Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review: The Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church by Dr. Geoffrey Hull (minor update)

Dr Geoffrey Hull
source: Wikipedia.org
Once every now and then one finds an author capable of approaching a daunting subject with remarkable clairvoyance, not muddling himself among polemics or minutiae. Dr. Geoffrey Hull is one such author. His The Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church recalls that old saying that the truth is not between two positions, but rather above them. Hull examines the roots of the twentieth century liturgical overhaul by rising above the disputes between liberals and traditionalists that have raged on for five decades and taking a long, far-sighted look back centuries more, to the late first millennium, when the Roman liturgy was maturing, the Roman patriarchate was expanding its missionary presence in Western and Eastern Europe, and the Papacy's prestige and power were expanding well beyond the walls of Rome. How and in what context did the Roman liturgy change from a theocentric, organic act of worship to an anthropocentric fabrication? The Banished Heart is a thorough, insightful answer to this question.

The Basic Argument

The answer to the aforementioned question, developed over 356 pages, is found in an epigraph at the beginning of the second chapter. He quotes the 19th century Russian ascetic Theophan the Recluse: "You should descend to your heart from your head... The life is in the heart, so you should live there. Do not think that this applies only to the perfect. No, it applies to everyone who begins to seek out the Lord." The Roman rite of the Catholic Church began to live more and more in its head rather than in its heart, which is its holy liturgy. Hull traces two closely intertwined trends that emerged as characteristics of the Roman Church:
  1. An emphasis on rationality and logic that descends from the Roman legal tradition and which survived in the Latin Church's theological language
  2. A tendency to imitate the secular forces of the time with regards to internal government and relations with those outside of itself (in this case, non-Latin Christians)
The second of these points became a problem when Charlemagne attempted, with reasonable success, to appropriate the Church into his Frankish kingdom and utilize Christianity as a means of state unification. So strong a unity with the state existed that the Greek routinely called the Latins "Franks" rather than "Romans" or "Italians" or "Germans." Toward the end of the first millennium and at the dawn of the second, the Roman Church began to equate itself exclusively with Christianity, supposing anything at variance with its own theology and liturgy to be suspect. This led to the virtual suppression of the Mozarabic rite in Spain, the attempted suppression of the Ambrosian rite in Milan, and tergiversations of language and rite in Eastern Europe. What was originally the Primacy of Rome became justification for uniformity, an obsession which plagues the Latin rite of the Catholic Church to this day.

The often-maligned rite of Milan
source: newliturgicalmovement.org
This phenomenon continued well after the end of Frankish significance. Innocent III imposed the Latin liturgy on Constantinople after finding himself, unhappily, de facto king-maker of Byzantium. The Church's missionary efforts in this regard are also quite sad, as Hull demonstrates. Chapter 12 is a particularly difficult one to read. In it Hull recounts the visits of various Catholic missionaries to many branches of Apostolic Christendom which found themselves, either through historical circumstance or the sins of their fathers, out of communion with the Holy See. Many of these communities, often entire Churches, wished to re-establish communion with Rome. The "Thomas" Malabar Christians of India, the Chaldeans of the Middle East, and the Orthodox of Ethiopia all entered into inter-communion with the Roman Church and clergy, even giving Rome considerable leeway in local matters. Invariably a derisive attitude overcame the visiting clergy, who attempted to impose the Roman rite on these Christians and to end their own unique traditions, such as married priests. The local Churches rebelled and a small fragment, wishing to retain the Roman communion, would set up a "uniate" church, a church that would be held in contempt by both Rome and the local Orthodox. The disorder and disdain causes by Latinizations in Ethiopia were of such great magnitude that a Roman priest would be stoned to death without trial until the 19th century.

This narrow view was noxious alone, but with a few other influences it would become fatal. In earlier days the Eastern Churches maintained the heart of Christianity while Rome was its head. The loss of the Eastern Churches meant Rome would think itself the only legitimate expression of liturgy, of theology, and of the priesthood (disdain for married priests outside the Latin rite continued into the 20th century). There could be little introspection possible in such an environment.

Which returns the reader to the first point: rationalism. Everything would henceforth conform to Roman rationalism. Although the book is largely about the danger of excessive rationalism, Dr. Hull provides no strong definition, but it might suffice to say that the author means the idea that all matters, human and Divine, must be reduced and explained according to human reason. Human reason eventually became a standard by which other facets of the faith were to be judged and expressed. Prosper of Aquitaine's dictum "Lex orandi legem statuat suplicandi" was the common belief of all Christendom at one point. Liturgy was the theologia prima, the primary study and expression of faith in the mysteries of Our Lord. But as the Church began to enter secular endeavors her theological language became more and more legalistic. Scholasticism is an accurate and clear system, but it is also a system born out of the words and thought process of the pre-Christian Roman Law. When written theology began to supplant liturgy concepts became fungible. Many movements in the Middle Ages, Hull aptly proves in Chapter 4, were anti-rational: the Nominalists, the Franciscans, and the Scotists all diminished reason's capacity to understand the Divine. The Counter-Reformation would see rationalism return with renewed vigor: primary consideration drifted from elegance to validity, from worship to instruction.

Yet the liturgy survived the East-West schism intact. Even under the auspices of Papal primacy, Rome was less and less able to alter the local rites of given dioceses and Rome, although convinced of the theological superiority of her rite, often had to defer to the local usages. All that ended with the Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation

Hull acknowledges the irony that the Reformation began as a reaction to a perceived idolatry, the Renaissance era Roman Church's emphasis on philosophy and human reason. Dr. Hull does not state this observation, but readers should find another irony in that, aside form Luther and Cranmer, most all the major Reformers were lawyers.

Chiesa Gesu in Rome, home of the Society of Jesus.
Notice the great nave and tiny sanctuary with
no choir.
source: Wikipedia.org
The Reformation essentially privatized religion, making faith a matter of private piety and Scriptural study. What is most perplexing is that the Church, in combatting Protestantism's heresies, followed the same spirit and pattern. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, devotions deriving from private revelations, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the reception of the Sacraments more often than not became matters of personal, private spirituality. The greatest force during the Counter-Reformation was the Society of Jesus which, Dr. Hull reminds readers, was the first religious order ever to not sing the Office in common every day. The purpose of the Jesuits was to promote the basic teachings of Catholicism, which they did quite well. What they did not do was promote the Catholic spirit. The Jesuits succeeded in building universities and parishes, in instructing millions and even in creating their own operatic genre. Yet they did not re-kindle the liturgical understanding of the faith that had existed from the earliest days of Christianity until the 16th century.

The religious pluralism that resulted from the Reformation often meant that Catholicism was not as keenly defended by the ruling authorities as in previous times. Indeed, rather than the secular defending the spiritual, the spiritual took on the ethos of the secular. Baroque churches, with reredos that look like stone curtains and altars as close to the rail as can be, in some ways resemble theaters of the same era more than they resemble churches of a few centuries prior (161). Consequently, the liturgy became either a time for private prayer or a great Italian opera. Indeed, Voltaire called the Mass the "opera of the peasants."

The sad conclusion one reaches at the end of Chapter 10, called "Reformed Catholicism," is that the Counter-Reformation failed to reach its goal of re-converting Europe. Secular revolutions sprang up, one after another, promulgating and promoting humanist, socialist, democratic ideals far removed from Christianity. The liturgy fell into disuse. A cult of personality, called Ultramontanism—which survives to this day, developed around the Pope. The Church had made herself the religion of the majority of persons in Europe. It is little wonder that with such a pious, rationalistic outlook the gaze of the theologian's eye would eventually turn inward.

Setting the Stage and the Featured Presentation

The Banished Heart recounts various moments in the development of the Liturgical Movement: the Jansenist movement's demands for more focus on the laity, for simplification, and for rubrics that conformed to their own standards, all supposed features of a more primitive, purer liturgy. The movement culminated in the robber-council of Pistoia, condemned by Pius VI in 1794.

Whereas many traditionalist writers often focus on the Modernist heresy, Hull spends more time connecting the proverbial dots between Jansenism—an outgrowth of rationalistic Protestantism—and the left wing of the Liturgical Movement. After the condemnation of Modernism by St. Pius X in Pascendi many would-be Modernists began to study more benign subjects, such as liturgy. Here the Liturgical Movement underwent a fundamental change. Initially it had intended to restore full use of the Roman liturgy, as opposed to the low Mass and a Rosary variety that existed at the time. Suddenly it took on a "pastoral" aspect interested in the needs of "modern man." Pius XII's reversal of Prosper of Aquitaine's dictum, the immovable baroque mindset of the Curia, the dynamism of the Modernist movement, and the election of John XXIII all but guaranteed serious liturgical change.

Much has been made of the process of constructing the new liturgy, so we shall not recapitulate it here. Dr. Hull adumbrates accounts of the first celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae for the Synod of Bishops in 1967 and three celebrations for the Roman Curia (one low, one high, and one low with music). All three were in vernacular and, possibly, versus populum.

Archbishop John Ireland
Another effect of the Reformation Hull does not neglect was the founding of the United States of America, which is given all of chapter 14 (Pax Americana). The materialistic outlook of American society and the focus on the individual impacted the practice of the faith in the United States, the author suggests. In light of Bishop Carroll of Baltimore and Archbishop John Ireland's outright jingoism, one would be hard pressed to see matters otherwise. Hull's outlook on the United States' culture can be summed up in these two sentences: "In the American philosophy man's highest purpose is to assert his 'inalienable right' to 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness' on earth. Eternal life is an optional extra for those who choose to believe in it" (238). America's tremendous wealth allowed American bishops and theologians to leverage their influence on a Vatican in dire need of funds to rebuild a Church decimated by war. This took the form of Dignitatis Humanae and seats on the various liturgical commissions.

Other Points

The Banished Heart, which is laid out by theme rather than by chronology, touches on several other points that did not fit into the structure of the above summary:
  • Roman centralization's effects on local languages: there are dialects of Spanish and Italian which are not available in the new liturgy, forcing locals to worship in a language that may be considered outside of the community. A more serious example might be the near extinction of the Irish language at the hands of clergy who thought speaking it a sin.
  • Obedience was made into a worthy end in and of itself rather than a means of living an un-complicated life, as it was originally intended. The author has some especially strong words for those who equate the Pope's words and actions with the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Hull passes some comments about John Paul II that I dare not repeat here.
  • The Banished Heart presents a realist assessment of the work of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the controversial French prelate who founded the Society of St. Pius X and consecrated four men to the episcopacy without canonical approval. The Banished Heart acknowledges that while Lefebvre kept the pre-Conciliar liturgy alive the right wing political affiliations of the SSPX also contributed to making the 1962 rite a "ghetto" rite until 2007. Still, Dr. Hull asks, why was Lefebvre the only noticable dissident of any degree or of any kind punished after Vatican II? Lefebvre's work, sometimes good and sometimes bad, retained some semblance of continuity with the Church's past, which is exactly why he drew the ire of Paul VI and John Paul II.
  • The author relies heavily on Eastern Orthodox liturgists and theologians, as the East, whatever their problems, have retained the primacy and importance of liturgy as the theologia prima better than the Western Christians have. Many traditionalists will undoubtedly find this point discomforting and some may even accuse Dr. Hull of swallowing Orthodox glorification of the liturgy, as this one fellow does, but this canard lacks merit. Eastern theologians rarely think of anything new. Their most recent theological movement was the Hesychast revival of the 14th century, in itself a reiteration of 5th century theology. Byzantine liturgical theology is not made illegitimate by the faults of the Popes and Patriarchs.
  • The negative reaction to Summorum Pontificum was an internal dispute between two segments of the revolutionary party within the Church, not between "liberals" and "conservatives." Josef Ratzinger, who maintains that he never revised his views, was a proponent of the "new theology" in the 1950s and 1960s. His interest in the 1962 rite and in Archbishop Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X derives from his pluralistic world view and his wish to have come to lasting peace with the French prelate in 1988. His interest was not in a revival of the old liturgy per se. His opponents lacked his desire to find a solution for the Society of St. Pius X, but not his opinion that the new missal has brought good.


On the whole this is the best book I have read in years on the current state of the Catholic Church, both liturgical and otherwise. Dr. Hull displays tremendous insight into liturgical theology, the history of the Papacy, the evolution of piety, the Church's relationship with secular culture, and the events of the 20th century, namely the Second Vatican Council. Toward the end of The Banished Heart Dr. Hull briefly relapses into the common mistake of seeing everything prior to the Council as a countdown to the Council. The Council's only document on the liturgy was a transitional one, written to justify more substantial reforms that had yet to come. Banished Heart only briefly touches on this point, instead adopting the familiar line that the reforms betrayed the Council's modest wishes.

Another shortcoming is an omission. The Banished Heart rightly asks why the Eastern Catholic Churches, if they are considered by the modern authorities to be as fully Catholic as the Roman Church, were given a separate document at Vatican II un-related to the document on the Roman liturgy. In short, the Eastern Churches were treated as a curiosity. Another point that could have been made is the dishonest, ecumenical use of Eastern theology in the post-Conciliar age. How often have we heard the term "full communion" when the hierarchy dialogues with Protestants, or Jews, or Muslims? The idea of being "in communion," a mostly Eastern concept, is defined as sharing Sacraments. None of the aforementioned groups have any Sacraments (although Protestants usually baptize validly). Yet "full communion" is normally implied to be lacking, as though a partial communion exists when it does not. This may not have occurred to Dr. Hull or it may have seemed tangential, but it was worth saying somewhere.

Lastly, and this is not a small problem, there is no working definition of the "traditional liturgy" in The Banished Heart. It is simply treated as something that exists. Dr. Hull passes over the 1911 Office reforms and 1955 Holy Week novelties with neutrality. The Roman rite surely suffered through these changes, but did the Roman rite not also suffer when various local rites, which preserved certain facets of the Roman liturgy which had fallen into disuse and contributed in other regards, became extinct. A firmer definition of the Roman liturgy's essential features and process of evolution would have made the last third of this book all the more forceful.


Dr. Geoffrey Hull's The Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church tells the tale of how the East-West schism allowed the Church of Rome to be engulfed in its own tendency toward rationalism and to "banish its heart," the liturgy, from its head, making it ill-suited to deal with the Reformation and the political revolutions that followed. The book is thorough, readable, well researched, and not the conventional traditionalist polemic. This book will challenge many readers' preconceptions about liturgical theology, the Reformation, and the events leading up to the Second Vatican Council. But if readers are patient and genuinely wish to learn why the Roman rite underwent the revolution it did, then they should order a copy immediately.


  1. "there are dialects of Spanish and Italian which are not available in the new liturgy, forcing locals to worship in a language that may be considered outside of the community."

    Indeed! My ancestors spoke the Neapolitan and Calabrese dialects of the former Kingdom of Naples/Two-Sicilies. Some linguists even consider these to be separate languages in their own right as they have different and often more Hellenistic vocabularies. If I were to learn standard Italian today, it would not be the natural language my grandfather and his forebears spoke in the home.

    That said, this book is on my short list. Cekada does a decent job analyzing the Novus Ordo in itself, but clearly falls into the Roman legalistic mindset as if all was well and good before Pius XII and the modernists took over the Liturgical Movement, so I look forward to Hull's broader view on the topic.

  2. Indeed, I thought his lack of a definition of what the traditional roman rite is was one of the book's short comings. Laszlo Dobszay does, in my opinion, a good job of defining what it is in his book on the Reform of the Roman rite.

  3. As a Spaniard, I can say that in many cases, the linguistic problem is not to "worship in a language that may be considered outside of the community", but the political (=nationalist/independentist) use that many Catalan and Basque clergy has made in the fiel of worship. On the other hand, there are some languages which have no legal status, so they are left aside in any kind of worship, or preaching.

    But our clergy (and many faithful) think these problems would be always better than coming back to Latin...

    Kyrie eleison

  4. Justinian and John make excellent points. Dr Hull, a linguist by profession, spends some time on the consequences of dropping Latin in favor of mainstream vernaculars. Justinian's points could well be applicable to the missionaries who went to the new world. Would many tribes have converted if the liturgy was in Spanish or French, the tongues of the conquerors? I doubt it. Latin is a wonderfully apolitical language. I would not be surprised if this was one reason the Eastern Churches have been less successful than the Latin Church at evangelizing foreign peoples.

    Another consequence of dropping Latin is the diversity of vernacular translations. The English speaking world now uses one translation of the Pauline Mass, after four decades of each episcopal conference approving its own slightly unique variation. This is not the case elsewhere. I have not found confirmation of the figure given, but a priest who celebrated Mass in Spanish in New York state and goes on missions to Spanish-speaking countries in the spring and summer once told me that there are eight different Spanish translations of the Pauline Missal. As someone proficient, although not fluent, in Spanish I feel somewhat confident in saying that a Spaniard may not like Mass in Peru.

    Mark, the late Mr Dobszay gives a very good definition of the Roman rite in his book, one which incorporates the essentials of the Mass, of the Sacramentaries, of the kalendar, and of the psalter. His work is worth reading for that alone.

    1. The reason the Eastern Churches did not successfully evangelize as many people as the Latin rite is not because of language at all. It is solely because they had less freedom, less power, resources, wealth, ability to dedicate to it and most importantly - LESS COLONNIALISM. They have been under continual assault from either hostile non-christian neighbors or from hostile secularists (communists) for the last 800 years... You'd be hard pressed to find much evangelization from the latin church outside of european boundaries before 1500 either.

      The latins due to accidents of history (divine providence if you want to even say?) were in a position where they had no option but to evangelize, especially in their own colonies and neighboring territories.

      Please don't tell me language has anything to do with it or the Eastern churches are inferior in any way for evangelizing -

      In case no ones noticed the most recent influx of several million people converting to the faith has been in countries such as Guatemala. Successful byzantine rite eastern orthodox mission exist in Indonesia , Republic of Congo, Uganda, Japan, Korea , Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia. They will only grow in future years - until the Latin rite revives itself of it's right believing patrimony, consistent beautiful liturgy and ascetical teachings befitting the Church.

    2. And than there's also the often ignored fact that about 1/3 of Alaska's native people are Eastern Orthodox, partly due to Russia holding it as a colony.

    3. "In case no ones noticed the most recent influx of several million people converting to the faith has been in countries such as Guatemala."

      (NOTE; To clarify, the "faith" I was referring to was the Eastern Orthodox Faith - not the Roman Catholic - point being - Rome needs to be more traditional if it wants to catch up to some of the Eastern Orth. evangelization efforts. This is said without any bias towards either of them..but respect for both.)

    4. Chris, you're arguing against a straw man. I said that the use of Latin probably helped in the context of evangelization because it was not the language of the conquerors who accompanied the missionaries. In the first millennium the Eastern Churches often had problems shedding Imperial influence in the beliefs and practice of the faith (Church of Antioch is a prime example). Latin, at the very least, eased some of these stresses and made evangelism a more fruitful venture. Eastern Orthodox evangelism may be successful right now, but that hardly undermines my point, which was made within the context of foreign conquest. There has been very little non-conquest influenced evangelism between the fourth century and the twentieth.

  5. What is your opinion of these criticisms of Hull's work: http://australiaincognita.blogspot.com/2012/08/ultramontanism-history-wars-over-papcy.html

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. anoter critique this time with the correct link: http://australiaincognita.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/swallowing-orthodox-propaganda-hulls.html

    1. I think the criticism of Dr Hull's book is ill-conceived and somewhat absurd. I cannot fathom how anyone who reads Banished Heart could possibly walk away a sedevacantist, which requires a gilded 19th century view of the Papacy that does not stand up to the historical reality. There have been heterodox popes in the past, both material and formal, although none of them bound the Church to believe their nonsense.

      Popes actually rarely interfered with the liturgy until Trent, at which point they imposed a pre-existing set of books. The real active Papal involvement in the liturgy did not come until the 20th century, which damages the author's assertion that Popes regularly used their liturgical influence as a teaching tool.

      Hull's attitude toward the Eastern Orthodox is very reconciliatory, though I do not see why that lessens the history he tells. I believe Dr Hull to be wrong in suggesting Pope St Nicholas was proto-imperialist, but it is true that the Orthodox found themselves in separation somewhat due to Papal realpolitik at Lyons and Florence. Yet we must also remember that this book examines the historical path of the Roman liturgy, not the ill effects the Orthodox have suffered in their separation from Rome (subjection to imperial power, divorce and remarriage, ethnocentrism etc). None of Ms. Edwards' objections adduced historical facts, just accusations of thinking like an Eastern Orthodox person.

      One objection she could have made, but failed to make, was concerning the oft-repeated error (which I think started with either Michael Davies or the SSPX) Dr Hull brings forth in his book that Pope Liberius entered heresy by signing an Arian formula of faith, leaving St Athanasius the only real defender of the faith. Ms Edwards dismisses this as sedevacantism. If it were true it would not be sedevacantism, but just a problem. However, the story is untrue because it omits certain facts. Pope Liberius underwent tremendous physical duress at the hands of the imperial authorities before he succumbed and signed the formula. The people of the time ignored his signing of the document and revered him as a saint! Images of Liberius from before the Counter-Reformation, including in the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls in Rome; his name appears in numerous martyrologies and was only removed after Trent, because he did not fit into the Papacy that the Tridentine Fathers wanted to portray. Yet there is no substantial objection such as this!

      For more on St Liberius: http://papastronsay.blogspot.com/2009/09/holy-pope-liberius-there-is-place-for.html

    2. I my opinion "thinking like an Eastern Orthodox person" would be a spectular gift to the Roman Catholic Church. What could possibly be better? For no other Church has maintained the ideas of St. Theophan the Recluse better. No other church has maintained a purity of liturgy as consistently, fully and meaningfully - despite whatever other problems exists in it.

      Additionally "thinking like an Eastern Orthodox person" certainly doesnt mean to have to hold deep prejudices against Latin church fathers like St. Augustine or start to view the Latin tradition as one big hopeless mess for having certain practices at variance with byzantine canon laws developed at the quinisext council of trullo in 700 AD (such as how many men are ordained as priests at a single liturgy/mass). The latin west has certainly had a history unlike any other part of the historic church, it was orthodox in it's own right, in a way that byzantines of today may not fully identify or agree with, even as for the most part they do agree. It was never identical to the east, but never as different as it is today either. It was inbetween, harmonious with with the whole ecumene yet differing in localized rubrics. Thinking like an Eastern Orthodox" really ought to mean "thinking like a 10th century Latin/Roman Catholic, while having awareness also of the Eastern traditions.

      I can verify that there has been at least one person who because they started to "think like an Eastern Orthodox person" left communion with Rome partly due to reading this "Banished Heart" book. That does not mean that it is the books fault. The truth is the truth, you can believe the truth and be a schismatic in the eyes of Rome, Constantinople or Alexandria. it becomes political more than concern for "the heart" as Theophan said. You must have balance of the heart and head, and God leads you to the truth. Factionalism is not the point.

    3. I would say in many ways that "thinking like a Pre-reformation" late 15th Roman Catholic would also be the ideal - much of the full development of the Latin tradition and patrimony reached it's peak at that time. The amount of deficiencies in mysticism or abuses that had crept it at that time are I quite possibly minor issues considering how much beauty and rich traditions had developed whose legacy has remained with contemporary Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics of today. Think of all the lay peoples books of hours? (Duc be berry/Limbourg Bros.) their height popularity was the 15th c. The Anglican use RC ordinariates rightly ought to focus much on what had emerged at that peak time period before the "reformation" - it was stupendous.

  8. I finished the book today. A real eye openner. I see he is no fan of JPII (I was away from the Church during his pontificate, so I don't seem to suffer from the same "JP the Great fever" as most Catholics I know). BXVI, while I admire him, is a complex man. For some one so "ardent" in his critiques of the Pauline liturgy, he seems to have abandoned that all together oncee he was elected to the Papacy (perhaps out of prudence?). I was convinced he appreciated the old rite, but he spoke negatively of it before his abdication, so that left me scratching my head. I can understand his trying to lead by example, and not by enforcing legislation, and applaud that he was aware that the Liturgy is not at the whims of the Pope. Yet for all his trying to lead by example, I hear the Portuguese prelates talk more about emulating Francis in less than a year than they ever spoke of emulating Benedict all throughout his pontificate.

    The question of the Good Friday prayers for the Jews is something I'm stumped on. Dr. Hull mentions that this tampering with the prayer is heteropraxy as a result of giving into pressure groups, yet he makes no mention at all that the Sequence Victima Pascali Laudis - also a liturgical text - was "edited" (back in the 16th century, if I've got the dates right) because of some "uncharitable" verses about the Jews.

    I'm surprised no mention was made of the shift from Greek to Latin in the Roman liturgy, nor of the "innovations" of early Popes in adding things to the Mass.

    Finally, how does one deal with Charismatic groups? I've found many of their members to be quite doctrinally orthodox, but their liturgical praxis abhorent.

    1. Indeed, Benedict XVI is a very difficult man to understand. As Hull points out, Benedicts criticisms of the newer liturgy would seem to constitute a rejection of it in principle, yet he accepted it in practice and only celebrated the old rite half a dozen times or so as a cardinal. Oddly, Pope Francis reminds me a lot of John Paul II, but the same people who are so eager to imitate Francis detested John Paul. Francis, to them, is fresh air after the oppression brought on by Benedict's Roman chasubles.

      An excellent point about the Paschal sequence! The line in question ("Credendum est magis soli Mariae veraci, quam Iudaeorum turbae fallaci") was deleted in 1570. I think the difference here is that while the old line in the sequence was anti-Semitic ("lying crowds of Jews") the old Good Friday prayer simply asked for their conversions using a very misunderstood word ("perfidus"), which John XXIII dropped anyway. There was no reason to change it in that case. At least the new prayer, despite its lesser literary quality, still has the same message, unlike the prayer for them in the Pauline rite, which is really just an empty platitude.

      I think his neglect of a definition of the older rite hindered this book for such reasons as you pointed out. The switch from Greek to Latin, the collects written by Pope St Damasus, the Gregorian change of the place of the Pater Noster and a few words of the Canon were certainly changes, but in a stage when the old Mass was in its development. The ordinary of the Roman Mass was not "set" until 1570. By contrast the Byzantine "ordinary" was set around the 8th or 9th century. The old Roman Mass had a longer development phase. The point Hull makes is that the Pauline liturgy is a break with that development process (it was made in a conference room in 1966) and mechanism (local changes under episcopal supervision and the light of the Holy Spirit).

      1474 Missale Romanum (missing the old December 8th feast): http://books.google.com/books?id=SeIYAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=missale+romanum+1474&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l2MfUuOFNKqzsQSChoE4&ved=0CEYQ6wEwBQ#v=onepage&q=missale%20romanum%201474&f=false

      The Charismatics? I would not touch one of their Masses for fear of the abuses. Some of them are highly enthusiastic (in a bad way) and some are highly orthodox (in a good way). My personal opinion is that the "Renewal" is a fad and honestly, their liturgical praxis is the norm in some parts of Latin America. Not good. The Neo-Catechumenal Way has much worse abuses though: priest communicating after the laity, out-of-nowhere readings, Masses glorifying their living founder. One wonders when, or if, Rome will ever reel them in by enforcing their own liturgical norms. Until then, all we have is the praxis of whoever the current Pontiff is to watch on TV.

  9. A definition of "authentic" in the book would also be appreciated, something he failed to mention as well.

  10. Belonging to the same generation as the author of The Banished Heart (born in the 50s, First Communion and Confirmation in the old rite before the changes) I can see that some of the existing criticisms were made by people born after Vatican II. I would imagine that it simply never occurred to Geoffrey Hull that a working definition of liturgical tradition would even be necessary, because (writing the book in the early 1990s) his targeted audience were Catholics who either knew very well what the traditional liturgy was but needed convincing why it should not be abandoned, or readers who could have consulted the numerous works available that defined liturgical tradition this if they wanted more information. He treats the traditional liturgy as a given, at a time when the traditional forms of the liturgy were still reasonably fresh in everyone’s mind. (Similarly, the author simply assumes that readers understand what he means by rationalism, the rationalism of the Christian West being such a commonplace of historical and theological literature). However, I can see that younger people would see these definitions as a necessary elements, and Prof. Hull evidently failed to take this into account when he republished the book a few years ago. If the book is ever revised, maybe he could add a comprehensive definition, but really there so much to define (for all the Catholic rites) that it might end up being a book within a book and probably distract from his main purpose, which is polemical. Anyway, my point is that an older Catholic, I didn’t have this particular problem with the book.

    1. Also, regarding “passing over the 1911 Office reforms and 1955 Holy Week novelties with neutrality”, I didn’t find the book particularly approving of these. The only good thing I remember he said about the 1955 reforms were the timetabling changes, e.g. having the Easter Vigil in the evening again, hardly a modernistic change. I think he also makes the point in a footnote that these were secondary in impact to the reforms to the Mass because most laity didn’t say the Office and the Easter Triduum had long since (and deplorably) become non-compulsory. He was rather too gentle on Sacrosanctum Concilium, yes, but that conciliar document was such a sacred cow with the liberals and conservatives that nobody was game last century to really go to town on it. Maybe somebody should now!

  11. Rad Trad, I really liked your comment that a point which could have been made is the dishonest, ecumenical use of Eastern theology in the post-Conciliar age. I am also disgusted by Kasper-style orientalism; and now we have the new Pope saying so many nice things about his Orthodox friends in Argentina and their inspiring worship while he banned and opposed the traditional Mass when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires). This consideration would certainly have strengthened the argument made by The Banished Heart, but I guess no one book can cover everything. Still, it would have been an excellent point to add given the naively rosy view that many Orthodox have of the Conciliar Church, which proves that they know little about it, and the little they do know is colored by Conciliar ecumenistic propaganda.

    -Jason B.

    1. Yes, much agreement with you Jason, but I dont see as much naivity amongst the Orthdox, no need to worry too much. Rorate caeli blog noticed that his eminence Metropolitan (bishop) Hilarion alfeyev of assistant to Moscow Patriarch Kyrill prefers the tridentine mass as the legitimate expression of latin rite faith. Speaking as one with firsthand experience in the Eastern Orthodox Church - there is definitely naiveity about the Roman Catholic Church - but for the most part, most lay Orthodox people do notice that many of the RC churches, especially more recent USA built ones, are iconoclastic and bizarrely different from there own(beyond simply lacking an iconostasis). On the other hand some newer Eastern Orthodox Churches of the 70's and 80's often share elements of the modernist architectural trends, but rarely as profoundly as any western ones, as they are always punctuated by enough elements of traditional beauty and worship to remind one of the true forms.

      As for Pope Francis, many Orthodox find him to be a confusing character.
      Those who have ecumenism as a hobby may like some of what he says, but at the same time almost all of them see the contradictions apparent in his praise of them, while having less evidence of the same praise for the beauty and traditions of his own particular latin rite.

      The Eastern Orthodox Church have enough disgruntled, ex-Roman Catholics who spread the word about the anti-traditional modernism and contradictions present in their former faith... A significant number of these ex Roman Catholics are even priests and deacons in the Orthodox Churches. Thus the hierarchy and intellectuals amongst the Eastern Orthodox is aware of what you speak of. However as they say = the grass is always greener on the other side - and additionally theres no one else to have any serious ecumenical dialogue with besides Roman Catholics, from the Orthodox perspective... thus they try to have sympathy for the RC Church to be kind.(and likewise vice versa from RC perspective !). In a post-christian agnostic age, it's good to have a partner on the same page as you!!

  12. I have read this book and as a Catholic I was totally appalled by the comment in the Dallas Catholic blog: “...along with much, much, waaaay too much glorifying of Eastern Orthodox practice of the Faith (and numerous shots taken at Catholic relations with the Orthodox…” The main merit of Dr. Hull’s study in my view is that he presents the Eastern tradition as integral to Catholicism, and since he defends papal supremacy throughout the book it beats me how he can be represented as a partisan of Eastern Orthodoxy. I doubt he would have received fan mail from any member of the Orthodox Church (most militant Orthodox being either indifferent or hostile to Western Catholics, and wishing Eastern Catholics out of existence), nor is it evident that he used any Orthodox propaganda tracts as sources for his study. Most of his ‘swipes’ at the Roman Church are historical facts about how the Roman authorities oppressed Eastern Catholics, not (as is implied) only the Orthodox. This critic obviously equates Catholicism and the Roman rite, which suggests that he does not understand the constitution of the Church. If reincarnation were a possibility, what these people need is to be reincarnated as 16th century Uniates to give them a healthy sense of what it’s like to be a second-class citizen.