15 December 2010

The Hermeneutic of Continuity (3)

I devoted a series of posts a month or two ago to demonstrating that the rites put in place after Vatican II were not what the Council mandated. I think it is fairly commonly agreed by those who have actually read the Conciliar Decree Sacrosanctum Concilium that the committees of experts who produced the new rites in fact hijacked and perverted both the spirit and the letter of the Council. Archbishop Lefebvre, who voted for the Decree and who patiently adopted the modest and organic alterarions of the next five years, justly and rightly made a prophetic protest against this process: however wrong we believe him to have been in his refusal to believe in the sincerity of Cardinal Ratzinger, and in his consequent determination to perform illegal consecrations.

The last two posts in this present series demonstrated, I hope, the centrality of the technology of printing to the history of liturgy in the last six hundred years. As I showed, it was printing that brought in the chaotic situation to which S Pius V addressed himself in his liturgical reforms. And in the sixteenth century, it was printing that Pius was himself able to use to restrain and reform the liturgical dysfunctions of the Latin Church. The paradox of the twentieth century is that printing was again crucial: but, on this occasion, the Discontinuators who had seized the levers of liturgical power were enabled to use printing to do the opposite of what Pius V did: they used it to disseminate and impose disorders rather than, as he did, to restrain and eliminate them.

As my favourite liturgist, Lenin, would say: What is to be done? We may wonder what can be done when, for nearly half a century, Christian men and women have been brought up to use a liturgy which was corrupted textually by Discontinuating ideologues in Rome; a Liturgy which was then heteropractically deformed by unmandated innovations (versus populum and vernaculars universally enforced, for example); and which was finally rendered even more unfit for purpose in the Anglophone world by the imposition of a 'translation' which refused to the People of God unfettered access even to such elements of the Tradition as had survived into the 'reformed' Latin texts.

I cannot persuade myself that one distinguished liturgical writer is proposing a practical agenda when he suggests that we should return to the preconciliar books and then give them such a revision, organic and cautious, as is actually mandated by the Council. As Cardinal Ratzinger explained when dealing with the question of versus populum/versus apsidem, however technically just it would be to set aside the malformations of forty years, such an action would simply disturb people. I would add that it would also, in fact, reinforce the deplorable notion that liturgy is endlessly changeable by mere fiat from Authorities ... fiats disseminated not now only by printing but by even more rapid technologes. The reinforcement of this unfortunate misconception could (if enough of Satan's smoke seeps into the Church of the future) make the situation ultimately worse.

We of the Anglican Patrimony might just conceivably be able to help here with general principles.
One more post should conclude this series.


Mall said...

40 years ago I was disinherited. A wealthy relative left me his house and a small fortune, but a criminal solicitor diverted everything to himself. He has now finally been prosecuted and found guilty. Strangely, though, the judge said that although by right I should be awarded my inheritance, in fact I had grown used to living in relative poverty, and any sudden increase in wealth might disturb me. After all, I had already been disturbed by the loss of my inheritance many decades ago. It would be difficult for me to readjust to living above the poverty line.

Somehow that all seems wrong to me.

Anonymous said...


I can envision one scenario in which the "malformations of forty years" could be chucked lock, stock, and barrel, without lending to the "deplorable notion that liturgy is endlessly changeable by mere fiat."

I believe that the Ordinary of 1965 can and should be restored as the "reformed liturgy."

After the Council, the '65 was deemed as such, as is attested in the frontispiece of every missal printed at the time. It contains only, and no more than, what Sacrosanctam Concilum required of the reformed Mass.

The '65 Ordinary is "simplified" in its truncated Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and removal of the Last Gospel. It contains the "prayer of the faithful. All required by SC. All it really lacks is an extra reading which would "open the treasures of the bible more lavishly." A single Old Testament reading could be added to fulfill that requirement, without even disrupting the traditional single year cycle.

Such a Missal could be proclaimed without guile as the actual will of the Council, and the Novus Ordo abrogated as a disastrous effort of over-reaching good-intention.

To satisfy traditionalists, the new missal would exist in unified form. The '65 could be celebrated as an option, replete with vernacular where appropriate, along with the '62. Both options would be celebrated according to the more traditional rubrics of the '62.

The "banal, on-the-spot product" of Bugnini and his Swiss motel liturgists could be abandoned this way, and the world shaken only a little. Why wait 100 years for a "mutual enrichment" and the further decay of civilization and loss of countless more souls when the work has already been done?

Joshua said...

The LCMS have already provided a set of OT Lections for use together with what they term the one-year lectionary.

Andrew said...

There actually was an expanded lectionary that came out around 1967. I have one, and it basically expands the reading choices for ferial days (instead of repeating the last Sunday's readings) among a few other things. I haven't looked into it too deeply, but it seems like a much better option then the complete upheaval of the three year lectionary.