Is the Reform of the Reform Dead?

Peter Kwasniewski over at NLM has given a good synopsis of a flurry of articles in recent weeks which have predicted the end of the “Reform of the Reform.”  Voices have been raised in the past year since Pope Benedict’s abdication prophesying the end of the Benedictine liturgical vision because of what seems to them to be an antipathy to such ideas on the part of Pope Francis.  Others, though, who have been widely known for their ROTR advocacy, are now themselves saying that such a reform is useless.  Why all of a sudden are these articles provoking thoughtful discussions, and what are the possibilities for the future?
Re-evaluating the Original Reform
Up until fairly recently, the bulk of the advocates of the ROTR have taken the books of the Liturgical Reform and the documents of the Roman Curia and national episcopal conferences, not to mention Sacrosanctum concilium, at face value.  Many of the original ROTR ideas have as their departure point these texts.  There are many reasons for this.  Some have argued that, because these documents have been produced by legitimate authority, it is essentially useless to work against them.  To do so would be evidence of disloyalty at the best and schismatic dissent at worst.  Others have argued, more pragmatically, that, because the vast majority of Catholics now worship according to the modern Roman liturgy, any liturgical discussion has to begin from and work within that framework.  Also, the often invoked and also often caricatured spirit of resistance of the traditionalist Catholic world led many of the ROTR crowd to deliberately avoid any discussion of the Pian Missal as such, to avoid getting bogged down in what they saw as essentially quixotic and eccentric concerns.
            But as ROTR thinkers delve deeply into the actual texts of the liturgical reform, as well as the now readily available historical accounts of the reform (Bugnini, P. Marini and Card. Antonelli being the most widely read of these), a more complex picture of the reform has come to the fore.  As more and more people begin to deal with the actual process by which the reform was conceived and implemented, and the principles that guided all of those decisions, more and more questions have come up as to whether process and principles were up to the task of producing the reform actually envisioned by SC 4 and 25: “that the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition” and “as soon as possible.” 
            This has led to a very simple question: was the so-called Missal of 1965 not the legitimate incarnation of the revision of the Roman Rite as conceived by the Bishops who voted on SC, which begs the question of why the Missa Normativa, which became the Missal of Paul VI, was necessary in the first place, especially when its own architects and proponents, at the time, made clear that it was really a new rite.
            The rather difficult to sustain position of some the early voices associated with the ROTR, that the two expressions of the Missal were really not all that much different from each other, and that the divergences were really more cosmetic than anything else, may have prompted some of the early ROTR thought to not delve deeply into the actual history of the reform.  But as that history becomes clearer and more accessible, that position has been more and more abandoned as untenable.
            All of this has brought some ROTR thinkers to go beyond the extant texts of the reform to how the reform was brought about, and that has unsettled many of them from an earlier position of relative ease with the reformed books.
The Futility of the Letter vs. Spirit Dichotomy
Many of the ROTR advocates loudly argued that we must return to the letter of the Council documents and of every jot and tittle written down by the legitimate authorities which produced the documents surrounding the reform.  The idea was that the “spirit of Vatican II” was at best a chimera, which had derailed authentic reform.  To anchor the spirit back to the letter of the liturgical books and documents, they assured us, would usher in the age of liturgical renewal that the Council Fathers really wanted.  A monumental work of catechesis and education has been done by many leaders of the ROTR, particularly in parishes where clergy and laypeople formed in the school of thought worked.  How many parishes have gone about the difficult work to read the documents, and fashion their liturgical and catechetical lives according to those texts?  Obviously not all of them, but increasingly more of them.
            But there are three problems with this.  First of all, the sheer amount of verbiage surrounding all of the reforms is so immense, that it is difficult to even locate all of it, much less analyze it and present it to the faithful in such a way for it to take root and be fruitful at the level of parishes and seminary formation.  Furthermore, the more that one delves into these things, the more that one notices the contradictions that come up between documents, and then the person interpreting them is left with the herculean task of trying to evaluate which words have priority, and who establishes the priority.  This alone has produced a dizzying array of differing opinions within the ROTR world as to what the sacred liturgy should really look, feel and sound like.
            Second, the reality of our ecclesiastical life is that what many of our parishioners experience in their parishes as the fruit of Vatican II is nothing like anything proposed by the ROTR advocates.  As soon as a priest in a parish begins to implement these notions, no small amount of struggle invariably ensues.  Parishes are divided, and the consumer mentality has taken over, with parishioners decamping to parishes where they feel comfortable.  While veritable oases of ROTR liturgy have been created because of this, it has at the same time contributed to a further balkanization of Catholics along lines which critics of the ROTR are quick to deem ideological.
            Third, there are many Catholics, intent on describing themselves as orthodox and faithful, whose idea of the Roman Primacy and the authority of the Church over the sacred liturgy does not reflect the theology of the Church in any century.  This exaggerated ultramontanism, whose roots most certainly cannot be found in the Magisterium of John Paul II, Benedict XVI or Francis, or Vatican II, has poured out no small amount of invective against those who uphold the actual texts of the reform when they come into conflict with abuses of authority.  This pietistic and simplistic notion of obedience has frustrated the advance of many ROTR and traditionalist ideas among ordinary Catholics, by painting them with the hue of rebellion.  It also provides for an untenable situation in which priests and people are expected to thoughtlessly obey what has actually been conceived of in terms of revolt against the authority of the Church!  Unscrupulous detractors against the ROTR have capitalized on this phenomenon to effectively quash the implementation of ROTR ideas in parishes, religious communities and seminaries.
            In short, the dichotomy between letter vs. spirit has sent many ROTR thinkers to assess the spirit behind the letter of the reform as well!
Aesthetic Accidentalism vs. Substantial Liturgical Theology
There is not always agreement among ROTR advocates as to what should be part of the reform.  Inspiring themselves from the letter of the texts, many have argued for certain practices, like the restoration of Latin, ad orientem celebration and Gregorian chant.  While all of this is certainly laudable, the question becomes controverted whether these things are accidental or substantial, to both the liturgy in and of itself, and to the reform.  Often practices have been encouraged because of their aesthetic value, which, while important, then highlights the cognitive disconnect between their presence in the liturgy and the spirit behind the reform itself (one thinks of the use of orchestral Masses at the Novus Ordo, for example).  When they are presented as aesthetic additions to the Mass, they are then caught up in questions of taste, or inculturation.  And in turn they provide the pretext for adoption or rejection, based, not on their intrinsic value or propriety for worship, but their cultural context. 
            It appears that there are many ROTR thinkers who want to go beyond the aesthetic to a more rigorous application of the insights of liturgical theology to the actual practice of the liturgy.  But many are finding that, when they do so, it brings them up against the need to evaluate the way the liturgical reform was carried out.  It eventually has to be asked, why spend the time investing in the aesthetic and the accidental, when certain options enshrined in the rite itself, and not just appropriated by whimsy, can be employed in such a way as to work against both aesthetic sense and theological appropriateness.
The Fruits of Summorum Pontificum
When ROTR ideas started to gain more visibility in the 1990s, the Tridentine Mass was, in most places, a marginalized underground niche often associated with certain curious characters whose love for the Church was questioned.  Summorum pontificum brought the Mass out of its ghetto and inserted it into the mainstream of the Church’s life.  Pope Benedict’s assertion that “what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot all of a sudden be entirely forbidden to even considered harmful” has contributed greatly to a certain normalization of the Extraordinary Form in the life of the Church.  Celebrations of the EF have become much more prevalent than they were in the 1990s.  The exposure of more people to it has also given people the contrast to the Ordinary Form which has raised many questions.  As more and more priests celebrate the two forms of the Roman Rite on a regular basis, and more and more Catholics experience the two forms at close range, they want to know why the differences exist.    
            As Msgr Peter Elliott has also just pointed out on NLM (, there could also be more room for expansion of the vernacular within the EF.  If some kind of permission was granted for greater use of the vernacular within the EF, then I am somewhat certain that it would gain even more appeal and usage.
Is Vatican II Really Dead?
Numerous people who invested their lives and careers in the liturgical reform and Vatican II have passed on to their reward.  Many of those left have a dreaded sense that ROTR types and traditionalists are deliberately trying to undo everything they have worked for, and they have seen that campaign as being partially successful.  They see the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as essentially, or partly, betrayals of the original vision of Vatican II and John XXIII.  In the meantime, we have been assured over and over again by many in the hierarchy that we are living in a new springtime and that the reforms of Vatican II and the Roman Rite have been enthusiastically embraced by the faithful.
            The actual demographics of Catholic practice in the West, which are now easily accessible to all who look for it, have led many to see such assertions as either wistful or deceitful.  Many concerned Catholics are coming up with variant explanations as to why the decline of religious practice is the case.  The secularist model sees this as a sign of Vatican II doing its work: that the sacred and the profane have merged.  The progressivist model sees only a return to the “spirit of Vatican II” and the ROTR only a return to its letter as the way forward.
            In the meantime, new generations of Catholic thinkers are coming up who were born after Vatican II.  For some of these clergy and lay leaders, certain ideas of Vatican II are such a part of their lives that they hardly question it (one thinks of the sacramental nature of the Church as described in Lumen gentium).  But the world described by Gaudium et spes is not the world that these younger people are experiencing.  They are acutely aware that Vatican II does not have the answer to the problems that they see as affronting the life of the Church.  While not necessarily arguing for the overturn of the last ecumenical council, it also does not hold the same kind of power of them, and they are ready for a Church that has gone beyond Vatican II and the Liturgical Reform to something which actually speaks to them where they are now.  And some of them do not feel that continued arguing over the proper implementation of Vatican II and the original ROTR ideas are up to the task.
            This may in part explain a phenomenon observable in some younger people today which may seem, at first glance, unsettling.  These youth respond energetically to Pope Francis’ engagement with the world, simplicity, humility and desire to evangelize, and at the same time to Pope Emeritus Benedict’s liturgical theology, practice, and critique of the modern world.
What Now?
            I think that it is important that we realize that the world is no longer the same world described by Vatican II.  That does not mean that the last council does not have something to contribute to the life of the Church today, but that the Church must take into account the world she is sent to evangelize.  That will mean that there has to be more honesty about the state of Catholic practice and more humility as to how the Church must go about her mission in the world.
            As ROTR advocates delve deeply into the actual celebration of the Extraordinary Form and undertake a clear historical analysis of the liturgical reform, that will raise more and more questions about, not whether the reform was implemented properly from a legal perspective, but from a theological and pastoral perspective.  No longer departing from the assumed position of the reformed texts and surrounding documents, ROTR types can begin to assess where the liturgical reform authentically incarnated, and where it has betrayed, the true spirit of the liturgy.  Without making the liturgical theology of Benedict XVI a new unquestionable standard, it has given us lots of insights with which to disanchor the ROTR from slavery to the reformed liturgical books and give it freedom to consider how the liturgy might look like when purged of the rationalist and modernist elements which were part of, although not, entirely constitutive of, that reform.
            Up until now, there has also been a reticence to more liturgical experimentation, given the questionable results of such initiatives in the past fifty years.  Summorum pontificum indicated a desire for mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman rite without mixing them.  Yet Pope Francis has indicated little patience with a preoccupation with “little rules.”  Could this be the moment to propose to the Church the following?
            First, the spontaneous adoption at the local level of certain practices that have been advocated by the ROTR for a while, alongside the Extraordinary Form, accompanied by the production of rich catechetical materials for the faithful.
            Second, an official proposal of which of these should be adopted officially by national bishops’ conferences and the Congregation for Divine Worship, and the rationale behind them.
            Third, more comparative liturgical history and theology which analyzes very closely every text and document of the Reform alongside the pre-reform books, along the lines of Lauren Pristas’ methodology adopted in her book The Collects of the Roman Missals
            Fourth, a concerted effort of thinkers to come up with a plan for an Ordo Missae, Corpus Collectarum, Lectionary and Kalendar which, using the 1570 Missal as a base, integrates into it those features of 1965 and 1970 by way of options for keeping all of the traditional elements, but also providing for a judicious use of what is good from the reformed books.  The new Anglican Use Missal is certainly something to look at as this is considered.  This proposal could be given to the Holy See to be used ad experimentum on a very limited basis, in collaboration with the pertinent Vatican dicasteries and local conferences.
The ROTR is Dead, Long Live the ROTR
All of the flurry of articles on the death of the ROTR indicates that there is a sense that some of the original ideas surrounding it are being abandoned.  But it might also be proper to say that, as the ROTR lives with the EF alongside the OF, and deepens its understanding of the reform, that vision is undergoing, not a death, but a transformation.  It is not one which means simply a return to the status quo ante Vatican II.  But it is, at its maximal capacity, an opening to a deeper understanding of what the liturgy is all about, and that in turn will have its effect on how that mystery is celebrated.  It now no longer has be antagonistic to, or apposite, the tradition, but can be part of that tradition by drinking even more deeply at its sources.      


34 Replies to “Is the Reform of the Reform Dead?”

  1. Fr Smith raises an interesting question that if the Missal of 1965 was the legitimate incarnation of the revision of the Roman Rite as conceived by the Bishops who voted on SC, why was the Missal of Paul VI necessary?

    It seems that the 1965 Missal was seen as transitional, which implies that if a transitional Missal was found necessary so soon after the Council, the 1962 Missal must have already been seen as gravely deficient and in need of a major overhaul. Whether it was gravely deficient is another question, and one wonders who made the decisions here, and under what circumstances. Even Paul VI was fighting with the liturgical "experts" for restraint in the reform.

  2. "In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was requested to pass judgment on the experimental celebration of a so-called "normative Mass" (New Mass), devised by the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a "refusal" of the proposed "normative Mass" (New Mass) on the part of the Synod. Progressively inclined papers made no mention of it"

    Letter of Cardinal Ottaviani to the Holy Father, 25 September 1969

  3. Ted, its time to stop letting Pope Paul VI off the hook. He made some passing references to not going too far on the liturgical reform but the truth is that he did nothing to reign in the people working on the new Mass, Bughnini and company. Later in his pontificate, he stated specifically that the new Mass was exactly what Vatican II had called for.

  4. Why has the Church used the Novus Ordo to suppress the Roman Canon (the so-called Eucharistic Prayer #1) ?

    In The Roman Canon – the oldest Eucharistic prayer in Christianity – the Church for centuries began the Eucharistic prayer "firstly for your holy Catholic Church. Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world…."

    An analysis shows that we as a people no longer pray that our Merciful Father will govern us. Could it be that since we are not asking Him to govern us, that perhaps, since He is permissive, He is not governing us? This may explain a lot about us, as a people.

    I remember.

  5. Interesting proposals at the end.

    "Second, an official proposal of which of these should be adopted officially by national bishops’ conferences and the Congregation for Divine Worship, and the rationale behind them."

    Worth a try. But ROTR proposals will have more success with some conferences than others. I am sure we all have a fair idea of which will be which.

  6. Thank you Fr Smith, and your commenters, for a reasoned and sensitive assessment of the issues at stake, conducted in charity.

    There is nothing with which I would quibble in what you wrote. Papal magisterium is not in question, though papal prudence might sometimes be open to debate. Certainly the increased volume of scholarship that is exposing the processes, methods and dynamics of the implementation of the liturgical reforms are raising legitimate questions, questions that demand attention all the more in light of the failure of the reforms to achieve a primary end set for them: to increase the participation of the laity. As numbers of Catholics have increased in the western world, so too has Mass attendance plummeted. Surely something has gone wrong?

    On the matter of interim and transitional missals, I can see nothing on my 1964 Missal that says it was transitional; it is a Roman Missal plain and simple. The 1965 Missal from Scotland is likewise labelled. The Burns & Oates 1967 insert-based Missal is, however, clearly marked as being for experimental use. There is a strong and compelling current of opinion that holds the 1969/70 Missal as also being intended to have a short life, another transitional missal (though, like 1964 and 1965, it is not labelled as such).

    In light of this there is nothing outrageous in seeking to revisit the 2008 Missal, even after its enhancement with the new translation into English implemented in 2012. It has been allowed a long trial period and has not achieved its aims. Some of us contend that 1965's Missal should have been given much longer a chance.

    Some find this debate very threatening, not least some of the ultramontanists you warn against in general terms. Why this is so is beyond me. Benedict XVI clearly saw that something was lacking liturgically. None of us who have been raising these issues publicly have any desire to go it alone, to do our own thing. For one, I am still exclusively an Ordinary Form priest though I think it might be prudent to learn the EF soon, which is very much a legitimate and lawful form of the Mass. I have no plans to start using the 1965 Missal! Nevertheless, it deserves a re-examination an authentic, and potentially more fruitful, post-conciliar liturgy.


  7. JJS:

    Why would you want to enter a discussion by using a term "wild assertion?" I am happy to engage in an exchange of information, and happy to recognize any evidence that leads to a clear understanding.

    My understanding from extensive reading on the Mass is that the comparative "age lines" of the Eucharistic Prayers places the Roman Canon as the oldest continuous line, and this information comes from learned Catholic writers in the Church on the subject, who cite authorities such as Fr. Adrian Fortesque SJ. Indeed, the claim for the Roman Canon as "eldest line" of rites has been asserted in specific contradiction of the counter claim for the venerable eastern rites such West Syriac and East Syriac Anaphorae.

    So let us exchange clear expressions of what we bring to the discussion, rather than strong posturing.

    Having given you the beginning of the basis for my understanding, please tell me, what is your basis for your understanding?

  8. If we had followed Mediator Dei and not engaged in false "archeologicalism" we'd only still have the Roman Canon. Father Smith always writes well and makes emiment sense.

  9. Re the claim for the comparative age of the Roman Canon: Adrian Fortescue wrote (1912):

    "Essentially the Missal of Pius V is the Gregorian Sacramentary; that again is formed from the Gelasian book, which depends on the Leonine collection. We find the prayers of our Canon in the treatise de Sacramentis and allusions to it in the 4th century. So our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Caesar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our inquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours." In a footnote he added: "The prejudice that imagines that everything Eastern must be old is a mistake. Eastern rites have been modified later too; some of them quite late. No Eastern Rite now used is as archaic as the Roman Mass."

  10. Four simple changes would go a long way to advance ROTR: 1) mandate the Roman Canon as the sole Eucharistic Prayer, 2) recitation of the Canon no louder than a simple conversational tone, 3) restore the old Offertory Prayers, and 4) return to Mass ad orientum.

  11. That's a good start, Father! One should also check all of the collects in the new roman missal against
    the Latin originals. There was some funny business there after the approval by ppBXVI.
    The Calendar also needs to be looked at. It is interesting how the N.O. Paul vi Missal made whole sale changes to the temporal as well as the sanctoral cycle; One need only think of the "new calendar" that came out after the French Revolution to get the idea. No "good revolution" is complete without a new calendar to upset the life and flow of a community!

  12. Yes, the Divine Liturgy received some changes, and it was not "fixed," meaning the changes were very minor and did not include major additions or deletions, until the 14th century in response to the later development of pneumatological heresies. In contrast, the Roman Rite was fixed by the 7th and 8th centuries.

  13. The difference between 1570 and 1969 is this: the collects of saints were replaced by the collects of the season which were old Roman treasures simply covered by the sanctoral cycle, whereas in the latter reform both were thrown out. Also, the proper Sunday collects are virtually all gone, either removed to another Sunday and heavily modified or replaced. They changed the other propers too: why was it necessary to change the Ubi caritas? (At least there it is completely licit to use the older text, since it is at a moment where that's allowed…)
    Yesterday's collect for St. Katharine Drexel was abominable. One could not sing it, and I'm sure she is the patroness of someplace or group in the USA, so singing would be appropriate. It would have been far better to use a common collect (of course, the common was largely removed, thereby mixing in the sanctoral and temporal cycles in a confusing way) or one that was more in keeping with a traditional saint's proper collect.

  14. Oi! As a non- Roman I must confess that I should not comment, but I will.

    1. Clean up the entrance rite. It is not a question of a metrical hymn versus the Intrroit. Where ap;propriate both might be used. It is the uninspired and ambiguous confession which causes problems. The aspersion rite is confused. It seems that if there is a renewal of Baptismal Vows this should follow. Otherwise it is a poor substitute of Asperges.

    2. Restore the salutation before the collect.

    3. No matter what kind of lexical arrangements are made, sequences should be expanded to mark, at least, the greatest feasts and seasons beyond Paschaltide and Corpus Domini.

    4. Evolve a fixed form of the prayers of the people to drain the ultra subjective character.

    5. Explore the function of the Orate Fratres against its origens, and reduce the absurd number of prefaces, Many of these are badly written and do not seem to embody the beauty of the cursus.

    6, A conversational tone fof the Canon is good. Singing the Canon or parts thereof also seems good under some circumstances, There need to be more proper communicantes, including for funerals. And the Roman Canon should be required on all Sundays,Solemnities,and Feasts as well as on the memorials of those listed. Bishops Conferences should be able to nominate local Saints for the lists. Other Eucharistic prayers could be allowed for weekdays.

    7. Restore St. Andrew to the embolism.

    Many changes in ceremonial coould be discussed. I find Communion in both kinds to be a rich medium for communicating the Sacramental significance. I do not know about kneeling. The list could go on and on,


  15. Would that at the beginning of every Mass, Catholics might hear the priest say: "I will go up to the altar of God." And we might be allowed to answer: "To God, who gives joy to my youth."

    Etc, etc.

  16. While the prayers in Ambrose's De Sacramentis bear some resemblance to the Roman Canon, they are far from identical. In fact, it is difficult what relationship they bear to the Roman Canon (parent, cousin, etc.).

    I presume when you speak of the Canon as the "oldest" you mean the oldest still in use, since the prayer contained in the Didache is clearly the oldest that we have, not to mention the Strasbourg Papyrus or the Prayer of Serapion. Even among prayers in continued use, the anaphora of Addai and Mari is almost surely older than the Canon. This is not to deny that the Canon is quite ancient, but I don't think one can sustain the claim that is it the oldest.

  17. FC:

    Yes, I think that, to your specific point, your distinction "in use" comports with the some of the words of Fr. Fortesque: "No Eastern Rite now used is as archaic as the Roman Mass."

    I believe, though, that taking Fr. Fortesque's words all-together, he is asserting that the root of the Roman Canon goes back as far as any other rite, given his words here: "to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Caesar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ…."

    It is interesting to note that Fr. Fortesque was, among other scholarly achievements, a scholar of the history and culture of the Byzantine Church, so his claims are not to be taken as mere western or RC chauvinsism. It seems he was a man of open, and expansive scholarship.

  18. TJM:

    I know! Me too…

    What a gift…to feel that voice echoing back to us from heaven…even when we feel old…that we are yet young…in the eyes of Our Father.

    And the reform per SC was intended to give that gift to all of us…the promise echoing from the "Ancient of Days."

    I want more of my culture back…I am really appalled at the Church (and it tells me a lot of disappointing things about the Bugnini committee people) that it robbed me and my children of my endowment.

  19. Does the Church really believe it is going up to an altar?

    If it really believes it is – it needs to start saying these words again!

  20. "Numerous people who invested their lives and careers in the liturgical reform and Vatican II have passed on to their reward." . . . and there are others, whether liberal propagandists or conservative defenders, who are still alive and well placed in the hierarchy. Given biological reality, this will ultimately change, as these men tend now to be 65 and older. I think that in the next two decades, we will see a 'geological shift' for the better. However, in the mean time, I think that the conservative defense of Vatican II will still be a very necessary tactic.

  21. It is also important to note that the great Laszlo Dobszay taught that the Roman Rite was actually a family of Rites, with diverse "Cathedral" expressions, and in his opinion, the particular Roman Rite established after Trent was not "the best" of the bunch. His point was that they were all grown from the same organic root stock – the tradition passed down across time, and while having their own "personality" (let me say species) they were all Roman in nature (let me say genus).

    It was one of his life's work for the Church to show that the cultural endowment of the Church's liturgy was both one and yet manifold and vast. And that the N.O. Rite, or as he termed it, the Bugnini Mass, was not of of the Roman family/genus. It is not a Roman Rite (not grown from the cult of the Church of Rome), but is a Neo-Roman Rite (Roman legally, but not in nature).

  22. As a practicing parish priest, I am constantly looking for simple and practical ways to make the Sunday liturgy more beautiful and meaningful. I don't believe that any radical changes or New New Missals would be very helpful and most of them would do more harm than good. However, in terms of the way that Mass is celebrated, my personal belief is that the Eastern Catholic liturgies should serve as a guide to cut through a lot of the debate on the liturgy in the West.
    For example, the Eastern liturgy has always celebrated Mass ad orientem and the Latin church should consider returning to that practice (I would appreciate a declaration from the bishop's conference to the effect that celebrating Mass ad orientem is preferable wherever that is conducive to the architecture of the church).
    The Eastern liturgy has a very clear division between the sacred space and the body of the Church, and with this in mind the idea of an altar rail should be revived.
    The Eastern faithful receive communion while standing, and so we should not consider it inappropriate or somehow irreverent for the Latin faithful to do the same.

  23. I yearn for the simplicity of the Jerusalem Rite, the Last Supper, and not the fantasies of men trying to make lace and bells and smoke equate to "heaven".

  24. 1. A reading of Pius XII's Mediator Dei 60-64 would seem to be on point here. More to the point:

    "The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world. "

    2. You can find plenty of TLM's without any lace on offer. Bells aren't necessary but helpful. And incense is obligatory at Solemn High Masses; it may be used at Sung Masses, and isn't used at Low Masses.

  25. I guess you'd just happy with 13 folks sitting around a table. Pius XII would not agree with you. Please read "Mediator Dei"

  26. What a rich, though somewhat melancholy, discussion here. Rev Father Smith's writing might be suggested to submit for reprint elsewhere so that it does not fade into the instant lost history of too many Internet postings. Perhaps even HPR?

  27. Pius XII would not agree with you.

    Neither would JPII– Ecclesia De Eucharista:

    "…48. Like the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany, the Church has feared no “extravagance”, devoting the best of her resources to expressing her wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist."

  28. I really don't think the problem is the Mass of Paul VI, as the beginning of the answer is already in the latest English missal. Every part of the Mass has the chant melodies there to be used. It's time to start using them. One thing that is lacking is that there is only the one Ordinary where there were something like 16 in Latin for appropriate levels of solemnities, feasts, seasons, Sunday vs. daily Mass, etc.But the project is still at the very start and those would come with time.

    Next there is the use of the Propers, for example the Simple English Propers as antiphons with an appropriate psalm and "Glory Be…", similar to the Liturgy of the Hours practice.

    I would also advise every Roman Catholic Priest and even Bishop to visit at least one of the nearest Eastern Catholic parishes once a year to see what liturgy could be.

Comments are closed.