Sunday, May 20, 2012

On Bended Knee

Benedict XVI's Reform
The Liturgy between Innovation and Tradition
Bux, Nicola (2012-05-09).  
Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

I wish to thank Ignatius Press for the timely publication in English of this new book by Nicola Bux, well known for his stance in promotion of the ideas of the Holy Father concerning the repair of the liturgical breach. "Timely" is the right word not because there is anything particularly new in the book, which might throw the advantage in "battle" to either reform group whether it be to those favoring restoration of the Roman Rite and subsequent organic growth within the tradition going back to St. Gregory the Great or be it to the reform of the reform people. Bux honestly and rightly makes his case for rallying to the standard of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. He speaks clearly and convincingly of his understanding of the Pope's will that the usus antiquior find more general use everywhere (in every parish?) of the Catholic Church, thus enabling it to be that mirror to aid the reform of the reformed liturgy.

Bux touches masterfully upon the unquestionable merits of the Mass of the Ages when it comes to fulfilling that which is liturgy's role in the heart of the Church. He argues certain points better than I have seen in the dozen or more books on the topic, which I've had occasion to read and reflect upon over the last few years. Well done! And, yes, timely, Ignatius Press! Thank you!

I find myself particularly sensitive to and in agreement with his arguments, quoting the Pope, concerning kneeling as a posture for both liturgy and prayer (not to limit discussion to the reception of Holy Communion):

"If the Christian liturgy is not before all else the public and integral worship, the adoration, of God, the Apocalypse cannot be the typikon, the normative book. From where else would the various liturgical books have drawn their cogent force? What the liturgy affirms and asks to be observed is a divine law, not a human one: 'The Christian liturgy is a cosmic liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture—the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of the life of the cosmos.' We have chosen this gesture from among all others; it is the most important one, the one that sums up the spirit of the liturgy." (Bux, [Kindle Locations 1345-1350]. Ignatius Press.)

At various points in the book, Bux addresses the importance of recovering a common focus for worship, especially for the action of preparing the gifts and for the Eucharistic Prayer, facing Liturgical East, ad Orientem, toward Christ lifted up on the Cross. From my experience of this last year in Ukraine with the Byzantine Tradition this call becomes ever more urgent and central to what is required for a genuine healing of the rupture provoked by post-Conciliar experimentation in the area of liturgy. Priests and Bishops need to reconsider their attachment to the face-to-face innovation of the last 40 plus years.

"Looking upon the Cross: Until the Council, all Christians of the East and the West, including priests, prayed toward the apse, which, at least until the sixteenth century, faced east. In Western churches, as in those of the East, prominent in the apse were the cross, a painting of one of the Christian mysteries or the saint for whom the church was named, and the altar with the tabernacle. The priest and the faithful did not doubt that in praying they both needed to face the same direction. The priest turned to the faithful only for exhortations, readings, and the homily. All Christians celebrated in this way from the first centuries." (Bux, [Kindle Locations 1362-1367]. Ignatius Press.)

I leave it to the reader to discover the other treasures which this book provides, especially concerning the placement of the Tabernacle. Happy reading!


  1. Sounds like a good book to me!

    PS: For quite some time now it has been impossible - I know not why - for me to comment on this blog using Mozilla Firefox. This has cut down on how many comments I have post. (I am writing this comment using Opera.)

  2. Interesting! I thought the problem was ATT here at my mother's house in Kansas? We'll see next week when I get back to Ukraine. Thank you!

  3. I have now, at last, found another blogspot blog where I have the same problem.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.