“The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.”
(Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)
The ineffable arrogance of the we-know-best school. Fixer-uppers interrupted the process. Didn’t even just speed it up. Nagging suspicion: They knew what they were doing.
He is Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis. His book is
From which I quote:
[C]elebrations [of the mass] become tiring because they unfold in noisy chattering. The liturgy is sick. The most striking symptom . . . is perhaps the omnipresence of the microphone. It has become so indispensable that one wonders how priests were able to celebrate before it was invented. . . . I sometimes have the impression that celebrants fear the free, personal interior prayer of the faithful so much that they talk from one end of the ceremony to the other so as not to lose control of them.
They certainly are loathe to let the air go dead. It’s as if they were on radio, rather than TV, though for that matter, TV announcers do jabber away. But you don’t need the sound while watching he World Series in a bar.
Do not presume that the cardinal is breaking new ground for himself (or others, such as James Hitchcock in his Recovery of the Sacred). He has set liberal hearts pulsing with alarm in numerous public statements to this effect. But this new book of his has some choice descriptions, as in this about participating in the liturgy as urged by Vatican II:
Truly, it is about becoming participants in a sacred mystery that infinitely surpasses us: the mystery of the death of Jesus out of love for the Father and for us. Christians have the . . . obligation to be open to an act that is so mysterious that they will never be able to perform it by themselves: the sacrifice of Christ. In the thought of the [Vatican II] Council Fathers, the liturgy is a divine action, an actio Christi. In the presence of it, we are overcome with a silence of admiration and reverence. [Struck dumb, as it were.] The quality of our silence is the measure of the quality of our . . . participation. [Huge departure here from current practice]
All in all, in this passage as throughout the book, he strikes a spiritual note. He is, I have concluded, of the spiritual wing of the church, as opposed to the social action wing led by (whom else?) Pope Francis, with whom he is on a collision course, to judge by several well publicized incidents and several major controverted issues.
He quotes then-Cardinal Ratzinger in a 1985 book, “[Some have lost] sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot ‘make’.”
Idea is, we go to church (mass) not to do something but to witness it. It’s a happening, and a quite mysterious one at that.
The late Robert McClory, in his Radical Disciple: Father Pfleger, St. Sabina Church, and the Fight for Social Justice, cites a St. Sabina parishioner on Chicago’s South Side who supported what its famous activist pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, does but stopped attending mass there, going to another parish. McClory couldn’t get much more out of the man, who apparently wanted something more rewarding in a personal-spiritual sense.
So I concluded, anyhow, having participated in one of Fr. Pfleger’s three-hour liturgies and found it fascinating but hardly something that would keep me going on an apostolic venture — or on the humdrum daily fulfilling of the duties of my state of life.
More later from the book on silence by the cardinal who speaks up when he thinks it’s important.
The breakaway traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) would rather not return to full communion with Rome right now, but maybe later. �Meanwhile, some decks were cleared, as regrding who’s in charge:
The July 19 statement . . . �underlined the group’s dedication to Catholic Church, saying that “the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth.”
They also reiterated their deep suspicion of Vatican II:
The SSPX proclaimed its determination to uphold the teachings of the Church, but said that these teachings must be interpreted in the light of the “uninterrupted Magisterium.” The statement drew the line at “all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors.”
So if they come back to Rome, it will be with an agenda which will be mightily displeasing to progressives.
It’s not as simple, apparently. Also apparently, Pope B-16 has been close to this one, and some Vatican hard-liners, relatively speaking, have been removed from the picture.
Those who think that this is the endpoint, that those in charge of the Fraternity have definitively given up on the idea of putting an end to the injustices that burden them, and of fulling restoring the Tradition of the Church to Rome, risk being disappointed in the days and weeks ahead
Looks like Pius X Society declines:
(José Manuel Vidal).- There will be no return to Rome. The Superior of the Lefebvrians for Spain and Portugal, [Fr.] Juan María Montagut, will inform the faithful, after the 11 AM Mass, that the hierarchy of the SSPX, assembled in Écône, has decided to say \”no\” to the Vatican.The followers of [Abp.] Marcel Lefebvre do not return to the Roman fold. Mainly because they are not willing to accept the Second Vatican Council in all its farthermost points.
Catholics and fascists are both keen on intervention by totalitarian higher bodies such as the state in both life and work, and they are hostile to individual freedom and the free market.
And maybe not only there, if there. It goes with my tentative observations in the past about the church and political freedom — here, for instance:
I have in mind [when discussing “backward thinking”] the American church’s ambivalence toward governmental interference in people’s lives.
In 1919, for instance, Monsignor John A. Ryan issued the Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction, a virtual blueprint for the New Deal.
For 20 years [Ryan] reigned supreme as the bishops’ spokesman on social and political matters, even endorsing Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 for his second term. In the years since then, leading up to the bishops’ acquiescence in the passage of Obama care, official Catholic statements have consistently favored liberal positions in regard to governmental interference.
More recently, of course, they have objected to the HHS requirement that Catholic schools and hospitals offer birth control, but it took such an obvious interference in church activity to get them to do so.
The church has not been a champion of political freedom (I tentatively reiterate), being overly concerned about the mistakes and bad things people can commit and insufficiently confident or at least trustful when it comes to use by them of God-given (by whom else, pray tell?) free will, not to mention reliance on divine grace, mercy, and all that.
Is this where libertarianism meets Divine Providence? Just asking.
Rev. Wilson Miscamble CSC speaks up for Bishop Daniel Jenky CSC of Peoria in re Jenky’s vigorous, pointed analysis of Obama’s attacks on Catholic ministry:
His homily was a courageous homily which pointed to a pattern of behavior of a number of regimes to limit religious freedom and to attack religious institutions.
He was echoing rebuttal by ND law prof emeritus Charles E. Rice of letter by 49 Notre Dame faculty members who condemned Jenky’s sermon and called for his resignation from the Notre Dame board.
Bishop Jenky properly drew attention to the impending dangers to religious and personal freedom. The Obama regime . . . is substituting for the free economy and limited government a centralized command system of potentially unlimited jurisdiction and power. . . . The HHS Health Care Mandate imperils not only the mission of the Catholic Church but also the right of conscience itself.
This Notre Dame alum blogging at The Weekly Standard says a stand-off between Obama and the Catholic bishops on the HHS mandate “may not be good for either side.”
He gives an instance, “the disastrous situation of the president sending bishops to jail for being faithful witnesses to their religious convictions.”
I’d say he’s on to something.
Later, from an informed source, an alternate scenario:
The bishops and obama go head to head — the bishops blowing steam — and Catholics (some) getting all revved up for months. Then, just before the election — a week — Obama caves on HHS and Catholics are relieved to relax and get off their soap boxes.
They watch the bishops on TV kiss and make up profusely to Obama — photo op all’round, conciliatory quotes from Obama, and it’s practically an endorsement just before casting their ballots. You know nothing would make many of these bishops happier…to be assured they’d get the rest of Obamacare initiated.
As the poor lad legendarily told Shoeless Joe, say it ain’t so.
Natl Catholic Register’s Pat Archbold welcomes the Society of St. Pius X people’s expected return from the wilderness of papal interdict, but sees no promise of a rose garden in that return:
Bringing the SSPX back into the fold is a great thing for the souls involved and I think that they will help be an example to others. But their integration will be very painful, very. So if this really happens as it appears it will, let us rejoice. But let us also be realistic. The gates of hell will never prevail, we have the Lord’s promise on that. But in the meantime, things may even get worse before they get better. But at least now we will have some really good people bearing it with us.
He refers to those returning, and they would rightly scoff at the wilderness motif. Rather, it’s a return to the big, bad world of what Archbold neatly terms 1965-2012 Catholicism. I have heard their priests (not all) rail against the contemporary church, more often in support of strict practice in faith and morals and liturgical practice.
They and their flock are not going gentle into that good night, as they see it, of this era. But they are third-generation pre-1965 Catholics, firm in all they espouse, and will more likely rage against the dying of the light, as they see it, of this era. Catholics will continue to live in interesting times.
More: At the same time, keep in mind that the SSPX leadership calls this “a stage and not a conclusion” of return. Which they would, of course.