Monday, 14 June 2010

By the fruit is the tree known...

As you all know, I am no fan of the ''Sacred Heart'' cult, but Fr Hunwicke has written an excellent sermon for the occasion. Here is a snippet:

Is there really an equivalence between Stalin and the Flappers? The Flappers may have been a trifle naughty, but they surely weren't murderous? They didn't send you to gulags or contrive a genocidal famine in the Ukraine. Yet ... I wonder. This age of ours, an age of sexual license, of which the Thirties were perhaps the first care-free dawn, has led to a new Holocaust: of the unborn. I don't think you have to be over-imaginative to join up a line of dots between the flirty skirts of the Thirties and the era of the overmighty abortionists. Which may serve to remind us that it was Pius XI who also, in his Encyclical Casti connubii, defended the principles of Christian Marriage.

Immodest indeed. Well did Pope Pius XI warn against the evils of immodesty. Too many people think that their actions have no consequences, drunk on the liberal nonsense that ''if it doesn't immediately affect the other person, it's all right'' blah blah blah...I personally think that women should not wear trousers. Of course such an opinion is considered to be extreme nowadays, and I shall probably incur the wrath of some woman who sees nothing wrong with it (most likely a woman in a man's job) for daring to utter such a misogynistic opinion, but I shall go to the grave with my convictions. At any rate, Tolkien complained of it in the 1960s.

In terms of actions having consequences, trees being known by their fruits and all that, what are the consequences of liturgical reform? Liturgical reform hasn't (fortunately) made people commit murder (but then, He alone knows all ends...), but it has made people complacent about Liturgy (or was it the complacency that kick-started the reform in the first place? Who knows). Even Traditionalists such as the Society of ''St'' Pius X (why-o-why was a man who committed such a gross act of autocratic violence against the Liturgy ever canonized? But then, it was Pius XII who canonized him. Urban VIII was fortunately never canonized, but then he not only has his absurd hymns on his CV, but also the Galileo affair...suffice to say, I have no particular ''devotion'' to Pius X), the Latin Mass Society etc all see Liturgy as singularly unimportant. Both organizations would fain have us think that there was no reform whatsoever before the Council, and that the Tridentine Mass remained unchanged from the time of St Gregory until that awful Vatican II ruined everything. Boob! My biggest issue with them is that they take 1962 as the cut-off year (because it was before the Council - which month in 1962 I wonder!), when in fact the liturgical books of 1962 represent just a stage in the liturgical reform. Let me put it simply: if you're going to have the Old Rite, at least do it properly and don't shy away from Tradition, for whatever reasons you might think of (for ''pastoral'' reasons, or ''obedience'' to Summorum Pontificum or whatever - if you genuinely prefer '62 to the Old Rite then I pity you). Or perhaps because of the ''development'' of doctrines Liturgy gets dragged into this vacuum too? If so, there is no legitimate reason for any Catholic to prefer the Old Rite. If Liturgy is simply what the Pope says it is in any given era in the Church's history, then you are putting yourself at variance with the Pope if you adhere to Tradition.

This is where Summorum Pontificum comes in. Now that the Holy Father has said that the 1962 Rite is an ''extraordinary form'' of the New Rite, Traddies have identified themselves anew. Now that they have Summorum Pontificum, ''the'' Motu Proprio (as if there were none published before 2007!), behind them, they can use the so-called Usus Antiquior to their heart's content, without recourse to the permission of the local Ordinary. Before Summorum Pontificum, Traditionalists used arguments from immemorial custom (quoting Pius V's Quo Primum) to celebrate Mass. Arguments from immemorial custom to celebrate the 1962 Rite are just downright false since the whole point about ''immemorial custom'' is that the custom in question has to be in existence for over 200 years, whereas the 1962 liturgical books were juridically abrogated in 1965, a mere three years after they came into force!

Perhaps the Holy Father needs revision? This aside, I suppose being in a church full of legal positivists it is good to have some sort of ''guide'' from on high about how to do things and most bishops are too aliturgical (and therefore stupid) to know the difference between '62 and the real Old Rite. But since Summorum Pontificum says nothing about the Old Rite (except in passing), why do many Traditionalists celebrate the Old Rite and yet look to Summorum Pontificum for their justification in doing so? If we were relying on Summorum Pontificum, and we followed that to the letter, we'd all be doing the '62 Rite (well, except me that is).
You may be wondering about my choice of the above painting (by Duccio) of the Lord curing the man born blind. It may seem strange but one of the most moving passages from Scripture (I find) is St John 9:38-41.
And he said: ''I believe, Lord.'' And falling down, he adored him. And Jesus said: ''For judgement I have come into this world; that they who see not may see, and they who see may become blind.'' And some of the Pharisees, who were with him, heard. And they said unto him: ''Are we also blind?'' Jesus said to them: If you were blind, you should not have sin. But now you say: 'We see.' Your sin remains.''
For my thoughts on this Gospel pericope in relation to what I have said, I shall leave to your imagination...


  1. Just out of interest: do you believe priests ordained according to the new rite of ordination are validly ordained?

  2. In answer to your question, yes. I wouldn't waste my time going to Mass in my parish church if I did not.

    But questions of ''validity'' do not really concern me, neither do they negate the larger question of the right to change liturgical tradition according to the latest fashion, which is the general thrust of a lot of my posts here.

    By the implication of your question you think I have adopted a sedevacantist position?

  3. I think you might as well because in an earlier post you implied that most Novus Ordo masses were invalid. Of course, if you still wish to proclaim yourself as a Catholic, then you also would have to admit that the church cannot provide a sacrilegious rite to her own followers otherwise the gates of Hell would have indeed prevailed against it.

  4. Most Sedevacantists (in their ignorance) think that Pius XII was the last ''valid'' Pope, whereas I think that John XXIII was far worthier (he brought a lot of the ''stuff'' abolished by his predecessor back).

    If I followed your logic, however, I'd see nothing wrong with the New Rite - since the Pope says it's ok! You clearly accept that Popes have the right to interfere in the Liturgy at their whim, even if you don't like what they have done.

  5. I think both were as bad as each other as far as the liturgical side was concerned. John XXIII liked dressing up. If he were so liturgical astute he would not have approved of the rubrics to the 1962 missal or approved of Sacrosanctum Concilium for that matter!

    I don't see how my previous post indicates that I "... accept that Popes have the right to interfere in the Liturgy at their whim" - I do accept that they have the right to introduce new feasts and offices when seen fit and after due consideration - the feast of Christ the King is an example.

    However I do not accept they can alter rites that bear no resemblance to what was previously used or that they may alter rites in order to suit modern times or various lobby groups.

    So do you believe most Novus Ordo masses are invalid as you implied previously then?

  6. First of all, you do not ''post'' here - I post, you comment, and your comments are published at my say so. Moreover, you seem to be treating my blog as a forum to show me up as a ''heretic.'' Did you even read the latest post, or are you using the latest post to try and resurrect old arguments?

    I believe I have already answered your impertinent question. If I receive anymore comments from you on this post, I shall not publish them.

  7. That 1962 is an arbitary cut-off point, full of ultramontane refoms is beyond any doubt. The SSPX missed a great opportunity when Archbishop Lefebvre decided to use those books. It's as if they lacked the balls when they were really needed. The result is that they've just made things a lot harder for subsequent generations. I've never really liked reference to Quo Primum either, because it's essentially liturgy by papal decree, even if the liturgical books codified by Pius V are what was received from our fathers (because it's kind of like coming to the right conclusion but for the wrong reasons).

    If we actually look to part of the Holy Father's reasoning behind Summorum Pontificum there is no reason why a priest could not celebrate mass, for example, using the 1570 missal or the Divine Office using the Psalter of Pius V because, "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful." If that can be applied to the 1962 books then that automatically applies to earlier liturgical books. We just needs priests with the balls to do it.

  8. "...whereas the 1962 liturgical books were juridically abrogated in 1965, a mere three years after they came into force!"


    I must beg to differ with you and suggest the above is far too loose.

    The promulgation of the 1965 Ordo Missae, Ritus servandus and De defectibus certainly derogated the use of the 1962 MR but did not abrogate it. Both the 1965 rite and the later 1967 rite make reference to the new rubrics (1960) and the lessons, collects were, taken from the 1962 plenary missal (except for various lectionaries on 2/3 year cycles introduced in some places in 1967 onwards).

    I think you could argue that the 1962 Ordo Missae, Ritus etc were abrogated - certainly they could not, officially, be followed.

    As Traditionalist Canonists (DuLac, Capponi, Glover, Cekada etc) point out Paul VI's Missale Romanum abrogated rites that were not of immemorial or centennial custom (c.f. with the wording of Divino afflatu). However, clearly the rites of 1962, 1965 and 1967 could claim neither immemorial or centennial custom.

    Generally the right to use liturgical books are abrogated, not the books, per se, themselves.

  9. Paul Knight, many thanks for both actually reading my post and for your comment. Of course I agree about your assessment of the SSPX, although I would see their choice to adopt '62 as coming from both ignorance of the Liturgy (they cannot possibly have chosen the '62 books on account of their merit) and an agenda against Vatican II.

    You raise interesting points re Summorum Pontificum. Regarding celebration of the Liturgy according to the rubrics of the 1570 Missal and 1568 Breviary, however, there are many problems. The most obvious is the Kalendar. The 1570 books followed the Julian Kalendar, moreover many saints' feasts had been excised from the Kalendar. Plus many rubrics of the 1570 Missal were later revised by Popes etc.

  10. Rubricarius, many thanks for your clarification. Of course I had the 1965 Ordo Missae in mind when I said that the '62 books were ''abrogated.''

  11. ...does not the making ''typical'' of a new Missal not take for granted that the previous typical edition is abrogated though?

  12. Actually, seeing as you mention it, the change from the Julian Kalendar to the Gregorian Kalendar has always been something I'm quite sympathetic to. If you've ever read the chapter "The Relationship of the Liturgy to Space and Time" from Ratzinger's "The Spirit of the Liturgy" you'll know why.

  13. Patricius,

    There was not a 'typical' edition of a 1965 Missal but the Order of Mass, Ritus and De defectibus.

    'Typical' editions are an interesting question in themselves. The 1962 Missal was declared 'typical' by the SRC itself but this declaration never appeared in the AAS.

    One blogger-priest-canonist I know said that to be official something has to appear in the AAS. However, as much as I would like to belive that in particular relation to the 1962 Missal I do not think it correct. Elsewhere Fr. Anthony Cekada has made a convincing argument about promulgation of liturgical books etc and argues, convincingly to me at least, that promulgation really means making the expressed will of the legislator known (golly isn't Canon Law awful).

    If one looks in AAS then the only Missals declared 'typical' therein are the 1920 and 1970 editions (and probably later ones but I have never bothered to look those up).

    Paul Knight,

    I think one does need to argue the praxis of custom and what was sanctioned and indeed sanctifying at one point in history cannot be suddenly considered, as a result of postive legislation, harmful.

  14. Rubricarius, I once had a mind to enter Canon Law (my crest has long since fallen) and I was put off for reasons such as these.

    I think that the neglect to enter the ''typical'' edition into the AAS by the SRC was probably because they took things for granted - though I may be wrong. My knowledge of this stage of the liturgical reform is not great. At any rate, the 1570 Missal was a typical edition long before there was an AAS!

    Regarding the Julian Kalendar, I am all for a return to it. Imagine the disruption the Gregorian Kalendar brought about in 1582 and subsequent years.

    Perhaps a compromise could be reached - a return to the Julian Kalendar for the Temporale and keep the Gregorian Kalendar for the Sanctorale? Just a thought...

  15. Patricius,

    No it was deliberate. SRC made a point about this at the end of Rubricarum instructum etc with a decree to publishers of liturgical books dated 26 July 1960. This decree is in the AAS after the changes to the Martyrology.

  16. Patrici, what exactly are your objections to a Mass celebrated decently and in order according to the '62 missal?