With all the blogosphere focused on the Holy Father’s visit to Turkey, the liturgy posts are drawing less discussion today. Which is as it should be. I was a little surprised that this open book post on Liturgical Matters had so few comments.
I’m returning to my 2006 New Year’s Resolution of posting once per thread, so I thought I’d import the discussion on the relative merits of the 1570/1962 and 1970 Missals.
I’ve never given much credence to the “abolitionist” argument. Supposedly the traditional Roman Rite was abolished to be replaced by a new rite. In those terms, I don’t think the term is defensible.
Granted, there’s no denying that the Vatican II reforms as implemented were a huge break from what went before. Our examination of Sacrosanctum Concilium bears out that to a great degree, these reforms were anticipated. The actions of the bishops and Rome in the years after the council support the belief that substantial reform was the next step after the council, and something good for the Church. Organic development, a favorite principle of the reform2 crowd, is mentioned once in all of SC. Pastoral principles such as participation and spiritual principles such as intelligibility and the striving for holiness, weigh far more heavily in any big-picture reading of the document. It is simply impossible to take Vatican II teaching on liturgy as a source for one’s personal proof-texting.
My post at Amy’s:
The fussing about abolition is a smokescreen for the reality of the situation:
1. There are not two Roman Rites, but one.
2. The Missal of 1970 was a reform of the previous Missal.
3. The use of the 1570/1962 Missal, unreformed by the directives of Vatican II, remains a curiosity at best, and a distraction or a banner for schism at worst.
4. The continued emphasis on the 1570/1962 Missal draws energy and effort from the real task of the Catholic liturgy: making it as humanly effective as possible by means of great music, great preaching, great art and architecture, etc..
If lovers of high church ritual, smells, bells, and the like want to continue, there’s nothing stopping them from having a Latin-language Mass celebrated with appropriate pomp and spirituality–except perhaps that the traditionalist clergy are fixated on an unreformed and outdated Missal.The wishful thinking about a “liberation” of an old Missal, given the repeatedly dashed hopes of every “leaked” promulgation date, is a little embarassing.
I think it would be better for Roman Catholicism to put the Missal of 1962 to rest. My opinion, period. If reform2 folks and others who are loyal Catholics feel the 1970 Missal in the vernacular is insufficient artistically and theologically and spiritually, then a reexamination of the 1970 Missal with a view of praying it in Latin is what is needed. Not seeking a continual justification for praying a Missal untouched by council reforms.
Here’s a list of what won’t be found exclusively in the 1570/1962 Missal: Latin, chant, incense, male-only acolytes, a sense of church triumphant, traditional architecture, traditional posture for clergy, polyphony, a sense of reverence and awe. The list goes on.
One anonymous commenter said:
It’s pretty clear that something is in mind. That you can’t acknowledge that says more about your rigidity than anything. You come across as one angry and in denial about the situation.
Oh, I have no doubt something is afoot with regard to the 1962 Missal. I’m not at all in denial there may well be a loosening of the conditions for the indult. My stance is that regardless of what is promulgated, or who promulgates it, I judge it to be a bad idea, theologically and pastorally.
Rather than being angry, I’m more resigned to the notion that after every council, people get scared about the new directions. There always has been some backtracking on the Church’s course. This as much a symptom of fear and worry than anything else.
And all the fuss last Lent about an immanent “freeing” of the 1962 Missal? I was more embarassed for my internet friends and foils it didn’t take place.
Do those (post-conciliar) changes end up making a new rite rather than a reform of the old? That’s fodder for a real discussion, not a simple off-hand statement, I think.
That’s a sound question, extremely polite for the blogosphere. My thoughts are a bit deeper than the appearance of an off-hand statement, and I continue to ruminate on them. I used to refer to the Tridentine Rite, the 1570/1962 Rite, etc., but I’m not so sure that language is accurate. I’ve changed my view.
We are Roman Catholics. Our identity as Roman is based largely on our liturgical observance. Catholics worshipping by 1570, 1962, and 1970 nearly all identify as Roman Catholics. (The exceptions are as much a matter of politics than anything else.) Does the talk of different rites damage our expression of unity? On that basis, I’m convinced a lot more caution is needed before we allow traditionalists to frame the discussion in terms of “separate rites.” As of today, we have one Rite, two Missals. But if someone wants to make a case otherwise, I’m not cemented into my position on it.
Richard also surfaced the issue of continuity. That matter was touched upon by the council bishops. But other concerns were more vital in their eyes. I don’t buy the argument that the 1962 Missal is “closer” to tradition than the 1970 Missal is. Certainly, it contains elements which make it more connected to the immediate past centuries, and in some cases, the Middle Ages. But the pre-conciliar liturgy of the Church made no provision for a catechumenate, an expanded Lectionary, or very much of the ritual contributions of believers outside of Rome, certainly exceedingly little outside of the Ambrosian, Gallican, Mozarabic or other western rites.
Personally, I think the liturgical reforms were too hastily put into place. Ten or twenty years more would have been better. Parish clergy were drastically unprepared. Bishops not much better. I do think the hierarchy was largely ignorant and unprepared for implementing the full liturgical vision of Vatican II. And while some religious and laity got off to a misstart in the vacuum of leadership, there has been a great deal resurfaced from older Christian traditions, as well as worthy elements from the modern day.
Richard leaves off with one last quote from an eminent theologian:
“One cannot manufacture a liturgical movement but one can contribute to its development…J.A. Jungmann, one of the truly great liturgists of our century, defined the liturgy of his time, such as it could be understood in the light of historical research, as ‘a liturgy which is the fruit of development.’ …What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufactured process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”
- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, preface to the French edition of Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background
My readers won’t be surprised as I take issue with a few particulars of this quote. “Fabrication” is an overly emotional term in this context. The pastoral issues are up for debate: was reform too much, too soon? I’m not prepared to argue against that view. But the uncovering of ancient traditions such as the Eucharistic Prayers? The scrutinies of the catechumenate? Scripture-based music in modern musical idioms? These are hardly fabrications. It’s all been done before.
One example: the desire to harmonize the presidential prayers with a three-year Lecitonary cycle instead of the traditional one-year Roman plan: this is a valid attempt to more tightly yoke Scripture and the ritual prayers of the Mass for the benefit of believers. Who could argue against the notion that the liturgy of the Word and Eucharist be so tightly interwound that they serve as one single act of worship? The CDWDS, apparently.
In my view, “the organic, living process of growth” was abandoned after Trent, not Vatican II. Given the fuss over the addition of Joseph into the Roman Canon, can there be any doubt the hermeneutic of resistance was strong in the curia and elsewhere before the Council? And it remains strong today, emboldened by the ascendancy of liturgical conservatives.
And banal? If the Roman Rite is experienced as such (and I have no doubt it is) the problem lies with the clergy and other leadership. Not the council. Not the poor implementation of the council in another generation.
Long enough! Let the commentariat take over!