Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mention on New Liturgical Movement

It looks like our profile has just been raised quite a bit! There was a post all about one of mine on New Liturgical Movement today!!!

Check it out. It basically revolves around the premise that the "reform of the reform" is more than about wearing maniples at the New Mass. That I'm wrong to say that the "reform of the reform" is about putting lipstick on a pig or "gussying up" the Novus Ordo, and that it does in fact involve a desire for substantial alterations to re-traditionalize the texts of the Missal itself.

However, at that point, the description given makes it hard for me to distinguish "reform of the reform" from a more "purist" traditionalism. If "reform of the reform" is basically going to involve creating an edition from the new that largely resembles the old, I have a hard time seeing in what sense this is a "reform of the reform" rather than just a sort of slow gradual reversal of the reform. I cannot identify in the description given any substantial way in which "the reform" is preserved as reform at all under such an approach (or, at least, under the ideal "final product" that is seemingly imagined).

I made the following response to the post in the comments, and will repeat it here:
You haven't answered my essential objection, though:

If you basically prefer all things traditional, and if the imagined "reform of the reform" liturgy winds up looking more like 1950 than 1970...why must the Novus Ordo be our "starting place" as opposed to starting from an edition closer to what we imagine the "final product" must be?

I mean, if you're supporting the Old Offertory, Old Lectionary, Old Collectary, Old Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Old Last Gospel, Old Rubrics...in what sense is "reform of the reform" rooted in the reformed edition rather than going back to a traditional edition??

Is it merely the vernacular? That wouldn't take decades, you could use the English Missal or Anglican Missal which already exist (and whose style would also be an "ecumenical" move vis a vis the Anglicans). Is it expanded scripture "somehow"? You could use the 1967 Ferial Lectionary, which again already exists.

In reality, what I've seen the term "reform of the reform" associated with is Latin Novus Ordos (and, at the same time, a perhaps exaggerated enthusiasm for the new English translation), the Watershed chant propers, minor architectural restorations, and the so-called Benedictine altar arrangement.

I fail to see how what you describe in this post is "reform of the reform" rather than traditionalism. Once again: if you support the Old Offertory, Old Lectionary, Old Collectary, Old Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Old Last Gospel, Old Rubrics...in what possible sense is this taking the New (ie, "the reform") as your reference point for reform rather than the Old??
Methinks there is a lot of doublespeak going on, and that this form of "reform of the reform" crowd, at least, are really basically traditionalist who want to pay lip-service to the Novus Ordo (even while imagining the elimination of everything that makes it New in the first place) for the sake of remaining "diplomatic" with the mainstream Church, or because they feel uncomfortable saying we need to scrap that failed project entirely. Even though the final product they imagine could probably be achieved much more efficiently by simply "starting over" with a pre-reform "saved copy" rather than trying to back-edit the Novus Ordo (the only purpose of which, it seems to me, is essentially political, is saving face for the institutional church).

5 comments:

A Sinner said...

I would also add that, bizarrely, my comments seem EXACTLY in line with what Dobszay and Fr. Kocik himself said in that "What's in a Name?" post (http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2010/07/whats-in-name.html) wherein Dobszay says, "from now on I do not advocate the expression 'Reform of the Reform'. I do not think that the content of the postconciliar reform liturgy can really be reformed."

And Fr. Kocik said, "Perhaps it would be helpful, then, to use another denomination for the program first proposed by Msgr. Gamber and set forth in detail by Fr. Harrison (and now to a greater extent by László Dobszay): the 'alternative reform' or 'Gamber Proposal,' perhaps? Thus, the 'reform of the reform' would have the current Missal as its starting-point, whereas the 'alternative reform' (or whatever we might call it) would have as its starting-point the Missal of 1962; either way, the end goal is the same."

This seems to me entirely what I was getting at in my critique of "reform of the reform" and my proposal, instead, that we "Re-Attempt the Reform."

At this point (as post after post on NLM could demonstrate), "Reform of the Reform" has come to mean putting some altar candles and a crucifix in between the priest and the people, using English settings of plainchant, and wearing nice vestments at Latin Novus Ordos.

Fr. Kocik may think it was "supposed to be" something else, and associate it with the work of Harrison, Dobszay, etc...but at this point the term has come to be associated with a different stream of thought, namely the "conservatively dress-up the Novus Ordo" crowd.

Continuing to call his position "reform of the reform" rather than some other name ("alternative reform" as he proposed, or "re-attempting the reform" as I proposed)...seems unhelpful, confusing, even possibly disingenuous and motivated purely by diplomatic concerns (ie, it's easier to propose to a hesitant bishop "reforming the reform" rather than "reversing the reform and trying a different one")

Victory of Faith said...

Raw nerve there love!

Max said...

Congrats on getting on NLM. Well, as Gandhi put it: "First they ignore you, then..."

Reflecting on all this in light of my own reading and experience, it strikes me that the term "Reform of the Reform" really means nothing more than what the person speaking it wants it to mean. For example, I recently spoke with someone who earnestly suggested that the real point of the RotR was to eliminate the use of altar girls, lay Eucharistic Ministers, and communion in the hand - nothing about changing the form of the liturgy itself or even adding things like Roman vestments or the "Benedictine arrangement," just cutting out post-1970 accretions and abuses.

I'll grant that the above example may be an outlier, but I think it supports my point. Even if one assumes for the sake of argument that Fr. Kocik is correct in asserting that there is at least some degree of agreement among scholars about what the RotR is about, the reality on the ground is quite different. If RotR means anything to non-specialists, it basically means (as you so wonderfully put it) "'gussying up' the Novus Ordo" - by adding aspects of the TLM and/or by eliminating practices that aren't required in the NO but are nonetheless commonplace (cf. my above comments about altar girls, etc.).

Even though the final product they imagine could probably be achieved much more efficiently by simply "starting over" with a pre-reform "saved copy" rather than trying to back-edit the Novus Ordo (the only purpose of which, it seems to me, is essentially political, is saving face for the institutional church).

Exactly. It strikes me that what theorists of the RotR are really doing is engaging in a kind of articulate sophistry. It would be too embarrassing for the Church to admit that the initial reform was so badly bungled that we should really just start over, so instead scholars try to save face by coming up with arguments that effectively suggest that the Novus Ordo just needs to be tweaked or revised in some fashion and then all will be well - which, on the ground, ends up meaning "lipstick on a pig" in one way or another.

Max said...

To add a bit more to my earlier comment, I'd like to quickly note that Fr. Kocik has suggested in the past that there is "a distinction with a real difference" between the RotR as he sees it and a "recatholicization of the reform," which amounts to the 'lipstick on a pig' approach that many associate with the RotR.

Even if Fr. Kocik is right about this distinction, it still seems to me that RotR is fundamentally about saving face, albeit by casting aside both the TLM and the NO in favor of some theoretical alternative that could appear in the distant future. On a more practical level, though, the fact that Fr. Kocik has to argue that the RotR is not what most observers take it to be suggests that he and other theorists of the RotR have done a fairly poor job of getting their message out.

latinmass1983 said...

I agree with many of the ideas "A Sinner" expresses on the original post and his comments on the new post over at the NLM.

However, as it is always the case when people disagree regarding the changes needed (or not), I disagree strongly on some of the "suggestions" you originally offered when it comes to expanding or introducing into the Latin Liturgy (some of which I have expressed on the NLM).