Sunday, February 15, 2015

Is the "Reform of the Reform" dead?

As a friendly commenter noted recently, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society in England and Wales, Joseph Shaw [pictured right], has an excellent series of articles on why trying to find a "compromise" between the traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo is so difficult. He quotes Shaw as follows:
"I have in the past pointed out the practical, pastoral problem of the RotR [Reform of the Reform]: far from it being, as its proponents ceaselessly claim, easier to foist on a parish than the Traditional Mass, it is harder. The argument is simple: if a priest gets rid of the Altar girls, moves the Altar round to celebrate facing East, and introduces some Latin, in the typical parish Novus Ordo, he will create a civil war in the parish which he will almost certainly lose. If he introduces a Traditional Mass in a new time-slot, he may blot his copy-book with a hostile Dean and Bishop, but he will very probably get away with it in the short and medium term. (In the long term, of course, he may be moved.) This has been confirmed over and over again. Many of the commentators over on the NLM need to free themselves from their illusions on this. RotR is not the easy option.

"But I want to introduce another idea. While I am in favour of Latin, worship ad orientem and pretty well everything the RotR promotes, it is clear to me that the difficulty of imposing them on the Novus Ordo is not just a matter of parochial habits. The problem with the texts and ceremonies, in terms of bringing them closer to the Traditional Mass, is not just a matter of how many changes you would need to make. The problem is that the Novus Ordo has its own ethos, rationale and spirituality. It encapsulates its own distinct understanding of what liturgical participation is. It is to promote this kind of participation that its various texts and ceremonies have been done as they are. If you put it in Latin, ad orientem, and especially if you start having things not currently allowed, like the silent Canon, then you undermine the kind of participation for which the Novus Ordo was designed.

"This means that there is a danger, in promoting something which amounts to a compromise between the two Missals, of falling between two stools."
Here are the links to the series of articles by Joseph Shaw, all from LMS Chairman - The Chairman's Blog:
  1. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform? Part 1" (February 23, 2014)
  2. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform? Part 2: The Liturgical Movement" (February 24, 2014)
  3. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform Part 3: Falling between two stools" (February 25, 2014)
  4. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform, 4: Novus Ordo in Latin?" (February 26, 2014)
  5. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform, 5: 1965?" (February 27, 2014)