Just this past Sunday, February 9, Fr. Thomas Kocik published the equivalent of Tract 90 on the New Liturgical Movement website. Fr. Kocik has been one of the leading lights in the Reform of the Reform movement. Those who know Fr. Kocik know him to be above all a parish priest whose love for the Liturgy is at the center of his priesthood. He is a scholar and a man of the Church. His book, The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003), is a cogent and spirited defense of the Reform of the Reform movement. This book was certainly one of the important “Tracts” in the evolving understanding of the post-Conciliar Liturgy. The “Dean” of the Reform of the Reform movement writes as follows in his article of only a few days ago, Reforming the Irreformable?:The entire article, recasting the trajectory of the post-Conciliar "reform of the reform" against the backdrop of the history of the Tractarian Movement in a fascinating comparison, is well worth reading. Read more >>There are significant ruptures in content and form that cannot be remedied simply by restoring Gregorian chant to primacy of place as the music of the Roman rite, expanding the use of Latin and improving vernacular translations of the Latin liturgical texts, using the Roman Canon more frequently (if not exclusively), reorienting the altar, and rescinding certain permissions. As important as it is to celebrate the reformed rites correctly, reverently, and in ways that make the continuity with tradition more obvious, such measures leave untouched the essential content of the rites. Any future attempt at liturgical reconciliation, or renewal in continuity with tradition, would have to take into account the complete overhaul of the propers of the Mass; 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 (to the point where it once again connects with the liturgical tradition received by the Council) rather than a reform of it...This is indeed “Tract 90” for the "reform of the reform" and sounds the death knell of any serious attempt to hold onto the fiction of continuity between the 1970 Missal and the Traditional Roman rite. Just as Tract 90 marked the end of Newman’s attempt to find a Catholic continuity and a Via Media in Anglicanism, so does Fr. Kocik’s public articulation of the abandonment of his attempt to find a liturgical and theological continuity between the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Roman rite mark the end of the Reform of the Reform movement. What must be done now—and this will require much laborandum et orandum—is to make the Extraordinary-----ordinary.
In the meantime, improvements can be made here and there in the ars celebrandi of the Ordinary Form. But the road to achieving a sustainable future for the traditional Roman rite—and to achieving the liturgical vision of Vatican II, which ordered the moderate adaptation of that rite, not its destruction—is the beautiful and proper celebration, in an increasing number of locations, of the Extraordinary Form, with every effort to promote the core principle (properly understood) of “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful (SC 14).
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The End of the “Reform of the Reform”: Father Kocik’s "Tract 90"
Father Richard G. Cipolla, in a deft allusion to the last "Tract" of the "Tractarian" or "Oxford Movement" of which John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman was a leading figure before his Catholic conversion, posted an article entitled "The End of the 'Reform of the Reform': Father Kocik’s 'Tract 90'" (Rorate Caeli, February 12, 2014), which concludes as follows: