Friday, September 05, 2014

Mistaken for satire: Tom Reese's suggestions for liturgical renewal

Who Needs Comedy Central?

In a recent email, a reader referred me to the following article, which, he said, he first mistook for satire. "I gather he's serious," he added.

Thomas Reese, "A suggested agenda for the new prefect for Congregation for Divine Worship." Excerpts (emphasis added):
With a vacancy at the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Pope Francis has an opportunity to restart liturgical renewal, which was stalled BY the papacies of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The purpose of liturgical reform is not only to translate old Latin texts into good English, but to revise liturgical practices to allow people to celebrate their Christian faith in ways that better fit contemporary culture.

The former prefect, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, has been appointed archbishop of Valencia in eastern Spain. His conservative liturgical views were more in sync with those of Pope Benedict than of Pope Francis. Canizares, who was appointed prefect in 2008, supported expansion of the Tridentine Mass (aka the Extraordinary Form), and in his most recent letter said that the kiss of peace should be done with greater sobriety.

The good news is that Francis is no fan of the Tridentine Mass. Yes, he did say Mass in Latin in Korea, but that was because he did not know Korean, and they did not know Italian or Spanish. As archbishop of Buenos Aries, Argentina, he forbade the Tridentine Mass in his archdiocese until Pope Benedict mandated that it be available throughout the universal church whether bishops wanted it or not. Francis has never celebrated it (he was ordained in 1969) and never will. He hopes it will fade away.

Nor is he happy with the push for literal translations, including translating pro multis as "for many" rather than "for all." As a result, the Vatican push for new Italian, German, and other translations has been put on hold.

Francis also prefers a simple liturgical style and has no qualms about breaking liturgical rules for pastoral reasons. For example, as pope and as archbishop of Buenos Aries, he washed the feet of women on Holy Thursday even though the rules say that males (in Latin, viri) are to have their feet washed.

More recently, in Korea while saying Mass, he wore a butterfly pinned to his chasuble in honor of the Korean "comfort women" who were sex slaves to Japanese soldiers during World War II. That is a liturgical no-no.

The bad news is that there is no indication that liturgical renewal is a major priority for Pope Francis. In Argentina, progressive intellectuals criticized him for his support of popular devotions. The poor he so loved in the slums of Buenos Aires were more likely to turn out for a procession or devotion than for the Eucharist. They did not connect with either the old or the renewed Eucharist. Hopefully, this disconnect will lead him to look for a prefect who is more interested in what works pastorally, especially with the poor, than in what either conservative or liberal ideologues want.

... A more intelligent and pastoral approach to liturgical change would include three things: centers for liturgical research and development, market testing, and enculturation.

What is needed are centers for liturgical R&D where scholars and artists can collaborate with a willing community in developing new liturgical practices. Seminaries and universities with liturgical scholars are obvious places for this, but some parishes might be willing to be beta sites for new practices, especially if they were allowed to give feedback.

... Trying out different settings for the kiss is an ideal project for the centers for liturgical research and development, as are the other suggestions I give below.

One of the reasons for moving the kiss of peace is that it would open up space for a more expansive rite at the breaking of the bread prior to Communion. This would require bread that actually looks like bread.
It just keeps getting "better and better." Read on >>

[Hat tip to C.G.-Z.]


Anonymous said...

Fr. Reese has been speaking for others on his "fade away" vision of the TLM for at least ten years, probably more. All the while novus ordo parishes are closing, while the TLM continues to grow.

Athelstane said...

"Fr. Reese has been speaking for others on his "fade away" vision of the TLM for at least ten years, probably more. All the while novus ordo parishes are closing, while the TLM continues to grow."

When the indult was first announced in 1984 there were, effectively no regular "licit" TLM's in North America (and not that many by the SSPX or other groups, either).

By 2007, when Summorum was issued, there were about 200.

Today, in 2014 - just 30 years later - there are now over 500.

It doesn't seem to be "fading away." Especially not when you look at the median age of the attendees.