Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Corruption of the Roman Rite...

Fr Hunwicke has just posted a rather good article here on the hymns of the breviary. He says:

"Never forget that the corruption of the Roman Rite began, not with Paul VI, not with Pius XII, not even with Pius X, but when, in the 1620s, Papa Barberini aka Urban VIII mucked up the ancient Office Hymns because he wanted them to sound more like Horace. This was the first example of the Roman Catholic Church adopting the "we've-now-got-printing-so-we-can-now-impose-our-latest-revolutionary-fad-almost-overnight-on-the-Universal-Church" syndrome which ultimately led to Bugnini. Protestants like Cranmer, of course, had seen the possibilities of this technology for liturgical devastation much earlier. Back to Pius V should be the traditionalist instinct. That is why, if you want to use English translations of the original texts of the Office Hymns as given in Sarum, Pius V, and the new Liturgy of the Hours, you need to use Anglican translations - done from Sarum by people like J M Neale - rather than RC translations by scholars like E Caswall." (Emphasis my own).

Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini, indubitably! With respect to Fr Hunwicke, whose deep knowledge of matters liturgical exceeds my own, I would have thought, taking my mantra from Gandalf, that "beginning" is too big a claim for anyone, particularly for any matter in the long, sad story of the Roman Rite. I agree entirely that Barberini mucked up the antient Office hymns, so did Dr Fortescue, and one of the great reforms, among many, of Vatican II was to, at least partially, put them right. But the corruption of the Roman Rite goes back much further than even Barberini. Who knows when and where? The University of Paris? Wandering beggars? The Greeks were already scandalized by the decadence of the Roman liturgy at the Council of Lyons in 1274, and by the standards of to-day that must have been magnificent! The Council of Trent almost certainly tolled the death knell of the Roman Rite.

These days I would say that traditionalists have no objections worth serious consideration to arbitrary, nonsensical changes in their rite. If the pope can add the Filioque to the Creed of his own volition, what merit does an hymn have, however venerable? Yea more, who now has anything to say about the changes to the Roman Rite during the Gregorian reforms? Indeed, who knows anything about them? The answer is no one. Those changes, long out of living memory, are completely irrelevant to our time. The corruption of the Roman Rite comes ultimately down to the position of one man, he that exalts himself in Christ's Church as opposed to those that make themselves humble: the Bishop of Rome. The zealous violence committed by a string of popes in the name of uniformity and power cannot be undone and the only thing left of the Roman Rite in 99% of Latin rite parishes is a festering, withered creature, scarcely worthy of the name "liturgy." The other 1%, the traddies, are too stupid and wicked to see the problem, even if they were interested in truth and orthopraxis.

The Roman Rite has been eviscerated over a period of centuries, not decades, and for people like me the only option left is to just look the other way.


  1. the endeavors of the traditionalists seem ridiculous when one takes two things in account:
    1. Nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning. - Pope st. Agatho
    2. history

    murky waters

    1. I tell you what traddies do: they see that the Roman Rite is drowning, and they just describe the water.

    2. Well said Marko. History and the traddies' world are in marked contradiction to one another.

    3. i was, what goes under the name, traditionalist. i bought into the breve esame critico, the 20 something points of similarities with the protestant liturgical reform, all the other propaganda and garbage.

      until i started to really delve into history of the western rites.
      i've seen that the present roman rite has resurrected many forgotten practices of it's own and it has picked up some practices from the other Rites. nothing of this is foreign to roman rite. it has always been picking up elements of this and that rite, eastern as well as gallican.

      it has always grown, and has been changed, and then supposedly restored to an earlier practice.

      none of this is new.

      and that's also where the traditionalists fall into a contradiction.
      well, they claim immutability on one hand, so much so, that they'll even claim that the tridentine rite goes all the way to the apostles.
      on the other hand they acknowledge the "organic" development, whatever that might be.
      so which is it? immutability or development?
      when they are finally powerless against historical evidence of development, they say it is justified because this or that pope did so and so and it's organic. why? because they (the trads) say so? gratuitous claims etc.
      and what makes this or that pope different from the other?

      those are just arbitrary likings according to one's fetish.

  2. Also could you please elaborate on the shock of the Greeks upon the decadence of the Roman liturgy?

    1. Marko, I cannot at present. I read that in a footnote somewhere, perhaps in Dr Chadwick. Fortescue, I believe, tells the story that the Greeks had been forced to draw icons on the wall of a Latin church with chalk because they could not understand what was going on around them, but whether that actually happened remains up to the reader.

    2. I don't understand the causal relationship between not understanding the liturgy and being forced to draw icons.

      Were they bored into drawing icons or what?

  3. I think you have hit the nail on the head by pointing out that liturgical 'reform' in the Western Church, accomplished by the uncanonical means of the fiat of the Patriarch of the West, started in the 11th Century with the double procession added to the Symbol of Faith. If a pope can change a creed established by an ecumenical council, for heaven's sake, he can change pretty much anything.

    1. But it doesn't end in the 11th century. Already due to the controversy surrounding the "Quinisext" synod the Latins changed the tradition of aliturgical days in Lent. Gregory Di Pippo wrote a rather good article on that subject for the New Liturgical Movement a few years ago. If popes were in any sense of the word "infallible" they'd surely be given some prophecy about the extent of their arbitrary changes.

  4. I have revisited this post while listening to some sedevacantist council from JPII's reign. One of them could be sane if he would apply a similar metric to the changes made before 1958 that he applies to post-Vatican II, which is why I revisited this post. Always good to know when they started meddling- from Martin Van Creveld's Rise and Decline of the State, I have learned the rise of bureaucracy really started taking off under the aegis of absolutist kings- the kings managed to weaken the nobility but also reduce themselves to mere signatories of a state. Bureaucratic influence was no doubt already quite strong in the 1620s.