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Old Aug 8, '08, 8:12 pm
japhy japhy is offline
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Default Re: How can the Collapse of the Liturgy be reversed?

Originally Posted by japhy View Post
Do we now see the context of Cardinal Ratzinger's statement in 1997?
Allow me to share how I understand the "disintegration of the liturgy" that Ratzinger wrote about.

There is no such thing as a "Missal of Pius V", created by Pius V himself. There is only the reworking done by Pius V as one phase in a long history of growth.
In other words, the Roman liturgy has been revised and reformed throughout its history. The "Tridentine" Rite is a misnomer because it implies the liturgy was created at Trent. The "Pian Missal" is also a misnomer if it implies Pius V created the Missal. He merely revised it, as his predecessors had done and as later Popes would do. It was part of the organic development of the Roman Rite. (This Rite was substantially codified by Pope St. Gregory the Great, which is why it has recently been called the "Gregorian Rite.")

The new feature that came to the fore after the Council of Trent was of a different nature. ... In this case we cannot speak of the prohibition of a previous missal that had formerly been approved as valid.
Here he's saying how, at the time of the Tridentine liturgical reform, there was a need to make sure other liturgical traditions were truly Catholic (because of the recent danger of the Protestant revolution and its liturgical "reforms"). This prohibition, though, cannot be compared with what happened in the 1960's:

The prohibition of ... a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries ... introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic. It was reasonable and right of the [Second Vatican] Council to order a revision of the missal such as had often taken place before...
Here is quite straight-forward: the prohibition of the "Missal of Pope John XXIII", following the promulgation of the "Missal of Pope Paul VI", was "a breach [in] the history of the liturgy" and it had "tragic" consequences. He does not deny the sensibility of a liturgical reform -- a large-scale one, even -- which the Council ordered, but his problem is with the post-Conciliar actions of reform.

But more than this now happened: the old building was demolished, and another was built, to be sure largely using materials from the previous one and even using the old building plans. There is no doubt this new missal in many respects brought with it a real improvement and enrichment...
The previous liturgy "was demolished" and a new one "was built"; it didn't grow from the old one, it was re-manufactured from old parts. Now, he doesn't deny that there was "real improvement and enrichment" in this newly-devised liturgy, but at what cost and in what manner? Surely he thinks a historically-consonant liturgical reform (according to the precepts of Vatican II) could have produced just as improved and enriched a liturgy without the "breach" and other problems.

... but setting it as a new construction over against what had grown historically, forbidding the results of this historical growth, thereby makes the liturgy appear to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm.
Again, he calls the reformed liturgy a "new construction" in contrast to the older liturgy which was "grown historically".

For then the impression had to emerge that liturgy is something "made", not something given in advance but something lying within our own power of decision. From this it also follows ... that in the end each and every "community" must provide itself with its own liturgy.
The result of the liturgical reforms was that liturgy appeared to be an invention of ours: we have power over and shape the liturgy, instead of the other way around. Because of this, each community creates its own liturgy. Ratzinger, I think, sees this phenomenon as distinct from the liturgical rites of various religious orders (like the Dominican Rite, for example) that existed at the time of the Council of Trent; it seems instead like each parish (or diocese) has its own way of "mastering" the liturgy... and even in an individual parish, there are "sects" who have their own liturgies, like LifeTeen and the Neocatechumenal Way, to name a couple.

A renewal of liturgical awareness, a liturgical reconciliation that again recognizes the unity of the history of the liturgy and that understands Vatican II, not as a breach, but as a stage of development: these things are urgently needed for the life of the Church. I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to [p. 149] be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not he speaks to us and hears us.
The "disintegration of the liturgy", then, is this splintering and redefining and constant re-owning and re-making of the liturgy by... anybody. The liturgy loses its own identity and becomes merely a temporal reflection of our temporal identities. The liturgy no longer becomes a mark of unity. It becomes, instead, a blank slate for us to draw on as we will. It becomes our self-expression instead of the expression of the Divine to which we must cling!

Instead of letting the liturgy grow as it had historically, we looked at it and said "we can do better" and went to work manufacturing a "better" liturgy; the problem was, we made it for us in our limitations.

Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless. And, because the ecclesial community cannot have its origin from itself but emerges as a unity only from the Lord, through faith, such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration into sectarian parties of all kinds -- partisan opposition within a Church tearing herself apart. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.
Ratzinger points out the liturgy seems to be becoming more and more about the local community to the point that "the community [celebrates] only itself", which is "utterly fruitless". And, sure enough, there was a "disintegration into sectarian parties": the liturgy, which should be the source and summit of our Christian life, becomes a battleground that pits Catholic against Catholic!

So then, Ratzinger believes the liturgical reforms we experienced after the Council do not reflect the Council's "real heritage".

Anyone else care to share their thoughts upon reading the excerpt?

Please do me a favor: don't get this or any other Liturgy & Sacraments thread locked or deleted!

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