Why the Reform of the Reform is Not the Solution
Discussions these days about the much needed Reform of the Reform of the Roman Rite seldom go well. While opinions abound, formation is often lacking. Preference confronts continuity and battle lines are drawn between those entrenched in post-conciliar innovation and those seeking restoration.
We need look no further than Rome to see that discussions of liturgical renewal are about as welcomed today as a drunk uncle at Christmas. Pope Francis recently said that any talk of a needed reform of the reform of the Mass is a “mistake.” Just the mere recommendation by Cardinal Sarah that priests consider offering the Mass ad orientem brought quick rebukes from the Vatican Press office, from close papal confidant Fr. Antonio Spadaro, and even an immediate summons to meet with Pope Francis. Everyone got the message.
At the diocesan level the story is similar. For every diocese like a Lincoln, NE or Madison, WI which has seen episcopal support for liturgical renewal and (specifically) ad orientem masses, there are the heavy-handed tactics of those bishops opposed to renewal as demonstrated in Little Rock (AR), Davenport (IA), and most recently Manchester (NH).
This brings us to the important matter of defining our objective, particularly as it relates to the Reform of the Reform, even if Pope Francis appears to reject its very need. We need to ask this simple question: what is the end game? In other words, what are we seeking to accomplish?
Some argue that a more reverent Novus Ordo Mass is the objective. Make no mistake about it, this is commendable. It is the idealism of many well intentioned clergy and laity.
However, let’s also be realists. The Novus Ordo both by design, as well as by its own post-conciliar development, is a liturgy of options. The most liturgically impoverished Sunday Mass might be irreverent and profane, but rarely is it guilty of any actual liturgical abuse.
Those who most vociferously argue for the Reform of the Reform need to remember that any parish currently embracing liturgical renewal is only one pastoral change away from a return to banality. That’s the freedom granted, both in form and in practice, of the Novus Ordo. It’s also the reason why the Reform of the Reform cannot be the solution, but rather only a temporary fix.
This is where the argument for restoration comes in. The traditional idealist says that the temporary fix is also the solution: the Traditional Latin Mass, also called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
The argument in favor of restoration of the old vs. reforming of the new is simple: there is a structure, a “rigidity” shall we say, to the traditional liturgy which permits little innovation and improvisation. Options and personality, so often the trademarks of the reformed liturgy, are largely avoided within the Traditional Latin Mass.
Additionally, innovations like extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, communion in the hand, lay lectors, and altar girls are completely absent from the traditional liturgy. In other words, those areas which can often cause the most contentious debates in a parish setting are all non-factors at the Latin Mass.
Offering the Traditional Mass also avoids quarrels over liturgical practices which have existed since the earliest centuries of the Church, but are now considered at times to be controversial:
- the very use of Latin in the Mass
- offering the Mass ad orientem
- singing the Propers of the Mass instead of popular hymns
- the use of Chant for the Ordinary of the Mass
- kneeling to receive Holy Communion
- the exclusive use of the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1)
In so far as the Novus Ordo is offered with as much possible deference to these traditional practices, renewal is realized. But that’s the point as well: the new liturgy achieves this renewal only when it rediscovers its past. However, the very fact that the new rite permits the jettisoning of all of these practices at the mere preference of a pastor or community, shows why it can never be the solution.
For those modern proponents who like that the Mass can be molded and shaped to reflect personal preferences, thereby losing the constancy and universality that a particular rite should have regardless of time and place, the Novus Ordo Mass accommodates.
For those “conservative” priests and parishes who have worked to Reform the Reform through the return of traditional elements and more reverence, they are doing a service to God and man, however much the foundation is built on sand and not stone. But make no mistake about it, the foundation on which the reform of the reform is built on is sand.
I will continue to join with others to promote the necessary liturgical renewal needed in the Roman Rite. It is the right thing to do. However, it is my belief that this renewal will only be realized through restoration and not through reform.
Posted on December 6, 2016, in liturgy and tagged holy mass, latin mass, liturgical reform, liturgical renewal, novus ordo mass, reform of the reform. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.
So, you are advocating for the complete dismissal of the current ‘Ordinary Form’ of the mass, and complete, unequivocal return to the 1963 missal?
Sounds good to me, to be honest. Although, a complete return to the pre-’55 missal would be great. Reject all the Bugnini-izations that have tainted our venerable rite.
In light of the “Reform of the Reform” being a failure, there is no real choice other than the mass of the ages.
Excellent points and part of the reason I have put my meager efforts into promoting the FSSP and other traditional societies. All my efforts are safe from the next liberal preist or bishop that comes along and destroys what I have helped build. How great the ocean of tears must have been cried as those who dedicated all they owned for a high altar, communion rail, side altar, statue, or other holy sacramental, then watched as the reformers tore it all out like so much rubish to be dumped in a landfill.
Aaron – –
Absolutely. Make the Mass great again by doing away with the Novus Ordo Missae post haste.
The truth about the Novus Ordo is that it was completely fabricated out of whole cloth by modernist priests and academics (under advisement of liberal Protestant clergy) who did not have the dignity of Mass and the presence of God almighty in the Eucharist as their end, but instead the goals of fostering ecumenism, collegiality, and the ridiculous, patronizing form of participation that characterizes the NO.
By it they threw away and ruthlessly suppressed something of such immense value, of such glory, as to constitute the greatest act of clericalism possibly in the history of the Church, rivaling the behavior of priests and bishops during the Arian heresy.
Our Lord promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the His Bride, the Church. In our day, what the “not prevailing” looks like is (among other things) what I believe Mr. Williams is describing above – a complete course reversal via rejection of the new Mass. The Pope, the Bishops and the Priests who imposed it and enforced it although doing so in a legal manner, did so in a manner that completely lacked charity, not to mention basic justice. They thought they knew better than the saints, the doctors, the Popes and even us little people in the pews who cooperated through the centuries and millennia with the Holy Spirit in forming a Mass that was a result of gradual, organic growth.
They took it away and thought “that was that”. And now when this Pope and all of his Modernist Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests are confronted with the reality that us contemptible, un-degreed little people in the pews (because that’s how a lot of us nascent “trads” are treated by them when we do ask) are asking for it back, they’re shocked and disturbed. It wasn’t supposed to go down like that.
Even now the new Mass has been weighed, measured and found wanting. Things may get a lot worse before they get better, but the Modernism-induced fever that the Church has been suffering under for 50 years is about to break, and those priests who want to be on the side of history – the winning side – will do all they can to fight against the Modernists and their Mass.
While we await and pray for the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we can take action now to make the Catholic Church great again by working for, in charity, the return of the “old” Mass.
On 07-07-07 I rejoiced in company with several others on the issuing on Summorum Pontificum. Since 8-15-16, I myself have offered TLM all of about 15 times. I am grateful to God for what has transpired and what He has done in leading me on this journey – for as recently as 11 months ago, I was feeling badgered by TLM devotees to do something that I did not believe I would do well – because of a less than adequate capacity with Latin.
I begin with my personal testimony as a showing of my agreement with perspectives on the beauty and right place of the TLM. That said, I also believe that “the issue is not the issue,” so to speak. As much as I love being able to offer the TLM for its own sake and for the benefit of those who desire it, I also acknowledge that many of those who only participate in Novus Ordo (offered well of course) are being nurtured in their faith journey (providentially.) I think we need to recognize that the issue is not as simple as putting the Novus Ordo in the “circular file” and universally restoring the TLM. Andrew’s allusions to Modernism and the modernists behind the Novus Ordo is the root of the story in a different way than by primarily doing violence to the ritual. The real issue as I see it is that the flock needs to be taught the real nature of worship. Simply ridding ourselves of the Novus Ordo for the exclusive use of the TLM does not solve this problem. People need to be led to that true participation (as disciples of Christ, not merely “church goers”) where they learn to offer themselves in union with THE offering – that it is not “all about me” as the modernists would have it, but it is all about He who has come to save us. Think Romans 12:1 – Offer your bodies as living sacrifice holy and acceptable to the Lord. In my mind, we’d do well to continue to “practice our faith” by ourselves growing in our own humble offering of self in union with Christ, and by extension, in teaching others that the real nature of worship is rooted in humility and openness to what Jesus Christ offers to us and on our behalf – not in a faulty notion of participation that sees our role as in control of the liturgy, no matter if it is in the TLM or the NO – though in principle I give credence to Liturgy Guy and to Andrew’s remarks to the effect of the history, the experience of the saints, and the organic development of the TLM offers the better means to such.
Thus, I believe the real issue is not solved simply by restoration; it must include formation of the faithful, leading them to deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, lived and received in the liturgy. That many in the hierarchy wield “control” right now to keep us on the path of self-service in liturgy must not cause us to fear – as by remaining in the Truth through the intercession or Immaculate Mary, the true way of worship will be realized in due time and Holy Mother Church will be restored in offering such true worship – wherein all rightly participate by being drawn into deeper, more perfect union with Christ.
I appreciate your perspective Fr and completely agree that grace works on nature – and “nature” right now is the Novus Ordo Missae. It’s pretty obviously hyperbolic to expect an immediate restoration since it would be intellectually as well as logistically impossible. In that the majority of priests would be unwilling to do so, it would be hard to find people to instruct them, and that Baby Boomers who pay most of the Church in America’s bills right now would beat them with their Spirit of Vatican II/Pope Francis stick.
But this sense that the old Mass should be restored as quickly as possible comes from watching the Church basically evaporate over the course of my adult life and the guys who are responsible for it do nothing about it – “Crisis? What crisis? Everything’s great!!” – because a large part of the solution to their problem of offering the Mass in its fullness and actually teaching real Catholic doctrine/dogma is politically unacceptable. There’s an urgency and immediacy to this issue because people’s eternal destinies are on the line. If it could somehow be shown that the offering of the old Mass and the teaching of authentic Catholic doctrine had a higher propensity to help more people get to Heaven than the (admittedly valid) NOM and the “be nice ’cause Jesus was nice homilies”, wouldn’t more shepherds of souls want to do everything possible to bring that about?
You are clearly the exception to the rule Father. Thank you for doing what you’re doing. God bless you for it.
“Simply ridding ourselves of the Novus Ordo for the exclusive use of the TLM does not solve this problem.”
Dear Father, the day the Novus Ordo is abolished will be a truly great day in the Church.
The only answer is to restore what was lost, not to move towards a protestant idea of the faith of promoting a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The spiritual life is much more than a personal relationship, it is on the one hand more like climbing a mountain, and on the other hand much more intimate than a sort of buddy buddy relationship with Jesus.
The will always be challenges outside of the liturgy, but restoring our Latin Rite patrimony and abolishing the artificial Novus Ordo Rite is an important goal.
While I whole-heartedly agree that that the abolition of the Novus Ordo and the restoration of the TLM (or Gregorian Mass) is what needs to happen, however we have to be cautious and incremental in how it is done.
A large majority of Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo no longer have the Sensus Fidelium, since this natural Catholic instinct has been eroded out of them by weak or non-existent catechises, poor homiletics, and, of course, by Modernists.
A friend of mine took some young people to a TLM and they literally didn’t have a clue about what was happening. Not only that, but they complained there was nothing to do. He later remarked they should have done was is natural to a Catholic – PRAY! So, we see in this case that young Catholics don’t even know how to occupy their time at Holy Mass by praying. This is virtually what will happen if the Mass is changed too quickly.
The reason for this sad situation of “boredom” is because the Novus Ordo seeks to get the Congregation obsessively “participating” in everything. That is why there is really no silence in the Novus Ordo anymore (unless performed by a Traditional Priest). This is also the reason why everything in the Parish is a “ministry”. You arrange flowers – it’s now a ministry. You put missals out – it’s now a ministry, etc. True participation, as St. Pius X taught, is about uniting one’s self to the Holy Sacrifice and offering one’s self to the Sacred Victim. It has nothing to do with replying to the Priest, reading or being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. And, for God’s sake, the Priest ISN’T a president/presider, he is the Father of the Parish and the mediator between God and the Parish/Flock he rules.
The Novus Ordo allows for no devotional and personal communication between the Lord’s People and their Saviour. They are taking part in the Sacrifice of Calvary, and are about to communicate the Holy Eucharist and receive the Very God Who created and redeemed them. This is a very intimate moment, and one that needs silence and reverence. This abolition of devotional prayer, such as the Holy Rosary, is the intended means. Since the Rosary is a most effective means of decreasing Satan’s power, he wills to it to be purged out of sight and heart. Now, the Rosary and the Mass together is an even more terrible weapon against the Prince of Demons, so that NEEDS to go in his eyes. And he’s been successful. Why? Because he excites men of weak faith and perverse mind to lay hold on the Mysteries of the Church and tear them asunder. As Leo XIII said “that first Enemy and Homicide has regained his insolent boldness”.
In relation to this, I suspect a lot of the Clergy probably don’t know that in order to celebrate a true and valid Mass, they need to have form, matter and intent. The form is the words in the Missal and the rubrics that govern the Priest’s actions (not improvised by the Priest). The matter is the Host and Wine used for the Mass and which are prescribed by the Church. The intent is the Priest’s intention of doing as the Church does: consecrating the Holy Body and Blood of Christ according to the Rite of the Holy Roman Church.
What needs to happen is we need holy Priests to, quite literally, invade the Novus Ordo, teach the People the truth, and increment the changes. Once the People understand about Ad Orientem, Latin, Chant etc., they will be more willing to accept the TLM. We also need slow incremental changes that won’t cause too much friction from those who don’t know any better.
Lastly, the most important thing we need is God’s help. He is the Divine Head of the Church, and nothing can happen without His permission. In this regard, we beseech the Lord to spare the Church, and to grant Her peace and refreshment. We must also beseech the Holy Mother of God and the immortal Apostles Peter & Paul to intercede for us.
So I think this is what needs to happen – incremental changes. The People need to be taught why these things are taking place, and better educate Priests also. We need a good, solid and holy Pope who will have a clear agenda in how to increment such changes for the good of the Church and the world. In an ideal world, we would like to see the TLM in all Parishes tomorrow, but in the real world, that isn’t going to happen. It will be a slow, and painful, process – but it will be fruitful if there is a clear programme and good Priests who do the right thing.
Concerning Mutual Enrichment: “…having two supposedly equal forms of the same [Roman] rite is a recipe for radical instability UNLESS there can be a genuine and profound rapprochement between these forms. And we can be certain this will never happen by the older form becoming hip, trendy, and modish, swapping Gregorian for guitars. It will happen instead when the  modern form relinquishes its counterfactual claim to be ‘just what the doctor ordered.’…”
The simple answer to the ‘Reform of the Reform’ in the Catholic Church instigated by Cardinal Robert Sarah is in the Gospels: Luke 22:19-20; John 6:52-58 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33, John 12:32 and John 21:21. Our Risen Lord’s celebration of the first Mass in the upper room was simple, inclusive, uncomplicated, intimate but spiritual and unritualistic. While our Triune God made Himself visible to the people in Mark15:38, Luke 23:45 and Hebrews 9:4; Jesus warned us to keep it simple, relevant and not looking back while moving foward for the kingdom of God, Luke 9:62; Luke 5:37-39.
The simple answer can be found by tracing the organic development of the liturgy over 2,000 years and by embracing continuity over rupture. The answer is definitely not antiquarianism or by misunderstanding the Last Supper to be the exclusive blueprint for the liturgy of the Church, not to mention that the Last Supper actually supports the use of a liturgical language and ad orientem worship.
Given that most of the differing opinions have to do with everything that happened after 1939, and that most liturgical scholars admit that everything after 1939 was built on sand, the pinnacle being Bugnini’s reform of Holy Week (which if looked at in detail was more damaging and opened the flood gates for everything they did at the Bugnini Commission in 1964, and the changes, not ‘revisions’ in 1962). So, we just need to reboot to 1939 Roman Practice where there was an objective solid foundation remaining, before the Liturgical Movement became the New Liturgical Movement which is guilty of Historicism (condemned, ironically by Ven. Pius XII) and guilty of novelty (condemned since ‘time immemorial’). The only big thing left out in that would be St. Joseph’s name inserted in the Canon. And that can be added at any time by any future Pope. The process for that started when St. Pius X was Patriarch of Venice, so his name was probably going to be inserted whether the other terrible things happened or not. Everything else that happened in the 1962 reform were not revisions, but complete changes. Changes that took out liturgical practices that had been in existence for over 500 years and therefore were not allowed to be taken out.
Billy, the Last Supper was a Passover meal. That meal in Jewish tradition is very ritualistic, with certain foods, drinks at certain times, and specific prayers said at particular times throughout the meal. When our Lord deviated from the ritual, he was not being unritualistic; He was establishing a new ritual.
It is true that Jesus’ Last Supper in the Upper Room is very Jewish which originated before the liberation of Jewish slaves from Pharoah in Egypt. Our Risen Lord transformed this Jewish Passover meal into man’s liberation from slavery to sin before He willingly offered Himself as the ‘Lamb of God’ Who will take away the sins of the world. This is what we participate in the ‘Liturgy of the Eucharist’ during the proper Holy Mass after the priest consecrates the bread and wine (real food and real drink; the body and blood of Christ our Savior). The priests are only following the First Mass as shown by our Risen Lord. Jesus didn’t consecrate the bread and wine with His back on the apostles. This concept of TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) is a modification of Jesus’ First Mass which must be discarded. It is like putting a new wine in old wineskin. Jesus never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I’ve attended a TLM rites where it makes one feel good. Honestly, I feel like a dog waiting in line for his morsel of food from the TLM priest who celebrates mass on his back. Priests who celebrate TLM should be defrocked for violating their sacred vow of obedience to God. We participate in proper Mass as shown by Jesus in the Last Supper to worship a Living Triune God Who lived, died, rose again and is praying for us to our Abba Father with the Holy Spirit. I don’t understand why people insists on living in the past when God confirmed that we are a new creation in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come.
@ Billy V. If one were to follow your thinking consistently and to its logical conclusion, then we also must limit participants of each Mass to exactly 12 people plus priest. We also must celebrate the Eucharist while reclining at a semicircular table, etc.—because EVERY Mass, Byzantine Divine Liturgy, etc. “is a modification of Jesus’ First Mass” and therefore “must be discarded.” In fact, in a terribly misinformed way, this is precisely what Protestant Reformers attempted to re-create: a primordial form of Christian doctrine based only on the Bible (overlooking the fact that the Bible as we know it did not exist until c. the 4th century) and, at least among Puritans, Anabaptists, etc. to re-create what they believed to be primordial Christian worship practice, based on nothing more than scant references in the Bible.
Liturgy evolved over the centuries partly to reflect a deepening theology of the Eucharist. By the end of the first century, Church Fathers already are referring to it as “the sacrifice”. As Church councils continued to clarify Who Jesus is, the nature of the Trinity and of the Eucharist, etc. we see this deepening understanding reflected by the Liturgy, in its prayers and rituals. It is for this reason that, until the 1960s, the Church took great care to introduce change only in tiny increments, in order to preserve Church doctrine. “Lex orandi, lex credendi”, a maxim we first encounter by c. the 3rd century, VERY loosely translated means that “the way in which the Church prays shapes and preserves what the Church believes”.
However, we also see in 1 Corinthians that St. Paul is making reference to abuses already taking place during the “Lord’s supper”. So this is the other significant reason for liturgical development: to correct abuse. Thus, for example, in the West a greater need to show reverence for the Lord’s Body required communion on the tongue and kneeling. In the East this required opening one’s mouth so that the priest spoons the Body & Blood into the communicant’s mouth.
Creeping abuses also shaped the Liturgy in negative ways. In the West, the abuse of the stipend system led to the private Low Mass becoming the predominant form of Mass. In both East and West the overwhelming influence of monastic practice also led to the “miniaturization” of rituals, such that their original meaning and purpose often was lost. With the collapse of Byzantium, the Eastern Rites became somewhat more frozen in time and therefore spared from the Late Medieval abuses of the West. This also spared them from the destructive—and ultimately secularizing—influence of the Protestant Reformation.
Protestant Reformers had legitimate complaints. However, their response to abuses was misguided and misinformed. Therefore, Protestantism attacked the very foundations of Christian doctrine and created a “primordial” doctrine and worship practice which, in fact, had never existed.
Your claim that every “modification of Jesus’ First Mass…must be discarded” is the very essence of misguided Protestantism.
I share the goal of a return to the TLM, but practically speaking a reverently-done Ordinary Form Mass, when you can find one, may be all you can do with your family. In the grand scheme of things, it would be a stepping-stone towards the ideal. As the article says, “In so far as the Novus Ordo is offered with as much possible deference to these traditional practices, renewal is realized.” But in one’s particular circumstances, one may end up on the stepping-stone for life.
I took husband and children to TLM a couple of times, but with less than stellar results, and I’ve given up trying. Something similar to what Mark Anthony Beale writes in the comment above where some young people were disoriented and confused at a TLM not knowing what to “do” and he warned “This is virtually what will happen if the Mass is changed too quickly.”
In my time and in my place, with a husband who had no interest at all in matters liturgical and set of grumpy teen-aged children, it’s all I can do to get us to the reform-of-the-reform Mass at Parish A instead of the guitars and 1960s homiletics at Parish Y, even though a perfectly good TLM at Parish Z is very conveniently available.
Chris S, thank you for the excellent historical litany of the evolution of the Mass. Please read the Scripture references in my first comment to this blog on December 7.
The human nature of the Church (Body of Christ) will always change but not the divine nature of the Church (Head of Christ). The Reformation, clergy child abuse and ex-Pope Benedict XVI’s shock resignation in favor of a more obedient Pope are some examples of God’s discipline to church leadership’s disobedience. You may recall ex-Pope Benedict XVI promoted TLM during his short term as Pope. TLM violates the inclusive Spirit of the First Mass. Our God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) and He will STOP whoever is against His commandments (Luke 9:49).
Billy, I noticed that you never quote any authoritative texts from Holy Mother Church to support your (mis)interpretation of the Mass. You instead misapply biblical verses to your misunderstanding of the liturgy to give us your misguided views on the Holy Mass.
‘Sola Scriptura’: the essence of Protestantism.
“So for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
‘This people honors me with their lipa, but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'”
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”
Matthew 15:6-9 and 13. Harsh words from Jesus to traditionalists. Praise God Jesus truly set me free! Amen!
While I grew-up with the TLM and like it; the fact remains that the Second Vatican Council called for “relatively” specific changes; which would have made the Mass more understandable to “the masses”. Inasmuch as the Council was “Infallible”; then what is needed is to make the specific changes that were called for. nothing more and nothing less. It would be very much like the TLM. Also, a push for everyone to purchase a missal (no missalettes) and to use them would also help. The people in the pews now-a-day look more like robots; except for the “Sign of peace” when their programmer must have been drunk.
Having said that; do I expect it to happen in the short term; no. It will require another Pope and be “pushed” from him.
A Council is only infallible “When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine ‘for belief as being divinely revealed’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 891). A Council is NOT infallible when proposing “pastoral” changes to the liturgy.
As always Chris, excellent comment. Thank you for clarifying that for the readers.
I’ll accept that as far as it goes; but, “Sacrosanctum concilium” was the first Vatican II document approved and was specific enough to adequately understand what the Council Fathers wanted and what they wanted was “some” modification of the TLM, not a wholesale “let’s play ” with the Liturgy fiasco. If the document was taken in item by item and explain to the laity every week what was actually called for and what was not called for; the people in the pews would understand and accept it. Since Pope Francis does not “seem” inclined to do it; then those Bishops who know what needs t5o be done; should take the lead and do it. By explaining what went wrong a half century ago and getting the laity to accept what happened; they will put pressure on the other Bishops to do the same. It’s not a “Reform of the Reform”; it is doing what was called for in the first place. The Liturgy is the most important devotion we have and it should be celebrated accordingly. I would remind that the entrance to Heaven is narrow and only those clergy who celebrated the Mass properly or fought to have it celebrated properly will gain entrance to Heaven and the vast number of those who “Mickey Moused” it will go to Hell; whether Aux. Bishop Robert Barron believes it or not. When the clergy learns that they “will” have to face Jesus when they die and answer for their carelessness in celebrating the Mass; it may well be too late for them. The solution is simple: do what “Sacrosanctum concilium” calls for; do what the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, third edition calls for and follow the advice of Cardinal Francis Arinze in his “Instructions on Certain Matters to be Observed or to be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist” (Redemptionis Sacramentum) and don’t worry about any consequences from the hierarchy; just worry about their having to face Jesus.
I get frustrated with years and years of discussing strategy and we get nowhere. We have the documents telling us what to do; let’s just do it. If the Pope won’t do it then we need to build the pressure on the Bishops. Just a few weeks ago, our Pastor just before the final Blessing, hollered to a lady in the vestibule. She was holding a stray kitten. He hollered to her to bring it to him at the “Table”; which she then did. He takes the kitten and holding it in one arm; then gave the final Blessing with the other arm and still holding the kitten processed out. He was just recently assigned to our parish to replace the previous Pastor who was arrested after propositioning an undercover police officer in the neighboring city. He had been kicked out of a neighboring diocese for the same thing and was accepted by our Bishop. We keep hearing that the newer Bishops are better; but, they still (with few exceptions) continue to promote practices that are opposed to Catholic doctrine and dogma.
I apologize for going on so long; but, I get angry that this malarkey is still going on and there seems not to be “any light at the end of the tunnel”.; even though I know that eventually all will end as Jesus wishes.
It may be worth seeking out the Ordinariate Use (Divine Worship: The Missal) which many clergy have expressed a wish to celebrate other than by invitation. While it’s in English, and often features hymns, there is generally no objection to Latin or the Chant; it’s usually celebrated ad orientem; communion is generally received kneeling and often in one kind only. And the usual Eucharistic Prayer is the Roman Canon. It has even been called what Vatican II actually intended. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/11/11/at-an-ordinariate-mass-i-witnessed-the-real-spirit-of-vatican-ii/
There is much I agree with here. However, a “reform of the reform” or a complete return to the way things were done pre-VII has no basis in an organic, living, and evolving Church. Before the hackles go up, allow an explanation.
VII’s primary goal was the correction of errors that had seeped into the Roman Rite (among them: priests turning the Mass into their personal prayer time and the laity turning it into their own with select devotionals and the like). While this was laudable, the changes made, while specific, were expressed in vague ways at times. This allowed many to appoint themselves “self-interpreters” who then began their good work of destroying much the church has held dear.
So goes the route of many documents that are so dense that a chapter could be written on each paragraph. Many should seek less their own interpretations and seek those of the Church.
I think it important, then, to trust the council father’s intentions (do we really want to suggest SO many who are still revered were so vastly wrong?) even if the route taken by so many proved devastating (not disputing this).
I have had many lengthy discussions about this with many who lament the change, clergy and otherwise. It took a diminutive and humble monk to put it best for me, what follows were his thoughts.
Why would Pope Benedict re-introduce the TLM as an extraordinary form, without doing away with the NO Mass? Or at least again calling the TLM “ordinary” and the NO “extraordinary”? In fact, why would he allow for two forms at all? To my knowledge, never have there been two forms in one rite.
He read (and he could not cite the source at the time) that a close confidant of Pope Benedict XVI had been told that he hoped that the re-introduction of the TLM would cause the TLM to influence the NO, and the NO to influence the TLM, until such a point that a third form could replace both. The only question, then, is which should be the base of this third form?
I could not get him to admit it, but I could tell his hope was that the TLM would again be respected as the base, with the true intentions of the council applied to it. Less a reform of the reform (reforming something that is often grossly incorrect and vague would seem pointless) or a return back to the old, a new form based on the TLM but applying the true ideals of VII would represent both the organic growth that truly models life (and thus, the church) without being a return to the complete TLM that had been judged by many of the greatest men of the past century to be in need of reform.
How is this to be accomplished? And what would it look like? Surely, only God truly knows. However, I can’t help but smile when thinking that my beloved former Pope knew what he was doing, and is secretly a long-term chess master aided by the power of Almighty God.
What you’re saying here makes sense. But for me as a priest,56 years old, it’s exceptionally difficult to teach the old pooch new tricks. I have not the time or the resources to go off and learn the TLM. And then if I do get that chance, then what? Do I up and begin only offering the TLM at my parish? OK, but then the diocese steps in and says, no you can’t do that. Any reform of the reform of the reform, etc. must begin at the very heart of the faith. A new council will need to be summoned and SC has to be completely rescinded! That’s not going to happen with the current Holy Father. It will probably not happen with his immediate successors either. Maybe a day in about 40 years from now that might happen. Until then I can only offer the NO and do my best to make it as reverent as possible. Either that, I resign as a parish priest and get a real job!!!! Hahaha.
Even if it is difficult to learn at your age (your words not mine!), please consider learning the TLM because it brings glory to God. You can offer it as your private masses and eventually to select crowds in your parish and eventually to the point that a whole community wants it and then it can be on the mass schedule with the NO. You may have to do both for a while. God bless!
Someone needs to do something (hint: the direction of the last 50 years ain’t the way). The Church is dying.
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