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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When and How to Begin the Reform of the Reform

A reader asked at what point should we begin the reform of the reform.  He based this on my last post here and I thought it would be best to flush this out as it's own post.  It is a great question, a valid question and one which I have been formulating for some time now (read: years).  At one point, I firmly believed that if we were to simply "tighten" the Novus Ordo, that was the reform necessary, but that view is obviously short sighted.

As it stands now, I would argue that to go back to the 1951 formulations is not necessary, because the changes which were made to the Missal in the 1962 revisions were no more harmful to the Mass than those revisions which were promulgated in the years following Trent.  I am well aware that some will say that there has long been the agenda that adding Joseph to the Canon would be abusive and that it took a weak pope like John XXIII to allow for it, but honestly there is nothing in the 1962 Missal which is divisive enough to warrant abandoning the '62 Missal for the 1951 formulations.

If one is going to argue about the second confiteor, I would argue this....the second confiteor properly speaking was never part of the Mass to begin with.  The people's communion in the TLM is secondary to the priest's and it is not an integral part of the Mass itself.  That is why there is a second confiteor, right?  So, if the people's communion is a separate act from the Mass, then the formula for reception can be altered without any real "destruction" to the Mass.  This is why in some places the second confiteor is retained and in others it is not.  It is a non-starter.

As for retroactive reforms, I would argue this....if we return to the reforms starting with the '62 Missal, there is nothing saying that everything has to move forward.  If, as David asserts, a move to the pre-'62 Palm Sunday makes more sense, then the Vatican should be open to it.  One of the things that can work to the advantage of the reform of the reform is that Vatican Council II was pastoral.  So, if something is deemed unnecessary  it can be reinterpreted to lessen it's impact without affecting dogma or doctrine.  So, if a move toward a more traditional interpretation of a liturgical act is warranted, then there is nothing prohibiting it, just as if there is a more modern interpretation, or even a mixture of modern and traditional.

The Mass is disciplinary insofar as it can be revised, but the actions of the last 50 years are not revision, but rather they are abusive, not only to the letter of the law, but also to the spirit of the law.  I firmly believe that this did begin before the formation of the Consilium and has not ended yet; but I do believe that the Consilium did not move out of the realm of theoretical until Vatican Council II.  The changes made to Holy Week and following do not shake the Faith of the Church, however, I do believe that the changes following the Council have.  We must re-gain control of the liturgical action.

If we are to gain control again of the liturgical action, I do believe that several things must take place...

1.  We must reform from the last stable application of the Mass (1962 Missal)
2.  We must regain control of liturgical law (and canon law)
3.  We must be open to applying the past as well as looking to the future
4.  We must be very diligent and precise in our actions with regard to rubrics, to music, and to language

This should be our starting point and this should be where we begin from.  To move forward or backward is now a matter of discussion, but there must be an openness to both, IN AN AUTHENTIC way.  The Church is not static, it never has been, so we cannot freeze time.  But we can move judiciously through time and in a manner which is consistent with 2000 years of existence and revelation.

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