Whatever Pope Paul’s intent for the New Mass, it’s failure has been abject December 10, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, different religion, disaster, episcopate, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Papa, Revolution, secularism, the struggle for the Church.
Pertinacious Papist has a couple of posts that I think, put together, make a powerful statement. The first contains much of Paul VI’s speech before a general audience in late 1969, announcing the introduction – one might say infliction – of the new Mass upon the Church. The other is a video that, harshly and perhaps slightly unfairly at times, compares the two Masses, new and old. The differences are much more than mere surface, or language, as Paul VI insists in his speech. They cut to the very heart of Catholic belief, and explain both the New Mass’s failures even on the narrow terms Paul VI established for it, and its central contribution to the collapse in the Faith these last 45 years. First, the speech (emphasis from PP, my comments):
Our Dear Sons and Daughters:
1. We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].
2. A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. [Reading Sense of the Sacred and other books on the history of the Liturgy, it is apparent that much of the TLM, including its most essential part, the Canon, dates from no later than the 3rd century, and almost certainly is entirely of apostolic origin, or very nearly so] This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. [It was untouchable, save for gradual, organic development over centuries, until progressives, in their hubris, arrogated to themselves the right to change something that was not of man but of God. They played with elemental forces, and the Church got burned] It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead…. [It merely seemed to, or it actually did?]
4. We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect…. [I disagree with the reduction to opposition to this unprecedented novelty as being one based in narrow concerns like inconvenience and annoyance. This was a fundamental change to the very heart of the Church, her most essential, life-giving act. The huge, protestant-oriented changes could not but have a severe impact on the Church’s internal life, her very understanding of herself. Those who were disconcerted had very good reasons to be so]
6. This first reason is not simply canonical—relating to an external precept…. It is Christ’s will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change. A prophetic moment is occurring in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church, arousing it, obliging it to renew the mysterious art of its prayer. [Does this naked ideological assertion, totally unsupported by any real evidence, sound familiar? Are we not hearing the same bald assertions in favor of radical novelty today?]
7. The other reason for the reform is this renewal of prayer…. [How has that worked out?]
8. … The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. [Yes, the introduction of vernacular was the obvious change, the one that got all the notice, but it was not, in the end, the most substantive change. The most substantive changes happened to the many alterations to the prayers and structure of the Mass, and especially the incredibly novel, really arrogant introduction of new eucharistic prayers. And it is those changes that have had the largest, most destructive effect on Catholic belief]
9. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values? [Here’s a question……if the TLM had as much value as you admit, Pope Paul, why did you pretend to abrogate it? Why did you let everyone believe it was abrogated, while insuring your formal organs of the Church did not formally make it so? The CDF and CDW always stopped short of agreeing to queries asking if the TLM were really abrogated. But you persecuted, sometimes viciously, those who tried to adhere to the old Mass, and broadly put forth the notion that it was no longer permitted. Why?]
10. The answer will seem banal, prosaic. Yet it is a good answer, because it is human, because it is apostolic….
11. Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more—particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.…
Was Pope Paul really that superficial? Did he really see the change in the Mass primarily about understanding and language, and not about moving the Church towards a much more protestant conception of worship? He could not have been the latter, because too many direct, personal interventions were made with him from people – bishops, cardinals, clergy, laity – who were terrified at the implications of the Novus Ordo, who knew it was going to be a doctrinal and pastoral catastrophe.
Which, speaking of…….the two Masses compared, side by side. I believe I’ve posted this before, but it’s a very concise and handy reminder that much, much more than simply the language of the Mass changed. The very essence, the purpose of the Mass was radically shifted. From a religion offering adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and sacrifice to God in its highest act, to a banal, on the spot manufactured product that seems to put the focus, even the object of worship, as much on man as on anything else.