Cardinal Sarah's rosewater conservative intervention about the mutual enrichment of the two masses (the wrong one and the right one) is in part based on the claim that there is no doubt that the Lectionary of the NO is superior to the Tridentine one.
This is wrong on many levels. Let me explain why.
Firstly, and as already written, the Tridentine Lectionary is the fruit of a long process of slow development, and the Lectionary of the NO is the fruit of a short process of fast subversion. It is not that before the Sixties the Liturgists didn't realise you can have a three-year, massive scripture-reading program. It is that in their wisdom, they chose to do otherwise. This is argument enough for me, and is the most important one. Tradition. Get it?
Secondly, whoever is acquainted with the Tridentine Lectionary notices a trend in particularly (but not only) the Gospel readings: it is pithy, concentrated wisdom. At times it strikes one like a whip. It is chosen as to be a flash to be remembered, rather than a story to be told. It works.
Thirdly, and as pointed out by more learned bloggers than yours truly, the Lectionary of the Tridentine has a muscular, masculine, politically incorrect, unapologetic quality that Bugnini & Co. thought well to neuter, to emasculate. Fifty years later, many (bad) churchgoers and even more (worse) non-churchgoers think that Jesus was a pacifist vegan of sort. The NO Jesus is one-sided, and therefore distorted.
Fourthly, the Mass is not there to make you listen to the Scriptures. The scriptures are learned and interiorised as you learn and interiorise Catholic doctrine: at catechism and with private, devotional reading. Tellingly, the generation who was exposed to more Gospel reading at Mass than any generation before them is also the most ignorant of both doctrine and scripture, and the most incapable of making sense of the little they learn. In contrast, past generations of illiterate peasants knew way more of Catholicism than the arrogant, vapid degree-holders full of themselves crowding (not so much, really) the churches today.
Therefore, the Lectionary of the Tridentine is superior to the one of the NO in its logic, in its impact, in its truthfulness and in its pedagogic scope.
The V II crowd, Cardinals not excluded, do not get any of these arguments. To them, he who has more words wins.
Then we are surprised that we are in the state in which we find ourselves these days.
Stellar blog post from Father Ray Blake concerning the way our very image of God – with the obvious consequences in practically every aspect of life – was subtly but substantially subverted by Bugnini and his band of liturgical terrorists.
The blog post appears to have been removed, or I cannot find it anymore. Perhaps it will reappear. The main message of the post was that the careful selection of the readings in the New Missal gave a different image of Christ: not King anymore, but Buddy Boy. The blog post was truly good.
EDIT: It is here, a blog post of 2013!
I would like to add some additional considerations that might be of some use.
We see once again Satan’s gradual approach to war at work. Bugnini expunges the Rex Tremendae Majestatis from the experience of the common pewsitter, and substitutes it with a harmless kindergarten Christ who likes everyone and whom no one needs to fear. Given time, a Pope will invite sects from all over the world to Assisi, to take part to an orgy of blasphemous “feel good-ism” inconceivable in the past, but made possible exactly by the harmless kindergarten Jesus with which one generation has now been raised. Given more time, a much more shameless Pope will publicly – if not solemnly and officially – renounce to any requirement of Christian faith, or even to any faith at all, thus spreading a message of universal salvation that represents a new high in blasphemy.
The devil works in grades, advances in small steps. He knows there will be no lack of stupid people accepting the first step and calling “uncharitable” those who refuse to do it; after a while, exactly the same will happen with the second steps; then with the third, and the fourth. At this point, so-called same-sex marriage can’t be far away; after that, it will be outright persecution of Christians. All the while, there will be plenty of stupid people thinking they are Christians, and those who are persecuted are simply backwards homophobic reactionaries.
It must become clear to us that this corruption filters through every aspect of our life. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. The kindergarten Jesus begets a kindergarten theology, which begets a truly stupid kindergarten mentality. Suddenly, the accent is not on the tabooisation of homosexuality, but on making the homosexual feel comfortable with himself. When people write comment in your box stating that people should go around saying to everyone that they are catholic homosexual like others go around saying that they are recovering alcoholics, you understand the perversion of our times has come so far, has polluted the mind of the people so brutally, that to them the concept of taboo and of sexual perversion is not different from excessive drinking. The new lex orandi has perverted the lex credendi to such an extent, that sexual perversion is now accepted part of the lex vivendi.
The same happens in many other aspects of life, but most clearly nowadays in the matter of adultery. We see here the same kind of mainstream madness that has worked so well for the pervs. If Jesus not only loves, but saves everyone unconditionally, this “greatest buddy evah” created in the mind of the people will be incompatible with any kind of sanctions, and the concept of sin – even of very grave and public scandal – will be washed away to the point that a “cruel” Church is now seen as the Oppressor and the public sinner, poor lamb, as the oppressed victim.
What is happening today – from the outright revolt of homosexualism to the more subtle madness of imagined “third ways”, and from the outright dissent concerning communion for adulterers to the satanical deception of “pastoral approach” that perverts Christ’s very message – is the logical continuation of the subversion of sound Catholicism started with V II.
This is why every attempt to justify V II blaming exclusively its after effects is completely wrong. It is like justifying the first line of cocaine, stating that the real trouble was caused only by the addiction that followed.
V II must not be reformed or revisited, or brought back to a supposed original purity.
It must be simply exterminated.
I can’t help thinking of Abp Annibale Bugnini writing the Missal of Paul VI and composing the present Lectionary through a haze of whatever was smoked in 60s. Maybe I am being unfair and he didn’t smoke anything but the Pauline Lectionary has a decided 60s feel to it. The image of God, of Jesus is not organic, it has the feel of one particular period in history, to me it is decidedly Beatnik to early Hippie. If it hadn’t been compiled after two World Wars and the Holocaust it would probably have been quite different, if Bugnini or Paul VI had been different types of men the image of God presented to us would be quite different. Because fundamentally it is their image of God, it is not the image that St Thomas Becket, St Francis, St John of the Cross, St John Vianney, or Padre Pio met every day at the altar.
The OF Lectionary presents us with a new theology; the ancient Lectionary formed the theology of the Church, it was an unchanging ‘given’. What Bugnini produced was very much the product of the Council and 20th century theology. It comes from the same school that applied the scalpel to excise the cursing psalm, that separated that bit about eating and drinking one’s own condemnation from the Epistle for Corpus Christi and so many other bits and pieces that they were uncomfortable with, that simply did not reflect the theological fashion of the time.
Yes, we now have a lot more scripture but it is carefully selected, carefully edited and from a very particular time in Church history and produced by very strange men indeed, some of whom were quite unsaintly, who had their own image of God they wanted to impose on the Church.
These excellent words reflect in a very beautiful way the problem of modern Liturgy concerning the way it transmits the Faith. It does it confusedly, wrongly, and one-sidedly.
There was a time – in the first years of comparing the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo – in which I thought the vastly more extensive readings of the latter would be an advantage compared with the older form.
Only slowly I have come to the conclusion that a deformed tree can never have straight branches, and what at first sight might seem good turns out after a more attentive examination to be faulty.
Yes, there are more scriptures in the Novus Ordo. But the faithful sitting in the old pews knew the doctrine much better, had a much better grasp of the Scriptures in what really counts – that is: the ordering of their own and their loved’ lives – and had less Scripture at Mass simply because the Gospel and the other readings were not there to teach the faithful what the Scripture says, but to drive home a point in a short, forceful way.
Some readings of the Tridentine Mass are just a few lines. But those few lines drive a spear through your heart. It is a lightning, not a school lesson.
For now more than forty years, one and a half generation of faithful have been served the extensive Mass readings of the Novus Ordo, but their knowledge of the very basic truths of Catholicism is so dismal that illiterate peasants of, say, France circa 1850 would shame them day in and day out. Those simple people probably didn’t have any meaningful or extensive knowledge of the Old Testament, but they knew perfectly well about life and death, heaven and hell, sin and repentance, rebellion and obedience, normality and perversion, morality and scandal. I am absolutely sure when they died they had a better hand of cards than many cafeteria Catholics of today; and mind, it is not that they weren’t sinful, either.
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. Again, if the tree is bad the fruits will not be good, and if the liturgy is disfigured it is only a matter of time until the faith of the pewsitter is disfigured, too.
Very probably, neither Father Blake nor your humble correspondent will ever know whatever Bugnini & Co. smoked, but I suspect that in the mixture there must have been a good dose of accommodation, arrogance, irreligiousness, or outright faithlessness.
Here and then one reads an interpretation – much popular in the Vatican, I think – which makes of those Conciliar Fathers who approved and pushed the V II reform a sort of well-intentioned, but vaguely naive churchmen who, persuaded as they were of the virtues of modernity, were just a tad slow in understanding the problems this marriage between Christ and the modern world would engender.
There is no way the “modernisers” within the Church can escape their responsibility for what happened, and explanations like the one given above are, as we say in Italy, an attempt to hide behind one’s finger. Let us see why:
1) The idea that the world and the Church would now be – because this was the message – happy ever after is fundamentally flawed, and flawed in such a way that no one can claim not to see the falseness of the premise. After 2000 years in which the Church has proclaimed to be the enemy of the world, this idea that suddenly the world and the Church should pedal in tandem in perfect harmony just because we happened to have computers, aeroplanes and medical advancements is more than stupid, it is criminally disingenuous. Every halfway instructed peasant with a sincere heart would have been perfectly aware of this, but the “Conciliar Fathers” apparently weren’t. Congratulations for the sleight of hand, Fathers; just don’t claim innocence.
2) The behaviour of the same “Conciliar Fathers”, of the very same people who took part to the Council, in the following years is the best evidence most of the Conciliar Fathers wanted to surrender to the world and were perfectly uncaring about the consequences. If the narrative of the “good man of God who is just a bit inattentive” had been true, once gone back to their dioceses the bishops would have started an extremely fierce fight for the defence of those values which, one way or the other, they would have seen as being not negotiable. This simply did not happen, and the West was swept by a tsunami of secular legislation against which our heroes opposed, if that, nothing more than a faint meowing. In the years of and following the council, sodomy laws were abolishes in many countries, abortion laws were introduced, and divorce laws were introduced or extended. I remember those times, as even in my country abortion and divorce were introduced in a matter of just a few years. If you think the Church staged anything similar to a fight to protect Christian values, think again. Surrender was the order of the day, and we were given to understand this be something even clever, once we had taken account of “the times”. That the times are what people make of them did not occur to them. The world was unstoppable, and there was no other choice but to bow and go with the flow.
This despicable cowardice, this complete surrender to wordly demands would never had happened, if the “modernisers” among the Conciliar Father had been in good faith. If they had been in good faith, they would have recognised immediately – and with shocking evidence as the years went by – that everything was going the wrong way, that they had castrated the Church and that it was time to grow a pair and put up a fight. Nothing of the sort happened. Instead, Archbishop Lefebvre was ordered to surrender control of his seminary, and the indecent embrace with the world went on with an accompaniment of guitars and tambourines. I remember those days. I remember many around me pointing out to this self-evident reality. I remember every idiot could see what was happening, and I am sick and tired to read those who have made all this mess possible and created immense – though not irremediable – damage treated as if they had been just a bit naive. They weren’t. They were simply, together with the world and in tune with “the times”, smoking the joint of Satan and enjoying it. Some inhaled more and some inhaled less, but all the modernising troops did inhale in some measure, Popes not excluded.
This is why I oppose the narrative of the “good intentions”. The intentions were bad from day one, because the execution proves beyond doubt what the real intentions were.
It has become nowadays fashionable to shoot at Bugnini. Shoot away, say I; but Bugnini did not live on a parallel planet, and could not have operated without the support and complicity of a vast number of his colleagues. If we point out to Bugnini’s errors, we must perforce point out to those who abetted these errors and followed him en masse.
Please let us stop with the tale of the good “modernising” bishop because he wasn’t a good bishop, but a sellout. As long as the Church does not recognises this and tries to justify the unjustifiable, we’ll carry the poison of Modernism (because this it was, in milder or shall I say cleverer form) with us.
I read from Father Z’s blog that a priest in England would be planning a TLM with…….. female servers. Why am I thinking “spare ribs with ice cream on top”……..?
I can think only of the following:
1) Priest is not as intelligent as he should. It happens in the best dioceses.
2) Priest is one of those who always want to make everyone happy, and ends up angering everyone.
3) Priest has recognised that the advance of the Tridentine cannot be stopped, and wants to apply a sort of “Bugnini treatment” to it. If I can’t stop it, I’ll ruin it.
4) Priest doesn’t understand what a Tridentine Mass is: a traditional mass. It is like wanting to celebrate a traditional Requiem mass, and asking Eminem to compose the music.
5) Priest loves publicity. And praise from the wymyn.
6) Priest is Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
I am curious to see how said priest imagines the rest: How about communion standing and on the hand (and Cardinal Burke be damned)? Will there be a launch of M&M’s among the pews after communion? How about liturgical dancers after the introductory rites? Or letting the faithful sing “We Are The Champions” in answer to “Ite, Missa est”?
I really can’t think what moves people to this kind of rather childish, kitsch, counterproductive initiative. The Tridentine Mass is a Weltanschauung, not a matter of regulations. You can’t have Eminem setting it in music just because, say, no one has expressly forbidden it. You celebrate the Tridentine Mass because you honour tradition, not because you want to demolish it.
These events always remind me of those old people dressing ridiculously in order not to appear “outdated” by the young generations; as a result they look even older than they are, stupid to boot, and get no respect from anyone.
Methinks, exactly what is going to happen to the above mentioned priest.
Messa In Latino has the latest news about the improvident instruction on Summorum Pontificum and the news are a mixed bag.
All the bad elements of the instructions are confirmed and seem now rather definitive: the non-application of Summorum Pontificum to the Latin rites who are different from the Roman rite, unfortunately, stays. This means that the diocese of Milan and – if memory serves – part of those of Lugano (5,000,000 faithful, Ambrosian rite) will be destined to be a Tridentine desert unless, as it has been suggested, the next Archbishop doesn’t provide a small “Summorum Pontificum” ad hoc. This is very, very bad and one can’t avoid seeing in this decision a kind of frightful ammunition given to the Sixty-eighters. Same situation for the rites of the religious orders (like the Dominicans), where the blow is a bit softened by the rather easier way to get over the ban (consent of superior suffices if the Mass is cum populo; no bishop required and no authorisation whatsoever if the mass is not cum populo).
Also confirmed is the fact that the Tridentine will not be used for ordinations, not even if authorised by the Bishop. Ordinations with Tridentine Mass will – obviously – remain for traditionalist orders, but that’s that. Interestingly, Messa in Latino points out to the fact that in France one-quarter of seminarians describes themselves as traditionalists even if not members of one of the traditionalist orders. This will certainly bring further and well-deserved sympathies – and probably further vocations, also fully deserved – to the SSPX.
In the disappointment of this and other, so to speak, minor bad news (all of them already known), one or two elements of improvements seem to have paved their way into the instruction, no doubt in order to give some token satisfaction to the very dissatisfied, ehm, serious Catholics. The two improvements would appear as follows:
a) in case of controversy between priest and Bishop, Ecclesia Dei decides. This is not much of a consolation as a priest is required to start an open war with his bishop before Ecclesia Dei is required to intervene in the first place; this is very far away from the original hope that Ecclesia Dei could appoint churches within the diocese to the celebration of Tridentine masses whenever the bishop slept. Still, it might make some bishop a bit more prudent, when he has a priest who is clearly imprudent.
b) The teaching of Latin in the seminaries is to be reintroduced. This is a bit of a joke as officially the teaching of Latin has never been abolished (Veterum Sapientia, I have written about it here) and the entire matter sounds not entirely credible, but one registers at least the token consolation and point of principle.
Summa summarum, the instruction remains very bad; a disappointment and a mistake, and a weapon in the hands of the trendies, but with some small half improvement and symbolic concessions meant to sweeten the pill.
Mala tempora currunt.
“Rorate Coeli” re-published a brilliant contribution from a member of the American Catholic Lawyers association, Christopher Ferrara. The contribution is longish, but fascinating and even if it has been written some years ago, it still maintains a great deal of actuality.
Mr. Ferrara examines SC with a lawyer’s spectacles, with a view of seeing what SC mandates and what it allows. It seems to be that his detailed analysis has as main aims:
1) to ascertain to what extent the Novus Ordo we know and hate has been authorised by SC;
2) to understand how it could be approved by certainly conservative bishops, in primis by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre;
3) to see whether the Latin Mass can be restored based on SC, and
4) what is the way forward, if not.
To 1), Mr. Ferrara convincingly proves that every modification originated by the Novus Ordo (and which does not constitute an obvious, liturgical abuse) can easily be justified in the light of SC. He points out (as Romano Amerio before him had often done) to the utterly contradictory mixture of conservative and progressive norms, with solemn statements of the will to preserve tradition immediately followed by the authorisation to proceed to sweeping modification every time that unspecified local needs should be taken into account. This apparent hysteria is, as it is clear now, rather the fruit of the will of Bugnini & Co. to reassure conservative Bishops with solemn statements of continuity of tradition whilst at the same time opening vast portals to utterly unspecified, arbitrarily decided changes by local communities. The strategy obviously worked as the document was approved and the sweeping liturgical modifications introduced in the following years were never seen by both Paul VI and JP II as being against the letter or the spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Ferrara’s case is solidly made: the argument that the Novus Ordo itself (again: leaving aside liturgical abuses) is not in compliance with SC’s norms is untenable. The Novus Ordo we have today is very clearly what was wanted, the fragmentation of the rite into a myriad of different languages and regional variations explicitly desired.
To 2), Ferrara points out to an important psychological, if not legal, factor in the Bishop’s approval. Sacrosanctum Concilium is so structured, that no substantial changes are made mandatory. The picture coming out from the reading is one of a document saying “we want to leave pretty much everything as it is, unless we introduce changes“. The options about changes are, though, so many and so undetermined, that the door to an almost unrecognisable Roman Rite was open wide. We know the results.
As Ferrara brilliantly writes,
A lawyer knows that the dangers in a contract from his client’s perspective lie not so much in what the terms of the contract provide as in what they permit the other party to do. The danger is in the loopholes. Quite simply, SC permits all manner of drastic things to be done to the Roman liturgy. It is one long collection of loopholes. If a lawyer entrusted with the task of protecting the Roman liturgy from harmful innovation had drafted this document, he would be guilty of gross malpractice.
This makes also clear why conservative Bishops like Lefebvre did approve the document. It wouldn’t have been prudent to reject the document altogether in view of its stated conservative character, but it was wise to point out to the dangers to which a mediocre wording would expose the Church. Archbishop Lefebvre actually did both (approving and warning) and in retrospect I would say that his conduct appears – once more – wise.
To 3), the obvious conclusion from what has been said up to now is that the idea that the New Mass is a violation of Sacrosanctum Concilium is untenable. This point seems very important to the author, which leads me to think that years ago the theory must have enjoyed vast popularity. But really, to espouse such a thinking would not only contradict the clear wording of SC (of which Ferrara brings many examples) but would also imply that two Popes have been gravely erring for decades in the interpretation of such an important Conciliar document.
To 4), the author has an interesting perspective. In his eyes, SC should not be modified or specified or guidelines to its interpretations given. Sacrosanctum Concilium deals with the Novus Ordo; it is not a doctrinal statement about how the Mass should look like, but merely a document stating how the mass may be modified. As things stand now, SC has been already implemented or, as Ferrara says in legal terms, has “merged” with the new Mass. Therefore there is, in legal terms, no SC anymore, only the New Mass it generated. As a consequence, the setting aside of the Novus ordo Mass will be the setting aside of Sacrosanctum Concilium. No need for any backpedaling, or modifications, or new interpretations. Just put the NO in the coldest part of the freezer and no further action will be required. Conversely, as SC clearly authorised all the sweeping changes we have experienced, its twisting to let it mean that those changes were never authorised or its modification to let it say the contrary of what it always meant doesn’t really make sense.
Let us conclude with the author’s very reasonable words:
The only way to restrain that mentality and restore liturgical sanity in the Roman Rite is full restoration of our Latin liturgical tradition – taken from us overnight, only 30 years ago.
Beautiful article in the Remnant about the reasons why the “luminous mysteries” should be discarded.
The first one is the historic origin of the Rosary in the Psaltery. When monks started to have the obligation to read all the Psalms (150 in number) every day, the increasing number of conversi (lay people who lived in the monastery helping the monks, generally to expiate grave sins or otherwise to perfect themselves but without becoming monks) made it necessary to create a comparable devotion accessible to them. As most conversi were illiterate, they started to be given the task of reciting 150 Pater Noster every day. In time, this devotion spread to the generality of the lay people in form of 150 Ave Maria. Thus we have a direct link to the Rosary with the Psaltery. An addition of a fourth cycle of mysteries makes of the entire rosary a cycle of 200 Hail Marys and the traditional link with the Psaltery is lost.
Secondly, the division of the Rosary in three parts and three sets of mysteries has been traditionally linked to the Trinity. This is why Pope Paul VI says that the Rosary is wisely distributed in three parts. The addition of a fourth part destroys the traditional link of the Rosary with the Trinity.
Thirdly, in any innovation of the Rosary there is an element of change. After the innovation madness of the last decades, we now know that change is not something good in itself; on the contrary, it creates confusion. What has been honoured and considered orthodox praxis by the centuries should be transmitted unaltered to the following generations. If it ain’t broken…….
Fourthly (and this is not in the article, but is a fact nevertheless) the Rosary has been shaped in his main traits by Marian apparitions to St. Dominic, Blessed Alan de la Roche and lastly to the children of Fatima. The idea that a Pope should add his own suggestions on how to improve on various Marian apparitions really, really doesn’t feel right.
Further interesting elements emerge from this article: the first is the attempted ravaging of the Rosary by the notorious Annibale Bugnini (it is amazing not only what damage the man has caused, but what further damage he wanted to cause), attempt stopped by Pope Paul VI who therefore spared the Rosary from undergoing the same treatment Bugnini inflicted to the Mass. The second is the laud given by the notoriously anti-Catholic New York Times to JP II’s “suggested” changes. Please note the words of the Article: JP II is commended for “crossing another frontier”, because in the NYT’s world if you cross a frontier of traditional Catholicism you must be doing something good. More explicitly, the NYT informs his probably unaware readers that the Pope will be “making a significant change in the Rosary, a signature method of Catholic prayer for centuries now”. Now, the NYT is certainly not interested in the improvement of Catholic spirituality. What it is interested in, is that something which has gone on for centuries is now going to change. They know very well that every time someone gives a shove to a traditional devotion, the faith is weakened as a result. The third is that even in the Vatican’s mind the changes reflect the late Pope’s “creativity” and “courage”. That “creativity” in relation to traditional Catholic devotions be not only contemplated, but even praised speaks volumes about the theological approximation and tireless devotion to “change” which used to afflict the Vatican in those years. Only eight years later, we read these words with stunned disbelief. That they could come from the Vatican is even more disquieting than the fact that they should be praised by their enemies at the NYT.
A bad History teacher doesn’t change History and a bad teacher of Catholicism doesn’t change Catholicism. But both will transmit their mediocrity to their pupils.
This is, of course, no theological matter. Still, traditional Catholic devotions play (or should play) an important role in a Catholic’s life and should be therefore left alone. It is now high time to abandon the shallowness and fashion-conscious thinking making us believe that “change” be something good. Change for the sake of change is not good and is not courageous, and “creativity” is nothing to do with tradition.
I invite you to recite the Rosary every day, and to do it as many generations before us have done.