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Monday, October 3, 2011

Discussion on Revisionist Theology

Recently, I have been in a conversation with some peers and friends about the Mass.  I've been documenting some of that conversation here.  I will continue with some further discussion that I've been having.  I'll color code the commentary, for ease of reading.

I will remain black.  The others will have their own colors...

CB said the following;

I'm sorry, but comments like these are really starting to get tiresome.  They crop up nearly everytime a "Reform of the Reform" post is made.  We get it, the OF is not perfect.

I would think that such staunch proponents of tradition would have more conservative impulses, which include, among other things, a healthy respect for the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.  The Holy See ain't going to abolish the OF and, for the foreseeable future, the OF will remain the liturgical form for the vast majority of Roman Catholics.  In light of that reality, I don't see why it is necessary or productive to qualify efforts to make the OF more God-ward, beautiful and aligned with the historic Roman Rite.
 To which I responded:

If the OF is not perfect, why have it?  The whole point of the Mass is to give us a glimpse into heaven.  The Mass should be perfect.

I know this will ruffle feathers (apologies S.), but I'll argue that the TLM is perfect.  It was developed through 1600 years in the forefront of the Church's life.  Then it was abandoned, almost overnight...only to be "imposed" upon the faithful again in 2007.

While some will argue that there were revisions, I would argue that the "revisions" were not revisions at all, but either development or clarifications.  The Mass was essentially unchanged for  the majority of the life of the Church.  It was codified at Trent, but it had been the Roman form arguably from antiquity.  That doesn't constitute change, that constitutes development.

So, from my point of view, the idea that it's acceptable or even tolerable that the Mass is not perfect is not a proper view of Sacramental theology.

Those of us who are "staunch conservatives" do have a healthy respect for the world as it is, but we can also respect the idea that the Mass is more than just part of the world as it is.  It transcends time.  It is universal and it is to be all things to all men at all times in history.

You're correct about one thing, the Holy See isn't going to abolish the OF, but then again it doesn't need to.  The OF will simply fall out of use as more and more people come to realize the deficiency of the Novus Ordo, as fabricated by Bugnini and his Consilium.

In the light of THAT reality, I'm going to make this arguement that there really shouldn't be a need for a translation to the vernacular at all, because that is not consistent with the view of the Council Fathers.  Mass, even the Novus Ordo, should be in Latin, which is the vernacular for the Latin Church.

The response to me came from ST, he said:

Apologies not necessary Andy, but two thoughts.

1. The only perfect liturgy is the heavenly liturgy.

2. As for the vernacular, I am not sure why you keep suggesting that its introduction was not consistent with the view of the Council Fathers when SC so clearly contradicts such an assertion -- as I only recently quoted. What is true is that the Council Fathers did not envision the loss or wholesale replacement of Latin (but that is very different than not envisioning some vernacular.)

To which I answered:

I'll speak to the second first...the use of the vernacular was to be a limited exposure, not the wholesale abandonment as we have seen.  Look at what SC acutally says and show me where it says that the whole of the Mass can be replaced with the vernacular.  If you can read that into the document, then the Consilium has done what precisely what I've been arguing this last month or so...nowhere does it say that the Mass was to be celebrated in the vernacular.  To the contrary, the documents speak directly to the fact that the "wider use" was to extend to the readings and then to "some parts."  The shift in liberal thinking (the Consilium) was then that some = all and the conservatives didn't combat it enough.

SC 36.2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the
administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may
be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be
extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and
to some of the prayers and chants...

The intention of the Council Fathers was to have the readings and the rubrics translated.  The readings wouldn't be such an issue, because that was already being done and the rubrics translated shouldn't have effected the faithful in any way.  As it is though the language used was very vague (ie. may be extended).  This is where I make my argument that the Consilium took advantage of imprecise language and hijacked the nature of what the Council Fathers intended.Nowhere does it say all, or replace, or remove.  Latin was to remain the normative language.  Also, nowhere in Sacrosanctum Concilium does it call for a revision of the Mass.  If it does, I am missing the section.The closest we get is that the rites should be celebrated with "noble simplicity" (cf. SC 34), whatever that means.  Again ambiguous language which is imprecise.The next mention we have of Art. 36 is in talking about the administration of the "Sacraments and sacramentals."  But again, what does that mean?  Where does it say that Latin is not supposed to be normative?  When did may = should?The next mention comes after SC has left discussion of the Mass and is speaking of the Divine Office.  And even then it remains that Latin is to be normative.  But as I have been pointing out this idea of a both/and...either/or mentality is running throughout.  The reason?  Because Sacrosanctum Concilium was drafted by...The Consilium.There is a master plan at work about concerning the revision of the Mass.  The Consilium positioned themselves as judge, jury, and attempted executioner of the Mass.  Fortunately, they didn't succeed, but the harm they did is so bad and the trouble in distinguishing the truth from the intention is so difficult, that even the most astute can miss it (I don't claim to be one of the astute, mind you)...but I can read and I can see that a square peg is stuck in a round hole, when I visualize what I've read.  Continuity is the round hole...rupture is the square peg.So, I guess that I have to continue to question the consistency of the wholesale replacement of Latin with the vernacular.

As to point #1.  While I understand the Heavenly Liturgy is perfect, the dogmatic and doctrinal aspects of the Mass on Earth are perfect as well, no?  So, while the disciplinary aspects can be be developed, the development is to be done in light of the dogmatic and doctrinal perfections...therefore it can be argued that the TLM is perfect, insofar as there is authentic growth from the perfections which are in the Mass.  The same cannot be said of the Novus Ordo though, because it was not a doctrinal change (admittedly, by Bugnini and the Consilium), it was pastoral.  Pastoral changes may or may not be perfect, but again, ambiguity reigns supreme.  There can be no certainty.

The question remains for all Catholics; if the hermeneutic of rupture really happened?  How and why?  And if the hermeneutic of rupture is real, why not define it?  The rupture had to start someplace, right?  Where?  I don't think that it started with Vatican Council II, I think that it culminated with it.  I think that the rupture started when the Liturgical Movement was hijacked by the liberals.  I think that the hermeneutic of rupture began when the Consilium formed and eventually derailed what was to become the Consitution on the Liturgy.  I think that the rupturous form is best seen in the disconnect in Sacramental theology since Vatican Council II.  It is my firm belief that if the Council was pastoral and not doctrinal or dogmatic, then the changes to the liturgy can be rightly said to be disciplinary ONLY and that means that the Novus Ordo can be rescinded without fear of destruction or deliberate attack on the faith at large.  The question can be asked, is the Novus Ordo licit?  Something can be valid and not licit...I'm not questioning the validity, but the prudence and the licety of the Novus Ordo only.

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