3 April 2019

The Hermeneutic of Continuity (4th and last post)

In the sixteenth century, Anglicans had to suffer the imposition, made possible by the invention of printing, of liturgical deformations even worse than those with which S Pius V had to deal in his "Back to the Tradition" reforms. The history of Anglican liturgy since then, at least among Anglican Catholics, was a long struggle to reconnect maimed rites with the pre-rupture Tradition. 'Anglo-Catholics' lived out, for 450 years, the same processes and problems which the rest of the Latin West has now faced for less than seven decades since the post-conciliar 'reforms'.

What did they do?

Brave priests often moved fast and tactlessly. At Cury and Gunwalloe, in Cornwall, Fr Sandys Wason provided for his congregation, which a fortnight previously had worshipped at State Mattins, the full Tridentine Rite almost from his Day One. Most clergy, however, tended to move more slowly and pastorally. It was a matter of Brick By Brick - this was the Anglican Catholic game long before Fr Zed dreamed it up - with gradual changes such as step-by-step insertions of orthodox and traditional texts. This sort of thing is not smooth and it is not always logical. One has to think in terms of generations or at least decades rather than months.

I would like tentatively to suggest that we ought now to move beyond another Fr Zed mantra: Do the Red, Say the Black. Actually, I think that Fr Zed himself emphasises this much less now than he didten years ago; perhaps because, laudably, he has moved beyond a policy of arguing that the Novus Ordo should be done properly, to arguing that the Vetus Ordo is far superior. As in most things, he is dead right. That neatly sound-bited principle has served very well the campaigns Fr Zed waged to restrain the liberalising corruption of the OF itself; but that is the point: it is essentially an ad hominem device aimed at restraining Fr Trendy.

Tentively, I am suggesting that, while still employing this formula when it is necessary to restrain the Trendies, we should deftly employ a double standard and ignore it in as far as it restrains the improvement of the OF.

Should the next step, Anglicanwise, be the gradual, tactful, pastoral introduction of EF elements into the OF Mass?

By far the most important improvement, which in no way contradicts liturgical law, is the invariable use of the Roman Canon, Eucharistic Prayer I. The General Instruction rather encourages this anyway, and the Ordinariate Missal leads the way by forbidding, at least on Sundays and Feasts, the use of any of the other 1960s Eucharistic Prayers. And the Ordinariates have also restored, as one of two options, the use of the old Offertory Prayers. Since the OF Offertory Prayers should (where there is music) be said silently; and, where there is no music, may be said silently, the use secreto of the older prayers will not exactly have the congregations rioting. Unofficially, within the Ordinariates, it has become quite common (don't mention this ...) for the celebrant, when there is 'fancy' music for the Sanctus, for the celebrant to get on with the Eucharistic Prayer while the Sanctus is still being sung.

And some minute, even insignificant, examples which just happen to plop into my mind. At his Inauguration Mass, Benedict XVI joined his hands at Gratias agamus .... And Fr Zed, years ago, revealed that he himself signed the elements with five crosses at hostiam puram .... It is no great hassle to do the EF manual actions during the Canon when offering the OF Mass.

Fairly recent Anglican encouragement has been given to brief, thematic, Last Gospels to leave the right thoughts in the minds of the laity as they walk out of church. At my last Christmass in the Anglican Ministry I had the Last Gospel, the Johannine prologue, sung after the Vigil Mass, at the Crib, by the Deacon. (Proposed in Times and Seasons, encouraged by the Anglican hierarchy.) The reasons for it, and its pastoral value, are obvious. I placed the Bambino in the Crib immediately after the words And the Word was made flesh. Corny?

Come to think of it, the Last Gospel could be done at the end of the main Sunday Mass throughout the year, perhaps before the statue of our Lady.

The transformation of the Novus Ordo, until it is as 'sacral' as the Mass of Ages, is, in my view, a viable project for intelligent and imaginative pastors.


Pip said...

One the signs of a progressively trad church has invariably been sellotape.
I remember in the CofE lots of sellotaped bits in the English Missal, and then in the 1960s Roman missals were becoming a sea of sellotape.
Taking a lead from the Anglo-Catholic churches of yesteryear, it might a good marker of how progressively trad a church was by having the number of sellotaped inclusions noted in its entry in the Almanack:
St Bernadette's in the Marketplace (4) = on the High side (safe)

Richard Divozzo said...

But what of the doctrinal deficiency of the prayers of the OF? How can that very fundamental flaw be mended by your suggested methods of reform?

vetusta ecclesia said...

The problem with your approach is that it opens you to the criticism we traddies often make against trendies: that the Church states clearly that the individualisation of the rites to accord with personal preference is inadmissible. One thinks of sauce, geese and ganders.

Titus said...

You would be very interest, Father, at the work being done at St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, in these United States. Ad orientem, Roman Canon only, silent offertory ... we haven't quite gotten Father to let the servers genuflect instead of bow when crossing the sanctuary, but we might get there.

The "Day One" program for a non-jarring N.O. reform would be easy: simply require everyone to tear out all the "optional" pages from the Missal: leave the Roman Canon and the most traditional option for the various other prayers (in some cases that's rather a tallest-midget contest, of course), and mail all the optional pages to the Congregation for Divine Worship for proper disposal.

John Patrick said...

After EP1 the next element to add to the OF would be Ad Orientem which is already allowed implicitly by the rubrics, plus also has the advantage that actions such as signing the hosts would be less obvious to those in the congregation looking for something to complain about.

Todd said...

Agree these can be kosher except for the offertory prayers (that is disobedience though not audible in my view). Benedict also said the Eucharistic prayer didn't always have to be said aloud. Anything after the dismissal is permitted as long as it is appropriate - some have added the Leonine prayers, others of course a Salve Regina or other sung prayer to Our Lady. How could the last gospel not be an appropriate post dismissal devotion? Arguably, one could even add the prayers at the altar BEFORE the beginning of Mass proper (I defer to you and others). The issue in the US is that all such things are frowned upon (e.g. see hysterical reactions to Ad Orientem) by most Bishops in dioceses and if brought to their attention by "Susan of the Parish Council", come down like a ton of bricks on said Priest for "pastoral correction" despite their legitimacy. In contrast to their hesitancy to come down on clear liturgical abuses such as ad libbing the prayers and other abuses well cataloged over the years. Sigh.

Steve said...

A wonderful idea for those priests that want to include more reverence in the the Mass. What are the faithful to do though, who are in parishes where the Novus Ordo Mass is said seemingly without reverence and where the priest adds his own words and mangles many other parts of the Mass.
I sometimes respond in Latin to said priest but all that seems to do is increase his anger.

Timothy said...

the root of the problem with the NO Mass is that so much is left to the discretion of the Priest. No matter how reverent and beautiful Father Trad makes the NO at his parish, Fr Trendy or Fr Compliant who follow him a few years hence will undo all the good he has done.
The only real solutions are either an out right ban of the NO (not going to happen) or a real dedication to a proliferation of the Traditional Mass which will in due time displace the inferior NO Mass.
Saint Michael the Arch Angel defend us in battle....