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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


So, over at WDTPRS, I was reading a post by Fr. are parts of it....

Here is a serious insider-canon-ball post about something which nevertheless affects a great many people, since it deals with our liturgical worship, namely, the words by which the priest introduces the Lord’s Prayer.
In the new, corrected translation we see:
23. Then the Priest, with hands joined, says aloud:
At the Savior’s command
and formed by divine teaching,
we dare to say:
No leeway.  The priest is to say those words and not something else.  No freedom to ad lib.  We have to say the black and do the red.
Bottom line. The “liturgist” says that the rubrics in the most recent Roman Missal don’t have to be obeyed because of a letter from 1973. Wrong. The new rubrics have to be followed. 

I decided to respond to him in the comboxes, here is how I responded to him:

This seems to me, again….(sadly) of the problem we are faced with, as Catholics, because the rule of law has been reduced to a set of norms open to interpretation.

If liturgical law is to be followed, then it is to be followed. This makes assistance at the TLM very easy. It has the rule of law behind it and there are very precise and very clear instructions on how to follow the law, to the letter, so that the spirit might be found.

Since the musings of Bugnini have become forceful, the liturgical law has been abolished. It has been replaced with a set of instructions which are normative, but have nothing to support them lawfully. The rule of law has been removed, in favor of a guideline model.

Was this by design? I kinda think so. I think that this was one of the goals of Bugnini, et. al. I think that it was their intention to remove liturgical law from the equation, because it was too Catholic and interfered with the free form understanding of the institution narrative, which has come to replace the sacrificial action (in practice). The sacrifice is a very precise thing, where as the insitituion narrative is not.
This accomplishes 2 things IMHO; first, it makes it much easier for a Protestant to relate to the Mass without being offended, because it is not so legal and it is more “spiritual.” Second, it undermines the whole idea of the Mass being a consistent action.

If there is nothing holding a priest legally to the action, then what is holding the liturgist from doing what he or she wants in planning the priests moves according to his or her whims? Nothing.
Sure there is “the law.” But it gets back to what force does “the law” really have? A prime example…I wrote my bishop about abuses going on in my home parish. He responded that he was supportive of my position and that I contact the pastor. I contacted the pastor. I have heard nothing and the liturgy is just as nutty as the day I wrote the letter (maybe even moreso). It is clear that the pastor is “breaking the law,” but there is no recourse to it, is there?

So, while the faithful priest follows the rubrics of the Novus Ordo and tries to be faithful to what is written, there is nothing preventing him from not following the red…and simply making up his own black, save two phrases….because there is no ramification for his actions.

What am I getting at? So the liturgist invokes 1973. She or he is wrong. We all know that. We’ve consulted a canon lawyer. Now what? Father Pastor is going to continue to follow the liturgist, who is going to continue to live in 1973′s version and nothing changes.

This is why I slam so hard, every single time I get the chance that the new translation is all good and well, but it does no good unless there is a change in the application of liturgical law and the understanding of the importance of it. How does that come about? I think in two ways: first, it must be taught in the seminary that there is only one way to celebrate Holy Mass…do the red, say the black. End of Story. Second, the Ordinary must police his priests. It sounds harsh and probably a little petty, but I can guarantee you that if Father Pastor looks back to the Narthex and sees a flash of amaranth as he is facilitating liturgical dance, things will probably change. We don’t live in times where the Ordinary can simply trust the right thing is going on with regard to the liturgy. He must be proactive in doing something.  If he doesn’t…1973 will continue to be invoked and the both/and….either/or mentality of the instructions will continue. 
All of this begs the question….if the TLM has been faithfully celebrated (by and large) from 2007, why hasn’t the Novus Ordo been? And what is the real answer to that question….not the politically correct one?

I’m just sayin’….


  1. You must be familiar with "Work of Human Hands."

  2. Hello Joan,

    Yes, I am. I think that Fr. Cekada's critique is spot on! In this instance I've laid aside his position on St. Peter and I've read his work from a historical/critical view. I couldn't ask for a better look at the Novus Ordo. Everything that Fr. Cekada says about the Novus Ordo is accurate. At no point does he, in the writing, expclictly state that the Novus Ordo is invalid, because he doesn't need to. The flaws are enough to warrant caution or even downright avoidance, unless absolutely necessary.

  3. Thanks is a clear exposition of the hermeneutic of rupture which dominates Holy Mother Church today!