Saturday, April 24, 2004

Redemptionis Sacramentum II

I read it last night. At best it's a disappointment and fairly useless. At worst, it's a catastrophe.

It corrects no abuses. There is not an "abuse" listed that hasn't been condemned elsewhere. If the Hapless Bench couldn't be bothered to enforce the prior regulations why assume that one more document on the same issues will change anything?

There is the usual lamentation about some practice that continues for most of a paragraph. And then in the final sentence it is permitted. The provision for girl altar boys in paragraph 47 is a prime example. And you absolutely shouldn't be using "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion". Unless, of course, using them would speed things up. Yes, I know the key term is "unduly prolonged". This is America in 2004. "Unduly prolonged" is a web page that takes 45 seconds to load rather than 5. Anything that isn't speeded up when it can be is "unduly prolonged" under the "cultural" conditions prevailing in this country.

If anyone ever needed any documentary evidence that the "reform" of the Roman liturgy over the past 40 years has been an unrelieved catastrophe, this document should provide all that's needed. The footnotes provide a litany of failed attempts to sort out the situation, to permit the galimaufry of creative options and still retain something resembling Catholicism. It's horrifying to read these things and note that scattered among the tut-tutting about quasi-liturgical peccadiloes - apparently the rosary needs scriptural readings - are throw-away warnings about practices that invalidate the Mass. E.g., it seems bread and wine aren't just an option.

Of particular interest to me is paragraph [3] on the very first page: The norms contained in the present Instruction are to be understood as pertaining to liturgical matters in the Roman Rite, and, mutatis mutandis, in the other Rites of the Latin Church that are duly acknowledged by law. It takes no imagination at all to foresee the Hapless Bench using this paragraph to justify wreaking their own special havoc on the traditional Roman Rite Masses celebrated under the indult and on the Anglican Use Masses. The remaining celebrations of the traditional Ambrosian Rite and Mozarabic Rite would be subject to it also.

Prediction: those sources* that always hail every piece of paper from Rome as the last word in wisdom that will now correct all abuses - even though none of the others issued in the last 40 years has - will love this also. And nothing will change. Except in those situations which were already liturgically stable and thriving. Those will get worse.

*I mean the NC Register, the Visitor, the Wanderer. That sort of thing. (I dearly love the Wanderer; but even Homer nods.)