19 February 2017


I apologise to Dom Benedict Andersen for inviting him to write on this subject on the thread when I was not in a position to enable his cogent and important comments. I now therefore repeat this piece  to ENABLE YOU TO READ HIS COMMENTS.
I am afraid that there is an immensely silly article in the CWR by a Fr Peter Stravinskas. He asks how the Ordinary Form could enrich the Extraordinary Form.

The problem with his piece is that he goes on and on ... and on ... and on ... having yet more bright ideas. One thing leads to another. You start off considering his ideas ... but by the time he has finished with you he is proposing a completely new rite.

More to the point, and most disturbingly, he is apparently unaware of a large amount of work, academically, which has been done in the last twenty or so years. The 1960s changes were based on shabby and shallow scholarship. The last thing we want to do to the EF now is to make precisely the same blunder!

A tiny handful of examples:

"The riches of prayers in the OF should be brought into the EF." BUT it has been demonstrated that even where OF prayers have a pedigree in the old Sacramentaries, their selection and their conceptual bowdlerisation in the OF has made them very suspect.
"The OF Lectionaries should be brought into the EF." BUT it has been demonstrated that, although the OF gives more Bible, it goes easy on certain Biblical themes, and so in fact it is something of an impoverishment; a censorship of Holy Scripture.
"The OF Calendar should be brought into the EF ... for example, by shifting Christ the King to November." BUT the (Evangelical Anglican) Bishop NT Wright has demonstrated what a very flawed move that was.

There are two changes that should be made: the EF Calendar needs to be thinned out. Historically, Calendars continually silt up with new saints and new devotions, and periodically Roman Pontiffs revise them. I believe that some saints should be made optional, and (very judiciously!!!) some more recently canonised saints should be considered for admission to an 'optional' category. This is a sensitive area and the revision should be done in careful collaboration with the SSPX and other interested parties. Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, Christ the King should not  be messed around with! Not now, not ever!

And some Prefaces should be added. Particularly, for Advent. But, long before the OF was even a glint in the eye of Mgr Bugnini, France had faculties to use a select handful of (originally neo-Gallican) prefaces, including that for Advent. The SSPX in France has continued to use those faculties, as their French-language ORDO makes clear. These Prefaces are, I believe, already printed in the 1962 Missal. The provision of a few hundred new prefaces would be a bad idea because it would unbalance the rite.

Lastly: a personal fad of mine. I think the authorisation of rubrics for a form of Mass using a Deacon but not a Subdeacon ... when, for example, there is no appropriate and trained person available even to be a 'straw' subdeacon ... would enrich the possibilities for doing the EF magis sollemniter.

Fr Stravinskas's proposed massive revision of the EF would provide a sort of intermediate use between the EF and the OF. His desires would much more easily be achieved by authorising certain optional changes in the OF ... for example, the silent Canon, disuse of the Acclamations after the Consecration, the restoration of the historical Roman Words of Consecration, and the authorisation of the old Offertory Prayers of the celebrant. These would all be a good thing, and could be done very simply by a decree which need hardly occupy more than one sheet of paper.

My thanks to the learned Dom Benedict of Silverstream for alerting me to this matter. I have invited Father to expand in the Thread my rather brief  treatment of Fr Stravinskas' journey up the Garden Path. Hear Him!!


orate fratman said...

For years I tried to like Fr. Stravinskas, but I came to realize that he is just another Modernist who has a bit of a problem with that whole "Divinity of the person of Jesus" thing.

Ocean Kayaker said...

"You start off considering his ideas ... but by the time he has finished with you he is proposing a completely new rite." Thanks, Father, for expressing my opinion of the ideas proposed in the piece much more clearly that I would have been capable of doing.

Jack Tollers said...

Peter Kwasniewsky has already done a great job on this:


The silly ideas...

TLM said...

I was afraid of this. They want to ENRICH the TLM in the same way that they have ENRICHED the N.O. Mass since Vatican ll and we ALL know how that has 'worked out' for us! As it stands now, the Pope has already given the CDW instructions to 'take a look' at the N.O. Mass for possible revisionary purposes, and if you've seen some of the 'proposals', especially the proposals for 'newly revised' Eucharistic Prayers it would literally curl your toenails. Pray for the Holy Spirit to step in and temper their efforts.

Thiago Santos de Moraes said...

"...for example, by shifting Christ the King to November." BUT the (Evangelical Anglican) Bishop NT Wright has demonstrated what a very flawed move that was..."

Where he did it?

Maureen Lash said...

A sensible revision, and one which I believe Mgr Lefebvre was in favour of, would be to allow the mass from the collect to the offertory verse to be conducted from the sedilia, as on Good Friday. This part is, after all, conducted from the throne at a Pontifical High Mass.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

A revision of Canon Law must be undertaken to formally secure the unspoken worthiness of haughty liturgists who think they know more than all who lived before them.

This poorly reasoned canon...

Can. 2For the most part the Code does not define the rites which must be observed in celebrating liturgical actions. Therefore, liturgical laws in force until now retain their force unless one of them is contrary to the canons of the Code.

must be "revised" to this

Canon 2 Liturgical Laws now in place must be immediately replaced by what experts desire during this epic epicene epoch but these changes must be extinguished every 20 years to make way for the next changes demanded by the succeeding generation of haughty liturgists who will know more than the haughty and holy experts of today know.

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

Goodness, dear Fr H, if I didn’t know better, I might think that you’re trying to take me down a few rungs on S. Benedict’s ladder of humility! No, really, I am extremely grateful and encouraged by your compliment.

I would not venture add too much of substance to what Dr Peter Kwasniewski has written over at NLM. What follows are a few rambling comments, really entirely personal opinions what may not be what good Fr H had in mind when he said (!!!) “Hear him!” But of course since we’re dealing here with Fr S’s personal liturgical wishlist, I don’t think it’s entirely out of place share some items on my own!

I have great respect for Fr Stravinskas’ work, and I can only assume that the article was prompted by a real concern for the Church in terms of what he sees as our current liturgical chaos (obviously, he sees the EF as merely adding to the alphabet soup). But I think that the article is fundamentally misguided in terms of history and theology, and even in terms of pastoral practice.

And particularly on that last point, I do not think that Father has given enough thought to the disastrous pastoral implications of a “top-down” imposition of such things from on high (the exact opposite effect of that “internal reconciliation” desired by Benedict XVI through SP). People can be “jerked around” in terms of liturgical change only so much before you have, well, an extremely unhappy flock, sick and tired of being experimented upon like lab rats (thanks, Prof. Lewis, for that vivid image).


Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

The strangest part of the article, for me, was the brandishing (totally out of context) of the anti-antiquarian cudgel in Mediator Dei against people who use the term “Mass of the Catechumens” … but, wait, hasn’t Fr S just indulged in the actual literal archaeologism Pius XII condemned in lauding to the heavens supposed OF “recoveries” such as the Offertory Procession?

(… Which procession, by the way, doesn’t quite have the same romantic antiquarian charm when only 15 minutes earlier the sacristan has merely conveyed to a little table at the back of the church some pre-made hosts from a cardboard box or plastic cannister and industrially produced wine from a fridge … to be carried right back up in the same direction by a couple of random layfolk from the congregation, who have in no sense produced what they are offering! If we *are* going to do antiquarianism, let’s do it right and do what the Orthodox do: have a rota of pious ladies who bake the altar bread for a particular week (actually, I would be very much in favour of this, without the mock procession).

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

What’s funny is that while I vigorously disagree with Fr S’s fundamental approach, I don’t entirely disagree with many of his practical proposals. In fact (courtesy an indult from the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, Nov. 1996), a few of them (or perhaps more traditionally oriented versions of them) can be observed in action in some of the Benedictine monasteries (mainly those of the Fontgombault family) attached to the traditional Mass and Office.

I refer to such things as the celebration of the Foremass at the sedilia (really just an extension of the basic format observed in Pontifical Masses at the throne), the non-duplication of chanted texts, the occasional chanting of ancient litanies such as the Gelasian when a deacon is to be had, the singing of the “Per Ipsum” and the final Blessing.

But all of these things seem natural in the context of a monastic community, being (or striving towards being) a place of liturgical excellence … but extremely out of place in a parochial setting where resources and talents may not be as readily available, and where an authentic “spirit of the liturgy” may not be fully operative.

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

There is even a sense in which I might venture to say (with a bit of trepidation) that traditional Benedictine monasteries might be the place for modest, proportionate “progressivism” in the context of the EF. Again, this sort of thing seems very out of place for most other contexts, but not in a Benedictine context.

Perhaps this is why (if I may speak anecdotally) I have seen little negative reaction on the part of trads to the PCED usages as they have been adopted in the monasteries of the Fontgombault family. They may not care for them, but they can somehow deal with them being here safe in the cloister rather than brought into the parish like another 1969 “Advent surprise”!

Regarding point 1, the traditional Missal could definitely do with some ad lib. ferial readings (such as those found in medieval French missals and reproduced in the much maligned Neo-Gallican missals), and a greater variety (again, perhaps ad lib.) of readings for Saints’ days (there would be a number of old sources available here for inspiration).

However, it’s a complete mystery to me why a greater scriptural variety necessarily means the wholesale adoption of the three-year cycle of readings, and thus the complete obliteration of what my own Prior has called the “load-bearing structure” of the traditional chants and readings of the temporal cycle.

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

And yes (point 2), some additional Mass formularies would be very welcome. For instance, for me, as a monk, it might be nice to have at least one other common Mass for Abbots (and perhaps of Monks/Anchorites). “Os justi” is lovely, of course, but a few more possibilities might be nice, as the Common offers for other classes of saints (perhaps also, common Offices for Doctors and Abbots/Monks).

There could also be (in my opinion) a moderate, judicious introduction of more proper Collects, not those of the OF but culled from older approved sources such as local diocesan supplements (an astounding number of which are readily available nowadays via library digitisation). I could even see an expanded euchology for Advent ferias, paralleling that of Lent (there are no end of Advent prayers in the old sacramentaries).

And while I’m at it (if I may indulge the little antiquarian in every Benedictine), might I raise the question of the euchology of the sanctorale which arguably “bespotted” with later compositions of very different form and spirit from the restrained dignity and austere beauty of the collects of the ancient Roman sacramentaries?

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

Regarding point 3, the introduction into the EF of OF-style “progressive solemnity” would be an epic disaster. Why would it succeed for EF if it’s been such a disaster for the OF? There is a reason why “ars celebrandi” is well nigh extinct, and it’s because of the inherent flexibility of the OF, its endless options, and its encouragement of presidential “creativity”. Yes, the old rubricism was awful, but our current rubrical/ceremonial “Wild West” is far worse. That said, certain choice simplifications for particular contexts would be welcome.

Fr Hunwicke mentions the possibility of having a deacon serve at High Mass without the complement of a subdeacon. In fact, this was possible for Benedictine monasteries as far back as the 1933 Solesmes Cæremoniale Monasticum, which itself was based upon the ceremonial customs of the old pre-revolutionary French monastic congregations of Cluny, Ss. Vanne and Hydulph, and S. Maur.

(Veteran Anglo-Catholics such as Fr H would remember that the last (’63, or ‘64?) edition of Ritual Notes recommends this practice precisely on the model of “continental” Benedictines. I think this could very profitably be extended to the entire EF world by PCED.)

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

On Point 12 (a common calendar): In theory this might be a great thing, but any such creation, without doubt, would have to start with the calendar of 1570, which is in essence the ancient calendar of the Church of Rome. The historic Roman calendar for the Roman Liturgy in the Roman Church!

But lest trads boast themselves of a calendar superior in all respects, one must admit that the EF calendar, post-Trent, developed some questionable, un-traditional features, such as the random assignment of feast days for certain saints, completely unconnected with their “dies natalis” or other important event (e.g. day of ordination).

I would not at all be favourable to the introduction of the category of “optional memorials” into the EF, being wary of anything that smacks of that modern liturgical madness for endless options (the apotheosis of which may be found in the constellation of materials known as the C of E’s “Common Worship”).

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

Likewise regarding the modern OF “prayers of the faithful”. If we are going to do a proper antiquarian job of it, let’s take historic Western litanies (Gelasian, Ambrosian Lenten, Stowe) in Latin, chanted by a Deacon only … or at the very least an instituted reader or acolyte, properly attired, and certainly not by Mrs. McGillicuddy at the microphone with trite, often politically correct petitions just written by herself or someone else a matter of hours ago.

Whew, I had no idea that I would write so much. Please forgive if I have been merely rambling!

P.S. The chants for the aforementioned Latin litanies are available in a little booklet from the Abbey of Solesmes entitled Pri√®res litaniques, intended for use in the Office but certainly adaptable to the Mass. In the list of customs conceded to the Fontgombault family by PCED, there is an oblique reference to “Preces universales iuxta libris liturgicis contentas aut aliter rite approbatas”. My assumption has been that the reference is to this booklet, although I would like to find out what’s done at Fontgombault; Clear Creek I believe do not avail themselves of this permission. See below for a re-typeset version of the litanies as presented by Solesmes.

Kathleen1031 said...

Hello Fr. Hunwicke. I'm not sure if anything good pertaining to changes in the Holy Mass can come at this particular time. Tinkering with the EF seems particularly dangerous. Perhaps some day when we have a real pope.

Charles Kramer said...

Given these changes, how different would the Extraordinary Form be from an Ordinary Form mass in Latin?

neilmac said...

No. Let's change the dreadful OF so that it begins to converge with the EF - the true, ancient rite of Western Christendom.

Let's start with:

- making compulsory the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar
- making compulsory the Asperges at the main Sunday Mass
- not allowing any so-called Penitential Rite to displace the Kyries
- Removing the completely unhistoric (in the Roman rite) 1st reading and with it the responsorial psalm
- Banning the use of the Apostles' Creed
- Banning the Prayers of Faithful.
- Restoring the ancient Offertory Prayers
- Strictly enforcing the rule that only EP1 may be used on Sunday, with a time scale for jettisoning all the others
- Removing the unhistorical Memorial Acclamation
- Enforcing the use of maniples and birettas
- Banning any ridiculous innovations, such as the Children's Liturgy Group coming up to the altar to talk to the priest just before the Offertory and to present whatever it is they have been doing.
- Banning hymns, except for the entrance procession and after Mass has ended.
- Banning any of the laity from the reading the Epistle, unless sung by a man taking the role of subdeacon.
- Revising the calendar in line with the 1962 Missal and then making judicious additions/deletions.
- Banning the us of the Jerusalem Bible translations for the Epistle and Gospel and using instead the RSV(Catholic) Bible, which is authorised for the readings (though the liberals have been very good at keeping this a secret).

- And we shall repeatedly tell the congregation that the Mass is not, the plaything of the priest, parish liturgy "expert", or parish liturgy group and nor is it a social gathering, a meeting for social justice or a place for folk/pop groups to perform; that it is the most sacred act of worship and must be celebrated with as much dignity, beauty, reverence and musicianship as we can muster.

And this is just the start.

Pulex said...

Many thanks to Dom Benedict for sharing his thoughts with us. Some comments. The Mass celebrated by a priest already has 4 degrees of "progressive solemnity": lecta, sung with 1 server, sung with 3+ servers, solemn. A different question is pontifical Mass. But this, alas, is not an urgent problem in most places. The 1962 rubrics already have something like "optional memorial", i. e., days of IV class that have ferial office with commemoration of the saint, but the Mass can be of either preceding Sunday or of the saint by priest's choice. And my ceterum censeo: if any of the above innovations/archeologisms be introduced then, for fairness sake, the correction of the innovations made under Pius XII and John XXIII also should be possible.

Deimater said...

I think it pertinent to note that Fontgombault retains the unadulterated, if I may put it that way, 1962 rite for their Low Masses. So the reforms they've brought to the communal Mass retain their anchor in the Old Rite - there is no spirit of progressivism abroad to lead them down the path to ever bolder reforms.

Francis Arabin said...

I might have witnessed just such a High Mass at Le Barroux where the Priest was accompanied by a deacon vested with stole, alb and maniple only ( together with acolytes). Is this scenario likely or was I mistaken? It was around Corpus Christi. Doesn't Archdale King also mention something along these lines in his treatment of Cistercian usages?

Reform of the Reform said...

Dom Andersen mentions the so-called restoration of an offertory procession. This is perhaps one of the most shallow of all the scholarship at the Consillium, and probably the result of watching too many Broadway spectacles since that is what one is reminded of by this silly fabricated pageant. There is no evidence whatsoever of any offertory procession in Rome. The only action that comes close is an early mediaeval Gallican practice that gradually faded away as the Roman rite supplanted the Gallican. Even then, it is not clear what this Gallican practice was exactly about, although there is some evidence to suggest that people did not participate in any procession at all, but, rather, that they brought bread and wine before Mass, and during the offertory the deacon or subdeacon selected the best and would bring it to the altar procession-like.

Gerry Davila said...

Don Anderson, where would those re-typeset litanies be?

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

The reformers would have been better off simply declaring things like the "Offertory procession" and Mass "facing the people" as pastoral innovations (like the wonky "Renewal of Baptismal Vows" on Holy Saturday) rather than hide them under the cover of pseudo-histories.

Dom Benedict Andersen OSB said...

Mr Davila, please contact me at laudate (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

Titus said...

I especially like Dom Benedict's suggestion for standardized litanies in place of roll-your-own general intercessions. I never understood why there was such a free-for-all on those. If we're to have general intercessions (and of course, lots of places did for a long time), please don't subject us to having to make them up. We don't make up any other part of the Mass.

Gerry Davila said...

Will do!