Rorate Caeli

The Liturgy under Benedict: "No, I have not read Ratzinger's latest book"


Sandro Magister registers in his wonderful weblog the possible implications of the papal speech to the Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina (the foremost pontifical choir) and links to an old article of his, written right after the publication of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's book on sacred music and his memoirs.

This great article describes the appalling dismissal, in 1997, of the old director of the Cappella, Domenico Bartolucci, named by Pius XII in 1956 (for life, as had always happened to the directors of the Cappella, including the most famous of them all, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, pictured above with Pope Julius III). Bartolucci was replaced by Abp. Piero Marini's nominee and Pope John Paul's own favorite, the current director, Giuseppe Liberto.

Liberto had been a director of ecclesiastical music in Sicily and was famous for his "sacred music for the masses"; nothing more appropriate, it seems, than someone like him for Pope John Paul II, even it it meant the destruction of the superior standards of quality of the Cappella Sistina. If one wishes to understand the mind of a Marini, one needs to know that it is not as important to create new things (for instance, by creating a new, parallel, "pop-style" choir) as it is to destroy the Traditional institutions by change (for instance, by transforming the spirit of the Cappella Sistina itself).

Bartolucci had been quite frank; as Magister quotes him:

The origin of the ailments of today's Church is in the rupture which was effected, after the Council, with the previous liturgical tradition.*
RUPTURE... Where have we seen this word used recently? Oh, yes, here. Magister also mentions that Ratzinger directly interfered, to no avail, to prevent Bartolucci's dismissal (a very dishonorable dismissal, since it happened by phone while the Cappella was on tour in Japan) -- one of the extremely rare circumstances in which Ratzinger pleaded for someone outside of his congregation.

Any cold analysis of the post-Conciliar tragedy shows that the "hermeneutics of rupture" was active mainly in the "liturgy of rapture": the complete vernacularization and the destruction of Sacred Music in the 1964-1969 period of wild "experimentations", crowned by the absolute rupture which was the Novus Ordo Missae of 1969. A new liturgical order whose "soul", in the words of Marini himself, is the "spirit of adaptation". New Mass, thy name is change...

This whole introduction (I intend to speak more in the near future about Bartolucci, Liberto, Marini, and the Pope) is necessary for the most amusing part of the article, when Magister presents the following dialogue with Liberto:
Liberto: "I have not read Ratzinger's latest book**"
Journalist: "Not even those pages which have caused great impact?"
Liberto: "No, not even those."Journalist: "Not even his thoughts on Sacred Music and the liturgy collected in 'Cantate al Signore un canto nuovo'*** , edited by Jaca Book?"Liberto:
"No, I have not had the time."
Oh, the disdain... Well, this does not sound like someone who had any idea that Ratzinger would one day become his boss... Will the Cappella Sistina be freed ("liberata") from Liberto?

--
*It is an analysis with which I completely agree: the crisis of the Church is, above all, a crisis of the Roman Rite.
**"Milestones: 1927-1977", released in Italian in 1997, in which Ratzinger had mentioned, among other serious criticisms, the "tragical consequences" of the liturgical revolution
***"Sing a new Song".

27 comments:

rcjon said...

Yesterday, I watched the Papal Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on TV, mainly to see how Benedict celebrates his Mass. I noticed three things: (1) The liturgy was in Latin (good - never saw that from John Paul II). (2) He used the 3rd Eucharistic Prayer (not good). (3) The choir was, well, not so good. In the end, I still do not know what to expect from Benedict. All I hear are rumors. The article above does, however, tell me why the choir was not so good.

proklos said...

I have watched all the papal masses since Cardinal Ratzinger became Benedict XVI. I have seen nothing that suggests that things will improve. The Youth Day Mass in Koln all but drove me to the Society of Pius X. The reason is that the Pope clearly wants to interpret Vatican Council II as a continuation rather than as a rupture with Christianity of the past. Of course, the terms rupture and continuity emerge out of the sixties debate between those who descibed progress in the natural sciences in terms of revolution and those who described it in terms of continuity or evolution. One sees this debate in the writings of T.S. Kuhn, W. V. Quine. But the term "rupture" as in "rupture epistemologique" come from Canguilem and Bachelard. It emerges in Althusser's discussion of the writings of the "Young Marx" versus the "Later Marx." The difficulty for me is that the Pope views Vatican Council II as representing an evolution in Christian teaching justified by the churches encounter with the modern world. In his view, the modern world marks an evolutionary event in the cultural life of the human species. In my view, modernity represents a mutation in human culture and a clear piece of evidence that entropy exists in human affairs just as it does in natural events. Thus, the modern world is different from the world of antiquity, the world in which Christianity appeared. The proof is that no practitioner of mainstream human science questioned the role of Divinity, even if their notion of God was misconstrued. All believed in God or gods. There were the Epicureans. But they were a minority. Today, no mainstream scientists figures God into his theory or cosmology.The course of affairs both human and cultural are described in terms of an "evolutionary drift." Human beings, the planet, all represent accidents. There is no divine plan. How the Pope the Vicar of Christ wishes to make peace with such a world I do not know. Perhaps he is prejudiced because this world is largely the product of the European "genius." He is very concerned about bringing Europe back into the fold of Christianity. To do this he will go to any extreme. Witness the continuing dialogue with the Anglicans, whose notions of modernity have driven them to forsake Christian teachings concerning homosexuality. At the same time, he dialogues with people like Hans Kung and Oriana Falaci who describes herself as an atheist Catholic. He has been Pope bearly a year and yet he has clearly announced his program. It seems that it is high time Catholics begin to think seriously about breaking communion with the Bishop of Rome. I mean, think about it, at least. For our lives are short and pass quickly. What is important is that we are in communion with the saints and martyrs, since they have won the good fight. And if our purpose here on earth is to join their ranks, we can do no better than follow them in their use of the traditional Roman mass. Saints have been made by this mass. It is the prayer they all knew adn said. What has been the fruits of the Novus Ordo? Shall we wait to find out putting our trust in Popes who has so far given us no evidence that they can guide us to sanctity? John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II presided over a Church Militant embroiled deep into sexual and financial scandal. Perhaps, there will be a change for the better under the current Pope. But if I were you I would not hold my breath. For whilst doing so, you just might expire and wake up in a place which has never even heard of firemen.

AlexeiMichaelenko said...

Pope Benedict's Dec. 22 speech to members of the Roman Curia was heroic. He pulled no punches as to what His opinions are regarding the liturgy and the true intrepretation of Vatican II.
Having read it, and other speeches He has given regarding Sacred Music, and Pontifical Liturgy, I suggest that as much as He wants to improve things, nothing will improve unless/until both Liberto and Marini are gone.
The fact that Benedict XVI used Eucharistic Prayer 3 on Jan. 1 was probaly the doing of Marini, Benedict just recited what was placed before Him. I saw the choir and heard some good Baroque Music as well as Gregorian Chant. Under JP II, there would have been no Gregorian Chant, but rather a few new pieces composed specifically for the day (which would be preformed once and then never heard of again).
I am willing to give Pope Benedict XVI the benefit of the doubt for now, that the directions given in HIs speeches of Dec. 22 to the Curia and to the Sistine Choir at Christmastime will be follwed up with Papal actions that will revive the traditons of the Church, including the Liturgy with the return of the Tridentine Latin Mass and a reform of the present Novus Ordo to make it more in line with the Tridentine orientation.
If He does not act, then He truely is what many have said of Him.
He is simply a "transitional pope" simply keeping the Chair of Peter warm for someone else.

New Catholic said...

I perfectly understand your despair, Proklos. But hold on to that little thread of hope... Don't abandon the ship -- not yet. Help is on the way.

Jeff said...

Well, whatever you guys say, Ratzinger will not act the way you want him to. He is a humble and good man and won't be mean to Liberto or Marini just because they've been mean to others. He's not the firing type. And he mistrusts his own wisdom, preferring that of the Church as a whole. He'll move patiently and slowly and in consultation with others. No MORE ruptures, just to make ourselves feel good about the old ones.

As for using the 3rd Eucharistic Prayer because it was placed in front of him: he used the 2nd in Bari too. And he's said on more than one occasion that he is grateful for the variety of prayers, including the Eucharistic ones, in the New Missal. He's not an old Mass boy, though he esteems the old books greatly and sees much that was wrong in how the New ones were introduced and much room for improvement.

No Pius Xers for me, thanks. I love my indult Mass, but I ain't leavin' the Barque of Peter. Not for NUTHIN.

Al Trovato said...

Why attack the SSPX, particularly now, when negotiations are under way?

Why the attacks when Rome shows understanding, and the competent authority, Cardinal Hoyos (Prefect Cong. for the Clergy; President Ecclesia Dei), goes so far as to say :

a) that the SSPX is NOT in formal schism (http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2005-1130-hoyos-30days.htm), and

b) "we are not facing heresy"
(http://www.laportelatine.org/district/france/bo/janvier2006/janvier2006.php)?

If Rome shows goodwill, why a layman resorts to childish name calling?

Are you above Cardinal Hoyos? Is "Jeff" the Holy Father's nom de plume?

Sr. D. Felipe G. Caldéron said...

Take heart. The Barque of Peter will not sink... even if we have to get used to a lifetime of motion sickness!

Jeff said...

I said, "No Pius Xers for me, thanks." What I meant was, I'm not going to be "driven" to those folks, as Proklos described it.

I have a great deal of sympathy for them, but I DO think they are in schism--and I've heard all the arguments in many forms, canonical "emergency", etc.

So, why would I never "join" them and attend their masses as my liturgical life in the Church? Well, if they weren't in schism, there would be no problem with my doing so, right? So, I have to answer that question for my own conscience.

And I have to refer to it when someone (like Proklos) says, "I'm thinking of joining up with them (or making a habit of frequenting their masses.)" I have to say, "Bad idea; these guys aren't in union with the Church. And their doctrine shows it, as well as their refusal to function as part of the hiearchical structure of the Church."

That's why the "childish" language. Because we're talking about stuff that matters. I don't say "schism" every time I see a Pius Xer; or a Feeneyite either. I go to mass with many of them at my Sunday Indult, as a matter of fact.

For that matter, I don't say "schism" whenever I meet an Eastern Orthodox either. But if I meet a Catholic who says, "I'm joining the Orthodox; they have a beautiful liturgy and no lousy Vatican Two," then I have to be "childish" and say, "Don't do it; they're in schism! Your eternal salvation is at stake!" And that's despite all the super-charitable and generous talk from the Vatican.

Now, an occasional mass for those faced with hideous, heretical (more childish language!), illicit masses and who may have little choice...perhaps the best choice in a dreadful pinch is something like that. Or as a matter of excusing scandalized and confused Catholics trying to be faithful in a period of massive confusion...God bless them, I understand why they might do that. Many of them are wonderful folks.

But as for me and my house, we will stick with Peter, however difficult and confusing it may be. Even if Cardinal Mahony is the next Pope and abolishes the Indult.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

I personally don't have much hope for B16 until he shakes off his very profound acceptance of the principle of Neo Modernism. He has made many statements that contract the truth of the faith, of scripture, of history and of reason and logic.

Patrick John said...

It seems many people believe that, following the Council of Trent and the completion of St. Peter's Basilica, Jesus Christ said, "There! My Church is now completed. Let all who change her be anathema." These posts would lead one to believe that Jesus has abandoned His Church, leaving it in the hands of self-destructing mortals. The turmoil in the Church today is not new. The Second Eucharistic Prayer pre-dates the Roman Canon by 1500 years and was consider "modernist" by many. Gregorian Chant was not always considered the "Sacred Music of the Church." Let's admit it folks: we do not know what God is doing in His Church today anymore than the people who sat cowering in the Upper Room before Pentecost. Have faith! Have hope! God is not going to abandon us.

New Catholic said...

The "Prex Eucharistica II" was made up from scratch in the 1960s from supposedly "Roman Sources" (Hyppollytus -- true or apocryphal). It was assembled, together with Prex III and Prex IV, in a hotel in Lucarno, Switzerland, by a group of liturgists who thought they knew better (it's all described in many books, including Dom Bernard Botte's personal testimony of this meeting in his book on the Liturgical Movement -- I do not recall its title in English).

Considering that the Roman Canon is virtually the same today as it was when St. Gregory the Great was pope, it is pretty amazing that the Prex II is 1500 older (!!!) than the Canon, which would make it older than the city of Rome itself! Who knew: the Novus Ordo Missae dates from the days of Isaias!

I agree with your general thoughts, Patrick, but not with this historical assessment of the Roman Mass.

Jeff said...

I don't think it's fair to say any of the Eucharistic prayers were made up "from scratch." The phrases used in all of them come from scripture or the Fathers, or from ancient liturgical models. And the 2d and 4th started with and preserve large elements of older single prayers.

How fast it was done, or whether it was in a hotel room or not, I cannot say. But though I am a Roman Canon man myself, there are things in all of those prayers that I would miss if I never heard them again.

Al Trovato said...

With "from scratch", I believe New Catholic meant to convey "cooked up", fabricated, manufactured, a "on-the-spot product", and why not let the BIG MAN himself explain to you, Jeff, :

(...)What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place
of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned

the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and

replaced it—as in a manufacturing process—with a fabrication,

a banal on-the-spot product.(...)

(From Cardinal Ratzinger's preface to the French edition of Gamber's "The Reform of the Roman Liturgy")

Dad29 said...

First off, the Vatican choir has NEVER been "good" in my memory, which extends back before VatII.

It's something of a joke--that the Prots split because they couldn't stand listening to those thumpers and snorters anymore..

Marini has been more than a problem--he has been a highly VISIBLE problem and to the extent possible, he shows his interest in dissent and iconoclasm at every opportunity.

Oremus.

Podatus said...

I agree with dad29. I have heard recordings of the Vatican choir from the 1930's--oh my gosh! schmaltzy, drippy, sentimental, operatic are just some of the adjectives I would use. And if you have ever heard the famous Alessandro Moreschi recording from 1902-1904 (The Last Castrato) you can get an excellent idea of what Pius X faced. He had the fortitude to fire director Moreschi--largely at the urging of Msgr. Perosi (and banning all castrati)--but aside from this and the publishing of his wonderful motu proprio, I am not sure if Pius X did much else about the music at the Vatican. Actually the Vatican choir is much better than it was 100 years ago, but that doesn't say much.

I tend to take Jeff's attitude. Papa Benedict is just too nice a man. He may replace Marini and Liberto, he may not. He seems to be reigning them in for now, but I wouldn't count on a putsch (as much as we would like it--and perhaps as much as it should be done.)

I think the most progress in the area of the liturgy will be made by freeing up the Trid. Mass and encouraging others in the "new liturgical movement." However, it would be nice to have a good example from Rome--as the pope himself said.

All we can do for now is hope and pray.

New Catholic said...

In my previous comment, I meant LOcarno.

Jeff said...

Al Trovato:

I see what you mean, but I don't think it makes much difference, ultimately. I mean, how did Basil the Great or St. John Chrysostom compose their Eucharistic Prayers. From "scratch"? No, they based them on formulae that had been used before and used familiar language from Scripture and the Fathers that went before them.

The Popes comment about liturgy being "manufactured" does not refer specifically to the Eucharistic Prayers in the Missal, but applies to the general attitude toward liturgical reform in general.

If you listen to Raymond Arroyo's interview with him, you will hear Ratzinger express gratitude for the new Eucharistic prayers. He also says this in "God and the World" and there and in other places, he is critical of the Tridentine mass and the attitude of those who think that liturgical forms are fixed forever.

All I'm saying is that Benedict's thoughts on the New and Old Masses are complex and you can't simply assume that he hates all the prayers in the new Missal, especially when he's said he's grateful for them. Anyway, my essential point was: he uses other Eucharistic Prayers besides the Roman Canon. Watch him: he'll keep doing it just as he did before he was Pope. It's not a plot of Marini's.

Jeff said...

Anyway, here's a question about "manufactured" versus "developed" liturgy. If you are in a position like those before the enactments of St. Pius V, liturgy can "develop" because it isn't fixed in rubrics that have the force of universal law. People do basically what was done before them, but they make little changes and add prayers and over centuries the form develops.

Once you have codification with force of law, there are only two ways for the forms and prayers to develop. Either by a mandate from above, as with Pius XII's restoration of the Easter Vigil or revision of the Breviary; or by illicit tampering that is later approved because it has become widespread.

Can you have a mandate from above that isn't "manufacturing"? How else would you get a new Eucharistic Prayer? Where do you think the Preface for the Feast of Christ the King came from when Pius XI instituted it? It was MANUFACTURED.

It seems to me that this way of looking at things isn't really pro-"development" and anti-"manufacturing." It's anti both. It wants the fixed form of the Tridentine missal to stay forever and ever. And Ratzinger has ALSO criticized this way of looking at things in no uncertain terms, in Feast of Faith and other places, as a misunderstanding of what liturgy IS.

Louis Bouyer ALSO bitterly criticized modern liturgy in the Roman Church. But he loved the new Eucharistic Prayers. So does the Pope. And he'll keep using all four even after Marini goes--you just watch.

Ratzinger is only a conservative liturgically or theologically from the perspective of today's massive apostasy. In terms of the broad tradition of Catholicism, he's Far Left, as was Wojtyla. A REAL BELIEVER, though. He really believes in God and in the Sacrifice of Christ and the Real Presence. But he's not so sure Moses had real tablets when he came down from the mountain. He's pretty sure that Adam and Eve didn't converse with a talking snake with legs. He likes the vernacular in the main, rather than Latin. And while he may want to face East, he DOESN'T want the Church to return to the Tridentine Missal.

Pertinacious Papist said...

In re your comments about "rupture," I did a brief search for the former Cardinal Ratzinger's remarks about liturgical "rupture" and found what I was looking for. His remarks compliment Al Trovato's quotations from Cardinal Ratzinger's preface to the French edition of Gamber's "The Reform of the Roman Liturgy" about the liturgical reformists' "fabricated," "banal on-the-spot product," etc. Here's what Ratzinger wrote:

"From the start, I was in favor of the freedom to continue to use the old Missal, for a very simple reason: people were already beginning to speak of a RUPTURE with the pre-conciliar Church, and the formation of different models of churches: an "outmoded" pre-conciliar Church, and a new, conciliar Church....It seems to me fundamental and essential to recognize that the two Missals are both Missals of the Church, and that the Church still remains the same. And to underscore that there is no essential RUPTURE, that the continuity and the identity of the Church exist, it seems to me indispensable to retain the possibility of celebrating according to the former missal as a sign of the permanent identity of the Church." (emphasis added, Cardinal Ratzinger, "Bilan et perspectives," in Autour de la question liturgique, pp. 177-178.)

Pertinacious Papist said...

Now, to go on and respond to Jeff's last comment, I would add that Ratzinger's opposition to the notion of a "rupture" between the old and new Masses does not mean that he approves of the Novus Ordo Missae as it stands (with its abuses) or even necessarily that he approves of the Novus Ordo in its currently approved form. It is well known that he regards a significant number of the innovations enacted in the implementation of Sacrosanctum Consilium during the period following the Council as themselves constituting a "rupture" with liturgical tradition, not least the priest's celebration of the Mass versus populum. On the other hand, it is also clear, as Jeff suggests, that Ratzinger (and now Pope Benedict XVI) does not view the reforms mandated by the Council as themselves constituting a "rupture" with tradition --although how this conviction plays out in his and subsequent ponficates remains, of course, to be seen.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

As republicans are to pro-lifers, as democrats are to blacks, so is Benedict to traditionalist Catholics. In a Church riddled with dissent and apostasy-without-consequences, there is simply nowhere else for them to go. Although I am heartened by Benedict’s remarks in this or that address or essay, the bottom line seems to be that, regarding V2, he is no less committed to saving the appearances than his predecessors. We can probably expect some improvements in liturgy, which will certainly be welcome, but even there, as with everything else, the pope’s initiatives are likely to be greatly attenuated by the passive-aggressive opposition of layers and layers of clerical bureaucracy.

servantofmary said...

This is a little off-topic but at least it concerns the Pope. Why does he refer to traditionalists as "integralists"? The only definition of integralism that I could find seemed to indicate that integralism is a very specific political movement. I don't think very many traditionalists would self-identify with that movement. Am I wrong about that? Why does the Pope use that term (and often with a seemingly derogatory or contemptuous tone).

Jeff said...

I think integralism is a term that arose in a French context long ago and that has long been used there.

The idea is that those Catholics who believe that every jot and tittle of practice, devotion, style, governance, doctrinal understanding, liturgical practice is a defining part of the Church and that none of these things can change or develop have an "integral" or "wholistic" view of the Church, a Church forever frozen in time. Obviously, Pope Ratzinger is NOT one of those and he finds them deplorable.

Jeff said...

I think you could usefully oppose "integralism" (a somewhat unfriendly term; these folks don't see themselves that way) to "neo-Catholic" (another unfriendly term that those who get it pinned on them by the "integralists" don't find accurate).

Pope Benedict could usefully be described as a member of the conservative, traditional wing of the "neo-Catholics" (to accept the term of opprobrium.) In matters of worship, substantially to the right of Wojtyla. In matters of theology, a little to the left of him.

Wojtyla was a pure heterosexual, healthy MALE. He had the athletic outdoorsman's suspicion of too much fussing over liturgical niceties and brusque attitude toward too much that gives off a "pious-eyes-raised-heavenward" air. The back slapping, hail-fellow-well-met stuff that you often find in this type of priest can be refreshing at times. He doesn't despise the rules, but he doesn't worry too much if his vestments are a bit askew. He happily wears the old green vestments with the chintzy 'cup, grapes and stalk-of-wheat' print on them. And he doesn't like nuns with huge bowls of incense, but neither does he mind saying mass in the mountains for teenagers on an upturned canoe.

proklos said...

The major underlying error regarding the Novus Ordo is the idea that a liturgy can be invented, that the ancient liturgies are invented and that elements added to the mass in the spirit of saintly piety are inventions. This way of thinking lies in a confusion between inspiration and invention. And from this there arises an additional confusion: A failure to distinguish between saintly souls and bureaus and committees. In the end contemporary advocates of the Novus Ordo wind up with a confusion between the sacred and profane. The ancient liturgies from St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St, James, etc. were the results of Divine inspiration, not inventions engineered to address the social problems of their times. This is no less true of the traditional Roman mass and other ancient Western liturgies. The Novus Ordo is the product of bureaus and committees. This is evident in its language—a manufactured Latin that no one ever prayed in or even spoken, tricked out with a few phrases from patristic sources and the whole of it composed to make for easy translation into the vernacular languages of the West. The mistake is to assume that we can jump over 2000 years and trace our steps back to the primitive simplicity of the early church. This is against nature. For just as a branch cannot become a root again, we cannot recapture that primitive simplicity of early Christianity. For it was the result of an effulgence of sanctity that characterized the lives of the first practitioners of out faith: the Mother of God, the apostles and those who met them. In the early church there was a fulness of sanctity that we become aware of in the letters of St. Paul. Why else does he address the Corinthians " to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours." There was, in short, a high awareness of the vocation to sanctity amongst the majority of early Xtians even if that awareness did not prevent certain disorders. Still, the sense of the sacred was tangible as was the Christ's recents suppresion of the old Jewish observances and demand for worship in spirit and in truth. The substitution of the Jewish outward rites were made all but superfluous with the continuation Jesus' physical presence with His sacremental presence. That presence was intensified by the awareness of sanctity that was in the midst of the ekklesia of that time. This of course disappeared fairly soon due in part to the rapid increase in the number of faithful. It then became necessary to to make the presence of the sacred palpable to people of an increasingly profance mentality so they would not lose sight of the Divine presence in the sacred synaxis through the majesty of its rites. The motivation was to make make the liturgy a veritable crystalization of the supernatural, to repeat here on earth the continual liturgy of the angelic hosts. Now it is of course true that saints are able to do without any liturgical framework. They would prefer to see the sancity of human beings rather than that of ritual forms, if this is at all possible. Yet, the argument for liturgical elaboration in the liturgy as it has developed is valid because of the increasing profanity of the times and the increasing failure to realize the difference between sacred and profane. Awareness of this difference is not simply necessary to live a Christian life, it is necessary for psychic health. The sacred has to be conveyed through symbolism and rite. Now the Novus Ordo represents a grave impoverishment of symbolism, so much so that one wonders whether it is capable of representing the mystery whose purpose it is supposedly meant to portray. One cannot elaborate here all the things that are missing. No book I have read so far even begins to be adequate. What's worse is that one can celebrate it in such a way that it is barely distinguishable from a Protestant communion service.
I believe that the Pope is aware of all this. HIs writings suggest as much. Unlike some of you, I do not think he believes in God—not really— or he else would be afraid to continue playing politics in the manner he has done so far. There are, after all degrees of faith. His vision at best seems to be of a church divided between "high church" Christians and "low church" ones. In other words, he desires a political unity at all costs. But betrayal of Christ's covenant sealed on Calvary and recapitulated in the mass is not one I personally am prepared to pay. After all, one cannot follow the Pope into sin. And the Novus Ordo is nothing less than a sin against God and His Church. Besides, consider. The Anglicans have been practicing a type of political unity for the past 300 years and are just as divided as ever, with the former Archbishop of Canterbury visiting churches in the USA who refuse to receive the ministrations of their local ordinaries. Is this the future the Pope envisions for Roman Catholicism? Only time will tell. It is true. Meanwhile, I am not optimistic.

Jeff said...

Proklos:

Sorry, but if I thought I should trust my own judgment on any of these matters over the Pope's, I wouldn't see any reason at all to be Catholic. Which, in a way, is what you are saying, too.

It's as easy as pie to be mistaken in your judgment on any or all of these matters, no matter how convincing your judgments may seem to you. Make provisional judgments, but trust the Church over yourself. The Popes and the Church have been playing politics with religion since forever; it's one of the primary accusations Protestants have levelled against us to convict us of being the Whore of Babylon.

proklos said...

To Jeff: Vatican II's is an unprecedednted event in the life of the Church. After all, the Pope's infallibility is expressive of the infallibility of the Church. Neither Pope nor council can introduce new doctrine without showing that present teaching is implicit in what went before. This has proven difficult with Vatican II. Hence, Pope Benedict XVI even now must try to construe the council as orthodox in intent. Many like msyelf simply are not buying it, at least, not on the basis of what he has said so far. My conscience was formed in the pre-Vatican II Church, which was in continuity with the Church of old. Even during the Council the nuns and priests in our parish warned us that what was going on in Rome was unprecedented and not good. For this reason I have never accepted its innovations. When they decided to junk the traditional mass, my confessors directed me not to seek sacrements from these Novus Ordo priests. In case, you didn't know. Not every body who has rejected the Council joined the Society of Pius X. There have always been bishops and priests who have continued in the Church as if nothing happened. So one can remain in the church legally and defy its corrupt hierarchy secretly. However, this takes discernment and discretion. Of course, one is aware that it is improper to get up and leave simply because we have weak and corrupt popes. Yet, I do not judge those who do. But the life of a Christian goes in his or her inner life. And as long as it is possible to attend the traditional mass and have a spiritual/confessor who is orthodox, that seems to me the most important thing. Because one sails in the barque of St. Peter, doesn't mean that one has to spend all ones time in the engine room. You might be overcome by the fumes. St. Catherine of Siena speaks of this. Still, what is urgent is that word and rite reflect the reality of what the Church has always intended to do in the mass. We cannot be sure of this in today's Novus Ordo. Then too, mass said by a saint is better than beautiful music because one is drawn into the intensity of his prayers. Look then for saints. Pray that God will show you his friends, the saints to whom He has given permission to direct souls. Then everything will follow from that. One learns from them how to tell the difference between playing politics and truth. For Christian virtue builds itself only on truth. It would be wonderful if God in His wisdom had given us a saintly pope. But He has not! There is some wisdom in this, even if we do not see it. At the same time we must realize that Vatican II and the Novus Ordo are signs of Divine wrath. The proper response to God's wrath is not rebellion. We must run and hide ourselves and make prayers in reparation and ask Him for forgiveness. Otherwise, we may be taken up in the storm and swept away. At the same time, even whilst His wrath endures we must keep His covenant and seek the covenanted graces of the true mass.