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The Mind of the Church on the Novus Ordo
By Dr. Jeff Mirus | August 13, 2010 2:00 PM

In recent weeks, several severe critics, opponents and denigrators of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite have claimed that they are simply following the lead of Pope Benedict XVI when he was a cardinal, and they have cited one or more writings of Joseph Ratzinger in which he expressed criticisms of certain aspects of the implementation of the new rite. I want to emphasize that he expressed these concerns in scholarly work, and that, taken in context, it is always clear that Ratzinger as a cardinal was not ill-disposed toward the Novus Ordo. Rather, he was interested in improvements which might be made (no liturgy is perfect) and, in particular, he was opposed to the free-wheeling manner in which some ignored the rubrics when saying Mass, as we shall see.

In any case, it has been necessary to answer these critics on two counts, and it occurred to me that, in view of the apparently unending controversies over the liturgy, our users at large would be interested in what we may legitimately call the mind of the Church on the Novus Ordo. So I’ll provide my answers publicly in this space.

First, it is absolutely critical to note that the mind of the Church or even of the Pope himself cannot be determined by looking at the writings of a future pope before he became pope. A cardinal’s election as pope does not in any way validate his earlier remarks, none of which were protected in the least by the grace of his later office. To assert that the mind of the Church is known from the work of Joseph Ratzinger in, say, 1990, is no wiser than saying it can be known by his common theological opponent, Walter Kasper.

So even if some of Cardinal Ratzinger's remarks seem very negative in isolation from his entire body of work—or indeed even if it were possible to argue that his whole outlook on the Novus Ordo was negative (which was not the case)—this would tell us nothing about the mind of the Church. No, to learn the mind of the Pope (and therefore something of the mind of the Church) on such matters as the liturgy, we need to look to what the Pope has said while in office.

Second, while in office, Pope Benedict XVI has made his approval of the Novus Ordo clear. He has also made clear that his serious criticisms do not apply to the rite itself but  to the false interpretation of the Missal of Paul VI as something that requires constant experimentation and innovation, as if priests are to superimpose their own improvisations on the official liturgy and, in so doing, frequently substitute the banal for the sublime.

Benedict made these points in explaining his decision to widen the use of the Tridentine Mass (the Missal of Pope John XXIII) in his 2007 Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Readers will recall that the Pope issued an accompanying Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum to explain his decision. In that letter he recounted why he wanted to expand the use of what he now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and, in so doing, he deliberately responded to the fear that this expansion was somehow intended to demote the Novus Ordo or undermine the Second Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform.

Let us listen to Joseph Ratzinger as Pope:

    This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy.

Benedict went on to explain that many have continued to long for the older liturgy (which is one reason for making it more widely available, the other being to try to reconcile those who have fallen out of full communion with the Church over it), but he also explained what the real problem was:

    Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. [emphasis added]

Finally, the Pope ended his discussion of the Novus Ordo by stating that the key to its use in unifying the Church is a reverent fidelity to the actual rubrics of the missal itself, and he closed by expressing his fundamental judgment of the value of this normal form of the rite:

    The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

My advice to those who seriously dislike the Novus Ordo is this: Admit your personal preference for the Extraordinary Form if you like; true Catholics should not criticize you for it, even if they prefer the Ordinary Form. Combat abuses of the Novus Ordo where you can; the Church will thank you for that. But do not denigrate the rite itself, as if it is something unworthy or profane, and never imply that the billion Catholics who use and have come to love it are somehow inferior in their Faith.

It is possible to debate the merits and demerits of any liturgy, but it is not possible to cite either Pope Benedict XVI or the mind of the Church as being anything less than in favor of the prescribed use of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. Finally, no approved liturgy of the Church should ever be treated with disrespect, nor its adherents stigmatized if they are not disobedient, for it is a sacred thing.
The quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger to which Jeff takes exception are these:

In Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104, then Cardinal Ratzinger stated:

    The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication.They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.

In the preface to the French translation of Monsignor Klaus Gamber's most famous book, Die Reform der römischen Liturgie (The Reform of the Roman Rite) then Cardinal Ratzinger stated:

    What happened after the Council was altogether different: instead of a liturgy fruit of continuous development, a fabricated liturgy was put in its place. A living growing process was abandoned and the fabrication started. There was no further wish to continue the organic evolution and maturation of the living being throughout the centuries and they were replaced -- as if in a technical production -- by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true visionary and with the fearlessness of a true witness, opposed this falsification and tirelessly taught us the living fullness of a true liturgy, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge of the sources. As a man who knew and who loved history, he showed us the multiple forms of the evolution and of the path of the liturgy; as a man who saw history from the inside, he saw in this development and in the fruit of this development the intangible reflection of the eternal liturgy, which is not the object of our action, but which may marvelously continue to blossom and to ripen, if we join its mystery intimately.
Oh good grief... ::)
What silliness.  This is the guy who has established his own "garage magisterium" in which he sits in judgement of other Catholic websites and rates their "loyalty" to the "magisterium" as he sees it in his own faulty understanding. 

He's basically an ultramontantist papolator who somehow believes that he knows the mind of the Church, especially since the Holy Spirit came down and took possession of Joseph Ratzinger, nullifying everything he ever said and now the Pope utters only the words of God himself, like a fleshy intercom.  What utter nonsense this guy presents. 

Does anyone know where this phrase "mind of the Church" originates?  Whatever the case, it seems to be used to create a "fog" to distract people from the realities we are dealing with.  It has a "wiggle word" feel to it. 

And he can stuff his advice.  The Novus Ordo sucks in Latin or the vernacular,  you can  "say the black , do the red" it still sucks.  It's impoverished and doesn't sufficiently express the Catholic faith.  That means it sucks.

"But do not denigrate the rite itself, as if it is something unworthy or profane, and never imply that the billion Catholics who use and have come to love it are somehow inferior in their Faith."

Oh don't worry Jeff.  No traditional Catholic will denigrate the rite.  We'll just denigrate that particular "form" of the "one rite." 

And who believes that a billion Catholics use and "love" the Novus Ordo?  That's an optimistic number of church attendees. 

I get sick of these tactics trying to undermine the efforts to do away with the crap foisted on the Church for the last 5 decades.  "Peaceful coexistence and Mutual enrichment" is not going to happen.  The Traditional Latin Mass is either going to do away with the Novus Ordo or it will die.  They won't live with each other peaceably.

And if that happens, the Novus Ordo is going to die right after that due to its own intrinsic instability and the Church will be restored in the remaining Eastern rites.  Those are the only possibilities. 

One must distinguish between the New Mass as it is defined, and the liberal implementation of it. The former is part of the Liturgy of the Church, the later is abuse.

When the pope as professor of cardinal denounced the modern liturgy as fabrication, he clearly talked about the abusive masses and not about the New Mass as it is defined. He himself says the New Mass, and named it Ordinary form of the liturgy.

Those who want to reject the New Mass as it is deceive themselves and work explicitly for the disunity of the Church.

As for the Ratzinger quotation for Gamber's book, he wrote in German., and the quoted book basically is edited from two different essay's: the first about the history of the Holy Mass, the second about the Altar. Would be some of you so kind to explain me:

- why is it not found in the later English translation

- where can if found the French translation at least as library entry
(08-14-2010, 06:34 AM)glgas Wrote: [ -> ]One must distinguish between the New Mass as it is defined, and the liberal implementation of it. The former is part of the Liturgy of the Church, the later is abuse.

Was Pope John Paul II an abuser of the Liturgy? 
(08-14-2010, 10:03 AM)Gerard Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-14-2010, 06:34 AM)glgas Wrote: [ -> ]One must distinguish between the New Mass as it is defined, and the liberal implementation of it. The former is part of the Liturgy of the Church, the later is abuse.

Was Pope John Paul II an abuser of the Liturgy? 

I think Pope John Paul was as confused as we were oddly enough so was Pope Paul VI. Most of the abuses, you may remember, came as a result of the so called "experts" on the Liturgy giving their consent, approval and endorsement.

Sacrosanctum Concilium
A Lawyer Examines the Loopholes
by Christopher Ferrara, Esq., American Catholic Lawyers Association

"...No one who reads SC carefully in the light of our experience since the Council can deny that it constitutes a "blank check" for liturgical reform, with the amount to be filled in depending entirely upon who is wielding the pen. The few "conservative" norms which seem to limit the possibility of liturgical change are clearly overwhelmed by the far more numerous and pervasive "liberal" norms which create an almost unlimited potential for destruction of the liturgy...."
What does rejecting the NOM do to the legitimate rights of the hierarchy and the notion that the Church can not teach error?  How do you escape the accusations that you are making the claim that the Church has defected?

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