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Some good reading on how the liturgy reform occurred February 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, self-serving, the return.
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And it’s not a book, this time!

Commenter Woody pointed out that Dom Alcuin Reid has been interviewed in two long posts at New Liturgical Movement.  He discusses how the post-Vatican II liturgical reform – or revolution – went down.  He discuses quite a bit about the “Consilium” group headed by confirmed mason Bishop Anibale Bugnini and how they orchestrated the total reconstitution of the Roman Rite. Consilium was started up by Paul VI, outside the normal hierarchy and deliberately staffed primarily with leading progressives, deliberately to escape the normal Curia and their “conservatism” (I would say orthodoxy) to allow for a more radical implementation of the conciliar decrees.

It’s all very interesting, although I’ve seen quite a bit of it before in Reid’s books.   Since Consilium got started up 50 years ago, Dom Reid is giving a sort of historical appraisal.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 here.

I guess one disagreement I might have with Reid right off the top is his claim that Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, called for only very modest changes to the Roman Rite – if any.  I’d love to say yes, that’s absolutely the case, but Sacrosanctum Concilium, like all conciliar documents, is a document at war with itself.  Yes, it says “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them,” but that’s just it – the “good” of the Church is a very nebulous thing and Pope Paul VI pretty quickly made clear he thought the good required not only minor tweaks, but a wholesale recasting of the form of the Mass.

In addition, in other places in Sacrosanctum Concilium, there is verbiage that seems to almost demand radical changes.  Then you have statements like the famous #19 – Latin in the Mass shall be preserved, BUT vernacular shall be increased.  You and I might say, OK, that means maybe the common parts in Latin, and the propers in the vernacular, but the wording was fuzzy enough that progressives could legitimately argue that the entire Mass HAD to be in the vernacular, and, again, Paul VI had pretty much backed this position by 1964.

But there is no question Reid is also right regarding how Consilium quickly took on a life of its own and manufactured a product few of the conciliar fathers would have foreseen or endorsed. It went way, way beyond what even the most liberal interpretations of Sacrosanctum Concilium could have provided – but all, I must add, with the approval of Pope Paul VI.

When we consider that the glorious Proper prayers of the Traditional Mass gradually coalesced over a period of centuries (4th-7th centuries), and that most of the common parts from well before that, the fact that Consilium, never consisting of more than a couple dozen members, manufactured not only a new Mass but an entirely new Breviary, all in the space of about 5 years, is incredible.  Reid highlights the rushed nature of its efforts below in a quote from a contemporary participant:

[The Consilium] is merely an assembly of people, many of them incompetent, and others of them well advanced on the road to novelty. The discussions are extremely hurried. Discussions are based on impressions and the voting is chaotic. What is most displeasing is that the expositive Promemorias and the relative questions are drawn up in advanced terms and often in a very suggestive form. The direction is weak……. [This is true. In Pristas’ The Collects of the Roman Missals, the author reviews various questions framed by the Consilium leadership to determine how the liturgical reform should advance.  These questions were always highly leading, in order to arrive at a particular, invariably progressive, conclusion. Amazingly, it appears that as time went on, consultation with liturgical experts went on less and less, and more and more changes to the Mass were simply authoritarian impositions of the Consilium leadership (Bugnini, Auge, Maerttens, etc)]

…….That which is sad…however, is a fundamental datum, a mutual attitude, a pre-established position, namely, many of those who have influenced the reform…and others, have no love, and no veneration of that which has been handed down to us. They begin by despising everything that is actually there. This negative mentality is unjust and pernicious, and unfortunately, Paul VI tends a little to this side. [Fr. Antonelli is being diplomatic]  They have all the best intentions, but with this mentality they have only been able to demolish and not to restore

It’s been said, those who like sausage don’t want to see it being made.  And that’s true.  The idea is that all production processes for something as complicated as the Mass or Breviary are necessarily messy, even off-putting. I think in this case, however, there was something more than just sausage making going on.  I would also say, that when it came to the traditional Mass, since it was never “made,” but was handed down by the Apostles in major part and then the remaining details gradually accrued over the space of centuries, we’re talking about something entirely different. I would say, inspired.  Not made.

I highly recommend both part of the Reid interview.  Thanks to Woody for pointing them out.

Oh, and make sure to read the first comment in the post on the 2nd part of the interview – from Dan Hunter.  He gives a quick run down on the bio of Anibale Bugnini, and it is not a pretty picture.


Is the “Reform of the Reform” finished? February 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, Liturgy, sadness, secularism, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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For those who don’t know, the “reform of the reform” was Pope Benedict’s long approach to the liturgical revolution which occurred in the Church after Vatican II.  The “reform of the reform” intended to curb the abuses which had become omnipresent in the Novus Ordo Mass and make it more traditional, more faithful.

Included in this effort was Pope Benedict’s desire for vastly improved translations of the Mass from the Latin into the vernacular (which occurred for the English speaking nations in 2011), a re-emphasis on Gregorian Chant, better adherence to the rubrics, better training for priests, etc.  It was hoped that all these efforts would result in a Novus Ordo Mass that was reverent, faithful, and equal in its application to the august reverence so present in the Traditional Mass.

The “reform of the reform” movement really goes back to the 1980s.  It has a pretty long history.  There have been a lot of efforts to improve the Novus Ordo, but they have not born consistent fruit.  For instance, there are far fewer Novus Ordo Masses available in Latin in this country, than there are TLMs. In fact, there are less than half as many.  Why is that?  Why has the “reform of the reform” failed to take off?

Rorate reports on a post by one of the prime adherents to the “reform of the reform” movement, a Fr. Thomas Kocik.  They liken his recent post on New Liturgical Movement to John Henry Newman’s “Tract 90,” which signaled a great shift in that future-cardinal’s thinking away from trying to make the Anglican Church more Catholic, to recognizing that the Catholic Faith is the One, True Faith to which he must eventually belong (he did, he is now Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman).  Entitled “Reforming the Irreformable?“, it seems to signify that one of the prime adherents of the “reform of the reform” has realized that the Traditional Mass is the ONLY end for a true and proper restoration of the Liturgy of the Roman Rite (emphasis in original, I add comments):

There are significant ruptures in content and form that cannot be remedied simply by restoring Gregorian chant to primacy of place as the music of the Roman rite, expanding the use of Latin and improving vernacular translations of the Latin liturgical texts, using the Roman Canon more frequently (if not exclusively), reorienting the altar, and rescinding certain permissions. [like Communion in the hand!]  As important as it is to celebrate the reformed rites correctly, reverently, and in ways that make the continuity with tradition more obvious, such measures leave untouched the essential content of the rites. [Here Fr. Kocik lists many other drastic changes made to the Mass after Vatican II, which many people do not know or recognize….] Any future attempt at liturgical reconciliation, or renewal in continuity with tradition, would have to take into account the complete overhaul of the propers of the Mass; the replacement of the Offertory prayers with modern compositions; the abandonment of the very ancient annual Roman cycle of Sunday Epistles and Gospels; the radical recasting of the calendar of saints; the abolition of the ancient Octave of Pentecost, the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima and the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost; the dissolution of the centuries-old structure of the Hours; and so much more. To draw the older and newer forms of the liturgy closer to each other would require much more movement on the part of the latter form, so much so that it seems more honest to speak of a gradual reversal of the reform (to the point where it once again connects with the liturgical tradition received by the Council) rather than a reform of it…

In the meantime, improvements can be made here and there in the ars celebrandi of the Ordinary Form. But the road to achieving a sustainable future for the traditional Roman rite—and to achieving the liturgical vision of Vatican II, which ordered the moderate adaptation of that rite, not its destruction—is the beautiful and proper celebration, in an increasing number of locations, of the Extraordinary Form, with every effort to promote the core principle (properly understood) of “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful (SC 14).

As Rorate notes:

This is indeed “Tract 90” for the “reform of the reform” and sounds the death knell of any serious attempt to hold onto the fiction of continuity between the 1970 Missal and the Traditional Roman rite. Just as Tract 90 marked the end of Newman’s attempt to find a Catholic continuity and a Via Media in Anglicanism, so does Fr. Kocik’s public articulation of the abandonment of his attempt to find a liturgical and theological continuity between the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Roman rite mark the end of the Reform of the Reform movement. What must be done now—and this will require much laborandum et orandum—is to make the Extraordinary—–ordinary.

I have assisted at very reverent NO Masses offered in Latin, and in the Traditional Latin Mass. I will always be very grateful for those reverent NO Masses and the priests that offered them, because they paved the way for me to find the Traditional Mass.  They also provided great spiritual fruit for me and my family, and I know they provide great sustenance for those who assist at them now.  Those rare, very reverently offered Novus Ordo Masses are a vast improvement over what is offered in most parishes.

But I have come to the same conclusion as Fr. Kocik.  I do not mean to harm the feelings of those who do not like the TLM, or who have an attachment to a reverent Novus Ordo Mass, but I have become convinced through a great amount of study and observation that the TLM is a superior Rite and that the Novus Ordo is compromised in so many details that to properly “reform” it would be to, in essence, destroy it.  It would have to cease to exist. That is why great liturgical experts like Msgr. Klaus Gamber and Alcuin Reid spoke of the imposition of the Novus Ordo as “the destruction of the Roman Rite.”  The changes were so vast and of such a drastic nature, the Novus Ordo simply does not correspond to the Traditional Mass.

Some readers asked me for examples of how the Novus Ordo differs from the TLM.  Fr. Kocik lists a few of the major changes above.  I tell you, a number of books have been written on this subject and yet, no single source has ever managed to capture, in some detail, all the changes imposed in the Novus Ordo.

For just one example: the Collect prayers during the Proper Seasons (Advent, Lent, etc – outside “ordinary time”); out of 29 possible collects for the Proper Seasons, the revisers obliterated all but 4 of the Collects from the TLM and replaced them with mostly newly concocted prayers.  Many of those TLM Collects dated from very early antiquity.  But even more than the novelty of the replacements, was the shift in emphasis in these prayers, away from our personal need for conversion and total dependence on God’s Grace, to a much more indifferent disposition towards our need for Grace and even some assumptions of already being saved.  And that doesn’t even begin to address the massive issue of incredibly problematic translations in most languages.

This post is already getting long.  I need to sum up.  It is very possible to offer a very reverent Novus Ordo that, within its own limitations (calendar, reformulated prayers, etc) is a vast, vast improvement over standard presentations of the Mass.  But such is so incredibly rare.  There are far more abusive Novus Ordo’s than there are good, reverent ones.  There seems to be aspects of the NO that render it prone to abuse.  I think that stems from  how many of the prayers were subtly changed to emphasize community, the turning around of the altar (making the priest a “performer”), the overt de-emphasis in focus on the Blessed Sacrament as Source and Summit, etc. All those can be overcome, but it seems to take an extraordinary priest to do so. I think the ultimate future for the Mass is a return to the TLM pretty much as it existed before the Council.  That is the “reform of the reform” that needs to occur, and I think, eventually will.

But as Rorate notes, we have much work ahead of us.

Pornography is a soul-destroying cancer devouring our culture February 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, Domestic Church, error, family, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, true leadership.
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We live in a culture today that is completely awash in porn.  There are displays in every supermarket stand, in every Wal Mart, in every gas station, of materials that would have been condemned as completely unacceptable and lewd only a few short decades ago.  And those are not even formally considered pornography.

Recent studies show that women are using porn now almost as much as men.  This is incredible, and unprecedented in the history of Christendom.  It is also a dread sign of how far advanced the collapse of our culture really is.

Because women are typically the prime guardians of virtue in a culture.  So when the women accept wanton immorality as simply a fact of life, you know a culture is in grave trouble, if not its death throes.

And it is women and children who are most hurt by porn.  Today, you don’t have to go out to find it, it comes to you, in your home, with complete privacy.  In the video below, it is revealed that the average child today is typically exposed to porn by age 11.  11!  That is terrible!  I can say from experience that this early exposure radically twists and deforms a child’s normal development, destroying their innocence at a far too early age and leading to massive problems that are, absent a huge working of Grace, lifelong and generally catastrophic.

Today, women are objectified as never before.  Down to the most intimate details in the most private of bodily regions, women are expected to conform to the often unnaturally perfect bodies and lewd acts “normalized,” in millions of minds, by porn.  Men, too.  What used to be considered extreme kinks are now treated as if they are completely normal, if not some kind of minimum performance requirement.  Men typically make these demands on women, but more and more are women coming to demand extreme performance, if you will, from men.

This plays out, of course, in the societal response to agitation from those lost in perversion to have their perversions normalized  by law.  Millions of people whose minds have been numbed and virtue destroyed by porn addiction see nothing wrong in someone else being able to satisfy their particular desires, and even having them recognized by the law as somehow equivalent to the God-given bond of matrimony between man and woman.

And porn plays a huge role in the destruction of numerous marriages, leaving children to suffer from this enormous trauma, be more likely themselves to also divorce, and more likely to continue the chain of porn addiction and self-abuse.

Women (and men) in porn, especially commercial-scale porn, are little more than slaves.  Most come from broken homes, many have been sexually abused as children, and the vast majority have serious drug and alcohol addictions.

This is one of the greatest evils to ever afflict a culture.  It is destroying people’s ability to practice (or even recognize) virtue and is thus one of the main cancers destroying what used to be Christendom.  It has to be stopped.

The video below from The Remnant posits some ways to stop porn, and to keep young people from falling into it.  Studies show that if people can be kept from porn until they are fully developed, say, in their mid-20s, their likelihood of ever using it are immensely reduced.  The addiction rates for those who are not exposed to porn as children are very low.

There are good ways to keep your kids from gaining access to porn.  If you think your well-raised child won’t fall into it because they assist at the Mass and you practice virtue in the home, you are deluding yourself.  Any child, and dang near EVERY child, will be exposed to porn if you do not go to substantial lengths to prevent that from happening.

So get a really good filter on all your computers.  Make sure only mom has the password.  Get a program like Covenant Eyes  or another accountability software on every computer or smart phone your family possesses.  Accountability programs send a report to mom or whoever is indicated of all the internet activity on the devices with the software loaded on it.  There are a number of other programs that are similar.  You can even use these programs to totally block internet access at given times of day, or night.

Good priests will tell you it is a sin against charity not to protect your children against this stuff. It is extremely imprudent to think your kids, good as they are, will not fall into this nightmare.  Anyone can.  And the effects are so devastating that even a tiny risk justifies a significant investment in time and resources to make sure it does not occur.  Make sure you know what your kids are doing on the internet.  Check the browser history.  If suspicious things happen – like someone deleting the history – it’s really past time to act.  Make sure your kids are protected.

A lifetime of misery and even falling away from the Faith can be averted, but you must be very vigilant.  Too many parents have just assumed their precious child would be too good to get into something like porn, only to find to their shock and dismay they were wrong. Priests tell me they hear this from parents all the time.  So act!

Pope Francis’ interesting take on why we go to Mass February 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Papa, scandals, secularism, Society, the return.
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Pope Francis, in one of his numerous off the cuff commentaries on the Faith, said yesterday that those who don’t feel a need for God’s Mercy should not go to Mass.  This is an interesting statement, and I wonder if it could have some bearing on the upcoming Synod on the Family:

Pope Francis has said that if you no do feel that you are in need of God’s mercy then it is better not to go to Mass.

Speaking at his general audience today, Pope Francis said: “Sometimes someone asks: ‘Why bother going to church, the people who always go to Mass are sinners like the others’. If you do not feel in need of God’s mercy, if you do not feel you are a sinner, then it’s better not go to Mass, because we go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to receive the forgiveness of Jesus, to participate in His redemption, His forgiveness.

“That ‘I confess’ we say at the beginning is not a ‘pro forma’, is a true act of penance, ‘I am a sinner and I confess’. We have to go to Mass humbly, as sinners, and the Lord reconciles us.”

Pope Francis went on to say: “We celebrate the Eucharist not because we are worthy, but because we recognise our need for God’s mercy, incarnate in Jesus Christ… I wish to reflect on how we live the Eucharist in our daily lives.”

I think, overall, that is quite true.  The article is short, so perhaps in his audience the Holy Father made the distinction between venial and mortal sin in an unreported section. The fact is, the Mass and reception of the Eucharist are not means of reconciling us to Jesus Christ if we have committed a mortal sin.  That can only be ameliorated by Sacramental Confession.

But I do think it is foundational to look at the Mass as a Sacrifice we take part in for the purpose of giving adoration, thanksgiving, exhibiting contrition, and begging propitiation for our sins.  The Traditional Latin Mass makes these four ends of the Mass much more explicit in its common and proper parts.  Having said that, I don’t think it makes participation invalid if one assists at a particular Mass without feeling, that one day, some particular need for forgiveness. The worldly minded could take this statement, in an abusive way, to mean that if they feel they have no sin, they don’t need to go to Mass.  One could also say that the statement might detract a bit for the other reasons for going to Mass, such as rendering honor and glory to God, imploring God for some particular need, etc.

But we who strive to be faithful must always bear in mind we are completely unworthy of the immense, infinite, august Gift we receive in the Blessed Sacrament.  And I think, again, the TLM tends to highlight to a stronger degree both the need for the Gift and its awesomeness.

Thinking in light of current trends in the Church, however, and other statements Pope Francis has made, I wonder if this statement has any bearing on the upcoming Synod on the Family and attempts define away the sin of bigamy?  Pope Francis has already spoken of the Blessed Sacrament not as a reward for the “perfect” (none are perfect, save the Lord) but as medicine for the gravely ill.  That comment was taken at the time – fairly or not – as being supportive of the idea of admitting bigamists to the Blessed Sacrament.  It also ties in with the whole “field hospital of the world” imagery the Pope has used on several occasions.  Many progressives have taken from these statements support for their efforts to undermine, if not totally destroy, Church Dogma in a number of areas, the most pressing of the moment being, again, the desire by Germanic bishops to extend the right to receive the Blessed Sacrament to public bigamists.

But aside from constant progressive machinations against the Faith, I think the Holy Father has highlighted a really important aspect of going to Mass, one a huge swath of even Mass-going Catholics have forgotten.  I’m really glad he brought it up, because Catholics need to be much, much more aware of their sin.  Progressives/modernists have tried for decades to dispel the notion of actual sin, and they have had a huge amount of success.  The vast majority of Catholics around the world, as the recent poll indicated, regularly commit the sin of apostasy in rejecting Church Dogma, apparently convinced they can do so with impunity. I applaud any effort to remind people that ALL have sinned, ALL do sin, and we have constant need of Christ’s saving Grace to be reconciled to Our Lord.  We need to hear much more of this, at all levels.