Francis: With magisterial authority I affirm that liturgical reform is irreversible
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,082
    A commentary by Phil Lawler notes that Pope Francis refers to the liturgical reform that began with Pope St. Pius X and continued with the encyclical Mediator Dei:
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    And Pius V declared for all time... Popes can not bind their successors on liturgy. Witness what happened in the sixties.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,472
    well, let's see in the end who became an anathema after all...
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  • I have ever thought that casting anathemae was presuming that judgment which, according to God himself, belongs to God alone. There have been some rather childish ones cast in times past, as in popes and emperors, and vengeful East-West patriarchs and primates bickering like little three-year-old children over who had the greater power from God, or who Jesus had favoured with the most authority - all for naught but Gloria mundi.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    Yep. Put too much power in any office and sooner or later you will get a crazy occupant.
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  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    Hello to everyone! Hope everyone's enjoying the summer. What a remarkable statement by the Holy Father! Upon reading his address, I find this point most noteworthy: the claim that the Novus Ordo is ultimately the fruit of the work of Popes Pius X and Pius XII. This is certainly not a new idea, but it is one which has been vigorously refuted by Michael Davies and then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

    Michael Davies took great pains to show how the original Liturgical Movement

    was diverted from its course. Certainly, historically Dom Guéranger and St. Pius X are truly at the origin of the Liturgical Movement, but it is false and pernicious to claim that this movement, at least in its contemporary forms, is derived from their thought; worse still that it is the continuation of their work.

    Cardinal Ratzinger decried the new missal as being "self-made", the artificial construct of scholars and central authority:

    "the liturgy appear[s] to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm."

  • francis
    Posts: 10,472
    whether it is heresey, errancy or anathema is certainly in God's purview, not ours, nonetheless, here is the beef:


    I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.

    Which is not another: only there are some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

    As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

    For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

    For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

    For neither did I receive it of man: nor did I learn it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • I'm stunned by this pope: he claims that the liturgical reform is irreversible, and that this is magisterial teaching... except that what has been taught magisterially by popes for 2000 years is an obstacle to the "God of surprises".
  • francis
    Posts: 10,472
    Just because he proclaims it is magisterial teaching from his own mouth does not make it so. The church has been in this position before as the two articles above clearly explain.

    Can you please explain to me what this "God of surprises" is?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,574
    The holy father, seems to think he is the fabled King Canute (N.B. The real 'Cnut the great' was a very good king), he cannot hold back the tide, and time is not on his side.

    More learned thoughts than mine here,

    More on the flow of the tide here, I believe the Community of St. Martin have the N.O. in Latin...

    From the above trends we can predict that the N.O. (said in French) will continue to decline possibly to extinction... Similar situations, some far worse can be found in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland... I expect that within my lifetime the E.F. Mass will be said more often on a daily basis than the N.O. in most of Europe. (I suspect that in France on an ordinary weekday most Masses are EF)

    If we continue to see practically no vocations to the priesthood from N.O. parishes, and only vocations from E.F. or traditional communities, the liturgical reform of Vat II or at least the dreaded 'spirit of') is finished.

    It has been pointed out that the liturgy grows organically, and we can see this here, the genetically engineered Vat II liturgy seems sterile, it is not producing growth, therefore it will die.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • francis
    Posts: 10,472

    love this...

    The unworthy little table on wheels, which had stood in the middle of the Sanctuary of his Cathedral Church, was wheeled right away, and the original, central, noble High Altar, symbol of Christ, was restored to use. Apparently Archbishop Nichols did not regard the 1970s 'coffee table' fad as "irreversible".
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    The "genetically engineered Vatican II liturgy", far from being the result of centuries of organic development, was the brain-child of an elite group of scholars. Pope Francis in his address cites the commission which produced the study for the reform: Memoria Sulla Riforma Liturgica, published in 1948.

    Msgr. Annibale Bugnini was a member of this commission and stated the following about the changes to the liturgy in his autobiography:

    It is clear today that the reform was the fruit of a long period of maturation, a fruit produced by the thought and prayer of Žlite minds and then gradually shared with ever widening circles of the faithful.

    Such a process is not organic development.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,574
    Fr. Hunwicke is brilliant... In another London church we removed a similar unworthy coffee table and burnt it in a skip that was providentially placed outside the church one Holy Week. I believe that the N.O. happy clappy crowd were quite disappointed when they turned up on Easter day...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,276
    At Westminster there was indeed an unworthy little table on wheels, but it had been replaced by something better after less than 10 years of use. There was always a desire to bring the high altar back into use, but with modification that would permit celebration versus populum. The cost of shifting the altar sufficiently was very high (because of the crypt chapel below), and had scuppered previous plans. Finally, an affordable way of modifying the retable was found and implemented. Hurrah!
    I have never seen anything official (ie from the Vatican) that advocates unworthy little tables on wheels, and the reform that the Pope says is irreversible he also says still needs proper fulfillment:
    It is not a question of rethinking the reform ... but rather of ... observing the discipline that regulates it
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • >> From the above trends we can predict that the N.O. [...] will continue to decline possibly to extinction...

  • Liam
    Posts: 4,827
    Only if the trends are straightline. Which is not certain.

  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,574

    Previous figures showed a straight line increase for EF clergy in France, I suspect that this straight line will eventually more closely match an exponential curve. The exponential curve is what we are seeing with Marriages and Baptisms in London over the last 20 years, which would be expected.

    As for the decline of N.O. vocations, we don't have a straight line either... A gradual climb until 1970, a swift decline, moving to a slow decline, a slight rise and now another slow decline... Parish closures could make this a steep decline, which would be difficult to recover from.

    Anyway what is and will happen in other parts of the world will be of far greater consequence.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • And Saint Pius V declared for all time...

    Fixed that for you, Charles.

    There have been some rather childish ones cast in times past, as in popes and emperors,

    Let's not forget some monarchs who had some, ahem, more adult preoccupations, Chickson? ;)
  • Tomjaw - I am a direct descendant of King Canute!

    As I once told my dear mother when she asked why I didn't trust her, "mom, trust ONLY in GOD and you'll never truly be disappointed." At first she was taken aback, but then she quickly learned the wisdom in what I said and smiled.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw JulieColl
  • Who knows? Perhaps posterity will be kind and interpret Bergoglio's comments as a prophetic warning to future generations, admonishing them that the desire to make alteration of the sacred actions of Mass has no other result than a precipitous decline into non-existence, of the kind which Thomas Jaw has described to us (through the Eponymous Flower blog).

    We can only hope and pray that posterity is very charitable in its "interpretation" of the majority of Francis's remarks . . .
    Thanked by 2tomjaw JulieColl
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    Looking from the east, I see the current problems beginning with the initial tampering with the liturgy centuries ago. Liturgy has to be something too sacred for human revision.
    Thanked by 2JulieColl CHGiffen
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 151
    Looking from the east, I see the current problems beginning with the initial tampering with the liturgy centuries ago. Liturgy has to be something too sacred for human revision.
    When was the "initial tampering" with Liturgy in the West?

    In any case, I incline to agree with you that the Liturgy should be considered too sacred for revision; however, I still have something in me that seems to think there are some changes that could be inspired/given by God and that would be for the genuine good/benefit of the people. Which benefit would probably be something spiritual, and not necessarily something of "comfort" or "convenience" or something like that (which are largely the reasons for which especially the modern changes came about).
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    I suspect it wasn't tampered with until the fall of Rome when the culture and civilization collapsed. Over time, fingers have messed with it from invaders, "scholars," popes, and so on. It seems that once you mess with the sacred for any reason, it is easier to tamper with it again and again.
  • Well, if the liturgy were too sacred ever to be changed we would still be celebrating with something rather like the Didache - no polyphony, no choirs, primitive and undeveloped chant, no masses solemn, high, or what. We owe much to the mediaeval era, the Frankification of the mass, the Sarum heritage, and much more - all changes and developments. Those who think that liturgy should never change usually have their favoured historic liturgy in mind as the eternal paradigm. They seem oblivious to the fact that their favoured liturgy represented, in its day, a change.

    Even the Eastern rites did not drop out of the sky fully developed. All, East and West, took time. Some, more time, some less. It must be said, though, that Eastern liturgy has always been a far more stable thing than Western. But then, the Eastern world (in spite of the Muslim crusades of the 7th century) was a far more stable cultural clime than the West.
  • I would say that the problem really started with the Council of Trent and the promulgation of the Roman Missal and Breviary for the entire Catholic world.

    The Tridentine reforms were themselves not creative, but rather, they tended to be destructive in nature. The end result of the Council of Trent and its subsequent centuries of implementation (at times very coercive) was the rapid disappearance of thousands of sacred chants from the Latin repertory. Nothing new (like new chant propers for feasts) ever really took their place. They just disappeared. They vanished, never to be heard from again except in secular academic and concert settings. But never again would these sacred chants be heard in the temple, in the context of the Church's sacred rites.

    This is especially true of the various proper offices of Saints, where unique poetical compositions of an explicitly narrative and laudatory form were once chanted on the feast days of these saints (much like Byzantine stichera, troparia, kontakia, and canons for my Eastern readers), but in the Roman Missal and Breviary after Trent, they were either omitted entirely (i.e. not celebrated or commemorated) or the propers provided for that feast were so generic and common that they were really just vague and un-specific to the person or thing being celebrated on that day.

    If you look at the age before the Council of Trent, beginning 800 years or so before it, you will see a massive and steady growth of liturgical composition and development. There was an enlargement and embellishment of the liturgy in ways that today would blow most Catholics' minds away. Really, when you think about all the creative energy that went into the divine services of the Church, it is truly awe-inspiring. These were all the exuberant outpouring of faith from devout Christians, some of them even canonized saints. And yet most of these wonderful liturgical compositions will probably never be heard in Catholic churches ever again.

  • Amen, and amen.
    Thanked by 1PlanctusAnglorum
  • In the East, no such large-scale curtailment of hymnody and poetry was ever implemented, which is why the Byzantine Rite seems so foreign to Latin Rite Catholics today. It is not that the Greeks (and others) have a fundamentally different character, or somehow their language and history are such that they needs be so different than Latins. No, the soul of a Greek is the same as the soul of a Latin.

    But what distinguishes these two liturgical families is a historical rupture that happened in the West that has no real equivalent in the East. This is why I say that what distinguishes the Tridentine reforms, and all of its subsequent reformist movements like Vatican II, is their inherent spirit of destructiveness, rather than their creativeness. Some might call the post-Vatican II "spirit" one of creativity, but this would only be an indication of having a strange idea of what creativity actually means.


    St Notker was creative when he composed and then popularized Sequence hymns, which were once commonly sung at Mass. Bugnini, however, was actually quite destructive when he was being "creative" with the liturgy of Holy Saturday or with the content of the Liturgy of the Hours (among many other things). There's a huge difference there in how one defines "creative."

    St Notker, in his creative impulse, added beauty and piety to the liturgy. Bugnini, however, added nothing. Rather, he threw beautiful and pious things away.

    But in comparing the Latin liturgy to the Greek, we must compare apples to apples, and not spend our time walking around in an orange grove. Most of the Greek liturgical character was actually formed in the late Middle Ages, from the 10th to the 15th centuries. It just so happens that in the West, that was also the period of liturgical formation, when there was a tremendous level of new sacred composition. Many of the things going on in the East at that time actually had direct equivalents in the West (and vice versa), like embellishing the chants and the prayers of the liturgy. Example: Byzantine chant, for all of its exotic "foreignness" to Western ears today, is actually pretty similar to medieval organum that was once commonly sung in Western Europe.

    Nobody who has ever studied the liturgical books of the Franks, the English, or the various Medieval Uses of the Roman Rite throughout Europe would come to the conclusion that the Latin Rite was "austere" in comparison to the Greek. Yet, today this dichotomy is still commonly drawn between a supposed Roman "austerity" and a Greek "floridness." This is only because the points of reference are now so very different between the two. In the Middle Ages, the differences were actually fewer and farther between. The stark differences we see now are mostly the result of the Latin liturgy being progressively cut down in both quantity and quality from its previously rich medieval splendor.

    So while it may be true that no living liturgy is ever truly static, it is also true that the Latin liturgy has undergone much, much more alteration in the last few centuries than any others have. And therein lies the rub.
  • Again!
    Amen, and amen.

    ...The soul of a Greek is the same as the sould of a Latin.

    Ha! I can't wait to hear Charles' response to that assertion, fundamentally true as it is.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    I have said that those liturgies across the Roman world in the 4th and 5th centuries were more alike than different. I have read the interview with Fr. Gabriel Bunge who said,

    —Just as an aside, last spring there was a delegation from Russia present at a celebration in Sicily commemorating the aid given by Russian soldiers to victims of the great Messina earthquake in 1908. The Russian clergy present were invited to serve the Liturgy for the local Orthodox congregation in the Capella Palatina in Palermo.

    —Ah, beautiful. The Russians continually celebrate solemn Liturgies in the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bari. I have seen one Liturgy there celebrated by a Russian Metropolitan, about 20 priests, with a large choir. And I thought, “That is the Liturgy required by this beautiful cathedral. But when it was over, the Latin mass started… and you want to cry. You want to ask, “What are you doing here?”

    He noted that those historic and beautiful churches were not created for what the Latin Rite liturgy has become. If interested, the interview is here

    Fr. Bunge wrote the book," Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition." He advocates turning to east when praying.

    To the original point, our souls are not different from east to west. Our views on the liturgy differ, to be sure.

    For what it is worth, I have been accused by some of having a stodgy, pre-Vatican II view of the liturgy in the Latin parish where I work. Not true. I have an eastern view that carries over. I don't consider the liturgy a social occasion for the enjoyment of the congregation - or should I say, assembly, since that is the word in fashion at the moment. I don't get out of bed and go play for mass so I can have an "Oprah" moment.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,202
    no polyphony, no choirs, primitive and undeveloped chant, no masses solemn, high, or what.

    Feature? or Bug??

    I may be kidding.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,574
    I would say that the problem really started with the Council of Trent and the promulgation of the Roman Missal and Breviary for the entire Catholic world.

    Not true, this did not effect Dominicans, Benedictines, the Use of Sarum etc. The Missal and Breviary was optional for many. It was made quite clear that usages more than a couple century old could continue.

    The Tridentine reforms were themselves not creative, but rather, they tended to be destructive in nature.

    I understand that the Trent Missal was almost entirely based on an earlier Missal sadly they chose one that had a rather limited selection of chants. I suspect that this was deliberate, with all the changes in the secular world and the many attacks on the Church with state sanctioned murder of priests and religious, a simple selection of Propers was a good idea. The failure was really with the local churches that over the next 100 years gave up their Rites and usages, e.g. Sarum and the other English usages. and those that failed to bring from older Missals Proper Masses and Offices.

    The older local usages did have a problem as it would have always been easier to use the universal Missal rather than a local, the rise of the printing press would have also hindered the continuation of the local uses. Although a handful survived, Ambrosian, Toledo, etc.

    it is also true that the Latin liturgy has undergone much, much more alteration

    This is applies to the Proper rather than the Ordinary... I wonder how sustainable it would have been to continue having many different sets of Propers in use across Europe.

    It is true that the 1962 Missal is rather austere, but much has been lost in the last century... For instance, in my researches I think a least 20 Sequences are still nominally in use in the Trent Missal, mainly in local or Monastic Propers
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,276
    I notice that Notker Balbulus was beatified in 1512, just a generation before most sequences were swept out of the Missal, and has not subsequently been canonized.
  • Thanks for the above, Kathy.
    Two of the best commentaries I have read (both of which were seminal in my crossing the Tiber) are 1) Yves Congar's Tradition and traditions, and 2) Dom ______ Chrico, OSB's (or, he might have been OP?) Infallibility, Crossroads of Doctrime. The latter was, to me, particularly profound. I long ago lost my copy of it and wish that I could replace it.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Fr. Bunge wrote the book," Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition." He advocates turning to east when praying.

    A read worth anyone's time. I have it from a reliable source that "Earthen Vessels" is required reading in the seminary of the SSPX.
  • Jackson,

    I must have misunderstood you -- but then I haven't read the book, so perhaps I should do that -- when you said that reading Yves Congar brought you to cross the Tiber.
  • Chris -

    I said that Congar and Chirico were 'seminal in my crossing the Tiber'.
    Is there a problem here?
    I have heard that Congar was a questionable mind, at least to some.
    I am not knowledgeable about the reasons for this.
    I did, though, find the mentioned book highly illuminating and ideally fecund.

    Please do enlighten me as to your apparent reservation about him.
    Or, am I misunderstanding you?
  • Jackson,

    Congar, De Lubac, Von Balthasar, Dupuis, Teilhard........ all censured before the Council for unorthodox writing. If I recall correctly, they were all invited as periti to the Council.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Chris -

    I've heard von Balthasar dismissed as 'speculative theology'. I have his The Office of Peter, which, to me, is very dense but interesting, even fascinating. The small amount of Chardin that I've read I thought was basically Pelagian. As for Congar, I don't know wherein he is unorthodox, but would like to know.

    Can you elaborate on their unorthodoxy?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,276
    Yves Congar - censured, silenced, re-instated, feted, honoured; just like Thomas Aquinas.
    Thanked by 2M. Jackson Osborn JL
  • For what, precisely, was he censured and silenced?
    Why then rehabilitated?
  • >> Yves Congar - censured, silenced, re-instated, feted, honoured; just like Thomas Aquinas.

    hmmm. maybe not just like St Thomas Aquinas.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,276
    Censured for œcumenical activities, I understand, and then he published a book True and False Reform in the Church which was condemned by the Vatican. However Angelo Roncalli's own copy (he was nuncio in France so would be obliged to read it!) is heavily annotated and it appears that it inspired him to call a Council when he became pope John XXIII.
    >>> "maybe not just like St Thomas Aquinas". I concede that.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,472
    perhaps not at all like TA
  • francis
    Posts: 10,472
    I am reading Congars book. I am only fifteen pages in, but it looks like the manifesto of modernism to me. However, I am going to read the whole thing and then give comment.
  • Which book, Francis?