Via Media

Via Media


A critique

posted by awelborn

The new Secretary for the Congregation of Divine Worship:

The newly appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship said this week that some liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council have not been true to the council’s decrees. Archbishop Albert Patabendige Don accused a human-centred "spirit of total liberty … without roots or depth", of too often usurping the divine mystery – which should be at the heart of the liturgy – in the post-conciliar liturgical reforms.

"The Vatican II decree Sacrosanctum Concilium … was about making the liturgy the entry point to the faith, and liturgical changes were expected to emerge organically, by taking account of tradition, and not precipitately," said Archbishop Patabendige Don. But there had been drifts away from this spirit. "The direction of liturgical prayer in the post-conciliar reform has not always reflected the texts of Vatican II, and in this sense, we can speak of a necessary correction, of a reform of the reform. We must regain the liturgy in the spirit of the Council," he added.

Today, the problems concerning the liturgy turned upon language (vernacular or Latin), and the position of the priest, (facing the congregation or God), said the Archbishop in an interview with La Croix, a French Catholic daily newspaper, on 25 June. "Nowhere, in the conciliar decree, is it laid down that the priest must henceforth face the congregation, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden. If the use of modern languages is accepted, notably for the Liturgy of the Word, the decree clearly specifies that the use of Latin will be maintained in the Latin rite. On these subjects, we await the Pope’s instructions," he added.



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Yvonne

posted June 30, 2006 at 9:27 am


Is the reform of the refom on its way? Lots of talk lately on the Liturgy.. LOTS.. It’s a good thing….



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Paul

posted June 30, 2006 at 9:37 am


“Today, the problems concerning the liturgy turned upon language (vernacular or Latin), and the position of the priest, (facing the congregation or God), said the Archbishop..” If, as Vatican II teaches, the congregation is a presence of Christ in the liturgy, how does turning away from them equate with turning towards God?



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Romulus

posted June 30, 2006 at 9:42 am


On these subjects, we await the Pope’s instructions,” he added.
Me too.



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Mark Andrews

posted June 30, 2006 at 9:45 am


Paul, it might help if somebody blew the dust of that chunky, little, red book of Vatican II documents, and actually read what Sacrosanctum Concilium says on where and how Christ is present in the various parts of the Divine Liturgy.
No one is saying Christ is not present in the assembly; Christ is not more present in the assembled People of God just becuase the priest faces them. Christ is not less present in the assembled People of God when the priest – in Persona Christi – leads the people in worship “ad orientum” – to the East. At least having our “eyes to the East” has some Scriptural warrant.
Seriously, lets read Sacrosanctum Concilium and see what it says.



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Richard

posted June 30, 2006 at 9:49 am


“…of a reform of the reform.”
Yes! There it is!
The sound you just heard was 3,00 liturgists’ heads exploding.



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Philip

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:01 am


YaY!!!
Yes, this is exactly what we need!



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Simon

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:06 am


I like this Archbishop Albert Papabendige Don already.



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Jon

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:27 am


AB Papabendinge speaks in the manner and exibits learning, and humility characteristic of our Holy Father, Benedict XVI. The two of them are a formidable team that bodes well for a successful liturgical renewal.
Let’s say it for them too: Sto Lat!



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Todd

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:30 am


I find myself less than impressed, explosions notwithstanding. The secretary runs on a few assumptions he cannot support. He presumes the pre-conciliar liturgy expressed “the divine mystery,” which I would agree should be at the heart of liturgy. I suspect the lukewarm implementation of SC was due in part because people assumed that the liturgy was humming along just fine and needed a tweak here or there. There may well have been exceptional parishes and religious communities before the Council, but I suspect that the bishops were aware of something more grave to merit their putting liturgy on the docket so early in the council.
“(L)iturgical changes were expected to emerge organically, by taking account of tradition, and not precipitately,”
Where in SC or in tradition does it say this? I hear a lot about organic development, but let’s be honest here. Remember the fuss about adding St Joseph to the Canon? No institutional liturgist before the council even talked about change, much less organic. And there is nothing in SC on this principle. Nothing.
“We must regain the liturgy in the spirit of the Council.”
Sure, but he’s going to need a more accurate diagnosis of the problem. The talk of reform2 is little better than theobabble. The liturgy is still in need of reform: just call it reform and don’t be mamby-pamby about it.
Regarding his fussing about language or priest position … the world’s bishops were given the freedom to implement these. Are bishops chief liturgists or not? If he had a problem with either, he could address it with his bishop. Aside from multi-lingual communities and perhaps Rome, the vernacular as the main expression of liturgy is a slam-dunk. And if a priest heeds a high altar to remind himself of his orientation toward God, then maybe he and the secretary should read some Antonio Rosmini.



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Zie Hammer

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:31 am


Its about time. The destruction of tradition needs to be fixed. May B16 have a long and prosperous pontificate!!
Lang Lebe der Papst!



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Boethius

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:36 am


Todd said,
“I find myself less than impressed.”
Based on prior comments from the regularly liberal Todd, if Todd is less than impressed, then I take this as good news for the Church.
In all seriousness, however, this new Secretary appears to be on the exact same page as Pope Benedict regarding liturgy. I’m happy to see that Pope Benedict is putting like-minded people in the proper positions inside the Vatican.



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Zie Hammer

posted June 30, 2006 at 10:36 am


Todd, go enjoy your liturgical dance. Please point out in the non dogmatic documents of Vatican II where it says we need to do away with the Mass that has been said and the tradition of the Church since the 7th century. It says to retain Latin and not one word about the orientation of the Priest.



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Henry

posted July 3, 2006 at 9:01 am


I suspect that the bishops were aware of something more grave to merit their putting liturgy on the docket so early in the council.
To the contrary, for those unfamiliar with the proceedings of Vatican II: It’s generally understood that the constitution on the liturgy was placed first on the docket for the Council because most bishops thought the liturgy was in good shape, so not much needed to be done with it. Thus the topic seemed non-controversial, and hence would require little discussion, so the liturgical document that had been prepared prior to the Council could likely be approved without delay and get the Council off to a fast start.
Indeed, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, reform of the liturgy was simply not a priority of the bishops at the Council, precisely because they perceived no particular difficulty with the liturgy at that time. And, indeed, little significant discussion of the pre-written constitution took place before it was routinely and almost unanimously passed as Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Undoubtedly, few of the bishops had read it (in Latin) before voting on it. Very likely, most of them were accustomed to signing off on documents that they were assured were harmless (as, for instance, Bishop Lefebvre’s peritus assured him this one was).
According to one account, the principal substantive remark from the floor was an intervention by a bishop who warned that, it the pre-written document were passed without amendment, it could ultimately result in Masses celebrated entirely in the vernacular! Allegedly, this warning was greeted by uproarious laughter from the assembled bishops, none of whom could even imagine any such far-fetched result.



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Tim Ferguson

posted July 6, 2006 at 12:25 am


Todd, thanks for the opportunity to do some reflecting…or fisking as the case may be:
I find myself less than impressed, explosions notwithstanding. The secretary runs on a few assumptions he cannot support. He presumes the pre-conciliar liturgy expressed “the divine mystery,” which I would agree should be at the heart of liturgy. I suspect the lukewarm implementation of SC was due in part because people assumed that the liturgy was humming along just fine and needed a tweak here or there. There may well have been exceptional parishes and religious communities before the Council, but I suspect that the bishops were aware of something more grave to merit their putting liturgy on the docket so early in the council.
Todd talks about the Secretary’s unsupported assumptions, and then goes on to express his suspicions of why SC was implemented in a “lukewarm” manner. Surely, if the Archbishops assumptions were unsupported, Todd would give us manifold support for his suspicions…but no, we’re left to wonder. He is, after all, a liturgical expert and his suspicions should carry more weight than the studied opinions of a mere Archbishop.
It is nice that he acknowledges the possibility that “there may well have been exceptional parishes and religious communities before the Council.” – that’s actually something of a watershed statement: here we have a liturgist stating that possibly, just possibly, not every parish before the magic year of 1962 when the Holy Spirit awoke from a millennial slumber was a horrible, horrible place.
“(L)iturgical changes were expected to emerge organically, by taking account of tradition, and not precipitately,”
Where in SC or in tradition does it say this? I hear a lot about organic development, but let’s be honest here. Remember the fuss about adding St Joseph to the Canon? No institutional liturgist before the council even talked about change, much less organic. And there is nothing in SC on this principle. Nothing.

SC, General Norms paragraph 23. “That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress, careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically (that’s “organice crescant” for those playing the Latin version of the home game) from forms already existing.”
Hmmm… perhaps the Secretary has actually read the documents recently… To me it doesn’t look like there’s “Nothing” there. Actually, it looks like “something” to me.
Prior to the council, there really weren’t such creatures as “institutional liturgists” – the institutionalizing of liturgists (hmmm, now THERE’S an idea) is a relatively new thing. Prior to the council, people like Gamber, Diekman, Jungmann, described themselves as “students of the liturgy.” That puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? A student wants to learn, not to pontificate (in the expostulatory sense). And there really wasn’t a major fuss about adding St. Joseph to the canon – there was concern that the Pope was “touching” the untouched Canon, but no one at the time seriously opined that he couldn’t do it. There had been organic change in the liturgy – even in the Roman Missal – for centuries.
“We must regain the liturgy in the spirit of the Council.”
Sure, but he’s going to need a more accurate diagnosis of the problem. The talk of reform2 is little better than theobabble. The liturgy is still in need of reform: just call it reform and don’t be mamby-pamby about it.

Whether the term used is reform, or reform of the reform, we’re talking the same thing. I don’t see anything mamby-pamby (or even namby-pamby, as the phrase is wont to be) about what the Secretary said. I mean, he avoided using namby-pamby neologisms like “theobabble” and “reform2”…
Regarding his fussing about language or priest position … the world’s bishops were given the freedom to implement these. Are bishops chief liturgists or not? If he had a problem with either, he could address it with his bishop. Aside from multi-lingual communities and perhaps Rome, the vernacular as the main expression of liturgy is a slam-dunk. And if a priest heeds a high altar to remind himself of his orientation toward God, then maybe he and the secretary should read some Antonio Rosmini.
Ummmm. Bishops are chief liturgists. Indeed. ARCHBISHOP (that means he’s a bishop) Patabendige Don is attending to his appointed task. And, just to be on the safe side, he IS addressing it with HIS bishop, who just so happens to be Benedict XVI, upon whose instructions he’s waiting.
Not all priests are angels or pure liturgists – many are hylomorphic creatures, composed of body and soul – and the tactile reminders of the physical world are not only helpful to them (and a good deal of us layfolk as well) but essential. The sensual aspect of our worship is not just a bone tossed at our fallen physical nature, but an acknowledgement of the sanctity to which our bodies are called. Orientation means something. If you, as a liturgist, needs to be reminded that Christ is present in the assembly by having the priest face the congregation, perhaps a review of your own reading of Rosmini is in order.



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