Roman433 has kindly asked me to contribute to this blog, and, God willing, I hope I can add as much value to the blogsphere with comments and discussion starters regarding the sacred liturgy, tradition, and the condition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in Australia and my home state.
To introduce myself, I serve at one of Australia's capital city cathedrals (people "in the know" will easily guess at which). I have begun serving quite late in life as I was not able to serve when I was younger (it was discouraged). It also marks something of a conversion back to the Church, and Christ has rewarded me with so many blessings, far more than what I have been able to put in. The Eucharist is truly a fountain that gives so much refreshment, without drying-up, and it is truly a privilege, to be so close to the Eucharist and serve at God's holy Altar.
It is a very exciting time to be serving. I believe we are entering one of the most dynamic periods in the history of liturgical development in the church; comparable with those times following the Second Vatican Council and the Council of Trent. Out of each of these Councils came quite different and separate Missals - both claiming to be the voice of sacred tradition and adapted to current pastoral needs. Unfortunately my upbringing in the Church has been impacted by the arguments on which is the better, which was exacerbated by the fact that the earlier Missal (the Tridentine Missal or Mass of Pius V)) was first implicitly "banned" following the promulgation of the second - something as Benedict XVI has observed, was unprecedented in the history of the Church. The older Missal, is now able to be celebrated with permission, but this is made very subjectively.
The newer Missal (known as the Novus Ordo Missal or Mass of Paul VI) has been overtaken by various left-wing agendas, to the extent that, in many parishes, it is almost unrecognisable as the Roman Rite. As a reaction to this a movement has arisen known in the English speaking world as the "Reform-of-the-Reform". There is virtually no definition of what "Reform-of-the-Reform" (RoR) actually means, but has been generally to mean realigning the liturgy to what the Council Fathers at the Second Vatican Council thought they were getting with liturgical reform, and discarding later developments after the Council. These later developments include Mass entirely in the vernacular (1967), celebration facing the congregation (1969), Communion in the hand (1973), female Altar servers (1993), and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (1977). In addition to this has been a rejection of the folk music popular in the 60s and 70s, and its replacement with more liturgically suitable music.
Celebration of RoR Masses have been much at the initiative of the local congregation or the celebrating priest. (The Pontifical Low Mass celebrated on Sunday is an example). Support of RoR at the hierarchial level has been through the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II (Ecclesia in Eucharista, Redemptionis Sacramentum and Liturgicam Authenticum) and most recently pushed by Benedict XVI through Sacramentum Caritas and his numerous talks and writings on the subject before coming Pope. Although much of this material has been ignored by the local Church, the first tangible result is a new English translation of the Roman Missal. This will be in a more formal and poetic English, designed to be as faithful to the Latin original as possible, and not at the ideological flavouring of the translator. How this will be received in Brisbane will be interesting, particularly as its adoption is unlikely to be negotiable.
The other major impact is the publication in the next few weeks or months of a Motu Proprio, at the Pope's own initiative. Although the exact contents of this document are unknown, enough leaks have been made for us to know that it will lift all restrictions of the older Roman Missal(s), and establish them as "extraordinary" forms of the Roman Rite alongside the "ordinary" form, namely the so called Novus Ordo Missal that we use each Sunday.
So these two initiatives will set to revolutionise how we will view the Roman Rite. Already, they are upsetting people in the local Church, as articles on the Brisbane Liturgical Commission's website attest.
In the next few weeks and months I would like to talk about issues such as what is tradition, and how much "tradition" is really in the Novus Ordo Mass versus the Tridentine Mass. Conversely, can the vision of the Second Vatican Council shine through the older Tridentine Mass (as well as other usages and rites)? What does the future hold for either form of celebration?
I will intersperse these discussions with bits of movies, pics, observations and comments on current issues.