Thoughtful answers only: Development vs. accretion vs. distortion vs. corruption vs. innovation ...
  • Studying liturgical history and reform, I'm caught up in the very different ways scholars conceive of proper reform, the various ways liturgists assess old things from the time they were once new. Moral judgments enter into this, with certain parties suggesting that the nine-fold vs. the six-fold Kyrie is more traditional, even though it is newer, and others claiming the opposite, and then one side gets its baby called a modernist medieval-hating archaeologism and it's all bellies up from there.

    Are there rational, objective criteria these days among liturgists, or does everyone just have an agenda?

    Just as an example, say a diocese has particular law governing the requirement to stand during and after the Angus Dei, even through the post-communion and ablutions. One justification is this: Kneeling after communion is a medieval devotional practice. (This is only sufficient reasoning if all medieval things are bad.)

    Are there ways of determining what is actually a distortion and an innovation --- y'know, rationally --- and what is a development? Or between organic development and inorganic development?

    Thanks for the reply. Again, please, thoughtful answers only.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    Are there rational, objective criteria these days among liturgists, or does everyone just have an agenda?


    Rationality exists only in the first person: my understanding.
    Never in the third person: their agenda.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    @ Adam...Thank you Dr. Franklin.

    In answer to the original question, I think that there are objective criteria, however very few people (if any) can be entirely objective. Music is an art and therefore will always be somewhat subjective, which is I believe a good thing. As usual...YMMV.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Just to be clear, I'm talking liturgy rather than music. Though the two are definitely related and intermesh, these are distinct topics.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Well...good music is necessary for good liturgy. The rubrics are there and they spell out what may and may not be said or done. So in that respect there is definitely objective criteria...say the black, do the red. However...the priest can be very reverent and follow that to the letter...if the music is "Ashes" "Awesome God" etc...I would not consider it good liturgy. Some people however, would think it great liturgy. That is what I meant by "will always be somewhat subjective."
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    @ Adam...Thank you Dr. Franklin.


    I love it when people know my references.
    Thanked by 1Wendi
  • This is in regard to the development of the liturgical reform. I mean to ask about the principles which undergird "the black" and "the red" by the people (bishops, popes) who get to determine what "the black" is and what "the red" is in the first place. If the texts change, we know who gets to say so and why, but I personally do not know the rationale they use

    What makes a thing a corruption? What makes a thing an innovation? What makes a thing, in the popular phrase, an "organic development"?
  • Ubiquitous,

    There are intelligent ways of digging through competing claims, yes.

    Here's an example.

    It is to be acknowledged that in the early centuries, Holy Communion was received "in the hand". What did this practice look like? (Yes, there are data on this). Why was the practice discontinued? (Again, there is evidence).

    Is receiving Holy Communion in the hand, by its very nature, evil? No, but given that the modern so-called restoration of an ancient practice only partially restored an ancient practice, and given that the purpose of the reforms was to increase our fervor for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, one needn't believe post hoc ergo propter hoc to ask if the current practice of self-communication is a bad thing, regardless of how "ancient" the practice is.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Very much, and thank you. I suppose I should have asked something other than a yes/no question, because now I do wonder about the principles in play and their relative weight.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,854
    restoration of an ancient practice only partially restored an ancient practice


    This is, I think, a big part of the problem. We no longer have saints telling us to make a throne of our hands to receive God, as one saint said - can't remember who that was. These "restorations" were pulled from antiquity and only partially restored because the contexts no longer existed. The whole world has changed since then.
  • When something is designed by a committee, it's likely not organic.

    When, over time, small changes occur, in keeping the essential nature of the organism intact, this is more likely organic.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Interesting comment, Chris, in an era when in this country's governance is seriously, unilaterally trying to manipulate the dismantling of the nation's Constitution. Its progenitor, the Declaration of Independence, was not, contrary to romantic fancy, the eloquent product of Jefferson's genius alone, nor the influence of Adams, Franklin, other supporters as well as detractors such as Dickinson or Rutledge and all the congress signatories. These documents are organic dating probably way beyond the Magna Carta's inception. All of this points to one heckuva organic comittee over time.
    Was the eventual product of V2 (figure out the pun in that!), the Mass of Paul VI the result of a committee? Really rhymes with Bugnini. Is or ain't that rite organic? You make the call.
  • Charles,

    Don't have time to respond just now, but will try to address this later.

    Thank you for such an intelligent sidebar to the main conversation.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,573
    Everyone has an agenda.
    My questions to myself:
    Is my agenda the Church agenda?
    What am I accreting distorting corrupting innovating?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    To quote Adam Bartlett's excellent introduction the choir edition of the Lumen Christi Simple Gradual:

    the music of the Mass is something that is received, not created - carried out, not performed


    Within the set of those people who agree with this there is legitimate disagreement and differing points of view. But I consider some version of this sentiment to be the requirement to having a legitimate point of view on liturgical matters.

    People who think that liturgy is something to be created or invented have, almost by definition, an agenda that is contrary to the ethos of the liturgy set forth by the Church and her tradition.