We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Ephesine hypothesis

According to received opinion, the following "picture," so prevalent, flagrant even, in the nineteenth century is now known to be bosh.

And yet we do not know much more and have scarcely gone much further than the researches of those persistent dilettantes and talented intuitives.

One question that probably will never be answered is why the Roman rite was held in such flagrant disregard by so many, especially the Roman pontiffs. But this much we do know: the liturgical changes wrought therein, in the previous century, were well under way before the Second Vatican Council. Just examine this peculiar tome and, in concert, the pertinent discussions here and also here.

Examine the pictures showing that the new Mass was to be ready for the Space Age and just as anodyne as GM's latest offering. In all events, certainly suited for a spectacular debut at a venue such as the World's Fair!

Presumably, 'mass' production, along the assembly-line model was also only a few, short steps away!

But what is the motive -- the rationale -- for the drastic and dramatic change? See if one can discover the loose logical linkage and the highly disputable facts in this following account:

Clearly the reforms instituted have not been adequate to the task of conveying to the people the true nature of liturgical worship and their role in it. Perhaps this is because the changes have been within the structure of the Roman liturgy as it was frozen in the sixteenth century.

To the man of the twentieth century, the Mass does not appear to be what it actually is: a formal proclamation of the Word of God, a sacrificial oblation re-presenting “in mystery” the redemptive work of Christ, and a community meal renewing the covenant — the pledge of eternal life and love — between the Father and His chosen sons. This threefold reality is not immediately and directly revealed by the words and actions of the Latin rite Mass, which fact has led to a growing realization of the need for further reform.

But why reform? Why not better education in the liturgy as it is? The answer lies in the very essence of what liturgy is. Let us define it here as that complex of rites or sacred signs which contain what they signify and through which God is glorified and man sanctified. No one questions the essential efficacy of the Latin liturgy in glorifying God and sanctifying man. What is in question is its efficacy as “sign,” for insofar as our Mass today fails to signify or communicate to the man of today what it actually is, it fails as “sign.” A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

What we may hope for, then, is that the fathers of the Second Vatican Council will provide us with a complexus of intelligible, meaningful signs (if the reader will forgive the redundant adjectives). Precisely what changes are called for are well known to anyone who has been observing or engaging in the liturgical movement. The innumerable details need not concern us here; those seeking them are earnestly referred to such recent works as H. A. Reinhold’s Bringing the Mass to the People (Helicon, 1960).

A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

1 comment:

  1. The best guess anyone can have as to why the Roman liturgy became so disdained in Roman circles is that, ultimately, the Roman Church had long ago assimilated to modern materialist worldview. The council was just a codification of a shift in worldview that was already dominant among European and American prelates. The greater question is whether or not that worldview can be dislodged.