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)

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Ottaviani Intervention

The focus on the chiastic structure of the Roman Canon is to help zero in on the center point -- the fulcrum -- of the old actio.

"The Ottaviani Intervention" makes a number of points, some more compelling than others. Two which deserve our attention (IMHO) are as follows (as per usual: my emphases, with footnotes eliminated, and some material interpolated in brackets). It is the second which has, perhaps, theological (and not merely psychological) significance.

Motive: Yet this same Constitution, which would definitively end the use of the old Missal, claims that the present reform is necessary because "a deep interest in fostering the liturgy has become widespread and strong among the Christian people." It seems that the last claim contains a serious equivocation. If the Christian people expressed anything at all, it was the desire (thanks to the great St. Pius X) to discover the true and immortal treasures of the liturgy. They never, absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to make it easier to understand. What the faithful did want was a better understanding of a unique and unchangeable liturgy--a liturgy they had no desire to see changed. Catholics everywhere, priests and laymen alike, loved and venerated the Roman Missal of St. Pius V.

Performativity: The Roman Missal added the words "As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of Me" [1 Corinthians 11:26] after the formula of Consecration. This formula referred not merely to remembering Christ or a past event, but to Christ acting in the here and now. It was an invitation to recall not merely His Person or the Last Supper, but "to do" what He did "in the way" that He did it. In the Novus Ordo, the words of St. Paul, "Do this in memory of Me," will now replace the old formula and be daily proclaimed in the vernacular everywhere. This will inevitably cause hearers to concentrate on the remembrance of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, rather than as its beginning. The idea of commemoration will thus soon replace the idea of the Mass as a sacramental action. [As the General Instruction describes it, the sacramental action originated at the moment Our Lord gave the Apostles His Body and Blood "to eat" under the appearances of bread and wine. The sacramental action thus no longer consists in the consecratory action and the mystical separation of the Body from the Blood--the very essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice.] The General Instruction emphasizes the narrative mode further when it describes the Consecration as the "Institution Narrative" and when it adds that, "in fulfillment of the command received from Christ...the Church keeps his memorial." All this, in short, changes the modus significandi of the words of Consecration--how they show forth the sacramental action taking place.

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