Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Lord grant...

...that the rumours are true! I have a bottle of Bollinger at home, and an ice bucket which hasn't been used since Christmas. O beauteous death of '62 and all the hopes of Traddieland!

The task of regulating, safeguarding and promoting the decorous celebration of the Sacred Liturgy belongs to the diocesan Bishop in each diocese, not the Pope who lives hundreds of miles away. What on earth does the Pope know about Liturgy? Enough to re-write the hymns of the Breviary? Enough to supplant the traditional propers for the feast of St Mary's Assumption with irrelevant and inferior ones with no ancient liturgical witness? Enough that on Ash Wednesday last year the Pope had the Cardinals Deacon in dalmatics rather than folded chasubles? I could go on, but you know the story. I just never cease to be amazed at the liturgical ineptitude of Rome, and disgusted at the sycophancy of Traddies who see Rome as the liturgical sun of the Universe.

You know I wouldn't be so bitter about Summorum Pontificum if Traddies actually implemented it to the letter like good Ultramontanes. Instead you get the hypocrisy of supposed obedience as they quietly get on with their own initiatives about what is for the good of the Church, which in reality is a pick 'n' mix variety of 1950s Liturgy and devotionalism.

Now, I'm off to practice my victory dance before I go to visit my secular friend. It's her turn to entertain me this time...


  1. What rumors are we talking about?

  2. A ''clarifying document'' of sorts, effectively rendering Summorum Pontificum useless. Almost a return to the days of Quattuor Abhinc Annos and Ecclesia Dei, where the regulation of diocesan Liturgy was in the hands of diocesan bishops.

  3. "What on earth does the Pope know about Liturgy?"
    What more, for that matter, do the local bishops?

    There's an old saying, "cutting off your nose to spite your face". It seems appropriate, here.

  4. Well, at least Rome is consistent. If the missal of 1962 was never abrogated, then I suppose SP can be rendered useless by clarification. Aren't the emperor's new clothes just TO DIE FOR?

  5. Just a simple question, Patricius.

    Do you really think that giving back control of the liturgy to the diocesan bishops will, in any way, help the Roman Rite to get back to its feet?

  6. Carlos, honestly? No.

    I think that the all-round best thing for the Old Roman Rite would be to give it into the hands of the Orthodox Church, let them have their way with it, and then after a few months invite Traddies to come and observe how Liturgy should be done.

  7. Patricius, I don't know if you are being flippant or not but I actually think you are correct. Western Rite Orthodoxy is really the only hope for the survival of the Roman Rite.

  8. Patricius,
    i think that your description of traditionalist Catholics (no monolithic group, as you seem to believe...)as ''ultramontanes'' who see ''Rome as the liturgical sun of the universe'' is very very lacking in insight. Your descritipion actually fits the neo-conservatives, who are as a group ''ultra-montane'', and not the traditionalists, who are, since the end of Vatican II, quite suspicous of the Vatican, as a group. I would rather see the fate of the traditional Roman Rite in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI (with whom i do not agree on other matters...), rather than in the hands of the Bishops, most of whom are ignorant of and indifferent to liturgy and dogma, unpastoral, carriere-minded, and often enough even heretical. The real problem with our Roman Rite is the false conviction of modern-day Catholics that the Rite of Mass, Divine OFfice, Sacraments and Sacramentals, can be changed at whim by anyone claiming Ecclesiastical authority, whether that be Pope, Consilium, Commission, Congregation, Bishop, Priest or Pastoral Worker. The truer vision of an unchanging liturgy, having orgainically developed and reached mature perfection, has died in the Western Church. Until the truer vision - kept till this day by the Eastern Churhes - is recovered in the West, nothing will satisfactorily guarantee the sacredness and essential inviolateness of the Rites and ceremonies of the Church of Rome and related Western Rites. Until then, the Missale Romanum and other books in use in 1962 seem to me to be legitimate starting point in a return to Tradition.

  9. Tawser, no I was being perfectly serious.

    Albertus, I say again, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to use the liturgical books of 1962. Everyone who thinks this has no real understanding of liturgical tradition and should be all rounded up into the London Oratory for a lovely Pontifical '62 function where I shall calmly proceed to take a flamethrower to the place...

  10. "...the Missale Romanum and other books in use in 1962 seem to me to be legitimate starting point in a return to Tradition"

    The 1962 books (which hardly constitute a complete set anyway as the ones that were published represented a stage in the reform process) are not a starting point but an end of Tradition if they continue. What comes next is not a return to previous editions but the assimilation of subsequent reforms such as were seen in '1965' and 1967 until Traddieland ends up at its original point of departure.

    Thank God it looks as though some restrictions to Summorum Pontificum are one their way. Pray God it is abrogated before too long.

    As to whether Liturgy would be better in the hands of the bishops they can hardly make as bad a job as the twentieth century popes did.

  11. Rubricarius, thank you sane person.

    The whole ''the '62 books are a legitimate starting point'' argument is the attitude I have been trying to eradicate since I started this blog. Am I getting through to anyone? No of course not, and I sometimes think I am not even on the same wave length as these morons.

  12. It is one thing to complain, but it is another thing to act. Why not expend some more of these ranting energies (which can increase pride and diminish charity) to contribute to improving the worship of your local church, for the good of the souls around you (and your own) and for the greater glory of God? I see at some parishes groups forming to pray Sunday Vespers in common. That could be a very worthwhile effort.

  13. Patricius and Rubricarius,

    Is there a legitimate starting point or do we just believe that we need to allow no authority in the Liturgy and let faithful/priests/bishops sort things out? Is this a matter of trusting the spirit? Is there a liturgical authority and if so who is it? How does oversight, if it exists, happen?

    One could make an argument that 1962 is the point where the damage can be undone and so this is where Benedict is leading us. Otherwise we're left with a Novus Ordo which, as I believe you are saying, is basically the culmination and crystallization of '62 with the rubrics loosened to the point where we get messes like the last 50 years. Perhaps we need a campaign to return to the point where the mess began.

    If I'm correct in believing that pre-1911 is the optimum "starting point," that is what needs to be promoted.

    The fact of the matter is, most (including myself, though ignorance is slowly being set aside) can only tell the difference between pre-Novus Ordo (popularly called the Traditional Mass and synonymous [popularly] with 1962) and the Novus Ordo itself. A language barrier affects most of us (my Latin is crap but is basically fluent compared with 80% of the populations ability) as well as the normal "Vatican II freed us from that" dribble.

    Rubricarius is already starting this project with his two blogs, but I think further work should be done. Where can a curious Catholic (such as myself) go to understand the terms of a traditional Liturgical Calendar (doubles, ferias, etc), the proper divisions, and their importance, of the Liturgical Hours, and other terminology and concepts that have basically been jettisoned in the modern age?

    Most on the internet do not peruse libraries of old material (I myself find the trip difficult and I'm supposedly an "academic" in training), so how can we get this online?

    We can scream "you're wrong" all you want, but most of us want to know "what's right." What we tend to see when we search is a bunch of rather intelligent folks speaking words we don't know beyond the whole "you're wrong" talk.

    Now that the rant is over, can someone recommend some books for a non-Latinist to understand the liturgical books of the past and their development, specifically rubrics and especially the breviary? I'd rather be able to have some grasp of the matter when this instruction pulls the rug out of everyone's feet in some horrific manner.

  14. Tomas,

    The NO certainly has a traceable lineage back through to the Liturgical Congresses of the early 1950s to which Patricius refers in a previous post. The issue, I would suggest, is not the NO but the choice of 1962 as a reference point and the idea that it faithfully represents the ‘old rite’. My argument would be that 1962 was just an interim stage in that, pre-determined, process. I would also argue that the re-adoption of 1962 will inevitably lead to progression and convergence with the NO.

    Certainly the reform to the Roman Breviary in 1911-13 was radical and something which received almost no popular attention. 99.99% of clergy welcomed the reform as it meant the Office they were obliged to recite (therin a major problem, the one of obligation over celebration) became shorter. However, a major issue regarding pre-1911 is that the Kalendar is clogged up with feasts days. In pre-1911 ‘ordinary’ Sundays double feasts (the vast majority) took precedence over the Sunday. As their Office was significantly shorter than the Office of the Sunday the number of doubles became inflated so the longer Sunday Office became a rarity.

    I agree with you about language but also think there is a question of history, or to be specific, the lack of awareness or deliberately ignoring of, the history of the changes to the typical editions of the Roman books that happened between 1911 and 1970. Without awareness of their history, and the processes that led to the changes in those various editions it becomes too easy, and convenient, to see the SVC as either the best thing since sliced bread or the worst thing since the Fall depending on one’s perspective.

    As to reading material I would suggest the following for a start:

    Reinhold, H.A., ‘Bringing the Mass to the People’, Helicon, 1960

    DiPippo, G., ‘Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary 1568 -1961’ on the New Liturgical Movement.

    Gregory conveniently gives a glossary at the beginning of the series that helps with ‘double’, ‘semi-double'
    (There is also an excellent series by Gregory on the reform of Holy Week)

    O’Connell J.B., ‘Simplifying the Rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal’, Burns & Oates, 1955 (The 1956 changes to the Office and Mass other than Holy Week)

    McManus, Frederick R., ‘Handbook for the New Rubrics’, Geoffrey Chapman, 1961 (The 1960 changes – does not include, obviously, changes introduced into the 1962MR such as bows to the Cross etc)

    Do you have access to liturgical journals such as ‘Worship’ and ‘Ephemerides Liturgicae’? If so I will give you a list of articles for more in-depth reading.

  15. Rubricarius, of course clerical laziness vis choral singing of the Office (or even private recitation) is hardly a new thing. Was it not an issue in the 15th century?

  16. Rubricarius and Patricius,
    I have followed this blog for a while, and am continually frustrated that two men with whom I agree with so much in principle, I should part with in regard to conclusions on the one hand, and acrimony on the other. I am Master of Ceremonies at a parish that offers Solemn mass every Sunday, with a proper deacon in that role (Rubricarius, I believe you have commented about our Holy Week liturgies on the Saint Hugh blog) I share most all of your criticisms of 62 (though I believe there are some aspects of '62 you have lauded, Patrick, such as not reduplicating readings) and I find the Holy Week rites particularly painful. I am even willing to support arguments of immemorial custom and say that no legitimate authority can forbid pre '55 rites. But beyond an ideal world, how do we deal with the local church as it stands now? For, I am sorry, Patrick, but the biggest obstacle to tradition, from one who has suffered through it all my adult life, is the local bishop and the lavender encrusted chancery. I have a wonderful pastor who has done more for the cause than any local priest, but he does not want to give the local bishop an inch to move against him. Summ Pont. has given him legitimate grounds to act from a position of legitimate authority and right, and has prevented the usual roadblocks. I agree there are significant problems with '62, but whre I disagree, Rubricarius, is that the Tiber is now flowing in the opposite direction, the sensus fidelium with it, and '62 might indeed be a bridge to lead us back to where we came, and in the mean time protect us from the usual pontifical obstructions and preventions. Can you at least come that far with me?

  17. JGKester,

    Was your church one where some old rite ceremonial was used in the Triduum to disguise some of the more grating elements of the 1956 reform - such as having solemn collects on Good Friday at the epistle corner rather than at the centre of the altar?

    I do not share your view concerning the direction the Tiber is flowing. I also believe SP's assertion that the 1962MR was never abrogated to be demonstrably fallacious so cannot support it.

  18. That's exactly where I think Patricius and Rubricarius go wrong. 1955 is NOT possible right now, for the reasons JGKester has outlined. And it is much easier to transition from 1962 to 1955 than from 1970 to 1955.

  19. James C.,

    Au contraire, it is both perfectly possible and practical.

    I am preparing music now for another pre-1955, and pre-1911 Triduum.

  20. "Western Rite Orthodoxy is really the only hope for the survival of the Roman Rite." Oh please?! IF it truly was a Western Rite that they were offering, perhaps, but as it is Easternised demonstrating an almost deliberate ignorance of the development of the Liturgy in the Latin Rite, I hardly think they are our best hope for its survival!

  21. The Western Rite of the Antiochian Orthodox Church does allow pre-1955 holy week ritual to be used in either english or latin. The only easternization I am aware of is the ommission of "filioque" in credo and a few words about the Holy spirit added to make an epiclesis around the consecration.

    I don't pretend the Western Rite within the Eastern Orthodox Church is without flaws or supported by all Orthodox, but it does free up the time one would otherwise focus on liturgy wars to actually working out ones own salvation and the more practical things such as growing vegetables to eat in the summer and donating them to the food banks.