17 July 2016

"Orientophobia: On Coming Out Of The Liturgical Closet

I commend a splendid article by a splendid young Byzantine Rite scholar, Professor Adam deVille, whom I have had the privilege and pleasure of talking with. It is in the NCR with the above title. (h/t to Professor Tighe.)

Tasters: " ... papal centralisation and personality cult" with regard to which D looks forward to "a necessary welcomed healthful decline back to earth"; "An undisciplined papacy that has done much damage with off-the-cuff comments and other utterances of dubious authority and tortuous prolixity"; "people huddling in the papal petticoats"; "shady operatives ..."

Professor deVille points out the enormously bad impression given to Orthodox and to Eastern Christians generally when badly advised Western prelates do disastrous and silly things like attacking the Ecumenical versus Orientem consensus.

I particularly like the phrase "people huddling in the papal petticoats". I only wish I had thought of it myself. Superb alliteration and assonance, worthy of Virgil and Ovid! Vividly striking imagery! Somebody commented to me only the other day how much broader the Holy Father's skirts had become since my birthday in 2013. The effect of the Santa Marta kitchens? Too much sitting in airliners? Too many cosy and sedentary chats with dodgy sycophants?

14 comments:

philipjohnson said...

Fr.His Humbleness has to eat in order to help him sustain the endless stream of mindless babble which emanates from his mouth.!

Woody said...

Dear Father,

Prof. deVille's article is in the Catholic World Report, as linked here: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/4920/on_orientophobia_coming_out_of_the_liturgical_closet.aspx

By happy coincidence (if there is such a thing) I have just received my copy of the English translation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church's new catechism, "Christ our Pascha" and a quick look suggests that it will have much to recommend it, as it appears to start much of its teaching by reference to the Liturgy of Saint Basil, and much of the citation to authorities is to liturgical texts, the menaion and triodion, and iconography.

Keep up all the good work.

Dialogue said...

What's peculiar to me is how difficult it is to find anything substantive written in favor of arrangement that is, for now, usual in the Roman Rite.

job said...

It would be a useful exercise to reread the Ritual for the Dedication of an Altar as well as the Mass etc to be used for the Dedication of a Church and for the Dedication of an Altar. The Altar itself is said to be the meeting place with the Resurected Lord -- the very Gate of Heaven -- and so the access to the eschatological New Jerusalem. The Priest facing the Altar toward the assembled Christians is just as much ' facing the Lord'. As are the assembled Christians facing the Altar from the other side.

Dialogue said...

Job,

Then it shouldn't bother anyone if the priest faces the same direction as the congregation, since the congregation itself does not constitute a direction of prayer.

NO D said...

job said...

'.. the Altar toward the assembled Christians is just as much ' facing the Lord' ..'

A slight misunderstanding of the symbolic purpose there, Job. A minister who faces either side of the Jesus Table, aka 'altar', also 'faces the Lord'; but this is not the desired meaning of the ritual 'orientation' offered in the sacrificial aspects of the Catholic priesthood. The ritual asks the presbyterate, symbolically, to lead the people (at different points in the liturgy) as one body (with one spirit) directed specifically to the Catholic Altar, Christ Jesus .. not generally to each other .. thus the priest when 'turned to the people' calls them to follow him in a special way at the Sign of Peace (after the Peace, it would seem, re-turning to face the Altar in the same way as the people); he 'turns' to the people for a distinct symbolic purpose - and that often neglected (or ignored) sense of 'turning' is the symbolism still set out in the current GIRM for the New Order (whether in Latin, Greek and Aramaic or in any approved vernacular) .. a patently visible not merely a sincerely imaginative unity of orientation.

'127. The Priest, turned towards the people, extending and then joining his hands,
adds:
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
The people reply:
And with your spirit.'

El Codo said...

This morning at Mass we had a visiting preacher for a second collection. Father let him celebrate and I knew from the very beginning and the chappy greeting of the faithful that the Holy Mysteries would be offered in a mangled and depressing fashion.Not an automatic advocate of the Old Rite, the thought did strike me that all this vacuous banality would be impossible in Usus Antiquor. I need help as I fear I am becoming a Traddie.

Victor said...

@Job: It is a great source of disorientation (no pun intended) when you see the altar (symbol of the Lord) with the Priest (alter Christus) behind it AND the tabernacle (the Lord incarnate) still behind the priest. Such a multitude of representations - which one to face? The traditional way, with the priest standing before altar and tabernacle, puzzles one much less.
Also, while the idea is nice, in fact people usually are not facing the altar but Fr Whatshisname's face, which in turn makes Fr. think that it's really about him, and that he has to entertain the people so they enjoy the experience. (I might be painting a broad picture here, but it is true more often than it is not.)
Not to speak of 1900 years of tradition in the Roman Church (and virtually every other Church in the narrow sense) which have been discarded in favour of the brainchild of some liturgists of the early 20th century...

The Saint Bede Studio said...

Professor DeVille's article makes reference to the following work of Massimo Faggioli True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium. An insightful review of this work was given on the New Liturgical Movement blog at the time of its publication (2012).

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2012/11/book-review-true-reform-liturgy-and.html#.V4xuCZN943g

job said...

If one thinks that in celebrating the Mass one should 'face the tabernacle' as the ideal position, there is a serious 'loose end' in the theology involved. And also it is important to note that in the 1570 rubrics of Pope Pius V -- and even in the manuscripts before and the printed editions after there is provision for Mass 'facing the people'.

mark wauck said...

@ The Saint Bede Studio,

Thanks for the link. I had seen a reference to Faggioli's book elsewhere which gave me to believe the book's thesis is problematic. Some of DeVille's remarks suggested that to me as well, and the review at New Liturgical Movement confirmed those impressions. Very useful, in depth review.

William Tighe said...

"If one thinks that in celebrating the Mass one should 'face the tabernacle' as the ideal position, there is a serious 'loose end' in the theology involved. And also it is important to note that in the 1570 rubrics of Pope Pius V -- and even in the manuscripts before and the printed editions after there is provision for Mass 'facing the people'."

And your point is? (given that those 1570 rubrics refer to those situations in which to "face the people" is to "face East")

Victor said...

@Job: do you think having the priest turn his back to the tabernacle is better? Just asking...

Dialogue said...

Job,

Christ offers His Sacrifice neither to Himself nor to the congregation, but to our Father in Heaven. Christ revealed this fundamental orientation at Calvary, which is why a good altar cross is so useful to our participation in the Mass. The rising sun was historically effective, since it appears to ascend towards the Heavens. At any rate, it makes no sense for us to think of the tabernacle, the altar, the congregation, or the celebrant as the intended recipient of the Mass.

As for older provisions for Mass "facing the people", this has been explained at length by the Pope Emeritus and plenty of others qualified to do so.