Friday, November 27, 2015

On Personal Liturgies

I have recently attended several Novus Ordo Masses during which the celebrant took it upon himself to alter as well as add to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  There is much to be said about such a practice, none of it good.  Even the oft-criticized Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium  prohibits it unambiguously.  Paragraph 22 provides as follows:

22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (Emphasis supplied.)
This principle is not new with Vatican II, of course.  It is a long-standing tradition, maybe even "big-T" Tradition, as in of the three legs of the doctrinal stool of the Catholic faith, along with Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium.  One often hears the liturgical duties of the Mass celebrant summarized thus: "Say the black, do the red", referring to the two colors of text appearing in the Roman Missal, the book from which the celebrant reads during the Mass. 

It mystifies me why any Mass celebrant would presume to ignore this simple advice and amend the Sacred Liturgy sua sponte.  It is "the prayer of the Church", not the prayer of any individual, whether clergy or laity.  Thus, it is supposed to be the same everywhere.  Sure, there are different languages in use under the Novus Ordo, but where celebrated in the vernacular, the Missal translations are approved by the Holy See, or "within certain defined limits" by a legitimately established "territorial bod[y] of bishops."  The faithful are entitled to hear the Mass as it is set down in the Missal.  [N.B., I would bet my next retirement check that no celebrant of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form deviates from the Missal text and rubrics.] 

St. John Vianney, patron saint of all priests, please pray for conversion of heart of all clergy who, for whatever reason, take it upon themselves to "improve" upon the Sacred Liturgy.

That's all for now.  God bless you and thanks for reading.  Please pray for me.

Laudator Jesus Christus!  

1 comment:

  1. Hanlon's Razor applies: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. It's unlikely that there's a deep reason for changes to the liturgy. It's more likely that there's no respect for the liturgy. I believe your pastor genuinely thinks he's making the liturgy clearer or more relevant by the changes.

    Without a long discourse of the relative merits of terrorists and liturgists, it would be nice if we could express the reason for the rubrics and the approved texts. And people past a certain age will never change.

    Pope Francis always says that Bishops (and presumably priests) need to have the smell of their sheep. Perhaps we need to be a little more smelly.