Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coming clean about the rupture in the church
Another good sign of Pope Benedict’s renewal: the Archdiocese of Phoenix seems willing to admit the Novus Ordo was a mistake, a rupture; thoughtcrime as recently as 15 years ago (probably still enough to keep you out of seminary or from being ordained in the many AmChurch/Magic Circle-ridden dioceses; the old liberals are going away slowly). Rorate Cæli via Dr Tighe reports it will have a seminar on the interim 1965 instructions modifying the 1962 missal (simplified and partly in the vernacular: not tops but tolerable, and still Tridentine and rubrical enough to keep priests honest and orthodox at the altar even if they choose to face the congregation and have guitars).
The Archdiocese of Phoenix is holding a Conference on the 1965 Rite. Bishops Olmsted, Cordeleone (of Oakland) and Elliot (Auxiliary in Melbourne, Australia) will be there, along with some “conservative” liturgists.

It is not a Tridentine Conference but, according to a well-known traditional priest and friend of
Rorate, it is his understanding that the underlying message of the conference is that the 1965 Rite was supposed to have been the end of the reform. In other words: a future New Rite was not intended by the bishops in 1965 and became, ultimately, a rupture with tradition.

Our priest source also believes this is not a “reform of the reform” conference either. The reform of the reform assumes that the
Novus Ordo is the direction, but it just needs to reined in a bit. This conference, he believes, is very quietly suggesting that the Novus Ordo should not have been.

If true, this could turn out to be a remarkable event.
I’ve long had that impression based on the nicely made hand missals that year (like the ones in decades past since they were first allowed, like I have) called the ‘Vatican II editions’ etc. But some from then such as Jim C. say they knew it was only interim.

I have an altar missal from then and its many pasted-in pages, typed inserts and crossed-out rubrics tell the sad story of liturgical history in a few turbulent years, worth preserving for history’s sake and as a cautionary tale.

A window on what things were like is in the silly 1969 Elvis movie Change of Habit in which Mary Tyler Moore is a sometimes habitless nun (guh-roovy... here she’s in a nice habit) who naturally falls for heroic Dr Elvis running a clinic in the ghetto. Anyway the Mass scene is interesting because the actual Mass part is fine, priest facing east and everything, probably even doing it in Latin (we don’t hear, and although It’s Not About Latin™, its use is a fairly good sign of soundness). Even the offertory procession is nice. Like the church trying to be hip (ugh), Elvis, a guitar, a backing band and some girls dressed frumpily for church, but dancing the monkey or something, are in the sanctuary (flanking it about where English choir stalls would be) where he’s... being Elvis.

I knew a corner had been turned when, after the good Mercedarian friars took over Our Lady of Lourdes Church, now Overbrook and the Main Line’s showplace of Pope Benedict’s plan, I said the church should have stuck with the ’65 revision as the extent of the new options and the priest agreed!

I’ll say it: the Ruthenian Greek Catholics’ Revised Divine Liturgy, Novus ethos in Byzantine garb, or that church in a nutshell, would never happen in the Eastern Orthodox churches, which have no mechanisms to overhaul services like that and even when they came close to trying (most churches except the Russians adopting the modern calendar starting in the ’20s) there were fistfights in the streets (a good impulse: defend the faith of your fathers... why weren’t there more Fr DePauws and Archbishop Lefebvres? ... people did what they were told) and schisms (Old Calendarist Greeks, their versions of the SSPX and sedevacantists). The Orthodox Liturgy.

In the early years Lefebvre signed onto the ’65 changes.

Playing devil’s advocate, ha ha, or the R² folks’ point: There is nothing theologically wrong with the Novus Ordo in the Latin original. The English paraphrase for the past 40 years skated with heresy but as Fr Z counts down, each Sunday this year is one more you’ll never have to hear again! One thing I like about the Novus no-music early Low Masses a lot of sound Catholics take cover in is the liturgical-movement goal achieved of the congregation reciting the Introit and Communion verses. OK, I’m done.

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