Friday, 20 August 2010

Laetus sum...

I went shopping today with my brother at Westfield Shopping Centre, and spent about £400 on clothes. Despite now being crippled financially for the rest of the month, I am glad I did it, since I spend a lot of money on perishables like the anti-Depressants that keep me ever so happy to go back to that awful job week after week, and it's nice to have something other than books to show for the hours of misery I spend there. Afterwards we went to the park and spent Lord-knows-how-long on the swings. It was a good day!

I've decided to convert back to the Traditionalist movement. I figured that since I have ''the burden of knowledge'', I am rather unhappy with things now, so perhaps with a good dose of Low Votive Masses of the Sacred Heart, chaplets of the Divine Mercy and thousands of decades of the Rosary I might once again become stupefied and cured of my unhappiness and start praising Benedict XVI as the ''healer'', who has reversed the damnable heresies of Bugnini (Heaven forbid separating Altar and Tabernacle!) with Summorum Pontificum and has once again restored the Usus Antiquior as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (I mean it's not as though there are only two historical ''forms'' of the Roman Rite - Religious Orders and local custom are a myth) as never juridically abrogated etc. Why stop at that when I could join the '62 police and grass up any ''dissidents'', any deviation from strict observance of the Extraordinary Form (1962)? Of course to do that I'd have to commit intellectual suicide and is happiness really worth that?


  1. Dude, you've got to compromise.

    We all know there are things about '62 that aren't totally traditional, but thanks to SP, those are actually being discussed within the "new liturgical movement" as if there is hope they might be reversed. The ICRSS already has permission to use the old rites of Holy Week for example, and Jeffrey Tucker has seriously proposed allowing priests to use ANY approved liturgical book since Trent. There is also talk that experiments allowed with the Anglican Ordinariates will allow "a thousand liturgies to bloom."

    Likely right now? Of course not. But the fact that these discussions are seriously taking place means that groundwork is being laid in terms of questioning these things and maybe finally getting the Vatican to take a less centralized "helicopter parent" approach to liturgy.

    I'll say this, for now: 1962 is about 90% what I want in liturgy (counting the Office), and just the Missal is about 93%. If we went back to 1950, it would be about 95% what I wanted, and the Missal would be 97%. And much of the remainder are theoretical ideals or my own musings that were never actually actualized in any single edition that we still have.

    For now, I'm willing to take 93% (especially when, as a layman, I can personally use whatever breviary I want). Fighting for Solemn High Masses is more a matter of lack of clerics (and that's a matter of this "mandatory celibacy" policy, among other structural problems with the priesthood).

    I do think, however, your obsession with the Julian calendar is just archaeologism, and your absolute hatred of anatomical feasts and devotions like the Sacred Heart or the idea of private low masses (as long as they aren't taken as a lazy option that comes to prevent high masses)...are theory taken to the extreme against licit developments sprung from the sensus catholicus of popular piety, mainly, and not something to be condemned (as long as they remain a "sideshow" and don't distract from the main event).

  2. Unfortunately (and to paraphrase a voice from Tolkien a little) what's known can't be unknown.

    So, even if you did go into reverse, so to speak, it would be even worse and you would be even less happy - as you would live with not only the knowledge that made you miserable in the first place, but with the additional that you were attempting to "unknow" it. Sometimes the only thing is to go on, and take your thinking to its end; which you may find is nowhere near you think it is.

    But anyway, who said we are supposed to be happy?

  3. You've opened my world to a lot I have been, hitherto, unacquainted with (poor English, sorry!)...
    I admire your spunk. Really.
    And I am learning a lot from you and St. Lawrence blog; I'm just a "nothing monastic priest" 'across the pond'...
    And you're in my prayers. I say this with utmost sincerity.
    I appreciate your love and commitment to Tradition; you and others have a lot of knowledge that I do not have. I think of Laurence Hemming's "Worship as Revelation" when I read your posts. I was unaware of the whole revision of the Office and Mass with Pope Pius X. This is most fascinating.
    But, dear son in Christ, and I mean this with the utmost sincerity, calling Pope Pius XII a "monster" just jolts and rather horrifies me.
    I do understand your objections.
    But, for the sake of making your point, could you just refrain from making "ad hominem" attacks against Popes?
    Call me a Papist or Ultramontanist...I'm just a simple Catholic monk priest.
    I just want to understand these things better.
    I'll have to say, you have helped me to approach the Sacred Liturgy with greater appreciation for "praying" it and appropriating it within my attempt to allow it to form and mold me.
    I love reading the Missals prior to the changes in 1955, esp. Holy Week. I do agree.
    But I'm not about to stage a "coup"; I pray, I wait, I hope for a "brighter" day; monastic life means "waiting for the Lord"...eschatologically...and your insights and raves do help me to focus upon the "authentic Sacred Liturgy."
    For the sake of your soul, I pray you to relax, allow God to form and mold you, and know that He loves you infinitely.
    Blessing and prayers.

  4. We are, in fact, commanded to be happy; not with the "happiness" of a Pope-worshipping, Pollyanna pew-muppet, but with the joy and peace of those who have Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Absence of deep-down joy (which has nothing to do with the emotions) and peace (which has nothing to do with the world and its vicissitudes) indicates that something is radically amiss, to which neither anti-depressants (boring, repetitive, badly-paid work is the lot of most of the human race) nor shopping will get anywhere near.

    Questions will not un-ask themselves, but you're commanded first of all to be righteous, not to be "right". So just stop thinking - or rather, stop theologising. Be a bit apophatic! Do your work, pray and fast a little (viz. st Anthony the Great). Forgive everybody, even those horrible Popes; even your sister. Give some money away that you were going to spend on yourself. Understand that a truly sane and healthy existence is (viz. St Paul) always and exclusively a function of rendering doxa kai eucharistia (glory and gratitude) to God - which is to say, of orthodoxia, giving the term its full and proper meaning. Orthodoxy of the nous, not the mind. After the reading of the Gospel, our people sing Doxa Soi Kyrie, doxa Soi!. They certainly don't mean "Theology (or "doctrine") to You, O Lord, theology to You!". If the stones in your shoes are so troublesome that you can't concentrate on anything else, you will have to sit down and shake them out before going any further - the stones are not the point!

    Always, Glory to God for all things.

  5. Patricius,

    Don't forget to embrace the 206th secret of Fatima too!

    A Sinner,

    I would be interested to know your criteria for the scoring you have given in your comment.
    If I were scoring e.g. a 1962 High Mass in Advent I would proceed thus:

    Deacon & subdeacon in dalmatic and tunicle = lose 50 marks (rationale being the use of folded chasubles is older than Advent itself)

    Bows to the Cross, loss of middle tone of voice, Confiteor and extended kneeling = lose 10 marks.

    Loss of commemoration structure/prayers of the season = lose 10 marks

    Therefore, my satisfaction score = 30%

    My corresponding score for the Office would be about 20%.

    Nazareth Priest,

    I am glad someone across the 'pond' reads me. A huge proplem has been the claim of "No reform before Paul VI" which writers like the late Michael Davies spread across the English-speaking world. The 1911 reform of the Office was revolutionary and although it can be argued that the Missal only underwent small changes the reality was that the perception of the people of Mass on Sundays changed radically. Before 1911 most Sundays were feast days (I am not arguing that was good or bad) and they rarely saw a 'green' Sunday; their regular worship was based very much in the cult of the Sanctoral.

    Likewise the new Holy Week was equally radical. Michael Davies ridiculed an astute writer who described the 1956 Holy Week as "a dress rehearsal for the Vatican II reforms." That was precisely what they were: do read the articles by Fr. Stephen Carusi and Gregory DiPippo if you have not done so already.

    I am afraid there is game being played in all of this. The 'Traddies' like to pretend there was no reform before Paul VI - although that 'position' appears to be breaking down somewhat now - and castigate Paul VI, Mgr. Bugnini and VII. The other combatants, the 'Modernists' equally see VII as the dividing line and loathe everything before it. They see it as the 'start' whilst the 'Traddies' see it as the finish.

    As Paul VI and Mgr. Bugnini suffer so much criticism and castigation across the web why cannot Pius XII be criticised?

  6. A Sinner, as Ian Paisley said to Bernadette Devlin once: ''I'd rather be British than be fair;'' well I'd rather be traditional than compromise my beliefs to suit others, and I shall certainly not keep silent when things irritate me. However, Rubricarius has replied to your comment far more eloquently than I could have.

    Nazareth Priest, it is not my intention to offend people, I just criticise people worthy of criticism (such as Pius XII). As Rubricarius says, all too often Bugnini and Paul VI get the blame when in reality Pius XII laid the foundations - or removed them we might say. What Pius XII did was unacceptable, and no one can expect me to sit through Signum Magnum and ''offer it up,'' although I'm sure the people who did sit through it on Sunday saw nothing wrong with flying in the face of Tradition.

  7. "My corresponding score for the Office would be about 20%."

    You scoring is ridiculous though. 50 marks for dalmatic and tunicle instead of folded chasubles?! Puh-leeze.

    My scoring, I'd say, is based on the body of the text itself and how much of that text actually was altered in an offensive way (because the ars celebrandi is another question entirely).

  8. Moretben: Deep-down joy and peace is a product of grace. It can only be gotten through "pains and afflictions" (S. Rose of LIma). The root of joy is the cross (S. Josemaría). It has little to do with what the world calls "happy", which I assumed, perhaps wrongly, was the kind of happiness Patricius was writing about.

  9. Thank you, Rub.
    I enjoy your posts immensely.
    And will continue to read them.
    I understand your frustration/anger/rage...but really...can you just give us the "facts" and forget about what Pope has made you so damned mad?:<)!
    I'm not a "papalogist" (is that really a word?)...
    I am a convert from never really "took"...cound't stand the sermons:<)!
    But really; our Lord Who is present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the love of our Lady, and the continued succession of the Apostles in the Bishops of the Catholic Church lead me to Rome as a wee lad. I mean it.
    I love the Sacred Tradition.
    I don't worship Pope Pius X, XII, Pope Paul VI,
    Pope John Paul II nor Pope Benedict XVI.
    I LOVE the Catholic Church; pure and simple.
    And I pray for you; I believe you are young enough to be my son; I adopt you as my spiritual son; in all my Masses, hours of Adoration and Rosaries.
    I don't care if you don't want it.
    You have it.
    Pure and simple!

  10. A Sinner,

    You are, of course, entitled to your own scoring system. However, I don’t think it ‘ridiculous’ at all to protest at the novelty of dalmatics in Advent. The penitential seasons maintained the ancient practice of wearing planetis plicatis, a feature from the days when all the ministers wore paenulae. I have to take a dim view of a novel practice first introduced into the Roman rite for Advent in 1961. I would not consider this a question of ars celebrandi and would be hard pressed to think of any feature more Roman, or more ancient.

    Liturgy is more than text and is a matrix that touches all the senses. My first experience of good liturgy was twenty-five years ago the, then, Russian Church Abroad, Emperor’s Gate. I was taken to a Pontifical Vigil Service. I didn’t understand a word of the Slavonic but that service woke something deep inside me. The liturgy communicated meaning to me in non-textual/cognitive ways: the flow of the ceremony from the bishop being greeted in the narthex and vested in his mantyia with the people naturally standing in close proxmity around him, the smell of incense, the touch of the oil during the anointing and the taste of the bread and wine etc.

    I don’t understand how, if you value text so, you give such high scores. Taking the Office by 1962 one has lost over half the psalmody and over half of the lessons at Mattins yet you only take of a few points for this. At Mass you have lost texts such as Deus, qui de beatae Mariae Virginis utero Verbum tuum etc - with its deep links to Advent and the Rorate Masses etc. Would you give additional marks to the Pauline Missal with its addition of readings from Isaiah and prefaces of Advent? I am still interested to know how you arrive at your scores.

    If we are going to consider ars celebrandi and take into account the quality and styles of vestiture, music and how well the liturgy is celebrated my scoring would be probably lower still. The last 1962 celebration I went to was a funeral at the SSPX chapel in London. I sat through that strange mix ‘n’ match service and French sounding chant with distaste, the only reason I was present was my respect for the deceased lady.

    The ICRSS sites used to have a lot of photographs of folded chasubles etc. Their ‘permission’ for pre-1962 practices I understand was little more than a chance comment from the late Cardinal Mayer. I think you will find that all their recent photographs of Holy Week show 1962 celebrations.

  11. "You are, of course, entitled to your own scoring system. However, I don’t think it ‘ridiculous’ at all to protest at the novelty of dalmatics in Advent."

    I don't think it is ridiculous to protest it either. I'm all for restoring the more traditional way.

    It is ridiculous, however, to see this detail as a break which irreparably damages the essence of the traditional liturgy in the same way the novus ordo clearly did. Talk about straining out the gnat!

    There were always little developments going on, and it's not even clear the principle for vestments you want to bring back here (and I do too) was even used in all medieval local rites anyway.

    "I don’t understand how, if you value text so, you give such high scores. Taking the Office by 1962 one has lost over half the psalmody"

    I'm not thrilled about Pius X's reform of the psalter. I think wanting to get rid of the endless repitition of 118 at the Little Hours was an understandable desire, and shortening the number of verses at Matins to do so was tolerable. I don't like that he touched Lauds, Vespers, or Compline, and I think "Lauds II" is a ridiculous and inelegant innovation.

    But, that being said...all the psalms are still there and said in a week. There were always a variety of psalter schemas in the West (Roman, Benedictine, etc). It's not at all like the Novus Ordo where it's a four-week psalter that doesnt even have all the verses because they cut the "offensive" ones out.

    "and over half of the lessons at Mattins yet you only take of a few points for this."

    Because what was cut at Matins was largely homilies from the Commons that were repetitive anyway.

    Yes, by that time, many feasts had been given proper homilies to limit the repetition, but that in itself was sort of an innovation, wasnt it? Originally, feasts of non-biblical Saints would not generally have their own lessons at Mass, for example, their own gospel and thus gospel homily at Matins...they'd use the limited selection from the Commons. But that means a lot of repetition.

    Again, I'd rather go back to 1950. I'd rather have most days be feasts of 9 Lessons again (and use that personally). But, for example, I believe the traditional breviary of certain religious orders already contained a method for (optionally) shortening a feast of 9 lessons to three (in the way that '62 did it) and that's what I wish had really occured and what, I've heard, John XXIII was originally intending: leave the full 9 lessons in, in brackets, but allow the option (in private recitation by secular clerics) to shorten it to 3 lessons.

    "Would you give additional marks to the Pauline Missal with its addition of readings from Isaiah and prefaces of Advent? I am still interested to know how you arrive at your scores."

    Yes, actually. Though I don't like all the arbitrary new prefaces, I think the permission to use the so-called "Gallican Prefaces" in the Old Rite (with a preface for Advent, etc) was a good thing. I also think that restoring a Third Lesson according to a traditional schema (it did used to exist, after all) is not a terrible idea as long as you are still on a one-year cycle (instead of this ridiculous 3-year-sunday-2-year-weekday crap)

  12. A Sinner,

    I am afraid that I must still beg to differ, I don’t think it ‘straining out the gnat’. As I commented earlier what could be more ancient or more Roman than the used of folded chasubles? I agree there was variation in medieval local rites, some of this due to an as yet undeveloped colour sequence and, in Lent, the practice of Lenten 'White'. However, the Roman practice preserved the ancient custom of folded chasubles, reserving the relatively modern wearing of the dalmatic for the joyful seasons. I would, in this case, consider the Use of Rome superior. In 1962 one ends up blurring Septuagesima and Lent, before there was a notable change from Ash Wednesday. The homogenous use of dalmatic etc in 1962 just adds force to the arguments to get rid of Septuagesima we heard in the 1950s and 1960s. Returning to Advent, although clearly it is less penitential than Lent, the use of planetis plicatis is the traditional praxis and my view is very much if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I don't think you can dismiss the rejection of an ancient form of vesture so lightly.

    As to little developments sure, things happened organically with variations in local praxis and textual variation largely due to the fact that MSS were highly expensive to produce. There is a big difference to those changes and changes being imposed universally by decree.

    I agree with much you say about 1911 but cannot agree with you about ‘Lauds II’ ‘Lauds II’ is basically the traditional ferial Lauds, minus some psalms, but retains the ancient Canticles. ‘Lauds I’ is the innovation with accompanying new canticles that had not been used before in the Roman rite (c.f. what happened with Liturgia Horarum). Personally I like repeating Ps. 118, if one is doing the Officium Parvum then one gets variation there. Of course if one is singing the Office the tone of the Psalm-portions is going to be different most days so some variation there. I certainly agree with you about the length of Office but do not think this was handled in the best way.

    There are some precedents for spreading the Psalter beyond a week, the Ambrosian system of Decuriae springs to mind. I am of the view that there was not too much really wrong with the Roman Psalter but with the proliferation of feasts of nine lessons with the desire to reduce the chances of having Sunday or ferial Office. Methinks a distinction should have been introduced for clergy with the cure of souls.

    With regard to the Mattins lessons on Sundays the homilies were varied yet these were cut away. I know John XXIII suggested people could read additional texts from the fathers but was that likely to happen… I would certainly agree that many feasts of nine lessons should have been reduced to three lessons but that was connected with the length of the pre-1911 Office, an inflation of doubles had taken place. It strikes me that the methodology of reform was wrong. The semi-doubles (mostly older than many doubles) got reduced to simples (1955), the simples then got reduced to commemorations and doubles made III class (later optional memoriae) etc. This distorts the calendar in my view.

    I would happily agree with you on the prefaces and OT pericopes. The problem with the prefaces in MR1970 as Fr. Anthony Cekada points out in his latest book is that they are composite creations with excisions and additions rather than being restored texts per se. Something containing the prefaces derived from the Leonine sets like Jumieges would be an interesting potential development if not overdone.