Fr. de Souza responds to responses about “reconciliation” of newer and traditional Forms of the Roman Rite

Mass eucharist sacrificeUPDATE 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.

Cool reactions followed quickly.  For example, scholars Joseph Shaw of the LMS in England HERE and Gregory DiPippo of NLM HERE. I provided my own reaction to Card. Sarah’s La Nef offering HERE.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. anilwang says:

    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”.

    Agreed. Politically, a staged approach might be the best approach.
    (1) Re-introduce all the EF elements lacking in the NO including the old prayers, prayers at the foot of the altar, “omitted hard sayings” in the lectionary, synchronized calendars with the EF etc in one fell swoop as options. Granted only 5% of parishes will actually use any of them (except perhaps on solemnities), but the additions should not cause any division since they are ignorable.

    (2) Clean up clericalism abuses the make the priest the center attention rather than Christ such as the priest facing the people rather than the cross and adhoc improv of the liturgy because the priest thinks he can improve it here and there. Explicitly make adhoc improv a mortal sin that needs to be confessed, as I believe it was in the old liturgy. There will be an uproar over this as was the case with the recently revised lectionary, but it should diminish over 5 years the same way the uproar over the revised lectionary did and the way the Russian conspiracy theory is starting to get old in US politics.

    (3) Give notice that in 5 years the EF options will no longer be options and that some existing options will be phased out. This will give everyone time to adapt. Again, this will cause an uproar but it will diminish. The fact that the EF options have already been accepted as options will ensure that eventually they can win.

    (4) Once stage (3) is complete, look at Vatican II and examine how else the NO can come closer to what the council fathers wanted, considering that the EF was the starting point. One important area to be looked at is the clericalism of the laity that think that active participation means doing priestly things and the use of EMHC as the norm rather the exception. In the mean time, minor changes like the ones done before Vatican II such adding saints can be done on the EF.

  2. Mike says:

    Sadly, some folks actually like the abuses and defects of the NO!

  3. Alexander says:

    Thank you for this piece, Father. I see the wisdom in organic development but am often frustrated how dramatic change is usually in a leftward direction. Both in religion and politics it seems like our reasonable, gradual reforms are nearly obliterated by the broad stroke of someone with a problematic ideology. Maybe that’s just my flawed perspective.

    Regarding the lectionary, it seems specious that the kind of person who goes to church everyday for three years doesn’t study the bible on their own. Knowledge of Scripture is essential but Holy Mass is not a book club.

  4. Charles E Flynn says:

    From The Omission of “Difficult” Psalms and the Spreading-Thin of the Psalter , by Prof. Peter Kwasniewski:

    The removal from the sacred liturgy of Scriptural passages judged too “difficult” is truly one of the great crimes committed against the Christian people in the last century. There is, however, an alternative: a Latin liturgy that has lasted for centuries, which has suited the palates of simple and distinguished folk and shows no signs of going out of date.

  5. “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.”

    I started my interest in the EF about 1988-90, when I discovered a Schott (Imprimatur 1958). Shocked what liturgy could be, I subsequently read Sacrosanctum Concilium and Jungmann SJ Missarum Sollemnia. I started discussions with our chaplains (in Germany the title without addition is used for newly ordained priests in their first four years of service, when they are trainees) and learned, what clericalism is, and that there are priests who will bluntly lie in your face about the decisions of the Vatican II council. Latin is abrogated, the orientation has been turned etc… Spirit of Vatican II was the standard argument, when I put Sacrosanctum Comcilium on the table and quoted that latin has to be preserved (SC 36 1. §1) and that they should show me their claims in the document. The typical end of the discussion was: “You didn’t study theology, so you don’t know what this document means” or “You belong to Wigratzbad (FSSP-Seminary) with your opinion.” My first practical experience with the EF was in 2009.

    So I can say, if young people are interested in the EF, their wounds were not inherited from whiny traddies, but battle scars from militant modernist using the standard ad hominem defense against tradition. The “brotherly love” shown to the four dubia cardinals reminds me of that time, so I pray daily for these upright confessors of catholic faith.

  6. Sword40 says:

    Even a discussion of “tampering” with the old rite is enough to re-consider the SSPX. Do not those in power have enough brains to leave us alone for a few centuries? Rome wasn’t built over night but it was sure destroyed in 50 years.

    Enough of this baloney. Just let us be. Quit trying to “fix” things. God will have his way, over time.

  7. PA mom says:

    I recently had the joy of Mass at the beginning of the diocesan Quo Vadis/Fiat camp. Benedictine arrangement across the altar, chant throughout, incense, beautiful music selections and the most vigorous laity responses ever.

    It is encouraging that they seem to understand at the diocesan level that these are all a draw to discerning young people to the religious life/priesthood.

    It was so lovely, lots of reform of the reform, I believe, and not so difficult to do. Lots of our parishes should be able to do that.

    I hope Cardinal Sarah keeps going. Near me, momentum is on his side!

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    I suppose, however, they would be introduced as “options”.

    Is there anything the OF needs less than more options? A good first step would the elimination of all current options, retaining in each case only the most traditional practice–propers with no substitutions, confiteor form of the penitential rite, Roman Canon as the only Eucharistic prayer, etc. This would immediately relieve priests of the prevalent temptation to invariably choose the worst option whenever given a choice.

  9. A lot of people would actually be surprised at how many of those young people who grew up with the NO love the older traditions of the Church and would be ready to fight for them…

    As for “reconciliation”, for NO : turn towards the Lord, get those not-so-extraordinary ministers out, get proper altar boys, bring back the last gospel, get the Gregorian, the incense, the high altars, the communion rails, the beautiful vestments and the beautiful churches, do all the options in the missal (including the “abbreviated readings” and pick the longest prayers… and say it all in Latin.

    For the EF : update a bit the saints calendar…

  10. Imrahil says:

    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.

    Count me as agreeing with the leading voices in the EF community.

    Sure, the OF lectionary countains a lot of Bible. So far so good. However, and this is a big however, the EF works on the premise – and the OF should work on the premise – that Mass is an entire whole; that it does contain Scripture lessons, yes, does achieve amongst other things to make Scripture known to attenders, yes, but all this subordinated to the higher principle that the lessons of the Mass conform to the Mass.

    Hence we have to say that the OF lectionary comes at a price. The price is that in the OF, we can no longer really speak of a beautiful development from the first Sunday after Epiphany down to the sixth, from the first (or second) Sunday after Pentecost down to the twenty-forth, always developing more on the topic and almost without notice introducing new topics, until we finally have reached the Sunday of the Last Judgment, according even to the natural cycle of the year. And Pope Benedict observed that the Sundays between the 23rd and 24th Sunday after Pentecost with their harvesting and similar themes very much fit to both occasions, after Epiphany and before the end of the year; and that similar, a different but also meaningful connection arises on the Southern Hemisphere where our spring is their fall and vice versa.

    The OF lectionary with its supposed superiority simply replaces this by the (forgive me:) all to simple principle to just start a synoptic Gospel and read it through to the end.

    The case of the weekdays is even more obvious. In the case of the weekdays, the OF lectionary just starts with the Gospel of St. Matthew (?) in January and Ends with the Gospel of St. Luke in November – but in case the weekday is actually a weekday. And it adds lessons from the Old and New Testament which – other than, it is to be admitted, the Sunday lessons – do not have much to do with the Gospels of the day. Most of all, though, what do Church attenders on a weekday actually want? They want to celebrate the feasts of Saints; though I grant that if the Saint is (so to say) less popular, a Votive Mass as usual in the EF does have its charm. As does repeating the Sunday Mass especially if it could not be had on the Sunday (for reason of a feast, or so). The purposely everydayistic use to have simple weekday Masses and cut down on the Saints for the purpose may be favored by liturgists for some reason I do not know, but this feeling has never found an echo among the faithful populace. And even so, even with the heavily cut-down New Calendar, the OF weekday lectionary’s purpose is still in serious jeopardy due to the ever-intervening feasts of Saints – to be silent of the fact that one asks oneself what all those beautiful Votive Masses stand in the Missal for, if they virtually cannot ever been taken.

    As for having two lessons on Sundays and first-class feasts, that stands on the books; but people are surprisingly traditional in that regard, and in the great majority of cases only one is taken (German speaking here, I think we have an indult for this).

    (However, I disagree to the statement that the prologue of St. John is never heard by OF churchgoers. It is the Gospel for Christmas Day, and around here not usually replaced for pastoral reasons. Also, the “usual Mass times” of 9 am or 10 am or 10:30 will usually be considered “day” rather than “morning”. Most Church-going folk attends twice on Christmas; and I guess of those attending only once, those who choose Christmas Day as the more convenient one, with the family celebration the evening before and all that, is at least a sizeable minority.)

  11. rdb says:

    When Pope Benedict wrote SP and mentioned the dual enrichment, I saw it as a diplomatic move. The reality is that the OF is in need of and is capable of more revision. I’ve been offering the EF for the last two years. In my experience, the smaller portions of Scripture are much better than the longer disconnected portions of the OF. The OF is like drinking from a fire hose. Scripture is meant to be reflected on in small bits.

  12. mburn16 says:

    It seems to me there is a fair amount of issue being taken here with how the readings are arranged, or which readings have been selected…and that is getting carried over into [unfair] criticism of the increased volume of scripture being read.

    It is good that Catholics are receiving greater exposure to scripture. It is good that Ministers are being presented with more scripture on which to preach. That said, I have no particular attachment to the fact that X reading occurs on Z Sunday in Ordinary time.

    Keep the reading structure of the OF, and possibly re-add the Last Gospel. But if we need to mate the two liturgical calendars and the readings get adjusted – ok, fine.

  13. Unwilling says:

    I commented here a couple years ago that the most harmful change from the ancient forms was loss of the humanly-comprehensible one-year lectionary. The avoidance of difficult Psalms and passages is more a secondary mistake from lack of Faith. But the laudable goal — to increase the contact/confrontation of the Catholic Faithful with the whole of Sacred Scripture — may have been a bona fides rationale for the three-year (failed?) experiment. A genuine Vatican II response to that desire would have been (and still might be in a few decades) long term promotion of doctrinally orthodox study of the Bible outside the Mass (and Hours).

    [Regards to anilwang for typically wise observations.]

  14. sibnao says:

    Although I’ve always been quite conservative and tradition-loving by nature, my whole life was spent with the NO Mass until three years ago. We are blessed in our metro area with many orthodox and obedient parishes (OK, not many, but several), and I have loved the reverence and peace of those Masses. Ending up at a FSSP parish was the result of my husband’s attraction to the old Mass, not mine, though, and I went along out of sheer deference to him. So I am a person who very much exemplifies the faithful but completely ignorant pewsitters who really saw no reason to go “back.”

    And what I can say in regard to this post is that I am astonished at how much more Scripture I find to meditate upon in the EF. It is true that reading a translation from Latin, rather than hearing the Word proclaimed in English, is annoying and in some ways (to me) anti-pastoral. But the loving dwelling-upon that chant is, as well as the silence, the poetry, and the highly symbolic liturgy, have all sunk in, such that I find a great deal to meditate upon during (and after Mass).

    And the way that the year has a shape! There’s such a shape to it, which all our ancestors lived with, even those Europeans who denied Rome and went off into sects. I have begun to get this faint whiff of how liturgical living is really living in another world, or rather our world, but with its ordinariness shot through with supernatural meaning. All these saints’ days — the ONLY thing that I would ask from the OF is to find a way to incorporate the new saints into the existing calendar, because Edith Stein and Charles Lwanga and Mother Teresa are all too magnificent not to celebrate.

    Anyway, I speak as one who never had any interest in bringing back the “old Mass,” but who can now honestly say that there is a muscular and radiant quality to it that might really feed those of us who are weary with the fight to keep the faith. A lot of us have never known what we were missing!

  15. Imrahil says:

    As for changes, on change that can be done, should be done, and is at the moment being done – granted, it began before or around 1960 which means it is allowed – is universal application of the prefaces Advent, of the Eucharist and of the Church dedication on all appropriate occasions except Maundy Thursday and of of the Saints preface on all Saint’s feasts of the 1st and 2nd class and in votive Masses of similar rank. (And perhaps of the separate Maundy Thursday preface, distinct from the Eucharist preface, which is in use somewhere.)

  16. mepoindexter says:

    One if the biggest problems with the OF in light of Sacrosanctum Consillium is its complete failure to uphold the primacy of place of Gregorian chant.

    The chant is inextricably tied to the epistle, the gospel, the collect, the secret, the post communion etc etc etc.

    This poses an ENORMOUS problem for the OF that they have yet to solve.

    Far be it from attacking the EF for its readings, if you allow yourself to rest in the mystery you find they are very, VERY wisely chosen.

    This is where mutual enrichment comes in.

  17. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Father, I have to disagree, respectively, on your statement that more traditional reforms to the Of should be introduced as “options.” [But… I didn’t say that. I just supposed that they would be (which I don’t think is a good idea.)]

    I think precisely what the OF needs less of is options.

    New traditional “options” would simply be ignored at best or further drive the point of the instability and constant tinkering most OF Catholics have lived with for several decades.

  18. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says: Father, I have to disagree, respectively, on your statement that more traditional reforms to the Of should be introduced as “options.”

    He actually said he supposes they would be introduced as options. Because with the Ordinary Form Mass, EVERYTHING is options.

    And that is indeed one option that would be ignored.

    But it doesn’t matter what the books say. The Spirit of Vatican II priests will go on doing whatever they want, because doing whatever they want is what they think being true to the Council means.

  19. Clinton R. says:

    Perhaps many generations must pass before popes, prelates and
    the faithful see Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass as being
    handed down from God like the Ten Commandments. It just
    seems to me impossible to keep trying to reconcile the Mass of All
    Time and the sound and precise teaching of the Church with the New Mass
    and the clear as mud instruction that exists in the Church post Vatican II.

  20. benedetta says:

    Although I like a lot of VII and post-VII saints and therefore would support incorporating into the EF calendar, I believe for many reasons, after a lot of experience and thought on it, that the EF lectionary with the readings and propers, just as it is, is far superior for the application of the Gospels to the typical experiences of a Christian in the world today via prayer and continued walk of progress in the spiritual life over time, and should be favored over the experiment, albeit widely accepted, into a/b/c and 1/2/3 with two readings and the psalm between followed by Gospel selection from a three-year cycle. In the dizziness of today’s modern, distracting, noisy, fast paced, ever changing society, the a/b/c format never really gets to have that crucial time and testing and breathing with before it’s on to something different and fairly quickly forgotten.If the new NO lectionary has offered people more of a taste of scripture, and given the numbers attending Sunday Mass (less so of course daily which follows the changing texts more closely) I believe that is debatable, just through sheer variety of readings, all that really amounts to for the vast majority of pray-ers is a surface exposure. The EF lectionary experienced over years of liturgical seasons really offers a much more breathing, living, interactive experience for the believer and is much more easily applied in the home, the domestic church, from year to year, already rich with traditions that lend well to every day experience of the liturgical time of year.

    As a practical matter, I think the vast majority of people of my age group discovered with a bit of a shock that the NO Sunday psalm was cribbed (as often the stylized version does not really match scripture in toto) from the Psalms. Does anyone at Sunday Mass really pray them? It’s an occasion for a cantor, yes. But they are not singable by congregation even the refrains, by and large. They sound maudlin or lugubrious no matter the text (that has to do with the “musical” setting more I suppose). Few priests can tie up the four in a neat bow. I think today’s generation regards this as a commercial break and many of us tune out in spite of ourselves in this time. It’s the wait period for the next thing.

    I have also heard EF homilists allude to other Gospel accounts of the same event(s) which can lead to a prayerful consideration and amplification or greater variety of texts at home. The EF generally whereby the worshipper refers to one’s own missal or the texts of the Sunday lends well to prayerful consideration before and after Mass at home, so there is also opportunity to broaden in terms of amount and variety of scripture there as well.

  21. 21stCentury Anglican says:

    Repetitio Mater Memoriae. (My spelling may be off there…) Does having more scripture make the OF lectionary better? Just because they’re getting more scripture doesn’t necessarily mean they are learning it.

  22. Absit invidia says:

    Modernist catholics I’ve talked to are eager to create changes to the EFM, but make no mention at all of how the OF should change and how it would benefit from EFM influences.

  23. Austin says:

    The idea that the mass should be the sole purveyor of Scripture in the church, which seems to lie behind the three-year cycle, misses the point of the eucharistic liturgy and creates a serious distortion.

    The lectionary of the traditional mass, developed organically over centuries, was designed to illustrate and buttress the central mystery of redemption. It is a coherent and appropriate companion to the sacrifice of the mass, showing how the eternal mystery, always the same and always new, was manifested both in the life of our Lord and plays out in the eschatological history of the world. The lessons and the filigree work of the minor prospers are a masterpiece of textual jewelry in which the gem of the sacrifice is set.

    Annual repetition fixed this vital core in the minds of the faithful and created the pillars of the liturgical temple. Around this the edifice of the rest of the liturgy was built.

    The offices, which have been so scandalously neglected, allow for more didactic and meditative approaches to the sacred texts, anchored by the constant repetition of the psalms.

    And, of course, nothing stopped or stops the faithful resorting to lectio divina or programs of Scriptural study.

    The Novus Ordo seems to have given up on this whole economy of prayer. It turns the mass into a Sunday School class with its emphasis on ‘coverage’ and has confused the very people it was supposed to help because the fixed points and messages of each time of the year are diluted. Holy Week is particularly a mess.

    The suggestion that this misguided direction should be allowed to disfigure the traditional mass is simply scandalous.

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  25. Grant M says:

    The epistle, Gospel, orations and other propers, all with their traditional chants in Latin, are bound together in an organic unity, like the movements of a symphony. A good conductor does not take a Beethoven or Mahler symphony and substitute something completely different (no matter how good in itself) for one of the movements.

  26. Grant M says:

    It’s a very different set-up in the OF, where (at least in my experience) the readings are usually supplemented by vernacular hymns at the Entrance, Offertory and Communion, generally with some link to the theme of the readings.

  27. Vincent says:

    It’s often stated over here in the UK that wartime rationing has helped a generation live longer, because the diet was small, but carefully balanced; for the first time poor people had access to the right mix of food.

    If prayer is the oxygen of the soul, then clearly scripture should be the food of the soul. The same principle applies; you need the correct type of food in the correct quantities, and that’s precisely what the EF has in its favour – it is a well balanced diet of what you need for salvation!

    The OF lectionary has no appeal to me because I simply don’t have the time to read and delve into the readings in any depth to hunt down whatever (often limited) calorific content they may have. IT always seems astonishing to me that on that awful dawn of post-war modernity and ‘freedom’ the Church abandoned what had worked for it so well for 1000 years in favour of something which has no wisdom behind it.

  28. Imrahil says:

    What Austin said –

    though it has to be said that the often-mentioned factor of “annual repetition”, while ever present on the books, stems in practice from Pope St. Pius X’s Breviary reform and is even then not complete. Feasts replacing Sundays occasionally (as the Transfiguration this year; or, up to 1910, feasts of Apostles, of St. Augustine and the like and of a lot of saints also where this obviously did go too far) have brought “more variety”, so to say; as has the question which Sunday of the ones after Epiphany (or even the 23rd after Pentecost) falls away except in the few years that all are held; as has the exterior celebration of first-class feasts which does not usually always fall on the same Sunday.

  29. Imrahil says:

    (And except also that I don’t think Holy Week is particularly a mess. On the premise that the Synoptic Passion is just said once, of course, the OF Masses of Holy Week are rather finely composed as far as the OF goes; in particular the Easter Vigil lessons were yet again extended to at least seven, at least as options. There mere three (?) from among the ancient twelve as envisaged by Pope Pius XII certainly is deplorable… – The oratio pro iudaeis leaves the point of the prayer out and thus has allowed numbers of theologians to fall to salvation-economical error, but this, too, is not messy, but rather, shall I say, cowardly.)

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear sibnao,

    interesting perspective. Though you forgot to mention St. Father Pio and St. Maximilian Kolbe in the list…

    As it were, yes, some of the newer Saints should get their feasts. Though they can even now be celebrated (on any unoccupied day, which at least in Mother Theresa’s case includes, I believe, her proper natalis) with a Votive Mass taken from the Commons.

    Also, one other change, or rather reversal of change, should be made: please allow us to celebrate at least the more important Saints, a St. Thomas Aquinas, a St. Gregory the Great, Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas maybe, or of the Archangel Gabriel even in Lent; as they used to right into the 1950s if I’m rightly informed.

  31. JonPatrick says:

    As Imrahil alludes to in his first post, the return of an actual celebration of more saints rather than just a commemoration would improve the OF and start getting us away from the rigid march through the lectionary. Today’s feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne is a case in point. This important couple just get a brief mention in the collect (they don’t even make it into the offering prayer or the postcommunion) while the lectionary continues its march through Exodus and Matthew with passages that have no relevance to the saints being commemorated.

    One note about Christmas and Chapter 1 of John. I suspect in the US as opposed to Germany many people with families are more likely to attend Christmas Eve so as to leave the Day free for the more secular Christmas activities (opening presents, visiting family etc.) Having said that I’m not sure the Last Gospel as done in the EF is the way to get exposure to it, given the tendency to go through it quickly and often silently while people are mentally getting ready to sing the recessional and go home.

  32. Imrahil says:

    Dear JonPatrick,

    well, at least that is only an Option, and Sts. Joachim and Anne always get at least their Gospel around here, and though the (forgive me:) annoying practice to ignore the proper reading of the Mass and instead “march through Exodus” as you so aptly call it is sometimes done, I have the Feeling that it isn’t for the more important saints (by tendency: from the obligatory memorials onwards).

    At least, in the Schott Missal for the OF, the Masses of the saints’ days and of the ferials are neatly distinct and with proper Gospel, reading, psalm, alleluia, Collect, suggestion of general intercessions, and even introit (which almost always falls away); though it is indeed only some very select ones that have offertory prayer and postcommunion.

  33. cwillia1 says:

    One purpose of the Church’s public worship is to sanctify time until Our Lord comes again in glory. So there is a daily cycle, a weekly cycle and a yearly cycle to liturgical worship, along with fasting and feasting. So now the OF imposes a SIX year cycle of Bible readings on the liturgy?

    As time passed the Church identified those books from which it was appropriate to take readings for the divine liturgy and the hours. Now we take those books and superimpose on the public worship of the Church a scheme of systematic Bible study interrupted by Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. This is better? Or is it a perversion?

  34. mburn16 says:

    Whether or not the Mass SHOULD be the sole exposure to scripture (it shouldn’t )…it generally is.

    That 60-90 minutes of Mass on Sunday is the only time of the week you can obligate Catholics to be present.

    And its notable that even if we accepted the argument that there are other contexts where it would be more appropriate, i.e. some kind of Bible Study or Scripture School…it seems less likely we could expect the Priest to be present. Which means the greater part of instruction and preaching will come from non-Ordained, informally-trained (if that) lay ministers. A sudden explosion of Catholic lay preaching seems to move in the opposite direction of where most “trads” seem to want to head.

  35. ocsousn says:

    No one has mentioned the relationship between the readings at Mass and the Divine Office. In both forms the two are intimately related. The introduction of the OF lectionary into the EF would require a massive reworking of the EF Breviary. In the EF the lessons at Matins prepare one for the readings at Mass, often giving a longer version of the epistle in the first nocturn to provide the context, a general reading on the saint or mystery being celebrated in the second nocturn and then commenting on the gospel in the third. The epistle is then spread out verse by verse over the day hours, except for Prime and Compline which are the same every day. The antiphons of the Benedictus and Magnificat are generally taken from the gospel of the day, as well as countless other echoes in the the proper and common antiphons for the psalms, in the responsories and in verses and responses.

    What I would favor is the re-authorization of the interim feral day lectionary in use with the EF in the later half of the 1960’s. This replaced none of the readings of the temporal cycle but gave additional readings in a lectio continua for ferial days throughout the year and chosen to compliment the readings already in the Missal and Breviary. It especially enriched the days of Advent and Christmastide. It fulfilled the mandate of the VII Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy to have a richer selection of scripture without intruding on the EF readings for Sundays and feasts.

    We must also consider the issue of the multiplication of saints’ days to the exclusion of the temporal cycle. It was the norm followed in the reform of Trent carried out by St. Pius V and his immediate successors that the general calendar of the Roman Rite should have approximately an equal number of ferial days and saints’ days, not counting simple commemorations. With the addition of new saints to the general calendar over the last 500 years this has required a periodic pruning (about once a century) of the sanctoral cycle by eliminating some saints and reducing others to commemorations. All of this with the understanding that national hierarchies, dioceses, religious congregations and even parishes would add to the calendars, with the approval of the Holy See saints and blesseds proper to their location. It would be unreasonable for devotees of the EF to oppose the continuation of this evident example of organic development.

  36. robtbrown says:

    ocsousn says:

    No one has mentioned the relationship between the readings at Mass and the Divine Office.

    I mentioned it in the previous iteration of this topic. Further, some time ago I pointed out the relation between the readings at Matins and feast days.

  37. iPadre says:

    I strongly disagree with a reforming the Traditional Roman Rite with elements from the Ordinary Form. The TLM grew over centuries through an organic development, whereas the OF was the work of a room for of scholars in a very short time. The fact that Annibale Bugnini admits to using deceit with both Paul VI and the Concilium only makes the situation worse. I am under the opinion that the two should sit together for a considerable time. And if we wish a true reform as asked for by the Fathers of the 2nd Vatican Council, it should begin with the TLM without the influence from the OF. Start with new saints who have been neglected for the past 50 years, leave the rest to the work of the Holy Spirit after the dust has settled in another 50+ years. All say the dust usually settles 50 years after a Council. It seems we are in the midst of a desert dust storm and forced reform would only make the matter worse.

  38. robtbrown says:

    The problem I have with this topic is that it’s difficult to understand what is meant by OF.

    Does it refer to Latin mass ad orientem according to the Missal of Paul VI? That’s doubtful because of all the masses said, probably <1% would fit this category. Further, the Novus Ordo was said in the vernacular versus populum even before the Latin Novus Ordo Missal was promulgated.

    Does the OF refer to the garden variety parochial mass, with celebrants creating their own rubrics, including sometimes smiling at the congregation? I'm not sure what enrichment could come from that.

    The other point is that the Novus Ordo was constructed to be a parochial mass, not for use in community masses in religious houses.

  39. Arieh says:

    Dr. Kwasniewski wrote an excellent article about 10 years ago for Latin Mass Magazine where he argues that there is huge difference between the verbosity of the new lectionary and the verbal incense offered by the old.

  40. Absit invidia says:

    Good points. And you’re right – let them reside side by side for a significant time – decades and allow the Holy Spirit to weave the fine golden thread of change.

    Modern man had this anxiety complex where the notion that we must change things now and tinker with things to achieve a fast response how the pop culture gets its fulfillment. This would only lead to disappointment and a shoddy product and only REPEAT the errors of our recent past – not resolve them, which is the whole point of reconciling both forms.

  41. Absit invidia says:

    I am still not getting this hasty need to anxiously tinker with the he EFM.

    Wouldn’t jumping in to action without the guidance and without the timeline of the Holy Spirit in consideration only REPEAT the mistakes of the past – not reconcile them?

  42. Imrahil says:

    Dear mburn16,

    it generally is.

    But then we were not here talking about knowing the basics of faith, but exposure to Scripture; it is tolerable if people lack the latter because they do not do things unless forced. Scripture, as it were, is in a manner its own reward; the attribute “the word of God”, which is the proper title of our Lord himself as it were, does not come from nowhere.

    Even though our “managers” (in the sense of sports) complain because we make bad competitors of our Protestant friends in this specific area. One has to set priorities( – and to sit down at first, to quote a popular children’s radioplay series).

    And then, there is after all some Bible in the EF. Also, “sermon standards” used to be more liberal; if, on the Third Sunday of Lent, a pastor thinks it worth while to preach on the Gospel of the preceding Saturday (viz., the Prodigal Son) rather than that of the Sunday (demon leaving a Soul and returning on finding it empty) – because he doesn’t have a Chance to do so on a Sunday (the Lost Sheep and Drachme are on a Sunday, but not the Prodigal Son) – well then he’ll just do so.

  43. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    As a person in his 7th decade as a Catholic, my “Memory and Identity” is rooted in the EF of the Mass.

    And thus my belief in the validity of the OF is buttressed by my full belief in what the EF Mass teaches, especially about the challenging texts included in the Mass until the suppression of the EF when the OF was implemented.

    And symetrically speaking, while my trust in the OF regime is grounded in what is only taught in the EF, I am of the mind that the purposeful exclusions of EF lectionary material is evidence of disbelief by the authors and purveyors of the OF.

    And this disbelief manifest in the OF lectionary exclusions is evidenced by this: if a group triples the size of the lectionary, and then eliminates challenging texts from the EF, then this magnifies the OF disbelief by 300%.

  44. Uxixu says:

    Most important reform of the reform would be to make the GIRM binding on the OF as the rubrics in the Tridentine Missals (from St. Pius V through St. John XXIII were). The options in the OF should not be options at all. EP1 (more specifically the full and complete Roman Canon) should be required on Sundays and Solemnities. EP2 should restricted to ferias and weekdays (though one prays eventually abrogated), etc.

    Separately, ad orientem should be required from at least the Sanctus through the ablutions, though one would hope any time the celebrant is not addressing the people he would face the people. Benedict’s admonishing to require a Benedictine altar arrangement would be useful in requiring a large crucifix on the altar that the priest would focus on regardless of whether he was facing versus populum or the apse. It would also be laudable if Latin were required for the Ordinary unchanging parts of the Mass while vernacular employed only for the Propers. And to encourage Latin proficiency in clerics (to include deacons), the Liturgy of the Hours should be required in Latin after a suitable transition period with the usual ability for dispensations for older priests.

    I’m not convinced that the prayers at the foot should be restored as used in the EF, though they would be perfectly suited for processional prayers (as they were for Sarum) beginning in the sacristy and concluding at the foot of the altar, with a Confiteor.

    The EF itself needs no enrichment though one could posit the seldom exercised clauses from Summorum Pontificum on vernacular readings (which most TLM communities do before the sermon).

  45. Uxixu says:

    oops, should have been: “…any time the celebrant is not addressing the people he would face the ALTAR.”

    I do also correct myself on the enrichment that IS needed by the EF: the restoration of the ancient Holy Week in place of the admitted half measures of the Pius XII, if not the restoration of at least a few octaves. Crucially would be a revision of the callous 1955 reduction of every simplex feast to a Commemoration, which reduced more than a few ancient martyrs below the Ferial. Case by case, martyrs should be raised to III class and certain 16th century Italian Confessors reduced to Commemorations in their stead with the overall goal of reducing the universal calendar, yet allowing their veneration to continue in say… Italy or at the discretion of the local Ordinary for his own calendar.

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