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The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background-- Excerpts
Una Voce ^ | Msgr. Klaus Gamber

Posted on 05/11/2006 4:49:52 PM PDT by pravknight

(by Msgr. Klaus Gamber) -- Excerpts

from the preface to the French edition: "J.A. Jungmann, one of the truly great liturgists of our century, defined the liturgy of his time, such as it could be understood in the light of historical research, as a 'liturgy which is the fruit of development".... "What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it--as in a manufacturing process--with a fabrication, a banal on- the-spot product." (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

2)"Our zealous reformers fail to recognize the obvious connection between Catholic teaching and piety. For many among the faithful, changes in the traditional liturgy also mean a change of faith itself." (p. 6)

3)"Nobody objects to the Church leadership adapting liturgical forms to the realities of our time, if this is really necessary. But it has to be done with discretion and great care; and in any case, without a break with Tradition." (p. 6)

4)"What can we say categorically is that the hopes that had been tied to liturgical reform have not been realized." (p. 7)

5)Cardinal Ratzinger says Gamber is "the one scholar who, among the army of pseudo-liturgists, truly represents the liturgical thinking of the center of the Church."

6)"As we have already observed, the liturgical reform welcomed with so much idealism and hope by many priest and lay people alike has turned out to be a liturgical destruction of startling proportions--a debacle worsening with each passing year. Instead of the hoped-for renewal of the Church and of Catholic life, we are now witnessing a-dismantling of the traditional values and piety on which our faith rests. Instead of a fruitful renewal of the liturgy, what we see is a destruction of the forms of the Mass which had developed organically during the course of many centuries." (p. 9)

MINOR CHANGES, AND NOT OF THE RITE ITSELF 7)"Unlike the appalling changes we are currently witnessing, the changes made in the Roman Missal over a period of almost 1,400 years did not involve the rite itself. Rather, they were changes concerned only with the addition and enrichment of new feast days, Mass formulas and certain prayers." (p. 11)

THE DAMAGE DONE 8)"Even the few positive results that have come out of the liturgical reform, which clearly include a greater involvement of the faithful in the liturgy, cannot possibly outweigh the damage that has been done." (p. 22)

ANTIQUITY OF THE ROMAN RITE 9)"The Roman Rite, in important parts, goes back at least to the fourth century, more exactly to the time of Pope Damascus (366-384). By the time of Gelasius (492-496) the Canon of the Mass had attained the form it has kept until now, apart from some modifications made under Pope St. Gregory (590-604). Since the fifth century, the only thing on which the popes have unceasingly insisted is that the Roman Canon must be adopted; their argument being that it originated with the Apostle Peter. But concerning the other parts of the Order, and the choice of Propers for Masses, they respected the customs of local churches." (p. 24)

10)'... and we now contemplate at our feet the ruins, not of the Tridentine Mass, but of the ancient Roman Rite which had developed and grown to maturity during that long period." (p. 26)

A RIGHT BY BAPTISM 11)footnote on p. 39: "The following point is worth pondering: As already discussed, according to canon law, a person's affiliation with a particular liturgical rite is determined by that person's rite of baptism. Given that the liturgical forms of Pope Paul VI created a de facto new rite, one could assert that those among the faithful who were baptized according to the traditional Roman rite have the right to continue following that rite; just as priests who were ordained according to the traditional Ordo have the right to exercise the very rite that they were ordained to celebrate." (p. 39)

12)"Since the conclusion of the Council, has our liturgical worship become more attractive to the faithful? Did the new liturgy contribute to strengthening faith and piety among our people? Hardly! Even during the short time that has elapsed since the introduction of the Novus Ordo in 1969, our churches have become emptier, the number of our priests and religious continues to decline steadily, and decline at an alarming rate. The reasons for these developments are many and varied, but we must admit that the liturgical reforms failed to arrest the negative trends they were to remedy, and that, more likely than not, they helped make them significantly worse." (p. 46)

HISTORY 13)"Liturgical history tells us that until the end of the first century, in the Roman rite, the priest prepared himself for Mass in private, that is, he prayed silently. After entering the Church, he would stand at the foot of the steps leading up to the altar, bowing low and remaining in this posture until after the Gloria Patri of the Introit was sung by the choir. The Entrance and Preparatory Prayers, which developed over time and went through a number of different versions, were not responsorial prayers between the priest and the people. The use of responsorial prayers developed much later, during the dialogue Masses, which first came into use in the 1920s." (pp. 49-50)

MASS FACING PEOPLE NOT MANDATORY 14)"At this point we should know that the celebration of the Mass with the priest facing the people was not made mandatory in the new liturgical rite, although theInstitutio generalis Missalis recommends it." (p. 53)

"FOR MANY" 15)"Truly problematic, in fact truly scandalous, is the translation of the phrase pro multis as "for all," a translation inspired by modern theological thinking but not to be found in any historical liturgical text." (footnote: "In the exegesis of Heb. 9:28, St. John Chrysostom explains quite succinctly: 'He was offered but once to bear the sins of many. Why does he [St. Paul] say, 'of many,' and not 'for all'? Because not all had faith. Although He died for all, as far as He is concerned, to save all, His death voiding the downfall of all mankind, yet He did not take away the sins of all, because they themselves did not want Him to do this." (pp. 55-56)

TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY NOT RECEIVED 16)"In spite of the careful advance work that had been done and the skilled manipulation and management of the sessions themselves, the first general assembly of the 1967 Synod of Bishops did not approve with the required two- thirds majority vote the so-called Missa normativa, the forerunner of the new Ordo Missae. Even so, the development of the new Ordo Missae continued anyway." (footnote, p. 61)

17)"For example, the introductory rite used to a dialogue between the celebrant and the ministri (the altar boys or Mass servers) at the steps of the altar while the choir sang the Introitus. So too were the responses, Deo gratias and Laus tibi, Christe, to the scriptural readings--in the traditional Ordo given only by one of the ministri." (p. 66)

ROME'S RESPONSIBILITY "Today's Church has no need for a new Order of the Mass. What she needs is a flourishing spiritual life. This can overcome the crisis of faith, a crisis that is also a crisis of authority. At least in part, the responsibility for the crisis of authority must be squarely placed on Rome." (p. 68)

MASS FACING PEOPLE? 18)"... we can say and convincingly demonstrate that neither in the Eastern nor the Western Church was there ever a celebration versus populum--rather, there was only the practice of turning towards the East while praying." (p. 77)

FACING EAST 19)"What in the early Church and during the Middle Ages determined the position of the altar was that it faced East. To quote St. Augustine: 'When we rise to pray, we turn East, where heaven begins. And we do this not because God is there, as if He had moved away from other directions on earth..., but rather to help us remember to turn our mind towards a higher order, that is, to God." (p. 80)

MASS FACING THE PEOPLE 20)"Since there is no basis for it in liturgical history, nor theology, nor sociologically, the celebration of the Mass versus populum should be gradually phased out." (p. 92)

RUINS 21)"Today, we are standing before the ruins of almost 2,000 years of Church tradition. We cannot help being apprehensive: the numerous reforms made have damaged Church tradition to such an extent that it will be difficult to bring it back again. Today, dare we even ask whether after such a deconstruction, a reconstruction of the traditional Order would be possible? But one must not give up hope." (p. 95)

22)"Today, those who out of a sense of personal belief hold firm to what until recently had been strictly prescribed by the Roman Church are treated with condescension by many of their own brothers. They face problems if they continue to nurture the very rite in which they were brought up and to which they have been consecrated. That theirs were decisions made as a matter of conscience and that their conscience is being sorely tested is of little consequence to those who oppose them." (pp.98-99)

WHAT POSSIBLE ADVANTAGE? 23)"But what possible advantage can be gained for the pastoral care of the faithful by changing the feast days of the saints in the Church calendar, changing the way of counting Sundays during the liturgical year, or even changing the words of Consecration? What possible advantage can be gained by introducing a new Order of Readings and abolishing the old one, or by making minor and unimportant adjustments to the traditional rite, and then finally, by publishing a new Missal? "Was all this really done because of pastoral concern about the souls of the faithful, or did it not rather represent a radical breach with the traditional rite, to prevent the further use of traditional liturgical texts and thus to make the celebration of the 'Tridentine Mass' impossible--because it no longer reflected the new spirit moving through the Church?" (pp. 19-20)

24)"Liturgy and faith are interdependent. This is why a new rite was created, a rite that in many ways reflects the bias of the new (modernists) theology. The traditional liturgy simply could not be allowed to exist in its established form because it was permeated with the truths of the traditional faith and the ancient forms of piety. For this reason alone, much was abolished and new rites, prayers and hymns were introduced, as were the new readings from Scripture, which conveniently left out those passages that did not square with the teachings of modern theology--for example, references to a God who judges and punishes." (p. 100)

HONEST ASSESSMENT 25)"The pastoral benefits that so many idealists had hoped the new liturgy would bring did no materialize. Our churches emptied in spite of the new liturgy (or because of it?), and the faithful continue to fall away from the Church in droves." (p. 101)

NOT BREAD, BUT STONES 26)"In the end, we will all have to recognize that the new liturgical forms, well-intentioned as they may have been at the beginning, did not provide the people with bread, but with stones." (p. 109)

ROBBING 27)"Particularly pernicious in this respect is the incessant nature of the changes to which we are subjected. This is diametrically opposed to the concept of liturgy as our home. To constantly change a ritual and to abolish almost completely time-honored customs and traditions is synonymous with robbing a person of his religious home and thus shaking the foundations of his faith." (p. 110)

ALTAR FACING PEOPLE? 28)"How can anybody be against the altar facing the people, since its use has been prescribed by the Council and it has been established everywhere?

"One would look in vain for a statement in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council that said that Holy Mass is to be celebrated facing the people. Back in 1947, Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei, pointed out that the person 'who wants to change the altar into the old form of the Mensa (the table) is going down the wrong road.' The celebration of the Mass versus populum was not allowed until the Second Vatican Council, but many bishops quietly tolerated the practice, particularly during Masses celebrated specifically for young people." (pp. 142©143)

"A FAIRY TALE" 29)"But we want to quote from Fr. Josef A. Jungmann, the author of the well- known book, Missarum Sollemnia, published shortly after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, in the magazine, The Pastor. The author writes, 'The claim that the altar of the early Church was always designed to celebrate facing the people, a claim made often and repeatedly, turns out to be nothing but a fairy tale.'" (p. 151)

"REAL CHANGE" 31)"Real change in the contemporary perception of the purpose of the Mass and the Eucharist will occur only when the table altars are removed and Mass is again celebrated at the high altar; when the purpose of the Mass is again seen as an act of adoration and glorification of God and of offering thanks for His blessings, for our salvation and for the promise of the heavenly life to come, and as the mystical reenactment of the Lord's sacrifice on the cross." (p. 175)

"AN ERROR" 32) "The focus must forever be on God, not man. This has always meant that everyone turn towards Him in prayer, rather than that the priest face the people. From this insight, we must draw the necessary conclusion and admit that the celebration versus populum is, in fact, an error. In the final analysis, celebration versus populum is a turning towards man, and away from God." (p. 179)

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; History; Orthodox Christian; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; liturgy; novusordo; tridentine
"What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it--as in a manufacturing process--with a fabrication, a banal on- the-spot product." (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)
1 posted on 05/11/2006 4:49:55 PM PDT by pravknight
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To: bornacatholic; wideawake; BlackElk

Even the current pope has thought the Pauline rite has been fraught with problems.

2 posted on 05/11/2006 4:52:15 PM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christos Vincit)
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To: pravknight
Just thinking of an earlier post where I noted that there are now supposedly 600,000,000 Pentacostals in the world ~ up from the 50 people at the founding in 1911 (or thereabouts).

Guarantee they didn't all come out of the hides of the Protestant churches ~ so I would suppose there are a lot of folks who have problems with the liturgy ~ old and new.

3 posted on 05/11/2006 6:38:21 PM PDT by muawiyah (-)
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