Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Don't Sell Cardinal B. Short!

"Even the 1983 Code of Canon Law can be considered a consequence of the Council. I must emphasise that the form of the post-conciliar liturgy with all its distortions, is not attributable to the Council or to the Liturgy Constitution established during Vatican II which by the way has not really been implemented even to this day. The indiscriminate removal of Latin and Gregorian Chants from liturgical celebrations and the erection of numerous altars were absolutely not acts prescribed by the Council.

With the benefit of hindsight, let us cast our minds back in particular to the lack of sensitivity shown in terms of care for the faithful and in the pastoral carelessness shown in the liturgical form. One need only think of the Church’s excesses, reminiscent of the Beeldenstorm (the statue/image storm) which occurred in the 18th century. Excesses which catapulted numerous faithful into total chaos, leaving many fumbling around in the dark.

Just about anything and everything has been said on this subject. Meanwhile, the liturgy has come to be seen as a mirror image of Church life, subject to an organic historical evolution which cannot - as did indeed happen - suddenly be decreed per ordre de mufti. And we are still paying the cost today."

This last response of the Eminent Cardinal Church Historian (most notably for me the second paragraph), translated into English by Vatican Insider and reported by Rorate Caeli among others, received a lot of flack in RC's combox. Those who dot the Cardinal's i's and cross his t's take a conspiracy theory as their point of departure and ultimately move again to reject the Second Vatican Council, suggesting an ancient Roman solution to the problem: "C. delenda est!", as if burning the house the Council built to the ground and salting the earth had value beyond its rhetorical flourishes... Sorry, that is harsh, but I think less ingenuous that the spitting rage and cynicism which dismisses the observations of Cardinal Brandmüller.

The German Cardinal's analysis of the phenomenon fits my experience as an adolescent of what happened. What we were learning in high school, what we saw in the first published liturgical texts, didn't necessarily prepare us for some of what then happened: the sudden appearance in our cathedral of an aquamarine colored Formica table altar, the overzealous Irish pastor of the country parish who got men and a truck and hauled all the statues out of the church to the cemetery and smashed them into an open grave, before returning to remove all of the decorative stucco in the church to reveal the bare beams of the ceiling. Not conspiracy theories but the odd spirit of the times explains such excesses: "Excesses which catapulted numerous faithful into total chaos, leaving many fumbling around in the dark."

I honestly think that a cool-headed return to the Constitution on the Liturgy could only light the path to the urgently needed and just begun reform of the reform. The reform of the reform is indeed the premise for the recovery of the broken strains of the liturgical tradition, which will indeed come to be some day thanks to the mutual enrichment brought about though a generous celebration of the EF in parishes and elsewhere alongside the OF.

In all of this, I would be remiss if I did not heartily recommend to priests an attentive study of the rubrics for the proper celebration of the OF and a discovery of the joys in celebrating ad Orientem, joys for the priest celebrant and perhaps even more so for the people hungry for a true and unambiguous focus to worship.



  1. Amen!! In the midst of all of this where has the incense gone?? May our prayers rise to Heavens like incense. May our senses be awakened by the smells of the incense. Oh wait we don't need to use it anymore??

  2. Hi your Excellency. I love how someone in your position is also ready to spread the message through the new media. Long may you continue!

    It would be great if you could put a link to my blog on your blogroll:

    God bless you!



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