Sunday, August 09, 2015

Deus in loco sancto suo

Mass: Deus in loco sancto suo. Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask. Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand. He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Photos: Most Precious Blood Italian Catholic Church, Hazleton, Pa. (From R.K.)

The coincidentally full church in the first interior photo and the empty one in the second are fitting given recent history.

The Catholic "renewal" like in the 1970s; low-church. I understand the intent of the "renewal": streamline the liturgy to teach people about the Bible and its message to make a fervent community winning the world for Christ. But any kind of Protestantism, including liturgical neo-Protestantism, is wrong plus it doesn't work. Lots of people have left the church. I can imagine this place having guitars and a squad of Eucharistic ministers; ugh. Or maybe it's like South Philly, where the Italians had the new religion forced on them like the English "Reformation." As much as I hate this, with Pope Benedict's English Mass (Catholic in spite of local liberals) I could live with it. The church is still the church; we still have our doctrine and the sacraments. All it would take to improve this place is bringing back a traditional "eastward" altar ("the priest has his back to the people") and the altar rail.

Traditional Italian devotional Catholicism. It's fine; it just needs to be put in its proper place to keep things Christ-centered. Of course all true devotion to Mary is devotion to Jesus; he is the reason for devotion to her.
Ugh. I feel sorry for the priest who draws that assignment.
I can imagine a priest in the Pope Benedict mold walking into a '70s nightmare of old National Catholic Reporter-reading parish-council members who are Eucharistic ministers. Or maybe they're well-meaning Italians still following the program forced on them 40 years ago and just need a nudge back in the right direction. If the parish doesn't close first due to the attrition after Vatican II, as you and I know is happening a lot in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
I'm all for the Latin Mass (in both its traditional and post-Vatican II forms) but to refer to the Novus Ordo as "new religion" is a bit much, don't you think? As you noted, even the worst tambourine Mass with liturgical dance is still valid, something that cannot be said about the liturgies celebrated by Anglicans and other Protestant groups (fakedty-fake, etc., etc.). That said, the destruction of churches and their uglification was a terrible thing. Also, the shift in focus away from the Sacrifice of the Cross to what George Carlin once so perceptively called "buddy Jesus" did a lot of damage too. Buddy Jesus isn't going to call on you to practice the faith, he's your pal, he wants to have a beer with you, and then let you into heaven like a guy with an in with the bouncer who runs the rope line at Studio 54 ('70s reference deliberate). Ick. No wonder people stopped going. The Sacrifice of the Cross is at the heart of all liturgy — the Mass, the Office, Benediction, each and every Sacrament. Get away from that, and there's trouble.
I didn't post this to criticize the Anglicans. "I am a Catholic" suffices and I'm thankful they accidentally taught me pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

"The new religion" is a bit of Anglo-Catholic rhetoric that fits. Doctrinally I understand you but culturally it was very much a new religion, and with the spread of heresy starting in the Sixties (and yes, made worse by Vatican II), sadly, locally it was doctrinally so as well.

The early Lutherans and the sincere among the early Anglicans (there were a few: Hooker, for example) were trying to do what Catholic reformers in the 20th century were: change lay Catholics from lax and passive to "on fire for the Lord" in a lively fellowship by turning the liturgy into a teaching tool ("turn them into little priests"), but of course they no longer believed in our doctrine. The Lutherans made the episcopate optional and were wrong about the Mass but kept many of our forms (they're our close cousins, sincere in their love for Christ); the Anglicans went in for long sermons and, with the priest wearing his old choir habit for all services (keeping a liturgy but "this is not a Mass"), church in the round for Communion (the return to eastward celebrations was later), which they ended up doing only once a quarter because English people kept the medieval Catholic practice of only receiving four times a year.
Active participation??? Let's see ... would you call "active participation" that which the 3 Marys and the Apostle John did at the foot of the Cross. The priest celebrates (not just presides at) the Mass and we "assist." This "active participation" stuff is more crapola, a hidden agenda for the liberalism that has crept into all things erstwhile Catholic.
In short, I appreciate what the reformers who still believed in our doctrine were trying to do. They did it wrong. Just have translations of the old services as an option and make a couple of little edits.
The 1965 Missal had the right idea, although the vernacular of the people's parts would need to be redone in the spirit of B16's reform of the Roman Rite's translation style.
I'm fine with just translating the 1962 Missal. By the way, officially there is no 1965 Missal. There was a series of instructions starting in 1965 whittling the 1962 Missal away, until by 1969 it was nearly the Novus Ordo, but officially the Roman Rite still used the 1962 Missal. I think Benedict the Great's reform in English approximates those late '60s Masses in content, but you're right, now the English is better, closer to the Latin. Like the translation in my 1957 hand missal.
More than instructions, though. I've seen hand missal a using the 1965 arrangement — the missals were provisional, but they were there. People's parts in English, priest's parts in Latin. Translating the 1962 Missal is a fine idea too, and arguably that is what should have been done instead of undertaking a wider reform of the order of Mass.
I've seen the new hand missal from '65 too. But the official missal, the altar book, was '62 with new instructions. Rome didn't issue a new missal in '65. Procedurally, the new instructions were like the many other tweaks since St. Pius V.

I think many lay Catholics, seeing the new hand missal, thought that the '65 revision would be the extent of Vatican II's changes.
I remember the 1965 hand missals. Thank God this was after my altar-boy days. Don't like the 1965 interim liturgy. This is when we had a large table placed in the sanctuary and the priest celebrated versus populum. No thanks.
That's pretty much where most of the Roman Rite is now, because of both the disaster of the council and Benedict the Great's recatholicizing reform. Bad ceremonial but orthodox text. So for instance when I'm on vacation in Wildwood for the classic-car show — the cars, the space-age motels, AND going to Mass at liberal St. Ann's (part of the new parish of Notre Dame de la Mer after the closings/merger), it's like 1965: the Sixties didn't really happen. (Despite the all-girl serving crew and, worse, the squad of Eucharistic ministers; write it off as local eccentricity.)

A news story from two months ago about local worship wars: Music chief for Pope’s Philly Mass quits in dispute with Archbishop Chaput.
Romeri is said to have more of a “high church” sensibility in liturgy than Archbishop Chaput, who has expressed a preference for the newer Mass in English and simpler styles of worship. While Chaput is often described as a doctrinal and cultural conservative, in the Catholic Church, that does not necessarily equate with liturgical traditionalism, which is its own distinct — and proud — brand.
'80s American Catholic low churchmanship: ugh. The archdiocese has a reputation as "conservative" but it's really complacent and parochial, and now that it's spent down its financial and social capital from before Vatican II, it's crumbling. My impression is Archbishop Chaput is sound doctrinally but is mainly a retirer of debts. "How's that 'renewal' working out for youse?" (Remember when conservative Catholics were told to turn charismatic, the future of the church?)
You are right about the church in Philadelphia, but as far as church closings, but there is little choice given Mass attendance and $$$. Some beautiful churches have closed, but some are just old and undistinguished.
Some closings are necessary. The Sixties would have hurt the church regardless, but if we hadn't helped the process with Vatican II, we would have been better off. We had the clout among our own people and in the larger American society to ride it out. (By the way, Cardinal McIntyre in Los Angeles never implemented the changes, throughout the decade. They didn't come in until after he was forced to retire in 1970. An unsung hero.) All we needed to do, practically, was say American religious freedom rightly understood is OK, and do what the Russian Orthodox metropolia in America/the OCA did, just offer a translation of the old services as an option with maybe a few edits.

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