Monday, July 30, 2007

Rita Ferrone Rants on The Motu Proprio

Rita Ferrone is a resident of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., where she lives with her husband, Philip Swoboda, a professor of Russian history at Sarah Lawrence College. She is author of "Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons, 2006," and the monograph "On the Rite of Election," and co-author of the "Foundations in Faith" series for RCIA teams. She is currently working on two new books, "Rediscovering Vatican II: The Liturgy" and a pastoral commentary on the Easter Vigil, and is a member of the faculty of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. She is also a professor at Yale Divinity School.

With that out of the way, let's see what Ms. Ferrone has to say.

It was not the intention of Vatican II, or of the popes who implemented it, to create a situation in which two forms of the Roman rite would exist side by side.

Nor was their intention the 100% vernacular Mass, nor the dumping of all sacred music written before 1969, nor the bizarre 'on-the-fly' stuff we see far too often...

The liturgical reform of the council was intended as a true reform, addressing genuine problems of the old liturgy for the good of the church as a whole. Now, with the stroke of a pen, Pope Benedict has made that reform optional.

"Optional?" What's "ordinary" is "optional"? Right on, sistuh!

Individual priests may use the preconciliar rites at will, and groups of the faithful who ask for celebrations according to the preconciliar norms may not be refused them.


...A small but vocal group of Catholics began to call for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy for the church across the board. They are not schismatics, like the Lefebvrites, but they are interested in the restoration of Tridentine liturgical forms and the marginalization of the reformed liturgy. They found a champion and supporter in the future Benedict XVI.

In fairness, only a "small but vocal" group was calling for vernacular, folk-music, and several hundred options/mutations/permutations of the Rite AFTER the Council. That "small but vocal" group was the Bugnini Consilium. Surprised Ms. Ferrone didn't mention that...

The most visible proponent of this agenda was Msgr. Klaus Gamber of the liturgical institute in Regensburg, Germany. He became known outside scholarly circles when he published a popular book in 1984, which appeared in English in 1993 under the title The Reform of the Roman Liturgy. Gamber did not reject the council. He regarded the liturgical movement leading up to the council as a generally positive phenomenon

Of course, there IS a "rest of the story" here, too. Regensburg just happens to be the location of the Liturgical Reform's home--the Reform movement which began in the late 1800's. So it's not as though Mgr Gamber was dropped into the controversy from Mars or someplace...

Gamber also expressed a definite view about the current Mass. He wanted it not to be considered the Roman rite, but merely retained as a rite ad experimentum until it dies out. Ratzinger found these extreme views congenial, and oddly enough, deemed them moderate

Really? I have read all of Cdl. R's writings on the topic of liturgy, and never have come across a statement that 'Mgr Gamber's motion to let the New Rite die out is moderate.' Never.

Another partisan of the “reform of the reform,” Alcuin Reid, OSB, of Farnborough, England, published The Organic Development of the Liturgy in 2004. In giving a positive review to Reid’s book, Ratzinger voiced some of his own views on liturgical reform. He opined that scholars and experts were heeded too much after the council,...

Look at the Consilium's roster of members. The Cardinal was correct.

Indeed, the traditionalists Benedict wants to conciliate do not simply reject the Mass of Paul VI-they reject the conciliar theology it embodies. The Society of St. Pius X published a defense of their position in 2001, ...

The invocation of SSPX is a red herring and a red-flag-before-the-bull device. Beyond that, Ms. Ferrone implies that there is some sort of "new" theology proposed by the Council's document. Of course, if one READS the Document on the Liturgy (SC), this "new" theo is not evident. Hmmmmmm.

All the rest of her flapjaw outlining the position of SSPX is irrelevant to the real discussion. She may as well be quoting the Dalai Lama.

...other core values of the council are called into question by the pope’s move to reestablish the Tridentine rites. The council emphasized the role of Scripture in the life of the church, and this value was richly reflected in the liturgical reform.

This is a valid point, to some extent. Ms Ferrone does not mention that the "translation" provided by ICEL is alternatively inaccurate, banal, childish, or exculpatory of non-PC thoughts. And that's just the easy part. She also fails to mention that the OT/NT/NT 3-year cycle used in the New Rite was not reconciled with the Propers of the Mass, nor is it necessarily "internally consistent"--that is, that the NT readings do not, consistently, reflect the OT readings. It would be very encouraging if Ms. Ferrone had endorsed a better translation, or a much-better-studied implementation of the new readings cycle.

Benedict XVI’s motu proprio implies that none of this, [expanded cycle of readings] in the end, is essential or even very important.

A ludicrous assertion, unless she actually knows the entire plan of the Pope. Which I doubt.

Before the council, women were forbidden to serve in liturgical ministries. They were kept outside the sanctuary-a very old taboo perceived by many today as sexist and out of keeping with our sense of the dignity of the baptized. This prohibition was ended after Vatican II. The third directive on the right implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Liturgicae instaurationes, 1970), admitted women to various liturgical ministries which are exercised in the sanctuary-such as that of reader or musician

Not precisely true. Pius XII's legislation on the composition of church choirs (1955) paved the way for "ministries" which were not "ordained"--occupied by lay men OR women. But more to the point, Ms Ferrone attempts to conjure up the Spirits of Feminist Equality here. Like some other conjured spirits, they are out of place in a serious discussion of ecclesiology...

There was no catechumenate in the Tridentine church, despite a crying need around the world for this liturgical structure of evangelization and formation. How can we deprive adult converts of the catechumenate-which canon law now requires them to have?

So the book "Father Brown Instructs Jackson" was, what? Wallpaper? The Catechumenate was also called "adult instruction," Ms. Ferrone. Buy a clue.

The reformed liturgy embodies the values of the council in innumerable ways.

Actually, it embodies the values of a bunch of pointy-headed "experts," as the Pope remarked. And there's no need to enshrine such "values" should they differ markedly from SC (e.g., paras. 36 and 54, for openers...) is difficult to believe that with Summorum pontificum a definitive compromise has been reached and the matter will end there. A more plausible understanding of the present moment is that it marks another step toward a goal that the vast majority of Catholics would not countenance if it were openly acknowledged-namely, the gradual dismantling of the liturgical reform in its entirety.

She's right--until the italicized portion begins. Ms. Ferrone thinks (with absolutely zero proof) that "the vast majority" of Catholics will agree with her. I doubt it, although it's possible that the "vast majority" of NAPM Directors, Catechetical Establishment rent-seekers/hangers-on, and members of the Yale Divinity School faculty do agree with her. So what?

I believe that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms were the work of the Spirit. Yet these reforms were also the work of human hands, and in this respect they are vulnerable. We do ourselves no favors by pretending otherwise.

Right on all counts, Ms. Ferrone. And the "work of human hands" occasionally needs correctives. CF: Summorum Pontificum.

(More, (and better-informed) commentary here from Fr. Z.)


xxxxxx said...

Why is she so threatened?

Maybe because the seminarians are interested in a more orthodox approach and may want to offer the old mass?

Something is causing her to get bent out of shape over a mass which will only be offered to a handful in any diocese.

Or is she thinking of the long run?

John D. Enright said...

At the risk of sounding like a hippie (I think we remember them) "write on." Ahem - yes, the pun is intended.

RAG said...

"Motu propio" reminds me of resolving the occasional restaurant menu dilemma: If I can't pronouce it, I don't eat it. :)

Carissimi Amici said...

I don't know what’s eating her, but it's aggressive... On the other hand, the above post is an excellent point by point analysis of her rantings. I read more of it in other posts in Commonwealth magazine website and they are as nasty. [What’s your opinion of this magazine, by the way…]
Here in Indianapolis we have a downtown parish, Holy Rosary. Both forms are used and both are VERY well attended. Nobody here bickers about the Latin Mass and we have not experiencing any ill effects for the last 9 years or so…go figure! Call Ms. Ferrone to investigate!

Dad29 said...

My opinion of Commonweal is best revealed by the fact that I don't allow it in the house, as I have children...