Tuesday, 6 January 2009

What are the things traditionalists must fight for?


One of the commenters on yesterday's post gave a list of things traditionalists should not compromise on. I think perhaps this is an important discussion to have. I do think there are things we shouldn't compromise on. The trouble is, I don't much agree with the list Salvatore suggests! He said:

"The question of concelebration points (I think) to another issue for Traditionalists. There is, it seems to me, a real danger that in our zeal to resume our rightful place in the Church’s life & (as it were) prove ourselves to be Good Modern Catholics we may end up surrendering the very things we have fought for for so long. Acquiescing to concelebration is one aspect of this. Others one sometimes sees might include the zeal for the introduction of vernacular readings or vernacular hymnody at Mass or the adoption of Modernistic styles of Vestments & vesture....."

Vernacular hymns

I have to admit on my few experiences of it, I don't much like the low mass with hymns. I don't mind the idea of an entrance and hymn and recessional so much, but Fr Finigan over at the Hermaneutic of Continuity has recently written a nice post on why they are a bad way to go in the novus ordo context, and exactly the same rationale applies to the TLM.

But the bad news is that this is not a post-Vatican II innovation but an invention of the Jesuits post-Trent to counter the perceived attractiveness of Protestant services. It hasn't been a large part of the Australian or American tradition (though you can experience it at Lewisham) due to the Irish influence (the heritage of super-silent hedge masses lest one get caught), but rather comes to us via continental immigrants.

I therefore can't see that it is a die in a ditch issue. If it has a following, let those concerned have their once a week mass! If not, lobby for proper sung masses instead, even if just with psalm-toned propers...

Vernacular readings

I do agree that we should resist having the readings done in the vernacular instead of Latin.

I even hate the practice of reading them out all over again in English - I find it insulting as it implies we can't read our missals (or propers sheet), or haven't done our proper preparation!

But again, there is a bit of custom behind, and the battle is already well and truly lost in many places such as France.

Concelebration

I have to admit I personally hate concelebration and for a long time refused to receive at concelebrated masses in protest, on the rare occasion I ended up at one (usually inadvertently). Although I've modified my position in recent years, I still think it is a practice that should be (strongly) discouraged as, aside from the archeologism involved, we need as many masses said as possible, particularly given the declining number of priests! It is certainly not something that should be introduced into the TLM.
I don't really see any good theological rationale for it, but I admit I haven't really tried to read up on the issue. Commonsense though says if one priest can effect the transubstantiation, isn't it just a tad overkill to have a hundred odd or so adding their efforts to the equation?

All the same, if a trad priest who is free to do so, for whatever reasons, really wants to or feels he has to join in a diocesan or some special event concelebration, I really don't see that this is the end of the world. I'd prefer him to take a stand, and attend in choir, however uncomfortable that might feel. Trad priests, though, already have to put up with a lot from their peers (and us!), and so I can certainly understand if they just don't need one more piece of stress in their lives!
More to the point, perhaps, I'd also like to see more traddie priests get to be bishops - and if they do manage to get promoted are we really then going to disown them when they concelebrate at papal masses? Well, yes, actually based on past criticisms of some prominent prelates - and in my view that is a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Vestments

I'm not even going to attempt to get into the whole Roman vs Gothic thing. I'd suggest however a careful read of Michael Sternbeck's discussion of the subject, and debates on the New Liturgical Movement. Suffice it to say that I don't think this one is clear cut either...

So what are the real bottom line issues?

So what are the things I really think we should fight to the death for in the TLM context? Here is my (almost certainly incomplete) list:
  • the right to kneel to receive on the tongue, except for those unable to for health reasons;

  • no female servers;

  • no (non-clerical) extraordinary ministers or lectors (and yes that does include occasions like the Easter Vigil and Tenebrae in my book, I hate the mangling of the readings that almost invariably occurs on these occasions!);

  • no communion under both kinds (except in exceptional circumstances where, for example, the Precious Blood might be offered instead of the host such as gluten or wheat allergies);

  • the right to use the full Easter Vigil pre-Pius XII;

  • no masses without server or at least a congregation member to say the responses;

  • as many sung and Solemn masses as possible!

Other views or suggestions?

25 comments:

Doctor Sententiarum said...

I read regularly, and thank you for sharing your insights and opinions.

In my locale, Washington, DC, none of those things in your list of "real bottom line issues" are issues, except perhaps for the form of the Easter Vigil (am not sure what is used here). Personally, I am happy with whichever form is used to celebrate the Vigil... although I expect that my parish, the secular clergy of which offer both the antiquior and the recentior, will use the latter at it, and, however, given the circumstances, I'm not willing to go to the chapels over the issue.

Terra said...

Thanks Marc, nice to hear from regular readers, especially from beyond our shores here!

To be honest, none of my list are big issues here either - at the moment. But they are things that periodically get challenged (remember the woman server thing at the LMS Mass that had to be cancelled last year?) and that I think we have to be ready for.

Doctor Sententiarum said...

Yes, I do recall reading about that; tsk. But it was a good example of the contemporary approach to observance of rubrics, eh? --or, rather, the casual non-observance thereof: why can't the u. a. be celebrated like the u. r.? pft.

Let's hope that the (we hope!) forthcoming apostolic letter 'on the proper implemention of Summorum Pontificum' settles many of these questions.

Best wishes in the New Year, and happy Epiphany!

Pastor in Valle said...

Yes, broadly, I agree. In fact I certainly agree.
But speaking as a parish priest in a parish which has all these aberrations (and I agree that they are just that), I shudder at the sheer labour and, frankly, hell, I would have to go through to get to that point. In fact, I think I would probably lose more people than I would gain.
I think it more important to teach sound doctrine and celebrate reverently; and bit by bit educate people to the point where they see that some things pertain to the faith and others do not.
It isn't perfect, but sometimes we have to do the best we can. When I was a layman I used to wonder why Fr so-and-so didn't do this or that—now, as a priest, I understand a lot more.
Thanks for a great blog!

IS said...

Use of the full Pre Pius XII Vigil...

You have better speak with the Vatican on that one despite what anyone at Lewisham says.

John L said...

'no masses without server or at least a congregation member to say the responses.' Why is this supposed to be non-negotiable? There might be practical reasons for it not happening.

As for concelebration; this illustrates the difficulty with this discussion, which is that people (us) who do not have the qualifications or authority to settle these kinds of liturgical questions end up having to confront and argue about them because the people who ought to be looking after them (bishops and Roman authorities) aren't. I think concelebration should be ruled out (except for the one case of priests at their ordination - a case, Fr. Terence Mary told me, where it is not in any case decided whether the newly ordained priests confect the sacrament) simply because it is totally foreign to the Roman Rite as it has existed for fifteen hundred years (and I woud bet unknown to any other Catholic rite). there are theological reasons why it is objectionable too as I expect its purpose I to emphasise the 'community' aspect of the sacrament at the expense of the priest's reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ ('reenactment' isn't meant to be theologically precise only to give a general idea); but its foreignness to the TLM is a sufficient reason in itself for ruling it out. I'm not a priest or a liturgical scholar so I shouldn't have to be concerning myself with this; it should just be done properly automatically. But of course it isn't and we have to take some stand on how it should be done - which is bad for us; another bad result of the stupid NO idea that the liturgy has anything to do with what people want or like.

Terra said...

Fr F (Pin V) - I agree that it is one thing when you have reached a relatively happy liturgical equilibrium and are simply defending it, and quite another to be in the slow process of getting there! The problem of how to go about deprogramming people without losing them altogether is a formidable one, and I hope you have everyone reading here's prayers for your efforts!

IS - On the Easter Vigil, this is an issue that goes way beyond Lewisham's somewhat creative approach to the liturgy! My own community has been doing the full vigil for many years now, as our then chaplain started doing it well before the consensus emerged around many TLM communities that it was the preferable, and some kind of PCED loose permission was allegedly given! I think a lot of communities continued with it last year not withstanding a potentially more literal interpretation of SP, and it would certainly be nice if this was regularized in some way!

John L - On mass without a server, this was utterly prohibited until the 1983 Code (which actually only impliedly changes the situation, and canonists take different positions). So it is totally untraditional, except in very rare situations like the need to give viaticum.

I do agree with you that we shouldn't have to worry about things like the ins and outs of concelebration. In his book The Heresy of Formlessness Martin Mosebach points out that we have all had to become liturgists - and this is fundamentally a bad thing!

I do think we should all try and pull back a bit from the extreme nitpicking that sometimes goes on, and just be glad when someone is doing his best. But I think it will be a little while before we get to that point....

Terra said...

Fr F (Pin V) - I agree that it is one thing when you have reached a relatively happy liturgical equilibrium and are simply defending it, and quite another to be in the slow process of getting there! The problem of how to go about deprogramming people without losing them altogether is a formidable one, and I hope you have everyone reading here's prayers for your efforts!

IS - On the Easter Vigil, this is an issue that goes way beyond Lewisham's somewhat creative approach to the liturgy! My own community has been doing the full vigil for many years now, as our then chaplain started doing it well before the consensus emerged around many TLM communities that it was the preferable, and some kind of PCED loose permission was allegedly given! I think a lot of communities continued with it last year not withstanding a potentially more literal interpretation of SP, and it would certainly be nice if this was regularized in some way!

John L - On mass without a server, this was utterly prohibited until the 1983 Code (which actually only impliedly changes the situation, and canonists take different positions). So it is totally untraditional, except in very rare situations like the need to give viaticum.

I do agree with you that we shouldn't have to worry about things like the ins and outs of concelebration. In his book The Heresy of Formlessness Martin Mosebach points out that we have all had to become liturgists - and this is fundamentally a bad thing!

I do think we should all try and pull back a bit from the extreme nitpicking that sometimes goes on, and just be glad when someone is doing his best. But I think it will be a little while before we get to that point....

The Sibyl said...

Dear Terra

Your list is not without interest. It is an interesting concept. I somehow suspect that if you did a "Traddie Survey" the various wish lists would be as revealing as they would be divers.

I wonder why your dislike of non-clerics fulfilling the minor clerical roles does not extend to the servers who fill the role of acolytes?

Personally I agree, little boys performing ministerial roles has always been an abuse (albeit an accepted one). It is time to confere the minor orders (which are now reduced to sacramentals) on people who are competently trained.

Best wishes for Epiphany
20G+M+B+09

PT said...

While I'm not a big fan of concelebration I believe that one has to look at it objectively. While I'm certainly no theologian, some of the arguments I saw mentioned here just do not hold.

"Commonsense though says if one priest can effect the transubstantiation, isn't it just a tad overkill to have a hundred odd or so adding their efforts to the equation?"

St. Thomas actually addresses this point in his Summa (Summa Theol., III:82:2). He says:

"If each individual priest were acting in his own power, then other celebrants would be superfluous, since one would be sufficient. But whereas the priest does not consecrate except as in Christ's stead; and since many are "one in Christ" (Galatians 3:28); consequently it does not matter whether this sacrament be consecrated by one or by many, except that the rite of the Church must be observed. "

It is also not true that it is absent from other Catholic rites. The Eastern Church never got rid of concelebration. Eastern priests still concelebrate with their bishops on certain feat days as well as often in case of two or more priests wanting to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the same time.

So, I think it is hard to object to this practice from purely theological reasons as if it was some kind of abomination. It is certainly not that.

On the other hand I don't see it as something that should have really been introduced. Perhaps it has some uses, but one could still perhaps see some archeologism in the move to bring it back. I don't know, I'm not an expert.

What is however a greater concern in my opinion is that concelebration is becoming some kind of superdogma. I think a lot of priests simply feel that they MUST concelebrate otherwise they are deemed as rude. There might be legitimate occasions to concelebrate but the Church never said that all celebrations should be concelebrations. Fr Z made good comments on this topic not too long ago: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/06/concelebration/

Of course there is the other problem: mass-concelebrations with small 'm'. If I remember it correctly, our Holy Father said that he is not sure whether this was Our Lord's will.

Terra said...

Good points PT, I'd forgotten that ST reference! You are probably right that the most important objection is the archeologism involved, the lack of its traditional use in the Roman Rite.

On acolyte's Sybil, I guess I'm usually just grateful to see someone there at all performing the task!

On lectors, I was glad the issue came up in the context of the recent Synod on Scripture, it is often excruciating to sit through readings at a NO Mass!

And in the traddie context I'm afraid I'm rather less grateful then I should be for the effort involved when I have to sit through readings at vigils where one or more of the lectors is offered the chance to murder the text because they want to have a go and yet more competent readers/singers are available! St Benedict instructs in his Rule that only those whose voices will edify the listeners be aloud to read or sing and I'm firmly a Benedictine on this one!

Similarly, on a purely pragmatic rather than theoretical level, while I'm certainly in favour of reviving the minor orders, I'd hate to see a traditional vocations channel to the priesthood closed off.

In terms of others lists of the essentials to fight for, you are right that would be interesting! If others are interested, submit your suggestions to get me started and I'll see if I can work out how to design a survey....

Salvatore said...

Gosh, I didn’t know I was going to be famous! :)

My “little list” was not of course meant to be exhaustive, and certainly you have pointed out several other areas of equal (or greater) importance. I really meant to flag what seems to me to be the danger of losing by increments what we have held for so long against simple frontal assault.

I do think that creeping vernacularisation is a danger, partly because the Council did ask for it, but also because the vernacular is so suited to this utilitarian age - which can only conceive of Liturgy as being a means to some other (no doubt worthy) end; and for which the facile comprehensibility of the vernacular is such an invaluable tool. I think our best argument is that SC also required the retention of Latin alongside the introduction of the vernacular and, given the total extinction of Latin in the Novus Ordo, the best way to achieve the Council’s goal is to maintain the Latinity of the Traditional Rite to the maximum extent.

Finally I should say that I perhaps expressed myself badly regarding vestments. It was not my intention to instigate a “gothic” versus “Roman” debate – I’ve seen good & bad examples of both. But rather I had in mind occasions when one sees vestments whose exaggerated form or eccentric ornament causes them attract too much attention to themselves and thus distract from the proper focus of the Liturgy. I’m sure your readers can all think of examples of this.

P.S. I agree 100% on the desirability of scrapping the debased Pius XII Holy Week. One can only hope that now that serious scholarly attention is being turned to the c20th Liturgical reforms a corrective may eventually be achieved.

David said...

Regarding the Pre Pius XII Easter Vigil, are you merely suggesting the restoration of the "suppressed" seven prophecies read before the blessing of font, or a full restoration of the pre-1955 rite, including the triple candlestick, holding it on the morning of Holy Saturday rather than in the evening, suppression of the "renewal of baptismal promises" etc?

Terra said...

Salvatore - Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, just thought your list was a good discussion starter. And you make some excellent points on the problems of vernacularization and eccentric vestments!

David - There is really only one of the PXII reforms I like and that is having the Vigil in the evening (which then requires switching the Magificat for the Benedictus at the end). Bring back all the rest as far as I am converned at any rate!

I have to confess that I do actually quite like the renewal of baptismal promises not withstanding its condemnation by worthy authorities as inorganic - but I'm willing to sacrifice it in the interests of the restored readings etc.

David said...

And would you advocate getting rid of the 1951-55 changes to the Triduum?

Terra said...

I'm not sure I have a good enough knowledge at the moment of all of the details of those to justify taking a view! But I know other who do feel strongly that all of the changes makde in releatively recent decades to Holy Week ceremonies were unwise and should be reversed!

Stephen said...

Are we starting a "reform-of-the-unreformed" movement here? I thought we were celebrating according to the 1962 Missal. That means using the Pius XII Easter Vigil.

I have no problem with the readings being done in the vernacular. I think it is appropriate for this to be done at a Low Mass. At at Sung or Solemn Mass it is then appropriate to sing them in Latin and read them during the sermon as per current practice.

euphrasie said...

Regarding concelebration which has been a thorny issue with the Fraternity in the past - I think Summorum Pontificum really resolves any past considerations here and shows what the mind of the Church has been all along, especially the Holy Father's statement that we must make room for all that the Church allows. This statement works both ways, not just one way - for anyone to not only recognize that but also ACT on it, seems to me to be nothing more than disengenuous. With a clear and unequivical pronounciation in SP that there are two forms of the Roman Rite, and the mutual enrichment that both can provide each other, I would hope some priests would give these issues new consideration. Simply on a basis of charity, I see it nothing more than a snub and discourteous when an Archbishop invites you to join a diocese (in other wards, allows your apostolate to exist in the first place), and yet one is not even prepared to concelebrate one single Mass with him and in communion with your fellow priests per year. Yes, there are other ways to show suport to your Archbishop, and mindful of details of the constitutions of the groups such as the Fraternity, we must never forget the tenets of both manners and simple Christian charity here - to absolutely refuse to partake in a Mass with your brother priests and/or Archbishop and only on rare occasion is reflective of nothing other than willingness to repeat past mistakes. We are living in a post SP world, and this is no time to be clearly liturgically precious. At some FSSP ordinations in the US last year, Cardinal Hoyos was advised by the FSSP not to talk about concelebration - he did, and put out the challenge to the Fraternity on this issue - there has yet to be a response.

Terra said...

Euphraise - I too would like to see a response from the Fraterntiy on issues like concelebration. I'm a believer in open discussion of these things in the interests of the wider community and think they have a lot of expertise to offer on subjects like this.

But I have to admit that personally I really don't see why concelebration should be made into a test case of 'mutual enrichment' or an issue of 'manners and charity'.

Fraternity priests do participate in masses with their bishop (or archbishop) - in choir. That's the way it has been done in the West for hundreds of years, and I don't see that priests are any more or less in solidarity with their bishop as a result of concelebrating or not.

SP legitimated the stand that traditionalists have taken for the last few decades - it didn't demand that they suddenly start celebrating the novus ordo.

+ Ioannes Episcopus Roffensis said...

Stephen,

I don't know where you live, but in my neck of the woods, readings have never been done (or repeated) in the vernacular. For those who have no '62 Missal, we have Propers sheets with the readings in English and Latin (side-by-side) and the red missalettes for the Ordinary. The Concgregation does the re-affirmation of baptismal promises in Latin at the Easter Vigil. It's not that haaaaard! We like that just fine, thank you.

The practice of doing the readings twice is an import from continental Europe (especially France), and has little if any basis in Australian custom.

As for the Triduum, you are probably correct from a canonical standpoint. Many liturgists would argue that some (by no means all) of the Pius XII reforms, were as Terra said, "unorganic". I see nothing wrong with Ecclesia Dei examining the issue. By the same token, if the Pius XII changes were allowed, some traddies will campaign to go back to the pre-Pius X Breviary, or to restore numerous octaves supressed during the early 20th Century. Then they'll insist on going back to the unreformed 1570 Missal, or the Sarum Use, or whatever. Personally, I like the Vigil at night, the Good Friday liturgies at 3pm, Communion for the faithful on Good Friday, and see no reason for, inter alia, prayers for the Holy Roman Emperor.

However, the choices available are not limited to 1962 vs 2002 - there are other options available. Some Dominicans in the US and elsewhere are getting permission for public celebrations of the ancient Dominican Use, for example. Fr Augustine Thompson OP has a blog that, in conjunction with NLM, addresses a lot of the issues connected with the Old Dominican Use.

I guess my main point would be that we haven't begged and cried out for Summorum Pontificum only so we can have a second go at the liturgical experiments of the 1960s, to have another go at producing a bowlderized 1965 half-latin half-vernacular shambles. We need liturgical stability in the Old Rite for a while.

Louise said...

Well, don't you just go back to doing it like they did in 1969?

If not, why not?

Terra said...

Louse - a couple of reasons.

First, by 1969 the liturgy had already been well and truly messed around with.

Formal changes were made in the 1950s, 1962, '64, '65; informal changes all over the place, introducing the use of the vernacular and much more. 1962 is the year most traditionalists have made the demarcation line mostly becuase Archbishop LeFebvre adopted it as his!

But also the reality as far as I can gather through anecdotes is that the Traditional Latin Mass today is said with far greater rubrical correctness and care than might typically have been the case in many parishes in the 1950s or 60s...

So designation of any particular year as the gold standard for its practices I suspect is not the way to go!

David said...

1. I don't have a problem with little boys serving in roles which are appropriate to their age. I've been surprised to see young kids at Lewisham as principal servers at low Mass. That I don't like. As I understand it, the altar boy training at Adelaide is much better. The little boys serve as boat-bearers at the Missa Cantata, and work their way up to the more significant roles of lay clerks / principal servers / whatever you want to call them.

As a certain traddie priest recently said, Brian Moran trains the best altar boys in Australia.

2. As to Louise's comment, Terra has a point. The 1962MR was the last pre VII Missal to be formally promulgated. However Pius XII re-ordered Holy Week experimentally in 1951, and permanently in 1955. The Good Friday prayer "pro Iudeis" (for the Jews) was amended, by Bl John XXIII to remove the word "perfidis". That has been replaced with the Benedictine prayer for the Jews (which is fine by me).

Ask a priest who was celebrating Holy Mass in the 60's about what a pig's breakfast it became. Some altar missals from that era have huge slabs crossed out in red ink, bits added in by hand in black ink, bits in the vernacular, bits in Latin. The last Gospel got crossed out pretty much as soon as Sacrosanctum Concillium got signed off on, followed by the prayers at the foot of the altar. In '65, I think the Americans issued a half-way-house Missal with bits in the vernacular and bits in Latin.

They used pretty good vernacular translations back in those days, but that went out with ICEL in the early 70s.

The last thing to get vernacularized in this bit-by-bit change was the Canon.

Then they formally introduced the Novus Ordo.

So the SSPX, and Abp Lefebvre saw 1962 as the last pure pre-concilliar Missal, although, some liturgists (and some priests in good standing) dislike elements of the Pius XII Holy Week ceremonies. Some of the latter are undoubtably good, organic changes (why pray for the Holy Roman Emperor today; the Good Friday service belongs at 3pm and the Easter Vigil belongs after dark; why deny the laity Communion on Good Friday?). On the other hand, why cut down the Easter Vigil prophecies from 11 to 4? Why get rid of the triple candlestick?

Certainly the good aspects of the Pius XII Holy Week reforms did lead to a greater lay participation in those ceremonies during the '50s, and I would not be keen to chuck the baby out with the bathwater in one of those outbursts of misguided antiquarianism that led to some aspects of the Novus Ordo.

And we need to be on the lookout for those traddies who always want to go back one step further. One wonders if they would have us saying Mass in Aramaic.

Terra said...

Good points David, pretty much where I am on these issues!

On going back further, I recommend the hilarious Society of Pius X stoof blog? You can find the text from it here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1406639/posts

Doctor Sententiarum said...

(Is there a reliable, substantive history of the liturgical changes... say, after Pius XII's reforms? For example, I really had no idea that there was a part Latin, part English missal in the United States....)