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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the End, Validity Isn't Enough

I cannot in good conscience say that the new translation adds any sort of continuity to the EF.  The break is still there.  The translation is simply that, a translation.  The problems with the liturgy still exist. 

I don't think that there can be any concrete comparison to the EF, until the OF adapts it's rubrics to be more contiguous.  Words are simply words and while this translation is nice and all, it doesn't change anything theologically with the Editio Typica.  The Editio Typica is what needs reform, not simply calling a new English Translation a reform.  We're missing the forest for one tree if we do that.

My contention is this:

1.  Eliminate the vernacular as a normative language, it was never meant to be so.
2.  Restore (read: reform) the rubrics to be contiguous with the EF.
3.  Promulgate an Editio Quarta, which theologically speaks to the mystery of the sacrifice as opposed to focusing on the Institution Narrative.
4.  Restore (read: reform) the externals of the church proper (ie. ad orientem worship, communion rails).
5.  Restore (read: reform) the proper distinctions between low and High Mass with proper use of ceremonials, including Asperges as a separate part and the return of the Confitieor as a mandatory prayer.
6.  Eliminate the "bidding prayers" and return the traditional Offertory prayers.

This in my humble opinion would be a real start.  Until then, I can't see any real reform taking place.

 In this case, with regard to the translation, we're not talking about "the words that matter."  Those words that matter would be the Latin words.  We are talking about the translation of the words that matter.  We've seen for 40 years that the vernacular words don't really matter.  Case in point..."for all."  If the translated words mattered, the Mass would have substantially been changed, and invalidated.  But it wasn't, because pro multis didn't change.  Therefore, when I speak about a translation, I mean precisely that, it is a translation.  For 40 years we've had a bad one.  Now we have a better one.  But, my contention is that we don't need any translation.  Latin is good.  Not good enough.  Not one of several options, but in the Thomistic sense, Latin is good.

We should simply do away with all translations and restore (read: return) to the Latin as the normative language.  The majority of the world not Algonquin.  The majority of the world is not Slovakian.  The majority of the world is from a country that is not faced with the issues that preclude Latin.  We need to follow the mandate of Vatican Council II on this.

My point remains....there will be no real return to continuity until such time as the rubrics are reformed (read:replaced) with a more continuous rendering.

In this particular case, words don't matter...they are just a translation of what does.  What does matter, in this case, is the action.  Lex orandi, lex credendi works both ways.

The translation is nice, but it is one tree.  One that should eventually be cut down, so the forest can grow.

What I'm saying is that regardless of the translation, the Mass is valid.  The issue with English words, just being words, is that validity isn't the issue when dealing with translation.  If it were, then "for all" would have been dealt with much earlier.

My point is this.  The Novus Ordo is not ideal.  It is a break with Tradition.  It is fabricated and while it is valid, because the words of consecration, in Latin, are not and have not been altered; it leaves much to be desired. If the TLM is to enrich the Novus Ordo, then it should do so, not in the application of a translation, but in the rubrics.  Since 1970, we've seen the rubrics slowly stripped away.  Why?  It is my contention that it has been done to make the Mass more palatable to the Protestant.  This was already done by abandoning our sacred language, in favor of the language of the people.  Which was and is a mistake, in my estimation (I know that my estimation means nothing, I digress).

Continuity can be achieved in the manner I have been putting forth recently.  I'm not calling for the end of the Novus Ordo.  I don't have to. The Novus Ordo will fail on it's own over time.  We must simply endure until the Traditional Mass makes a full return to becoming "the ordinary form."
Again, validity isn't the only matter, but when the theology has been utterly and completely stripped away from the Mass, save just enough to remain valid, that is all we have to go on.  Compared to the TLM, the Novus Ordo teaches us very little, save for the idea that we are Church and that the community is the celebrant and that the priest merely presides, like a bishop in cope and mitre on the throne.

At what point do we say enough?  We have the right, because it was given to us in Redemptionis Sacramentum to make abuses known.  The biggest abuse regarding the Novus Ordo isn't just that it is said in the vernacular, or that the rubrics are stripped, or that the music is just awful.  No.  The biggest abuse regarding the Novus Ordo is that Catholics have had their patrimony taken away with regard to the liturgical action and we must simply sit back and watch our heritage float away, like the smoke that has crept into the Church.

This is a monsterously huge issue.  And it is one that if we are going to be authentic to the Liturgical Movement, we have to stop coddling "Study Group 10" and Bugnini and start engaging in what Dom Gueranger really intended in the movement.  If we keep supporting and keep promoting this minimalist notion of validity is enough and licit actions will certainly come if we just wait, we'll stay in this same holding pattern of constant revision and more revision and more revision until there is nothing left.

In 40 years the Novus Ordo is coming very close to matching the number of revisions the TLM had in 500.  That should be seen as a problem.  Catholics, in general, should take the wool and remove it from their eyes...This isn't an issue about validity.  The Novus Ordo is valid, but being valid isn't enough.

What would happen if we took the traditions away from the Jews?  Or the Muslims?  Or the Hindi?  Or the Protestants?  What would happen?  Look at what happened when we tried this with the Uniate Churches....

What was unforseen by "Study Group 10," Bugnini, and Pope Paul VI is that their idea would fail and that Catholics would see that there is no continuity between the Novus Ordo and the TLM.  And that Catholics would speak up.  They thought their master plan was foolproof, but in the end, the actions of men trying to replace Sacred Tradition is proving to be foolhardy, not foolproof.

So, in the end, my opinion is just my opinion, but it is based in fact.  It isn't an easy opinion to hold and it is hard to grasp, but I'd rather latch on to what Dom Gueranger and Pope St. Pius X were trying to do, as opposed to what Bugnini and Pope Paul VI actually did do.  For it is with the former that the authentic Liturgical Movement lies, not with the latter.

ETA:  Update...Father Zuhlsdorf has posted at WDTPRS and it is absolutely consistent with my view....


  1. Thank you Andy,
    but this begs the question again: does the former translation [pro omnibus, for all] not count for invalidity, because the official Latin translation is correct?
    Can anything be done to the NO Missae translations and it is "fine" simply because the original is "orthodox" and validly promulgated?

  2. I don't think that it does, because it is simply just a poor translation. The Official translation remains pro multis. When a priest celebrates the Mass, it has to be assumed that he is doing the will of the Church, not the will of ICEL. ICEL is not part of mind of the magisterum, but the Roman Missal is.

    So, when we assume the intent of the priest, it has to be to the official "Editio" not a translation of it.

    If the vernacular is counted among the intent, then we have a huge issue. I don't think that can be the case. I believe the validity is based upon the Editio Typica, not the translation of the Editio Typica.

  3. I sure hope the vernacular is not part of the intent.
    Thank you though, this does help.