"Reform of the Reform" is a Slippery Phrase
  • Here's my contribution to the recent meta conversations:

    "Reform of the Reform" is a slippery phrase. It seems to be the sort of phrase that allows the radicals and the moderates to talk as if they have the some goals, when in fact goals may differ greatly.

    To the radicals, "Reform of the Reform" appears to mean something like "reform of the documents of Vatican II and of the Novus Ordo Missal to make their contents substantially similar or identical to what they were before Vatican II." To the most radical of the radicals, this means straight up undoing all the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. And to those in that boat, I would ask, "why use this phrase?" It seems to me that "undoing Vatican II" would convey meaning more effectively.

    To the moderates, "Reform of the Reform" appears to mean something like "faithfully following the directives of Vatican II." To those in this boat, I would ask, "why use this phrase?" The problem here is that the word "reform" has connotations at least to many people of official legal changes to the system. If the push is instead to simply follow the liturgical directives as written, something like "Faithful implementation of the reform" would convey meaning more accurately, although that has less of a ring to it.

    There's also an in-between path where "Reform of the Reform" means something like "Sacrosanctum Concilium was a good idea, there were some problems with the legal implementation of it, the Roman Missal could be improved by restoring the octave of Pentecost and the old offertory prayer ..." to which I would say...I don't know. I'm not sure how to convey this message in an effective way, but I don't think the common person gets this message from "Reform of the Reform." I also just don't think that people are going to be energized by a movement to make incremental changes in the liturgy. Like, if this is about making the kinds of edits to the Roman Missal that the average person in the pew would barely notice, why does anyone care? The TLM wasn't perfect either.

    I would also ask everyone in the radical camp to consider what appears to me to be a very fundamental problem: it's basically impossible for anyone outside of very high ranking Vatican officials to accomplish actual legal changes to the liturgy. If you have an actual way to influence high ranking people in the Vatican, more power to you, but if you are spending lots of time and emotional energy on the issue without achieving actual influence or power in the Vatican, well, that seems to me like a path that is guaranteed to lead to frustration and unaccomplished goals.

    As a corollary to this, it seems to me that the New Liturgical Movement was originally a network of people who did have cache in the Vatican, such as respected academics. It seems to me that the movement has shifted from being a network of people who have real influence in the Vatican to being an in-group on the internet. And as others have noted on other threads, the behavior of internet in-groups often ends up being very counter to the stated goals of the internet in-group. Sociologically, internet in-groups tend to demand total conformity to the in-group belief system, but this has the effect of pushing away people who otherwise might support a significant part of the in-group's beliefs. For example, a lot of people might be interested in chanting the Mass parts in Latin, but might decide that they are no longer interested if chanting the Mass parts in Latin becomes part of some broader Anti-Novus Ordo, Anti-Pope Francis system that must be bought wholesale.

    I'm very sorry to see this problems I am discussing borne out, because I found what I understood the original goals of the New Liturgical Movement to be very admirable. I want the liturgy to be celebrated the way the Church asks us to celebrate it. I want the "Spirit of Vatican II" to be replaced with Vatican II. And I'm sad because while people on the internet have basically no power to make Rome change the laws, everyone that takes the time to be actively involved in their parish can have influence over the faithful implementation of Vatican II.
  • I liked when RotR was simply called, „good liturgy“.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    I believe that the phrase "Reform of the Reform" was coined (along with "a new Liturgical Movement" and "banal, fabricated product") by Joseph Card. Ratzinger when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,012
    There is ample evidence that the NO was devised very hastily, and that no one involved was satisfied with the result. Unfortunately CDW reverted to the SCR stance that "all change is bad" when Bugnini was thrown out. We have clear evidence for this in "1962 as written then", and "no cross fertilization", despite Benedict XVI clearly asking for exactly that. And when some optional changes were finally allowed in the VO (some recently canonised saints) that was after PCED had been transferred to CDF.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    One must also realize that “radical” is a relative term. I could easily rewrite the OP and invert the labels.

    I assure you, Catholics who have been in their graves for a century would deem the most “moderate” of modern Catholics to be rather ‘radical’.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 820
    My understanding is that "Reform of the Reform" means:

    1. The liturgical reform mandated by Vatican II was implemented poorly during the first three decades after the Council, and continues to be poorly implemented in many places. Bad habits and incorrect liturgical practices have become entrenched and expected due to commonality and reinforcement through years of repetition.
    2. To fix things, the poorly implemented reform must be reformed, which entails undoing and unlearning what has been done and taught incorrectly or improperly.
    3. After the poorly implemented reform has been reformed, in other words after the reform has been properly implemented, then the implementation of the Council's mandate for liturgical reform and the rubrics and ars celebrandi of the reformed Mass (the Novus Ordo Missae) will conform to the mind and intent of the Church.
  • davido
    Posts: 620
    Radical is a pejorative term that has no meaning on its own. It’s only use in discussions like this is to cast one position in a bad light, by contrasting it unfavorably with a preferred alternative.
  • I would put myself in the moderate camp of this discussion, and I can offer my take on this phrase.

    I would start out by saying I see the reform after Vatican II as having two parts. The first is the legal reform following VII (includes the council documents, missal of Paul VI, etc). The second part of the reform is how those things were implemented in real life (tearing down high altars, abolishing the Latin language, praise bands at mass, etc). Regardless of what the VII texts say, the implementation was the reform to a lot of people. We can argue (and I generally agree with this point of view) that the issue is not with the VII documents, but with how they were implemented. I don't think this argument is going to have a real effect on most people given that they have not read the council documents and only know what they experienced during the implementation.

    We can sit and debate how the phrase reform of the reform means undoing a lot of the poorly done implementation of the council and faithfully following the directives of VII. Again, this is the point of view I generally hold. I do actually like the phrase you proposed in "Faithful implementation of the reform." I agree that this probably does more accurately say what I mean. However, because the reform to a lot of people is what happened, to say I'm going to faithfully implement the reform would mean to keep doing what has been done for the last 50 years. But if I say I'm going to reform the reform, it is going to show that I am doing something different.

    To the average Catholic with little knowledge of the actual texts of VII, saying reform of the reform is going to make my meaning clearer. This doesn't mean I won't try to explain what VII actually said, how that was different from the implementation, and how I want to faithfully implement the reform actually specified by VII. I will happily explain all of that. However, that is a lot of meaning to put in a quick slogan. My ultimate meaning is that liturgy in the past 50 years has not been done how it should have been. To say "reform of the reform" will probably get this message across to the average person better than "faithful implementation of the reform."
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    Like, if this is about making the kinds of edits to the Roman Missal that the average person in the pew would barely notice, why does anyone care?

    Because it isn't about them. As I said in the thread about threads: Liturgy and Theology are inseparably linked: If you change one, you change the other, either accidentally or purposefully.

    Taking the Offertory Rite as an example: Originally, the offertory consisted only of the Offertory Chant sung by the schola, the procession of the gifts, the bishop/priest, making gestures of offering and blessing (i.e. elevating the bread and chalice of wine & water, and probably a sign of the cross), and the Secret or Super Oblata (which ever name you wish to use). Bugnini & Co. wished to return to this, which was what was done in the Missa Normativa shown to the assembled bishops at the Synod: The bishops rejected this and said, "No, there must be Offertory Prayers for the priest to recite"; rather than restoring the old ones, they wrote new ones based on a Jewish meal prayer. This was, I think a mistake, on several levels:

    Firstly, it was a mis-guided archaeologism, which rejects anything "mediaeval" as being erroneous, and therefore necessary to return the liturgy to a primitive state. (Just because some people have a fondness of antiques, doesn't mean the primitive is better: Who wants to go back to bathing once a week in a galvanized wash-tub filled by hand from water boiled on a coal-fired stove? I don't.)

    Secondly, it denies the reason why the Church felt it necessary to add Offertory prayers in the first place: To impress upon the priest the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and form his intention to do what the Church does. The replacing of these prayers of preparation for the Sacrificial Offering of a Victim with meal-prayers has resulted in erroneous theology on the part of many priests, particularly those who had bad training in seminary. The introductory material, especially the letter by Paul VI, underscores the still-binding nature of the teaching of the Council of Trent regarding the Mass as sacrifice; but who reads that? I think most priests go through most of their priesthood without even reading the rubrics withing the Ordo Missae, let alone the GIRM and Paul's letter of promulgation! Ecclesia supplet, of course, but I think that the Ecclesia hath been doing a great deal of supplet-ing in the past 60 years. I know of priests who practically reject the Church's teaching because of literature that they read in the '60s and '70s from liturgical "experts".

    A restoration of some form of the older Offertory Prayers (as uncomfortable as it will make some priests to refer to themselves as God's "unworthy servants", which is a good thing: sometimes religion should make us uncomfortable) would go a long way to correcting erroneous theology regarding the Eucharist. I would not be in favor of restoring the overly long Psalm at the washing of the hands, or even at the incensations, but the prayers offering the Host and Chalice should be restored, with the option of reciting them aloud if there is no singing.

    And as far as saying that "the people don't care, and won't understand the difference": 1) the people aren't that stupid; 2) that's what the homily and other catechesis is for; 3) if you acknowledge 1 and do 2 (as Vatican II requested!), then they will understand, and will care.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 900
    ‘Reform of the reform’ has indeed developed over time into an umbrella term for anything ranging from a restoration of the 1962 (or prior) Missal up to faithfully celebrating the liturgy according to the current rubrics and texts. That may cause misunderstandings in scholarly discourse and general discussions about the continuous renewal of the liturgy.

    I refer again to the helpful article of Msgr. Francis Mannion, ‘The Catholicity of the Liturgy: Shaping a New Agenda’, Masterworks of God: Essays in Liturgical Theory and Practice (Chicago, 2004), 202-235. The five distinct approaches to ongoing liturgical reform described by him are:
    1. Restore the pre-conciliar liturgy (go back to pre-Vatican II, or restoration model).
    2. Reform the reform (change the direction of the liturgical reform).
    3. Advance the reform (the official agenda).
    4. Re-catholicize (or spiritualize) the reform (internalize, isolate).
    5. Inculturate the reform (following SC 37-40).
    (the arrangement and summary of these are due to James Leachman)

    Today, ‘RotR’ can be anything between 1 and 4. The fact that many of these five paradigms or agendas partly overlap could have contributed to ‘RotR’ developing into an umbrella term.

    I still think that many of us here on the forum, through their musical ministry, are working towards (3) the advancement of the reform (doing things as they are supposed to) or (4) the re-catholizing of the reform (using the more traditional of given options, for instance, Latin, propers and Gregorian chant). An important question is where you think you are on this spectrum, and what you can actually accomplish within your competence.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • And as far as saying that "the people don't care, and won't understand the difference": 1) the people aren't that stupid; 2) that's what the homily and other catechesis is for; 3) if you acknowledge 1 and do 2 (as Vatican II requested!), then they will understand, and will care.


    I'm not saying that people don't understand the difference or don't care. I know in my experience talking with people, most haven't read, even parts, of Sacrosanctum Concillium or Musicam Sacram. I'm not saying that people aren't willing to learn either. Just two days ago I talked with someone who hasn't read these documents. We talked about what the church teachers about music, what is a legitimate development in sacred music, and why praise and worship should not be used during mass. I am happy to explain these things in detail to those who don't know.

    However, the purpose of a slogan such as "reform of the reform" is to quickly tell people what you mean. Because of this large misunderstanding of VII and what it actually said, I think it is best to craft a slogan to the common understanding. I'm not saying people are dumb or don't care. I think people are largely misinformed and it is best to craft our language to meet them at their level of understanding, even though it is a faulty understanding. I think "reform of the reform" does a better job at this than "faithful implementation of the reform" even though the later is clearer in explaining my actual meaning.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw MarkB
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 169
    Part of the problem is that actually taking Sacrosanctum Concilium literally makes one a dangerous reactionary in these times.

    Para. 54 of the documents requires "Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." How many Catholics in the U.S. can say from memory the ordinary of the mass as well as the other responses in Latin? What concrete steps are pastors and bishops are taking to comply with this part of the document?

    The documents also require that Gregorian Chant be a primary source for the music of the church. St. Paul VI gave the church the Jubilate Deo chants as a minimum repertoire for the church. How many Catholics in the U.S. can sing them all well? And given the dictates of both the Council and Jubilate Deo, why not?

    Let's start by merely enforcing the dictates of the Council. The tragedy is that the reform has not been tried and never been found wanting. It's never been tried in its entirety.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,012
    I also just don't think that people are going to be energized by a movement to make incremental changes in the liturgy. Like, if this is about making the kinds of edits to the Roman Missal that the average person in the pew would barely notice, why does anyone care?

    Do we want to energize PIPs for and against liturgical change? There is much to be said for quietly slipping revisions in, where there is a good theological reason, as @Salieri says. The example of the Offertory will be hotly debated, so I will chose a lesser change for my example :
    At the end of the Penitential Act the priest's prayer is introduced by the Rubric The absolution by the Priest follows. This is accompanied in GIRM by the observation "GIRM#51 ... The rite concludes with the Priest’s absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance." I know that few PIPs read GIRM, but many will have read the rubric, which is printed on our pew cards. So I fear many people understand that as saying that they receive absolution at the beginning of every Mass. I can't understand why the word absolution appears here at all, the prayer is the same as the one I as an altar boy used to say to the priest after his Confiteor. There was a following prayer referring to absolution, but that was removed in 1969. Nobody will notice if the word is dropped, but it may stop an error propagating.
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    Para. 54 of the documents requires "Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." How many Catholics in the U.S. can say from memory the ordinary of the mass as well as the other responses in Latin? What concrete steps are pastors and bishops are taking to comply with this part of the document?

    The documents also require that Gregorian Chant be a primary source for the music of the church. St. Paul VI gave the church the Jubilate Deo chants as a minimum repertoire for the church. How many Catholics in the U.S. can sing them all well? And given the dictates of both the Council and Jubilate Deo, why not?


    For our part, we are working on it. We’ve been doing Missa XVII (and XVIII) during advent and lent, as well as the seasonal Marian antiphons in Latin (all year round, every other week) for going on three years. We also do the “Mortem tuam…” whenever the ordinary is Latin. (We also recently got bilingual missals and we made sure to add the seasonal Marian antiphons in square note notation on special stickers on the front two pages.)

    This lent we are introducing a transcription of credo iii in English, to begin learning the original melody, with the hopes of transitioning to the original in a year or two. I’ve also transcribed the pater noster into English ( https://youtu.be/N95Mtd29Yy4 ) to be muuuuch closer melodically than the ICEL version in the missal. Again, we are using this as a gateway to the original.

    As I said earlier, it’s a matter of will power and pastoral support.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    The thing is, I believe that there will be a substantial revision of the Pauline Missal in the future; but it won't happen until the Vatican II generation of priests and bishops and popes have all shuffled off this mortal coil: They are too invested in the reform as it is, that is, in the status quo, still waffling on about the great success of the New Springtime, even as the average age of their parishioners creeps higher and higher, and their parishes are closed. I'm not saying that the Missal is the sole cause of the exodus, though I know that for many people the change of the Mass and the destruction of their churches was the last time they went to Mass: and their children and grandchildren are now unchurched; but, rather, that there is a crisis in the Church, and it cannot be fixed while those who rule the Church refuse to acknowledge that there is a crisis in the first place: And as Ratzinger said: The crisis in the Church is primarily due to the disintegration of the liturgy.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    I don't disagree with any of that.

    But, I'm still striving to make it better in the meantime. For YEARS I have contemplated "defecting" full time to the TLM (and most certainly did for a period in between jobs), but have never managed to do it because I'm an organist by trade and TLM jobs are very few and far between these days... those paying anything approaching a living wage, even less so. Consequently, I've been left 'in the thick of it' to fight and continue to improve what I can, where I can, and [im]patiently wait for the good Lord to take me.

    I once spoke with a priest about this, and I asked him why he didn't go into one of the traditional orders (by all accounts he'd fit right in). Part of his decision was due to the fact that the TLM was permitted free usage by BXVI, and part of it was his feeling that it was necessary to labor among those who don't 'get it' yet. That is to say, that in a certain sense, there is an urgency and need among dying N.O. parishes that is less-present in TLM silos where everyone is there by choice and takes their faith very seriously. I am sympathetic with this line of reasoning, although on my lower days I want to run for the hills.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 439
    I once spoke with a priest about this, and I asked him why he didn't go into one of the traditional orders (by all accounts he'd fit right in). Part of his decision was due to the fact that the TLM was permitted free usage by BXVI, and part of it was his feeling that it was necessary to labor among those who don't 'get it' yet.
    Sounds like you spoke to our pastor... unfortunately his attempts don't seem to 'ring' with 95% of the parishioners. Usually it isn't even clear what his attempts exactly are; I thought I understood his goals when I learned to 'altar-serve' in the TLM back in 2014-2015, but I miserably failed with respect to his more recent decisions.
    For example, while "dreaming" of a EF Missa Cantata on our church, he didn't even try to get our parish schola involved in contact to 'his' local TLM group; or he introduced some changes (good as well as weird) to the way adolescent/adult male altar servers do things, while suppressing/neglecting(?) training of the 'normal' altar server group that also includes my two daughters and two other girls.
    The only thing I understood: I am not supposed to ask questions about pastor's motives.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    Elmar, I have to say that I'm not surprised (nor bothered, to be honest) that he didn't invite your daughters to serve at the TLM, something which is utterly unheard of. I wonder if he brought in a coterie of outside servers specifically to avoid having to deal with the awkwardness of inviting some parishioners (men) and not others (young women)?

    And, to be honest, most average novus ordo parishes do not have a sufficient number of young men willing to go through the intense training required to properly serve a traditional mass; it is very common, in my experience, for a single missa cantata to require the resources of priests, servers, and musicians from a number of area parishes. When we've done them it has taken at least three parish's worth of resources. So in that respect, it is not unusual (again, in my own little corner of the world at least) to have a great number of non-parishioners involved. So I wouldn't take it too personally.

    Not getting your schola involved does strike me as odd... unless he was paying to have professional singers sing more difficult repertoire, which is a different case entirely.
    Thanked by 2Elmar tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 439
    I wasn't very clear apparently... the remark about difference in server training - new group of (young) adult males vs. 'normal' servers - was about the NO parish masses, not the TLM group.

    There is some overlap, though: one of the 'new' servers has come into the parish through the TLM group (as far as I know he is at present the only TLM server unless our old sacristan is still doing it as well; I have only served twice but that's another story).
    There has never been any schola involved (let alone for a full-scale Missa Cantata) so it is odd that we have never been asked if we were willing to contribute - I'd have liked to view this as a local way of 'mutual enrichment', now it is probably too late.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    I suppose you could always offer your willingness to chant. Perhaps the priest is unaware that you are capable of singing florid gregorian chant?
  • Elmar
    Posts: 439
    We did so regularly (except during several covid-lockdowns) once a month in the NO anticipated Sunday mass; pastor's "dream" of once (in some distant future?) celebrating a Missa Cantata dates from around 2015.
    I guess that he did want to keep some formal 'safe distance' between the parish and the TLM group, who have their weekly mass on Monday morning (a day on which there used to be no parish mass), it took five years before the TLM was included in the mass schedule - but there was absolutely no commotion about it; the Dutch tend to let everyone mind their own business as long as it doesn't interfere with theirs.
    As I said, I do not understand his motives; I only understand that I shouldn't ask further.
  • I believe that the phrase "Reform of the Reform" was coined (along with "a new Liturgical Movement" and "banal, fabricated product") by Joseph Card. Ratzinger when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


    Does anyone know what Cardinal Ratzinger meant by any of this? It seems unlikely to me that he thought that the Roman Missal ought to be revised, because he could have done as as Pope, and didn't. Yet, that does seem to be what the plainest meaning of the text is. I'm wondering if the ambiguity of meaning in the origins of the phrase is a factor in the present scenario where people don't agree what the words mean.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    From what I am told by people more informed than I, Ratzinger wished for things to happen gradually, in order to avoid the threat of schism. If you read, for example, Benedict's letter accompanying Summorum, he says that he wishes the old to grow with the new, so that there will be a mutual enrichment of the two; he also says that his decision to issue Summorum has nothing to do with the SSPX, but that's another discussion. In other words, he wanted things to begin happening organically, rather than by papal fiat, and thus, hopefully, avoiding a repeat of the upheavals of the '60s and '70s. In hindsight, he was incredibly naive, and did not take into account the malice (or foolishness) of his brother bishops, who thanks to Trad. Cust. putting an end to mutual enrichment, have forbidden things that are permitted (ad orientem, maniples) or required (dalmatics, propers) by the rubrics of the N.O. Mass.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw rich_enough
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    In other words, he wanted things to begin happening organically
    this seems true; I'm not sure he was naive, per se... at least what I was witnessing, it seemed to be working. Tradition was exploding everywhere and 'mutual enrichment' did indeed seem to be bleeding over into the typically [liturgically] impoverished N.O. parishes. "Enriching" the more ancient rite is a more difficult thing since it was so well codified, and those adhering to it strictly as a reaction to post VII nonsense were not interested in deviating one iota from their books (understandable, tbh) although there is wiggle room if you are careful about it (repeating readings in the vernacular, for instance). But as it became increasingly clear that traditional liturgy was not something to be feared, but fostered, it permitted many groups to experiment with things like vernacular chant, for example. This was completely absent from american catholicism (at least) prior to this time. I have to believe that the mini renaissance happening in novus ordo liturgy writ large has to be at least in part a consequence of SP. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's my impression at any rate. This would therefore be an "organic development" (and a reawakening of the sensus fidelium).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,824
    From day one I smelled the rat when I heard about this 'mutual enrichment'... this was just a way to prolong the life of the N.O... enrichment happens in one direction... from the TLM to the NO... why do you think there are people here who are hoping to bring the NO to be more like the TLM? Why would you try to bring the outward trappings of the TLM to the NO? It's foolish. If you want to make a counterfeit, you have to make it look exactly like the real thing without holding its value. That is what this is all about.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    The devil overplayed his hand. Had he not instigated the worst of the worst, perhaps there wouldn't be such strong currents rejecting what has come in the wake of the council.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 439
    It seems unlikely to me that he thought that the Roman Missal ought to be revised, because he could have done as as Pope, and didn't.
    Well, he did order new translations that better match the Roman Missal, which for any practical purpuse was a revision (or will be /would be / would have been).
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • From day one I smelled the rat when I heard about this 'mutual enrichment'... this was just a way to prolong the life of the N.O... enrichment happens in one direction... from the TLM to the NO... why do you think there are people here who are hoping to bring the NO to be more like the TLM? Why would you try to bring the outward trappings of the TLM to the NO? It's foolish. If you want to make a counterfeit, you have to make it look exactly like the real thing without holding its value. That is what this is all about.


    I can't speak for the rest of you, but I find Francis Koerber's equivocation and ambiguity grates on my nerves. It's always so hard to discover what he really thinks!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,012
    francis- simply adopting Roman Court usage was not what the Council had called for. Look in particular at the demand for engaging with the congregation in Session XXII Chapter viii (Canons of Trent)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,646
    It's always so hard to discover what he really thinks!


    Yeah, he's really good at spin. I never know what he's up to.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,910
    Ummmm ... which Francis are we talking about?
  • From what I am told by people more informed than I, Ratzinger wished for things to happen gradually, in order to avoid the threat of schism. If you read, for example, Benedict's letter accompanying Summorum, he says that he wishes the old to grow with the new, so that there will be a mutual enrichment of the two; he also says that his decision to issue Summorum has nothing to do with the SSPX, but that's another discussion. In other words, he wanted things to begin happening organically, rather than by papal fiat, and thus, hopefully, avoiding a repeat of the upheavals of the '60s and '70s. In hindsight, he was incredibly naive, and did not take into account the malice (or foolishness) of his brother bishops, who thanks to Trad. Cust. putting an end to mutual enrichment, have forbidden things that are permitted (ad orientem, maniples) or required (dalmatics, propers) by the rubrics of the N.O. Mass.


    this seems true; I'm not sure he was naive, per se... at least what I was witnessing, it seemed to be working. Tradition was exploding everywhere and 'mutual enrichment' did indeed seem to be bleeding over into the typically [liturgically] impoverished N.O. parishes. "Enriching" the more ancient rite is a more difficult thing since it was so well codified, and those adhering to it strictly as a reaction to post VII nonsense were not interested in deviating one iota from their books (understandable, tbh) although there is wiggle room if you are careful about it (repeating readings in the vernacular, for instance). But as it became increasingly clear that traditional liturgy was not something to be feared, but fostered, it permitted many groups to experiment with things like vernacular chant, for example. This was completely absent from american catholicism (at least) prior to this time. I have to believe that the mini renaissance happening in novus ordo liturgy writ large has to be at least in part a consequence of SP. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's my impression at any rate. This would therefore be an "organic development" (and a reawakening of the sensus fidelium).


    From day one I smelled the rat when I heard about this 'mutual enrichment'... this was just a way to prolong the life of the N.O... enrichment happens in one direction... from the TLM to the NO... why do you think there are people here who are hoping to bring the NO to be more like the TLM? Why would you try to bring the outward trappings of the TLM to the NO? It's foolish. If you want to make a counterfeit, you have to make it look exactly like the real thing without holding its value. That is what this is all about.


    I sense a lot of tension here about what the goals of Summorum Pontificum were. Was SP intended as the first step towards a new Roman Missal that was more like the pre-Vatican II Mass than the current one? Or was this about having people experience the pre-Vatican II Mass so that they could more faithfully implement the Mass of Vatican II?

    My take on that matter is that:
    1) There is no consensus on what "mutual enrichment" means, and it's hard to implement ideas when no one knows what they mean
    2) What "mutual enrichment' means in practice has not been healthy for the Church.

    "Mutual enrichment" is an absurd idea. Absolutely, let's be more faithful in following the directives of the Church. But, like, what on Earth is the Novus Ordo enriching the TLM supposed to mean? Vatican II gave us very specific instructions on how to reform the TLM. Those reforms were made, and now we have the Novus Ordo. "Well, the reforms were done poorly" - yes, but if we do "mutual enrichment" so as to do the reforms the right way, the average person in the pew will struggle to notice the difference. And if the goal is to clean up some errors in the implementation of the Novus Ordo, *why did Pope Benedict not simply issue a revised Roman Missal*?

    Furthermore, by setting up a "Extraordinary Form" and an "Ordinary Form" of the same Rite, the Church introduced a novelty to the life of the laity - the novelty that each person should discern which liturgy is spiritually best for them. The tradition of the Church is that you receive whatever liturgy the Church has to offer you in your local area, and if someone somewhere else has a better liturgy, that's none of your business. [And yes there are minor exceptions to this, but let's be clear that minor was the nature of said exceptions, like if some monastery has the Dominican Rite while your village has the regular Roman Rite]. And, I've seen this novelty create much deeper rabbit holes. People have gone from discerning whether the EF or OF is best for them to discerning EF, OF, and every kind of Eastern Rite. I've seen number of examples of people who have no ancestry from a population that celebrates the Eastern Rite discerning into going to Eastern Rite parishes because they decided that their liturgy was best for them.

    To the claim that liberalization of the EF has resulted in more chant and ad orientem in the Novus Ordo - why can't the people who like these things in the Novus Ordo just do them in the Novus Ordo? It makes no sense to me that we need to celebrate some other liturgy to know how to celebrate the Novus Ordo as instructed.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    Ultimately, these are questions that you'll have to ask Ratzinger. If you write to him, I'm sure Abp. Gaenswein will be happy to send you a form letter.

    To the claim that liberalization of the EF has resulted in more chant and ad orientem in the Novus Ordo - why can't the people who like these things in the Novus Ordo just do them in the Novus Ordo?

    To answer this question myself: Being born in 1987, and therefore never experiencing the TLM in the days before The Council, I didn't know what these things were until seeing a TLM, and then only after that did I realize that they are in fact "a thing" in the Novus Ordo: I would surmise that most people, including, perhaps especially including bishops don't know that either. Further, some priests that I know had experimented with ad orientem: they were told to stop by their dioceses. So it isn't just as simple as just "doing it".

    It makes no sense to me that we need to celebrate some other liturgy to know how to celebrate the Novus Ordo as instructed.

    If a priest has not been schooled properly in liturgy or ars celebrandi, and knows nothing of the Roman Rite other than the utter crap (the most accurate word that I can use in this context) that has proliferated since The Council, there is no better way to school him ex post facto than to immerse him in the EF. For example, my own pastor, a convert, had only experienced the fifth rate liturgy that my dumpster-fire of a diocese excels in for his entire Catholic life, both as a layman and in his priesthood: His ars celebrandi was sloppy, and the focal point of the Mass was him: this resulted in some tensions in the parish, which was used to a much more traditional celebration of the Mass, since our retired pastor, who knew the Old Mass from his childhood, had tried to bring that same spirit in the New Mass. A few years ago, our (then-new) pastor discovered the EF, and learned to say it (both Mass and Office): The effect that it has had on his N.O. is tremendous: His ars celebrandi has tightened up, and he has learned to recede into the background more; he also now understands why I choose the music that I choose. How ever much I tried to guide him in liturgical matters, his response was just "the people here need to lighten up" or "how I hold my hands isn't important"; it was him discovering the TLM, when a quasi-native son who joined the FSSP came to do a First Mass, and then learning to say it that caused him to realize that these things are important, and that what he does or doesn't do has an effect on the Mass and how 'reverent' it is.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,824
    CGZ... if you mean me and not Francis+, I am sorry I cannot be more clear.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,057
    It seems to me that with better catechesis, both of the laity and the ordained, will come a more reverent Mass.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,154
    It makes no sense to me that we need to celebrate some other liturgy to know how to celebrate the Novus Ordo as instructed.


    There are many who believe that knowledge of history is important. For example, your philosophy profs; your music-appreciation profs; your English profs, and your geometry profs.

    There are others.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • Francis,

    Yes, I know. I'm being a bit ironic. I appreciate your straightforwardness.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,824
    CGZ... I thought that might be the case, but without purple I was a bit worried!
  • It makes no sense to me that we need to celebrate some other liturgy to know how to celebrate the Novus Ordo as instructed.


    This would be true if you could pick up the N.O. missal, read the rubrics, and be able to therefore celebrate Mass in a reverent and intentional way in accord with the reverence the Mass has always been afforded.

    As Salieri indicates, this is not the case. The rubrics of the N.O. are so vague that they require context in which to interpret and implement them. If the rubrics were more precise, or if the form of the Mass were different or more specific, this would perhaps not be necessary. Because of this, we need either to overhaul the N.O., or we need to permit the EF to continue to live in order to provide ongoing, living context for ars celebrandi.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    The rubrics of the N.O. are so vague that they require context in which to interpret and implement them.

    Good, old-fashioned “weaponized ambiguity”. The gift that keeps on giving.

    Jokes (not really) aside, one has to know the antecedent tradition if one wishes to embrace the (so called) “hermeneutic of continuity”. It seems reasonable that if the new rite is supposedly the rightful heir to the old, one would expect there to be some resemblance. Such a resemblance would, of necessity, be comprised of those particulars embodied by liturgical tradition. (Postures, music, motions, etc.) You can’t know these things properly unless you are familiar with the old rite.
  • Furthermore, by setting up a "Extraordinary Form" and an "Ordinary Form" of the same Rite, the Church introduced a novelty to the life of the laity - the novelty that each person should discern which liturgy is spiritually best for them.


    A novelty fomented by a crisis of orthopraxis in our parishes, and by wildly divergent perspectives on what reverence looks like. I feel like a Latin living in Constantinople under Cerularius... my reverence and received custom are taken as scandalous abominations. We see this on both sides.

    The tradition of the Church is that you receive whatever liturgy the Church has to offer you in your local area, and if someone somewhere else has a better liturgy, that's none of your business. [And yes there are minor exceptions to this, but let's be clear that minor was the nature of said exceptions, like if some monastery has the Dominican Rite while your village has the regular Roman Rite].


    True, but these are weird times. My neighboring parish’s liturgy was never all that different, was it?

    And, I've seen this novelty create much deeper rabbit holes. People have gone from discerning whether the EF or OF is best for them to discerning EF, OF, and every kind of Eastern Rite. I've seen number of examples of people who have no ancestry from a population that celebrates the Eastern Rite discerning into going to Eastern Rite parishes because they decided that their liturgy was best for them.


    Like Prince Vladimir of Kyiv? That turned out OK. Maybe this is divinely-inspired comeuppance for the centuries of arrogantly asserting and enforcing in law the primatia Ritus Romani.

    There’s nothing genetic about beauty and a contagious spirit of prayer and awesome mystery.

    To the claim that liberalization of the EF has resulted in more chant and ad orientem in the Novus Ordo - why can't the people who like these things in the Novus Ordo just do them in the Novus Ordo? It makes no sense to me that we need to celebrate some other liturgy to know how to celebrate the Novus Ordo as instructed.


    Because rather than fighting for every inch of ground in order to make little changes accompanied by much grumbling, in the EF you can experience these things as “givens” accepted tranquilly and without controversy, imparting a cultural worldview and holistic vision of worship.

    Because unicorns are so rare, it is often the only way.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
    To the claim that liberalization of the EF has resulted in more chant and ad orientem in the Novus Ordo - why can't the people who like these things in the Novus Ordo just do them in the Novus Ordo?
    "You don't know what you don't know." That is to say: many people were unaware of these other things until experiencing directly, or at least having the older rite in the viscinity. Hence, having the old rite around has led to a certain blooming of tradition within novus ordo land. For instance, I have conducted a small number of solemn missa cantatas. It wasn't until these experiences that I had a fuller conception of the grander tradition of the roman rite. This knowledge now informs my approach to the novus ordo masses that I play every week. I suspect this is true for many. I am aware of a certain number of priests whose outlook on the liturgy drastically changed after either saying or assisting at a TLM. My choir's understanding of the liturgy writ large changed drastically after the first solemn TLM we hosted. Some found comfort since they remembered things from their youth; others finally understood the concept of the propers. Others still understood how such fancy music as polyphonic ordinaries fit into the grander scheme of things, and why we might want to sing them again. They also experienced for the first time what it really meant to "offer" something to God musically & and what the opus dei really meant, which is to say—the amount of concerted effort it should ideally take to render (hopefully) worthy praise to God; a stark contrast to our rather quotidian existence in the meantime in novus ordo land.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,006
    One does have to remember, though, that the exclusive association of the Extraordinary Form with superlative liturgical practice is a modern invention and does not represent typical practice in the past, especially in North America. The uncomfortable truth is that the modern Ordinary Form is rather similar in spirit to the "Low Mass with hymns" that seemed to be omnipresent.
  • Yes, but the detail of the rubrics in the old form provides a certain baseline which, even at its worst, is a higher baseline than that present within the N.O.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,154
    Agreed. The OF is undisciplined in comparison to the EF, although it's true that today's OF really is the "Low Mass with Hymns."

    Un-discipline is the mark of the OF. That's not something one wears with pride.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    Schoenbergian, that's a non-argument. So the classical rite is celebrated better today than in 1940, so what? By that logic, we need to burn the Adoremus Hymnals and the Simple English Propers, and chase after Noel Jones, Adam Bartlett, Kathy Pluth, Samuel Webber, and Chuck Giffen with pitchforks and torches because we shouldn't be celebrating the modern rite any better than it was in the 1970s. Raymundus Repp, ora pro nobis.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Hmmm. Chasing after people with pitchforks just because they don't meet our modern standard of [fill in the blank, here]?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    [NB: There is a great deal of hyperbole in my previous comment. Should we have a text color set aside for that as we do for sarcasm?]
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,910
    brown HYPERBOLE!
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Quick
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,006
    So the classical rite is celebrated better today than in 1940, so what?
    Several of the aspects mentioned (which I agree are conducive to good ars celebrandi) would not have been mainstays in the EF had it not been taken up almost exclusively by liturgically devoted clergy and laity. That mindset, and the study involved with learning a different rite, is more relevant in my eyes than the EF itself.
  • Even pre VII there were clergy who were "lazy" in their celebration of the mass and who sometimes were outside the rubrics. I think some of those people saw a slight loosening of the rubrics at VII, so they saw that as liberty to go even further outside the rubrics. It's kind of a give and inch take a mile scenario.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw dad29