Some hours back I posted an interesting piece by a baptist minister which has been getting some play in the blogosphere.
On a site called Crunchy Con there is a reaction to the experience this baptist minister had.
A "crunchy con" is conservative whom some say have a greater awareness of the environment, or a preference for small shops rather than strip malls. I have a sympathy for what I think "crunchy con" might mean. I like the fact that they are against abortion and attacks on traditional family values. I like to support small stores rather than huge chains, but I also go to Sam’s Club for a lot of things. I think we need to take care of the environment, but I think real conservatives love mother earth too. So… we are supposed to read what I reposted below with the image in our mind of "a crunchy con" reflecting on liturgy.
Try to follow… a post within a post within a post…. a different way of going down, not a rabbit hole, but through the looking glass.
My emphases and comments.
Prayer and worship (Erin)
Tuesday June 9, 2009
Rod’s [Dreher’s] post below about the Baptist preacher’s experience of Orthodoxy, and the interesting discussion which follows it, have got me thinking a bit about prayer, worship, and man’s need to encounter God.
Every religion worthy of the name has had some sort of worship ceremonies, rituals which were supposed to get the deity’s or deities’ attention, or honor him/her/them/it in some way. The impulse to offer worship is a recurring feature of most cultures throughout the ages; Christians tend to explain this as man’s natural yearning for the true God, while atheists tend to explain it as some sort of shared psychological impulse which was waiting, not for God, but for science to come along, explain it all, and thus free man from such apparently irrational and primitive behavior.
As a Christian, I, of course, take the first explanation as the true one. As St. Augustine put it, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God." We are always searching, always seeking a deeper knowledge, a more intimate encounter, a more perfect love, and a more holy service of our wills to the Divine Will.
In our quest to do those things, we seek to communicate with God; we seek prayer. Prayer can be both private and public, both our personal daily habits and devotions, and our daily or weekly attendance at a liturgical or worship service. It can’t be said often enough that for a Christian, both of these things are necessary–to pray daily while never joining in with the community in prayer can stunt your spiritual growth, while to pray on Sundays surrounded by others and then never really think of God or seek to experience His presence during the week can be an indication that one’s spiritual growth is already stunted, or deficient in some way.
As a Catholic, my liturgical life is centered around the Mass, which itself is centered around the Holy Eucharist. There can be no closer union with God on this earth than receiving Him in the Blessed Sacrament; it is the greatest mystery and the greatest gift we have, for the fostering of our spiritual well-being and the strengthening of our souls. Every act, prayer, song, reading, and posture at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ought to be geared toward this ultimate act of intimate communion with God; anything which distracts or detracts from the proper focus on this sacred mystery ought to be removed.
[And we get to something more engaging…] What I have come to understand, as I’ve read preconciliar documents and writings about the Mass, is that this is exactly what those who proposed reforming the Catholic liturgy had in mind. Writing about these times later, in the book The Spirit of the Liturgy, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said the following:
"We might say that … the liturgy was rather like a fresco [in the early 20th century]. It had been preserved from damage, but it had been almost completely overlaid with whitewash by later generations. In the Missal from which the priest celebrated, the form of the liturgy that had grown from its earliest beginnings was still present, but, as far as the faithful were concerned, it was largely concealed beneath instructions for and forms of private prayer. The fresco was laid bare by the Liturgical Movement and, in a definitive way, by the Second Vatican Council. For a moment its colors and figures fascinated us. But since then the fresco has been endangered by climatic conditions as well as by various restorations and reconstructions. In fact, it is threatened with destruction, [watch] if the necessary steps are not taken to stop these damaging influences. Of course, there must be no question of its being covered with whitewash again, but what is imperative is a new reverence in the way we treat it, a new understanding of its message and its reality, so that rediscovery does not become the first stage of irreparable loss." [In The Spirit of the Liturgy, named after R. Guardini’s book, Ratzinger explicitly stated that he would like to see a new Liturgical Movement. Remember that Pope Benedict gave us Summorum Pontificum so as to help us see the fresco he is talking about here. Read that through the lens of his December 2005 address to the Roman Curia.]
It is easy to blame the Second Vatican Council, or the Novus Ordo itself, [Hang on. The Novus Ordo is not what the Council Fathers mandated in Sacrosanctum Concilium.] for diminishing the Mass, or making it invariably irreverent or a less worthy form of worship than the Mass which preceded it. [Okay… big jump here after leaving a few things hanging in mid air. There were very important changes made to the texts of the Ordinary of Holy Mass, and of the orations which were brought along.] But it’s less easy to admit that there were problems before this time, [Umm… no, it is not. I think most reasonable people will admit that the Council Fathers saw that some changes had to be made. Sadly, the process of making the changes they mandated were hijacked. But, changes were to be made.] or that the reforms were intended for good, [This is a point some will debate.] even if the way they were carried out became an occasion for liturgical experimenters to push an agenda which really did view the Mass from a standpoint of deficient theology and heterodox practice. [Perhaps the liturgical experimenters, with their own agenda, were the ones to whom the Council Fathers entrusted the reform?]
Keep reading below:
And it has been difficult for those attached to what’s now called the Extraordinary Form to understand why so much was removed, and why its replacement seemed so inferior in the way it was celebrated. [Certainly "in the way it was celebrated". That is something that many of the more traditional bent need to remember. There are things to be concerned about some of the changes to the Roman Rite in the Novus Ordo. However… "it has been difficult for those"…. hmmm… is there a touch of, what, knowing patience here?] If it has been hard to remind some that there is no liturgical rubric pertaining to the new Mass which mandates tackiness or breezy flippancy–in fact, quite the opposite–it is not necessarily the fault of observers if they assumed that such rubrics existed. [People can read.] An "anything goes" style of liturgical celebration has plagued the celebration of the Novus Ordo for far too long, and many of us welcomed the notion that it was time for a "reform of the reform" with open relief.
What really matters to us (and to our Orthodox brothers and sisters, and to many of our Protestant brothers and sisters as well) is that we’re worshiping God in a way that pleases Him first and foremost, and that, for those of us who believe in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, our worship anticipates, points toward, praises, communicates, and celebrates in joyful thanksgiving that tremendous sacramental reality. [An interesting list.]
That said, it is still the case, it seems to me, that a lot of us wish to raise our personal preferences to the level of a liturgical mandate. [Perhaps saying the black and doing the red might help. But watch this part….] It is, sadly, just as easy [easier, maybe, because of the whole "anything goes" we have seen, and which the writer mentions. This is part of their identity.] for the present generation to argue a bit about the proper length of a liturgy, the proper posture or postures, the proper sorts of songs, the proper way to receive Holy Communion, and so on as it was in an earlier generation to argue about Latin, statues, candles and art. [I think he is saying that the externals etc. in themselves are all "morally equivalent".] We are as prone to insist on things being done our way without letting the Church tell us how liturgy ought to be done, as that former generation was, even if the former generation wanted guitar music, and we want it definitively banned. [Hmm… I don’t think the previous generation wanted guitar music. I think some people wanted guitar music and forced it on everyone else. The writer needs to rethink the whole "just as easy" part. Human nature doesn’t change, but something did happen among the baby-boomers. A world view changed, values changed.]
I struggle with these things as much as anybody, and I can tell you that in my case any sense that I know better what ought to be done is usually accompanied by a lot of pride and a sense that my fellow Catholics are all, or mostly, would-be heretics with one foot out the door already, so to speak. Such an impulse, even if I stifle it, think twice, and try to examine the situation fairly, just shows that mere attendance at the liturgy, and a habit of daily prayer, aren’t enough without the gift of God’s grace to root out pride and foster humility. [hmmmm]
There at the very end what is he saying? It think he… she?… is saying that if you want to make distinctions about the Church’s liturgy you are being … what… prideful?
This deserves some discussion.
I think we have seen a great deal of pride and arrogance in liturgical discussions. That is a reasonable observation.
However, I don’t think it is fair to spread the blanket of pride over the whole discussion.
Also, I think from the tone of the article we get the sense that the writer is not liturgical wacko. The writer is surely not in favor of what he called the experimentation.
But, I can’t shake the idea that, for the writer, the form of the liturgy doesn’t matter as much as a personal experience of the liturgy. Sure s/he mentions worship in common. Sure this is only one small blog entry.
Is "Erin" saying, "Hey! Our way, as young people of our generation, of praying is just as good, nay rather better than the way people used to pray. The fact that people always argue about liturgy just shows that all our choices are on equal grounds. But our grounds should be respected as our grounds, and those grounds are better for us."
It is not my intention to pick on this young person, "Erin". Use the post as a starting point. And use it with respect.
The author of the piece I looked at responded in a comment, below.
Sadly, with all of the options given in the OF Mass, these types of discussions often end in stalemates with one side saying, “This is the preference as stated in Sacrosanctum Concillium“, and the other side saying, “But the document allows for alternatives.” In the meantime, worship becomes more boring while “experts” debate on interpretation of liturgical documents.
The flaw is in the wording of the documents themselves. They seems to mandate something traditional, but upon closer inspection, you find that there is justification for all sorts of things if you stretch the definitions. I’ve been down this road of “liturgical preferences”, and it is too convoluted to make any sense. I think that is one reason why the EF is so important to true liturgical growth. It provides a solid, defined starting point in a chaotic liturgical world.
I, sadly, am a crunchy con. I shop at Whole Foods because I like their products, while I squirm at the store’s attitude. I leave the car at home and walk because I enjoy the exercise, even though I get credited with some nutty desire to decrease my oil consumption. I sort my recyclables — I’m not sure why — although I know they’re all dumped in the same hole at the landfill. I was raised with hippie tendencies, what can I say? Judged by outward appearances, I get lumped in with the liberals. Blech.
I’m not sure I see a connection between Erin’s comments and life as a crunchy con. This desire to empathize with both sides of an issue, which Erin attempts and our President has mastered, is definitely the “in” thing. Mostly I believe it shows a poor education in argument and philosophy. Pick a side and defend it. Erin should stop trying to please everybody, state an opinion and take it on the chin afterwards.
If I’m reading the post correctly, Fr. Z, the writer is female – the name ‘Erin’ in parentheses, who was filling in for Rod Dreher. She has her own blog, called “And Sometimes Tea”, which IMHO is a well-written blog from a faithful Catholic perspective.
Just wanted to set the record straight on the author of the post. Check out her blog if you get the chance – in fact, she’s been reprinting the history of The Wanderer there, with installments coming out every Thursday.
Erin from sometimes tea is blogging at Crunchy Con now. We had Rod Dreher on our radio show when Crunchy Con came out. David asked him if crunchy cons weren’t just pro-life democrats and he didn’t disagree. In general I get annoyed with these CCs and also with David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise. They mistake conservatism for an aesthetic, which makes them highly susceptible to people who “talk their language” and shop at the same kinds of stores they do. It’s the secret to Obama’s success with a certain kind of elitist Conservative. It’s like the ideas don’t even matter to people who you would think would be too smart to fall for this.
Such is true, Erin is female and is Rod Dreher’s substitute blogger when he is unavailable (though, Rod, currently doing some study in England, has made occasional posts as well). Rod Dreher is the author of the book Crunchy Cons, which he wrote while he was a convert Catholic journalist. After a few years as a Catholic, he left for Orthodoxy—which, I guess, seems a bit “crunchier” than Catholicism (to some).
For what it’s worth, I posted the following response on the Crunchy Cons blog:
“What really matters to us …is that we’re worshiping God in a way that pleases Him first and foremost, and that, for those of us who believe in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, our worship anticipates, points toward, praises, communicates, and celebrates in joyful thanksgiving that tremendous sacramental reality.”
If you look at the texts themselves of the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Missal, it is hard to dispute that the former Missal does this in a much richer way. There is so much MEAT in the prayers of the 1962 Missal.
No doubt Cardinal Ratzinger was right about the need for reform. And the Second Vatican Council Fathers issued guidance for reform. But the Mass that the Council Fathers called for was NOT the Mass that we got in 1970. Something went horribly amiss in the implementation, and instead of a reform we got (in the words of Ratzinger) “manufactured liturgy” by committee, a “banal, on-the-spot product.”
That the New Mass can be celebrated with reverence, there can be no doubt (though such cases are all too rare). But even then, it is still 1960s-era liturgy manufactured by “experts”, and such a thing is unprecedented in all of Christian history save during the Protestant Reformation. It certainly has not helped ecumenism with the Orthodox, who in general consider such a development shocking and perplexing.
Remember, it’s not about Latin. What we could have had was the 1962 Missal with some judicious modifications and simplications, with the allowance for the Propers, Collects and and readings to be in the vernacular. That, plus better catechesis, would have done much good.
But instead we got a revolution—it is no wonder so much chaotic experimentation resulted. The sacred liturgy now seemed like a ball of clay that could be continuously shaped at will to reflect the desires of each generation coming along.
It became an earthbound thing to express “community” rather than the offering of Christ to the Father for our salvation.
Like I said before, the New Mass certainly can be celebrated reverently, but the fact that it is far more common to see it celebrated with a hermeneutic of rupture raises serious questions about the wisdom and prudence of the liturgical revolution that followed the Council.
One wonders if that Baptist pastor would have the same reaction if he went to a Novus Ordo with its vague Collects (further watered down by faulty translations), its closed-circle orientation with priest and people all gathered around the table. The pastor would certainly feel warm inside as he heard “Happy are those who are called to his supper,” but would he encounter mystery, the piercing of the veil between the temporal and eternal?
Okay! Thanks for the notes about blogger “Erin”. Very good.
Rod Dreher is not Catholic? Okayyy…
Rod Dreher is a former Catholic who converted to Orthodoxy several years ago. His blog is excellent. WDTPRS and Crunchy Cons are in my top five blog bookmarks. Fr. Z, you should follow Dreher’s blog. Erin is a fill-in while Rod is at Cambridge on a fellowship of some sort.
Did past generations really argue for the change in the Liturgy?? Im not talking baby-boomers.. Im talking the 80 year olds now.
My Dad who is in his 80’s grew up in war torn Poland. We have some pretty heavy discussions on the Church as HE remembers it growing up and then the changes with VII. He has always stated that- we did what we were told.. no one argued…no one complained… they (church) knew more than us…and we complied because thats the way it was.. he doesnt much understand our generations diffuculty.
Even today with the liturgical abuse that he endures in his own parish, he is still faithful and obedient– even when he knows that SOME things aren’t “right” in the liturgy..
Good evening, Father!
I’m tremendously honored that you chose to “fisk” my blog post from earlier this evening! As a longtime reader of The Wanderer it truly is a special privilege to have had you read something I wrote.
First of all, I’m female, a married Catholic homeschooling mother of three girls, and I was born the same year Humanae Vitae was written–so not really all that young.
Second, I definitely do think that the form of the liturgy is tremendously important. And the externals are important to the extent that they contribute to this form, something that I think is the proper business of the Church to determine. What probably didn’t come across all that well in the blog post is that I think that we-the-laity are often not as qualified to make judgments about specific liturgical matters as we think we are–and the more minor the matter, the more shaky our judgment can be.
Granted, there are huge exceptions to that rule, lay people who have made a lifelong study of the liturgy and are fully qualified to pronounce on the kinds of matters I have in mind–but a lot of us, especially those of us who have only known the Novus Ordo Mass, may sometimes think we’re more qualified than we actually are–hence the temptation to pride I mentioned.
I once bristled with anger over what I was sure was a new, heterodox innovation that I saw at Mass–only to go home, look the matter up on the Internet, and discover that the priests in my diocese were being obedient to instructions from Cardinal Arinze who was correcting a liturgical irregularity that had persisted pretty well throughout my childhood and adulthood. It is that sort of thing I am thinking about when I say that we–some of us, esp. laity–may be a bit too quick on occasion to jump into liturgical arguments without checking first to see if we’re on sound footing either historically or rubrically; and we may end up defending some particular practice simply because we are familiar with it or like it, instead of because the Church’s writings and teachings show us that this particular practice is really the best or even only appropriate way to do some specific thing.
Finally, for the record I’m not even remotely in favor of liturgical experimentation, and would think it heavenly just to have the guarantee that any Mass I was privileged to attend would be conducted according to the principle “Say the Black, Do the Red.” My own personal preference would be for a Latin Novus Ordo with some elements of the EF added back in (the calender, perhaps, for one?)–but this is where I know that my personal preference shouldn’t count at all, unless it happens to coincide with what the Church eventually decides herself is the proper mode of the liturgy. The difficulty I find myself in, like so many others do, is that we’re lucky to find a Mass to attend where “Do the Red” is pretty well followed, and “Say the Black” is mostly done with minimal ad-libbing and some hideous and regrettable customs added (stand up and say “hi” to your neighbor before Mass begins, uggh, please don’t, but aside from respectfully presenting my opinion to the pastor that this oughtn’t be done what can I, an obedient lay woman, do?).
My personal struggle is with humility and obedience when it comes to liturgical matters, and I’m sure that colored what I wrote. But I know how easy it is to be prideful and bitter, and to start judging everybody from the priest who alters the words of the “Ecce Agnus Dei” to the children–and their parents–receiving Communion in the hand to the girls serving at the altar, and that’s a place I try very hard not to go to again. When the Mass becomes something to endure in sour-faced anger and the joy of being present at the Holy Sacrifice and receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist is utterly dimmed by irritation and frustration at the hippy-dippy music or the plethora of unnecessary Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, there is a problem that goes beyond the liturgical laxity, though it has its origins there. But I admit that this is a problem I have, myself, and that others are capable of identifying, collecting and deploring liturgical error without ending up in that bitter and joyless place.
And it’s especially good when those others are priests, and can actually *do* something about the problems! We lay people are more grateful to those of you who are trying to bring about positive reform than you will ever know.
This whole discussion always puzzles me. If “our
way” is just as good, then “praise and worship”
music is “just as good” as Gregorian Chant.
And if the NO is just as good, then Lauren Pristas
is wrong and the poverty of the present Collects
is just a figment of her imagination.
Rod Dreher is a former writer for National Review who later accepted an editorial position with the Dallas Morning News, who apparently were looking for a token conservative for the editorial page. He became a little more famous shortly thereafter with the release of his book on Crunchy Cons. And although he likes the prefix “Crunchy” I think he clearly counts as “conservative.” He is adamantly pro-life, and not in a Douglas Kmiec way, either.
Rod controversially swam the Bosporus after years of documenting the sex scandals in the Church proved too much for him. While I won’t say that liturgy and aesthetics played no role in his decision, I think he had seen too much of the much, especially in the chanceries, to ever find a comfortable home in the Church.
Of course, he has found things in the East aren’t necessarily always better on this score.
I’m pleased to see Erin drop in here.
Thanks also to Sal for the shout out to Lauren Pristas, who has done such yeoman work revealing how considerable the changes were to the propers and collects of the mass in the novus ordo.
That should say: “I think he had seen too much of the muck.” Which, sadly, he probably had.
I visit Erin’s blog and read her articles/thoughts. Being in an area where you have no EF offered, and some masses with some crazy stuff in them, you do have to battle your pride and choose your battles wisely. Because, for me at least, you can become so worked up that all joy can be robbed.
I think Erin is more on your side than you think. [Which is what I offered at the top.]
As an avid reader of yours and Erin’s (and I read Crunchy Con on occasion as well), it was somewhat perplexing to scroll down Google Reader to find her post on your blog! I suppose she has finally “arrived” to be “redlined” by Fr. Z! lol
I am glad she was able to clarify her position somewhat in the comment above.
Erin’s main arguement is one often raised – especially pre-Summorum Pontificum – by certain “Conservative Catholics’ against Traditionalists and the Traditional Liturgy. It goes something like this: to support the Traditional liturgy is to show “liturgical individualism,” “pride” or even “cafeteria Catholicism”. The proper attitude of a Catholic should be rather passive accetance of whatever liturgical order the establishment has in force in a given parish. The liturgy, after all is a matter of the hierarchy – so they say. Dreher formerly was a champion in these circles; Mark Shea is the current leading proponent of these views.
I won’t go into the monumental errors in history and theology of this position. Suffice it to say that Summorum Pontificum itself provides the clearest refutation of Manning, Shea et al. For in that motu proprio, the Pope clearly empowers the laity to start the process of estblishing the celebration of the Traditional liturgy at the parish level. Pursuant to SP, it is the group of faithful that takes the initiative by petitioning for the celebration of the Traditional mass. So contrary to Manning, we should be very much concerned about the details of the liturgy and about the availability of the Tradional Mass.
God Bless you Fr.
(putting on helmet now-because I know you tend to lop and smack at your leisure :))
I agree with Erin’s basic “appreciation”, which I take to be this:
a) The Liturgy is given us by the Church as something “specific”, “formed”;
b) The proper way to receive the gift is with humility and thanksgiving, and to worship God via the Liturgy, according to the “forms” we are given;
c) Personal “appreciations” of this or that are partial (i.e., idiosyncratic), maybe valid, maybe not so much;
d) When we argue about the Liturgy we are often pushing “c”, and elevating it above “b”, which causes the heat of friction, not the warmth of the Holy Spirit.
The heresy of our times, called “modernism” a century ago, has affected Western Civilization as much as it has affected the Catholic Church. Martin Mosebach’s title, “The heresy of formlessness” gets at that “heresy”, as do Stanley Jaki’s (RIP) many works that demonstrate how scientists, although faithful to that most “formal” discipline called mathematics, are scornful of “form” and “specificity” once the exeperiments have been completed, and one is asked to “philosophize” about it. (Cf. esp God and the Cosmologists, Chap. 8, “Cosmos and Cult”).
Why this specific universe? Why this combination of atomic elements? Why this religion? Why this form of the Liturgy? All these are questions that refer to “forms”, “specificities”, rather than generalities and mush. Since the ’60s Catholics have followed the world down the path of being unwilling to accept the “rigidities” of “form”, in favor of the fluidity of “formlessness.”
Erin, you are right in that a lot of us struggle with pride when it comes to liturgical matters–I really like Martin Mosebach’s observation that the general loosening of the ars celebrandi associated with the Novus Ordo leaves one departing Mass “like a theater critic.”
We lost something when large numbers of the laity started to become liturgy critics. However, I would maintain that we had to in order to keep our faith, especially in some locations where the hermeneutic of rupture really took root.
I don’t think very many long-term trads (those whom I met when I first came into the Church in 1980) enjoyed or felt comfortable as liturgy critics or having to take on priests and bishops in liturgical matters. However, the general consensus among (pardon the generalization)”The Remnant”-reading crowd was that (as Michael Davies argued way back then)the implementation of the Novus Ordo was an abuse of authority (yes, this is certainly a point of contention and debated even today), then resisting became, to some degree, a moral imperative.
The obedience issue is, IMO, the central issue for most of us attached to the TLM prior to Summorum Pontificum, and a truly difficult position for the laity to be in. And the associated temptations to pride (on both sides of the issue among Catholics of good will)is a daily concern.
Which, I suppose, leads to my main question for WDPTRS-ers: If a legitimate ecclesiastical authority tries to implement a change in discipline that potentially undermines one’s faith (as happened in the 1970s and 80s with the way the Novus Ordo came into practice), when is it morally permissible to resist that authority?
Stuart Chessman, all due respect, of course, but isn’t it true that liturgical decisions are indeed mostly made by the hierarchy–and that while the laity can inform the local ordinary of abuse, petition for the EF, and so on, we don’t have a lot of recourse when the answer by the bishop is to ignore the first and restrict the second?
I live in a diocese that is spread over a wide geographic area. I was excited about the motu proprio and looked forward eagerly to our bishop’s direction on this–he is young and believed to be orthodox. Even though I’m not drawn to the EF myself at this time, I was pleased that people who are would finally be heard and provided for liturgically; and if the EF were more widely available perhaps my family could attend one at least on occasion.
However, a statement was issued by the Vicar General of the Diocese that the Bishop was aware of the motu proprio but had decided that the Tridentine, now EF, Mass already offered in the diocese was sufficient for the needs of the faithful and no other such Masses would be offered. The single EF Mass in our diocese is offered in a parish in the heart of the city at 5:30 on Sunday evenings. That’s it–no daily Mass, no provision for any of the outlying parishes to offer one at any time, nothing even resembling an EF parish as some have elsewhere, etc. And the Vicar General’s statement made it clear that nothing would change in our diocese, motu proprio or not.
Respectfully, I ask you–what are the laity supposed to do in such a situation? Foster a spirit of open rebellion against the bishop? Complain a lot? Write to Rome, or to the apostolic nuncio for redress? As you point out, the motu proprio gives the laity the power to start the process of asking for EF Masses–but what do we do when the answer given is, “No, sorry, not in this diocese.”? Granted that this isn’t supposed to be possible–that the motu proprio was written to make it harder for such an all-encompassing veto to be issued, but what do we do when it *is* issued, and when no priest in the diocese is willing to get into a fight with the bishop about it?
I’m sure our diocese is not the only one in which the answer to the motu proprio was pretty much the same as the answers to things like Ecclesia Dei, or Liturgiam Authenticum, or the various liturgical instructions issued by Rome which were all tossed aside and ignored while “business as usual” goes on at the parish level. As I see it, I, personally, can do one of two things: be bitter and angry about it, and attend the NO Mass in a spirit of grudging judgment and disharmony, or let it go, trust God and the Church to sort all this out in due time, and do my best to assist at Mass without fostering that spirit of bitterness and anger, but instead with a glad and thankful heart for the great gifts God gives us in the Holy Sacrifice at the altar.
Lubeltri: What we could have had was the 1962 Missal with some judicious modifications and simplications, with the allowance for the Propers, Collects and and readings to be in the vernacular.
Actually, we did have that, if only for a couple of years.
The so-called “1965 missal” that incorporated the 1965 Ordo Missae in various language editions was thought by many, from laymen and publishers to cardinals and bishops just home from to be the Council, to fully express the will of Vatican II, and indeed to be its final liturgical fruit. For instance, in Cardinal Ratzinger’s Fontgombault proceedings volume, we find that the preface to a German edition of the 1965 missal stated, “the Cardinal Secretary of State officially declared that this missal was the definitive realisation of the Council’s commands”.
The frontspiece of my own copy (New Saint Joseph Daily Missal, Catholic Book Pub. Co., NY: 1967-1968) says “This New Missal is in complete accord with the Directives and Recommendations of Vatican Council II On the Liturgy.”
Allegedly, one or more Catholic publishers were left bankrupt because after 1970 they were stuck with unsellable stockpiles of the 1965 missal that they had printed in bulk on official assurance that it would be usable for some time.
It seemed to me at the time that this Mass was still recognizably the classical Roman rite — with most of the ceremonial retained, albeit without the Judica me psalm at the beginning and the final Gospel at the end, and with ample provision for the vernacular, using an accurate and faithful English translation typical of traditional Latin-English missals. The Roman Canon was the only “eucharistic prayer” and the offertory rite (so unrecognizably abbreviated in the 1970 missal) was preserved.
Although I doubt it’s possible or sensible now to go back to this “actual Mass of Vatican II”, all might have gone well if it had remained.
In any event, I still wonder why this “fruit of Vatican II” has effectively disappeared from history in an institutional memory dump.
VERY good question Nathan!
I think that very question is at the heart of what is currently being discussed between the SSPX and the Vatican officials. It also is related to why so many American Catholics feel compelled to kneel while receiving Holy Communion, despite the USCCB deciding in their “wisdom” to impose a different norm upon us in the American version of the GIRM….
I have a couple of additional questions:
1) Can anybody point out from the “Crunchy Con” blog excerpt above what page(s) the quote from “The Spirit of the Liturgy” were taken? I have the book, but can’t track down specifically in the book where the quote was taken.
2) Specifically, what really “needed” to be reformed in the TLM, even if it were done in harmony with the Council Fathers’ directives in Sancrosanctum Concilium?
My family & I have been going to the TLM (FSSP community in Dallas) periodically over the past year (more and more frequently, as time goes on). The depth & richness of the TLM just grows, and grows, and grows upon us….
I am essentially a “child of Vatican II” (born in 1962 – I barely even remember the Liturgical reforms of 1965), so I definitely look at the TLM without any kind of preconceived bias against the Novus Ordo.
In the TLM, honestly, I really don’t see anything that screams for the need for reform; so, I really want to understand what the Vatican II Council Fathers were thinking (at this juncture, I really don’t!). I initially thought removing the “redundant” 2nd Confiteor of the TLM might well fit into the category of what needed reform, but recently I have found resources which have explained that even that is “justified” as properly belonging in the TLM.
Fr. Z stated “I think most reasonable people will admit that the Council Fathers saw that some changes had to be made.” – but in my experience of the TLM, I just don’t comprehend why. Father Z, can you PLEASE comment on this in your blog?
IMHO, the silence available nearly throughout the entire TLM (especially in a Low Mass) makes it MUCH more conducive than the Novus Ordo for meditative prayer during Mass. And as other liturgical experts have pointed out many times before, isn’t that the critical aspect of how we are to best “actively participate” in the Mass anyway?
Pacis et benedictionis tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Article 7 of Summorum Pontificum sets forth specific appeal rights from the pastor of a paish to the bishop and from the bishop to Ecclesia Dei in situations where a request for the traditional mass is refused.
“Write to Rome, or to the apostolic nuncio for redress?”
Well, yeah, duh! You’re positing a false dichotomy, Ms. Manning, when you limit the options to (a) “let it go” or (b) be “bitter and angry,” etc. What’s to prevent anyone from both (a) accepting the situation with patience and humility and (b) working to bring about positive change through all legitimate means, including recourse to the Roman authorities?
As Mr. Chessman has pointed out, SP itself provides these means. Does that not mean that the Church, in her wisdom, has “sort[ed]” out this particular issue (going over the heads of uncooperative priests and bishops)?
As I read Crunchy Cons, I’d say “crunchy conservatism” is basically a reaction to the fact that the term “conservative” was taken over by those who made it mostly about capitalism, which itself was a reaction to the rise of communism. By the time GWB ran for president, the conservative movement was dominated by people whose first focus was keeping the Dow rising, with a secondary nod to a few issues like abortion and gun ownership. Dissenting conservatives like Pat Buchanan were shouted down.
Conservatism, as any conservative 50 years ago would have said, is about more than economic progress (especially the progress of global corporations and investment banks). Ultimately it’s about conserving the valuable knowledge and ideas of our ancestors. Sort of the political complement to Tradition in the Church.
Crunchy conservatism is also a reaction to the bombastic voices on the Right that automatically deride every notion that has any association with the Left. Liberals buy organic at Whole Foods, so I, as a conservative, should shop at Wal-Mart and buy as much factory food as possible? Uh, no thanks. Maybe the libs are right on that one, or maybe I have my own conservative reasons for avoiding Wal-Mart that don’t correspond to theirs. We shouldn’t let conservatism simply be knee-jerk anti-liberalism.
So it doesn’t mean voting Republican and wearing organic clothes, although a crunchy con may end up doing those things after studying the issues. It means being a true conservative: with regard to family, politics, economics, the environment, religion, society, etc. Even if that leads us to doing some things our business-first-conservative friends think are nutty.
Comment by Henry Edwards — 10 June 2009 @ 9:50 am
Amen to eveything you said in this post!
I personally think the “Low Mass” according to that Missal surpassed the “Low Mass” of the 1962 Missal.
P.S. I memorized the English of the Gloria and the Creed from that Missal, which I think corresponded very well to the Latin (which I also had in memory), and once the ICEL English was promulgated, I still cannot recite either version without the help of something in writing!
In case anyone else would like to see what we’re talking about, the Order of Mass from the 1965 “Missal of Vatican II” can be seen here:
The 1965 Missal is an awkward mix of Latin and English. I have an altar missal of this and I have always wondered how much it was really used.
I don’t like the elimination of the Judica me psalm….how did this elimination nourish the piety of the faithful?
I assume what you mean by an awkard mixture of Latin and English is the fact that the English appears in normal font size on the upper 2/3 of each page, while the Latin appears at the bottom in smaller font size looking like a footnote.
This betokens the likely fact that (as I experienced) it the 1965 Mass was usually celebrated mostly in English. Or at any rate that it’s framers intended this (whether or not the Council did).
I did not like the elimination of the Judica me Psalm at the beginning, but it’s arguable that the foot-of-the-altar prayers originated historically as private prayers of the priest said in the sacristry, and this type of “simplification” was probably intended by the “liturgical experts” who wrote Sacrosanctum Consilium before the bishops even convened in Rome for the Council.
Rod Dreher is perhaps the best known Orthodox blogger, although he rarely blogs about Orthodoxy, and since I have little charitable to say about his odd crunchy politics, I won’t, except to say that if he were more interested in writing about his faith, I’d read his blog more.
And Lubeltri, you wouldn’t be the same Lubeltri over on the OC forum, are you?
Nevermind on my question #1 in my post above. Thanks to the “search within a book” option on Amazon.com, I found the quote above from the “Crunchy Con” blog in the Preface of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, on pages 7-8.
Any comments on my question #2? Father Z or anyone else?
I can very readily buy into Henry Edwards’ comments that the 1965 Missal essentially fulfilled both the “spirit” and the “letter” of the Liturgical reforms promoted by the Council Fathers in Sancrosanctum Concilum.
But – why were those 1965 reforms (extensive replacement of Latin with the vernacular even in the Canon, the added Prayers of the Faithful, the laity bringing up the gifts at the Offertory, and the Responsorial Psalm, etc.) even really “needed”??? For me, a “need” for reform is synonymous with saying that the TLM had/has deficiencies, which I just don’t buy and/or understand as I (and I am sure many others) experience the TLM.
Father Z, we desperately need your commentary on the “need” for Liturgical reform after 1962! PLEASE?
Although I completely agree with Fr. Z’s comments that the Liturgy is an encounter with mystery and that we can never completely understand it, I think the education of the faithful on what the meaning of the Liturgy entails is really a MAJOR issue in the Church today, along with increasing reverence during Mass.
As Cardinal Ratzinger himself commented on page 215 of “The Spirit of the Liturgy” – “It really is not true that reciting the whole Eucharistic Prayer out loud and without interruptions is a prerequisite for the participation of everyone in this central act of the Mass. My suggestion in 1978 was as follows. First, liturgical education ought to aim at making the faithful familiar with the essential meaning and fundamental orientation of the Canon.”
Along these lines of getting educated wrt the Liturgy (since far too many of our Bishops and Clergy aren’t making a legitimate effort to educate us, I guess we need to educate ourselves!) – check out the following articles which elaborate on taking our “active participation” at Mass to the highest level:
A) “The Secret of the Mass” – article by Jonathan Chamblee ( http://www.holyname.cc/documents/TheSecretoftheMass.doc ), and
B) “Full Participation and Nuclear Fusion” – article by Fr. John A. Sedlak in the June 2009 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review ( scanned images of this article on pages 49-58 from this issue are available from http://homeplanotx.gotdns.com/DISK%201/HPR_articles/ )
Pacis et benedictionis tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum.
I hope you’ll have better luck than I have. I’ve been asking this question for a while now. The best response I’ve gotten is some anecdotal evidence (“people weren’t paying attention”) or an argument from authority (“The Council called for a change so it must have been necessary”).
Nobody has yet identified what *specifically* was wrong with the old form or why it needed changing.
I agree with quovadis7. In the absence of rationales for why the form of the Mass used throughout the Church prior to 1970 was flawed, it can be very frustrating to try to comprehend why the Mass was changed, and why so many seeming abuses have been allowed to occur. In that situation, it becomes very tempting to wan condemn everything that issued forth from Vatican II. Without understanding WHY the changes were made, its difficult to not see nefarious influences and one can easily fall prety to conspiracy theories. I’ve seen a few of documents that purport to explain why Vatican II was considered necessary, but the reasoning ithere tends to be weak, and primarily dealing with ecumenism and increasing the familiarity of the faithful with The Bible.
Neither of those reasons provides sufficient explanation for why such a far reaching Church council would have been felt necessary at the time.
I have my own theories, which tend toward the banal, but I’d really like to hear from a more informed source.
As for the rest….I agree that it should be possible to faithfully and lovingly participate in NO Mass without succumbing to anger and bitterness, while at the same time doing all in our limited power to try to bring either EF or more reverent forms of NO Mass to wider availability.
Actually, I mean what was kept in Latin versus what was changed to English. My overall conclusion after perusing the Missal of 1965 for sometime is that an admixture of Latin and English does not really work very well. Especially if it is on the order of 50%/%50 or 60%/40%. I am much more in favor of keeping it either all Latin or all English. For example, I think the translations of the Anglican Breviary are excellent and overall completely keep the spirit of the breviary so-to-speak. I am sure the same is true of the Anglican Missal (or Knott Missal which I assume is as well-translated as the Anglican breviary). I would much rather have that than the mish-mash Latin-English translation of the 1965 Missal where the English translations are ok but nothing special. I even think we could attract more regular Novus Ordo goers if a translation like the Anglican Missal (or Knott Missal) was used instead of the 1965 Latin-English Missal.
I too would be very interested in some elucidation as to what revision in the 1962 Missal might be thought needed from a reasonably faithful and traditional Catholic viewpoint.
As long-time readers here know, I am open to both the older and newer forms (with the usual non-abuse proviso). But in all seriousness, I am not aware that any significant number of bishops at Vatican II saw a need for much revision in the 1962 Missal. (I recall a statement by Card. Ratzinger in one of his books — wish I could relocate it — to the effect that liturgical revision was not a priority with the bishops at the Council, because they did not generally perceive significant problems in the liturgy.)
I have tried at length over the years to investigate this, and it is still my impression that Sacrosanctum Consilium was written prior to the Council by liturgical experts and activists and then approved largely without detailed examination — a la congressional procedures nowadays — by the bishops, who allegedly assumed (as Ab. Lefebvre was assured by his peritus) that no great changes in the Mass would result.
Or have I got this all wrong?
Henry: A quick answer. I believe the Council Father’s only proposed about a half dozen things for the reform. Among them, that there should be a greater selection of Scripture. That wouldn’t be bad on the weekdays. I don’t think there should have necessarily been an addition of a third reading on Sunday or that that cycle be split into three years. I think the rubrics might have been revisited concerning multiple readings of the pericopes. That had already been addressed. Giving a little room to the use of vernacular for readings would not have been destructive, particularly if its use was restrained. My view of the changes that could have been made is pretty restrictive, along the lines of the Council Fathers. Otherwise, had there been a continuation of the Liturgical Movement along the lines of deeper and deeper catechesis… I wonder how many changes we would have needed. But this is all moot. The reform we got was not the reform that was mandated. Sadly, the most ignored thing the Council Father’s laid down was that no changes should be made unless they were truly for the good of the faithful. Time has told, and I don’t think that in all respects the people have benefited in the way the Council Fathers hoped.
Again, Stuart, respectfully, the parishioners who appeal to the pastor for an EF Mass and are refused are to appeal to the bishop. However, here’s what we have in my diocese from the bishop:
“It is the current mind of Bishop [Name] that the pastoral need referred to by Pope Benedict XVI for the ‘due honor afforded the 1962 Mass’ is sufficiently met weekly at [Name] Church in [City Name] on Sundays at 5:30 p.m.”
I believe, though I don’t know, that the thinking is that since this one group of the faithful has had this Mass since before the motu proprio, they’re the only “stable group of faithful” who has any right to ask for the EF Mass–and they don’t need to ask for it because they already have it.
Of course every literate person loves Elizabethan English, but if you simply want the traditional Mass in the vernacular, then resort to an Anglican missal is not necessary.
For instance, suppose that the Pope today decreed the unhappy Novus Ordo experiment at an end, but realized that an abrupt transition to the Latin 1962 missal was not feasible, sensible, or even desirable.
Then — then, except for a few practicalities including a couple of generations of priests ordained without prior priestly formation — the whole English-speaking world could this coming Sunday begin celebration of the traditional Mass in the vernacular with no great confusion compared with normal OF week-to-week and parish-to-parish variations.
Just pick the Angelus or the Baronius missal and use only the right-hand English pages, ignoring the left-hand Latin pages.
Of course, I realized that not enough of these fine missals would be immediately available. It would take a bit of time to print enough, during which time the afore-mentioned generations of priests could be sufficiently instructed in basic liturgical practice.
But the point is that, if all you want is exemplary traditional liturgy in the vernacular, no committees of experts or councils of bishops need be convened. All the work has long since been done, and the needed resources are readily at hand for essentially immediate use.
Henry Edwards, no you have not got it wrong. I concur with you totally, I believe Ottavani and Bacca, and many others who were fearful of speaking out would agree with you also.
‘I believe, though I don’t know, that the thinking is that since this one group of the faithful has had this Mass since before the motu proprio, they’re the only “stable group of faithful” who has any right to ask for the EF Mass—and they don’t need to ask for it because they already have it.’ — Erin Manning
Unfortunately, as much as I’m thankful for what it’s done, Summorum Pontificum supports that thinking, to my reading. It never suggests that the EF should be propagated or introduced anywhere that a “stable group of faithful” hasn’t asked for it. It certainly never suggests that the EF is a better form in any way, or that it should be offered in hopes of attracting anyone to (or back to) the Faith. It also implies pretty strongly that the “faithful” it’s talking about are people who are attached to the EF because they were formed in it, which restricts them to an ever-shrinking group of elderly folks and a few youngsters who went to the SSPX or somewhere for the last 40 years. That definition doesn’t include people who grew up in the OF and are looking for something better.
I know Pope Benedict has spoken more positively of the EF in other places, but SP really doesn’t go that far. It basically says what a local monsignor said to the news media when we first got it here: If you remember it from your childhood and you really want to go check it out for nostalgia’s sake, you’re allowed to.
By the way, it also says that if your stable group of faithful doesn’t get satisfaction from your bishop, your next step is to contact “the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei.'”
Erin, you don’t have to do anything. You can be passive and let the rest of us do the work for you. Then you can be grateful for the result. Yes, this is a legitimate option for you.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has decided that your option is not mandatory for the rest of us. We can request the Extraordinary Form, and we have a right to it. If the pastor, and then the bishop, ignore the requests of a stable group, we can petition the Ecclesia Dei commission, which will take action (as they recently did in Manila).
Have a pleasant, stress-free day.
What I dont understand is, You go to an EF oratory, chapel church., They have the Red MIssals, that have the proper english on the side…. Why not simply take that translation???
Aaron, you’re incorrect. In the letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, the Holy Father said that the motu proprio also anticipates requests for the Extraordinary Form from young people who “felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the mystery of the Eucharist particularly suited to them.” That includes me and, I think, most of the people who read this blog.
So Pope Benedict would not “support your reading.” Please encourage young people with open hearts to taste the beauty of this Holy Mass.
P.S., Aaron. This Mass is not about nostalgia. This Mass is about eternity. The Novus Ordo, having been fashioned in response to theological fads, is a creature of time and has already aged badly. When one attends the Extraordinary Form, one moves vertically, not backwards.
The Ecclesia Dei “red missal” would work fine for the English parts of the Ordinary parts of Mass, but they don’t include the Propers….
However, the Propers can be printed out from the Una Voce Orange County site to handle that detail. That’s literally what I do whenever our family goes to the TLM on Sundays – since the Propers on a single sheet of paper works better/easier anyway for the younger children in my family than flipping back and forth with a full fledged missal (actually, I often prefer it too!). In addition, we don’t have to then buy 4 additional Baronius Missals at $60+ a pop. Thanks Una Voce Orange County!!! :-)
Aaron: It also implies pretty strongly that the “faithful” it’s talking about are people who are attached to the EF because they were formed in it, which restricts them to an ever-shrinking group of elderly folks and a few youngsters who went to the SSPX or somewhere for the last 40 years.
You are totally out of it! In my TLM community and every other one I know about, young people — child-bearing age and younger — are the vast majority. Thus virtually all are people who never knew the TLM in the “old days”. Moreover, they typically are the “best and brightest”, and typically have large families; 6 or 8 children are common.
Consequently, it matters little what any document says or doesn’t say. Demographically, the hand-writing that matters is already written on the wall. No matter what anyone high or low says or does, the traditional Latin Mass population will be growing exponentially for the forseeable future. As a mathematician, I’m happy to assure you that in this matter the mathematics is inexorable.
Fr. Z, an observation, okay maybe two observations, and a question:
The “personal preferences” and mention of generations paragraph (second last of original Erin post): there is indeed a generational aspect. Most, not all but most, of the people I know or read who have a strong preference for the EF were not present when the older Missal was in use. That would include converts, those born after Vatican II and in a variation, I’d include reverts. They view from the other end of the telescope, through the lens and/or perspective of a very different time and culture. I can’t emphasize that enough.
The “personal preferences” and your comment “for the writer, the form of the liturgy doesn’t matter as much as a personalexperience.” I’m of the “form doesn’t matter” and before you respond, please consider that the most dissident clergy and religious I know (and I live in a very dissident diocese), all had their formation under the older Missal. I’ve seen good and bad from both OF and EF.
My question for you is asking for your underlying reasons about your June 10, 1:34pm comment about the lectionary. You say it’s already been addressed, but I don’t know if you refer to this thread or a previous one. Why expanded Scripture readings only on weekdays? What don’t you like about the third reading on Sundays or the three year cycle?
Henry, I’d be interested in the quote you attribute to the Cardinal Ratzinger.
Timothy, your comment “let the rest of us do the work for you. Then you can be grateful for the result” – I wish you could hear how snarky that sounds.
Yes, my comment was unnecessarily snarky. I was responding to Erin’s implication that Catholics who press for the Extraordinary Form are in “rebellion.” Her position is terribly passive. Throughout the history of the Church, Catholics, including laity, have suffered greatly for “rebellion” (St. Athanasius, St. John of the Cross, St. Joan of Arc, etc.), and we benefit today from their “rebellion.” That was my point.
Timothy, I had to go back to see which post; my guess is that it’s the June 10, 9:21am.
I read that post differently than you did. I do see where you got the rebellion statement. However, the impression I got was that her comments were more from the EF not being a pressing issue for her. I had a similar experience. I was greatly perturbed by the whole Notre Dame thing, but an orthodox Catholic acquaintance’s blithe response was, “God will straighten it out.” I didn’t appreciate such a casual response, but realized it wasn’t on her radar to the degree it was on mine.
I think it’s very important that Catholics avoid “friendly fire.” A verbal sorting out is important, but the snarkiness, and I’m including a lot more people than just you, is counter-productive.
The question Erin raises is an important one: when faced with a situation that’s not right (and I think some of the bishops are indeed trying to marginalize those who prefer the EF), how does one respond? In this case, I think there are more options than Erin describes, but there are other times when God considers obedience more important than the situation of the moment.
I’m beginning to ramble, so I’d best leave it at that.
Timothy, thank you, I haven’t read the letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, so I was only speaking to what the document itself said. Does the letter carry the same force as the document, though? I get the impression that many bishops and priests don’t think so. (Or perhaps they haven’t read it either?)
To Timothy and Henry, yes, I realize that young people who were not formed in the EF are a big part of its revival. That’s certainly the case at my church. I was just saying SP doesn’t talk about them, so if Erin gets together a group of thirty-somethings yearning for a more reverent Mass and they go talk to their bishop, he can point to SP and say, “Ah, but you weren’t formed in this rite.”
I pesonally think the EF *must* come back, or at least we must return to something much closer to it, because I honestly don’t see how a Church using the forms I grew up with can stand against the gates of Hell. So I’m confident that it’ll happen, but I’m still curious as to how we’ll get there.