Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sacramental validity...

...is this all that really matters in terms of liturgy? It seems that modern Catholic hermeneutics of Liturgy, validity etc exclude rights and wrongs in the ars celebrandi of Liturgy. Since the celebrant of Mass is a validly ordained priest, all he has to do is have the right intention, to intend to do what the Church does (to procure the Sacrament)...and that's it - you have a valid Mass. Never mind about how the rest of the Liturgy is celebrated; so long as the priest says the ''magic words'' over the Chalice and corporal, this is all that matters. The King of Kings deigns to come down from on high to the Altar (or in some cases the box - like in Westminster Cathedral until recently, although I certainly don't approve of what they've since done to the real High Altar) for our nourishment. We've all experienced appalling liturgy - I expect that my Trad readers (if there are any left) are familiar with the liberal, modernist kind, as am I. But Liturgy can be abused in so many other ways. I have attended many so-called ''Old Rite'' Masses where I have been literally seething, and the one thing that kept me from departing in wrath was respect for Liturgy itself. Usually these things are the result of clerical ineptitude (I never cease to be amazed at how little the clergy know about Liturgy - some years ago I MCd a Sung Mass where I had to tell the Celebrant to kiss the Altar and say the Orate Fratres - at the time I thought ''how many years have you been saying Mass?'') or the mix and match routine...which I have spoken enough about recently. It seems to me that Liturgy itself, since it is the ancient worship of the Church, requires more than bare Sacramental validity. I have attended some liturgies where I have thought: ''Lord, that You would come down to nourish these people is a bit beyond me''...

Why would God send the Holy Ghost down upon the Altars of those who simply can't be bothered with Liturgy?

These two photos are both celebrations of Mass, but both contain heinous liturgical abuses. The top photo needs no introduction, and is quite familiar...but the last one is a celebration of Palm Sunday according to post-'56 rubrics in America recently. Can someone please tell me how they are different, and why? Because to me they are both exactly the same. How can a traditionalist in the Palm Sunday (or is it now the Second Sunday of Passiontide? I forget) celebration pretend to be superior to a Modernist in the top photo clapping his hands when in reality what he is doing is no better, or is perhaps even worse? At least the people in the top photo aren't pretending to be traditional! What constitutes ''traditional'' in Tradworld? Is it preference for lace cottas to polyester albs? Or perhaps the Deacon chanting Benedicamus Domino on Corpus Christi? Yet such photos as the Palm Sunday one are spread about the traditionalist blogs as though they are a boon for the Church! I attended post-'56 Palm Sunday some years ago, and when I went home, I didn't say to my mother: ''Gosh I wept so beautiful it was, I never was so moved;'' in fact, I compared it to the anticipation of seeing a great upcoming film and then being disappointed upon actually seeing it...

I really cannot understand Traditionalism...


  1. Patricius:

    If rights and wrongs in the ars celebrandi influence the validity, how then do we view liturgies such as the Post-'56 Palm Sunday rite, or the Novus Ordo Mass. Their texts have been promulgated, etc. Surely, therefore we must view them more favourably than the 'invented' ones which the first photo may be an example of?

    I'm not necessarily disputing what you say, but contrasting 'invented' liturgies by those Priests and Bishops who believe they can modify the liturgy at whim, versus texts that have been approved for use by the Holy See. (Note: I'm not debating whether the Holy See is correct or not, rather the difference between invention and following a prescribed method.)

  2. I am an ex-Novus Ordo RC, now Orthodox. My experience of the traditional Roman rite is limited. So bearing that in mind, I can't help asking, ahem, what the hell is so wrong in the second photo?

  3. Tawser, thanks for your comment.

    The photo depicts a Palm Sunday procession according to the new rubrics which came into force in 1956. The Ministers (all four of them - there will be a separate Subdeacon Crucifer, bearing an unveiled cross) are wearing red vestments, the Deacon in dalmatic and the Subdeacons in tunicles. However, if they were doing things properly there would be no separate Subdeacon Crucifer, and the Ministers would be wearing violet folded chasubles, which Pius XII abolished. My point here is that using the liturgical books of 1962 is just as abusive of Liturgy as waving a tambourine during an Offertory hymn and having postcommunion dances...

    For a thorough critique and comparison of the changes of Palm Sunday, which arguably suffered most under Pius XII, consult the St Lawrence Press blog.

  4. engineman: Me too! Sadly I went through that odd phase of giving away everything Anglican when I converted. Now all I'm left with is an old battered copy of Dearmer...

    Patricius: But you never answered my question! ;-p Isn't there scope or traditions to live and die (abolishment of things), or do you want liturgy to always accrete? (Serious question; I'm not trying to be mean.)