17 July 2021

Matthew Hazell busts some nasty novel numerical myths

A fine piece by MH on NLM, exploding with Facts some unfortunate assertions by His Excellency Archbishop Arthur Roche, successor of Cardinal Sarah as Prefect at the CDW.

Roche had claimed that the NO Missal "retains ... ninety percent of the texts of that [1570] Missal". Hazell shows that this is, mathematically, quite untrue. Hazell is an exact and impressive researcher. To preserve his reputation, Roche (or whatever minion handed him this 'information') needs to discover some methodology wherewith to upset Hazell's conclusions.

But, readers may wonder, is it wise for us to engage with Roche, a man who now has an influential position in the Bergoglian power-structure? Perhaps not. But since Roche himself uses blunt language to attack those whom he has in his sights ("Opinions to the contrary are false"), it seems to me that he has chosen to engage in a battle in which he is not well-placed to complain about bluntness. And is Parrhesia still part of the policy of this pontificate?

I will point out three dodgy bits in what Roche wrote. 

(1) There are two quite different ways of comparing the old and the new Missals and deploying the impressive statistic "90%". (a)  "90% of the prayers in the New Missal were in the Old." And (b) "90% of the prayers in the Old Missal survived into the New." (a) is what might most reassure a traddy mindset, because it would imply that not much of what we loved has been taken from us. However, (b) has a much better chance of approaching truth  than (a) does. And (b) is indeed what Roche has actually claimed. But this claim may not give the worshipper much comfort if the "90%" of such surviving texts survive almost invisibly in some corner of the New Missal where they will be virtually unseen, swamped by a great tsunami of new stuff.

(2) The positioning of prayers is ... surely even Roche would have to admit ... of some significance. Let us look at the ancient Roman "Sunday collects" of the great Christian seasons, Advent, Lent, Easter. 

Not a single one of these survived as Sunday Collects for those seasons in the NO. Some of the Sunday Easter collects survived as Sunday collects in the Tempus per annum, but were evidently not deemed to be adequately 'paschal' to be heard in church during Eastertide. Other seasonal Sunday collects, notably in Advent, sometimes survived as collects on weekdays. But, with regard to Sundays in the Great Seasons, not a single one of the old collects was deemed fit for use. (So much for the organic evolution, changes only being made where truly necessary, which Sacrosanctum Concilium enjoined.)

(3) I wonder if it has occurred to Roche that the provision of so many alternative Eucharistic Prayers, all of them without exception non-Roman in that they import a byzantinising Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit, hitherto unknown in the Roman Rite, represents a significant and disastrous rupture between the two "forms" of the Roman Rite.

I cannot help wondering whether Roche's article may be part of the new onslaught upon the Old Mass, called for by the imperatives of the current Bergoglian War Objectives. Might it be that Roche is attempting to set up a new military strongpoint in this new liturgical conflict, with this narrative: "The traddies are illiterates who attack the New Missal for being new, which is untrue because its contents are 90% the same as in the Old Missal. So why the fuss."? 

Were Roche to have in mind a more eirenic agenda, perhaps he might take steps to enforce the guidlines given in the IGMR about when each Eucharistic Prayer is to be used. If he eliminated the use of the Pseudo-Hippolytan prayer on Sundays and feasts; if he secured the use of the Roman Canon at least on those days which IGMR commends ... we would have an initiative that looked just a little more like an offer of brotherly engagement and rather less like a heavy (and inaccurate) hand.

19 comments:

Paul in Melbourne, Australia said...

Good morning, Father. What you said is relevant. My beloved fellow readers should look at
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-07/pope-motu-proprio-traditionis-custodes-1962-roman-missal-liturgy.html

prince Matecki said...

Well, there is a new motu proprio in the world, issued today by our holy father. If I understand it correctly, the use of the extraordinary form is by prior permission of the ordinary of a diocese only, in churches and on days designated by the ordinary only.
Lessons and Gospel are to be read in the vernacular and only in the vernacular.
Churches that are regular parishes are not to be used for the EF.
I have not yet found the official text online, but that should only be a couple of hours.

prince Matecki said...

By the way, the motu proprio starts with the words:
"Traditionis custodes..."
For you to decide if that is false flag, irony or sarcasm.

prince Matecki said...

Here the link to the official version, the official english translation is in the lower half, just scroll down:
https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2021/07/16/0469/01014.html#ingM

Grant Milburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PM said...

Had Mgr Roche not moved to Rome,he would now be a suffragan of Archbishop McMahon, who is to my knowledge the only diocesan bishop in England to have celebrated a solemn Pontifical Mass in the Usus Antiquior (though I should be glad to be corrected on that point).

Although one of those occasions had Tina Beattie of the Tablet foaming at the mouth, I should note that His Grace confounds certain stereotypes by being decidedly Old Labour in his views on economic and social issues - as, of course, befits an English Dominican. That does not, needless to say, extend to sympathy with the New Class fraud of the Blair party or the lunacy of Corbyn.

Banshee said...

A decent number of bishops apparently just said, "Oh, yeah, I hereby give permission to all my priests to say the EF." Either "forever" or "for the foreseeable future," or "until my summer vacation is over and I see which way the wind is blowing."

Colin Spinks said...

"prince Matecki" summarises the content pretty well. The most worrying elements for me are: 1) Art.3.3: insistence that Scripture be read in the Vernacular - this seems to contradict the edicts of Vatican II which state that the Vernacular "may be used". 2) the underlying assumption of this document is that the only rationale for using the 1962 Rite is an unwillingness to "move with the times" and those who use it are solely those ("old fogeys") who resist change. This denies the real "lived experience" of a number a people born after the Council (including myself) attracted to the Roman Catholic Church by its traditional Liturgy. I am currently preparing to enter full Communion with the Catholic Church, and am quite upset by reading this document which appears to deny that the TLM can attract new members to the Church, as my own experience directly refutes this.

Colin Spinks said...

Another thing: could someone clarify? This document forbids proclamation of the Gospel in Latin in the EF Mass. However, Latin is still the official language of the Church and of the NO Mass. Presumably then, it is still legal to read the Gospel in Latin in a NO Mass? What a right schmozzle, as a late Australian cricket commentator might have said...

vetusta ecclesia said...


Mgr Alan Hopes (East Anglia) has celebrated S P H Mass in the old form in his own Cathedral a couple of years ago, the first such for over 50 years.It was an honour to be present

Chatto said...

Bishop Stock of Leeds celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass for the annual Requiem of Bishop Wheeler in the Cathedral in 2017.

An American said...

Let's say that 90% of the text really was preserved. Someone might wonder, then, what's the harm in using the 1962 Missal and what was the point of Vatican II?

John Vasc said...

" If he eliminated the use of the Pseudo-Hippolytan prayer on Sundays and feasts; if he secured the use of the Roman Canon at least on those days which IGMR commends ..." then he would be realizing the Pope's clear assurance in his letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes that "Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements.
But all the clergy, whether they are minded to 'celebrate with devotion' or not, they should be told - and who better to tell them than the Holy Father - that the rubric clearly demands the use of the Roman Canon on Sundays and feast days. Otherwise that distinctive and vital element is missing,and there would be therefore no substantial point of connection with the earlier form of the liturgy - in itself a startling implied admission by the Holy Father.

John Vasc said...

" If he eliminated the use of the Pseudo-Hippolytan prayer on Sundays and feasts; if he secured the use of the Roman Canon at least on those days which IGMR commends ..." then he would be realizing the Pope's clear assurance in his letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes that "Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements."
Surely then, all the clergy, whether they are minded to 'celebrate with devotion' or not, should be told - and who better to tell them than the Holy Father - that the rubric and the Unity of the Church demands the invariable use of the Roman Canon on Sundays and feast days? Otherwise that 'distinctive' (indeed vital) element is missing, and the NO has therefore no substantial connection at all with any pre-1970 form of the liturgy - something we have often suggested, but surely a rather startling implied admission by Pope Francis, who has hitherto maintained the opposite view.

John Vasc said...

@Colin Spinks - Art. 3.3 does not forbid the proclamation of the Gospel in Latin. It says rather 'the readings are [to be] proclaimed in the vernacular language'. The Epistle and Gospel (aka the readings) are invariably read out clearly in English (i.e. proclaimed) by the celebrant from the pulpit after the Latin text has been either silently or quietly read at the altar (Low Mass) or solemnly intoned (High Mass). So that demand is already fully met.

John Vasc said...

'The [re-]positioning of prayers is ... of some significance.'
Of course it is! Like the deliberate niggling changes in feast dates, it was intended to disorient, confuse, and impress upon the faithful that there was to be no continuity with the preceding liturgy: an impression that, decades later, the hierarchy seems at pains to contradict, so far with little success.

John Nolan said...

The document does not forbid the proclamation of the Gospel in Latin. It simply says that the readings are proclaimed in the vernacular, which describes the existing situation in most places.

As for the Novus Ordo, check out Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square, where the Gospel is chanted in Latin and Greek. On Good Friday the St John Passion is chanted by three deacons, again in Latin.

Pope Benedict gave the option at EF Low Mass for the Epistle and Gospel to be read in the vernacular only, but this is not often taken up as it raises the added problem of which translation to use.

Ansgerus said...

The Motu Proprio is just saying" In these celebrations the readings are proclaimed in the vernacular language, using translations of the Sacred Scripture approved for liturgical use by the respective Episcopal Conferences". I do not find the word "only". But following this Motu literally, it would not be sufficient to read also in the vernacular just one of the readings, but all would need to be read in the vernacular, additionally, if sung in latin. This will destroy the liturgical unity between the readings and its choral responses especially on days like Holy Friday and Saturday.

Ansgerus said...

A proclamation, however, is possible in various way. A good possibilty not disturbing the latin language integrity of the traditional celebrations would be a public proclamation of the readings of the day by pinning the vernacular translations onto the church door.