and would be even more disruptive to the faithful than when the Novus Ordo was imposed upon them over 40 years ago. Catholics today are a LOT less obedient than back then, and assuredly would openly show their disdain for such a radical and disruptive change. Pope Benedict, being the “Pope of Christian Unity”, certainly would have a more sophisticated, charitable, and insightful plan than that….

    Is a “reform of the reform” the right approach? For my money, not until the Vatican makes a concerted effort to clean up the “mess” that SC unleashed upon the Church – by explaining MUCH better what our liturgical “needs” really are (i.e. NOT in terms of modernity, but in terms of the UNCHANGING needs of sinful human nature!), how further liturgical changes will better meet those REAL needs, and for those changes to better reflect a much more compelling continuity with the Usus Antiquior (1962 Missal), both in theology and doctrinal emphasis of our Catholic faith.

    We also need our Bishops to quit sitting on their hands and to provide liturgical catechesis to the faithful – which by the way NEVER happened after Vatican II either! – so that Catholics have a clue wrt the heavenly mysteries unfolding at Holy Mass and HOW they can prayerfully participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. An excellent resource for that is Jeff Pinyan’s fantastic book – “Praying the Mass – The Prayers of the People” – available from his web site http://www.prayingthemass.com/

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  57. Hieronymus says:

    ” . . .eventually we will have a Mass much more like the 1965 version.”

    God save us from such a fate!

    I don’t know why we seem so anchored to the spiritual vacuum known as the 60′s. Why does all of our liturgical/theological work have to focus on a time which was obviously a time of vehement revolt against a Catholic world view. Let’s let the 60′s go, they have wrecked enough. In setting the axe to the trunk of the church, they have severed us from our roots. Let’s re-root ourselves in orthodoxy in theology and orthopraxy in liturgy. The 60′s offer neither.

  58. Oneros says:

    “The pragmatic side of me is highly doubtful that Pope Benedict nor the CDW will be able to peacefully institute a program as Oneros advocates – to “Take up the old missal, and let’s move on.” (although I’d be THRILLED if that did happen!). That kind of radical change first of all would fly in the face of the Holy Father’s “hermeutic of continuity” approach, and would be even more disruptive to the faithful than when the Novus Ordo was imposed upon them over 40 years ago.”

    He came not to bring peace to this world but a sword. Anyone who would “revolt” because of a restoration of traditional liturgy…has already left in their heart. The good Catholics would stay.

    Instead of spending all this time and energy tweeking the Novus Ordo, new translations, blah blah blah…we should be spending that time and effort simply catechizing people (and priests) about the Old Rite again. If, over the course of a few years, we had all sorts of work-shops and classes and literature and people knew it was coming and had time to prepare (if only mentally and emotionally) I doubt it would be as big an issue as people seem to imagine.

    Especially (as I’ve said before) if the Old Rite was put in a nice vernacular translation ala the Anglican Missal (I imagine the Ordinary chants could stay in Latin without much trouble; Catholics are still pretty familiar with those), and maybe make the Offertory and Priest’s Communion prayers audible…and I think people would be fine with it, the few strident aging liberal voices aside.

    I mean…one of the huge barriers to reunion with the Orthodox is the Pope’s theoretical supremacy of jurisdiction. But he doesn’t use it. If there were ANY situation that the Pope should use these “reserve powers” for…it’s for a crisis like this, to the get the Church back on track. And yet he doesn’t. If the Pope doesn’t USE it…some might say we might as well discard the idea for the sake of unity. I mean, why insist on something you aren’t even going to make good use of?? I say the Pope should get the courage to USE the powers he is so insistent “theoretically” about having. Otherwise, why be so insistent “theoretically” if it isnt going to effect practice?!

  59. robtbrown says:

    What exactly are you after? What point are you trying to make or what point that you think I am making are you trying to correct?
    I am at a loss here.
    Comment by MichaelJ

    The point I am trying to make is this: When liturgy is considered acc to the Conciliar documents (esp SC), it is hard to say what the Fathers intended or wanted.

    Further, if we consider those documents in light various contemporaneous accounts of the goings-on at the Council (e.g., Wiltgen or Xavier Rhynne), and later historical considerations–the aforementioned book by Cardinal Antonelli (a member of the Consilium), Amerio’s Iota Unum, and the Bugnini Memoirs, we find ourselves even more confused about what the Fathers wanted.

  60. robtbrown says:

    Re Reform of the reform: The decision was made that the first step in the rotr would be universal permission for the 1962 Missal. IMHO, this was very smart because the reform of the liturgy is going to have to trickle down from Rome. It’s going to take some years and can’t merely be mandated.

    That means that no student priest in Rome (incl at the Germanicum) will be denied the right to use the 1962 Missal, a habit that will be carried back home. Because seminaries are being required to teach the 1962 Missal, Latin study is no longer leprosy.

  61. Oneros says:

    “It’s going to take some years and can’t merely be mandated.”

    It can’t be? These priests and bishops depend on the Church for their livelihood. You can fire people. We need to bring in an entrepreneurial CEO type. These ivory-tower Academics in Rome have been dithering in their silk underwear for too long…

  62. Supertradmom says:

    Seminaries are not being required to teach the 1962 Missal. The TLM is still obviously absent in some seminaries. Mandates are and have been ignored, and in some cases, these purposeful “oversights” have been and are being tolerated.