30 January 2017

Dix and Liturgical Reform

This is to make space for our contributor Mark Wauck to make some interesting remarks. See the Thread.

9 comments:

mark wauck said...

Fr. Hunwicke's recent posts led me to do a bit of searching re Gregory Dix, and I came up with a pair of articles that I think will be of immediate interest to readers here.

The first is an article from 1981, How Episcopalians Were Deceived. Of course, the date is a giveaway for what the author is on about: the new 1979 Book of Common Prayer. What's interesting about this for Catholics is that, if you substitute "Catholic" for "Episcopalian" in this article, you get a pretty accurate description of what had happened 10 years earlier to the Roman Mass. Which is no real coincidence, since what had transpired in the Roman Church was an inspiration to these Anglican/Episcopals.

The motivation of the "reformers" is made crystal clear: The liturgy HAS to be changed because, hey, lex orandi, lex credendi, and that means if we don't change the liturgy then the wretched pewsitters will never give up their "classical theology" and adopt our preferred modern German thinking. Here's a brief passage:

"The theological implications of liturgical renewal are expressly set forth:

"The church has awakened to the demise of classical theology.

"I know that there are those who do not understand this and protest it vigorously.

"As I reflect upon the educational process that has brought the Episcopal Church to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, it seems clear that it is a symbol of a theological revolution, which is a victory for none of the old "parties" that those of us over 40 remember so vividly from our youth. The new prayer book has, consciously or unconsciously, come to emphasize that understanding of the Christian experience which one might describe as a postcritical apprehension of symbolic reality and life in the community. It is consonant with Ricoeur's "second naivete" and is more expressive of Husserl, Heidegger, Otto, and Rahner than Barth or Brunner. It embraces a Logos Christology. This viewpoint was shaped liturgically at Maria Laach, transmitted to Anglicanism by Herbert, Ladd, and Shepherd, and reinforced by Vatican II and a cluster of theologians and teachers who are, directly or indirectly, part of the theological movement reflected in that most significant gathering of the church in the 20th century."


So, there you have it, just in case you had any doubts about why liturgical reformers are so adamant about what they're doing. "Classical theology" (Christian thought) is to be replaced by modern German inspired neo-pagan "philosophy" (more properly, "ideology"). And the liturgy will be the vehicle for inculturating this transformation into the life of the Church. (Continued)

mark wauck said...

The second article is expressly devoted to Gregory Dix and was written by none other than Professor Tighe, oh, back in 2008: The Shape of the Liturgy: Dom Gregory Dix’s Imperfect Work Remains an Edifying Modern Classic. Once again, it's very much worth a careful read. Nevertheless, here are two passages that I consider key, because they get at the nature of this neo-pagan ideology:

"Dix’s book is about tracing the development of this ritual pattern against the background of its Semitic origins in the Lord’s institution of the ritual at the Last Supper, and its subsequent “inculturation” in the Greco-Roman world. It is not, in other words, a manifesto for liturgical reform.

"At times, though, Dix does imply, or even suggest (in speaking of the post-Tridentine Roman Rite) that in the Roman Catholic Church a degree of simplification of ceremonial, encouragement of more active lay participation in the Mass, and even use of the vernacular would be desirable, and perhaps inevitable, as the world slipped into what he saw as a new “dream of the self-sufficiency of human power” now coming to “oppress the human spirit.”

And a bit later Professor Tighe quotes Dix directly:

"The whole hard structure of the civitas terrena, the earthly city that had once thought itself eternal, was now ready to dissolve into a different future. Gibbon was right. The foundation of the empire was loosened by the waters of baptism, for the empire’s real foundation was the terrible pagan dream of human power."

Does anyone else recognize our present crisis in these words?

William Tighe said...


One might write an interesting study of Dix and "Modernism." I have not done the research for it, but I would suspect such a study would fnd some "Modernist" elements in his thought, together with a strong insistence on the infallibility of the ecclesiastical and papal Magisterium. (Apparently among Dix's papers there is an incomplete essay on the "ordination" of women, an innovation to which Dix expresses strong opposition, but in the end he seems to incline to the view that the question is a matter of "discipline" ratherthan of "doctrine" - but not having seem the essay I am repling on Simon Bailey's description of it in his study of Dix.)

On Bailey's book, see:

http://www.newoxfordreview.org/reviews.jsp?did=1297-tighe

Christopher Boegel said...

On the attack against orthodox theology, via Germany, I recently learned that Cdl. Kasper, who is the favorite theologian of the Supreme Pontiff Francis, this Kasper teaches heresy: "The God who sits enthroned above the world and history as a changeless being is an offense to man." (God in History, Kasper, 1967)

When I read that, I realized that the whole "spirit of Vstican 2" ideology is not merely non-Catholic, but non-Christian. This is a cult of the worship of man.

From this, it follows that the liturgy must be changed - by the "leaders" of the new cult.

And as the Supreme Pontiff Francis spawns the new cults of the dissenting national conferences, based on the attack against FC and the 2000 yrs before it, each has its own sacramentality, and this year, after the attack on Liturgiam Authenticam, each will be allowed their own national liturgy.

And this accrues nicely to the many ambitious "progressive" autocrats of the "college" of Bishops and Cardinals, who see the church and its endowments as their own personal property, and delight in the emerging reality that now, each national conference is its own "magisterium," capable of not only establishing the new cult freely in their domain, but attacking and crushing every truly Catholic Bishop in their domain who teaches the Catholic faith.

And going back to Kasper,s 1967 heresy - this is diabolical - Modernist ideology - the sum of all heresies.

Michael LaRue said...

The question Dix raises about Women's ordination is interesting. I found Ramsey in his writing equally unable to deal with it. Hoever, last year when reading Eric Mascall on the Eucharist, I came across something that is key. He noted that a sacrament involves a divinely-given symbol and a divine command. Thus key to examining women's ordination theologically is the symbolism of the person who is ordained: Is the biological sex of that person an essential part of the symbol? If it is, then without a doubt there is no sacrament when attempting to ordain a woman, because the essential symbol is lacking. If the sex of the ordained is not essential to the symbol, then it is just a matter of discipline, and there is no reason not to ordain women.

I think this goes back to our Lord as the bridegroom if the Church. He is the Bridegroom, it seems to me looking at Scripture and the Fathers, so that the Church may be fruitful, that she may bear new children by Baptism. The Bishop, and the priests and deacons who are ordained as an extension of his ministry, stand in a spousal relation to the Church. And, just as the seed of the natural husband begets children by the natural wife, so the seed they sow *in persona Christi* is the Word of God which is generative of the new supernature by which the Christian is reborn.

The problem comes up, I think, because the theologians writing in that generation were too embarrassed to talk about sex, as we still are today. Or we think generally that something so crude as our bodies and our biological sex are unimportant. This reveals something Manichaean lurking in our thought, which helps explain the loss of faith.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Neither bishops nor priests stand in spousal relationship to the church.

The idea that they do turns the church into an adultress.

Michael LaRue said...

But, Mr. von Brandenburg, does this not get back to the very nature of Holy Orders as a Sacrament? Your argument reminds me of those evangelicals here in the U.S. who argue that the Church needs no priest, for we have one priest, Christ, and that there is no thing such as Christian Kingship (itself a sacramental of Christ's kingship), because Christ is our only king. I am happy to be corrected, but if my theory is right, those in holy orders, bishops, priests, and deacons (especially in the liturgical proclamation of the Gospel), would be sacraments of Christ, the bridegroom of the Church. Thus they are not acting in there own persona, but, as I stated clearly, "in persona Christi". So I don't think your objection holds.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Distinguo - the church is Christ's bride, not the bishop's/priest's but the bishop/priest, although he participates in an ontological way in Christ's priesthood via the sacramental character imposed at ordination, he is not consubstantial with Christ, and is therefore not identical. Hence not the Church's bridegroom.

The idea that the bishop or priest has the church as his spouse is just one of many poor arguments relied upon by those against clerical marriage in the Latin church.

Michael LaRue said...

I don't think terms like consubstantial and ontological mean quite what you are using them to mean. The priest is not the same person as Christ (hypostasis) but shares a divine substance with his Father, and a human substance with his mother. By the term ontological, I assume that you mean that there is a permanent character conferred at ordination.

The tradition of the church affirms both that the ordained act in persona Christi vis à vis the gathered church, and that there is no doctrinal reason why married men cannot be ordained, so I do not see the problem. What the sacrament of order symbolizes effectually does not change the priests ability to enter into matrimony, or impede his other relations as a human person, nor do I see any reason why it should.