Monday, August 02, 2010

The Reform of the Reform what is it?

This blog will be now devoted to the Reform of the Reform as 1. I most commonly serve the solemn form of the ordinary form (OF) of the Roman Rite and 2. there are enough blogs focussing on the Extraordinary Form.

There is a good article on the New Liturgical Movement describing the various forms of the Reform-of-the-Reform movement. There are 2 main camps 1. those that see the 1962 Missal as the starting point and 2. those who see the 1970 Missal as the starting point.

3 years after Summorum Pontificum, we see more flexibility in the EF and opportunities to be celebrated but it has not exactly caught on like wildfire. Locally it simply has meant that pre-existing traditionalist communities now have the opportunity to attend weekday Masses as well as a Sunday Mass in the older form, but the movement has certainly not spread to other parishes. This is a due to largely to an attitude that the OF is "good enough for us" and the lack of priests with the skills and interest in serving the older form. With the church being controlled by people who were around at Vatican II, there is a lot of hostility towards this form. This will die off as that generation dies off but it will take a long time.

I follow the second school of thought - of the Mass of 1970 being the starting point. As Bishop Elliot remarked at the Altar Server Conference in Melbourne in January 2008 it is about "reconnecting the reform with the tradition". There is nothing doctrinally unsound in the OF Mass; some elements may be submerged in it but that is the same as the EF Mass. Although there was a certain amount of "Modern thinking" rather than Modernism (Elliot: Jan 2008) in the Novus Ordo Missae, it reflects the faith expressed in the Catechism.

So we start from what is the problem and then how do we re-align it so that it reflects better our real relationship to God.

The first issue is that society has lost all sense of liturgy. You just see how people behave at Weddings and Baptisms, they really have no idea. - and these are "Catholics"!

This has been exacerbated by the idea of liturgy being defined as the "work of the people" when liturgia is actually public work ie. a type of public service undertaken by a certain individual ot individuals to provide a service to the community such as repairing the city walls or rebuilding a road. Much of the modern "liturgists" are to blame for this. Therefore if it is a work of the people it means that the liturgy reflects their preoccupations and can be changed to suit their needs.

Modern Man sees himself as the "measure of all things" and so unfortunately modern liturgy reflects this. You see that the altar in many Catholic churches has been reduced to a table that is on the same level as the people so that they can "gather" around it.

All of this speaks of a God who is "not great" and who is only as good as us.
The OF Liturgy ought to be a simplification of its father the EF Liturgy in the rites and length of prayers as well as be more easily understandable. and in many ways the intentions failed, in that it provides for a different set of complications. It needs to reflect the sobriety and gravitas of the Roman Liturgy.
In short it needs not revision , but simply re-orientation back towards God and not to the people.

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