27 November 2014

When did the "Vatican II" liturgical 'reforms' really begin?

Please allow me to commend a small but very important liturgical book. (I do not benefit from its sales!)

But firstly, three preliminaries.

(1) Some people think that the current Novus Ordo liturgical books are prescribed by Vatican II.

(2) Better informed people know that this is in many respects untrue. Many of the changes 'after the Council' were not in any way ordered by the Council. Some, indeed, went against what was ordered in the Conciliar Decree Sancrosanctum Concilium.

(3) But here is something which only the really mega-informed people know. The process of liturgical 'reform' began before the Council; indeed, before the Pontificate of B Paul VI. The Begetter of the 'reform' was in fact Pius XII. It was he who began the long employment of Annibale Bugnini; it was Pius XII who imposed some of the most deeply radical discontinuities in the Roman Rite.

The book I wish to commend today is an ORDO ... a small calendar giving the basic liturgical directions for each day in 2015 ... published by

The Saint Lawrence Press Ltd.
59, Sandscroft Avenue
Broadway
Worcestershire
WR 12 7EJ
United Kingdom

http://www.ordorecitandi.org.uk
ordorecitandi@gmail.com

This little book will show you day by day a wonderland in which festivals have octaves and vigils; even humble festivals have a First Vespers in accordance with  a Tradition which goes back even behind the New Covenant to the Judaic system; commemorations enable you to remember festivals which are partly obscured by other observances; the Last Gospel is sometimes changed to enable a different Gospel to be read; Newman's favourite Canticle Quicumque vult (the 'Athanasian Creed') is said; et cetera and kai ta loipa*.

What you will get a glimpse of is the Roman Rite as it was in 1939, before the Pius XII changes got under way. Not many, of course, will feel able to observe this calendar in their Mass and Office. But you will understand the 'reformed' rites of 1962 and 1970 so very much better by seeing what they replaced. Rather like understanding a diverse landscape all the better by having the geological knowledge of what's underground so as to understand why the visible contours and strata are the way they are. You will see, give or take some details, the skeleton and structure of the daily prayer of B John Henry Newman, Bishop Challoner, the English Martyrs, all the Saints (and sinners and common ordinary Christians) of the Western Church in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, centuries. You will get some surprises!

Go for it!!
_____________________________________________________________________________
*One thing I, personally, particularly love is a trio of now-lost feasts in early summer, at the start of May. The Invention (discovery) of the Holy Cross (an immensely beautiful feast celebrating the Cross suffused, as it were, with the glorious light of the Resurrection); S John at the Latin Gate (kept in the Ordinariate Calendar because it is the happy day of the first secret meeting when the really serious plotting for the Ordinariate began); and the Apparition of S Michael (I will not insult you by explaining why the Anglican Diocese of Truro [Cornwall] still keeps this most attractive feast). Then, at the start of August, is Lammas Day ... or Lughnasa if you insist ...

29 comments:

Patricius said...

On the subject of Octaves, J.R.R Tolkien wrote to Amy Ronald in 1969, saying:

"Now, my dear, as to my name. It is John: a name much used and loved by Christians, and since I was born on the Octave of St John the Evangelist, I take him as my patron - though neither my father, nor my mother at that time, would have thought of anything so Romish as giving me a name because it was a saint's."

Very interesting that in 1969 Tolkien thought still in terms of octaves, vigils and fasts; and St John's octave had been abolished in the reforms of Pius XII expounded masterfully by Rubricarius.

Adrian said...

Three of the four feasts you mention are, of course, in the Kalendar of the Book of Common Prayer.

Anselm said...

Very interesting indeed for private study and for a possible reform of the Usus Antiquior in fifty or so years time. Thank you Father for suggesting this. However the Usus Antiquior (1962) is also in continuity with what 'B John Henry Newman, Bishop Challoner, the English Martyrs, all the Saints (and sinners and common ordinary Christians) of the Western Church in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, centuries' prayed. If you don't believe me, then re-read 'Summorum Pontificum'. There is also this important question : 'Why not go back to the time before Pope St. Pius X, or even further back to the first edition of the Breviarium Romanum and the Missale Romanum ? Or even further back ? Despite unfortunate changes in the history of the Roman liturgy, we can still speak of continuity. Change can also be beneficial too. For example, the introduction of new feast days, more prominence given to the seasons of Advent and Lent, and ordinary Sundays, and 'some' simplification of rubrics. It is also worth re-reading Pope Pius XII's groundbreaking encyclical, 'Mediator Dei', specially in relation to 'archaeologism'. We should not be too hard on this great and venerable pope. Thank you.

Patricius said...

Anselm, indeed to go back to the liturgy as it was during the pontificate of Pius IX was desirable according to prominent literary Catholick Evelyn Waugh, who witnessed and complained about the "Usus Antiquior" in the early 1960's. There comes a point in the history of these changes when one loses sight of any semblance of continuity. Waugh certainly saw none and it was significantly the revised Holy Week services of Pius XII that he had in mind when he said: "I find myself resentful of the new liturgy," in his diary, p758 The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh.

It seems to me that your citing Mediator Dei's admonitions against "archaeologism" is but to say that tradition is whatever the popes say it is rather than a living reality unto itself and that we none of us have the right to feel robbed by the Church when traditions are changed beyond recognition. Perhaps you think that Waugh could have exercised the virtues of obedience in arresting his own opinion on the liturgical changes? Such dissent from the mind of the Church can only be harmful, surely?

David said...

The calendar reforms of Pius XII may have deprived the liturgy of much that was beautiful and good. Such changes to the calendar, however, are well within the scope of standard papal praxis (though perhaps here they were laid on too thick, too fast).

It seems to me, though, that the deformation of the breviary by St. Pius X was of far greater importance to the 20th Century liturgical changes. In blithely discarding a psalter of such antiquity, Pius X takes his place squarely beside Bl. Paul VI as one of the greatest papal liturgical innovators of the last century.

As far as I can tell, there is far greater continuity between the Missals of 1939 and 1962 than there is between the breviaries of 1908 and 1911. Among those who recognize the inadequacy of the 1962 MR, why is there a general lack of criticism of the Pius X breviary?

Anagnostis said...

Anselm. The only bit of Mediator Dei that matters is the historical and juridical falsehood asserted in paragraph 49. That's the "timebomb" that overturns everything else. Was Bugnini the author? Who knows. What we do know, for fact, is that the entire groundplan for the Novus Ordo was fully laid out by 1955, under the active patronage of Pius XII, together with the text for what would eventually be adopted as Sacrosanctum Concilium. Paul VI was simply the man holding the parcel when the music stopped.

Chris said...

Three of the four feasts you mention are, of course, in the Kalendar of the Book of Common Prayer.

And the fourth is absent not because of a decision to drop it, but because it wasn't in the Sarum Kalendar on which the BCP was drawing.

Ryan Ellis said...

David is correct. The most radical liturgical change of the 20th century was the imposition of the Missal of Bl. Paul VI on Advent Sunday 1969. The second most radical one was the imposition of a new Roman ferial (and low festal) psalter in 1911. Why the latter is given a free pass is a minor mystery.

Keith Kenney said...

Anagostis:

I'm curious as to what in paragraph 49 is deemed as historical and juridical falsehood?

Fr. Keith Kenney

Anselm said...

I hope you don't mind if I make a further comment Father Hunwicke.I don't need to repeat to Patricius et al. that I recognise that there were changes that were not - perhaps in hindsight - desirable. However a problem with the breviary before 1911 was that the psalter was hardly every recited in its entirety in a given week. It was to all intents and purposes, sadly defunct. Pope Pius X, and the revisers of the breviary, had to try to find a way which allowed the psalter to be recited in its entirety as much as possible while at the same time keeping the great veneration and devotion which the Latin Church has for the saints. While this reform was certainly not beyond criticism, it was certainly a good solution.The psalms were 'spread out', and this was not without precedent - e.g. ps. 118, and the reform made to the office of Prime in the first edition of the breviary. To impose the old and, although venerable like so many things from the Early Church, defunct psalter on every priest every week would have been a great burden, and also the problem remains with how this could be accommodated with the sanctoral, where the festal psalms were largely, almost daily, used for Matins, Lauds and Vespers. I'm curious to know Anagnostis how 'we do know, for fact, ... that the entire groundplan for the Novus Ordo was fully laid out by 1955, under the active patronage of Pius XII' ? Certainly ideas, such as Mass 'versus populum' were proposed by a number of 'liturgists' at that time and other unsavoury ideas : there is no doubt about this. Greater respect for the living liturgical tradition of the Church was needed, among other things, rather than false archaeologism and false innovation and demolition. A useful book to read is 'The Development of the Liturgical Reform : As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970' by Nicola Giampietro.

Patricius said...

Perhaps Anagnostis (whose pass-the-parcel analogy is very apt) refers to Pius XII's notorious reversal of the Lex Orandi and the supposition that the ecclesiastical magisterium had exercised supreme authority over the sacred rites from time immemorial. Appealing to one's own authority to manipulate liturgical rites is very much in keeping with the exercise of Petrine authority in the last hundred years.

On the subject of "which reform was greater," I do not clearly understand the difference people make between the reforms of Pius X and those of Paul VI. In a letter his son Michael written on 1st November 1963, J.R.R Tolkien said: "I suppose the greatest reform of our time was that carried out by St Pius X: surpassing anything, however needed, that the Council will achieve." (Letters no.250). Not a word about Holy Week or the Bea Psalter, the liturgical conferences at Lugano, or any of those things; just a frank appraisal of the canonical and liturgical reforms of Pius X. Those surpassing reforms are discussed in detail by Gregory DiPippo in a series of articles published on the New Liturgical Movement blog and also by Pierre Battifol in the second edition of his A History of the Roman Breviary.

Athelstane said...

Ryan,

Why the latter is given a free pass is a minor mystery.

Undoubtedly because 1) Pius X is chiefly famed as man to beat modernists with his fists, making it hard to imagine he could wrongfoot the liturgy, and 2) his breviary reform is now out of living memory, whereas Pius XII's and Paul VI's are not. That and, frankly, the breviary doesn't strike home for as many people as the Mass does.

Pulex said...

The Breviary reform of 1911 has been indeed criticised right after its promulgation by Dom Cabrol among others; more recently by late chant scholar L. Dobszay. The 'mystery' of it being criticised less than the subsequent reforms could be that 1) more time has passed, 2) it did not cause any doctrinal problems (unlike the reform of 1969), and 3) most 'users', i.e. clerics who have to recite it probably are not eager to go back to a more time-consuming version.

As Anselm correctly wrote, the rearrangement of Psalter was needed to shorten the time for recitation. Otherwise, the necessary equilibration of Psalter and Sanctoral could be achieved by reducing the Simples to Commemorations and Semidoubles and most Doubles – to Simples.

Perhaps not everybody is aware that in 1911 many Antiphons to the weekly Psalter, too, were rewritten. Not even Sunday Vespers were spared. Although this was not needed to achieve the ststed goals of the reform.

Athelstane said...

Patricius,

J.R.R Tolkien said: "I suppose the greatest reform of our time was that carried out by St Pius X: surpassing anything, however needed, that the Council will achieve." (Letters no.250).

Humphrey Carpenter speculated that Tolkien here had in mind Pius X's urging of frequent communion. This seems like a reasonable guess to me (Tolkien in other letters extols the desirability of frequent communion), but it is, of course, speculation. We really don't know for certain what Tolkien had in mind.

ansgerus said...

@Patricius "I do not clearly understand the difference people make between the reforms of Pius X and those of Paul VI."
In case of the reforms of Pius X you can continue to use the old breviary with a small appendix showing the new order of the daily psalter, and I even possess a booklet with the daily vespers of every day in the year, dated from 1913, which is basically from times of Leo XIII and was just equipped with a short introduction describing the differences and new rules, as well as a few pages with the new order of the psalter. Everything else could be used continuously. In case of the new liturgy after 1969, however, everything is changed entirely and it is not possible to continue to use any of the elder liturgical books; even the graduale does not work anymore. This being said, I completely agree that the reform of Pius X was a severe interrution of the liturgy which developed over centuries, and - which is worse - it is the beginning of liturgies made artificially by committees. It would have been fully sufficient to apply the new rules for the calendar so that on lower feast the daily psalter is observed again instead of the festive psalms. On the other hand, the breviary reform of Pius X forces to pray several "offensive" psalms during daytime, speaking a lot of the enemy and enemies (of the church), which was and is perfectly fitting to our time. Seen in this light, it was a very pastoral reform, taking into consideration the very needs of the faithful facing the strong attack of the enemy, who is in the sanctuary and tries to burn down everything - or is burning down everything already like in case of so many countries sufferring under the muslim regimes in our days.

ansgerus said...

@Patricius "I do not clearly understand the difference people make between the reforms of Pius X and those of Paul VI."
In case of the reforms of Pius X you can continue to use the old breviary with a small appendix showing the new order of the daily psalter, and I even possess a booklet with the daily vespers of every day in the year, dated from 1913, which is basically from times of Leo XIII and was just equipped with a short introduction describing the differences and new rules, as well as a few pages with the new order of the psalter. Everything else could be used continuously. In case of the new liturgy after 1969, however, everything is changed entirely and it is not possible to continue to use any of the elder liturgical books; even the graduale does not work anymore. This being said, I completely agree that the reform of Pius X was a severe interrution of the liturgy which developed over centuries, and - which is worse - it is the beginning of liturgies made artificially by committees. It would have been fully sufficient to apply the new rules for the calendar so that on lower feast the daily psalter is observed again instead of the festive psalms. On the other hand, the breviary reform of Pius X forces to pray several "offensive" psalms during daytime, speaking a lot of the enemy and enemies (of the church), which was and is perfectly fitting to our time. Seen in this light, it was a very pastoral reform, taking into consideration the very needs of the faithful facing the strong attack of the enemy, who is in the sanctuary and tries to burn down everything - or is burning down everything already like in case of so many countries sufferring under the muslim regimes in our days.

David L Alexander said...

Anselm wrote:

"A useful book to read is 'The Development of the Liturgical Reform : As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970' by Nicola Giampietro."

Wherein it will be discovered that the presence of Annabale Bugnini would in no way imply that he was "in charge." Indeed, much of the thought that precipitated the Holy Week and Easter Vigil reforms of Pius XII took place before 1948, when Bugnini was a parish priest outside of Rome, having only been ordained in 1938 -- certainly a progressivist in the liturgical movement, but hardly a giant (and who, by the way, was removed from his position by none other than John XXIII).

Lord of Bollocks said...

@Adrian

Interesting isn't it? That a "protestant" service book has four feasts the post-Pius XII books lack?

@Anselm

My opinion of Mediator Dei coincides wih Bp. Tissiere De Mallerais' opinion of Vatican II. THe church would be wise to ignore the blasphemous and heretical document as they did John XXII and his opinion of the Beautific Vision.

I'm glad I stick with the Greek Catholics so I don't spend time and money to get an untouched book that no priest uses anymore.

In Byzantium I can get a more authentically Ancient Roman Holy Week than anyone in the "Extraordinary Form" or the "Ordinary Form".

Patricius said...

Athelstane, Humphrey Carpenter does indeed say that but I do not believe that he knew that much about the reforms of Pius X. Tolkien knew a lot more than many people realise about liturgy and took a keen and concerned interest in church life. In his first published work, A Middle English Reader and Vocabulary (compiled jointly with Kenneth Sisam) there are many citations from mediaeval liturgical sources, ordinals, antiphoners, missals and legends. On 10th March 1960 Tolkien attended a lecture given at Blackfriars by Fr Jerome Hamer entitled "The Coming General Council of the Church: Everybody's Concern." Tolkien also famously translated the Book of Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible, although when he saw the finished Bible distanced himself from any involvement in the project.

The man was not oblivious. I only regret the scarcity of published material of his liturgical views due, undoubtedly, to the success of The Lord of the Rings. I did once locate an unpublished letter from 28th March 1956 on the reforms of Pius XII but when I wrote to Gerard Stodolski and requested a transcript he wrote back and said that the letter was sold and none was available. Pity.

Ttony said...

Anagnostis will answer for himself if he notices that his comments have aroused such interest, but my guess would be he is referring first to the 1951 Maria Laach and 1952 Mont Ste Odile Conferences which enunciated many of the structural reforms of the Mass which would become part of the Novus Ordo, and second to the 1955 imposition of the reformed rites for Holy Week, which demonstrated that in the Latin Church, the Roman Pontiff could do whatever he wanted to the Liturgy, however great the rupture with centuries of praxis by Fiat.

Richard Duncan said...

I agree that Rubricarius has done us all a great service by producing this Ordo. It is not for me to put words into his mouth, but I don't think he would say that, in enabling us to see the Roman Rite as it was circa 1939, he is necessarily endorsing the view that everything was ok with it. His seminal articles in Usus Antiquior on the Breviary Reform of Pope St Pius X make it clear not only that the 1911 psalter represented a radical departure from tradition but also that helped to form a mindset that everything was up for grabs.

However, it takes time for people to accept this position and the great merit of this Ordo (and the St Lawrence Press Blog) is that it makes the deficiencies of the 1962 liturgical books crystal clear and facilitates an informed debate on the future of the Roman Rite.

Fr Richard Duncan
The Oratory
Birmingham

Athelstane said...

Patricius,

"Tolkien knew a lot more than many people realise about liturgy and took a keen and concerned interest in church life."

I would not dispute that point at all - clearly, he was one of the most engaged and knowledgeable English laymen of his generation.

I don't know whether Carpenter is right or wrong, because Tolkien's cryptic comment has no explanatory context. Perhaps he *was* talking about the Pian Breviary reform, but we really just don't know. Given Tolkien's general aversion to change - he still smarted about 1066 - I am a little skeptical that he was a big fan of the Breviary overhaul, or for that matter the new Code of Canon Law (which was completed anyway under Benedict XV). But I am open to being persuaded, if anyone can uncover any evidence on this front.

Athelstane said...

Reading this combox is yet another affirmation for me that there is, pleasingly, a growing recognition that most of the 20th century liturgical reforms have been problematic - not just the ones of the 1960's. That even popes named "Pius" - even ones noted for eating modernists for lunch - are no longer above criticism.

All of which raises certain questions about papal authority over the liturgy, or at least least what prudence and theological formation is needed in its exercise. Our host observed a few years back that "we get our knickers in a bit of a twist if we categorically deny that the Bishop of Rome has an authoritative locus as far as the Roman Rite is concerned," while pointing out the central role of the Papacy in formulating the (traditional) Roman Rite in the first place. There is truth to this, but I think it also telling that until the 20th century, popes were uniformly unwilling to impose significant changes on the liturgical books. Some of that might have been inertia, or even fear, but we must also entertain the possibility that more prudent motives were at work.

Patricius said...

Athelstane, confessedly the published evidence is lacking. My own conclusions as to the meaning of this, as you say, cryptic sentence are based on my knowledge of the general ethos of Tolkien's work and his religious sentiments. I do not believe that Carpenter does either much justice in his biography.

Lord of Bollocks, as regards the protestant Prayer Book, in addition to having a streamline traditional kalendar it also prescribes whole Psalms to be sung at Mattins and Evensong, unlike the fragmented mess of 1911.

Lee said...

To borrow an idea that Father Hunwicke once voiced, I think a sign of whether a reform/change is a rupture and not an organic development is whether or not you can still use existing books, with the aid of say a supplemental fascicle or, as was published in 1914, a new Psalter.

I would voice another means of decision: can you still include the Pius V bulla at the start of your edition of the Breviary/Missal, and not have it be ridiculous to do so? This for me is telling about the nature of what happened in, say, 1970.

I use the 1948 typical edition of the Office; this was the last typical edition before the real oddity, the 1956 version, which did not even include the rubrics that had gone into effect the previous year. 1948 preserves the old Assumption office, too (which, interestingly, was still printed in the Johannine era Breviarium Monasticum of 1963, alongside the Pian office...apparently individual monasteries decided which to use).

There are problems with 1948, but also, I think, a real richness (plus, one can use the S. Lawrence Press ordo!). This weekend one feels united to the East, as on Saturday one has the Vigil of S. Andrew, with a really lovely set of lessons, and then the transferred feast on Monday (where my Jesuit supplement notes one also commemorates Campion, etc.).

-Dr. Lee Fratantuono

Ben said...

I can't track the down the reference just now, but I seem to recall that one of the chant scholars involved with planning the Pius X reforms was a Monsignor Isengard. That did make me wonder whether Tolkien had a greater interest in those reforms than one might have guessed.

Lord of Bollocks said...

@Ben

So it seems... There was a Father J. d'Isengard involved.

http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/roman-breviary-reform-of-the

Unfortunately, I cannot find anything on the man as of yet. It still might only be a coincidence.

Pulex said...

It must be Fr. Giuseppe d'Isengard. He was on several commissions established by St. Pius X, though it seems his specialty was catechesis rather than chant. His brother Fr. Luigi d'Isengard was in Garibaldi's army before ordination. Both belonged to the same relogious order as Msgr. A. Bugnini and Fr. C. Braga.

Patricius said...

Apropos Monsignor d'Isengard, perhaps it's significant philologically that when Isengard, the "iron fortress," was overthrown by the Ents they renamed it the Treegarth...organic development, anyone?!