Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Influence of the New on the Old
Photograph Fr Tim's Jubilee h/t Fr Z
There have been a couple of articles on the prestigious New Liturgical Movements site here and here on what I said here.
My concern was that the Pope's understanding of mutual enrichment of both usages of the Roman Rite expressed in Summorum Pontificum should take place.
It is pretty obvious the effects that the usus antiquior should have on the usus recentior, it has been widely discussed elsewhere, most especially on NLM.
But what effects should the Paul VI on that of John XXIII?
I read on someone's blog the comment by an elderly French priest, the statement about traditionalist clergy, "What they are now, we never were". I do not remember pre-concilliar liturgy but I was struck by a priest who, speaking of his first Mass 50 years ago, in my Church said, "I didn't understand a word of what I was saying or what I was doing", or again another priest in the 70's saying, "I would hate to go back to it, we were only allowed half an hour from amice to amice, it meant we had to leave a lot out". Again in this parish the old Polish chaplain could say a Requiem including the obsequies in less than 20 minutes, low Mass for him was 15 minutes. The prayers at the foot of the altar rather than a dialogue, were said simultaneously with the server each saying their own part. The first words of a liturgical action were said whilst the rest was simply garbled from memory with as much speed as possible. Whether there were three or three hundred people in the congregation the style of celebration seems to have been the same. It seems there was little attempt to even announce the lections in a manner in which they might be heard, even by those who had sufficient Latin to understand. I remember an old priest saying, "Liturgy in my day was taught under two headings, Canon Law and Moral Theology".
The overriding emphasis of the celebration of the past seems to have been "doing the action" an emphasis on the minimum required for validity and the minimum required for staying within the bounds of what was licit.
Obviously there were exceptions produced by the liturgical movement, but what was happening in the great monasteries seems not to have touched most parishes or one suspects most seminaries. The moves by Blessed John XXIII to restore Latin in seminaries seems more to have been an act of desperation rather than a celebration of what was happening in practice.
The experience of the Traditional Liturgy nowadays seems far from what our pre-concilliar grandparents experienced. I know nothing of the SSPX, but my experience of the FSSP and of ordinary parish clergy celebrating the older form is that they actually love the liturgy they are celebrating, they want to do it as beautifully as possible, they understand its history, they are enthused by it and want their people to understand the richness of it. It is at the centre of their spiritual lives. Although there might be mixed feelings about the "dialogue Mass", there is a real feeling that the people should participate as deeply and fervently as possible.
It is important to remember that Sacrosanctum Concillium is directed to the Mass of the Council formerly called the Tridentine Mass, rather than the post concilliar Mass of Paul VI.
There are superficial effects that the new could have on the old such as inclusion of propers for new feasts, thoughts about revising the Lectionary, possibly a blurring of the distinction between Low Mass and the Missa Cantata but the real influence has already occurred, it is the influence of attitudes.
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