21 February 2014

Ratzinger on Liturgical Law (3)

Sometimes a parallel is suggested between S Pius V, revising the Roman Rite after and by mandate of the Council of Trent, and Paul VI, revising it after and by mandate of Vatican II. This is, I believe, a gross misunderstanding (i) of what S Pius was about, as he describes his own actions in Quo primum; and (ii) of the considerable differences between those two events.

S Pius has been seen as suppressing variant dialects of the Roman Rite - such as the English Sarum Rite - in the interests of a centralising uniformity. This analysis does not fit the facts. In the later sixteenth century, there was a fair amount of liturgical experimentation - and S Pius intends to suppress such innovations in the Eucharist. He does not intend to suppress established rites with a couple of centuries' history. Let us look at his words enforcing his new edition "... nisi ab ipsa prima institutione a Sede Apostolica adprobata, vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos missarum celebrandarum in eisdem ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem, vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus; so there ... just my point ... but he goes on sic, si Missale hoc ... magis placeret ..." and ah!, you cry, so - with a nudge and a wink - S Pius is encouraging churches with a 200 year prescription to change over to his new edition! But No! ... he goes on "de episcopi, vel praelati, Capitulique universi consensu ...". "Capituli universi consensu!" So, apparently, even just one bolshie traddie Canon on a Chapter could veto the desire of some episcopal johnnie-come-lately to introduce the Pian edition of the Missal into the diocese! What we have here is not a policy of universal standardisation by an autocrat, but the mandated preservation of the old and sanctified dialects of the Roman Rite combined with a firm suppression of recent faddery.

There is some interest in comparing the legislation of S Pius with what could happen elsewhere in the West. In one province, a metropolitan Archbishop, who had secured the support of the secular state and control of the technology of printing, decreed that "whereas heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in the Churches within this realm: some following Salisbury Use, some Hereford Use, and some the Use of Bangor, some of York, some of Lincoln; now from henceforth all the whole Realm shall have but one Use". Thomas Cranmer had little thought of subjecting his abolition of ancient uses - which certainly had a prescription of more than two hundred years - to a veto even by a majority of a Cathedral Chapter. When the Chapter at S Paul's, London, adopted his new rite but attempted merely to graft onto it certain features of their previous customs, a peremptory order by the Privy Council put an end to the attempt. One wonders whether the legislation of Paul VI, resembles much more closely the actions of the Tudor regime than it does the precedents set by S Pius.

Add to this, the process which S Pius employed to produce his new edition: the examination of old versions in the Vatican Library; the collection of other exemplars; a reading of old liturgical authors. His missal was "recognitum iam et castigatum". It was not, like the Missal of Paul VI, a rite marked on every single page with revolutionary innovations. Nobody denies that the 'Tridentine' Missal differs very little from earlier editions. Nobody claims that alterations were made in the Canon which had no basis in its textual history; that a dozen or so alternative 'Eucharistic Prayers' were added; or that the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels of every single Sunday were changed. Nobody can deny that all this is true of the Pauline Missal*.

One pope publishes a very light standardisation with a 98% unchanged text; another pope publishes a vastly different rite. I now address an ad hominem argument to those who believe that the two events match each other: if that earlier pope deemed it wrong that variant dialects of the Roman Rite (not so very different from the Rite he had edited) should lightly be set aside when they had a couple of centuries behind them, then, a fortiori, it would be incongruous for the later pope to think it right, or inevitable, that all the earlier dialects of the Roman Rite (representing, in their developed forms, something like a thousand years of history) should be set aside ... without even a mention that he was mandating such an unheard-of revolution.

I do not like some propaganda of the SSPX which appears to suggest that Quo primum made the Pian edition immutable. Certainly no future Pontiff deemed it immutable; they presided over its organic evolution. But the Pauline missal was not just one more light, slight, evolutionary revision of the Pian Missal. Those who most strongly argue that the Pian events and the Pauline events were parallel and congruous can hardly avoid the conclusion that Paul did not desire ... any more than Pius intended ... to consign the traditional forms of the Roman Rite to the rubbish dump.

I offer these thoughts as my meditation upon the words I quoted in my last post from Cardinal Ratzinger: that it is contrary to the Spirit of the Church to abolish the rites which have served the piety and lives of generations of Christians.
Continues, and gets more ecclesiological.


*Well, I suppose that in the Pauline Missal two or three Sundays after Epiphany somehow managed to keep their collects. And Palm Sunday.


Juventutem London said...

I've been flitting away from essay writing since about 9am waiting for this third part. I'm on the edge of my seat haha! Some feedback: I like the daily segments of essays. They're fun and informative. It's a good format.

Joshua said...

A pertinent essay question: Compare and contrast the motives of the respective Popes* in permitting and abolishing Cardinal Quiñones' new Breviary; draw any pertinent analogies with more recent holy Pontiffs.

Email all entries to Fr Hunwicke for marking.

* Paul III approved the project in 1535; Paul IV suppressed it in 1558.

Joshua said...

In case this is not to hand, the following quotation from Dr Alcuin Reid may be useful:

"In the nineteenth century, Dom Prosper Guéranger’s examination of Quignonez’ reform articulated the following principles that he regarded as essential to all liturgical reform.

1. A liturgical form drawn up to satisfy the requirements of literary pretensions can never last.
2. The reform of the Liturgy, if it is to last, must be brought about, not by the learned, but must be done with due reverence and by those invested by competent authority.
3. In the reform of the Liturgy one needs to guard against the spirit of novelty, restoring ancient forms that have become defective to their original purity, and not abolishing them.
4. Abbreviation is not liturgical reform: the length of the Liturgy is not a defect in the eyes of those who should devote their lives to prayer.
5. To read large quantities of Sacred Scripture in the Office does not satisfy the whole obligation of priestly prayer, because to read is not to pray.
6. There is no foundation to the distinction between public Office and private Office because there are not two official Prayers of the Church…
7. It is not an evil that the rules of divine worship are numerous and complicated because the cleric needs to learn with what diligence he should accomplish the opus Dei."

— Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), p. 38f.

standup4vatican2 said...

Sorry but as the canonists and theologians come to examine Summorum Pontificum they are discovering that it is:

(a) CANONICALLY INVALID, being predicated on the false idea that Paul VI did not abrogate the Tridentine rite, and

(b) THEOLOGICALLY UNORTHODOX since the lex credendi it inaugurates is on many points in contradiction to that of the Second Vatican Council, e.g. in the Good Friday prayers for "heretics and schismatics" and in the general abolition of the ideas of Vatican II that Ratzinger has taken an irrational dislike to.

To unilaterally restore the rite abrogated by Paul VI acting in concord with the universal episcopacy and in the spirit of the Council is legally incorrect. The lex credendi implicit in the restored rite contradicts many new insights which Vatican II discerned as belonging to the fulness of orthodoxy; hence it is theologically unorthodox.

The most orthodox thing bishops could do would be to ignore the motu proprio and hope it becomes a dead letter.

. said...

Dear standup4vatican2, I'd like to point out that neither Paul VI, who published the 1970 Missale Romanum, nor Archbishop Bugnini, who was chiefly responsible for its creation, considered the previous missal abrogated.

Secondly, since the lex credendi of the 1962 Missal is that of the church historically, the conclusion you seem to be suggesting is that the modern church is heretical, and therefore that the Christ's words in the Gospels cannot be trusted. If so, there is absolutely no point in being Catholic, and being a Christian at all is further of deeply suspect value.

Third, since the Second Vatican Council was almost exclusively pastoral, not doctrinal (only Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium are, as I recall, doctrinal documents) it cannot have effected a change in the Magisterium, and as such cannot represent a new 'lex credendi', even if what came after the Council in many places led to heterodoxy, heresy, ad all-but-schism. [NB: I do not believe this is a case of post hoc ergo propter hoc].

Fourth, the rubrics for the 1970 MR, considered in the light of the Council's own writings on the subject of liturgy, in particular its advocation of Gregorian Chant and the preservation of the Latin tongue, suggest that the form of the Mass of Paul VI that is to be considered normative is that which conforms most closely to the form of the liturgy in previous missals.

Fifth, the Second Vatican Council does not stand on its own, and was neither intended to break with the Tradition of the Church nor actually does so.

The 1967, 1965, 1962 and previous missals back to year dot cannot be considered 'unorthodox' in the light of the Second Vatican Council since there was no change in orthodoxy mandated by the Council.

Since the Second Vatican Council is the latest event, it must be understood in the light of the historical praxis and belief of the Church, which we call its Tradition; the Council does not redefine that.

I reiterate once again that the older Missal was not abrogated by Paul VI; if you read Fr Hunwicke's previous posts on this matter you will find (I think) in the comments that Abp. Bugnini's request for a de jure abrogation of the older Missal was denied, and as I said, Paul VI himself did not consider the older Rite forbidden.

Unknown said...


Are you a troll?

Julio said...

Pachomius- If there is a like button here I would click. Unfortunately, there is none so may I just say that your response was excellent.

Joshua said...

What a stupid and rude person commented above!

To claim that Summorum pontificum is canonically invalid is crazy - because its author is the supreme lawgiver of the Church on earth. What madness to deny the Pope's authority!

To claim that the 1962 Missal &c. is unorthodox is even sillier - as if what nourished piety for centuries, and in essence goes back to the very earliest records of the Roman Church's liturgy in the first millennium, could possibly be such. If it is contrary to Vatican II (in itself, a ridiculous assertion), then that would prove the unorthodoxy of that Council, not of the Missal.

The bizarre argument seems to be that the 1962 Missal is unorthodox now, because what is orthodox has changed. But what is doctrinally correct cannot change; ergo, the argument is false.

It is simple to demonstrate that the terms heretic and schismatic, while perhaps having today too stark a sound for sensitive types, are exact descriptions of persons not in full communion with the Church - e.g. the current Archbishop of Canterbury, given his separation from the See of Peter and his espousal of unorthodox beliefs in the fields of faith and morals and Church discipline, is in point of fact a heretic and schismatic (for prudential reasons this is not often said of him, but it is true as this simple demonstration abundantly proves), for whose conversion we must in charity pray, as the Church's liturgy teaches quite correctly!

I think the author of the comment shews gross disrespect for the Pope in refusing to use his proper name of Benedict XVI, let alone by speaking of him - the greatest theologian to sit in Peter's chair for centuries! - as being irrationally opposed to the very Council at which he was a peritus!

It ill behooves the foolish and ignorant to display their madness by tilting at their betters.

Juventutem London said...

Come on, where's part 4?!

Daphne Point said...

Iuventutem, why is your name in the accusative case?

Mrs D Point

William said...

Daphne, this ought to explain.

Daphne Point said...

It does explain something, Fr William, but does not answer my question. Perhaps Father Gunsight (as Mr Jobs new device insists on naming him) can shed some light?

William said...

Then I must have misunderstood your question, Daphne, for which my apologies. The reference is to the opening words of the Extraordinary Form:
V/ Introibo ad altare Dei.
R/ Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Any devotee of the EF would pick up that reference, even from the single word, but the reference would be lost if the nominative were used instead. Besides, calling the organisation "Juventus" would make most people think of football!

Unknown said...

Fr. Hunwicke, you said: "I do not like some propaganda of the SSPX which appears to suggest that Quo primum made the Pian edition immutable."

"...appears to suggest..." Could you please provide the original SSPX sources that suggest that to you?


Sean W. said...

@StandUp4Vatican2 --

"THEOLOGICALLY UNORTHODOX since the lex credendi it inaugurates is on many points in contradiction to that of the Second Vatican Council, e.g. in the Good Friday prayers for "heretics and schismatics""

In what ways did the Second Vatican Council render prayers for heretics and schismatics "theologically unorthodox"? Specific document and paragraph citations please.