Monday, February 10, 2014

Well, as long as it's said "reverently"...

Ah, no.

I went to visit those nuns at Rosano last week and had a lovely time, but one of the conversations depressed me and I remained depressed until I got home and had cuddled the cat. I had cautiously broached the liturgical subject, asking the sisters if they had ever considered returning to the "Forma Straordinaria". They said that first, of course, the "forma straordinaria" for nearly 2000 years, was simply the "forma". Nothing "straordinaria" about it. Which was good.

Then they said that the form we have now, the NO, was ordered by the Council Fathers (I was hard put not to correct her on this error) and that as it had also been approved by the popes since then, they felt they had to adhere to it. But then in my conversation with the Cardinal, he built on this, saying that the purpose behind the monastery retaining the New Mass was to try to demonstrate that it too could be reverent and Catholic, and did not have to fall into the trap of the experimentation that had become rampant.

I left it at that, saying that I had found his celebration of the Mass for the Purification very edifying. And I had. But I had also noted that in following along in my EF missal, that this was one of those rare points of convergence where the readings and propers for the feast matched in the old and the new. There was very little divergence, so I was able to genuinely tell the sisters that the Mass, especially with their use of Gregorian for the propers in, was indeed very beautiful, and a liturgical model that others ought to emulate... which pleased them very much.

But the fact is that the NO is irreformable, so deformed is it from its original source. Frankly, the "reform of the reform" is a dead letter, not because there is a new pontificate, a new pope with... shall we say other priorities... but because it was not a very good idea. It was optimistic and founded in good intentions, but that's as much as can be said for it. It was also naive and failed to take into account the realities of how much damage was done to the ancient rites by those whose singular determination was to eradicate the theology that supported it. And now we have seen how much damage this liturgical revolution has done to the Faith, and to the faithful.

"...the complete overhaul of the propers of the Mass;10 the replacement of the Offertory prayers with modern compositions; the abandonment of the very ancient annual Roman cycle of Sunday Epistles and Gospels; the radical recasting of the calendar of saints; the abolition of the ancient Octave of Pentecost, the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima and the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost; the dissolution of the centuries-old structure of the Hours; and so much more.

"To draw the older and newer forms of the liturgy closer to each other would require much more movement on the part of the latter form, so much so that it seems more honest to speak of a gradual reversal of the reform..."

It's good to see that even in our times the Real is breaking through, even in places that had been dedicated to this wishful modernist Fantasy.



Fr Paul of Niagara said...

"The reform of the reform". Foolish? Impossible? But "modernist"? I think those who dreamt or dream this dream are hardly modernist. Fessio? Ratzinger? The nuns you visited? The reform of the reform is misguided, but it is an attempt, to oppose a reform (the Pauline one) that certainly was not unaffected by theological modernism, in the sense in which it was used by St Pius X.

The approach of the nuns, was it not the approach of the Oratorians of Toronto for many years? They are not modernist.

As someone in the trenches, I can use some of the RdeR to help catechise my lambs, while offering them also, the unadulterated, pure waters of the Vetus Ordo, the Mass of Always.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

It is the approach of many well-intentioned people. But that does not change the fact that the thing itself is corrupted with Modernism.

Fr Paul of Niagara said...

I guess the thing itself, the RdeR, since it is working with a thing tainted by modernism, is itself somehow tainted. But unwittingly in some cases by person who are even very far from modernism.