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A New Theology?

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A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:11 pm

Here, in full, is the review of Dr Alcuin Reid, a liturgical scholar and a cleric of the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France, of Father Anthony Cekada's book, Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, Philothea Press, West Chester, Ohio 2010, 445 pp pb. :

I have long been in Father Cekada’s debt, for it was his booklet The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass that alerted me almost twenty years ago to the significant theological difference between the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Roman Missals. Work of Human Hands is by no means so succinct a publication. It is a substantial attempt to demonstrate profound theological rupture between the two, and more. It deserves serious attention.

Some will dismiss this study because Father Cekada is canonically irregular and a sede vacantist. Whilst these are more than regrettable, ad hominem realities are not sufficient to dismiss this carefully argued and well researched work. We must attend to his arguments on their merits.

The principal thesis is that “the Mass of Paul VI destroys Catholic doctrine in the minds of the faithful and in particular, Catholic doctrine concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priesthood and the real presence,” and that it “permits or prescribes grave irreverence.” His secondary thesis is that the Mass of Paul VI is invalid. His practical conclusion is that “a Catholic may not merely prefer the old rite to the new; he must also reject the new rite in its entirety. The faith obliges him to do so.” These strong, even extreme, positions may themselves repel readers. But again, they must be examined.

Work of Human Hands seeks to lay an historical foundation for these theses, examining the liturgical movement of the twentieth century and the work of liturgical reform from 1948-1969. Unfortunately this history is not dispassionate. It makes the mistake of repeating the all-too-frequent shrill cries of “modernism” that abound in Father Didier Bonneterre’s slim work, The Liturgical Movement, which I have reviewed elsewhere as “not a study that reaches a conclusion, but a conclusion which seeks the support of a study.”

That is not to say that those at whom the finger is pointed ought not to be scrutinised. Dom Lambert Beauduin certainly inaugurated the pastoral liturgical movement, but anyone who studies his seminal work Liturgy the Life of the Church can see that this was both sound and traditional. Beauduin’s ideas developed, yes, and he became a suspect ecumenist, certainly, but there is no evidence that he conspired towards or would have been happy with the missal of Paul VI. The influence of the Jesuit scholar Joseph Jungmann―expounded very well here―is certainly crucial. Louis Bouyer’s liturgical theology was definitely different to the prevailing twentieth century scholasticism, but that does not mean that it is necessarily modernist or heretical: theological development is possible so long as it does not deny truths of the faith.

Father Annibale Bugnini is pivotal, of course. But the idea that prevails here, and elsewhere, that he held the reins of power in all liturgical reform from 1948 onward, carefully manipulating and conspiring towards the goal of the new Mass, is false. Bugnini was an activist and an opportunist, certainly. However, as Msgr Giampietro’s study of Cardinal Antonelli’s liturgical role, The Development of the Liturgical Reform, demonstrates, Bugnini was by no means the principal or sole architect of the liturgical reforms of Pius XII. His moment came later, in 1963, when his friend, Cardinal Montini, became Paul VI and rehabilitated him, naming him secretary of the commission to implement the Council’s liturgical reform. This singular opportunity and their frequent personal collaboration is what brought about the Mass of Paul VI.

It must be said that the author’s veneration of Pius XII, and his exoneration of him from any responsibility for the liturgical reforms of the 1950s, is excessive. The fact is that we do not know the extent of Pius XII’s personal enthusiasm or involvement in their realisation. But we do know that they were enacted on his authority. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, for better or worse, the responsibility for them is his.

Cekada’s history of the Vatican II reform is better, though to treat the discussion of liturgical reform at the Council itself in but three paragraphs, and the intense activity of the following five years in but ten pages is rather thin; and there are occasional inaccuracies. One also needs to disentangle the historical narrative from the at times amusing commentary and analogy provided by the author (“The fox [Bugnini] was back in the chicken coop”).

However the meat of Cekada’s work is found not in his history, but in his theological analysis of the Mass of Paul VI.

Two chapters are devoted to an analysis of the different versions of the General Instruction of the Missal that appeared in 1969 and 1970. Cekada rightly points out that the 1969 text confidently outlined the prevailing theological principles that underpinned the reformed rite of Mass, which was published with it. Cekada demonstrates well (but with a bit too much rhetoric) that these principles leave traditional Catholic theology behind: “sacrifice” is replaced with “assembly”, “the Lord’s supper” moves in to displace “the Sacrifice of the Cross”, etc.

This provoked an unholy Roman row and the “Ottaviani Intervention”, which declared that the new Order of Mass “represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated [at] the Council of Trent.” Note that Cardinal Ottaviani speaks about the rites, not the Instruction. As Cekada ably demonstrates, the theological principles so boldly outlined in the 1969 Instruction guided the decisions about what went, remained, or was invented for the rites of the Mass of Paul VI (just look the offertory).

This row led to the appearance of a revision of the General Instruction in 1970, with, as J.D. Crichton quipped, a more “Tridentine” phrase put beside each incriminated expression, in order to shore up its doctrinal integrity. However, as Cekada deftly observes, the prayers and rites of the 1969 Order of Mass are identical to those of 1970: a defective building is not rectified by scribbling a few changes on the blueprints. The Mass of Paul VI remains, in its Latin original (before any Episcopal Conference gets to mistranslate it), intentionally theologically different to what came before.

Over half of this book is given over to a detailed exposition of this difference, not at all unsuccessfully. Cekada draws frequently on the writings of those responsible for the reform itself, who state the difference plainly. (One of the strengths of this work is its research and detailed footnotes and bibliography).

To take but one example, Cekada’s exposition of the theological reform of the orations―the collect and other prayers (pp 223-228)―brilliantly demonstrates that, as Father Carlo Braga boasted at the time, the “doctrinal reality” of the texts was altered in the “light of the new view of human values” and “ecumenical requirements”, as well as “an entirely new foundation of Eucharistic theology.” My only regret here is that this is not augmented with references to the excellent and detailed work being done on the same topic by Professor Lauren Pristas. Nevertheless, here, Cekada makes his point very well. Indeed, it has to be said that the book as a whole succeeds in demonstrating the substantial theological difference between the two missals.

He also succeeds in demonstrating the impact of a doctrinally different rite on the belief of the faithful. Surveys on the decline in belief in the real presence amongst Catholics are sufficient to underline that.

What the book does not succeed in doing, however, is to demonstrate the invalidity of the Mass of Paul VI. For whilst there is certainly a theological difference between the two, it is by no means proven that in its Latin text the rite of Mass of Paul VI contradicts Catholic doctrine. It may be doctrinally weaker, it may be theologically different, but it is not heretical. Nor can it be successfully maintained, as does the book, that Paul VI had no authority to modify the formula for consecration in the Mass.

Given that, it is certain that a validly ordained priest who intends to “do what the Church does” in celebrating the Mass according to the modern rite, celebrates a valid Mass. Yes, it is possible, perhaps even more likely, that some priests with a formally defective liturgical and Eucharistic theology that may have been unintentionally encouraged by the liturgical reforms, may more easily celebrate invalidly; that too is an indictment of the rite. But Peter holds the Keys, and whatever prudential errors he may or may not have made in the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, he cannot have committed the Church to an intrinsically invalid rite of Mass.

Given its theological deficiency, Father Cekada dismisses the efforts, led by Pope Benedict XVI, to celebrate the modern rites in more visible continuity with liturgical tradition. We disagree here: the Mass of Paul VI is a valid rite, and its better celebration is all to the good. One may even prefer it in good conscience―as do many generations who have known nothing else. We can argue (and I think quite convincingly) that we can and ought to do better than what is in the Missal of Paul VI, but to worship according to the modern rite is not of itself sinful.

Regardless, Father Cekada’s great service is to flag the big question that we have not widely, as yet, been prepared to face. Whilst it is certainly better to celebrate the modern liturgy in a traditional style using more accurate translations, that is not enough. For if the Missal of Paul VI is indeed in substantial discontinuity with the preceding liturgical and theological tradition, this is a serious flaw requiring correction. It is high time, then, that we not only recognise, but do something about the elephant in the liturgical living-room.

Here we have a priest of the "Conciliar" Church, a liturgical scholar, agreeing that the New Mass is "intentionally theologically different[/color] to what came before," and that there is "substantial theological difference between the two missals" of Pius V and Paul VI.

Dr. Reid says that the "new theology" is not heretical, and the upshot being that (since it is not "heretical") it is ok for a pope to alter the Mass so as to introduce a "new theology" into it, a "doctrinally different rite," and, by implication, a Catholic must therefore be bound by that alteration. Of course, if it is ok, a Catholic must be bound. So I guess the issue is really the first part: Is it ok for a pope to alter the Mass so as to introduce a "new theology" into it?

Any comments? Any insights? Anyone aware of other relevant authorities, discussions, articles, etc.?
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Of course, I think the options are limited here: a) Father Reid is wrong that there is a "new theology" in the NO; b) he's right, but a pope can introduce a "new theology" into the Mass, at least to a certain extent - and then what is permissible extent (anything so long as there's no heresy?) in general, and then what is the extent of the newness here; or, 3) Paul VI was not really the pope.
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  MRyan on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:17 pm

tornpage wrote:Here, in full, is the review of Dr Alcuin Reid, a liturgical scholar and a cleric of the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France, of Father Anthony Cekada's book, Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, Philothea Press, West Chester, Ohio 2010, 445 pp pb. :


Work of Human Hands seeks to lay an historical foundation for these theses, examining the liturgical movement of the twentieth century and the work of liturgical reform from 1948-1969. Unfortunately this history is not dispassionate. It makes the mistake of repeating the all-too-frequent shrill cries of “modernism” that abound in Father Didier Bonneterre’s slim work, The Liturgical Movement, which I have reviewed elsewhere as “not a study that reaches a conclusion, but a conclusion which seeks the support of a study.
Hmmm …sounds familiar:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on November 12, 1969 responded to the study and declared that the so-called Ottaviani Intervention contained statements that were: “superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false.” Truer words could hardly be found to describe this “critical” “study” of the new Missal.
The “Work of Human Hands” is the work of the same priest who wrote the theologically flawed “Absolutely Null and Utterly Void”, which Fr. Cekada describes as “a 14,000-word study that examined the validity of the new Rite of Episcopal Consecration promulgated in 1968 by Paul VI.”

I read it, and spent a considerable time studying this issue before being able to refute his flawed arguments (I had to in order to refute a couple of hard-core sede's ... in private correspondence).

Amemus Athanasium (AQ), sums it up quite succinctly:

Despite extensive documentation from theological manuals and recent studies of the history of the liturgy, Cekada’s work nevertheless errs by a manifestly exaggerated approach to language, signification and univocity. It also ignores several elements of the Church’s Tradition which are echoed by Paul VI’s formula and which ensure its validity, independently of whether or not one thinks the Roman ordination texts and rituals needed to have been revised in the first place.
And, while it may not fair to Fr. Cekada for me to render an opposing opinion to his “Work of Human Hands” (given the fact that I have not read it, and I have no intention of reading it), judging by the title and judging by his other works I am familiar with, I have no problem suspecting that it is a given that the same theological flaws permeate this work (as highlighted by Dr Alcuin Reid), even if many of his arguments have merit.

After all, it is Fr. Cekada’s flawed theology that led him down the schismatic sede trail in the first place, so why would I expect anything different here? This is not meant as disrespect; after all, at least one of the original sede prelates had not one, but three Doctorates from the Church, and got it really wrong.

Perhaps “Father Cekada’s great service is to flag the big question” but please leave the question to academics who like debating such things, without “questioning” validity.

As far as a “different theology”, I think it is more accurate to say the New Mass represents the same theology, but with a different emphasis (that we do not find overtly manifested in the TLM). For example, the propitiatory sacrifice is the one and the same sacrifice, so the theology of the canon cannot be fundamentally “different”. And, as Dr Reid surmises, while it's theology might be “doctrinally weaker”; if, as he also says, the New Mass is doctrinally sound, its theology must be sound as well.




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Re: A New Theology?

Post  DeSelby on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:41 pm

MRyan wrote:Hmmm …sounds familiar:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on November 12, 1969 responded to the study and declared that the so-called Ottaviani Intervention contained statements that were: “superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false.” Truer words could hardly be found to describe this “critical” “study” of the new Missal.


I don't know; I recall somewhat how I was taught the New Mass in Catholic grade school; I distinctly remember actually thinking at one point that it all seemed like a more or less changeable man-made thing that was lacking a sense of mystery. I was probably 8 or 9. I had no idea of "Tradition" or anything like that. To tell the truth, I'm sad to say that I really didn't care at the time. It was just the way things were. The Latin Mass was made to seem like some aloof antiquity, even if it was admitted that it was "beautiful".

My point is that even a child could see some of the problems, even if that child lacked any sort of context at the time to really know what the heck was going on. The contents of the Ottaviani Intervention would have made complete sense to me at the time, generally speaking (no doubt many things would have been way over my head). At any rate, I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of it as "superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false." I feel like I could have almost written the thing myself in much simpler terms in 25 words or less, without any knowledge of Ottaviani. I would have left out anything relating to the sacrifice of the mass, since I had no idea of that. I'm ashamed I didn't question things more.

The question remains if it is simply a matter of catechesis, which it undoubtedly is on one level regardless, or something even more fundamental.

Vaguely related, but a very recently published Catholic hymnal has this summary for "the Liturgy of the Eucharist":

Liturgy of the Eucharist
To celebrate the Eucharist means to give thanks and praise. When the altar has been prepared with the bread and wine, the assembly joins the priest in remembering the gracious gifts of God in creation and God’s saving deeds. The center of this is the paschal mystery, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ which destroyed the power of death and his rising which brings us life. The mystery in which we were baptized we proclaim each Sunday at the Eucharist. It is the very shape of Christian life. We find this in the simple bread and wine which stir our remembering and draw forth our prayer of thanksgiving. “Fruit of the earth and work of human hands,” the bread and wine become our Holy Communion in the Body and Blood of the Lord. We eat and drink to proclaim that we belong to one another and to the Lord.

The members of the assembly quietly prepare themselves even as the table is prepared. The priest then invites all to lift up their hearts and join in the eucharistic prayer. All do this by giving their full attention and by singing the acclamations from the “Holy, Holy, Holy” to the great “Amen.” Then the assembly joins in the Lord’s Prayer, the sign of peace and the Lamb of God” litany which accompanies the breaking of bread. Ministers of communion assist the assembly to share the Body and Blood of Christ. A time of silence and prayer concludes the liturgy of the eucharist.

Is it sufficient?


Last edited by DeSelby on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  DeSelby on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:44 pm

Also, tornpage, have you seen the series of 10 minute videos Fr. Cekada has on YouTube about Work of Human Hands?
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:03 pm

DeSelby,

I don't know; I recall somewhat how I was taught the New Mass in Catholic grade school; I distinctly remember actually thinking at one point that it all seemed like a more or less changeable man-made thing that was lacking a sense of mystery. I was probably 8 or 9.

Memory is crucial to the ability to think. I'm in awe. Very Happy

The problems are felt along the synapses. If I'd have left this to the academics (as per MRyan's advice), I'd have become a sede a long time ago. Being a composite of synapses and intellect, I muse over the precipice, tottering on the rock, rather than just jump.







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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:06 pm

Why do the links no longer work with a click? Is it me?

I've watched some of the videos, DeSelby. What I find extremely interesting is some of the reviews from people like Father Reid about the book. Have you read these reviews on Father Cekada's website? Here's the link: http://www.doctrinaliturgica.com/
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:08 pm

Btw, my experience is the links can be clicked on to the sites for a bit of time after positing, and then not.
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:10 pm

As far as a “different theology”, I think it is more accurate to say the New Mass represents the same theology, but with a different emphasis (that we do not find overtly manifested in the TLM). For example, the propitiatory sacrifice is the one and the same sacrifice, so the theology of the canon cannot be fundamentally “different”. And, as Dr Reid surmises, while it's theology might be “doctrinally weaker”; if, as he also says, the New Mass is doctrinally sound, its theology must be sound as well.

Mike, thanks for your comments.

Isn't saying "the propitiatory sacrifice is the one and the same sacrifice" assuming that it is and then reasoning back to say . . . it is? Like begging the question? Perhaps you can elaborate, because I don't quite understand that. What I take from that is, if there is a valid consecration, then there's the propitiatory sacrifice, and the analysis is over if there's no heresy in the other parts. Is that what you're saying?
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  DeSelby on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:11 pm

tornpage wrote:Why do the links no longer work with a click? Is it me?

I've watched some of the videos, DeSelby. What I find extremely interesting is some of the reviews from people like Father Reid about the book. Have you read these reviews on Father Cekada's website? Here's the link: http://www.doctrinaliturgica.com/

I have now and I agree it's fascinating. Fr. Cekada's response to the review of Fr. Reid is also very good. Thanks for the link.

(Rasha has mentioned that links only work by clicking on them if we're signed in; don't know if that is the problem you were having...)

tornpage wrote:The problems are felt along the synapses. If I'd have left this to the academics (as per MRyan's advice), I'd have become a sede a long time ago. Being a composite of synapses and intellect, I muse over the precipice, tottering on the rock, rather than just jump.

I think I know exactly what you mean.
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:03 pm

DeSelby,

(Rasha has mentioned that links only work by clicking on them if we're signed in; don't know if that is the problem you were having...)

That was it. Thanks.
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Re: A New Theology?

Post  tornpage on Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:13 pm

Rasha cited Brownson as to the Russian Orthodox and heresy, and I think it's relevant here:

When I speak of heresies that crept into the Russian
Church, I must not be understood to mean that these heresies,
borrowed from Protestantism, ever found admission into the
official teaching of the Russian Church. They were entertained
not by the Church, but by individual churchmen. As
a church the Russian Church claims to be and always to have
been orthodox, and since the reunion of the East and the
West in the Council of Florence already referred to, I am
aware of no official act.of the supreme Ecclesiastical authority
pronouncing it, as a church, either heretical or schismatical,
consequently the sin of heresy or schism does not, unless I
am in error, attach to the communion, but solely to the
individuals who personally and voluntarily make.themselves
heretics or schismatics. In this respect there is a marked
difference between the Russian Church, and the several
Protestant Churches so-called, and which are simply establishments
and no Churches at all. In the case of these the sect
or establishment is under anathema
; with the Russian Church,
the communion, as far as I am aware, is not under anathema,
IX
but only the individuals in that communion, as elsewhere,
who make themselves guilty of heresy and schism, by refusing
due obedience to the supreme authority of the Catholic
Church

Are the Protestant churches no longer under anathema? Do Prots now stand on the same footing as Orthodox regarding their being "joined" to the Catholic Church or not? Is it the same analysis now as to "pertinacious denial or doubt" for both?
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