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« Well-deserved praise... | Main | Out of Virtue, Greatness: Washington as Aristotle's Magnanimous Man »

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Comments

Ted

Is it just my system, but the audio of Fr. Fessio is almost inaudible on this .wmv clip? I tried several players with the same result.

Teresa Polk

It runs well on Windows Media Player. You may need to first open the Windows Media Player and then click on the Ignatius web page link to get it to open in that player. (Before trying that, when I clicked on that link, it automatically opened Quicktime with steamy ads for Kelly Clarkson and Fergie, but didn't play the video.)

ConstantComment

I dunno...Paul VI was also at Vatican II... he also approved of the order of mass we now have: the Roman Rite. I don't see how Benedict can claim more authority than Paul VI on this, nor how someone can claim he has more authority than Paul VI.

Mark Brumley

I do not follow ConstantComment's comment. How is there a claim that Benedict has more authority than Paul VI?

ConstantComment

It appears that the argument being made by advocates of restoring the widespread use of the old mass is that post-conciliar liturgy implementation was an inadequate implementation of Vatican II. To believe this, are we not being asked to accept the authority of Benedict XVI over the authority of Paul VI, who gave us the fundamental implementation in the Roman Rite? Are we to accept the thesis that Paul VI was wrong but Benedict XVI is right?

I can see making an argument for diversity in liturgical styles, which would also make room for the old mass but I can't buy the wholesale dismissal of post-conciliar implementation, especially the rejection of Paul VI's implementation as inadequate and untrue to Vatican II.

Carl Olson

I can see making an argument for diversity in liturgical styles, which would also make room for the old mass but I can't buy the wholesale dismissal of post-conciliar implementation, especially the rejection of Paul VI's implementation as inadequate and untrue to Vatican II.

An interesting approach to arguing the matter which apparently rests, in part, on the claim that Benedict XVI and/or men such as Fr. Fessio are attempting to eliminate the Novus Ordo. Of course, that is not the case at all, as anyone who has read anything by Ratzinger/Benedict or Fr. Fessio knows.

It appears that the argument being made by advocates of restoring the widespread use of the old mass is that post-conciliar liturgy implementation was an inadequate implementation of Vatican II. To believe this, are we not being asked to accept the authority of Benedict XVI over the authority of Paul VI, who gave us the fundamental implementation in the Roman Rite? Are we to accept the thesis that Paul VI was wrong but Benedict XVI is right?

Others can speak better to this than I can, but there is some truth here, but there must be, it seems to me, a careful distinction made between what the documents of Vatican II actually say and some of the changes that were carried out in the name of Vatican II, not necessarily at the behest of Paul VI. One example is that of ad orientum, as Fr. Fessio addresses in his article, "The Mass of Vatican II":

The Council did not say that tabernacles should be moved from their central location to some other location. In fact, it specifically said we should be concerned about the worthy and dignified placing of the tabernacle. The Council did not say that Mass should be celebrated facing the people. That is not in Vatican II; it is not mentioned. It is not even raised in the documents that record the formation of the Constitution on the Liturgy; it didn't come up. Mass facing the people is a not requirement of Vatican II; it is not in the spirit of Vatican II; it is definitely not in the letter of Vatican II. It is something introduced in 1969.

And, by the way, never in the history of the Church, East or West, was there a tradition of celebrating Mass facing the people. Never, ever, until 1969. It happened occasionally in Germany, in between the wars; it was done sometimes at the castle where Romano Guardini would have his group of students meet; it was done in Austria near Vienna by Pius Parsch in a special church, in what he called a "liturgical Mass." That's an odd expression, a "liturgical Mass." The Mass is the liturgy.

But in any event, I can say without fear of contradiction from anyone who knows the facts that there is simply no tradition whatsoever, in the history of the Church, of Mass facing the people. Now, is it a sin? No. Is it wrong? No. Is it permitted? Yes. It is required? Not at all. In fact in the Latin Roman Missal, which is the typical edition that all the translations of the Missal are based on (not always translated properly, but at least based on it) the rubrics actually presuppose the Mass facing East, the Mass facing the Lord.

This matter is taken up in careful depth by U.M. Lang in his recent book, Turning Toward the Lord (read Joseph Ratzinger's thoughts on the issue here.) Other issues include use of Latin, Gregorian chant, etc.

As Ratzinger/Benedict has pointed out in various places, the implementation of the Novus Ordo certainly left much to be desired—which is not a condemnation of Paul VI or of the Novus Ordo, but a recognition that some of the liturgical innovations following Vatican II had nothing to do with the Council and were, in some cases, contrary to the clear articulations of the Council.

Finally, if one thinks that Benedict is somehow trying to overthrow Paul VI, then mustn't we logically think that Paul VI was trying to overthrow the directives and teachings of prior pontiffs? That is not the case, of course, but that is where such logic leads, which creates the strange situation of "Tridentine-only" Catholics and "Novus Ordo-only" Catholics being caught in the same conundrum. But, again, that is not what is happening with Benedict, as I think it is reasonable to guess his soon-to-be released Motu Proprio will make clear. (For more on what Ratzinger/Benedict has said about the "Old" and "New" Masses, read this article.)

Mark Brumley

It appears that the argument being made by advocates of restoring the widespread use of the old mass is that post-conciliar liturgy implementation was an inadequate implementation of Vatican II. To believe this, are we not being asked to accept the authority of Benedict XVI over the authority of Paul VI, who gave us the fundamental implementation in the Roman Rite?

It doesn't seem to be a question of ecclesiastical authority, whether Paul VI's or Benedict XVI's. The argument about postconciliar implementation doesn't per se entail a question of whether Paul VI had the authority to revise the Roman Rite. It is a question of at least two things: (1) whether the revision of the Roman Rite reflected in the current ordo in all important respects adequately reflects Vatican II and (2) whether there are ways of celebrating the current ordo that are more in keeping with Vatican II and Church's liturgical tradition.

I can see making an argument for diversity in liturgical styles, which would also make room for the old mass but I can't buy the wholesale dismissal of post-conciliar implementation, especially the rejection of Paul VI's implementation as inadequate and untrue to Vatican II.

Who is making a "wholesale dismissal" of postconciliar implementation? Not most proponents of "the Reform of the Reform".

Also, couldn't it be the case that the Paul VI's implementation was in some ways inadequate? Does such partial inadequacy mean we must dismiss it simply as "untrue to Vatican II"? Why speak in such absolute and unqualified terms? That is not what Benedict XVI has said (or Cardinal Ratzinger). It is not the way most proponents of "the Reform of the Reform" speak.

ConstantComment

Mark wrote:

It doesn't seem to be a question of ecclesiastical authority, whether Paul VI's or Benedict XVI's. The argument about postconciliar implementation doesn't per se entail a question of whether Paul VI had the authority to revise the Roman Rite. It is a question of at least two things: (1) whether the revision of the Roman Rite reflected in the current ordo in all important respects adequately reflects Vatican II and (2) whether there are ways of celebrating the current ordo that are more in keeping with Vatican II and Church's liturgical tradition.

I reply:
Nice try, but the issue is do we accept Paul's implementation (or interpretation) of Vatican II and the liturgy or do we accept Benedict's interpretation? The question isn't whether or not either of them have the authority to revise anything. Let's just be clear about what's happening here: Paul's interpretation is being rejected as inadequate and in need of revision. (Hmmm... now where have we heard that before? From the right... or the left?) We are being asked to accept the opinion that, up until now, Vatican II hasn't really really been implemented. On what authority is this being asserted? Benedict's? So he has controlling authority over the interpretation of Vatican II... even over against Paul VI?

Mark said:

Also, couldn't it be the case that the Paul VI's implementation was in some ways inadequate? Does such partial inadequacy mean we must dismiss it simply as "untrue to Vatican II"? Why speak in such absolute and unqualified terms? That is not what Benedict XVI has said (or Cardinal Ratzinger). It is not the way most proponents of "the Reform of the Reform" speak.

I reply:
Inadequate in what sense? Inadequate in the sense that it doesn't reflect what Vatican II intended.


ConstantComment

Carl said:
An interesting approach to arguing the matter which apparently rests, in part, on the claim that Benedict XVI and/or men such as Fr. Fessio are attempting to eliminate the Novus Ordo. Of course, that is not the case at all, as anyone who has read anything by Ratzinger/Benedict or Fr. Fessio knows.

I reply:
Well, I didn't say he was calling for the elimination of the Roman Rite. Not many are calling for the elimination of the Roman Rite. The more subtle approach has been to undermine it by denigrating it's adequacy and offering little revisions here and there. This seems to be the preferred approach of both the left and the right on this.

Carl said:
Others can speak better to this than I can, but there is some truth here, but there must be, it seems to me, a careful distinction made between what the documents of Vatican II actually say and some of the changes that were carried out in the name of Vatican II, not necessarily at the behest of Paul VI. One example is that of ad orientum, as Fr. Fessio addresses in his article, "The Mass of Vatican II":

I reply:
The distinction you make is another way of saying "Who has the adequate interpretation of Vatican II, Paul VI or Benedict?". Also, it's a bit disingenuous to argue that "the Council didn't say to remove the tabernacle" or "the Council didn't say to face the people". It didn't have to, because it was never declared in a council to do either. Again, the questions are: Is the change to facing the people and adequate interpretation of Vatican II? Is moving the tabernacle an adequate interpretation of Vatican II? Believe it or not, there were real reasons offered for these changes and they were all made to further implement Vatican II... not shatter your world, as some would have you believe.

As you quote Father Fessio saying: "Is it a sin? No. Is it wrong? No."

Is it an inadequate interpretation of Vatican II? I doubt it.

Carl Olson

Believe it or not, there were real reasons offered for these changes and they were all made to further implement Vatican II... not shatter your world, as some would have you believe.

If only we could bottle the condescending attitude dripping from that remark, we could make millions! Regardless, there hasn't been a shattering of my world, in part because I didn't become a Catholic until 1997, after being raised in an Evangelical home, and so didn't have to live through the liturgical upheavals of the late 1960s/early 1970s; in part because I don't the sort of rigid, hyper-right attitude that you are unfairly pinning on me (itself a mixture of creating a straw man and throwing in some ad hominem flavors); and in part because I attend a Byzantine Catholic parish.

As I said before, the "real reasons" offered for some of the liturgical changes made after Vatican II have been examined in detail by many folks, including Ratzinger/Benedict, and have been found wanting.

Is it an inadequate interpretation of Vatican II? I doubt it.

Very well. No offense, but I think I'd rather with Ratzinger/Benedict on this one.

ConstantComment

Carl wrote:
If only we could bottle the condescending attitude dripping from that remark, we could make millions!

I say:
Sorry... it wasn't meant to be a personal reference to your world. I could have said it better by saying "Those who did make the change did so in order to implement Vatican II, not to destroy our faith."

And, yes I know good intentions don't justify bad results. I'm also not saying I think the results were bad! I just think we need to remember why our bishops and priests make the choices they make.

Marie

ConstantComment -

Many facets of Vatican II have been reviewed and clarified through the years. That is why we had things like the Extraordinary Synod in 1985, called by Pope John Paul II. Questions on the role and extent of authority of Bishops Conferences, the proper distinction between the common priesthood of all the Baptized and the ordained Priesthood, questions on Scripture raised by certain interpretations of Dei Verbum, questions on ecumenism...and the list goes on. There is no reason to fear Pope Benedict's attempt to further the implementation of the Council, especially with regard to liturgy where he is definitely an expert. Can you not grant to Pope Benedict the same credit you are giving to Bishops and Priests - that there is a reason he is making the choices he is making? Paul VI couldn't possibly do all of it on his own. Implementation is a slow process. 40 years is nothing.
If we are honest, we must acknowledge many did use the Council as an excuse to misbehave. This is not the fault of the Council. As then-Cardinal Ratzinger said in the Ratzinger Report:
"It must not be forgotten that every council is first of all a reform of the 'summit' which then must spread to the base of the faithful. This means that every council, in order to really yeild fruit, must be followed by a wave of holiness." I think this is what Pope Benedict is trying to promote through liturgy - building on the different strengths of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II - also a man who strove to implement the Council.

Mark Brumley

Nice try, but the issue is do we accept Paul's implementation (or interpretation) of Vatican II and the liturgy or do we accept Benedict's interpretation? The question isn't whether or not either of them have the authority to revise anything.

Nice try with your comment "nice try" but you introduced the issue of "authority", not me. If you meant simply "accept Paul VI's interpretation that the Novus Ordo adequately represented the Council's teaching", then you should have said that, instead of muddying the waters with the term "authority".

Paul's interpretation is being rejected as inadequate and in need of revision. (Hmmm... now where have we heard that before? From the right... or the left?) We are being asked to accept the opinion that, up until now, Vatican II hasn't really really been implemented. On what authority is this being asserted? Benedict's? So he has controlling authority over the interpretation of Vatican II... even over against Paul VI?

It seems to me that you are employing "either/or" language in situations which allow for graduation. One need not hold that "up until now" Vatican II hasn't really been implemented" (I assume you mean with respect to the Liturgy) just because one quaestions whether in all respects the Novus Ordo adequately reflects the Council. That makes it sound as if the implementation of the Council is an all or nothing proposition.

Furthermore, with respect to the issue of deficient implementation, we need to distinguish (1) the judgment that the revised ordo itself is deficient as an expression of Vatican II's intention from (2) the judgment that the way the revised ordo is usually celebrated is deficient.

Re: (1), there can be varying degrees of deficiency (or inadequancy), ranging from invalidity (which only some rad tradders hold) to merely the deficiency of allowing too many options or deficient in other minor respects.

Re: (2), one can hold that the revised ordo is in itself not deficient, but that often it is celebrated in a way inconsistent with Vatican II (and/or the broader liturgical tradition of the Church).

Now, re: whether Paul VI's interpretation of the Council was in some way or to some degree inadequate, we have to distinguish Paul VI's interpreting the Council by his teaching from his "interpretation" of the Council implicit in his pastoral and prudential judgment, including re: such things as liturgical revisions. I assume this is a discussion of the latter, not the former.

I am perplexed by what appears to be the assumption that there is some great problem with holding that, based on comments of Benedict XVI or even Joseph Ratzinger, and perhaps other competent observers, there could have been flaws in pastoral or prudential judgment by Paul VI in certain liturgical matters. Or that it is a major problem to hold, with Benedict, there might be a superior way of appropriating the teaching of the Council on liturgy than actually occurred with the Novus Ordo, whether in the ordo itself or in how it is commonly celebrated.

Robert Miller

I grew up and served Mass in the 1950s, before Vatican II.

Everyone I knew used one of the very popular missals to participate in Mass -- Father Stedman's series, St. Joseph's Daily, etc.,etc. The main noticeable change effected by Pope John's 1962 redaction was elimination of the second Confiteor prior to Communion. But everyone I knew wanted to follow Pope St. Pius X's injunction that we pray the Mass.

Before Vatican II, in the early 1960s, our parish also began to pray the "dialogue Mass", in which the congregation was invited to join with the altar boys in reciting the responses in Latin. With our boyish pride in knowing the Latin, we were somewhat taken aback, but most of the faithful seemed to appreciate the opportunity to respond. The Epistle and Gospel, of course, were read in English, after they had been proclaimed in Latin by the priest.

I think Benedict sees no reason why this pattern of practice could not have evolved into the renewal of liturgical practice that the Second Vatican Council heralded. Indeed, I have been with him in this view for more than 40 years.

Instead, in the late 1960s, the liturgists "turned the tables", banished Latin and introduced banal vernacular translations of the liturgy and Scriptures that gave "liturgical reform" an odious name among those who had been most earnest in their desire for liturgical renewal.

As Pope Benedict, perhaps, would say: Liturgical renewal turned into a schweinerei.

I think the motu proprio will be more than an indult-- and that it is why so many have resisted it. It will be, as Father Fessio suggests, a call to renew the richness and devotion of the Latin liturgical tradition.

ConstantComment

Mark said:
Nice try with your comment "nice try" but you introduced the issue of "authority", not me. If you meant simply "accept Paul VI's interpretation that the Novus Ordo adequately represented the Council's teaching", then you should have said that, instead of muddying the waters with the term "authority".

I say:
Well, you qualified my use of the term authority, not I. It should be clear from the context of what I'm saying that the issue is authoritative interpretation of Vatican II. By claiming that Paul VI misinterpreted Vatican II via his implementation of the Roman Rite, then there is a pitting of authorities going on here. That's my point.

Mark said:
It seems to me that you are employing "either/or" language in situations which allow for graduation. One need not hold that "up until now" Vatican II hasn't really been implemented" (I assume you mean with respect to the Liturgy) just because one quaestions whether in all respects the Novus Ordo adequately reflects the Council. That makes it sound as if the implementation of the Council is an all or nothing proposition.

I say:
Okay, so to avoid either/or language, what, exactly, do you see in the Roman Rite that is an inadequate reflection of Vatican II?

Mark said:
Furthermore, with respect to the issue of deficient implementation, we need to distinguish (1) the judgment that the revised ordo itself is deficient as an expression of Vatican II's intention from (2) the judgment that the way the revised ordo is usually celebrated is deficient.

Re: (1), there can be varying degrees of deficiency (or inadequancy), ranging from invalidity (which only some rad tradders hold) to merely the deficiency of allowing too many options or deficient in other minor respects.

Re: (2), one can hold that the revised ordo is in itself not deficient, but that often it is celebrated in a way inconsistent with Vatican II (and/or the broader liturgical tradition of the Church).

I say:
True enough. Thus my question above: What do you see as inadequate in the Roman Rite?

Mark said:
I am perplexed by what appears to be the assumption that there is some great problem with holding that, based on comments of Benedict XVI or even Joseph Ratzinger, and perhaps other competent observers, there could have been flaws in pastoral or prudential judgment by Paul VI in certain liturgical matters. Or that it is a major problem to hold, with Benedict, there might be a superior way of appropriating the teaching of the Council on liturgy than actually occurred with the Novus Ordo, whether in the ordo itself or in how it is commonly celebrated.

The problem seems to be that this looks like an attempt to reverse Vatican II, albeit a very subtle one. I'm not saying this is what's happening, but it sure does lend itself to that perception.


Mark Brumley

No, you misused the word "authority". If you don't know the difference, then I am afraid we can't get very far in a discussion.

Most of my key concerns re: the revised ordo and Vatican II are expressed in Cardinal Ratzinger's works on liturgy, Aidan Nichols' Looking at the Liturgy, and Father Fessio's essay, "The Mass of Vatican II". I encourage you to read them.

ConstantComment

I misused the word authority? Man, talk about a desperate ploy! But no matter. You don't want to answer the question, you aren't obligated to. Please try and refrain from imputing ignorance to someone you can't answer, though.

Mark Brumley

Once again, I encourage you to read up on the subject in the recommended sources. I don't know what else to say. I don't mean to be insulting, but I don't have the time to do a tutorial on liturgy and the use of the term "authority". I appreciate that some people think the novus ordo is just fine as it is. I don't mind people disagreeing with me on this issue, but I am not able to spend time discussing a subject such as this with someone unless he evinces either docility or competence. Anybody can opine. Nor do I discuss things with people who characterize my statements as "ploys", desperate or otherwise. Sorry.

ConstantComment

You don't think it's insulting to reply "read up on the subject" to someone who asks you what your problem is with the Roman Rite? Ooookay. As far as your statements being ploys, I didn't characterize everything you said as a ploy. By no means. In fact they were thoughtful for the most part. But you did indulge in an attempt or two to spin what I said and if it offends you when I resist that tactic, so be it.

Carl Olson

You don't think it's insulting to reply "read up on the subject" to someone who asks you what your problem is with the Roman Rite?

Someone needs to spend more time reading Ignatius Press books—especially if he is going to make sweeping, uninformed judgments about the views held by those at Ignatius Press—and less time commenting on the Ignatius Press blog. But, judging by the poster's moniker, that might not be happening anytime soon.

Richard

Hello Clement,

By claiming that Paul VI misinterpreted Vatican II via his implementation of the Roman Rite, then there is a pitting of authorities going on here.

I am unsure why you would project this kind of interpretation to what Pope Benedict is doing here - or what the supporters of this action (at least the ones here) are arguing.

It took over a century for the full implementation of Trent to take place, by general consensus. No one, certainly not Paul VI, expected that all that the Council desired could be fully achieved within one pontificate, or that future popes or synods could not learn from the early stages of implementation to make adjustments as time went forward. And even Paul VI in his final years expressed concerns about some aspects of the implementation of the new missal.

And let us not forget that Paul VI himself authorized continued celebration of the 1962 missal, most notably in his special "English Indult" of 1971. Surely Paul VI was not questioning or conflicting with his authority in issuing the new missal two years previously in so doing?

The liturgy has evolved organically over time, and sometimes imprudent changes are made, even by popes. One such example is the so-called Quignonez Breviary, authorized by Leo X and Clement VII and implemented by Paul III in 1535. Difficulties became apparent and reaction was adverse, especially n Spain, and ultimately, thee decades leater, Pius V was compelled to authorize a new breviary which corrected the difficulties cited with the Quignonez Breviary. So there certainly is precedent for growing pains, even missteps, made in the development of the liturgy, even by popes - and, likewise, for their correction by subsequent popes once time has permitted sober reflection on them.

It's true that some of the more extreme and schismatic traditionalists go beyond such modest arguments in denouncing the missal of Paul VI. But this is certainly not what Pope Benedict (or Mark or Carl) are doing here.

So some more questions: How do we make sense of the fact that so many of the actual liturgical practices in the 1970 missal in recent years are nowhere mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium - and, in some cases (such as the total abandonment of Latin, contrary to SC 36 and 54) actually run starkly contrary to its requirements? Did Paul VI really contemplate the total abandonment of Latin, chant, and celebration ad orientem?

And could it be that these difficulties are what drives much of the desire for the older missal? And that Pope Benedict is trying to respond to this in a way in harmony with the Council's mandates - and in so doing, not repudiating Paul VI missal, but hoping to create the conditions for its refinement to the principles explicitly given by the Council itself?

Richard

And, of course, one other point can be made here, I think: You might suggest that "I don't see how Benedict can claim more authority than Paul VI on this, nor how someone can claim he has more authority than Paul VI." But it is surely likewise true that Benedict has no *less* authority than Paul VI, either.

Indeed, both pontiffs are the recipients and servants of tradition, not its masters, and neither would suggest that their edicts are graven into stone for all time.

cranky

Gosh, and all I thought about the changes was that it looks exciting, and I can hardly wait to see what happens.


.

Marie

Richard, you make some excellent points.
ConstantComment, I think you will find that some people were very selective in their reading of the Vatican II documents. Did the Second Vatican Council place emphasis on the baptismal priesthood? Yes! Did the Council do that in a way that was in discontinuity with almost 2000 years of Church Tradition? No! However, some - taking selected quotes out of context from the documents itself - promoted positions that WERE contrary to Church Tradition - namely, that there was no real distinction between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained Priesthood. How serious was this confusion at times? Well, if you read the documents from the Symposium held by the Vatican Congregation on the Clergy 30 years after the Council entitled "Priesthood - A Greater Love"(Dedicated to Pope John Paul II on the 50th anniversary of his ordination), most of statements made by the Cardinals are in order to correct this misapplication of the Council. My friend's parish in Chicago even had a nun "co-consecrating". This is not an impementation of Vatican II! I use that example because to most of us, it is a no-brainer, however, to those who read Vatican II documents with a spirit of discontinuity, it is merely a matter of degree. The documents, as Richard pointed out, actually insist on the retention of the Latin language, that Gregorian Chant and organ music retain a privileged place in the Liturgy - but with a selective reading of the phrase "full, active and conscious participation" out of context, in a spirit of discontinuity, these elements were by and large thrown out...
So yes, Pope Benedict XVI has as much authority as Pope Paul VI and is doing EXACTLY what the Second Vatican Council called for - namely, reading "the signs of the times" - and making the proper adjustments for correct implementation of the Council.

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