Monday, August 29, 2011

D. of Phoenix symposium on 1965 Rite

This is immensely interesting: the Diocese of Phoenix is holding a Conference on October 3-4, 2001, on the 1965 Rite of the Roman liturgy.

Many people are not even aware of the existence of this Rite following the Second Vatican Council. But then, neither are many people aware that Vatican II mandated Latin language and Gregorian Chant as normative for the future reformed Catholic liturgy it envisioned, or that it never prescribed Mass with the priest facing the people, free-standing altars, the absence of altar rails, Communion in the hand, female altar servers, or church choirs in front of the congregation singing songs like Marty Haugen's "Gather Us In." A large part of what Catholics take for granted in their Sunday Masses today consists of innovations following the Council.

A quick look at an English translation of the 1965 Rite will show, on the one hand, that it involves some significant changes from the 1962 Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII (for example, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are "optional"); and, on the other hand, that it is vastly different from anything one finds in nearly all Catholic parishes these days (it still looks in many ways like the old "Tridentine" Mass).

It has been reported by Rorate Caeli that the D. of Phoenix conference is not a Tridentine Conference, but "that the underlying message of the conference is that the 1965 Rite was supposed to have been the end of the reform," and that "a future New Rite was not intended by the bishops in 1963," that the Council's "reform was dutifully implemented by 1965 -- and ulterior developments were, ultimately, a rupture with tradition."

On the other hand, the same source also maintains that the D. of Phoenix conference is not a "reform of the reform" conference either, for which the Novus Ordo would be seen as embodying the proper direction anticipated by the Council, but just needing to be reigned in and tweaked a bit. In other words, suggests Rorate Caeli, this conference "is very quietly suggesting that the Novus Ordo should not have been."

One thing is clear: neither of the two forms of the Roman rite distinguished by the Holy Father in Summorum Pontificum is the form of liturgy envisioned by Council fathers. From a historical perspective, the "Ordinary Form" of the Mass (Novus Ordo) cannot yet be called even an "established" liturgy, even if one did not go as far as the French Catholic Jesuit revisionist following the Council, Fr. Joseph Gelineau, who suggested that the Novus Ordo is a "permanent workshop" of perpetual innovation. The "Extraordinary Form" of the Mass (Traditional Latin Mass), on the other hand, has the virtue of being a well-established and venerable liturgy that does not lend itself easily to innovation. Neither form, however, is exactly what the Council fathers had in mind (though of the two, they would have arguably been far more at home with the unreformed Extraordinary Form than with what most of us experience every Sunday today as "Ordinary").

In light of this, the D. of Phoenix symposium ought to garner some serious attention, though whether it will or not is another question. The contemporary liturgical atmosphere is not one that lends itself readily to considerations of history and tradition. As Fr. Gelineau declared, without a shred of regret (in Demain la liturgie, Paris: Ed. du Cerf, 1979): "the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed." And as the former Cardinal Ratzinger, though animated by radically different sympathies, similarly wrote: "Today we might ask: Is there a Latin Rite anymore? Certainly there is no awareness of it. To most people the liturgy appears to be rather something for the individual congregation to arrange." (Feast of Faith, p. 84)


Anonymous said...

I've long been of the opinion that the 1965 Ordo Missae (possibly with the one exception of some kind of expanded lectionary, though not as much as we ended up getting)is indeed the reform called for by the council.


Ron Rolling said...

This is a wonderful opportunity to glimpse at what truly could be considered "the missing link" in the transition between the EF and OF of the Roman Rite. I believe what could be learned here will go a long way in helping to implement the revised Missal.

Anonymous Bosch said...

I agree that it's a "missing link." It already exhibited signs of the corrupted Liturgical Movement from the 19th century, but was despised by the liturgical wreckers because it didn't go far enough or fast enough for their revolution.

Just as authentic ecumenism can never consist of negotiated compromise between the Church and those outside it, the mass of the future can never consist of a negotiated compromise or accommodation of any sort between that which the Church has received from Sacred Tradition and those who stand outside that tradition and want to cobble together something new. This may happen, but the result would not be "that which we have received." It wouldn't be Catholic.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Why are they doing this? If the 1965 liturgy should gain traction within certain groups of the liturgical reform movement, what would be the effect? It appears to me that any such effort at cross-pollination would inevitably deteriorate and be drawn into the orbit of NO "reform of the reform," to the detriment of the former. For example, I cannot imagine that there would be any reduction in the number of canons, no matter how much lip service was paid to the “missing link” liturgy. The "perpetual workshop" NO, with its myriad of options, would remain largely unchanged (how can something with no set form be changed?). The fact that the 1965 liturgy is – presumably -- closer to the reform envisioned by most of the Vatican fathers matters not at all. The fathers who actually RAN the council, and the pope who aided and abetted them at every turn, DIDN'T want it -- they wanted the NO.

The NO will never be "reformed" in any material way as long it remains a weed garden of "options." As we have seen for 40 years, a native language "option" means no more Latin; a music "option" means any and all manner of simpleminded folky garbage, but no gregorian chant; an "option" of body and blood means that a minority will choose to receive both, but the altar will nonetheless be swarming with EMHCs (after they have conducted a de facto ceremony of their own: the Washing of the Hands with Germ-X Sanitizer). "Option" amounts to little more than a code word for validation of an heterodox way of doing something.

That is why the Novus Ordo cannot properly be called a liturgy at all: it is an anti-liturgy. It does not embody the tradition. It eviscerates it.

So, back to the original question: if cross-pollination is not the intent, then why are they doing this? Traditionalists should not be too quick to assume that attention paid to the 1965 liturgy will by comparison highlight the ulcerous nature of the NO. The effect could well be exactly the opposite: by framing the 1965 liturgy as the "missing link," or the "bridge," between what is now rather inanely referred to as "ordinary" and "extraordinary" forms, one might be attempting to hoke up a context in which the rupturous NO could be viewed as – voila! -- within the tradition after all.

As usual, it all depends who is doing the talking.