Last Friday (Good Friday), and Saturday (Holy Saturday), I published a couple of pieces which I had in fact drafted a couple of weeks beforehand.
I never thought that my thesis ... that the post-Conciliar "reforms" were constructively anti-semitic ... would so soon receive such very high-level support.
Because I now read that my thesis is also held by none other than a man called Cantalamessa, who has been preaching before PF and the Curia this Lent. I would not have believed it!
[Incidentally, I do find it upsetting that, during Lent or Easter, Cantalamessa should pursue polemical attacks on the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite. Clearly, for him and his like, there is no truce or surcease in their attacks on their fellow Catholics and upon Holy Tradition, even at the holiest times. But so be it.]
Cantalamessa, soon after the start of his 'Forth [sic] Lenten Sermon 2023', refers "the Traditio Apostolica of St Hippolytus". "We obtain a vision of the Mass that is certainly closer to the reformed one of today than to that of the centuries behind us. What happened? The answer is an awkward one which, however, we cannot avoid: clericalisation! In no other sphere was it more conspicuous than in the Liturgy."
(1) Readers of this blog ... or even just of my last Friday's post ... will have spotted the Giant Historical Howler. The document which was so influential in the period 1930-1970, and was then thought to be the Apostolic Tradition of S Hippolytus of Rome, is now regarded, in the scholarly consensus, as having nothing to do with Rome and nothing to do with Hippolytus.
(2) Readers of this blog will also have learned last Saturday, if they did not already know this, that a rigid definition of clerical liturgical roles is insisted upon in the First Epistle to Corinth of S Clement, commonly dated to the ... apparently already heavily clericalised ... nineties of the First Century.
Cantalamessa goes on to say this about the Patristic Form (i.e. the form we traddies know today) of the Roman Mass: "There is an evident return to to what was going on in the worship of the First Covenant. The High Priest entered the Sancta sanctorum, with incense and the blood of the victims, and the people stood outside trembling, overwhelmed by the sense of God's tremendous holiness and majesty."
There! D'you geddit? Just what I explained to readers last week!
Except that I regard these Hebraic features with favour: Cantalamessa is horrified by them.
Towards the end of his homily the speaker tells us how marvellous the Epiclesis is. "It is a gift that the liturgical reform of Vatican II placed the epiclesis, that is, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, at the heart of the Mass ... I cannot, however, fail to notice with regret the total absence of the Holy Spirit in [the traditional Mass]. Instead of the present [i.e. post 1970] consecratory epiclesis over the bread and wine, we find in it the the generic formula 'Sanctify, O God, this offering with the power of your blessing.'" [Where exactly is this in the Canon Romanus?? And where exactly does "Vatican II" talk about the epiclesis and the need "to place it at the heart of the Mass"?]
Most of us tend now to feel pretty sure that there never was an epiclesis of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Mass, because, being so very 'primitive', it was put together long before the eruption of excitement about the Holy Spirit which happened, centuries later, in the East. That is why our Old Roman Rite can accurately be called 'binitarian'.
More than a century ago, Adrian Fortescue (The Mass, 1912) summarised no fewer than eight different theories, from the Clevers of the previous century, about how the epiclesis in the original Roman Canon must have been worded. All of them nonsense ... there never was an epiclesis in the Roman Rite until the 1960s 'reformers' started bunging them in right, left and centre.
As they did so, the eminent Anglican liturgist G G Willis repeatedly explained to them how misguided they were. The greatest Anglican liturgist of that century, Dom Gregory Dix ... although like the rest of us then he subscribed to the Hippolytosmythos ... consistently refused to believe that the original text could have contained an epiclesis. It is chilling to imagine what ... had he lived into the 1960s ... he, with his waspish satirical wit, would have written about all those horrid 'Eucharistic Prayers' that flooded out of Rome, each with its horrid little epiclesis.
Cantalamessa speaks like a man who has read little in his last half century. He chatters on in glib ignorance about the "Apostolic Tradition of St Hippolytus". He runs off chasing a "missing epiclesis". He praises "the linearity and simplicity" of the Novus Ordo, unaware of the writings of Catherine Pickstock and of other Anglicans, and of (e.g.) Fr Aidan Nichols, who recognise 'linearity' and 'simplicity' as "Enlightenment" superstitions which deface the "oral" structures of the Roman Mass, with its 'stutterings' and its 'recommencements' [Pickstock After Writing 1998; Nichols Looking at the Liturgy 1996.].
Clearly, 'Catholic' Liturgy is currently in the most truly terrible hands. There is the horrible, unCatholic view of PF and Roche, that Liturgy is not a great received and given Holy Tradition, but a matter of daily legal positivism. 'Authorities' intrude, prescribe, impose, forbid, tinker, reclarify, and, perhaps, graciously permit it, otherwise it is not "licit"; and those who use it will need to have their ignorances corrected in a Maoist-style 're-education' programme. If they ... we ... persist in recalcitrance, they ... we ... will need to be thoroughly whacked with a great big stick.
That is appalling enough. May God forgive them.
But what is even worse than that, is the picture I now have in my mind after reading Cantalamessa: two octogenarian clergymen, both profoundly allergic to the scholarship of the last three decades, who sit nodding their agreement at each other, antiphonally reinforcing the rigid adherence they share to the moth-eaten certainties of circa 1950.