Monday, May 16, 2011

Cardinal Koch and the new liturgical reform

This account from CNS of Cardinal Koch`s talk at the weekend at the Summorum Pontificum conference appeared today and makes interesting reading:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a "reform of the reform" in liturgy, the Vatican's top ecumenist said.

The pope's long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a "common rite" that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.

In effect, the pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, the cardinal said. Those who resist it, including "rigid" progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the church's liturgical tradition, he said.

Cardinal Koch made the remarks at a Rome conference on "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict's 2007 apostolic letter that offered wider latitude for use of the Tridentine rite. The cardinal's text was published the same day by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought "many positive fruits" but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council's stated intentions.

He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with "Summorum Pontificum." The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II's teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass.

Cardinal Koch said "Summorum Pontificum" is "only the beginning of this new liturgical movement."

"In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite," he said.

"However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other," he said.

Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said.


Fr Gary Dickson said...

Enrichment of the two forms is difficult to achieve except by dictate from Rome since we are not allowed to mix the Forms at ground level.
Personally I would modify the Ordinary Form with the genuflections from the Extraordinary Form and the Placeat Tibi Sancta Trinitas (which I currently use in adapted form as the conclusion to the Ordinary Form’s General Intercessions). I would also like the Canon prayed sotto voce. The Extraordinary Form could be enriched with Prefaces from the Ordinary, and be simplified by adoption of the Reformed Calendar and inclusion of the new saints.
I find the Cardinal’s statement that the liturgical innovators may be legitimately questioned as ‘intentionally going beyond Vatican II’s directives’ very interesting, since neither in Vatican II nor the Missal as promulgated by Pope Paul VI is there a rubric for distributing Holy Communion in the hand or Mass being offered facing the people; these were imposed on the Missal of Paul VI at a later date and yet it is these, I think, that people are defending when they defend the Ordinary Form, not the Missal of Paul Vi itself. If it is the vernacular they are defending, then they should note that this was limited by the Council. Even our own Bishops in England & Wales -so often maligned- support the use of Latin in their publication ‘Celebrating the Mass’ (cf.#81). I sincerely believe that if those opposed to the Extraordinary Form were made to celebrate the Missal of Paul VI as it is in its rubrics, with Latin Chants, Communion kneeling and on the tongue, they would by and large give up their resistance to the Extraordinary Form since it is the innovations they are defending, not the Missal itself. Perhaps this is what the Cardinal means when he states that those who oppose the new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II, ‘lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes’.

Giorgio Roversi said...

A quote from card. Koch, not mentioned in the report, on whether the priest should face East or not:"Nobody complains if the bus driver is giving his back to the people!".

1569 Rising said...

Far be it from me to dissent in any way from Cardinal Koch - I'm not that brave - but I wonder if we will ever reach a "common rite" in Western Catholicism.

After all, the Pope has very recently authorised a third rite, namely the Anglican Use. Add to that, the Dominican Rite, and the never abrogated Sarum Rite.

I can imagine the squeals of protest from all sides if any attempt were made to impose one rite on the West.

shane said...

There is no need whatsoever for liturgical uniformity in the Latin liturgy. The very concept is ahistorical and an unintended effect of Quo Primum. (St Pius V gave permission for rites 200 years extant to continue in use.)

The 1962 Missal could certainly be enriched but from pre-Tridentine medieval forms. Why is the Novus Ordo the yardstick for liturgical reform and why have the pre-Tridentine Latin rites been forgotten? St Pius V's Roman Missal comes from the cut down curial Missal.

And wait about 100 years before reforming anything. The Church is in the middle of grave turmoil. We need to let things settle. The more I read on liturgy the more I'm convinced that we need less emphasis on condification and legislation and more on organic development and liturgical pluralism.

Michelle Therese said...

Hello, Father!

What does this mean for those of us here in the pews?

If the "reform of the reform" is left to the discretion of the Bishops and the Bishops don't want it... are we left still in "The Spirit of Vatican II" just the same?

God bless!!

Bryan said...

In 1604,just 34 years after Quo Primum Clement VII of happy memory caused to be published a second typical edition of the Missale Romanum and in the Bull - Cum sanctissimum wrote:

" Although he [Pope St Pius V] very severely forbade under many penalties that anything should be added to it, or that anything for any reason be removed from it, nevertheless, in the course of time [ie since 1570], it has come to pass that, through the rashness and boldness of the printers, or of others, many errors have crept into the missals which have been produced in recent years. That very old (Latin) version of the Holy Bible, which even before St. Jerome's time was held in honor in the Church, and from which almost all the Introits, Graduals, and Offertories of the Masses had been taken, has been entirely removed; the texts of the Epistles and Gospels, which hitherto were read during the celebration of the Mass, have been disturbed in many places; different and utterly unusual beginnings have been prefixed to the Gospel texts; and finally many things have been here and there arbitrarily altered. "

The value of the Missale Romanum (1962) is that it has virtually remained unchanged apart from the "Prayer for the Jews". It would be best to leave the 1962 as it is.

Also reform of the calendar of the 1962 Missal to match the modern calendar would strip the Old Missal of Ember Days, Passion Week and the Sundays after Pentecost. Why - please leave the '62 alone.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Bryan and Shane, I agree that it woujld be ebst to leave the EF alone. The most pressing task for those who want a hybrid form is to make the EF as widely known as possible so that it becomes part of normal Catholic life. I`m prepared to go with that! After that who knows?