Rorate Caeli

A Byzantine Look at the Novus Ordo

The following is the perspective of an Eastern Catholic layman on the Novus Ordo as it currently stands. It is published here as a serious contribution to the current reflection on liturgical reform and renewal in the Roman Rite.
I will be very vigilant over the comments, and will not hesitate to exercise censorship once the time for "free commenting" is up. I will neither tolerate snide remarks on how the Byzantines are "modernists", nor permit any comments to the effect that Mr. Vernoski should speak and think like a Roman-Rite Traditionalist. He is an Eastern Catholic, and in this blog we respect all orthodox Catholic viewpoints. Besides, there is much in this interview that Traditionalists and "Reform of the Reform" supporters can agree with.
***
An interview with John Vernoski, a layman in the Byzantine Catholic Church who is a student of Liturgy and the webmaster of byzcath.org, which features The Byzantine Forum - a discussion group which is hosted there.
Q: What do Byzantines see when they look at the Novus Ordo Roman Catholic Mass? How would you change it?
A. If this had been right at Vatican II the answer would be easy. I would have prepared exactingly accurate and faithful translations of the “1962 Blessed John XXIII” missal into Standard English (literal, word-for-word but with elegance). Then I would have taken the responses typically recited by the altar server and given them to the faithful. Finally, I would have recommended the development of new chant settings for those responses for a sung Mass.
Q: And now?
A: Almost the same thing. I’ve seen the draft texts of the corrected translation of the Novus Ordo Mass and they appear to be quite excellent (and my friends who are Latin scholars say they are very accurate). I’d implement them along with a new lectionary that is the old lectionary or a modified form of the old lectionary.
I’d also move away from the presentation of “four songs and a Mass”. Right now in many (not all) Roman Catholic parishes you have a recited Mass with the four “anchor” songs (Opening, Processional, Communion and Recessional). When this happens what is communicated to the faithful is that the four songs are important and the Mass is not (the very fact the organist and choir or cantor gear up to sing for these four songs but not the rest of the Mass is what transmits that message). Instead I’d encourage the singing of the entire Mass. Gregorian chant – yes. But also simple chant that people can pick up and sing with gusto. I would not outlaw the “four songs” but I would be careful with them to make sure they are not a distraction from the Mass itself.
Finally, I’d ask the priest to face ad orientem (East, towards the altar table) for the Anaphora (the prayers of the Eucharistic Canon). I can understand the “we gather around Jesus rather then face Him together” approach but it just doesn’t work. No matter what happens the priest is the star of the show. People watch him and are not attentive to the Mystery taking place. I’d also recommend that at least the Eucharistic Canon return to being prayed quietly. In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) noted that the praying of the Canon loud has led to what some liturgists call a “crisis” and the endless writing of new Canons. He concludes that all the various experimentation with the Eucharistic Prayer “balk, now as in the past, at the possibility that silence, too, silence especially, might constitute communion before God.” Some who support the praying of the Canon aloud claim that they do so because these prayers are “for us”. They’re right, but in the wrong way. The prayers are indeed for us but they are not for our education by hearing. They are for our salvation by praying.
I suspect there would be more, but all this would be more then enough for one or two generations. Liturgical changes must never be so severe that they hurt the faithful. We know that after Vatican II a sizeable number of Roman Catholics walked away from the Novus Ordo Mass. Some became “Christmas and Easter Catholics”. Many never returned.
Q: You mentioned you’d change the lectionary. How? Would you recommend going back to the older lectionary?
A: Good question. The Revised Lectionary currently in use sought to bring in the Old Testament and other New Testament readings that were not read in the traditional Roman Catholic lectionary. A worthy motive. but it came at the cost of deemphasizing some of the really important readings that need to be read year after year. I’m not against using the Old Testament – we Byzantines read the Old Testament at Great Vespers for major feast days. But the readings should always clearly point to Jesus. The older lectionary did a better job at than then the new lectionary.
Then there is a problem in the Revised Lectionary with the abbreviation of readings. Very often they are so abbreviated that the listener can’t pick upon on what is being read. A Roman Catholic priest friend of mine complains that he has to keep a Bible handy and often takes the daily readings from the Bible instead of the lectionary. The lectionary can abbreviate with “He said to him” and through the whole reading who “he” and “him” are is never made clear.
Then there is the problem of the gender-neutral political language of the Revised-Amended-Revised New American Bible. Best to scrap the NAB altogether go with either the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition (RSV-CE2) or the English Standard Version. Both are accurate while be quite elegant. My Byzantine parish uses the RSV. No one has complained they can’t figure out what “Thou hast” means. I’m not advocating it, but suggesting for considering that a sacred version Standard English (without the PC overtones) is always best.
Q: What has been your experience of the Novus Ordo? Good or bad?
A: Both. At the Jesuit University I went to in the early 1980s I attended one “coffee table Mass”. One was enough. But the daily and Sunday Masses in the main chapel were quite edifying. I’ve attended many lackluster Masses. [No surprise there – we Byzantines have lots of parishes with lackluster Liturgy, too.] I’ve also attended some wonderful Masses – Masses that were well planned, well prayed, and well sung. I occasionally attend Novus Ordo Roman Catholic Masses in the Diocese of Arlington here in Virginia where I live. Yes, on Sunday they have the “four songs” but they are (in the nearby parish) well chosen to reflect either the readings or sometimes the saint of the day. Even better is that all the major parts of the Mass are sung (the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Lord’s Prayer and the Lamb of God). Sometimes the chant is Gregorian and sometimes modern. Almost always very good. Now if only the priest would face East for the Canon and pray it in a low voice.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nicely done. We can learn a lot about what it means to be Latin Rite Catholics by looking at the various Eastern Rite Catholics (I have a Maronite friend who likes to remind me that his people were Christians a thousand years before mine were). The Holy Father talked about how the two forms of the Roman Rite will enrich each other; knowledge of the great diversity of rites from the Apostolic traditions in the East can also help us understand and cherish the immense treasure we have as well. I am especially moved by his comments on ad orientem celebration and the silent canon.

Deacon Nathan Allen

Woody said...

Everything but the silent canon can be found in the Anglican Usage, of course. See, e.g.
http://www.walsingham-church.org/

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Woody:

Doesn't the Anglican Use rely on the three-year lectionary?

Andrew said...

"Some who support the praying of the Canon aloud claim that they do so because these prayers are “for us”. They’re right, but in the wrong way. The prayers are indeed for us but they are not for our education by hearing. They are for our salvation by praying."

This is profound.

Adeodatus said...

Very interesting. I appreciate his comments.

And I think he's right about chucking the NAB ("New Atheist Bible" as I sometimes call it... I mean have you ever read the notes?!). We need to be giving the faithful a Bible that really believes its a Bible.

I've taken to bringing a Douay to Mass so that I can see the context of the readings.

Anonymous said...

Woody:

The Anglican Use liturgy is not a literal, English translation of the 1962 Roman Missal. It is amalgamation of the traditional Book of Common Prayer, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and the Roman Canon. I don't understand why the Anglican Use parishes don't or can't use the Anglican Missal (which is basically a translation of the traditional Roman rite).

Anonymous said...

It would be a huge improvement if just these things were implemented, that said, the things that go on are not the norm anyway...The problem seems more with fidelity to the Council wishes and more fidelity to a Priests personal interpretation of said Council and its' concluding documents..I mean the Roman Missal already assumes that the Priest is facing East, when it directs the Priest to TURN, face the people and say """..

Dennis said...

I could not agree more-- he hit it on the head

Gideon Ertner said...

Extremely good points. But I would also very much have liked his views on lay readers and Communion distributors, altar girls and stealth priestesses, the palsied Offertory prayer, the near-abandoning of incense, the complete lack of preparatory prayers, the occasion to sin that is the 'bidding prayers', the widespread use of ugly vestments and vessels and the ridiculous simplicity of all the other rituals for that matter.

I am a bit confused, though, at his calling for more simple chant that the people can sing along with. I would say we already have this in the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Most of the Mass settings can be learned by the faithful without supernatural effort as long as a choir leads. No need for more than a recessional hymn besides that.

(The 'simple chant' experiment has been tried with the 'responsorial psalm' and is at present a complete and utter failure. It can be done better - I know of a Lutheran composer who has created some beautiful quasi-chant - but it should not be adopted at the expense of the Gregorian propers).

Michael Hallman said...

This one is getting bookmarked. Thank you to Mr. Vernoski for his astute commentary. I think we Roman Riters can learn a great deal from his analysis.

I want to say one thing about the reference to quietly praying the Eucharistic Canon. I am a seminarian myself and have thought about these things a great deal, whether I will recite the canon aloud or silently, how I would introduce chant, whether I will celebrate ad orientem, etc. (I have six years still to figure it out!). Last night my father went to Mass with our new priest, and when he came back he was a bit turned off by the fact that the priest prayed the canon silently. My father is a deeply prayerful person, but I know he, like so many others used to the modern Novus Ordo experience, are always "waiting for something to happen," and so the silent praying of the canon to him seemed to be a denial of participation of the faithful.

When he told me this, like Mr. Vernoski, I pointed my father to the words of Pope Benedict in Spirit of the Liturgy, and how he then Cardinal Ratzinger saw the canon as perhaps a more appropriate moment for silence than the apparently forced ones we sometimes see now, especially the long pause after the homily.

What I'm getting at is that I think because of the expectation that has developed in so many Novus Ordo Catholics (and this was my own, too, until I began really studying the liturgy and also deepening my own contemplative practice, which I think is an essential element to our experience of the Mass) that something must always "be happening," when changes like this are introduced, they must be accompanied by catechesis. So if a priest is in a parish where he knows that they are unlikely to be used to a silent praying of the canon, or ad orientem orientation, perhaps during the homily he could explain what he was going to do, why he is doing it, and offer some edifying instruction on how the laity may prayerfully engage the Mass without always "expecting something to happen."

Just some thoughts. Thanks again for this great post.

Rick DeLano said...

What Adeodatus said.

And Andrew.

I was struck by the beauty of the language in the (English) Byzantine Catholic liturgy I attended: "now and to ages of ages", if I remember one example accurately

It seems they did exactly what this author suggests we do: try a slavishly literal word for word translation.

Sounds like a plan to me.

And the NAB would not be allowed by me in the hands of my children under any circumstances. It's notes are an evil and postive danger to the salvation of souls and the Bishops who granted it an imprimatur will have a great deal to answer for in eternity.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

In Miles Jesu we are bi-ritual using the Divine Liturgy of St john Chrysostom..beautiful.

Jordanes said...

And the NAB would not be allowed by me in the hands of my children under any circumstances. It's notes are an evil and postive danger to the salvation of souls and the Bishops who granted it an imprimatur will have a great deal to answer for in eternity. ***

Ain’t that the truth! My copy of the NAB is EXTRA annotated – by myself, as I correct and contradict the numerous heretical or near-heretical statements found in the notes and introductory commentaries, or correct various mistranslations or spurious textual corruptions (particularly those based on JEPD). We bought Douay Bibles as First Communion gifts for our two eldest children, and will continue to do so for our remaining children as they come of age. The NAB would only scandalise them and undermine their faith.

Anonymous said...

These are interesting opinions. They are along similar lines as Klaus Gamber's essays he wrote in the 1970's about the reform.

That being said, Cardinal Ratzinger lamented the fact that the reform directly caused the laity to think of the liturgy as something which is invented each time it is done. This impression will continue to be given because so many revisions are obviously necessary. For Ratzinger this is a tragedy and I agree with him. There is this a possibility to correct this, however. There are ancient liturgical texts (I'm thinking of Sarum and the Rite of Milan now) which, were they re-introduced with proper pedagogy, would be seen as something which we are receiving from the past. This perception that liturgy is something GIVEN to us from Tradition is, as Ratzinger has pointed out, essential to the liturgy.

Alexander said...

Two things I don’t agree on:

This is good but his opinion on the use of vernacular is way off. A liturgical language is proper, fitting, protects against ad-libbing, protects against mistranslations and it enhances the sense of the sacred which in turn fights abuse and error.

Also about the RSV-CE someone once wrote:

“We have been doing an intensive course on the writings of St. Paul. With the few exceptions where a verse is omitted in the RSV and the NA27 because of editorial decisions about authenticity, almost every single time the Douay Rheims has been word for the word with the Greek where the RSV-CE has failed. Considering the the Douai is from the Latin, this makes the RSV-CE pathetic.”

In short:

To hell with vernacular and to hell with the RSV-CE.

Woody said...

Carlos and Anonymous,

Thanks for your interest in the AU. Yes, it does use the 3-year lectionary, and yes it is not a literal translation of the 1962 MR, and yes, it is a shame that we can't use the (Anglo-Catholic) English Missal (I think in the US it is the American Missal) instead. All of this basically results from the fact that the Book of Divine Worship was formulated and approved by Rome in the 1980's, so I gather that it would have been too much of a stretch for the Roman authorities at the time to adopt the English Missal.

If I am not mistaken, the Traditional Anglican Communion, in their talks with Rome on re-communion (on the basis of "united, not absorbed") have said that they would not plan to use the BDW, the implication being that the EM or possibly some other version closer to TLM in English would be the preferred text (of course being Anglicans, they likely would have some options for folks; I gather that their parishes now do not all use the same thing). If the hoped for reunion takes place, it is reasonable to expect that the AU parishes would go into the same structure, so we may yet see the EM, or something similar.

All the best,
Woody

Anonymous said...

Alexander.
There is nothing wrong with the vernacular for liturgies. They've been using the vernacular in the East litugies for a very long, long time.

Mark said...

The reason the Anglican Use isnt just a translation of the 1962 missal ala the Anglican Missal, is because the point of the Anglican Use is not just to be liturgy in English, but specifically to adapt what the Anglicans would have been familiar with, and that for better or worse is going to come partly from the Book of Common Prayer, as much as we might like to see someday just something like the Sarum Rite in hieratic English.

Unfortunately, I fear attitudes like those of Alexander will hold back the traditional rite for another century. The language-barrier question is the biggest reason people dont try or consider the Old Rite. Unfortunately, for many trads, "the vernacular" and the Novus Ordo are inevitably tied up with each other, and they refuse to even imagine a nice, hieratic-English translation of the Old Rite ala the Anglicans or the Eastern Churches which both have long traditions of sacred-register vernacular liturgies. And the Vatican doesnt want to rock the boat further with these trads, so the Old Rite is doomed to remain being thought of inaccurately as "the Latin Mass" for the foreseeable future, and thus the province of only a relatively small group of us esotericists. It's a shame, but that's what being militant about something trivial like that will do.

Peter said...

Yes this was a very nice post.

I too was very much struck by his handling of the question of the praying of the Canon silently.

I have a question, an observation and a thought. It is in relation to the 4 songs & Mass.

First the question, I had the impression from my [limited] exposure to the Ukrainian rite that some of the things sung by the people are hymns. Is this equivalent to parts of the Latin ordinary?

The observation is in relation to long standing praxis in the English speaking world, long before the council, of low Mass with several hymns [in Australia at least, and often from diabetes-inducing Irish hymnals] and hardly ever any exposure to the sung liturgy. The pattern was already set, just the nature of what got sung changed.

The thought is in relation to vernacular hymns - good hymns (therefore we would already be contemplating good translations of Latin hymnns, but there are good vernacular hymns too) with solid doctrinal content can have a place in the catechesis of the faithful. (Latin hymnody is reputed to have arisen for that reason - rhyme and meter enabling the easy retention of various texts/truths, see Dom Britt's book 'The hyms of the Roman Missal & Breviary')

In the context of the rules of what may be sung at a (EF) sung Mass, Latin hymns might be used within Mass (and in many places it is possible to provide translations), and vernacular ones bookending Sunday celebrations.

Perhaps one other observation, much of what is sung in the vernacular at the OF is indeed best described as emotive/emotional 'songs' not hymns. Changing that dynamic will be a long work.

bedwere said...

I'm strongly in favor of the use of Latin in the liturgy. However, traditionalists' arguments regarding this language would be far more compelling if they made more efforts to learn it, use it daily, and teach it to their children. I find that ignorance of Latin unites Roman Catholics of all the colors of the spectrum.

I recommend this:

http://www.hieronymus.us

A week of spoken Latin with daily TLM (but also Latin Novus Ordo).

Anonymous said...

Outside of the comments re:the N. O. which I cannot swallow in any way, shape, or form, the balance of the critique seems quite reasonable (though I would prefer that the vernacular not be the rule, but rather, the exception). With that said, if only the language issue had arisen, I am quite certain that we would all be in our regular parishes today. There never would have been a SSPX or any other trad organization/movement. Sadly, though, the liturgy was not the only thing compromised. Post V-II teaching concerning religious liberty, collegiality, and ecumenism (which as they stand today are ambiguous at best and pervert the Eastern rites, too) strike at the heart of Catholic belief concerning the nature of the Church, must be corrected and restated in absolutely Catholic terms to remove any possibility of misinterpretation.

One wonders if the other corruptions such as lay lectors, altar girls, Eucharistic ministers etc... would not have materialized. Needless to say all that rot must go too. In a nutshell all the modernist rubbish must go.

It's not just the Mass. Many really didn't realize it until they had been hoodwinked by the modernists. Until then I will stay away, far, far away at my safe haven "independent" (trad Catholic) "parish" which has unquestionably valid sacraments and trust in God's goodness and mercy!

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

It's a shame people have to post Anonymously.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people say such things as..."If only 'they' would've kept the Mass in Latin..."...

...or "they should have done this and that...kept the Canon in a low voice..."

The purpose of the Novus Ordo was (and is) to depart from centuries of Tradition.

When will we awaken to the fact that the purpose of the Novus Ordo isn't to preserve the Latin Church's liturgical tradition?

Pope Paul VI, November 26, 1969:

"We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass.

"A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries.

"This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled.

"We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed...we must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience.

"It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits.

"We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect.

"This novelty is no small thing. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language.

"No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass.

"We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance.

"We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

"We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment."

Tim

EricG said...

Dr. Marsden's remarks are truly ignorant, comparing as he does Byzantine Catholic with clown-mass promoters. Rorate Caeli is apparently trying to avoid the very balkanization previous Popes have warned Catholics about. Good for it!

My objection is not to the featuring of Byzantine Catholic commentary, but to this particular commentator, who runs a very anti-Catholic forum on his website. Peruse the posts there, and you will find a very ethno-centric theology, whereby every development in the Catholic West post-1054 is considered "Latin," and may be safely ignored by Eastern Catholics.

Of course, these same Catholics would not apply this same logic to Ecumenical Councils ("the original seven") held after the Oriental/Assyrian (i.e., "Monophysite"/"Nestorian"--yes, I know these are technically misnomers!) schisms.

I content myself with the knowledge that the posters on that forum are ethno-fanatics who are not in any way representative of the Eastern Catholic rank-and-file, who are proud of their Catholicism, and do not shun devotions just because they happened to originate in Latin Catholicism, and do not see such devotions as incompatible with their mandate to restore their own authentic patrimony.

My two cents anyway.

Gideon Ertner said...

They've been using the vernacular in the East litugies for a very long, long time.

That may have been true at one time. But more recently Koine Greek, Church Slavonic, Classical Armenian, Ancient Syriac, Coptic and Ge'ez cannot exactly be termed 'vernaculars.'

Anyway, so what if the Easterners have a tradition of using the local language? We are Westerners; we have our own traditions which are dear to us and such is, for example, the universal use of Latin - a tradition which may well have helped shield us from the apalling ethnocentrism that has crippled and ripped apart the Christian East.

Andrew said...

Re: Mark's comment. I am more optimistic about the future of the English missal as an approved liturgy in the near future with the coming `further provision' for distressed Anglicans. I wish to draw your attention to this comment of Fr. Christopher G. Phillips about the creation of the Anglican Use Liturgy:

From:
http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/06/cardinal-dinardo-book-of-divine-worship.html

Those of us who use the Book of Divine Worship on a daily basis are among the first to make the point that there is a great need to improve and unify it. Lest anyone think we are satisfied with the injection of ICEL texts into traditional English texts, please understand the circumstances under which the BDW was compiled. I was but one member of the special commission given the task of compiling the liturgy in 1983, but there were many others on the commission who apparently had another agenda -- individuals such as Piero Marini -- and it was because of their insistence that there had to be such things as the inclusion of the contemporary-language Psalter, the N.O. offertory rite, etc. Quite frankly, I was pushing for an acceptance of something resembling much more closely the Anglican Missal, or the English Missal. We did have a slight victory when we were allowed to have the Gregorian Canon in traditional English, and that small step will, I hope, open the door to a revision of the BDW which will more closely resemble the liturgical life which most of us were accustomed to at the time of our conversion to the fullness of Catholic faith.

But please -- those of you who are eager to point out the shortcomings -- you're not saying anything we don't already know, and we're working hard and praying to remedy it. As the saying goes, "...brick by brick..." and that's true for not only for the wider Western liturgy, but also for our little corner of it.
Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

Gideon Ertner said...

I should, however, note that I think it would be most interesting to translate the TLM into Classical Sanskrit.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of these comments. The three biggest things that could be done to improve the NO are (1) sing the entire liturgy, from beginning to end, as we do in the Byzantine tradition, (2) have the priest face east during the anaphora, and (3) use a dignified and faithful translation in modern English that avoids inclusive language.

In my Byzantine (Ukranian Greek Catholic) parish, the liturgy is entirely in modern English except during Pascha and a few other times. There is vastly more congregational participation than in the average NO parish. The chants of the Divine Liturgy are will know to the people, who heartily join in.

The other facet of the NO that has always bothered me is communion in the hand. That should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

PS
I also have problems with allowing the laity to distribute communion, and in laity being allowed within the sanctuary. On a recent trip to St. Mark's in Venice, I noticed that there is a beautiful iconostasis but with statues instead of icons. There needs to be some separation between the presbytery, where only clergy and male altar servers enter, and the nave where the congregation serves the liturgy.

Having hordes of eucharistic ministers swirling around the altar detracts from the sacrificial aspect of the liturgy.

Anonymous said...

SO Paul VI proclaimed his allocution which essentially says this is a new rite of Mass whereas Pope Benedict XVI explains to us in his MP that there is but one rite with a twofold use..Confusing to say the least..From all indication Pope Paul VI for whatever his reasons set out to create a new rite from almost scratch..We now sit with its; fruits..

Jordanes said...

Dr. Marsden said: I thought this was a traditionalist blog not a neo-con blog. ***

The label is "neo-Catholic," not "neo-con." There is nothing either "neo-Catholic" or "neo-conservative" about a Byzantine Catholic making interesting and necessary criticisms of the way the Catholic Church's liturgy was utterly botched and how it could have been done differently and much, much better.

Sad that this is included. ***

I think it's your comment that is the sadder.

If all "orthodox" Catholic opinion is tolerated and traditionalist commentary censored, as the introduction states, what has become of Rorate Caeli? ***

Rorate Caeli does not tolerate all "orthodox" Catholic opinion, nor all traditionalist commentary, whether the commentary is "orthodox" or otherwise.

Woe betide any commentators who voice disagreement, however... ***

We're Catholics. We don't believe in "freedom of speech." Merely voicing disagreement isn't necessarily going to be a problem here, but there are certain objectionable opinions for which Rorate definitely isn't in the business of serving as a platform.

Anonymous said...

This is a great intellectual discussion however we all know NONE of any one of these suggestions are going to occur.

We can't even get bishops to allow the Tridentine Mass despite Summorum Pontificum giving full authority to all clergy to say it yet they are suppressed by their bishops. No mandate from Rome rebukes these bishops.

The slow, agonizing process to get the new English translation for the Novus Ordo Missal shows yet more resistance. While there is a time frame, many don't see any mandate any of it HAS to be implemented. Bishops do as they please and Rome is rather powerless to effect anythng different.

I dread tho think we have to endure several more hardships before Rome overcomes its own ineffectiveness. Nonetheless, pray and pray.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Deacon Nathan, however, I'll stick to the Tridentine Rite, the pillar of the Roman Church for the past five hundred years. The firm, solid richness of what the Tridentine Rite encompasses has been our staple.

Many decry the "Latinization" of these other Rites around the world. If these people believe there is nothing to learn from the Latin Rite, well then, we in the Latin Rite don't "need" or want any "Orientalization" of ours.

Matt

Anonymous said...

"We can't even get bishops to allow the Tridentine Mass despite Summorum Pontificum giving full authority to all clergy to say it yet they are suppressed by their bishops.

"No mandate from Rome rebukes these bishops.

"Bishops do as they please and Rome is rather powerless to effect anythng different."

Is Rome truly powerless?

Tim

Elizabeth said...

Interestingly, there were many people at the start of Vatican II who really thought that the author's suggestion in his first paragraph (translating the missal of John XXIII, etc.) was going to be as far as the liturgical changes went, and I suspect that this was one of the reasons that the concept of liturgical "renewal" initially received a lot of support. What was actually done was entirely different, of course, but it's interesting to see this observation appear in this context 40+ years later.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Many decry the "Latinization" of these other Rites around the world. If these people believe there is nothing to learn from the Latin Rite, well then, we in the Latin Rite don't "need" or want any "Orientalization" of ours."

Too late, Matt. The fact is that in liturgical history, the West has borrowed far more heavily from the East, than the East has borrowed (or has had the need to borrow) from the West. Kyrie? That is obviously Eastern, although we don't use it the same way the Easterners do. Gloria? That is an Eastern hymn. Agnus Dei? Introduced by a Syrian Pope. Don't get me talking about the Liturgical Calendar...

Besides, I do not see any further "Orientalization" being advocated by Mr. Vernoski. Is Ad Orientem an "Orientalization"? No. Is the use of very simple chant settings an Orientalization? No. The use of the vernacular is indeed proposed here, and the Eastern liturgical tradition has been much friendlier to that than the Western, but Mr. Vernoski isn't proposing the use of the vernacular on the grounds that it will bring the Latin rites closer to the Eastern.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"But I would also very much have liked his views on lay readers and Communion distributors, altar girls and stealth priestesses, the palsied Offertory prayer, the near-abandoning of incense, the complete lack of preparatory prayers, the occasion to sin that is the 'bidding prayers', the widespread use of ugly vestments and vessels and the ridiculous simplicity of all the other rituals for that matter."

I think that the example of the Byzantine Rite speaks for itself already. Mr. Vernoski is known as an advocate of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy exactly according to the "Ruthenian Recension" books published under the guidance of Cardinal Tisserant in Rome in 1941, and these books are known for their fidelity to the Byzantine tradition and near-total absence of Latinization. So I guess that says enough.

"I am a bit confused, though, at his calling for more simple chant that the people can sing along with. I would say we already have this in the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Most of the Mass settings can be learned by the faithful without supernatural effort as long as a choir leads. No need for more than a recessional hymn besides that."

Actually, a recessional hymn isn't even necessary :-)

The proposal here is for the ENTIRE Mass to be sung, and that would include not just the Ordinary but also the Propers. I would like to point out that, far from being a "modernist" innovation, the singing of the Propers by the faithful was something that many of the original luminaries of the liturgical reform (before it got off the rails in the late 1940's) also dreamed about.

I agree that the Kyriale as it stands is, theoretically, "singable" by the faithful, but I think we are all aware of how even many of the best Sunday TLM's in parish settings -- the minority that are actually sung -- have gotten stuck at using only 3-4 Mass settings at most, and how some communities have been forever using either "De Angelis" or even simpler ones. This is far from ideal, and the ideal would be the use of the full range of settings given by the Kyriale, and the post does say that Gregorian chant ought to be used as well; but given the actual situation on the ground, it might be necessary to develop a range of simple chants for the various seasons of the liturgical year, at least as a transition point. That is just my opinion, though, and I guess if Jeffrey Tucker were to see this he'd disagree.

At the very least, we should aim for ALL main Sunday Masses to be sung.

(The 'simple chant' experiment has been tried with the 'responsorial psalm' and is at present a complete and utter failure. It can be done better - I know of a Lutheran composer who has created some beautiful quasi-chant - but it should not be adopted at the expense of the Gregorian propers).

Of course, of course, but don't forget that even prior to the Council there was already need for Rossini propers and other similar simplified chants. The Gregorian chant propers are the best, but we must not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"This is a great intellectual discussion however we all know NONE of any one of these suggestions are going to occur."

We KNOW? Can you peer into the future, Matt?

"We can't even get bishops to allow the Tridentine Mass despite Summorum Pontificum giving full authority to all clergy to say it yet they are suppressed by their bishops. No mandate from Rome rebukes these bishops."

Rome has privately and publicly rebuked some bishops over their resistance to Summorum Pontificum, and SP itself was a great triumph over the objections of much of the world episcopate. Now, we in RC have no illusions about what is going on -- you only have to read through our posts to notice that --but progress HAS been made, albeit slowly. We must not deny this either.

"The slow, agonizing process to get the new English translation for the Novus Ordo Missal shows yet more resistance."

Resistance that is being overcome, and which the Holy See is determined to defeat.

"While there is a time frame, many don't see any mandate any of it HAS to be implemented."

I don't think that even the more radical Bishops' conferences will dare refuse to implement a translation ordered by Rome, once that translation is officially promulgated.

"Bishops do as they please and Rome is rather powerless to effect anythng different."

Rome is powerless to effect anything different IMMEDIATELY, but it can do so over the long haul.

"I dread tho think we have to endure several more hardships"

We are not Christians without the Cross.

"...before Rome overcomes its own ineffectiveness. Nonetheless, pray and pray."

Yes, pray and pray. It took 70 years for the papacy to move back to Rome from Avignon, and more than a hundred years for the Renaissance Church to be properly reformed. Don't lose heart: Christ has already overcome the power of hell!

Matt

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"I should, however, note that I think it would be most interesting to translate the TLM into Classical Sanskrit."

And why would anyone do that? Classical Sanskrit is a "dead" language, now given over entirely to the use of the theological discourse of several religious traditions of Indian origin.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"That may have been true at one time. But more recently Koine Greek, Church Slavonic, Classical Armenian, Ancient Syriac, Coptic and Ge'ez cannot exactly be termed 'vernaculars.'"

These are no longer "vernaculars", but they did start off as such, just like Latin, albeit elevated compared to the vulgar use. Church Slavonic was never the vernacular of any nation, but it was understandable for educated Slavs until about a hundred years ago, and even to this very day (at least for the ones who frequently go to Church). Coptic and Syriac have often been called "dead tongues", but only because of Islamic dominance and the resulting domination of Arabic in Egypt, Syria and the Levant; even then, there are still some villages and extended families where Coptic and Syriac are spoken in the context of daily life, and not just for daily prayers!

It is my understanding that in the Eastern tradition, when the liturgy is transplanted into a different culture, the language of the prevailing culture is often adopted; however, once this occurs, the liturgical language changes at a glacial pace compared to street or common usage.

"Anyway, so what if the Easterners have a tradition of using the local language? We are Westerners; we have our own traditions which are dear to us and such is, for example, the universal use of Latin - a tradition which may well have helped shield us from the apalling ethnocentrism that has crippled and ripped apart the Christian East."

The common use of Old Church Slavonic didn't stop Slavic Orthodoxy from fragmenting into different jurisdictions; obviously language was not the only factor. Besides, the vernacular is now universal in the Roman Rite (much more, indeed, than in the Byzantine world): are we going to take a scorched-earth approach and insist that the only choice is between Latin and bad or pedestrian vernacular?

Alexander said...

Anonymous wrote:

“Alexander.
There is nothing wrong with the vernacular for liturgies. They've been using the vernacular in the East litugies for a very long, long time.”

Yes there is, for all the reasons I described above.

The use of a liturgical language is more beneficial than vernacular. I guess there's nothing intrinsically wrong but there is a better option.

Mark said...

"Many decry the "Latinization" of these other Rites around the world. If these people believe there is nothing to learn from the Latin Rite, well then, we in the Latin Rite don't "need" or want any "Orientalization" of ours."

As someone pointed out, this simply shows no real understanding of liturgical history.

Even some things that post-tridentine-style trads decry as "orientalization" (like fuller vestments, iconographic-style art, emphasis on subsidiarity in church governance, people making the responses instead of just the server, etc) are really just a return to EARLIER, early medieval Western Traditions. A restoration of things that had grown decadent and vestigial in own tradition, not actually outside impositions.

Whereas Latinizations to the East usually involved forcing them to adopt things totally foreign or, rather, to force them to adopt what were actually vestigial forms in even our own rite. Why should a Byzantine priest wear a Baroque chasuble instead of a full phelonion or whatever??

Rev. Peter Simpson said...

I fully expect this comment to be moderated by the egocentric moderator. But I post it anyway, content in the knowlege that it will be read by this "Jordan" character and will also appear on my blog highlighting this individual's ignorance.

"Jordan" writes:

The label is "neo-Catholic," not "neo-con." There is nothing either "neo-Catholic" or "neo-conservative"

As you are still a Catholicism "newbie", you ought to be forgiven for this ignorant mistake. The term - or one of them - is in fact "neo con" or "neo-conservative". This is the term Fr Chad Ripperger FSSP applied some years ago, and the one preferred by Michael Davies of happy memory.

As this was most probably some years before you were even a Catholic, your ignorance ought to be forgiven. However, your persistent arrogance ought not be.

Next time you try to teach Catholics about Catholicism, you should stop, think, and be silent. Remind yourself that you are merely a newbie who is in no position whatsoever to teach anyone anything. And, in fact, the only position you should assume, if any, is one of an earnest student at the feet of others who actually know what they are talking about.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

To some obnoxious commentators who think that their diocese is the microcosm of the whole world, and who seem not to know the difference between a few TLM's and no TLM's:

I live in one of the countries where the TLM is most heavily persecuted, so don't lecture me about what "hostility to Summorum Pontificum" is!

Jordanes said...

I fully expect this comment to be moderated by the egocentric moderator. But I post it anyway, content in the knowlege that it will be read by this "Jordan" character and will also appear on my blog highlighting this individual's ignorance. ***

ALL comments at Rorate are moderated, but some are not permitted. Your comment is offensive and insulting, and constitutes a personal attack, and usually we do not allow such comments. Your own words above suggest that you were aware that your comment is inappropriate, but it didn't stop you from posting it anyway. But your comment has been allowed to highlight the kinds of comments that are out-of-bounds here, and frankly unnecessary and unedifying. But please don't even try to post any further obnoxious comments here. You may, if you desire, be obnoxious on your own blog.

As you are still a Catholicism "newbie", ***

I've been a Catholic for a little over nine years.

you ought to be forgiven for this ignorant mistake. ***

However, as you identify yourself as a cleric, you are held to higher expectations of conduct and speech.

The term - or one of them - is in fact "neo con" or "neo-conservative". This is the term Fr Chad Ripperger FSSP applied some years ago, and the one preferred by Michael Davies of happy memory. ***

So Father Ripperger and Michael Davies misused and misapplied labels. That's doesn't mean anybody should follow their example. Even the "neo-Catholic" label shouldn't be used, but certainly the secular political label "neo-conservative" is inapplicable and inappropriate. Importing the "paleo-con" vs. "neo-con" dichotomy and adapting it to the "traditionalist" Catholic vs. so-called "conservative" Catholic distinction obscures far more than it clarifies.

As this was most probably some years before you were even a Catholic, your ignorance ought to be forgiven. However, your persistent arrogance ought not be. ***

We'll be judged by the same measure we mete out to others. If you really believe my alleged persistent arrogance ought not be forgiven, then by the same token neither should your personal attacks. But you may be assured that I won't apply the same stringent rule to you that you say should be applied to me.

Next time you try to teach Catholics about Catholicism, you should stop, think, and be silent. Remind yourself that you are merely a newbie who is in no position whatsoever to teach anyone anything. ***

I will have to disappoint you. I have no intention of being bullied and insulted by someone who may or may not know more than I do about Catholicism. I certainly am not "merely a newbie," nor one "who is in no position whatsoever to teach anyone anything."

And, in fact, the only position you should assume, if any, is one of an earnest student at the feet of others who actually know what they are talking about. ***

"If any"? So I may not even be qualified to learn anything about Catholicism, eh? I do hope you aren't this nasty to anyone Christ has committed to your pastoral care.

I request an apology for your abusive remarks.

Anonymous said...

Nice article and discussion for a while, until the hops became too over bearing...

Jakub

REM3 said...

He loses me right from the beginning. He is asked what Byzantine Catholics see, and answers by saying what he would do [to change it]. To a Rite that isn't even his. Rather arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Correction-- In the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholics particularly the large Ukrainian & Russian Orthodox & Catholic churches the VENACULAR IS NOT USED. The traditional language used in the Slavic eastern churches is OLD SLAVONIC not modern languages like Ukrainian & Russian. Old Slavonic is to the East as Latin is to the West.

johnkgibson said...

I have been reading John's comments on Liturgy for several years now and I completely agree with him.

I am a latin Rite layman who transfered rites to the Eastern Rite. However I did not do it to run from the Liturgy. I did it because I fell in love with the Eastern Liturgy.

A couple of comments on some other comments:

The Decrying of Latinizations and we don't need no stinking eastern stuff here (massive paraphrase)

Latinizations on an Eastern Church is like forcing a left handed child to write with his right hand. You can do it, but It isn't right. Many of the Latinizations where due to ignorance and many times misunderstandings.

The east and west share many thing, on of them is the celebrant facing east, and the history of chant. Both of these have sadly been disregarded in the west. One of the things that many people don't understand that in the early revisions of the new Mass was that the instructions told the priest things like this "At this time, turn around and bless the people" This is done in the Divine Litrugy many times were the Priest faces east with the People, leading them to Heaven, and then turns to give a blessing to us.