Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hilarious Article from Reuters

In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.
Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations. [These people do not get it, nor do they want to. There is no "ban," just the statement that women cannot be priests. Nothing happened, they're still just ladies]
In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Church - the fate of other women ordained outside of Vatican law.
"It has no sting for me," said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. "It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives."
The ordination of women as priests, along with the issues of married priests and birth control, represents one of the big divides between U.S. Catholics and the Vatican hierarchy. Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year.
The former pope, Benedict XVI, reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings. Male priests have been stripped of their holy orders for participating in ordination ceremonies for women.
In a statement last week, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz called the planned ceremony by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests a "simulated ordination" in opposition to Catholic teaching. 
"The simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate in Saturday's event," Kurtz said.[Thank you, your excellency, for those very well-chosen words]
"Pope" Joan, the controversial, non-existent
eighth century female occupant of the Roman See
The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to allow women to be priests because Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood said Jesus was acting only according to the customs of his time. [Do these people believe Jesus was God? Or that He was some guy bound by temporal Jewish customs?]
They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops.[Don't forget Her Unholiness, Pope Joan!]
The ceremony, held at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville, was attended by about 200 men and women. Many identified themselves to a Reuters reporter as Catholics, but some declined to give their names or their churches.
The modern woman priest movement started in Austria in 2002, when seven women were ordained by the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop. Other women were later ordained as bishops, who went on to ordain more women priests and deacons.
"As a woman priest, Rosemarie is leading, not leaving the Catholic Church, into a new era of inclusivity," said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan during her sermon Saturday. "As the Irish writer James Joyce reminded us, the word 'Catholic' means 'Here comes everybody!'"
Smead had to leave the rigorous Carmelite life due to health reasons, and earned a bachelor's degree in theology and a doctorate in counseling psychology. She taught at Indiana University for 26 years, and works as a couples and family therapist. [So she left listening to God and is now a professional at charging other people to listen to her?]
During the ordination ceremony, Smead wept openly as nearly everyone in the audience came up and laid their hands on her head in blessing. Some whispered, "Thanks for doing this for us."During the communion service, Smead and other woman priests lifted the plates and cups containing the sacramental bread and wine to bless them. [And they were just that, bread and wine]
A woman [Wait for it....] in the audience murmured, [Wait for it....] "Girl, lift those plates. I've been waiting a long time for this."[!!!!]
One of those attending the service was Stewart Pawley, 32, of Louisville, who said he was raised Catholic and now only attends on Christmas and Easter. But he said he would attend services with Smead when she starts to offer them in Louisville. [These submarine Christians, who surface twice a year, supposedly constitute part of Church opinion in research polls.....]
"People like me know it's something the Catholic Church will have to do," said Pawley. [See previous comment](Editing by Tim Gaynor and Mohammad Zargham)

The Father of Lights

 "My beloved: Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration."—James 1:17, Chapter for Fourth Sunday after Pascha

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reasons for the Reform of the Roman Rite Part VI: Centralization

Today's post, the penultimate "reason" before our conclusions, focuses on centralization in the Roman liturgy which followed the Council of Trent and eventually facilitated the reforms of the Roman rite during the papacies of St. Pius X, Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI, as well as the legislation of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Aside from providing a means for the reforms to present themselves to the Church, centralization changed the mindset of the Church of Rome and of her clergy toward the worship of God.

Following the Council of Trent, St. Pius V issued two papal bulls Quod a nobis and Quo primum, promulgating a Divine Office and a Missal which, although not always obligatory, could be used by any priest in the Latin rite of the Church without exception. To the modern reader this hardly seems shocking. The revised English translation of the new rite of Mass came at Rome's behest, the diocesan bishops, at least in the United States, liked the old translation, even the erroneous "for all" in the consecration of the chalice. We can easily lose sight of how drastic a change this was.

Paschal Mass in the Lyonese rite, some very different texts
from Rome's Resurrexi.
From the earliest days of Christianity in the West, the liturgy developed at a local level and took on the characteristics of both the people who celebrated it and of the rites of major churches within the same area. In Europe, the city of the Rome was the most influential church "in the same area." I suspect this is what so many modern day commentators mean when they discuss "organic" development. Charlemagne accelerated a process already underway, whereby bishops would seek to emulate the liturgy as it was practiced in the city of Rome. This meant following the Latin language, the basic structure of the Mass, the schedule of the hours of the Divine Office, the structure of the Office, loosely the arrangement of the psalms, and many of the prayers. Yet no one diocese had the same exact rite as another. Indeed, within the city of Rome the Divine Office varied by church. In some cathedrals each priest might say a slightly different private Mass in his chapel. Yet, any observer of a Mass in Cluny, St. John Lateran, or the Cathedral of Canterbury would recognize that the same ritual, spirituality, faith, and objectives were being followed. The late Laszlo Dobszay, whose work I find myself constantly recommending, notes that the neo-Gallican graduals are almost all the same text as in the "Tridentine" Roman rite, although this did not come to pass by legislation. Rites gradually converged as ideas and rites spread, but the Roman Canon and the Roman structure remained the barometers of liturgical order.

These rites could vary in their texts and their ceremonies, imbuing the liturgy with a very personal character. There existed in these local churches numerous abuses condemned by the 22nd session of the Council of Trent, and rightly so. Votive Requiem Masses have no place on Sundays or on great feasts. Priests should not charge stipends for missis siccis. Pius V, Pope immediately after Trent, determined to correct any potential abuses or defects in priestly life or in religious practice by imposing a streamlined version of the Roman Curia's liturgy on the Latin Church at large. He did so at the behest of the Council of Trent, but eventually promulgated the rites under Papal authority. One correspondent of mine observed that Quod a nobis, the 1568 bull concerning the Divine Office, is brimming with "aggression and conquest." He might have been right.

The immediate effects of Pius V's actions were two-fold:
  1. The bottom-up problem: local rites, unless they were more than two hundred years old, died immediately and could no longer contribute to the development of the liturgy in the Church. Even some older rites did not last. Rome attempted for centuries after Trent to suppress the local usages of France, particularly the Parisian rite. Anyone interested can find at least one edition of the Missale Parisiense on Google Books. The rites of Braga, Lyons, and Milan were similarly targeted, but managed to survive until the Second Vatican Council.
  2. The top-down problem: the Roman liturgy becomes a product under corporate management and subject to quality tests.
First, the bottom-up issue. The suppression or de facto extinction of local usages and variations of the Roman rite was not immediately troublesome, but blurred the character of local churches—and each church is a unique Christian community—and removed their own expression of belief. Aside from the personal investment people had in worshiping as their fathers had, people had grown accustomed to singing hymns to particular chants and in local tones, to distinct ceremonies and rituals—especially during Holy Week, and the liturgy of the cathedrals revolved around these communal celebrations, led by the bishop and his convened chapter. All of this either vanished or became a tolerated exception under the bulls of 1568 and 1570.

Local uses of Rome disappeared almost immediately, although a few oddities, like the Lateran Cathedral's refusal to sing Dona nobis pacem for the third invocation in the Agnus Dei remained. Why does this matter? Roman churches each celebrated the liturgy somewhat differently. Hymns and chants are great examples as to how. Local churches would often repeat the same hymn from day to day, or from feast to feast, and utilize simple melodies so that the ignorant could sing along and memorize these chants through repetition. The uses of the Carmelites, Dominicans, and Carthusians better preserve this principle than the rite of 1570.

Ecce lignum crucis....
While considering this point, we ought to meditate on the 1570 Missale Romanum. The 1570 Missal and 1568 Office are trimmed down versions of the same books used in the Roman Curia a century earlier. The Henry Bradshaw Society reprinted the 1474 Missale Romanum a few years ago, should any of you wish to purchase a copy. St. Pius V specified some rubrics, explicitly added the Last Gospel (formerly said in procession rather than at the altar), deleted Gallican prefaces and sequences, slashed a few feasts (including of Ss. Joachim and Ann), and adjusted other points in the Office which elude me. The reformers of the post-Tridentine period purported that this Missal represented the liturgy of the time of St. Gregory VII. It may well have been the liturgy as it was practiced by the Papal Court in the eleventh century, in fact it was probably very close, but no closer than any of the other local usages to the essence of the Roman rite as a liturgy diffused throughout Europe.

Here comes a secondary negative effect. The Missal of the Roman Curia was made for small scale, simple, timely celebrations by bureaucrats who had other work to do. The Pope, until 1964, had his own rite of Mass very befitting the dignity of his office. The Curia, on the other hand, was a body of priests and cardinals, who operated in chapels rather than large churches, who did so in the presence of similarly educated people, aided by professional singers, and who wished to make these rites as succinct as possible. These rites were consequently very simple in ceremony and sometimes stark in text compared to the larger Roman liturgy spread throughout Europe.

For example: on Good Friday in the 1474-1955 Roman Missals, the deacon gives the priest a veiled crucifix, who exposes it in three moments, lays it on a pillow, and the choir sings the "reproaches" (Trisagion, Pange lingua etc) while those present adore it. In the Norman and neo-Gallican rites we see more clearly the function of the reproaches. The deacon brings the veiled crucifix through the church, or more likely, cathedral, whilst the choir sings the Trisagion: Agios o Theos! Agios ischyros! Agios athanatos, eleison imas! At the altar, the priest would then do the three familiar un-veilings and lay the crucifix down for adoration, during which the choir would sing Pange lingua and the subdeacon would "comment" by singing antiphons between the verses, antiphons which described Christ. Clearly, the Roman liturgy on Good Friday was a simplification made to suit a particular brand of practitioner.

Now we come to the second effect of this post-Tridentine centralization, the "brand" of the Roman liturgy.

Palm Sunday according to the rite of Braga, but actually in Rhode Island.
We have made the case that prior to Trent local dioceses based their liturgy around what Rome generally did and use Rome as an enduring standard. Now Rome did not nurture the liturgy, but actually imposed it from afar. Liturgy was something given to the clergy of the Roman rite, even if they were originally of another rite or use, by Papal decree. The Sacred Congregation for Rites, erected in 1588 by Sixtus V, managed the Roman liturgical books on the Pope's behalf, except when the Pope felt inclined to intervene, for instance when Urban VIII published his new and improved hymns.

The Roman Church became like McDonalds. The Pope was CEO, the cardinals formed a board of directors—each with his own congregation or department, bishops were the franchisees, and priests were restaurant managers who had to sell their product to the faithful customers. The product, the liturgy, must meet a given standard. Falling short of or exceeding the standard are not options.

This analogy is facetious, but contains some truth. Priests had to do whatever was in the books imposed by the Pope, no more, no less. If he celebrated, or said, Mass and recited the Office as instructed then he was, on one count, meeting expectations.

During the centuries after Trent no one paid too much attention to the liturgy outside of the cathedrals and monasteries. Theology, doctrine, devotion, and art dominated the Counter-Reformation and baroque epochs. Few seem to have bothered to adopt local customs, music, or ceremonial to the Roman liturgy, perhaps due to the phenomena examined in our posts on low Mass culture and Devotionalism. Local expression, even in a highly centralized liturgical setting, is not impossible. The Church of Antioch, after having the liturgy of Constantinople forced upon it, rejected ceremonies pertaining to the Byzantine court and continued to administer Holy Communion without the spoon. Not until the 19th century did clergy think about the liturgy, but by then popular perceptions of what constituted or created the liturgy had changed.

Most clergy accepted the 1911, 1955, and 1960 liturgical reforms without batting an eyelash. The right authorities promulgated these changes. Consideration of the merits of these changes was frivolous, perhaps even disobedient. Divino afflatu uses similar language to that of Pius V's decrees centuries earlier. When the more visible changes came through in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, and finally the new rite of Mass in 1969 and new Office in 1975, priests and bishops were expected to accept any changes because they came from Rome. Cardinal Ottaviani, who in his private "intervention" with Pope Paul VI wrote that the proposed new rite was a "striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent," eventually learned to accept the new rite in spite of his intuition. Ditto for Cardinals Bacci and Siri.

The legal authority Rome found itself possessing after Trent made a drastic overhaul somewhat inevitable. No longer were the Latin rites guarded by tradition, but they were given by a congregation in central Italy. This meant that whoever controlled that office or whoever had the Pope's ear could essentially have his way with the liturgy of western Christendom. It was only time before a large number of people from the Liturgical Movement found themselves in that position. Moreover, Rome no longer guards the liturgy. Rome is neither the aggressor nor the victim in the war over the liturgy. Rome is the battlefield.

This last point represents a problem for the "brick by brick" crowd, as they often rely on exercising the most conservative legal options when celebrating the Mass of Paul VI. What is the point of celebrating the Mass of Paul VI ad orientem and in Latin if one has to give Holy Communion in the hand? An Oratorian high Mass and an American suburban low Mass both follow the prescribed rules.

Rome must also find this phenomenon problematic. Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum stated that the Missal of John XXIII was never "abrogated." It may never have been explicitly suppressed, but after Inter oecumenici in 1964 priests could not have expected to be able to follow 1962. If 1962 is legal, are not 1967 and 1920?—two very different Missals. As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the previous Pope wrote many commentaries on "organic" liturgy. He even sat on a commission with Cardinals Hoyos and Stickler which found the old rite perfectly legal for use. Question: which Missal was found legal for use? The 1962 rite? The "Tridentine" Mass? The "Mass of St. Pius V?" The "old rite?" Indeed, the choice of 1962 is now commonly acknowledged to be that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, not of the Vatican. Still, why pick a year? I personally think Benedict XVI was aware the rites of Paul VI represented a departure from the established tradition of the Roman rite and wished to find some way of stating that the Church would never suppress her tradition, that its use was always legitimate. 1962 was the year most commonly used by "traditionalists," so that is the rite he declared was never "abrogated."

Perhaps the saddest consequence of this legalism and liturgical centralization is that decline of people's view of Rome as the spiritual center of the Church and of the Pope as the spiritual father. The Pope is just the man who makes the rules and the Vatican processes them. If in the early 13th century, I asked a priest in Canterbury Cathedral if Pope Innocent III had the power to depose King John, the priest would probably at least entertain the question: political power comes from God and the Pope is His vicar on earth. If I asked him if the same Pope could dictate every word and action of the Mass he just celebrated, the same priest would think me mad. Yet, I wager the same priest would not dare to change a punctuation mark in the Roman Canon, much less write a series of new anaphoras.

Thus ends my proposed list of causes of the reform of the Roman liturgy. In our next post, the last in this series, we will give a brief summation of what we have found, make a few conclusions, and, since I prefer to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, present some ideas for the future.

God bless.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Interesting Article on Old Holy Week

Many readers have viewed our page of images explaining the traditional Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday and the old Vesperal Mass of Holy Saturday. Interest in the older rites, which pre-date the 1962 liturgy, is clearly on the rise in the Roman rite of the Church.

Good Friday sepulchre in Jerusalem
It behooves us to be aware of the history of these rites and their continued usage beyond 1956. After the introduction of the Pauline rites in 1969, 1970, and 1975, many clergy at or near retirement age switched back to the old Mass and, even though they technically old had permission to use the 1967 rites, used those rites practiced before the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, when the modern liturgical reform gained steam. Anyone who remembers the early days of the Institute of Christ the King or the Society of St. Pius X recalls that they normally used the traditional Holy Week, too. I would not be surprised if some local clergy even continued using the old Holy Week, confident the Pian books were a passing fad. Pope John XXIII celebrated the old Good Friday at least once, in 1959, and ordered certain traditional practices, like the hymn Vexilla Regis, to introduced into the Pian Holy Week. It begs the question: was John XXIII even using the Pian rites as Patriarch of Venice?

But there is one church in Latin Christendom that observed the old Holy Week until the 1990s without interruption: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (or of the Resurrection, if you prefer) in Jerusalem. I came across a news article from 1998 detailing the first practice of the new Holy Week rites, with photographs. The majority of the article details the new rites, neither describing nor depicting the old, yet there is an explanation of why the old praxis continued. Apparently internal bickering with the other residents of the Church, the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian Oriental Orthodox, prevented the implementation of the reforms. An indult to continue the old practice was granted and a commission to install the new ceremonies did not form until 1986! The actual new rites were not observed until the next decade when, in 1997, the old rites were celebrated for the last time. You can read the article here.

The difficulty in effecting the change does not surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone appraised of the disputes that transpire in Christendom's most sacred site. Franciscans ran the Church during and after the Crusades, only to cede most of it back to Eastern Churches who, when they do not dispute with the Latins, dispute with each other. The Greeks and Armenians typically have one big brawl a year, normally utilizing the most noxious of ancient weapons: the broom. The Immovable Ladder summarizes the past and current state of affairs.

I would be interested in knowing how the old rites were practiced after the last changes legislated by Paul VI, namely the new Mass and Office. Did they hold the new Easter Vigil at 9am? Did they read all the texts and perform all the ceremonies in the old order, with the new Mass at the end?—and with the Pauline Vespers? Was it the "Tridentine" arrangement outright? Fascinating for liturgical history buffs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reasons for the Reform of the Roman Rite Part V: The Liturgical Movement

Dom Prosper Guéranger, founder of Solesmes and of
the Liturgical Movement

Today's topic is the most loaded and hence the most difficult for us to explore with confidence, but I feel up to giving a concise account of the Liturgical Movement's origin, its phases, and its eventual diffusion in the 1950s and 1960s.

Pius VII, bored by Napoleon's self-coronation.
The artist forgot the fanon.
The origins of the Liturgical Movement are usually traced to the diocesan priest-turned-monk Dom Prosper Guéranger, who founded the monastery of Solesmes. The four major contributions of Solesmes to what would be called the future of the Roman rite and the Liturgical Movement are:
  1. A new interest in liturgical scholarship
  2. An interest in the complete liturgy, as opposed to the simple Mass, including the Office and various ceremonies as it existed in the Middle Ages
  3. A restoration of the more ancient, pre-high Middle Ages, notation for plainsong
  4. And the suppression of the local rites of France.
The Movement in its nascence sounds very "right wing," especially in regard to the last point. Dom Guéranger's ultramontanism involved a compulsion to imitate all things Roman, not merely to accept doctrinal decisions from the Papal Chair. His Roman zeal led to the suppression of many local, "neo-Gallican" rites which Pius VII recognized as legitimate after his treaty with Napoleon, although these local rites were more often just usages, the Roman Mass and Office with variations in the psalm arrangements, propers of the Mass, and orations. Indeed just a few centuries earlier Bishop Pierre de Gondy of Paris was confronted by his cathedral canons' refusal to adopt the Roman Office, preferring their own liturgy. Solesmes' early efforts resulted in centralization and ultramontanism throughout the newly formed branch monasteries, but these features would not endure. Indeed, one under-appreciate result of Solesmes' effort to restore monasticism is that it created a network through which many would be able to undermine liturgical orthopraxis and spread their ideas.

The first phase of the Liturgical Movement had two distinct trends: (1) an effort to renew liturgical practice in the Latin Church through the use of the Roman rite and by the exercise of the Papal Office and (2) a trend among monastic and diocesan clergy to ignore all things Roman and to implement a curious mix of an imagined liturgical past with perceived pastoral needs of modern man. The latter led to many members of the early Liturgical Movement to be considered doctrinally suspect, even if this was not always the case.

St. Pius X celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination
at a Papal Mass in the Sistine Chapel.
I have mentioned Fr. Antonio Rosmini before and will mention him again, as his life and works, condemned by the Holy Office after his death until his beatification by John Paul II last decade, reflect the fundamental issues which the Liturgical Movement confronted. Renewed interest in patristic and liturgical scholarship, often perceived by Rome as an effrontery to scholastic theology, coincided with a growing frustration with the "low Mass culture" mentioned in Part II of our series. The first chapter of Rosmini's Five Wounds laments the insufficiency of formulae and rites, good things in themselves, in teaching the laity, suggesting that instruction might be preferable—and even notes the suitability of the Latin language to this purpose. Still, Rosmini notes a separation between people and clergy in liturgical rites (Ch1. XX) which undermines the celebration of the Divine Mysteries. At the end of the first chapter, the priest concludes that solutions can only be achieved by the clergy, thus the Liturgical Movement, popular among the priests and a mystery to the laity, came to one form of expression.

The more centralized approach contrasted sharply with the previous approach, which often demanded more simplified rites and popularly accessible ceremonies. The centralized outlook, which only lasted until World War I, was most potent during the papacy of St. Pius X. Papa Sarto favored a return to ritual, particularly in musical form, but also seemed to believe that such a return was most possible through simplification. In his first motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, Pius affirmed the primacy of Gregorian chant, condemned the use of female voices and vulgar instruments in liturgical music, and emphasized the importance of frequent Confession and Communion. The last of these resulted in the curious practice of un-Confirmed persons communicating at Mass, something Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches find most puzzling.

The centralized approach found its strongest expression in the re-organization of the Divine Office, promulgated by the bull Divino Afflatu in 1911. Not only did the changes to the psalms, antiphons, and hymns radically alter the Office, but the reforms set a precedent, that the right authority had the right to sweep away tradition with the swipe of a pen. I wish the Pope took St. Pius V and Benedict XIV's approach by reducing the number of Double feasts, but instead the Pontiff removed and explicitly banned the use of the old psalter. The Liturgical Movement's left side eventually came to agree with the right side on one critical point: the highest authority can do whatever he wishes with the liturgy.

Benedict XV, a curial diplomat before his elevation to the Archbishopric of Bologna, was not a very liturgically-minded man and issued a missal in 1920 which followed his predecessor's changes, but did not go much further.
Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J.

Around this time the first phase of the Liturgical Movement, comprised by parish priests and monks, died and gave way to a new phase of the Movement, which engulfed the major religious orders and occasionally merged with the variety of questionable opinions called "Modernism."

The Jesuits were among the chief players in the new phase of the Movement. Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, something of a pantheist, used the internal connectivity of the Society of Jesus to circulate his heresies after Rome prohibited him from publishing work for popular consumption. Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J. followed the same vein, albeit in a less radical stance. The Order of Preachers experienced similar problems. At the heart of the heterodoxies circulating in the religious orders in the post-World War I phase of the Movement were an openness to non-Catholic and non-Christian ideas and a desire to adjust liturgy and theology to meet the needs of a Europe quickly losing its observance of faith.

Conterminous with the theological trends of the orders was a new interest in liturgical scholarship and history. The Jesuit Fr. Josef Jungmann's history of the Roman liturgy ranks among the most influential works of the Liturgical Movement. More important than Jungmann's scholarship was his place among other would-be reformers of the Roman rite. In his Work of Human Hands Fr. Anthony Cekada spends some time highlighting a convention Jungmann held at Banz Abbey in 1948. At the conference Jungmann advocated for the use of vernacular, use of a presider's chair for the first half of Mass, the abolition of the old offertory prayers, a reform of the Canon, an increase of readings, and a reduction of ceremonial. While these suggestions demonstrate some concurrence with the earlier phase of the Liturgical Movement and the influence of the theology of Rahner and his ilk, one must ask: do these changes really address the causes of the poor state of the liturgy that followed the Council of Trent? After having the new rites, the outcome of these propositions, in place for several decades I am persuaded to answer in the negative.

Fr. Jungmann served as a consultant to a newly formed commission to study the question of reform of the Roman rite. The original intentions of that committee are unknown, but the man who created it, Pope Pius XII, must have had some intentions beyond changing the time of the Holy Saturday liturgy. Here Jungmann came to know Msgr. Anniable Bugnini, the object of much controversy, and Fr. Ferdinando Antonelli O.F.M. These men would influence, and indeed write, a new series of rites for Holy Week, begun in 1951 and accomplished in 1956. The controversy around the new rites of Holy Week have become well known in recent years, so I will not consider them here. Additional changes involved a simplification of the calendar, the compression of semi-double feasts into simples, a reduction of patristic texts in the Office, a reduction of the priest's role in the first half of Mass, the suppression of the Vigil of Pentecost, and other changes less obvious to the average person in the pew. These alterations to the Roman liturgy in the 1950s became the basis for the greater changes of the 1960s. Some deny this, but some honest commentators who favor the changed, like Fr. Robert Taft, S.J., openly correlate the two series of reforms.

Here we see the most important difference between the first and second phases of the Liturgical Movement. The "right wing" of the first stage was ultramontane and the "left wing" was a disorganized band of of priests, monks, and scholars who paid little attention to Rome. The new phase of the Liturgical Movement learned something from the "right wing" of the first phase: he who holds power can institute whatever changes he wishes. The 1951-1960 changes to the Mass and Office were followed by Msgr. Bugnini's authorship of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council's document on the liturgy.

The liturgical constitution is remarkable for its vagueness, demanding introduction of the vernacular and the retention of Latin, an increase in scriptural readings, and other obscure statements such as the affirmation of Gregorian chant's place of "honor." Bishops by this time must have become aware of the poor state of the liturgy, but were perhaps suspicious of people like Jungmann and his cohorts. The vagueness of this document placated their concerns: whereas the affirmation of Gregorian chant meant to most gathered a return to a form of Church music mostly suppressed by the low Mass culture, to the reformers it meant that chant was one of many kinds of music acceptable in the liturgy.
Msgr. Annibale Bugnini years after Vatican II
as an archbishop.

Thinkers from other religious organizations, such as the Oratorian Fr. Louis Boyer and the Benedictine monk Fr. Vagaggini—who did great violence to the Roman Canon, joined the institutional presence of the Liturgical Movement at the Council. Pope Paul VI, himself something of an enthusiast for reform, appointed Msgr. Bugnini and many others to a commission called the Consilium, which would be responsible for eventuating the instructions of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This commission, which acted with greater authority than even the Sacred Congregation for Rites, issued changes to the existing form of Mass in 1964 with Inter oecumenici and in 1967 with Tres abhinc annos. Both sets of changes claimed to be restorations of the ancient practice, even though the changes were actually very dubious in their historical foundations.

Without drawing too much on a matter that could fill several books, the changes purported to be a return to a better liturgical past. The most famous instance of this antiquarianism is Eucharistic Prayer II in the Pauline Mass, fashioned after the Canon described by St. Hippolytus—who may have only been recounting the structure and intention of the Canon of ancient days and not its literal content. Another trait was the removal of anything medieval and the selective partial restoration of anything that was presumably ancient.

The document Sacrosanctum Concilium may have less reflected the active will of the Second Vatican Council than it reflected the will of the reformers from the Liturgical Movement who learned that they needed legal and institutional precedent to justify their changes.

Our purpose in this post is not to consider the antiquarianism, theological views, and personalities of the Liturgical Movement. Our purpose is to consider the Movement's roots, its development and institutional expression, its transition into a mainly "left" wing trend in the Church, and how it came to be the agent of the reform of the Roman Rite. I hope we have accomplished as much. I welcome critiques and further information below!

Next: centralization!
"Centralization grows and goes madder every century."—Fr. Adrian Fortescue writing to Fr. H. Thurston SJ, November 5th, 1910

Post script: I am aware Fr. Anthony Cekada is a sedevacantist and while I do not share his view on the occupancy of the Petrine Chair or of Eastern theology, I see no reason to dismiss the honest history described in his Work of Human Hands, which has been warmly received by canonically regular clergy like Dom Alcuin Reid and Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth of ICEL.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Suggested Reading

My next post in our series on the Reasons for the Reform of the Roman Rite is immanent, worry not. In the meantime I thought I would meet some readers' request for reading suggestions in matters pertaining to the liturgical reform. All but the last two may be read or downloaded online for free:
  • The "Restored" Holy Week by Msgr. Léon Gromier: a well-grounded critique of the Holy Week reforms by Pope Pius XII in 1956. This is not actually an essay, but a translation into English of a conference given in French in 1960, so it will read awkwardly at times—although not due to Fr. Chadwick's translation work.
  • An Introduction to the Reform of the Roman Breviary 1911-1913 by Mr. Paul Cavendish : this article presents a very detailed summary of how the Roman rite breviary worked before the pontificate of St. Pius X, as well as the problems presented by the inflation of Double-ranked feasts, which I only briefly touched here. The numerous tables compare the old Office with the monastic Office, the suffrages (which I particularly miss), the various ranks and commons used, the votive offices of the Dead and of our Lady, and other rubrical issues. Few realize how deep the reform went. The article refrains from making a strong opinion and functions mostly as an instruction.
  • The Proto-History of the Roman Liturgical Reform by Dr. Geoffrey Hull: a compelling, succinct case that Western European trends such as Jansenism and Ultramontanism influenced the reform of the Roman liturgy far more than Protestantism, which many in the English-speaking world assume.
  • The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform by Mr. Laszlo Dobszay: detailed analysis of the new rites in depth, going deep into the Office and the propers of the Mass. Whereas most analysis tends to focus on the ordinary of the new and old Masses, this 218 page book considers the Office, the arrangement of the psalms, the Office structure, and the use of music during the Mass. His fears of contrasting high and low church culture are prescient. Well worth the read. Download the pdf and save it. One can read the chapters separately rather than sequentially.
  • Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church by Fr. Antonio Rosmini: an early call for liturgical reform, but without many specific calls as to where or how. A tremendous influence in the early days of the Liturgical Movement.
  • The Mass of the Roman Rite by Fr. Joseph Jungmann, S.J.: went through several editions before the Second Vatican Council started. The writer, the main intellectual force in the later days of the Liturgical Movement, influenced the criticism of the traditional rites and the creation of the Pauline rites more than is commonly realized. Many of those on the Consilium were his intellectual progeny.
  • Shape of the Liturgy by Gregory Dix: best, most holistic liturgical history written available in English. Considers all the rites, in their history, their changes, their character, and their continued usage. Dix clearly favored some sort of renewal, but does not step into the spotlight and state his mind on the matter. This book is marvelous, but does have a few amusing internal inconsistencies: for example he laments the disappearance of far Eastern rites, about which we know virtually nothing, and condemns those who put two candles on the altar at Mass rather than six as antiquarians.

The Roman Rite in Transition

Consistory of 1965
Many have come to believe either than Vatican II changed the Roman Mass in a particular instant, in say 1965, or that Pope Paul VI's rite was imposed upon a liturgically pristine Church in 1969. This was not quite the case, although the changes most visible and dramatic to the laity did occur between 1964 and 1969.

Here are some photographs of the Roman rite in Transition.

The one immediately to the right shows the consistory of 1965, at which Paul VI created new cardinals for the Roman Church. The legendary Enrico Dante, the long time Master of Ceremonies for the Papal Court, was among those elevated. Readers will notice the odd practice of wearing a biretta with Mass vestments, something prelates typically only did at low Masses. The design of the vestments is stunningly bad, as though someone ripped the fabric from a 1950s American living room sofa, cut it in a conical shape, and draped it over the nearest priest. Still, the maniple survived through 1965 as an optional vestment. These designs had become popular in the United States and central Europe after World War I, but not throughout the entire Roman rite until Paul VI began using them after his election to the Petrine Chair. Why are they wearing Mass vestments? Surely there was no concelebration, outside of ordination ceremonies, before 1969! Oh yes there was!

This photograph is from a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in May of 1969. The instructions given at the time demanded concelebration only involve a reasonable number of clergy, those who could fit around the altar. Paul VI expanded the altar and added a platform over St. Peter's tomb (still there) and conjoined a symmetrical table to the original. This is Mass according to a somewhat revised version of the Tridentine ordinary of the Mass. The new rite did not "kick in" until Advent that year. For a while each concelebrant got his own bread and chalice of wine to consecrate. By 1969 the rules reduced the number down to only what was in front of the main celebrant.

credit: St Bede Studio

Some [very] daring priests even began to celebrate Mass facing the people, which required a relocation of the tabernacle. This was popular in some circles in post-World War I Europe and in post-World War II America, particularly on the east coast. Service time as chaplains during the war and the influence of Collegeville, Minnesota doubtlessly formed the tendencies of American clergy. Perhaps most startling is this: priests need permission and funding approval from their bishops to remodel their parishes. "Wreckovations" were more popular before 1969 than most think, and they were executed with episcopal approval.

Latin School in Indianapolis, 1965. Versus populum was common but not explicitly legal
at this point.
From Gerald Ellard's Mass of the Future, published in 1948

This one is particularly odd:

From St. Helen's in Minneapolis, Minnesota. See the "bread box" styled
tabernacle on the side? I think article 315 of the GIRM is an improvement over this...

More interesting:
A Mass celebrated by Archbishop Howard of Portland, Oregon in 1947.
Another in the same vein:

Archbishop O'Hara of Kansas City celebrated the Feast of Christ the King in 1954.

An "offertory procession" of the President and First Lady of the Philippines in 1965.
One can easily find similar images from New York City in the 1940s.

These practices did not appear out of thin air in 1969, or even in 1965. They had been on-going in many communities for decades by the time the Second Vatican Council and Paul VI popularized them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Doctor on Trial for Disgusting Abortions

Dr Kermit Gosnell
Dr Kermit Gosnell is being tried to murder after aborting several babies after delivering them. Needless to say, the American press, unwilling to publicize anything concerning abortion that does not fall under "women's rights," is generally ignoring the indictment of a man whose practice would not have passed very basic health inspections. The man induced labor so he could execute the children. Under law, it is only a "late term" abortion if the child is not out of the womb. Seven got out and did not make it far from his cold, cruel scissors.

This begs the question, which our press wish to avoid: why is it any more moral to decapitate a child and vacuum his body away within the womb than without? Read more here and here, if you can take it.

Real Liturgy As Seen Through Sarum

The above clip is the offertory of Fr. Sean Finnegan's 1997 celebration of Candlemas according to the Sarum use in Merton College Chapel, a variation of the Roman rite unique to the city of Salisbury and which English clergy widely celebrated until the reign of Henry VIII.

Here we see many variations of the very simple Roman Mass that I cannot help but think improve, but not over-ornament, the quality of the celebration. First one will note that the offertory prayers are startling short compared to the Roman missal's. This is because the host and chalice are offered in one prayer, as is the case in many monastic and local rites still celebrated in the right places to this day, but also because the chalice has already been prepared. The medieval Latin rite had both a flair for liturgical drama and a singular focus on the sacrificial nature of the Mass. A spirit of anticipation led many local and monastic clergy to prepare the chalice with water and wine during the gradual (at high Mass) or before the prayers at the foot of the altar (low Mass). One contribution of this feature is that the Mass becomes a complete, unified action, one visible to those gathered.

Near the camera we see "rulers of choir," something allowed but extinct in the Roman rite outside of Lauds and Vespers. There are three here, but there would have been an even number, with equal numbers on each side of the lectern. These men, who I imagine during older times were priests, "ruled" the choir by intoning various chants or by acting as cantors during the propers of the Mass. The wearing of vestments accentuates the role of the musician as a liturgical actor.

One sees three people wearing diaconal vestments rather than two. The acolyte was not the candle-guy in the Sarum rite. He was a minister of the Mass, just below the subdeacon in rank. The subdeacon held and sang texts and assisted the priest at the altar in these northern European rites. The acolyte, who in the Middle Ages would be apprenticing for the priesthood (remember, no seminaries until Trent), handled sacred vessels and held the paten under the veil during the Canon of the Mass. There is no strong delineation between "major" and "minor" orders in this sort of liturgy as there was in the Roman rite after Trent. I sense the subdeacon absorbed the duties of the acolyte in the Roman rite, giving us the practice of the subdeacon holding the paten today. Vatican II decided the subdeacon was not a major minister after all and Paul VI, in 1972, abolished the order of subdeacon altogether. Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches never held the subdeacon to be a member of major orders, which is why laymen may "vest" as subdeacon during pontifical Divine Liturgies.

Those incensed kiss a book of the Gospels (the Sarum missal just says the "text"). I will go out on the proverbially edge and guess that this is an influence from pontifical Mass which has insinuated the regular sacerdotal Mass. No problem with that. If this was somehow a corruption then we ought to remove the Gloria from non-Papal Masses.

Lastly, I would like to offer a few remarks on the motet of the offertory, John Sheppard's Gaude, Gaude, Gaude Maria Virgo, to my mind one of the most under-appreciated polyphonic pieces ever composed. I generally favor chant over polyphony. I find chant more "charismatic" (I mean that in a traditional sense) and I find most polyphony absolutely flat and vapid. Good polyphony reflects our journey to heaven, slowly starting on the ground and gradually rising up to heaven, with a few drops along the way. Once above, it becomes sublime. This piece does that. Its arrangement does not eschew plainsong either, permitting a line of chant betwixt each verse, before starting again at the bottom and rising upward.

Sadly, this was the last celebration of the Sarum use in Oxford. Oddly, Archbishop Conti celebrated the Sarum Mass in Aberdeen, Scotland (where it was never said before the Reformation) in 2000. There have been no Catholic celebrations of it since. I have heard rumors that the Russian Orthodox Church has installed an altered version as part of their Western Orthodoxy program, but I cannot comment on this practice, as I am unfamiliar with it.

The end of these Sarum celebrations is an awkward story. Apparently someone denounced the celebrations to the Archbishop of Birmingham—who did not care, as he had approved the Mass before hand—then to Cardinal Hume of Westminster. Unable to get any traction, this fellow wrote to Rome. Fr. Jerome Bertram, a fellow Oratorian with Fr. Finnegan and the preacher of the sermon for the celebration above, recounts that Rome assumed the Oxford group formed to organize this Mass, the "St. Osmund Society," was a British version of the "Society of St. Pius X" and immediately asked for the Masses to desist. Fr. Bertram recounts that the short-lived group is remembered by its former members as the "Donny Osmund Society."

Hirmos of Pascha

"The angel cried out to the one who is full of grace: 'Hail, O Immaculate Virgin! Hail again! For your Son is risen from the tomb on the third day!' Shine! Shine, O New Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has shown upon you. Rejoice and be glad, O Sion, and you O Pure One, O Mother of God, exalt in the resurrection of your Son."
The Hirmos, sung after the consecration in the Byzantine rite from Pascha until Pentecost, is rendered above. The second line refers to our Lady as the "New Jerusalem." What could this mean?

Jerusalem was the sight of God's covenant with the people of Israel and the location of His temple. Many a historian have remarked that Jerusalem was not a city with a temple, but rather a large temple surrounded by a city. The Jews worshiped within the outer walls of this temple regularly, but only on the Day of Atonement did the appointed priest enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of sacrificed animals in reparation for the sins of the people of that city. Of course there was no true remission of sins until Christ's death on the Cross, yet we see typology of the forgiveness of sins within the walls of God's dwelling place.

The Virgin Mary's unique role in the process of our salvation is that she provided a place for this final remission of sins to commence. Within her bounds dwelt God in a way far more vivid than He did for the inhabitants of Jerusalem in 900 B.C. In this dwelling of God the remission of sins was no longer a petition but an eventual reality.

Typology aside, this has consequences for us. The temple and urban inhabitants comprised the city of Jerusalem. Our Lord would correspond to the Holy of Holies, the dwelling of God in His covenant with men, so who parallels the people of the holy city? We do. The Church fulfills this ancient type of God's "chosen people." From the Cross our Lord gave mankind to His Mother as her child and asked mankind to honor His Mother as his own (John 19:26-27). From this imparting of man to Mary inestimable devotion and theology arose, yet we can also apply this Johannine passage to the Paschal Hirmos. Mary, as the "New Jerusalem " is both the location of our habitat and God's dwelling place. Far from alienating our Lady from the human race, Christ's imparting of her to us solidifies His presence among us through her. She is a marker for the unity of the Church of Christ.

This is just a private reflection and one that I do not think conflicts with any great theological tradition, East or West. I wrote this modest passage to make a plain illustration of how doctrine and theology can spring from the germination of liturgy, in which we express and profess our belief to God. Liturgical prayer preserves statements of faith during times when those formulae might fall into disuse, and also builds upon other existing conceptions of faith. Above all the liturgies of the Church provide the basis for how we as human beings speak to God in heaven. If He grants us His graces then we should assume He is pleased with what we have said to Him.

A blessed Easter season to all!

Scenes from a Byzantine Pascha

The Church after Hajmeh, Mattins, Lauds, and the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection
The Epitaphios, a Byzantine equivalent to the Sepulcher
Another view. Our modest parish is growing and hopes to add some more iconography behind
the iconostasis soon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reasons for the Reform of the Roman Rite Part IV: Separation of Liturgy and Doctrine

"This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "deposit of faith" committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn.[53] For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls' salvation."—Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei 64.
"Thus, for example, as Catholic doctrine on the Incarnate Word of God, the Eucharistic sacrament and sacrifice, and Mary the Virgin Mother of God came to be determined with greater certitude and clarity, new ritual forms were introduced through which the acts of the liturgy proceeded to reproduce this brighter light issuing from the decrees of the teaching authority of the Church, and to reflect it, in a sense so that it might reach the minds and hearts of Christ's people more readily.—Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei 52."

The above epigraphs are excerpts from Pope Pius XII's 1947 encyclical letter Mediator Dei, written in reaction to the post-War resurgence of the Liturgical Movement. The encyclical, which along with Quo Primum is most quoted and favored by traditionalists, lays down three important points concerning the liturgy:
  1. The liturgy is the practice of the Sacraments given to the Church by our Lord, and which have developed in their expression over the years. Their standing form constitutes a vital part of the Catholic tradition, which is, or was, susceptible to the subtle threat of "antiquarianism" and the "widespread revival of scholarly interest in sacred liturgy" as it existed in more ancient times. This "widespread revival" endangers the liturgy, as members of this movement attempt to return to ancient practices which fell into disuse and which may not be suitable for use today.
  2. Liturgy connects intricately with Christian doctrine, lexi orandi lex credendi. The Pope comments on the development of the liturgy over the years in passing several times, but in the few moments when he remarks on the relation between liturgy and the doctrines of the Church, he submits the former to the latter.
  3. "The Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification" (58).
Fr Robert Taft fighting for the Divine Liturgy
The second of these points interests us today. This post is called the "Separation of Liturgy and Doctrine" because the distinction of the two, and the subservience of one to another, indirectly facilitated the liturgical reforms of the mid-twentieth century. Traditionally, liturgy and doctrine are not aesthetics of religion that one decorates according to pre-conceived notions of faith. Rather, they both express the same faith. Doctrine is faith written on paper and liturgy is faith done in action. Many of the greatest Western saints wrote extensively on the liturgy as a spiritual, not doctrinal, meditation. As recently as the eighteenth century St. Alphonsus di Ligouri penned an extensive commentary on the psalms structured by their appearance in the Divine Office. Padre Pio passed numerous comments on the mystical Communion of Saints that transpires during the Mass. Even given his role in encouraging centralization in France, Dom Gueranger compiled in an impression set of volumes on the liturgy, both in form and its propers, for each day of the year, each with extensive scriptural reference and deep spiritual meditation. This never ceased to be the case in the East. The most prominent Byzantine theologians and writers of the last century, Fr. Robert Taft SJ, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, and Fr. Alexander Schmemann, all wrote extensively on the liturgy, drawing on its expression of faith, its capacity to clarify doctrine, and its continuity with the faith of our fathers back to the Lord Himself. Mediator Dei breaks this tradition.

Two distinct causes converged to create this distinction between liturgy and doctrine, which places one below the other. The first is the "low Mass culture" we discussed two posts ago. I will summarily say if the entire ranks of clergy or laity do not have something to do with the Mass then they will not be too concerned or attached to the prayers, so long as none of them are outright offensive. As private Devotionalism took the place of public prayer, the public rites and preaching no longer informed the believer's faith. Doctrinal declarations and sermons given in strongly catechetical language became the teachers to the masses. This environment reduces faith to either personal piety or the satisfaction of certain intellectual requirements. Neither of these things are bad, in fact they are very good! Yet, they do not draw strength from action, song, historicity, mystical experience, communion (in the Eastern sense), or continuity. So long as the ritual does not irk the layman and the text does not offend the priest, no one is bothered.

The second influence was fear for the corruption of liturgical texts during the Counter-Reformation era and the post-Tridentine period. One reason given for the imposed uniformity of rites after Trent was concern that local bishops and book-printers with Protestant, and later Jansenist, beliefs might influence their clergy and laity by altering rites and texts that reflected their new found heresy. St. Pius V's bull Quo Primum even includes a fine, other than damnation, for such alterations:
"Wherefore, in order that the Missal be preserved incorrupt throughout the whole world and kept free of flaws and errors, the penalty for nonobservance for printers, whether mediately or immediately subject to Our dominion, and that of the Holy Roman Church, will be the forfeiting of their books and a fine of one hundred gold ducats, payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. Further, as for those located in other parts of the world, the penalty is excommunication latae sententiae, and such other penalties as may in Our judgment be imposed; and We decree by this law that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to accept books of this nature without Our approval and consent, or without the express consent of the Apostolic Commissaries of those places, who will be appointed by Us. Said printer must receive a standard Missal and agree faithfully with it and in no wise vary from the Roman Missal of the large type (secundum magnum impressionem)."
The immediate consequence of Quo Primum was uniformity, which we shall discuss in two posts, but another was the precedent that the liturgy must also be under the judgment of theologians, rather than material for theologians. No doctrinal problems appeared in any Catholic liturgical books after Trent, if they had ever appeared in the books before! Yet liturgy was celebrated at the beneficence of theologians. This concept is not found before Quo Primum and was not firmly embedded in the Church until many years after 1570.

We should remind ourselves, in reverence for the Church and for the Roman tradition, that it was the Protestant reformers who first submitted the worship of the Church to their doctrines. Many rightly understand the various editions of the Book of Common Prayer in the context of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's Protestant persuasions in a Sarum England. Similarly, how could one understand Luther's communion service outside of a Latin rite liturgical context? Luther's liturgy follows the Roman rite in form and, on occasion, in text. Luther's decision to create new eucharistic prayers and perform his service on a table are reflections of his doctrine expressed in the medieval Roman rites. Far from revering the rites they inherited, the Protestants took them as corruptions which must be purified according to their own theological systems.

This change in doctrinal content did not necessary carry over into the reform of the Roman rite, but it did create a constant fear in the Roman rite of corruption. Centuries after Trent some still feared doctrinal distortions of the liturgy, but most agreed that the liturgy was below doctrinal expression.

For those who may remain skeptical that this influenced the Roman liturgical reform, we adduce the example of the proclamation of the Assumption of Our Lady by Pius XII in 1950 and the subsequent texts of the Mass and Office that Rome issued, replacing texts that dated to, at least, the medieval period and which reflected Roman spirituality until then.

In the Divine Office a sermon on the Dormition by St. John of Damascus constituted the second nocturn. The Mass was the lovely Gaudeamus omnes in Domino. Afterward, this lovely Office was disturbed by the insertion of Pius XII's proclamation into the end of the second nocturn and the Mass was replaced by an entirely new proper, the Signum magnum setting. The introits contrast starkly. The former Mass's introit suggests a Virgin Mary at whose Assumption "the Angels rejoice and please the Son of God." The new text is from the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, describing a woman above the moon, crowned in twelve stars. The second of these is more representative of twentieth century Scholasticism and of the catalog-bought statues so common in American parishes than it is of St. Augustine or St. Bernard of Clairvaux's understanding of our Lady's Dormition.

The collect of the former Mass asks that our Lady's merits may please Him, as we cannot please Him ourselves. The new collect is assertively bland:
"Almighty, everlasting God, Who took up, body and soul, the immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Son, into heavenly glory, grant, we beseech You, that, always devoting ourselves to heavenly things, we may be found worthy to share in her glory."
Fr. John Hunwicke once described this new prayer as a "dollop of dogma followed by a platitude."

A more recent example might be use of the 1962 missal. Benedict XVI declared 1962 usable because it is what John Paul II gave permission to use, which he in turn authorized because it is what Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre used. The French Archbishop was not seeking the best liturgy per say, but merely what met his post-Tridentine standards of doctrinal emphasis. Initially his seminary at Econe used 1965, essentially 1962 with some vernacular and a few ceremonial adjustments. Other members of his Society used 1939 and others yet used 1967, two extraordinarily different liturgical usages. Msgr. Lefebvre settled on 1962, widely used in France, while under pressure from Rome to give a holistic report of his Society's activities in 1983. 1962, although lacking compared to previous editions, satisfied the French prelate's theological standards and most of the Society of St. Pius X. We see the selection of 1962 as the "extraordinary form" was quite a historical accident, one that transpired on account of Msgr. Lefebvre's needs and not due to discernment of liturgical tradition.

Doctrine's divorce from liturgy nurtured the creation of new texts such as the one above. To some extent, while the Mass and Office deserved respect, they also had to be reasonable and rational to the theologians, and later the "experts," who Rome charged with their care. If something did not conform to the theology of the type-editor, it was excised in favor of new words. During the post-Tridentine era these men tended to be Thomists. The reforms of the 1950s and 1960s turned out as they did because the new type-setters were not Thomists, not necessarily because they usurped power, it was given to them.

Save the Office of Readings, the Hours follow a set form
Rationalism, rather than revelation, runs throughout the Pauline rites. The uniformity of the hours of the Liturgy of the Hours is the fruit of a mind that values reason too much. An hour of the Divine Office has a certain function, therefore they all have the same function! We do not know the purpose of the Last Gospel? Erase it! The offertory prayers mention a "flawless victim" before the consecration? Replace them.

Yet, not all of this "reason" began in 1969, when Paul VI promulgated the new rite in Missale Romanum. The changes to the calendar and rites of Holy Week indicate a liturgy crafted by men who had made critical judgments. One example is the time of the Easter Vigil. The 1951-1968 Vigil began at 10:30pm. The Pauline Vigil begins earlier, usually 8 or 9pm. The reformers concluded that a vigil must be a Mass of "watching" and therefore takes place at night. The older time, after None, in practice very early in the morning, must have been a distortion. The Vigil was never so late. It probably began in the late afternoon, given that is starts after None and concludes with Vespers, and moved earlier and earlier as monks wanted to end their fasts. The reform also exhibits an ignorance of "liturgical time," which is basically ancient Jewish and Byzantine time—still observed on Mount Athos—wherein the next day begins at sunset. Such traditions, historical circumstances, and spirituality cannot survive when the liturgy is at the mercy of which ever theologian has the pertinent curial appointment.

To conclude, the distinction between liturgy and doctrine was an allergic reaction to a Protestant tendency to do the same. This engendered a Church wherein the liturgy was something managed by the minds of theologians, rather than an element of the faith itself, which one receives with reverence. Combined with factors enumerated in prior posts, the liturgy became malleable, owing to decline of liturgical life. This last point especially troubles the author of this piece, as the Christian must be a liturgical person by nature. "Leitourgos" means "public servant" or "one who performs a public action."

I hope Johannes enjoyed today's post with a well-brewed cup!

Pray on, fair Christian soldiers!—even if the theologians do not like it!