Rorate Caeli

Holy Emmentaler!

No document of the last Council was more consequential than its first, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium).

Many, particularly the loudest defenders of the "Reform of the Reform", simply say that the document was never properly understood, or properly applied. Was that so? Mr. Christopher Ferrara examines the loopholes in Sacrosanctum Concilium in an excellent analysis published by The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.


Joe B said...

It would have been nice if they had at least mentioned how we were to square this Calvinist mass with Quo Primum. The conservative line I've heard is that Quo Primum is non binding on future popes (and thus absolutely irrelevant to a liberal pope). But that's not what Quo Primum reads like. I don't think the top theologians of that day would agree with that assessment. It reads like they went out of their way to use the most deadly serious language and penalties they possibly could for just such changes as the mass of VC II, including the invocation of the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul upon those who fostered it. Shudders.

Anonymous said...

A clear and concise rendering of the document and what has happened since. Even a Pope whould be able to look back on it now and see it as a license to return to the days before Trent. Before Latin Liturgical Unity. We don't need a Vatican III, EVER. We need a Trent II whose symbolism would go a long way at undoing what Vat II did without saying so much. Hold a Council or Synod in Trent and you will see the entire attitude of the Church shift. Hopefully the Holy Father or next will see that SC has been implemented, but the results have not been good for the Faith so he will abrogate its' fruits. Now to see this article one must think that a reform of the reform, of the reform, of the reform, of the reform, of the reform will never end. Horrible consequences for souls. SC can only be seen as an undoing of Trent's declaritive unity. How can anyone claim the two Councils to be in continuity? Something has to give and it is probably easier, wiser, and more prudent to rid the Church of SC. Documents and whole Councils have been abrogated in the past. As a Catholic this reading made me sick.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Mr. Ferrara's article points out what those of us who actually lived through the post-Vatican II liturgical changes learned right away: the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was a masterpiece of double-talk and contradictory statements.

Thus "progressives" and "conservatives" have spent decades wrangling over “what Vatican II really wanted” for the Mass — vernacular or Latin, adaptation or tradition, facing the people or facing “East,” modern musical forms or Gregorian, stark walls or statues, and so on.

These are arguments that neither side could ever win — because they hinged on statements that are themselves ambiguous or equivocal, phrased in terms of “yes/but” and “on one hand/on the other.”

The only way to deal with the "blank check" of Sacrosanctum Concilium is to tear it up and toss it into the garbage.

One issue that advocates of a "conservative" spin for the Constitution never seem to address, however, is this:

If the liturgy we ended up with was so contrary to "what Vatican II really wanted," why did the same bishops who passed the Constitution in Rome go back to their respective countries and dump Latin, turn altars around, permit modern music, gut churches and the rest?

Vatican II gave national bishops' conferences a great deal of power to implement the liturgical changes. It's not as if one set of bishops passed Sacrosanctum Concilium and another wicked set of bishops implemented it incorrectly.

So how can conservatives claim that "what the Council really wanted" was "misinterpreted" when the liturgical changes were finally implemented?

C. said...

Regardless, The Council Fathers never intended Sacrosanctum Concilium to be applied to the Extraordinary Form as freed by Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

So many people want Summorum Pontificum repealed, and replaced with a hybrid Mass. It is sad.

John L said...

Well, at the 1967 synod the bishops commented unfavourably on the prototype Novus Ordo, a point remarked on in the Ottaviani intervention. They folded before the NO because the full weight of papal support coupled with the influence of its modernist supporters was very strong, they were badly informed about the nature of the liturgy, and(with one exception) they had neither the mentality nor the character needed to resist abuse of papal authority.

Sadie Vacantist said...

A dimension that needs to be understood is the language of the original SC and the way language was used by the author and then subsequently translated into the various vernaculars. I am not that sure the motives were sinister but were an authentic attempt to be less proscriptive (ambiguous?) and top-down assertive.

Ferrara has failed to identify the political landscape of the 50's and 60's which prompted this new approach.

Please don't misunderstand. I believe the post-war generations were deluded but I can understand how this process came about for the simple reason the post-war generations were being lied to about what had happened between 1932-1945.

It was the political climate, as in the analysis of 1932-45 then being absorbed, and not Bugnini's freemasonry which produced the NO Mass and surrounding ecclesiology.

Anonymous said...

The only diocesan bishop that disregarded the options that SC offered him was also the most successful until his retirement. Then they "updated" his former diocese to cause division. The bishop was Antonio DeCastro Meyer. The diocese was Campos, Brazil. The Traditionalist group there that made peace with Rome is now dedicated to St. John Vianney. One can argue whether it would have pleased the late bishop and friend of Abp. Marcel LeFebvre. May they both R.I.P.

A.M. La Pietra

LeonG said...

Fr Cekada,

I agree wholeheartedly with you as a young layperson at the time who lived through this diabolical disorientation of The Church encouraged and cajoled by its post-conciliar liberal modernist papacies. The entire church apart from a few brave souls followed the directions handed down from above. Anyone who questioned them was persecuted by various means.

My parents, fortunately for me, remained traditional after a short initial period of disbelief at what was actually taking place.

The hierarchy sat above it all, propagating it, telling us it was springtime in the church and razing all those traditional bastions quite determinedly.

I will never buy the hermeneutic of continuity hypothesis because it is an intellectual chameleon trying to sell us a product which is absolutely diametrically opposed to what we enjoyed as Roman Catholics before all this destructive nonsense began. What we see today as Catholicism is counterfeit: no less.

Anonymous said...

A useful article, especially for the addicts of the "hermeneutics of continuity", which is more of a slogan or a postulate than a documented fact.

I hope that this article will be read by Fr. Z., who recently posted a very presomptuous article in this respect

Sadie Vacantist said...

I'm sorry I don't buy it to the blame on Bugnini, P6, JPII and so on …For all its faults, B16's Hermeneutic of Continuity is about as good as it is going to get at the moment. The only alternative is for American trads to join the Tea party Movement (if they haven't done so already), use their agents in the American military to launch a military coup against Washington and then lose their lives on the battlefield in the subsequent civil unrest. Following a victory of course the trad vision for both society and the Church could perhaps then be realised. I am sure Euro trads will contribute to the battle in the manner of Spain in 1936-39.

Mairedecortichon said...

Well, it is surprising to see Neo-cons(whatever they may be called) still argue about the true purpose and interpretation of the documents of VCII(in this case SC). This shows the incompetence of modern theologians, not only are they incapable of producing clear and unambiguous doctrinal documents, but after so many years of being brainwashed by the "New Theology", they have become unable to see their own doctrinal mistakes. They see the cause of their problems(new doctrines and accepting very dangerous philosophical ideas) as the solution to their challenges(approaching the modern world), which perpetuates a vicious circle. While they are arguing, the world continues its infernal descent to the infernal abyss.

Knight of Malta said...

"...the revision of liturgical books should allow for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples...In same places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed..." [SC, Article 38, 40]

I simply don't see how some, like Fr. Z, see in SC a document that was "hijacked" by progressives. It was wrought by progressives (Fr. Bugnini was a principle drafter and proponent of it,) and in it were the seeds which fomented liturgical self-destruction; the turning of a thing graceful, divine and inspiring, to something mediocre and uninspiring. The mass went from Sacrifice to community gathering.

LeonG said...

Like CF I did the same thing and read all I was able on SC and surrounding commentaries. The objective was to radically alter The Holy Mass and this was achieved according to liberal intentions. Bugnini is the key to this process and his elevation to expert liturgical status during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. In spite of Pope John XIII's attempts to stall him Pope Paul VI gave him carte blanche to do what he had always worked for assiduously during this time. Open-ended authorisation for liturgical reform and decentralisation of central liturgical control facilitated the sequel.

Significantly, it is only now that the damage is done that we can see some action from The Vatican on the issue. That said, the action is completely inadequate because this papacy has no intention of going much further with it. The plan is to tinker with the NO as much as possible to make it appear more acceptable.

The original project failed so the response is more change but certainly not toward a restoration of The Holy Mass in Latin. We have to hope further ahead for that. This pope is focussed on the NO & an eventual hybridised rite. To return to the genuine Roman Catholic liturgy would be an invalidation of the continuity hypothesis.

Fratellino said...

"So many people want Summorum Pontificum repealed, and replaced with a hybrid Mass. It is sad."

However, thanks to the SSPX's independence, that will never happen, or if it does, we're simply back to the status quo until the politics of the piece change sufficiently to allow a repeal. It will come in time.

Having read the books long ago I am reminded, in the person of Apb. Anabile Bugnini, of the character of "Steerpike" in Mervyn Peake's novels of Gormenghast. Although the work is imperfectly drawn, and for all his cynicism as to the value of hierarchy and liturgical continuity, Peake's portrayal of the viscous and ambitions kitchen boy who ruthlessly rises in order to attempt the destruction of the castle is eerily similar to the history of Bugnini and his masterstroke "Sacrosanctum Concilium." He sowed the seeds of division, and his spawn are playing us off one another still. But Steerpike got his comeuppance, so did Bugnini. Gormenghast went on. So shall the church, until the last vestige of his malevolence is purged from the sanctuaries and driven from the church.

Bill Leininger said...

I see that Fr. Cekada has offered his comments. As someone who has just finished his book "Work of Human Hands", I would give serious consideration to his views. While it is sad that he remains a sede vacantist, he has demonstrated in his recent book a profound understanding of how we arrived at the novus ordo missae, and he places a large portion of the blame squarely on Jungmann, Boyer, Bugnini and Paul VI! His book is the best explanation of the nightmare that occurred after Vat II that I have ever read! Don't miss his book, which can be obtained on Amazon for $24.95.

Bill Leininger

Ogard said...

While not delighted with the New Mass, I really see nothing seriously objectionable in it as it stands.

Could somebody draw my attention to the objectionable aspects? I mean the aspects of the Mass itself; not what “Ottaviani said or Bugnini did”, or what “was before and now omitted”, or how the SC was “highjacked” by Freemasons, or other nonsense etc. But strictly the text and rubrics of the Mass as they stand now.

What is it that makes it “Calvinist” (Joe B), for example; what about “Latin Liturgical Unity” (Anonymous) during the first millennium; who can explain the notions “hermeneutic of continuity” or “anthropological phenomenologist” (LeonG), and what these have to do with the New Mass; does anyone know what Christ’s Sacrifice was all about, and in what sense the Mass is a “Sacrifice” (Knight of Malta), and what is it that makes it a “community gathering” (ibid.) that is different from the congregation in the Old Mass ?

How can one “tear …up and toss … into the garbage” the solemn Constitution of a general Council of the Church and still claim to be Catholic (Cekada) ?

Anonymous said...

I find the prospect of a "hybrid rite" dreadful. There is no need or value in the NO that would merit the need to "mix" it with the Mass of the Ages. The only "change" to the 1962 rite should be the restoration of the older rubrics and the pre-55 Holy Week et al. but only after sanity has been restored after prolonged use of the '62.

Let it be remembered that Sacrosanctum Concilium was the only document in the original schema of the preparatory commission that wasn't outright rejected by the liberal periti but welcomed enthusiastically. Why was that? Their filthy prints were all over it, so of course they are going to welcome their own work and push to get it passed without tinkering.

Sure, Sacrosanctum Concilium is "ours", but with its pedigree, its ambiguity and its "time bombs" we'd be better off looking to Mediator Dei.

Anonymous said...

How can one tear up and throw away a conciliar document? Easy you pull the papers in two different directions forcibly...

As to the differences between the TLM and NO, numerous books have been written. Here's a quick primer-

Anonymous said...

I believe this article was printed a long time ago in "Latin Mass" magazine.

Joe B said...

Read the post, Ogard.

"It is reported that Paul VI later confided to Guitton that the new rite he had promulgated was specifically designed to resemble as closely as possible a Calvinist communion service, evidently with this norm in mind."

As for breaking down the rubrics and phrases, that has been done ad nauseum, but we no longer need to do that since we can all judge the mass by its fruits now. It has failed in its purpose, which was to appeal to modern man in his modern environment, and has instead driven modern man, especially good priestly candidates, away. Same with nuns, convents, monasteries, and Catholic education. Look for the forest, Ogard, and you will find the trees.

New Catholic said...

Yes, this is an article printed long ago. We never said that it was recently published. Nevertheless, it remains quite interesting and even up-to-date.

Knight of Malta said...

Ogard--you might take a look at the booklet "The Problem of the Liturgical Reform" (can't send the link via my iPhone but you can google it and download a free copy). It covers the difference between the Novus Ordo and TLM very well.

Brian said...

New Catholic wrote, Yes, this is an article printed long ago. We never said that it was recently published. Nevertheless, it remains quite interesting and even up-to-date.

Interesting and up-to-date this is right. What an amazing coincidence! (?) It was posted within a day of Fr. Z's:

"In a conversation with a friend today it became clearer and clearer to me how the Second Vatican Council’s document on liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, is entirely the property of … on the side of the traditional/conversative argument.

"The usual narrative which has predominated over the last decades is that Sacrosanctum Concilium is the driving force behind liberal reforms.

"Sacrosanctum Concilium is a conservative document which was hijacked.

"It is wholly ours."

Ogard said...

Read my comment, Joe B. I asked “What is it that makes it ‘Calvinist’” and not what “is reported” about what “Paul VI later confided to Guitton”. Show me just one of the “trees” in the “forest”. May I rightly guess that you won’t because there is – none?

Knight of Malta, I did not ask for recommendation of literature, but put a specific question. Show me just one or few place/s in that book that provide/s a reply. (Incidentally, I have read the book: I see nothing there that holds water.)

Anonymous said...

Attn. Ogard:

Why do we here have to prove the case that the N.O. is objectionable? It is you who need to show how it can be positive. If nothing else the N.O. causes a large number of people to lessen their faith. If the N.O. Mass had a good track record like more people believing in the real presence you would have a point. But it is just the opposite.

A.M. LaPietra

Anonymous said...

Ogard, the point is not so much the new mass in itself as what it is compared to what the Mass was before (in other words, the 1969-1970 mass as compared to the 1962 one). Changes have to be justified and should be improvements. Just one example: the new missal constantly cites "the Virgin Mary". On its own merits, it sounds quite ok: who would object? however, if you compare this with the corresponding phrase that was used for centuries and centuries untile 1969, it was "beata Maria semper virgo". The perpetual virginity of the Mother of God was trashed in the new missal - probably to please some protestant denominations, this is another matter but the fact is that a dogma is silenced in the new missal. Thi sis just one example. As some other readers say, dozens of highly documented articles were written on this subject.

Ogard said...

Anonimous A.M. LaPietra, and another Anonymous, you have gloriously joined the Club of Joe B and Knight of Malta: none of you is willing to say what is objectionable in the text and rubrics of the NM as it stands; and the latter is my question. If others join (the Club) one will have to conclude that the NM is perfect.

M. A. said...


A friend of mine came over to tradition after she enrolled her children in a Catholic homeschooling program. In the religion class, the program presented both forms of the Mass in a side by side comparison.

That is all it took for her to start traveling to attend the Tridentine Mass because for her and her family the differences were glaringly obvious.

Do some homework. Even children 'get it'.

Mairedecortichon said...

Mr Ogard, take the the New offertory prayers and compare it to the offertory prayer of the old Mass. The offertory prayer of the N.O.M is lacking in precision of Catholic Theology, clear expression of the Catholic Faith, theological rigor, and maybe most of all, the new offertory contains protestant "theology". Let us think about rubrics and theology, both are connected, and the rubrics often follow the expression of Catholic Theology. The abandonment of genuflections, sign of crosses, precise Collects with accentuations on Sin, penance, Judgment, Hell, divine Forgiveness have all together been either watered down or simply abolished in the N.O.M. This leads directly to a weakening of the Faith of the priests and a great weakness against dangers as heresy and erroneous doctrines. Furthermore, for the serious Thomistic philosophers and theologians, the N.O.M is a complete mess, which is valid ontologically, but its effects are an impoverishment of Catholic Theology and doctrinal rigor.
One must study Metaphysics and sound theology in order to discover those mistakes in the N.O.M, the externals of the N.O.M are bad enough, but when one goes to the inner theological and metaphysical depth of the texts of the N.O.M, one is thunderstruck by its poor and weak theology which very often expresses a Protestant understanding of the Mass. I could say more, but reading the aforementioned books is more relevant for you, and I sincerely find this discussion about the N.O.M pitiful, as modern theologians are themselves very poor in distinctions and syllogistic rigor.
To me the N.O.M is a complete mess, metaphysically, theologically, logically(logics), and maybe worse, it does not even come close to the rigor and theological content of the Missal of 1962.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that Ogard's very perspective is wrong, in so far as he insists on focusing on "the NM as it stands". This is fundamentally a flawed perspective, as any change has to be justified as an improvement from the previous situation. Which is hardly the case - to say the least - with the NM compared to the traditional one.

Ogard said...

Mr Mairedecortichon, thanks for addressing my question directly, in some points at least.
However, I have to say that “The offertory prayer of the N.O.M is” NOT “lacking in precision of Catholic Theology.” On the contrary, it addresses the things by their proper names: during the Offertory the gifts are still bread and wine – nothing more. If this language were used after Consecration, that would be the “protestant ‘theology’ ” indeed, but it is not the case.

It is a sound theology that the Mass, or better the Eucharist in so far as it is a Sacrifice, is primarily offered by Christ, then by His Holy and Immaculate Bride, then by the celebrant-priest, who acts in the person of Christ, minister of the Church, and as an individual member of the present congregation. He is acting in persona Christi during the Consecration, not during the Offertory. The gifts of bread and wine that he offers at the Offertory symbolize the sacrifice offered by the whole Church, as well as by the present congregation, including himself as the member of the congregation. This is briefly what you can find in L. OTT: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 341-342, 408 and 413.

According to the account by Fr. Michael McGuckian, S.J. in his books The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 2005, pp 70-75, the idea was to make the doctrine clearer by avoiding confusion of the Church/priest/congregation’s sacrifice with the Sacrifice properly so called.

You say: “The abandonment of genuflections, sign of crosses, precise Collects with accentuations on Sin, penance, Judgment, Hell, divine Forgiveness have all together been either watered down or simply abolished in the N.O.M.”

Comment. The NM must not be conceived as a modification of the OM, but as the NM – period. This is perfectly clear from the fact that the OM has never been abrogated. So the term “abandonment” is a misnomer: nothing was abandoned: the OM is still in force. Compared with the OM the genuflections in the NM are less numerous, not abandoned; likewise the signs of crosses.
In any case, these latter points belong to the Club. My question was about “the aspects of the Mass itself; not …what ‘was before and now omitted’ ".

M.A. chose to join as well, thus making the total of six. And Anonimous, with his new contribution has reinforced his membership.

New Catholic said...

Look, Ogard, defense of the New Mass is really not welcome here. Anyone who is interested in the great beauty and advantages of this committee masterpiece will be able to find it elsewhere online, in journals, and in books. Traditionalists have already heard and read all arguments favoring it. So, please, leave us alone, or go find a Modern forum for this debate.