Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I guess this is why I could never be...

..a Traditional Catholic.
Lots of commenters over at NLM are angry that Cardinal Levada suggested that the new, reformed mass could positively influence the old mass. Unfortunately, "The '62 missal is Perfect!" is a mentality that too many Trads seem to have.

Unfortunate, because I think it's false.

The '62 missal is an impoverished book on it's own, and even more so when you compare it with the pre-55 Roman missal and even the medeival rites and uses of other dioceses, orders and places. One hears of uses of the Latin rite that had a preface for every ferial day of the week, compared to the 62' missal's one preface (which is really only the Sunday preface minus the actual preface parts) or the use of multiple commons of saints, the existance of different prefaces for for every Sunday of the year, and of mass formularies for every day of Advent and Eastertide.The use of variable material throughout octaves and the existance of proper mass texts for the feasts of all the apostles and all the feasts of the Blessed Virgin.

This is without going into the reforms that were reversed by the 69'missal.(The shortened lections for the easter vigil, the saying of tenebrae in the morning of each day in the triduum rather than in the evening,the exclusion of the paraments of the mass on Good Friday,the suppression of proper mass texts for some feasts,the removal of the lessons and collects of the vigil of Pentecost,the suppression of the vigil of the Immaculate Conception,etc.)

There are even a few novelties that the 69' missal has as an advantage over the 62: The limited use of the vernacular, the suppression of the private recitation of the choir's parts of the mass,the freeing up of votive masses, the addition of more votive masses to the missal,communion in both kinds, all for example. They're few, but they do certainly exist, and it's a terrible error to pass over them.

This isn't to say that the obvious impoverishments of the new missal don't exist, such as the suppression of the octave of Pentecost, and the orthodox-but-weak,offertory prayers,or the removal of most of the celebrants private prayers.Unfortunately, many of its disadvantages were carry-ons from the 62' missal. (The suppression of most octaves,the removal of many feasts from the universal calendar,etc.)

So I think it's rather obvious that neither the 69' or the 62' missals in and of themselves are perfect.Rather, I think that there really is a place for mutual enrichment: Those positive things that the older missal had but were suppressed, or never had, which are all in the new missal, should be present in it. Those positive things which the old missal has always had which are not in the new missal ought to be present in it.They Both need to be enriched, with material from one another.The new missal needs the removal of vague rubrics and theologically vague prayers, And the old missal could use a greater freedom of texts the option of vernacular,at least as far as the proper texts go.

At least that's what I, a non-scholar,non-liturgist, and non-theologian, think.


Fra. David M. said...

No Liturgy this side of heaven is perfect... that must be accepted by all. However, the Missal of 62, actually expanded in certain areas of the previous Missales. For example, after the reforms of Trent, the number of prefaces were reduced and gradually newer prefaces were added. Now we have many, many prefaces. Furthermore, a particular preface for every ferial day of a aprticular season, is not necessarily a good thing. Having a common preface that is intrinsically connected w/ the Sunday Preface, connects the Liturgical celebration during the week with the hinge of Sunday -- a general advantage of the New Missal, particularly during Ordinary Time.

Communion under both kinds and suppression of the private recitation of choir parts -- i would argue are NOT advantages, but a rejection of a peculiar development w/ in the Latin Rite.

Joe S.R. said...

I didn't mean to say that a different preface for every ferial day was necessary, or even desireble, I just meant to use it as a comparison.I think the most ideal option would be the use of one common and one weekday preface for each season,similar to the idea of there being different hymns in the breviary for Sundays and weekdays during Lent and/or Paschaltide. (eg, one sings Precemur omnes cernui at lauds of Sunday, but one sings Iam Christe, sol iustitiae for lauds of weekdays.)

As to communion in both kinds -- not being a part of the Latin rite does'nt seem to to me to be a sufficient reason to avoid it. The general communion on Good Friday was never a part of the Latin rite until Bugnini's 55' reforms of Holy Week. Neither was the use of the names of confessors in the Canon of the Mass, or the occasional suppression of the preparatory prayers,(And it's corollary, the suppression of the final blessing) all of which are in the 62' missal.
As to the private recitation of the choir's parts at high mass, my problem is that it in effect creates two masses: The one recited by the celebrant at the altar,and the one being sung by the choir. Sometimes it works okay, but other times, one is left in a situation where one is trying to keep up with two or three (Or sometimes four)things at once while trying to remain in a prayerful disposition.This isn't to vindicate the new missal's almost total rejection of superimposed ceremonies,however.I don't really have an argument against the private recitation of the choir's parts, I just find it confusing and I don't see any real merit to it.
Anyway, I plan to post further about this soon.