10 April 2023

Cantalamessa admits to the horrible truth. And he agrees with me!!

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.




Arthur H said...

Dear Father,

Happy Easter!
I got my Missale Romanum, 1930, off the shelf and I see that in the Offertory there is the invocation: Veni, sanctificator omnipotens aeterne Deus: et benedic hoc sacrificium, tuo sancto nomini preparatum.

While in my St. Joseph Daily Missal, copyright 1959, the S has been capitalized to Sanctificator, and the English translation on the opposite page has the heading, "Our Invocation To the Holy Spirit", and the translation of the word is O Sanctifier.

So, now I'm ignorant, Father, so I apologize for asking a stupid question, but I do know how much you love howlers!, but did the sanctificator go from an adjective to a noun by the capitalization of the s? It seems that if indeed the sanctificator here has always been understood to refer specifically to the Holy Spirit Himself, then, what's all the fuss about moving the invocation from the Offertory prayers to the Canon? And, you are welcome for the chuckle!

Kathleen1031 said...

I can't debate the points, I have no understanding of most of the issues, but laity don't need to know the details, it is understood enough that we have men in charge who are intent on changing everything in the Catholic church except the light bulbs. We also understand they have one responsibility, to pass on the faith, intact, to the current generation. We are not Protestants, we don't believe "God is still speaking", like the banners on innovative churches. What a disaster for us these men didn't become Episcopalians instead of Catholic priests! There they could have tinkered to their heart's delight. But Catholics want the same faith our ancestors had, nothing less. In fact we demand it. Nothing else will do. Nothing less will do. Nothing different will do. I can't say if these destroyers will have their way with the mainstream church. The faith will go on in the Traditional Latin Rite. This they have no control over whatsoever.

Kathleen1031 said...

I forgot to say Happy Easter, Fr. Hunwicke! Happy Easter and God bless you.

Ben Whitworth said...

"Cantalamessa speaks like a man who has read little in his last half century." Indeed! Both he and Cardinal Roche give the impression that they have read Theodor Klauser's "Short History of the Western Liturgy" (1969) - *and nothing else* - yet they still consider themselves up to date. They remind me of the preacher I heard the other day who described Thomas Merton as one of the best Catholic writers of the last fifty years.

PM said...

Not to mention that tired 1960s cliche about 'clericalism'. The Usus Antiquior is far less 'clericalist' than its replacement, where all depends on the tastes, demeanour and enthusiasms of the celebrant (or his politically correct liturgy committee). I remember an article in the Pastoral Review containing a cri de coeur from the pews entitled 'Spare Us from Game Show Hosts'.

In the Usus Antiquior, by contrast, the celebrant - be he lowly curate, bishop or even pope - does exactly what the missal tells him, no more and no less. He is not the centre of attention but (as the Placeat prayer at the end makes clear) a humble servant of the mysteries.

PM said...

What a wonderful irony, by the way, that the papal preacher's name means 'Sing the Mass'.

Atticus said...

Friar Raniero Cantalamessa
Singularly failed to impress-a
With his hoary old thesis
Regarding the epiclesis.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Strangeness abounds ever since the modern church decided the way to treat the Damasian-Gregorian-Tridentine Mass (over 1500 years old) was to subject it to the modernist sacramental of defenestration.

For instance, on Good Friday most parishes in the world had its parishioners venerate the Cross rather than the Crucifix even though veneration of the Holy Cross has a Mass dedicated to it on Sept 14th.

There is grave fear in Rome.

Even Professor Herman NuDix of Continuity College in Rome has become exasperated trying to fend off all of the resurrected realism of the Roman Rite.

Thomas said...

I notice that Card. Cantalamessa also takes a sideswipe at the Eastern liturgies in the process of criticising the way the Canon is prayed in the traditional Western rite. Does that mean PF is going to ban such oriental sacred liturgies too! Actually, I can't help feeling that his eminence is just sucking up to the boss, especially in his pointed emphasis on "clericalism" being the root of a perceived problem with traditional liturgies (both East and West). However, what he actually attacks is sacerdotalism, which is demonstrably intrinsic to Catholic and Apostolic Christianity.

Fr. Rob Jack said...

Dear Father, Cardinal Cantalamessa is very much a proponent of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1960s and 70s. He has also written a lot on the charismatic idea of Baptism in the Spirit. I think these tendencies play extremely important in his Theology.

Prayerful said...

Perhaps it is fitting that Cantalamessa, ordained in 1958 sounds like a man who has stepped from a time machine and his words make clear the ignorance of the Vatican.

PM said...

Ben Whitworth makes a good point. Most of these ageing progressives seem to think that it is still 1973.

Anita Moore said...

Even if "linearity" and "simplicity" were not Enlightenment superstitions, those are the last descriptors to apply to the New Mass, which has 50 possible ways to do every part of the Mass and is therefore impossible to follow in a missal.

Texas Walker said...

"Dear Father. Strangeness abounds ever since the modern church decided the way to treat the Damasian-Gregorian-Tridentine Mass (over 1500 years old) was to subject it to the modernist sacramental of defenestration.

For instance, on Good Friday most parishes in the world had its parishioners venerate the Cross rather than the Crucifix even though veneration of the Holy Cross has a Mass dedicated to it on Sept 14th."
Not in South Texas, where we know that Jesus died to save us. (Snarky comments about people who want to skip over the suffering and death will not be made here...) Our parish got out the heavy, big crucifix from the sacristy for Father to use on Good Friday. We also had a good turnout for Keeping the Night Watch on Thursday.

All is not lost, even if sometimes it seems so on a bad day.


Pulex said...

Blessed Easter to all! By the way, does Fr. Cantalamessa know that the Canon of (allegedly) Hippolytus does not contain any "consecratory epiclesis"?

Colin Spinks said...

The Roman Canon, in its current English translation, *does* contain an Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit. "Quam oblationem...rationabilem...facere digneris" is rendered "Make...this offering...spiritual" How much that is stretching the meaning of the Latin I'm not quite sure, but together with "ratam" is surely both generally suggestive of the legalistic language of the time and in particular of St Paul's metaphor of the sending of the Spirit: "he has set his seal upon us".

George said...

When I wrote my final academic dissertation for the licentiate in theology, my subject was the Easter vigil in the Byzantine and Latin rites. I was asked to read and quote Cantalamessa. And in one of his books, I took the initiative to check his sources. And his sources were wrong, at odds. As for the non-Hippolytus authorship of that text, it was demonstrated by Jean Magne a couple of decades ago.