Thursday, October 25, 2007

More on the "Reform of the Reform"

As I predicted earlier in the year on this blog, Summorum Pontificam has begun to raise questions about the Reform-of-the-Reform and where it will go next. Over at the New Liturgical Movement there is an interesting discussion of the "Reform-of-the-Reform" movement and what its real agenda is.

There are a number streams of thought in the article:
Stream #1 is that the RofR movement is seeking a return to organic growth and an interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium that focusses on its Vatican II's desire for organic growth and a mild amount of mofification of the Roman Missal and questions the direction of the liturgical reform from 1962 to 1970 and beyond.

Stream #2 is that the RofR movement simply accepts what is done with the 1970 edition of the Missal (and the 2002 update) and apply it as accurately as practicable (ie. Say the Black - Do the Red or as NLM terms it the STBDTR movement).

Leading from this are the assertions that Stream 1 is the authentic RofR. The chief criticism made by the author of the Shrine of the Holy Wapping is that the RofR is becoming more narrow focussed and hitching its wagon to the "classically tradtionalist" agenda and being excessively restorationist. The author claims that this has led to certain parishes being labelled as "flagship parishes" that reflect what certain RofR proponents want rather than what the "movement" set out to achieve.

Confused? You are not the only one.

This is my take on all of this. I agree that SP has completely changed the RofR agenda. I believe that one of the original driving forces of the RofR was the assumption that the TLM was gone and would never be a viable force, had problems, and that the RofR was an alternative way that would be acceptable to the church hierarchy. I think that this was probabaly some of the driving force behind St Agnes in St Paul Minnesota and the Brompton Oratory. Under this agenda, Stream #1 was more dominant than stream #2.

SP has "pulled the rug" from the stream #1 thought. I believe that the Ordinary Form is what it is. It cannot be "tridentinised" as it is a child of its particular time in church history. Therefore stream #2 should be driving the RofR agenda, and personally I am of the STBDTR persuasion.

If I want to tridentinise the Mass I go to an Extraordinary Form Mass and do it properly. If I want to go to an Ordinary Form Mass because I want a greater range of scripture readings, hear and participate in the Mass in English, I will do so. The fact that Holy Communion is in the hand, the Mass is celebrated versus populum, there may be lay ministers of Holy Communion, is part of that package. The thing that I am concerned about is that the liturgical books are followed accurately and with maturity. What I do not like is "pick and choose" approaches to the GIRM. It is in these areas that the RofR needs to focus.

Incidently in Brisbane we have no parishes that could be seen as RofR flagships. The liturgy is in disarray to varying degrees in all of them.


Fr Reginald Wilson said...

I am a supporter of Stream #1. The Vatican Council made its decisions (re. the Mass) in the light of what was current practice (1962). The organic development the Council authorized was to start at that point. The Bugnini Mass was a fabrication full of theological fallacies and liturgical fantasy. Authentic Reform of the Reform must start with the Missale Romanum 1962, rather than try and work back from the Missale Romanum 2002. Step #1 Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular and the addition (in Latin)of the Prefaces of the Missale Romanum 2002.

Stephen said...

Thanks for your comments Father. I suppose that I do look for the practical point of view. I am not seeking to "work back" from the 2002 Missale Romanum, it is simply a matter of really looking hard at the liturgical norms, respecting them, and following them (for a change).

The other side of RofR is re-discovering the 1962 Missal and making it our own. One comment in the blogosphere said that over time we should stop talking abiut a 1962 Missal but work towards a Benedictine Missal which is based upon the 1962 but incorporates all the things that you mention.

I think RofR really is now a two-pronged approach to be successful. But to do that we all need to have a love for both forms of the Roman Rite (as I have). I was brought up exclusively in the Mass of Paul VI but now I am discovering all these other riches in the Missal of John XXIII. I hate the abuses that I have seen in the ordinary form, but I also have many really happy memories of Masses that I have attended over the years. These range from Masses celebrated out in the bush, on the beach, to solemn pontifical masses celebrated in cathedrals and basilicas.

Fr Reginald Wilson said...

I really agree with you, from a practical point of view it will be a two-pronged attach.
I will never forget the uplifting effect that celebrating the Novus Ordo from the Missale Romanum 2002, ad orientem, had on me. It was the first time that I experienced the Novus Ordo as an organic development of the TLM. It is from that experience that I have gleaned a little of the meaning of "organic development".

Stephen said...

On my travels there were a few places (mainly in Italy) where ad orientem celebration of the ordinary form is either commonplace or beeen recently adopted.

In the case of versus populum celebrations, I get the feeling that the original intention was quite different to that of the post VatII "reformers". Somehow in their ideological push - they didnt "get it". The next few postings will expose this, and proves that Dr Lang is correct in his book "turning towards the Lord".