Sunday, July 01, 2007

Benedict's Liturgical Liberalism

Pope Benedict is pro choice, at least when it comes to the liturgy.

Next Saturday, he will release his motu proprio which will allow priests to say the ancient Latin Rite mass without having to get their bishop's OK.

I do not believe that the freeing of the mass of the Missal of John XXIII is meant solely for an opening to schismatic traditionalists. The motu proprio is being released on the Feast of Cyril and Methodius under the old calendar. I read this as a signal to Eastern Orthodoxy. I do not read what the signal is however.

The Organic Development of the Liturgy

The Liturgical Movement, whose work was endorsed by the Second Vatican Council, was rediscovering the liturgical tradition of the Latin Rite, replacing less democratic music with chant, restoring to the people their legitimate parts of the mass (singing the Kyrie, the Gloria, etc.), and spreading an understanding of the mass. The Consilium commissioned to revise the missal in 1969 in its haste and, for lack of a better word, its bull-headedness, made some serious mistakes. Subsequent research has shown that many of its scholarly and pastoral assumptions were wrong. Heavy handed implementation compounded these problems.

The liturgy is supposed to develop organically. Given the break in that development, can we start afresh? Benedict seems to think so.

Benedict is asking us to replant the older liturgy next to Mass of Paul VI so that they can grow side by side cross pollinating and creating the proper fruits of the Liturgical Movement for our children and our children's children.

It took forty years for First Vatican Council to bear fruit. We will just now start to see the Second Vatican Council bear its first liturgical fruits.

You are not convinced? Read this moving account of one new priest's experience. He attended a one week training session ("boot camp") for the traditional Latin mass (i.e., according to the Missal of John XXIII.) This priest will be saying the new mass better, more reverently, and with greater effect because of his experience of the old.

Laus Tibi Dei!


Leticia said...

This is my take on the Motu Proprio as well,and I appreciate your turn of phrase, "cross-pollination" is exactly right!

Tomas said...

Your comments are a puzzling mixture of true statements, hopelessly pollyannaish naivete, and the affirmation of a phrase in this motu proprio which is just outrageous. First, it is true that this is not an opening for the SSPX. It appears (and I say "appears" because we don't have the document yet) to be a rather weak attempt to place the true Mass on an equal footing with the false one (I say "false" because the Novus Ordo is not a mass but an adapted Protestant template). Second, the Consilium did not work in haste and did not somehow destroy centuries of sacred liturgy by accident or by bull-headedness. Bugnini and his fellow travelers' attack against the Church was carefully planned, years before the Council. The work of the Consilium was, in short, the consummation of Pope Leo XIII's vision, wherein Satan boasted to Christ that he could destroy the Church in one century. Finally, the idea that the creation of the enemies of the Church, the so-called Novus Ordo, can inspire growth in the 1962 Missal is completely ludicrous. Pollination, if it occurs, will occur in only one direction, and only if there is enough demand for it: it will cause the Church - hopefully parish priests in particular - to fully realize the utter bankruptcy of the Novus Ordo, which actually enshrines the relativism and indifference that Pope Benedict keeps complaining about.

Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...


Thank you for your comments.

I am more skeptical than most about how much authority Councils and popes have over the liturgy. Nevertheless, I do not agree with you that the mass under the Missal of Paul VI (the "Novus Ordo") is a false mass and the mass under the Missal of John XXIII is a true mass. The English translation is a test of faith, however.

There is a little ambiguity in your grammar when you say: "The work of the Consilium was, in short, the consummation of Pope Leo XIII's vision, wherein Satan boasted to Christ that he could destroy the Church in one century." You are alluding to a vision of evil not something Leo XIII advocated. Am I correct?

Leo XIII was a key figure in the Liturgical Movement since he was the first pope to advance its cause. He also was the first to use the phrase "actuosa participatio," which phrase was misappropriated and misrepresented by the liturgists who hijacked the Liturgical Movement after the Council.

I hope to comment further tommorrow. I appreciate your sense of satire.

I will continue to pray for our church and its liturgy. If in your heart you can join me, it would be much appreciated.


Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...


My Apology.

The first papal use of "participatio actuosa" was by Saint Pius X, Leo XIII's sucessor, in his Motu Proprio Tra le sollicitudini.

In this and subsequent usage, the meaning was clear: the congregation should chant (in Latin) its parts of the mass. This is similiar to the dialog masses of my high school days before Vatican II.

Mea cuplpa,