Did liturgical optionitis and degraded liturgy lead to dissent about morality?

I was alerted to a column by Louis Verrecchio over at the excellent CNA.

It weighs in at about 1700 words. I will edit and add some emphases and comments and then shoo you over there to read the rest.

Mr. Verrecchio makes an interesting connection.

Liturgy’s effect on gay ‘marriage’ debate
By Louie Verrecchio *

Perhaps you’ve visited the popular weblog of the inimitable Fr. Z (AKA Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at WDTPRS.com) [Why, yes! I have!] where one of his trademark battle cries is, “Save the liturgy, save the world!” If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. [Buy some stuff with that phrase.]

“If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world,” Fr. Zuhlsdorf writes, making the point that our liturgical practices have a truly universal impact; whether positive or negative.

With this in mind it occurs to me that if one examines the history and the fruit of the post-conciliar reform of the Roman Rite, the liturgy’s impact on the way Catholics view the gay “marriage” issue can be brought into focus.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc? No, it certainly isn’t a matter of simple “cause and effect,” but follow me here and then draw your own conclusions.

Polling data published by the Pew Research Center in October 2010 claims that 42% of Americans support gay “marriage,” while an even greater percentage of self-identified Catholics (46%) responded likewise. More noteworthy still is that the percentage of those who so reject Church teaching on the sanctity of marriage remains remarkably high (34%) even among weekly Mass-goers!

Though the gay [I loath the distortion of the word “gay”.] “marriage” movement is a relatively recent one, it’s difficult to imagine more than one-in-three Catholic Mass-goers rejecting any such foundational doctrine of the Faith back in 1963; [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] the year the process of liturgical reform was formally set in motion with the promulgation of the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium[See where he’s going with this yet?]

So, how did we get here? Let’s begin by looking back to the year 1969 and the inception of the “gay rights movement” at the inaugural event often cited by its proponents; the “Stonewall Riots” during which homosexuals clashed with police in Greenwich Village over a period of three days beginning on June 28. It was an unprecedented uprising against secular authority for the gay community; setting the tone for decades to come. [Liberals and evil forces are brilliant at the use of creeping incrementalism.  Conservatives tend not to be so patient.]

Less than 90 days earlier, on April 3, Pope Paul VI had issued the Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum, with high hopes that the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae (now known as the “Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite”) would put an end to the challenges being leveled against the Church’s liturgical authority and all of the experimentation that came with it throughout much of the decade.

Fast forward to today.

It’s important for us to realize that the Council Fathers never envisioned, much less encouraged, a scenario in which the Church would in essence create a brand new “form” of the Roman Rite while leaving the Mass according to the 1962 Missal (now called the “Extraordinary Form”) unchanged. How and why this happened is a subject unto itself, but the salient point here is that the near “overnight” emergence of a “bi-formal” Roman Rite is as unusual as the unique set of circumstances it created!  [There is a bit of a misstep here, perhaps.  It is true that the older form of Mass remained in use, but it was for all intents and purposes crushed out of existence in most places.  The “bi-formal” has really come from Summorum Pontificum, in a juridical sense, at least.  But let’s not go down this rabbit hole.  The writer’s point is good: the Council Fathers asked for one thing and different thing happend.]

[…]

The peculiar set of circumstances in which we find ourselves today have created an environment in which Roman Rite Catholics are faced, either in practice or in theory, with two entirely valid liturgical “choices;” i.e. what form of the Roman Rite works best for me? [Of course Catholics have always had choices of Latin and Eastern Rites to attend.]
The majority of Catholics, who as the name suggests worship in the Ordinary Form, are further faced with yet another unprecedented set of potential liturgical choices as the Novus Ordo is given to multiple variations.

Do I prefer the Folk Mass or the “regular” Mass? Do I like Fr. Joe’s Mass or Fr. John’s Mass? Do I want to drive a few extra miles to go to the charismatic Mass, or should I take the kids to that parish across town with the video screens and the PowerPoint homilies?

Saving any commentary on the merits of these choices for another day, the very idea of shopping for a liturgy that suites one’s fancy is inherently flawed in that it approaches a divinely instituted gift that is given by Christ to His Church (not to the local community, much less to the individual) and it treats it as though it is a product of the people that can be repeatedly reinvented according to popular fashion as seems useful to the meet the demands of personal preference. It is, in other words, a liturgical approach that is inordinately “me-centered.[In a sense, he is right.  In theory.  But in fact, when faced with a Mass filled with wacko stuff by Fr. Just-Call-Me-Bob at St. Abusiva in Mahonyville, or a reverently celebrated by Fr. Just-Say-The-Black at St. Fidelia over in Benedictburg, it isn’t any longer a matter of “fancy”.]

[…]
[And here we are at the point we knew he was aimed.] With this being the case, is it any wonder there are Catholics in our day who operate as though their personal preferences legitimately reign supreme in such fundamental matters of faith as how one defines the sanctity of marriage?  Consider, if you will, the convoluted yet not entirely unpredictable logic that the current liturgical climate has invited.  [If you incessantly show people that they can make it up as they go and then you chose to do things that are undignified, you are telling people that nothing they believed is fixed and those things we have been told are not that important anyway.  There is a reciprocal relationship between what we believe and how we pray.  Change one and, over time, the other will change too.]

[…]

Perhaps this is why so many on the Catholic Left who embrace personal choice when it comes to things like abortion and sexual morality are often moved to outright hostility at the mere suggestion that there is value in the traditional form of Holy Mass for anyone. [Truer words were never written.  And, ironically, I have found over the years that those who bash the older form of Mass the most are themselves burdened with problems of sexual identity.  It is usually only homosexuals who point their fingers at the traditional things and then suggest that those who use them are homosexuals.] Could it be that they realize there is much more at stake in the liturgy than what goes on within the walls of the church building? (Ironic, is it not, given the mantra of the Left, “Stay out of my bedroom?”)  [The proximity of the dismissal to the end of distribution of Communion, in both forms of the Roman Rite, is no accident.]
The fundamental difficulty here is that when liturgy, in practice, becomes a venue in which believers are empowered to exercise choice as a function of personal preference the stage is set for a certain “idolatry of self” to play itself out.

Evidence of this danger is made manifest in any number of ways in the Ordinary Form; the orientation of the priest and the physical layout of our church buildings wherein the community of believers is turned inward upon itself, the narcissistic music that we often bring into the Mass, the ever increasing roles that we assign to the laity while granting them the title “minister,” etc. [bingo!]

[…]
So now what?

“Save the liturgy, save the world,” of course.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

I think he is on to something.

Also, for your amusement, Mr. Verrecchio also came up with a way to describe the concerted efforts to undermine, derail, otherwise whine about the new, corrected translation:

“Global Missal Dissent System”

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77 Responses to Did liturgical optionitis and degraded liturgy lead to dissent about morality?

  1. Henry Edwards says:

    It went both ways, but in opposite directions from bottom up and from top down.

    For the ordinary pew Catholic, before Vatican II the liturgy had been the solid rock on which the faith was built. The liturgy was unchanging, so the faith was unchanging. But when the liturgy was thrown up for grabs in the aftermath of Vatican II, so was the faith. It seemed clear at the time (mid-1960s) that cafeteria faith followed after and was a consequence of cafeteria liturgy.

    However, I have long thought that it went the other way for the liturgical leaders and cadres who imposed liturgical chaos and destruction on ordinary Catholics in the pews. Many or most of the liturgical operatives appeared to favor lax sexual morality–perhaps for obvious personal reasons–and since bedrock liturgy was the principle obstacle to this laxity, the liturgy had to be changed, and converted from solid rock to shifting sand.

  2. Glen M says:

    Many here will think it, but allow me to be the first to type it: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.

    Oh, and by their fruits you shall know them. Compare the leading indicators pre and post “spirit of V2″ Mass attendance, belief in Transubstantiation, participation in Confession, seminarians, etc.

    Aren’t ecumenical councils called in times of crisis? I’m not sure we had one in the sixties, but I will say that we have one now.

  3. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, non?

    A similar claim made some time ago on Life Site News via NLM concerning the “broken window” theory of liturgy: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2008/12/lifesitenews-series-lists-liturgy-as.html

  4. Elly says:

    Thank you- very interesting.

    I’m wondering about this sentence-

    “Less than 90 days earlier, on April 3, Pope Paul VI had issued the Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum, with high hopes that the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae (now known as the “Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite”) would put an end to the challenges being leveled against the Church’s liturgical authority and all of the experimentation that came with it throughout much of the decade.”

    So there were challenges to authority and experimentation before the Novus Ordo? I thought that came afterwards. Did Vatican II really have such an immediate effect?

  5. Fr. Basil says:

    My opinion is that the attitude to sexual morality by the faithful is in reaction to Humanae vitae, which was promulgated a good too years before the Pauline Missal.

    And forgive me if I betray my bias here, but my experience at Byzantine Divine Liturgy and other services, with the people chanting the responses aloud is probably what the Council fathers were intending for the Latin Church. But you’ll still need a choir or cantors to lead, chant the propers, and especially bear most of the responsibility for more complex services, such as Matins or those of Holy Week (at least in the Byzantine tradition).

  6. Mike says:

    I always thought the New Missal came out in 1970, not 1969. Also, I thought most of the abuse came after 1970…from 1960-1965, the council hadn’t implemented very much, no? This above paragraph quoted by Elly seems off to me. However, I was born in ’61, and don’t remember much until, wham, the guitar Masses were off to the races.

    One final thought: I would love to see Robert Irvine, from the Food Network, and master choleric chief, run through every parish with wacko liturgies and sentimental songs, etc, and do what he does best: “Shut it down! Now, the whole thing! Shut it down!”

    Just a wan hope!

  7. teomatteo says:

    “Catholic Left who embrace personal choice when it comes to things like abortion and sexual morality are often moved to outright hostility at the mere suggestion that there is value in the traditional form of Holy Mass for anyone”
    I noticed this responce from many liberal catholics but I didn’t want, uncharitably to accept the conclusion : that its not really the ‘latin mass’ that they dislike (reject) its the truth of church teaching that they ‘associate’ with it that they reject.

  8. Brooklyn says:

    There isn’t much to add to this – beautifully stated, especially with the comments by Father Z. I don’t think it’s just happenstance that when I go to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, people are talking before and after in the Church, and there is a highly irrevential attitude during the Mass. At the TLM, people are on their knees praying before and after the Mass, and during the Mass, everyone’s attention is solidly fixed on what is going on at the altar, and almost everyone walks to and from receiving communion with their hands folded in prayer. The attitude at Mass most certainly does carry over into the rest of our lives.

    Save the liturgy, save the world – I cannot give a loud enough AMEN!!!!! to this.

  9. Denis says:

    The idea that the Church must do everything not to offend the sensibilities of modern-minded pew-sitters–turn the liturgy into something that won’t scare the poor things, change the liturgical calendar so that everything important always falls on a Sunday, etc. etc–has led to what he have today: buildings devoid of any visible signs of the sacred, filled with people only a minority of whom actually believe what the Church teaches, participating in actions designed not to make them feel uncomfortable about their secularism. It is much harder to be challenged by a sloppy liturgy, because it is just a mirror image of your own sloppy inner life. Who can possibly be challenged by a mirror image? Was that a rant?

  10. Childermass says:

    The liturgical chaos of the late 1960s and 1970s drove most of my family out of the Church. My father was TRAUMATIZED by the changes, and they caused him to conclude that the Catholic Church was a man-made institution whose leaders could change anything on a whim. The liturgy had been the center of his spiritual life. But then, my father watched as a committee of “experts” in Rome tossed the ancient liturgy out with the trash and substituted it with a new one designed to follow their pet theories. Everyone else got the message and adapted the liturgy to whatever they felt like. The revolution in the liturgy destroyed my father’s faith. After a time out in the wilderness, he “got saved” and became a Baptist. Even today, now as a Calvinist Baptist, my father strongly dislikes going to the Novus Ordo with me when I visit and need to go to Mass. He wants to go to the traditional Mass.

    Most of the rest of my family came to the same unsurprising conclusion, that the Church is just a man-made institution whose leaders can change anything on a whim. Having been brainwashed in Moralistic Therapeutic Deism by the surrounding culture, they don’t see why the Catholic Church, little more than a social institution which constantly adapts to conform to the desires of human beings, can’t adopt this.

    And I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who were interested in Catholicism until they saw Catholic parishes. What’s the point of church laws and bishops and popes if each parish does whatever the heck it likes—and has, with impunity, for 40 years? If most bishops and priests don’t give a crap about proper worship of Almighty God in their dioceses, why should anybody else care? Here’s the tempting conclusion: Maybe the whole Church thing is all just made up, just a man-made venue to cultivate one’s narcissism.

    The liturgical crisis is destroying the Church’s witness. When people ask me about Catholicism, usually the last thing I’d want to do is to tell them to start going to their local parish.

    Those of us who have stuck around are often obliged to go parish shopping as if we were Protestants.

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    Elly: So there were challenges to authority and experimentation before the Novus Ordo? I thought that came afterwards. Did Vatican II really have such an immediate effect?

    Mike: Also, I thought most of the abuse came after 1970…from 1960-1965, the council hadn’t implemented very much, no?

    Oh, my goodness! Where I was in the mid- to late 1960s, it was utter chaos in the liturgy well before the 1969 promulgation and 1970 implementation of the Novus Ordo. There were hundreds of different Eucharistic prayers floating around on mimeographed sheets. In some places, it seemed like a new one appeared at almost every Sunday Mass.

    One theory — among others — about Paul VI’s promulgation of the Novus Ordo, despite his alleged reservations about what the Bugnini commission was doing, is that he was persuaded that a newly promulgated and official “new order” of Mass was necessay to suppress the seemingly endless proliferation of unofficial orders.

    And I believe it had that effect, at least in some places, whereas others had not experienced the 1960s chaos, so it probably seemed to them that the Novus Ordo was the cause of what happened in the 1970s.

    But my experience was the former. That things seemed to settle down, at least temporarily, with the Novus Ordo and its “only” four Eucharistic prayers.

  12. disco says:

    I wonder what the results of that poll would be if it were administered outside a traditional Latin mass parish after mass. It would probably be 1% opposes the Church’s teaching. And that’s only if there was a flower child checking out the EF for the first time.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    The root of the problem is not merely that fact that there was “change”, but who was doing the changing.

    The author is correct to a point. But, the crux of the matter is that the Laity began to change things in liturgical committees, wedding planners, funeral planners, RCIA directors, choir directors, etc. The Laity did not object to the unprecedented power which was handed to them, or given in when demanded from the priest. They were waiting and hungry , especially in the democracy which is America, to take control. We cannot pretend this was not true from the early ’70s on.

    Even in college, students were, and sometimes are still allowed to plan the entire liturgy. Even “lay chaplains” can do this. I know all of this from experience.

    The Laity must take the fight for the TLM back to the priests, just as the Laity took the planning of the Liturgy from the Church.

    We have only ourselves to blame for Father Bob-the-Super-Soaker-Clown. If we had been awake and said “no”, the damage would be considerably less, and the NO would be reverent. The rot started much earlier than 1969.

    As to the premise that LGTB rights should be given as connected to the wild liturgies, the answer is “yes”. Obviously, if one does not believe in liturgical rules, one will not believe in moral rules. This type of anarchy, or relativism started between World War I and World War II, and quickly spread to the universities and colleges. The Church was standing alone against this tide, but the enemy got within the gates in Catholic education in schools, colleges, universities and seminaries. This has not changed. Relativism destroys Faith, and the lack of Faith leads to a moral wasteland.

  14. MarkJ says:

    This is exactly why I pray everyday for the end of the Novus Ordo and the complete return of the Church to the Tradition it jettisoned in 1970. The Novus Ordo and the attitudes it engenders have devastated the Lord’s vineyard and destroyed the Faith of countless millions. St. Matthew’s Gospel says: “17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Haven’t we seen enough of the fruits of the Novus Ordo to call for a decisive end to it?

  15. SimonDodd says:

    “[T]he Council Fathers asked for one thing and different thing happened.” It’s a good point, and I was just opining on it this past monday: It’s a curious anomaly that those who most stridently claim to be defending the council are in reality defending the ICEL’s liturgy against (what they would have us believe is) the council’s liturgy.

    Anyway, I think Verrecchio’s argument is a lot more persuasive than the average “the NO has corrupted us” fare. By focusing on diversity of practice rather than actual content, he is able to tie the two together in a way that has quite an impact. He may be on to something.

  16. disco says:

    Oh my Supertradmum! The lay chaplain! What could be more useless? We had one when I was a freshman at Boston College (female, naturally). I asked at the first floor meeting what use a chaplain who couldn’t hear confessions might have for a Catholic. My question was not well received. That same day we had a mass for the incoming frosh and the priest asked us all to gather around the altar for the consecration at the chapel of the sacred heart on the newton campus (hideous church by the way). I became a trad not long after that.

  17. Brooklyn says:

    In the history of the Church prior to Vatican II, all councils were convened as a result of dealing with some heresy or another in the Church. I’ve never understood why Vatican II was convened, and I’ve never understood why the bishops felt the need to change the Mass. The Church was actually quite strong at the time, seminaries were brimming over, Mass attendance was sky high, and yet they felt a need to create an entirely new form of the Mass. Is there anyone who can explain their reasoning to me?

  18. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Childermass: That is a sad personal story that speaks volumes of truth about what’s gone on in the Church. And they wonder “Why aren’t people believing in Christ or participating in the life of the Church?” I may be young and never saw the changeover in the 60-‘s to 70’s, but I’m not stupid and can sense certain things when they go wrong. That’s why every one of us faithful Catholics that are left (and aren’t liberal leaning) must do our part to encourage traditionalism back into the Church and tell people of the true faith, when our liturgies fail us. Today after the sad triple sting of liberalism, feminism, and modernism have poisoned the Church, we cannot rely on liturgy alone (in the majority of things) to save us (though we must always never forget that the Eucharist is a sacrament and to attend Mass on Sunday for religious obligation or face mortal sin). We have to tell every interested person and even our cafeteria catholic brethen, what the truth is, show them how to obtain it (e.g. http://www.vatican.va, Catechism, Fr. Z’s blog, what books to read), and encourage them to live the faith when their parishes aren’t up to snuff. I tried to do this in a small way last Sunday, for example, with one of the catechumens who will be a Catholic this Easter. He’s a young guy around our youth ministry’s age and he joined us to do a Work of Christ at a homeless shelter. Leaving the place, I tried in best words to explain that doing things like this are essential to the Faith. Yes you will be welcomed into the Church, but after it’s up to you to keep your faith strong and to follow Christ after you become initiated. I’m better at the keyboard than in conversation so I just hope the gist got through to him.

    Fr. Z: You are “Fr. Just-Say-The-Black at St. Fidelia over in Benedictburg” with one exception: Your official title is “Fr. Just-Say-The-Black-and-do-the-red”.

  19. Marcin says:

    The idea that the Church must do everything not to offend the sensibilities of modern-minded pew-sitters–turn the liturgy into something that won’t scare the poor things, change the liturgical calendar so that everything important always falls on a Sunday, etc. etc–has led to what he have today

    Ah, yes. The poor pew-sitters, they can be scandalized by just about anything. Like, for example, the married clergy.

  20. Marcin says:

    It’s a curious anomaly that those who most stridently claim to be defending the council are in reality defending the ICEL’s liturgy against (what they would have us believe is) the council’s liturgy.

    Can it be said also about Novus Ordo as such?

  21. Centristian says:

    I believe the argument has some merit to it, but I think it would be rather more accurate to say that the result in question was caused by a calamitous world-wide cultural upheaval in the 1960s, of which the liturgical upheaval following the Second Vatican Council was a very noticeable part, for Catholics.

    This is why I cannot bring myself to blame the “new” Missal, really, for today’s liturgical deformities, the way so many do. So many see the liturgical disruptiveness of the age as a “Novus Ordo” thing as opposed to a sign of the times. It seems to me that had the 1962 Missal not been traded for the current one, the liturgical chaos that began in the 1960s would have begun (and would have continued up to the present day) in any case.

    Everything that has been done with the current Missal–versus populum posture, use of the vernacular language, altar girls, Eucharistic Ministers, folk music, ugly vestments, liturgical dancers, glass and pottery vessels…power water guns…and the rest–would all have been inflicted upon the Mass regardless, even had the 1962 Missal been left alone (albeit translated into the vernacular). The changes to the (Tridentine) Mass to make it less solemn in nature and more…interactive…were already happening before the Council (well before the Council, at some experimental venues).

    The gentle reforms that were contemplated for the Catholic Mass in the early to mid-twentieth century were mostly positive and useful, as I see things. Even Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of all prelates, spoke of the need for useful reforms of the liturgy. Alas, the reforms (and all the ecclesiastical zeal for them) hit the scene, universally, at precisely the wrong moment in history and the result was catastrophic. It was a perfect storm. As a result, the imagined reforms were taken 20 steps father than they were ever meant to go, to the point where they ceased to be reforms and instead became deformities (in some cases horrific deformities).

    I think it is important to remember that all of the things about the “new” Church that appall so many of us were not really caused by a revised text, really, but by a new culture that was brought about by the libertine and revolutionary attitudes of an age of confusion. Is Pope Paul VI’s new Missal, then, truly in part to blame for the fact that many Catholics imagine that it is okay for them to publicly support the right of gay men and women to contract marriage? Or is it more likely that this particular result of a cultural shift would have occurred anyhow, even had the 1962 Missal been left in place? The “new Mass” took its toll, but the form of it, much more so than the text of it. That new form of Mass would have afflicted celebrations using the 1962 Missal just as it has Pope Paul’s Missal.

    It can certainly be argued that the liturgical chaos in the modern Church has greatly contributed to confusion amongst modern day Catholics, but I think it’s important that we recognize the age as the culprit, and not the Missal.

  22. Alice says:

    Perhaps this is a case where “Lingua orandi, lingua credendi.” The “inclusive” translations of the Mass have taught Catholics in the pews that men and women are pretty much interchangeable. Probably without even realizing it the normally orthodox religion series we taught from when we taught CCD talked about two people getting married. No, a MAN and a WOMAN get married, regardless of whether they are Catholic or even baptized.

    I think what worries me more is the way that many seemingly orthodox Catholics have decided that the sacrament of matrimony is the only thing worth fighting for and that the “world” can have the term marriage to use however it wants. A good dose of Baltimore Catechism would have helped these folks out, but it’s a little late now.

  23. Brooklyn says:

    Centristian – I’m starting out with an apology, because I always seem to disagree with you.

    The article cited here ends with “Save the Liturgy, save the world.” This would imply that it isn’t the world that affects the Liturgy, it is the state of the Liturgy that affects the world. The Catholic Church is the most important institution in the world because our salvation comes through this Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church truly is the center of the world. Nothing on this earth is more important than where we will spend eternity. Everything this world offers is temporary. Only the Church offers us eternity. As a result, as goes the Church, so goes the world.

    When the Catholic Church was strong, the morality of the culture was strong. Sure, there was still sin, but the big difference is that it was recognized as sin. When the Catholic Church is weak, the culture is weak and even dying. When the Catholic Church does not do her job of preaching the gospel as Christ commanded us, the entire world pays a price.

    I strongly disagree with your statement: “I think it would be rather more accurate to say that the result in question was caused by a calamitous world-wide cultural upheaval in the 1960s, of which the liturgical upheaval following the Second Vatican Council was a very noticeable part, for Catholics. ” I believe the truth is the “calamitous world-wide cultural upheaval in the 1960s” was caused by the “calamitous world-wide cultural upheaval” in the Church.

  24. JaneC says:

    I really think that some of the posters above are right; it’s not that degraded liturgy led to dissent about morality, but that degraded morality led to degraded liturgy, and that the perpetuation of degraded liturgy contributes to the poor catechesis and poor prayer lives of many Catholics which allow them to continue to accept the premises on which moral dissent is based.

    Of course, I have also met a few–a very few–Catholics who find the Extraordinary Form to be the height of liturgical expression, but who also dissent from Church teaching in all the usual liberal ways, desiring women priests, more married priests, contraception, etc. One of them is a prominent expert on medieval music. They want the beautiful externals without the substance.

  25. quovadis7 says:

    I think that Mr. Verrechio’s arguments and Fr. Z’s comments are 100% on-target.

    In conversations my wife & I have had with my her parents (they were in their 20’s during Vatican II), they have told us is very clear terms that the disciplinary and liturgical changes made during and immediately after Vatican II dramatically changed the minds of their generation about the “immutable truths” which the Catholic Church previously held & taught. With that, the Catholic dissent which followed the Council is not surprising at all.

    Many folks claim that the Council Fathers did not advocate what resulted in the liturgical reforms. In one specific way, I think that they DID – namely, their advocacy of “inculturation” into the liturgical reforms.

    IMHO, the glaring prudential misstep by the Council Fathers in advocating “inculturation” into the Liturgy was that it completely shifted the emphasis from Holy Mass being primarily and almost exclusively centered upon God (theocentric) over to the people (anthropocentric). And, once the emphasis became much too focused upon the “community” – which IS the case in the vast majority of Catholic parishes today – then, quite literally, all hell started to break loose in the Church.

    True, the post-conciliar disciplinary & liturgical changes via “inculturation” weren’t the sole causes of the problems we’ve encountered, but I think it is undeniable that they were strong catalysts, at the very least.

    One argument I recently touted in an extensive e-mail exchange that I had with a prominent Catholic apologist (in discussing the TLM & the Novus Ordo) was the following: one of the primary tenets of Christianity is “dying to self”; the TLM emphatically emphasizes that tenet, while the Novus Ordo does not – in large measure because of “inculturation”. A nearly wholescale lack of emphasis upon “dying to self” amongst Catholics is certainly one of the root causes of the serious problems with rampant dissent in the Church today – and “inculturation” in the Liturgy is in a very real way undermining their embracing of “dying to self”….

    So, IMHO, the “inculturation” which was introduced into the Novus Ordo during/after Vatican II was the “camel’s nose in the tent” that started the undermining of the “lex orandi, lex credendi” of the Church. And, the Council Fathers ARE directly to blame for that.

    Until the Novus Ordo gets uniformly celebrated in ways which completely jettison “inculturation” (i.e. dumping the folk masses, youth masses, and the inherently sappy, irreverent, and even the “generically Christian” hymns from Glory & Praise, Gather, as well as inherently non-Catholic Praise & Worship fare), and reinstills traditional Catholic identity back into the Liturgy (via ad orientum worship by the Priest, consistent use of the Proper prayers, Gregorian chant, and Latin responses for the Ordinary parts of Holy Mass), the upcoming new ICEL translation will not be of that much help to shift the “lex orandi, lex credendi” dynamic within the Church. The new ICEL translation will be a good start, but MUCH, MUCH more than that is needed.

    I favor a wholesale return to the TLM, which my family & I attend almost exclusively now. But, human nature being what it is, I know in my heart that is utterly unrealistic – especially given the rampant dissent already existing within the Church.

    We need not only to pray every day for Pope Benedict – that his “Marshall Plan” (as Fr. Z calls it) for the Liturgy continues to unfold – but as well as for his successor, so that the next Holy Father will continue with that plan for the many years which will certainly be needed for it to be substantially implemented.

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  26. Monica says:

    Well, Brooklyn. I’m afraid that as a North Carolinian born in 1963, raised in the uber-Protestant South, I must point out that Catholic culture barely existed where I come from (ya’ll!) And a study of 1960s-1970s world history will prove Centristian correct. I wouldn’t have converted to Catholicism if I didn’t consider it the fullness of Christian faith. But many commenters here overestimate the effects of liturgical changes in regard to societal upheavals of the 60s and 70s. I know you all do this out of love for the Church; it is still an insular and near-sighted view of history.

  27. Mike says:

    Henry,

    Thanks for the on-the-ground clarification.

    I tend to agree with Mosebach that the “reform” of V2 of the liturgy came at the worst possible time, ie, the ’68 revolutions, when everything was up for grabs.

  28. anilwang says:

    Have to agree with Fr. Basil and Mike. If the liturgy was a problem, it was a problem before VII since the rejection of Humanae Vitae and the abuses happened long before the liturgy was changed. The fact that Novus Ordo could be botched so badly without mass revolt by the laity is a clear sign that something was wrong. Turning back the clock on the liturgy and implementing the Novus Ordo the way it was intended will definitely reverse the damage of the current Novus Ordo, but it won’t fix the underlying problem. Walk into a typical Greek Orthodox parish (The Eastern Catholic parishes in my area are little different than the good NO parishes in my area) and you’ll find the Church is wall to wall icons, arranged in hierarchy with Christ on the dome. Ignoring everything else, you still get the strong impression that all the saints are participating in the liturgy, and there is a clear hierarchy in the heavens. You know your place, and it’s clear that God is God and you are not.

    TLM was before my time, but the pictures that I’ve seen of typical parishes in the 1950s are nowhere near as transparent as the Greek Orthodox parishes. You have to go back in the old pre-Reformation parishes to see parishes with wall to wall statues that give a similar sort of feeling.

    Our culture is so enveloped in enlightenment modernism that most of us don’t know how much we’ve been infected. We’re so surrounded by modern man-made “miracles” that we aren’t awestruck by ordinary miracles like a baby’s birth or ants. Until we’re able to be awestruck by the works of God, man will be the center of the universe and an impressive liturgy will simply glorify man rather than God.

  29. Desertfalcon says:

    I understand that the article’s emphasis is on the degree to which ‘modernism’ has effected people’s beliefs concerning the Mass, but I think the culprit concerning screwy ideas such as gay “marriage” are more obvious. Gay “marriage” became inevitable and is made palatable by society, (including that portion that is Catholic), when it accepted both legally and socially that second, third, etc., “marriages”….were actual marriages and not adultery. I don’t know how many times I have found even orthodox, faithful Catholics, who publicly support a popular social conservative who also happens to be on marriage #2, 3, 4? How many think of Nancy Reagan as Mr. Reagan’s “wife”, instead of her as the woman he had an adulterous relationship with for decades? How many chimed in with a ditto! when Rush Limbaugh harangued opponents California Prop. 8, overlooking that Rush is a serial adulterer on “wife” #4?

    Once society decided that marriage was ‘re-definable’, gay marriage became inevitable.

  30. JKnott says:

    I agree with you Brooklyn. Catholics strengthened in Truth are capable of standing firm against worldly corruption and even able to bring good to bear on the world.
    Dietrich Von Hildebrand, in his book, “Liturgy and Personality” written before Vatican II argues beautifully that, gradually, over time, we are all formed (in character, faith, morals, personality) by a good Liturgy. It is just that simple as other comments have pointed out; Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. But his book is very good,
    Some have been wondering about pre Vatican II abuses. In Boston at least, maybe other places as well, there were (with the knowledge and participation of the bishop) liturgical abuses already in practice in the Tridentine Mass , such as people bringing up the gifts etc.. Probably some of the books like Michael Davies would have more information on it.
    So glad Father Z posted and commented on this excellent column by Louis Verricchio.

  31. Tradster says:

    aniwang: “The fact that Novus Ordo could be botched so badly without mass revolt by the laity is a clear sign that something was wrong.”

    A word of caution to not view the 1960s and 1970s with a 2011 perspective. There were three main reasons why there was no mass revolt (pun intended). First, because everyone was raised to fear mortal sins of disobedience and missing Mass (back when people feared mortal sins, unlike today). Second, without the Internet news and blogs, there was little opportunity to organize nor any idea of any alternatives. For instance, only those souls fortunate enough to live near an SSPX chapel even knew of them, much less went to their services. The secular and the official diocesan media certainly did not report on the dissenters. So most of us went through the 40 years in the desert unaware until recently that we could remain Catholic, fulfil our Mass obligations, save our souls, and yet still avoid the circus acts. Third, because unlike today’s hindsight, us poor blindsided laity in the pews simply could not comprehend the firehose of liberal changes coming at us from the very clergy and religious that we grew up respecting and trusting. In short, if VC2 and the NO were happening today instead of 40 years ago the outcome would be very different indeed.

  32. Centristian says:

    quovadis7 said…

    “Until the Novus Ordo gets uniformly celebrated in ways which completely jettison ‘inculturation’ (i.e. dumping the folk masses, youth masses, and the inherently sappy, irreverent, and even the ‘generically Christian’ hymns from Glory & Praise, Gather, as well as inherently non-Catholic Praise & Worship fare), and reinstills traditional Catholic identity back into the Liturgy (via ad orientum worship by the Priest, consistent use of the Proper prayers, Gregorian chant, and Latin responses for the Ordinary parts of Holy Mass), the upcoming new ICEL translation will not be of that much help to shift the ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’ dynamic within the Church. The new ICEL translation will be a good start, but MUCH, MUCH more than that is needed.”

    Indeed. I couldn’t agree more. An improved text without an improved presentation of the celebration will be of not very much use at all. The new translation of the Roman Missal read in the context of a folk Mass, for example, won’t make the folk Mass any more sublime. But neither would the use of the 1962 Missal in the context of a folk Mass. It would be an awful, banal thing, no matter which edition of what Missal was used.

    We need to stop thinking in terms of beautiful liturgy = one edition of the Roman Missal and one edition only. That is to say, beautiful liturgy = 1962 Missal. No. An awful liturgy can be celebrated using the 1962 Missal easily enough.

    Just as easily, however, a fully Catholic liturgy may and ought to be celebrated using the current Missal. Let’s stop insisting that the only way to have a truly Catholic liturgy is with the use of one text and one text only.

    Mass celebrated using the 1962 Missal in the 21st century can be compared to operating steam locomotives in the 21st century: sure, you’ll still encounter them here and there at a handful of scenic railroads across the country and it’s wonderful that enough of them have been preserved that people alive today can still get a glimpse of what railroads were like once upon a time, but you aren’t going to see them return en masse to replace the diesel locomotive.

    One day, the last remaining steam locomotives will all be silent, however. They can’t run forever and those who know how to operate them will be gone. Similarly, one day, all the clergy familiar with the 1962 Missal will be dead and gone, and the 1962 Missal will be a museum piece.

    But must the same fate follow for a truly Catholic sense of how Mass is celebrated? That is what we need to preserve and cultivate, much more so than one, historical book. Mass should be celebrated in a fully Catholic way no matter which book is used. It is important, then, that we stop imagining that Mass can only be celebrated properly and well using the previous Missal, and that it must be celebrated in an avant-garde way using the current Missal.

    Advocates of the pre-Conciliar Missal are, in a sense, shooting the cause for Catholic tradition in the foot by claiming a monopoly on traditional Catholic liturgy for the old Missal. Because one day that book will be a historical novelty that no priest uses, and what will be left will be a Missal for which it has been decided that traditional Catholic liturgical forms cannot obtain.

  33. Actually, the liturgical opinion I found ironic was a music minister who’s a great lover of the four hymn sandwich, but who opined that the EF Low Mass shouldn’t be allowed. And she’s old enough that she should have recognized the irony and the relationship between them, too. (She’s happily married to a good Catholic man, btw.) To be fair, the truth is that she hates public silence and stillness and knows it. She’s been known to say that silent prayer is for home only; but then, her kids are grown and she lives in a nice quiet neighborhood where silence is easy to come by! She’s a nice woman who’d do anything for people, but she just doesn’t have any favorable feeling for introversion or introspection, as far as I’ve ever been able to tell.

    The genius of the Church in the past was that there was always plenty of things for extroverts to do for the Church, without turning introverts away.

  34. Joseph-Mary says:

    Mahonyville? LOL.

    (although no laughing matter)

    I think I will travel to Benedictown.

  35. Desertfalcon says:

    @ Centristian,

    True and I recall Fr. Benedict Groeschel, for one, has reminded people of that fact. The problem is that for those who attended an indult parish or who assist at only at EF Masses today, the nature of such a dedicated minority in the Church sets a high bar and encourages a belief in a mythical past that is less than truthful concerning pre-‘novus Ordo’ days. Fr. Groeschel reminds us that the “bad” Masses were as common then as today. Badly articulated Latin in rushed low Masses in which they faithful were not much more than observers. I’ve heard the same from many old enough to remember. I’m all for orthodox and beautiful liturgy, but the TLM has no monopoly on that claim.

  36. Joseph-Mary: Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far way, when Compuserve’s Catholic Form was the big thing, I wrote a series of short stories about priests and lay people of parishes in Mahonyville and Trautown, and some other places. I was recycling a bit.

  37. Marcin says:

    I think I will travel to Benedictown.

    BTW, the Mayor of Mahonyville has just retired. Does it really mean a change in policies of the new administration? Will the new translation of the Fat Book bring on much needed correction or the Teachers Jamboree will go as usual, just with new words?

  38. Brooklyn says:

    Centristian – I am trying to remain as calm as I can, but the following statement of yours is just too much for me to take:

    “One day, the last remaining steam locomotives will all be silent, however. They can’t run forever and those who know how to operate them will be gone. Similarly, one day, all the clergy familiar with the 1962 Missal will be dead and gone, and the 1962 Missal will be a museum piece.”

    NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! With all due respect, this tells me that you basically do not know whereof you speak. The 1962 Missal is the result of 2000 years of Church history. The Mass evolved down through the ages to what we had in 1962. It survived all the calamties of the ages, just as the Church itself survived. A museum piece? This beautiful liturgy that takes us right to heaven? How can you possibly say that?

    I can’t stand it. I really can’t. You have very obviously not been to the TLM, because if you did, you would note that there are many young people there, and many young priests are going out of their way and to great trouble to learn it. This Mass will not die, no matter how much people may try to kill it.

  39. Centristian says:

    “NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! With all due respect, this tells me that you basically do not know whereof you speak. The 1962 Missal is the result of 2000 years of Church history. The Mass evolved down through the ages to what we had in 1962.”

    NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! The Mass evolved down through the ages to what we have TODAY. What ceased to evolve, however, after a certain point, was the sense of how to celebrate it properly.

    My remarks stand as one who attended Mass according to the 1962 Missalexclusively for many years. My point was that Mass ought to be celebrated in that same majestic, beautiful way, no matter which Missal is used. I think you missed the essential point of my remarks and focused soley on the steam railroad analogy that you disliked.

    [And you might have neglected that in the 60’s something happened in the “evolution” of the form of Mass. The organic development was ruptured and an artificial construct was imposed. You will agree with common sense and the Holy Father on that one.]

  40. Brooklyn says:

    The NO Mass today did not evolve. It was created at Vatican II, taking from the TLM. The NO Mass has evolved into many different counterparts, but there is only one TLM.

    I still contend you don’t know what you are speaking of. You said this Mass will die when the people who love it die. This Mass will not die because there will always be those who love it, including our great God in heaven. The TLM produced millions of saints down through the agess. There is no reason for it to die, and it will not die. This was the only Mass of the Roman Catholic Church until only 40 or 50 years. It will survive. Not only will it survive, but it will flourish once again, as it is begining to do even now.

  41. Brooklyn says:

    I misstated. The TLM was not the only rite of the Catholic Church, but it was most definitely the main liturgy that was celebrated. And it was universal.

  42. SimonDodd says:

    Brooklyn, I think you’re really going out of your way to misunderstand Centristian’s point; either that, or I have misunderstood it completely. His steam train analogy does not suggest that the 1962 missal should end up a museum piece, but that without people who know how to operate and maintain it in working order, it will become a museum piece. How can he possibly say that? Because, as the chosen analogy illustrates, how can it possibly be any other way? He is precisely correct: If those who know how to maintain and run locomotives in good operating order are unable to pass on that knowledge, the locomotives will run for a while but inevitably end up in the museum or on the scrap heap once that last generation of custodians pass on (cf. Asimov’s “Foundation” books). Likewise the Mass: If those who know how to maintain and celebrate the Tridentine Mass (or any liturgy, for that matter) are unable to pass on that knowledge, it will inevitably fall into desuetude when its last custodians pass on, relegated to museums and history books.

    But that qualification, “if,” is important. In the end, you don’t seriously contest Centristian’s point; instead, your argument that “[t]his Mass will not die, no matter how much people may try to kill it” is based on a challenge to the analogy’s premise, not the correctness of its conclusion. That is, you try to undercut the “if.” Instead of arguing that the Tridentine Mass can somehow transcend its custodians’ ability to celebrate it and pass on their knowledge, you argue that there is merely no shortage of new custodians eager to celebrate it and acquire the knowledge. I think you’re right in that conclusion, a fortiori after Summorum Pontificum, but Centristian is not wrong.

  43. Centristian says:

    “I still contend you don’t know what you are speaking of. You said this Mass will die when the people who love it die.”

    And I still contend that you’ve misread the thrust of my remarks, entirely. I never said, in any case, that “this Mass will die”. The Catholic Mass–the living memorial of Christ’s first Eucharist and redeeming sacrifice–will “die” when Christ shall come again. What I said was that there will come a time when there will be no Catholic priests left who celebrate the Catholic Mass using the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal. They’ll still celebrate the Catholic Mass…but not using that book.

  44. Desertfalcon says:

    @ Brooklyn,

    The NO Mass was NOT, “created at Vatican II”.

  45. Marcin says:

    The 1962 Missal is the result of 2000 years of Church history. The Mass evolved down through the ages to what we had in 1962. It survived all the calamties of the ages, just as the Church itself survived. A museum piece? This beautiful liturgy that takes us right to heaven? How can you possibly say that?

    I too hope that Mass of 1962 will survive. But some other venerable and of longer history rites died. I believe the Sarum rite has died – would it be licit to revive it? Rites are not just books. I would add here that organically developing Western chant(s) also died, when it was supplanted by a manufactured (very scholarly for that matter) chant of Solesmes. The truth is, what we are currently longing for and fighting for in a musical liturgical realm is an arbitrary construct. Talk about archeologism. Well researched and very impressive, but is it true?
    Just like Novus Ordo.

  46. Brooklyn says:

    Desertfalcon – if the NO Mass was not created at Vatican II, where was it created?

    Centristian – This is what you stated in the post I objected to:

    “Mass celebrated using the 1962 Missal in the 21st century can be compared to operating steam locomotives in the 21st century: sure, you’ll still encounter them here and there at a handful of scenic railroads across the country and it’s wonderful that enough of them have been preserved that people alive today can still get a glimpse of what railroads were like once upon a time, but you aren’t going to see them return en masse to replace the diesel locomotive.

    One day, the last remaining steam locomotives will all be silent, however. They can’t run forever and those who know how to operate them will be gone. Similarly, one day, all the clergy familiar with the 1962 Missal will be dead and gone, and the 1962 Missal will be a museum piece.”

    Sures sounds to me like you said the TLM will die. And I stated, and state again, that you are wrong, this will never happen. I again state there are many hundreds of young priests learning this Mass, many young people coming to this Mass. There are entire orders dedicated to this Mass – Institute of Christ the King and Society of St. Peter. The Mass here in New York City is flourishing in many parishes.

    You wrote what you wrote, and I responded to it.

  47. Rachel Pineda says:

    As a convert the differences between the O.F. of the Mass & the E.F. Mass were plainly evident during my conversion process. I found the E.F. form of the Mass by googeling “Sacred heart of Jesus” one day. It was very shocking and sad for me. As I read the two forms of the Masses side by side and researched the changes after Vatican II I had a very strong sense of rupture. I was upstairs researching for hours. I came down to my husband (a cradle catholic) emotionally drained, frustrated and mourning the loss of so much beauty and I had not even been baptized yet!
    All I could ask was why? Why were these changes made? My husband didn’t know why because he had no experience of the E.F. Mass and didn’t even know if it was valid.

    I found a local FSSP parish which I knew very well through all my research was a blessing because parishes that had E.F masses were few & far between then.

    I finished out my RCIA through the Cathedral which does not have the E.F. of the mass but just very grateful to become part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that where I was “initiated” into Her did not matter so long as I was a Catholic.

    What struck me most though is when I brought up the E.F. Mass during a RCIA class was misinformation and ignorance about it at best and outright hostility towards the E.F mass at worst. One of the instructors who converted from the Baptists said, ” if it had not been for the changes in Vatican II I would have never converted.” This was in the context of speaking about the E.F mass and the differences between the liturgies. I couldn’t help but think to myself, then this person does not know what the Mass is or would not say that. The discussion on the E.F. mass was squelched pretty rapidly as I think it made some a little uncomfortable and challenged some ideas about Catholisism they had romantically become attached to but were not exactly true in the full sense of the word.

    I’ll leave with this, a local parish who offers almost everything under the sun, including things not in line with Chruch law, except the E.F. Mass.
    Their “welcome” statement:
    “St. Francis Parish is a
    Catholic Christian Community
    building the reign of God.
    We value vibrant liturgy and
    personal prayer as a way to
    worship God and celebrate life.
    We are an inclusive community
    respecting the dignity of all
    persons and supporting the
    journey of each person.
    We respond to the command of
    Jesus to love by welcoming all,
    evangelizing, supporting spiritual
    growth, and being Eucharist to
    each other.
    Challenged by the Holy Spirit, we
    reach beyond ourselves to care for
    our neighbors, the poor, the
    marginalized, and those alienated
    by our Catholic Church.

    We aspire to be witnesses and
    prophets advocating for justice in
    the world and in the church.”

  48. disco says:

    I don’t know about you, Desertfalcon, but I’ll take “Badly articulated Latin in rushed low Masses in which they faithful were not much more than observers.” over liturgical dancing altar girls any day of the week.

  49. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian, your two posts in this thread are pretty much on target, from my viewpoint as one who both lived though the developments of the past 40 years, and have been a close observer of the liturgical scene from then until now.

    You are correct in arguing that the timing of Vatican II is largely responsible for the fact that its aftermath was a disintegration of faith and liturgy rather than the new springtime that John XXIII had envisioned. He expected that when the windows were opened, the Church would go out into the world and reshape it. Instead, by the time those windows were open, the societal tempest outside–stemming ultimately, I suspect, from the wars of the early and mid-twentieth century–was so fierce that the chaos aloose in the world came into the Church and reshaped it. Otherwise, it is possible if not likely that Sacrosanctum Consilium would have lead to a constructive fruition of the pre-conciliar liturgical movement in something like the 1965 order of Mass–a modest pruning of the traditional Mass with ample provision for vernacular in the people’s parts, together with the increased prayerful actuosa participation that Pope Pius X and later popes had urged prior to Vatican II.

    A bit of disagreement, however, on two points. My own hope, and modest expectation, is that the new English translation of the newer Roman missal will lead precisely to the improvement in ars celebranda that’s so vital. Partly because sacral liturgical language will simply not be so conductive to lax liturgy. That is, we can hope that more formal language will encourage more formal celebration.

    On the other hand, you miss the mark factually in the most immediate interpretation of your statement that

    Similarly, one day, all the clergy familiar with the 1962 Missal will be dead and gone, and the 1962 Missal will be a museum piece.

    Every TLM priest I know will surely outlive me if demographic projections hold. There is a TLM-capable priest at 5 for the 7 parishes nearest me, and all but one of them is a vigorous young priest ordained in the 21st century. And current seminarians in mainstream seminaries tell me that many or most of their fellows are looking forward to celebrating both forms of the Roman rite. Every young priest or seminarian I personally know is in this category.

    So the dynamism in the TLM community is with the young, clerical as well as lay, and there will be no shortage of TLM priests. Indeed, I see an almost inevitable surplus, relative to the number of lay who want to attend the TLM, which number I doubt will exceed a few percent in the foreseeable future.

    Which I suspect is where you really want to head. In any event, I’m personally confident that Pope Benedict’s principal intent with SP is that it serve as an model or guidepost for the reverent and careful celebration of the newer Mass for the great mass of Catholics. Which will, I foresee, be the larger effect of the coming flood of young new EF-capable priests. Because of those already within sight of me, none of the several OF Masses I attend weekly is of the aberrant sort so many complain about, and I fully understand—as many hear don’t—that the ordinary form can be so beautiful and reverent that no one ought to complain. In particular, once a young priest has celebrated the EF, Father Z’s “gravitational attraction” is not theory but reality.

    Which we can hope will lead to the default position in your later brief post. Of course it is the obvious goal of Pope Benedict for the current ordinary and extraordinary forms to converge to a single Roman rite of the future, using perhaps the Roman Missal of 2030 or so when neither the 1962 or the 2002 missal is still in active use, even if priests familiar with them are still alive and celebrating Mass with congregations that are as much reformed as the new missal they worship with.

  50. Centristian says:

    “Which we can hope will lead to the default position in your later brief post. Of course it is the obvious goal of Pope Benedict for the current ordinary and extraordinary forms to converge to a single Roman rite of the future, using perhaps the Roman Missal of 2030 or so when neither the 1962 or the 2002 missal is still in active use, even if priests familiar with them are still alive and celebrating Mass with congregations that are as much reformed as the new missal they worship with.”

    Nothing more desirable could be hoped for, if you ask me. I’d love to see that development realized, one day. I believe that the current Pope desires the same eventual result.

    Let me say that I am not advocating that the Mass cease to be celebrated using the 1962 Missal. If there exist priests who are still using that Missal in the year 3011, dandy. But they will always be in the minority. I just want Mass celebrated according to the current Missal of today (or according to the current Missal of 3011) to be celebrated in the same manner as Mass is usually celebrated when the 1962 Missal is used.

    Henry Edwards, you and many other readers of this blog speak of the “TLM”…the “traditional Latin Mass”. When you refer to the “TLM”, we know that what you all mean is the Catholic Mass celebrated using the 1962 Missal. The main point I suppose I am trying to make is that Mass celebrated according to the any Missal, including the curremt one, should also be a “TLM”…a traditional Latin Mass. Every Catholic Mass celebrated using whatever Missal should be able to be called a “TLM”.

    Let’s not reserve traditional Catholic liturgy to one book, exclusively. That’s really all I’m saying. Let Mass be celebrated like Mass ought to be celebrated…regardless of which Missal is used.

  51. SimonDodd says:

    Brooklyn, you’re on thin ice criticizing others for not knowing what they’re talking about when you say that the Novus Ordo was created at Vatican II, and respond to gentle correction by asking “if the NO Mass was not created at Vatican II, where was it created?” The gaping chasm between Sacrosanctum Concilium and the NO is your first hint. Paul VI’s Missale Romanum is your second. If still in doubt, read Piero Marini’s “A Challenging Reform.” The word you are looking for is “Consilium.”

  52. Brooklyn says:

    Henry Edwards – where do you get the idea that the Holy Father means for the 2 forms of Mass to converge? He said there are equal forms.

  53. Brooklyn says:

    Simon Dodd – I ask where the NO Mass was created if it was not created at Vatican II, because there is no other answer for it. The NO was created at Vatican II. It has evolved, or should I say, devolved from what was intended at that time, but the fact remains that the NO was created at Vatican II.

  54. anilwang says:

    Tradster,

    I understand WRT the laity not wishing to be disobedient, but there’s a difference between reluctant obedience and happy obedience. I was born in 1969, around the time VII was being implemented. As a child, I never heard a single complaint WRT the mass, but I did hear many positive things about the changes such as “finally, I can understand what’s being said” and “finally, the priest isn’t ignoring us during the mass” and “the mass is now less boring and more homey”. How could so many laity have so poor and understanding of why things were the way they were? My parents largely believed that the Catholic Theology was equivalent to Marxist Liberation Theology due to the homilies of several priests, long before VII. Something was wrong, at least in Latin America. And why wasn’t there a mass revolt by the priests and bishops?

    Getting organized was actually easier back then, since people actually talked to each other and actually took time to form their thoughts. While it is true that communication is better now, attention spans are smaller and tolerance of the intolerable to also higher, and endurance to difficulty is lower. If the of the laity truly cared about the changes, they would have complained and made their opinions known. There was a recent violent confrontation between an Orthodox bishop and the laity because he used modern Serbian instead of ancient Serbian in one of his liturgies. They didn’t need to organize or wait to see if maybe it was just an accident that would never happen again. They responded immediately after the mass. I personally think that the response was inappropriate, but then again, I think St. Nickolas punching Arius in the nose was inappropriate. But in both cases, it’s clear that they passionately cared for the treasure that was passed on which is what I see lacking in the post VII laity and priesthood when the liturgical abuses started happening.

  55. I don’t see convergence, the two forms being replaced by one ‘hybrid’ (as opposed to mutual enrichment, the two forms informing each other but maintaining separate existence) as either likely or desirable.

    There used to be lots of rites in the Latin Church — major religious orders had their own (Carmelite, Dominican, etc), and some that still exist are greatly reduced in prevalence (Mozarabic, Ambrosian, etc). Plus things like the Sarum Use.

    I think Summorum Pontificum and the Anglican Use are possibly the beginning of a re-diversification of the liturgy of the Latin Church.

  56. Desertfalcon says:

    @ Brooklyn,

    While Vatican II issued statements regarding the reform of the liturgy, the ‘Novus Ordo’ Mass was the Mass of Paul VI and is dated to 1969-70, some five years after Vatican II ended. Indeed, as is the case with many who believe that Vatican II is responsible for this or that, what VII actually said on the matter of liturgy was far more conservative in nature than what the NO became and there is NOTHING in VII that would justify liturgical abuse….but then again, there is nothing in the NO that does, which is the point of many here.

    @ disco,

    The problem with you analogy is that in the first case, that was Fr. Groeschel’s claim of what was closer to the norm of Masses in the pre-NO days. In the second, “liturgical dancing altar girls” could hardly be claimed as close to the norm of the NO Mass.

  57. Brooklyn says:

    Desertfalcon – I amend my remarks to say that the NO was created as a result of Vatican II. Certainly it would have never come about if there had not been a second Vatican coucil. And as I say, the Mass has devolved since that time. I completely understand that there was never an intention at that time to get rid of the altar rails, turn the altar around, leave out the Latin, communion in the hand, etc. Nevertheless, the NO was its own creation, not an evolution of the TLM.

  58. SimonDodd says:

    Brooklyn says: “I ask where the NO Mass was created if it was not created at Vatican II, because there is no other answer for it. The NO was created at Vatican II. It has evolved, or should I say, devolved from what was intended at that time, but the fact remains that the NO was created at Vatican II.”

    If that’s a fact, then I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding an NO missal which predates December 8, 1965, now, will you? There is another answer to your question: the correct one. The Council directed that “[t]he liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible,” but it did not carry out that work itself. The NO was created (an apt choice of word) after the council by the Consilium. When the council closed, not a person on earth could have told you what the NO would look like—and after the Consilium got done, one might add, very few people on earth could say with a straight face that the NO looked like what the Council had directed. So the connection you’re trying to draw is historically false and doesn’t even work as a figure of speech.

  59. Brad says:

    “Catholic Left who embrace personal choice when it comes to things like abortion and sexual morality are often moved to outright hostility at the mere suggestion that there is value in the traditional form of Holy Mass for anyone. [Truer words were never written. And, ironically, I have found over the years that those who bash the older form of Mass the most are themselves burdened with problems of sexual identity.”

    It really does seem to all boil down to sexual pathology in the human mind. I swear it seems like the persona who is a habitual dissenter in today’s world is basically just in the closet or out of it.
    I say this with charity.

    The sex drive is so powerful. May St. Raphael the archangel be our defense and healing against Asmodeus et al.

  60. Henry Edwards says:

    Brooklyn: Henry Edwards – where do you get the idea that the Holy Father means for the 2 forms of Mass to converge?

    Even as an ardent devotee and longtime active supporter of the TLM–with tangible results to show for my efforts–I see nothing to suggest otherwise in anything Pope Benedict or Cardinal Ratzinger has said or written on the liturgy. That’s what his own terms “mutual enrichment” and “reform of the reform” add up to, as I understand them.

    I would be delighted to be proved possibly wrong by the sight of a glorious papal TLM, which however I have no reason to foresee during this papacy.

    The good news—or hope—is that the eventual single Roman rite will be maybe 80% to 90% EF in its ars celebranda.

  61. Brooklyn says:

    SimonDodd – see the amendments to my remarks. My original point is that the NO did not evolve, as Centristian wrote, from the TLM. It was created, whether at Vatican II or after (and yes, you are correct, it was not created by Vatican II, although I contend it had its genesis there). It is a completely different rite from the TLM, and that is also why I don’t understand how Henry Edwards says they can be combined into one rite.

  62. Brad says:

    PS: desertfalcon, your observation of Nancy Reagan made me do a double take. You are right! I just realized I have had a huge blind spot when it comes to so-called respectable people and their own too-obvious sins. Wow! (I’m not being sarcastic)

    We tend to focus on the Cuomo and concubine and not even see the Reagans of this world.

  63. Henry Edwards says:

    Brooklyn: If you see the OF celebrated in Latin and ad orientem, the propers in Gregorian chant (not replaced by hymns), the Kyrie in Greek and the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei sung in Latin, people kneeling for communion on the tongue, all the usual smells and bells, then you surely have no doubt that it’s a Mass of the Roman rite that you’re seeing.

    This may not be how the OF looks in your local parish church, but it’s what you see if you view a papal Mass televised from St. Peter’s Basilica. And which his MC recently said is intended to be exemplary for the normative Mass everywhere.

    Even in my local round-church parish in the middle of nowhere, I can attend an OF Mass which no doubt falls short of papal standards, but is celebrated with sufficient dignity and reverence–and enough incense and Latin–that its features as a Mass of the Roman rite are readily apparent. Even though these features admittedly are pretty fully obscured in the all too typical parish celebration most places.

  64. disco says:

    @desertfalcon

    I was just trying to make a point, but to be honest I’d rather attend a “poorly celebrated” TLM then your average NO mass. Granted, however, its tough to nail down what exactly your average NO mass looks like.

    As for the Liturgical dancing, I’ve witnessed it only once and it will haunt my dreams forever. Why weren’t they wearing shoes?!

  65. Stephen Matthew says:

    In a certain way the TLM of 1962 is either dead or dying at this time. The mass in its traditional form is not just a set of prayers and rubrics, but is also everything else that goes with that. Everything from the music, to the church architecture, vestments, mindset of the congregation, formation of the priest, etc. While what is in the book can be maintained or even revived, that entire atmosphere or environment, what was a sort of self sustaining ecosystem, is essentially gone and can no more be reproduced by natural processes than can the ecosystem of the dynasaurs. Thus it is necessary to go back into the history and see what we can find that is able to be revived, and what is still living that can be carefully nurtured, and what must be invented all over again. Likewise we must find what of the new is most suitable for future purposes and seek to preserve this. We live in a time of constant change of a most radical sort, and just as much as the slate was wiped clean in the last 40 years it could happen that in 40 years from now we will have even stranger circumstances if we are not very careful and yet bold. Consider that the cultural changes of the internet age have not yet really hit home in the church, and that this is likely to be as big a change as that of the 60s in long term.

    Someone above suggested the cultural revolution was caused by the Church, but this must be seen as false for the cultural revolution hit equally hard in those places where the church had little or no influence, such as deeply Protestant places, secular institutions, and even among the atheist/agnostic members of society.

  66. Daniel Latinus says:

    I don’t think liturgical change in itself caused the crisis that followed, but that it facilitated it. The changes in the liturgy, in which only a small minority was interested, created the question: if the Church can change the Mass, why can’t it change on birth control? Or divorce and remarriage? Clerical celibacy? Abortion? Sex out of marriage? Homosexuality? etc., etc.

    I submit that if Vatican II had never been called, the Church’s business as usual would have been able to weather the storms of the late 1960s, and might have been in a position to provide a better response in the aftermath. There would have been defections and dissent, but the defectors and dissenters would not have been popular theologians, or in control of the Church’s machinery. (Many theologians who had been under a cloud before the Council gained respectability and a platform when there were pressed into service as periti at the Council.)

    On a message board I used to frequent, there was a woman who proudly identified herself as a liberal Catholic, and claimed to have been such before Vatican II. This woman said that when the Novus Ordo was promulgated, she and her circle were not at all surprised, and the Novus Ordo was pretty much what her fellow liturgical progressives had expected. Some books from the 1950s, and a 1963 phonograph record in my possession seem to corroborate what this woman said.

    Changes were instituted in the Mass as early as 1963. Abp. Fulton Sheen issued a revised edition of This is the Mass, with photos of himself celebrating the Mass, facing the congregation, using a Missal that was already partially translated into English. Guitar Masses, the introduction of pseudo-folk music, and many of the abuses associated with the Novus Ordo were already being introduced. By 1965, the Judica Me and the Last Gospel were omitted, and commentators and lectors already in use. In 1967, permission was given to celebrate the entire Mass in the vernacular, and the ICEL translations of the Canon together with the three new Eucharistic Prayers were introduced. The Novus Ordo itself was promulgated in 1969, and made mandatory in 1975.

    The author of Our Changing Liturgy, a book by a priest defending the changes, described how an usher, thinking the author was an Episcopalian minister, asked him how “he liked our Protestant service.” Many Catholics recognized that the changes being made tended to make the Mass look more like Protestant services than the Mass. This had to have a profound psychological effect on Catholics and their identity.

    Resistance also came early. Fr. Gommar DePauw, founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement, Inc., in 1964. The Wanderer, then under the editorship of Walter Matt, defended Fr. DePauw. (Walter Matt was later ousted, and went on to found The Remnant/i>.) The validity of Masses using the ICEL translations of the Eucharistic Prayers was challenged almost as soon as the prayers were promulgated. Parallels were already being drawn between the postconciliar changes, and the changes imposed by Luther and Cranmer during the Reformation.

    Scott Calta, the Secretary of the Latin Liturgy Association, wrote an essay many years ago, pointing out that between 1959 and 1970, Catholics were subjected to no fewer than eight different Orders of Mass.

    Here endeth the history lesson. A most unsettling time.

  67. Centristian, if the traditional Latin Mass survived the last 40 years of abandonment and suppression by those with your time-bound mindset, it will never disappear. You and your like have failed.

    This Holy Mass is eternal, even though it has developed. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, not a committee of contemptuous know-it-alls (and Protestants). When the Novus Ordo has gone the way of bellbottoms, the priests of tradition will still be raising the Host in silent glory.

  68. muckemdanno says:

    The idea of personal choices is inherent in the Novus Ordo missal itself. It is not simply a matter of “abuse” of the missal, as in, not saying the black and doing the red. The personal choices are allowed in the missal itself, to such an extent that a layman cannot possibly know whether one thing or another that is being done is actually allowed by the official missal or not. To a typical Catholic, the mass is a creation of the priest or the parish liturgical committee.

    It is true that ‘personal choices’ in the liturgy will lead to personal choices in doctrine and morality. This is due to the missal itself, not just ‘abuses.’ This is not the fault of the liberals, but of the authors and promulgators of the new missal.

  69. BobP says:

    I don’t see where the new translation is going to help. Any first year Latin student knows “dominus vobiscum” doesn’t translate into “the lord be with you.” Who’s kidding whom here about being faithful to the Latin when the very first thing the priest says is made up?

  70. spock says:

    Did not Father Hans Kung say at one point that the Church was in danger of becoming a sect ?

    If being a sect means we don’t have to accept the aformentioned nonsense (adjective mine) then all can say is :

    Bring it on !

  71. Daniel Latinus says:

    I don’t see where the new translation is going to help. Any first year Latin student knows “dominus vobiscum” doesn’t translate into “the lord be with you.” Who’s kidding whom here about being faithful to the Latin when the very first thing the priest says is made up?

    BobP, how do you figure this?

  72. John Nolan says:

    ‘Dominus vobiscum’ by itself gives no indication as to whether the mood is indicative or subjunctive, since the verb is left out. It could mean ‘the Lord is with you’. All the more reason for not translating it in the first place.

  73. Daniel Latinus says:

    ‘Dominus vobiscum’ by itself gives no indication as to whether the mood is indicative or subjunctive, since the verb is left out. It could mean ‘the Lord is with you’. All the more reason for not translating it in the first place.

    John Nolan, I am guessing that you’re answering for BobP. And I ask you, this is a problem because?

  74. BenedictXVIFan says:

    I’m with you, Alice (Mar 3 11:29a). I think a large part of this issue hinges upon the interchangeability of men and women, of clergy and laity.
    Additionall, if the Eucharist is the source, summit, and center of our faith, I believe it contains the remedy to our liturgical ills. We need to let it inform everything we do, litugically and otherwise. For instance, we do not drop wheat grains, water, and grapes onto the altar and ask the Holy Spirit to come down and do everything required to have them become the the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor do we use a marble rye and brandy. The Eucharist is celebrated validly when we do our part and do it as prescribed. If we let this radiate throughout all our actions as Church and as individual Catholics, not only will we have sound liturgies, but people will understand the unity of thought and action driving it all: we do our humble and modest part as well and as fully as we possibly can (no more, no less, no different), and then we turn it over to God for Him to do the truly miraculous. Really no different than following Our Lady’s directive: “Do whatever He tells you.”

  75. Rob Cartusciello says:

    There is much truth to the “broken window” theory of the perversion of the Mass and the general collapse of clerical discipline. Many of the clerical sex abusers I have known were also lax in their liturgical practice.

    Many abusers advocated extreme liberal positions either because they wished to make the Church into an organization that would condone the behavior in which they engaged. It also served as a convenient smokescreen for their behavior, since fellow radicals would not be so willing to investigate Fr. Trendy’s sexual misconduct if he were railing against traditional morality and church discipline.

    I am obliged, however, to observe that not every abuser was a lax liturgist or radical ethicist. Other abusers hide behind the veil of orthodoxy. Marcial Maciel Degollado is the embodiment of such men.

  76. amenamen says:

    Abuse is abuse is abuse.
    Thanks, Louie Verrecchio, for the article, “Liturgy’s effect on gay ‘marriage’ debate.” There is no doubt about the connection between liturgical abuse and every kind of abuse.

    The abuse crisis in the Church includes liturgical abuse. Liturgical abuse is abuse. There are victims of liturgical abuse. Abusing sacred things is characteristic of abusers. Liturgical abuse goes along with every other type of abuse. They go together, always and everywhere.
    It is said, “Lex orandi, lex credendi.” The law of praying, the law of believing. And the converse is also true: abuse the law of praying, abuse the law of believing. The abuse of the liturgy indicates an insensibility toward what is sacred and innocent.
    Where there is smoke there is fire: beware of the liturgical abuser. Perhaps it is time to examine this connection in detail. How many leading liturgical abusers are now known to have lead depraved lives? In every parish or diocese where abuse and moral depravity has occurred, how has the liturgy been abused?
    In every parish where liturgical abuse occurs, … what else is going on? He who would abuse the sacred liturgy cannot be trusted with other sacred things; he cannot be trusted with your sisters or daughters … nor with your brothers or sons.
    Many abusers live “double lives”, with a veil or veneer of orthodoxy. But look again at that veil. I have serious doubts about the ability of an abuser to “hide behind a veil of orthodoxy” without – at least occasionally – showing his true face.