UPDATE 26 July:
Joseph Shaw of the LMS posted a response to Fr. de Souza’s response to us, who responded… etc. HERE
___ Originally Published on: Jul 25, 2017 @ 11:14
Some discussion about the “mutual enrichment” hoped for and promoted by Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum has been generated by Card. Sarah’s article in the French magazine La Nef for the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of that Motu Proprio’s text. I read an English translation of Sarah’s article in a PODCAzT.
A warm embrace came from Fr. Raymond de Souza HERE. I had the impression that he thought that there should be a large-scale revamping of the traditional form and some tweeking of the newer form with traditional elements. Inter alia, he made the claim that the post-Conciliar Lectionary was universally accepted as being superior to the older, traditional use of Sacred Scriptures in Holy Mass. Card. Sarah had written that there should be a reconciliation of old and the new. The aforementioned Shaw and DiPippo, however, made substantive arguments against such a move. I added my own observations.
Fr. de Souza has issued a new piece in which he doubles down on the Lectionary issue but seems to back away from the large-scale revamping of the traditional form. HERE In fact, Father says:
“The more pressing issue by far is the enrichment of the OF, which can happily be done independent of any changes in the EF.”
I warmly agree. It is by far more pressing to deal with the OF, since it is dominant right now. It is attractive to think about the elements from the EF that might be introduced to the Novus Ordo. I suppose, however, they would be introduced as “options”.
Something that, for sure, could be started unilaterally, would be to clean up many of the abuses inflicted on the Novus Ordo, which, alas, is rather open to abuse.
Concerning the Lectionary, de Souza:
I wrote that the superiority of the OF lectionary was a matter of broad consensus. I understated that, actually; it is nearly a unanimous position even in conservative liturgical circles, but evidently leading voices in the EF community do not think so. While there are clearly some weaknesses in the OF lectionary – the prologue of St. John’s Gospel is never heard by most Catholics – its more ample inclusion of Scripture is surely an improvement. It may be here that Cardinal Sarah’s warning about treating the EF as a “museum object” is most on the mark.
Why, Father, the snarky dig at at the end?
Fr. de Souza also wrote that this blog has “a pugilistic style”. And his dig isn’t pugilistic?
While I grant that one cannot make extended elaborations in short pieces online, Fr. de Souza sidestepped the substantive arguments brought up by Shaw, DiPippo, et al., about the alleged superiority of the new Lectionary. Fr. de Souza seems to think that the sheer quantity of Scripture used in the Novus Ordo is enough automatically to warrant superiority.
Fr. Finigan at his fine blog (HERE) made sound observations about Fr. de Souza’s views (my emphases and comments):
One problem is that of experience. Most of those Catholics who regularly participate at Masses celebrated in the usus antiquior have experienced the modern rite; most Catholics who regularly participate in the modern rite have not experienced the usus antiquior and do not really understand its attraction or its salient features when compared with the rite that they know. [That is certainly the case with most younger priests.] Some regular experience of celebrating the usus antiquior would lead most priests (or Cardinals) to understand the impossibility of forming a common reformed rite that would really be the usus antiquior which Pope Benedict understood as being attractive to many people, and which he said could not be suddenly considered forbidden or harmful.
This is a good point. The discussion about the interplay of the two rites would change dramatically were the priests involved well-versed also in the traditional form. When opining about their Roman Rite it is better to know the Roman Rite… which by definition includes the traditional Form.
Fr. Finigan goes on to address the Lectionary issue:
I would also gently urge that there needs to be greater awareness of the real work that is being done on the liturgy by traditionalist scholars. To take an example that is relevant to the current debate: only last year, Matthew P. Hazell published what is volume I in Lectionary Study Aids: Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. [US HERE – UK HERE ] His blog Lectionary Study Aids has other resources that would be useful for anyone interested in actually studying the question. His book has a Foreword by Peter Kwasniewski and consists of comparative tables by which the lectionaries of the modern rite and the usus antiquior can be compared to see which passages of scripture are included or omitted.
Thanks to Matthew Hazell, it is no longer necessary to rely on feelings or impressions when forming an opinion about the lectionary of the modern rite and it is possible to go beyond the simple assessment that it has lots more verses of the bible and therefore must be so much better. In the Foreword, Peter Kwasniewski makes a brief start on analysis of the modern lectionary, looking at, among other problems, Old Testament omissions, loss of Johannine material, omission of morally demanding texts (notoriously 1 Cor 11.27-29), and reductive redistribution.
Those who would defend the superiority of the modern lectionary cannot simply default to the position that “everybody” knows it is better because it has a higher biblical word-count; there is a real debate to be had, and an increasing amount of source material to be used.
Fr. de Souza brings up a point I made about the period of stability that we need before tinkering with the EF: traditionalists have often been treated horribly over the last few decades. HERE My emphases:
It is unlikely that apologies are going to be forthcoming. Yet Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s point about wounds requiring time to heal is valid; he may be right that the EF community is too wounded just now for reconciliation. A challenge though is to ensure that wounds are not passed down to younger devotees of the EF who were not around to have their hearts riven.
Cardinal Sarah’s intervention has made clear that even when friends of the EF – Sarah himself, or Cardinal Raymond Burke – speak about enrichment of the EF by the OF, they lack for supportive listeners in the EF leadership.
First, I had in truth written that “many” of the traditional community have been wounded. It is inaccurate to lump all those who prefer the traditional form of the Roman Rite into one group and them imply that “they are too wounded now for reconciliation”.
Fr. de Souza acknowledges that there are “younger devotees” who are frequenting the old form of Holy Mass (who did not personally experience the wars of previous decades), and hopes that they won’t get shot up in the crossfire. Fine. However, start messing around too deeply and too quickly with the older form, start tinkering in an artificial way with the older form, and we will see in the 2010’s what we saw in the 1960-70’s: wounds.
Moreover, he seems to be saying that, “Those poor people over there are psychologically too fragile to do the work I think ought to be done.” That’s not at all pugilistic.
Okay, in fairness, perhaps I read him wrong and he isn’t being dismissive.
Moving on, it seems to me infra dignitatem to pit “EF leadership” against Card. Sarah and Card. Burke in the way that Fr. de Souza did. I, for one, commented that, while I didn’t agree with everything Card. Sarah wrote, I was taking his suggestions to prayerful consideration.
Does anyone seriously believe that “EF leadership” are against Cardinals Sarah and Burke just because they don’t want have their arguments swept aside and then see massive, sudden, artificial changes imposed on the EF?
I firmly believe in and have for decades argued for what Ratzinger/Benedict promoted: we must allow a way through “mutual enrichment”, or what I like to call a “gravitational pull” of two forms, to jump-start the organic development of sacred worship interrupted by the brutal imposition of an artificially created order. HOWEVER, we have to avoid the mistakes of the past and resist the temptation to start tinkering too quickly and too deeply.
Suddenly impose artificial changes on the EF and a tremendous opportunity will be lost.
We need a significant period of stability before we legislate changes.
Let the older rite take root and become, again, part of the warp and weft of our lives. Let the newer rite be cleaned up and implemented without wide-spread abuses imposed on it.
There are already mutual enrichments going on, which are not a result of tinkeritis. I think that reasonable and well-informed traditionalists understand that changes will result over time, nolens volens. That’s the way of things. That’s what happened over the centuries. If we force the process too abruptly, however, there will be problems.
We, especially we clerics, have to avoid the trap and resist the temptation to tinker, to “fix stuff”, into which Fr de Souza may have fallen… with many others.
We don’t have to be afraid of the side-by-side celebration of these two forms of the Roman Rite. Just let them be offered in the very best way possible and we will see what happens over time.
In any event, I welcome Fr de Souza’s additional comments, especially because they occasioned a thoughtful response from Fr. Finigan. I imagine that others will follow and a fruitful dialogue will continue.