Friday, February 21, 2014

Reid, Grillo and the Censored Combox

In my last post, I mentioned some of the discussion that was provoked by the exchange between Dr Grillo and Dom Alcuin on other blogs. Unfortunately, one of these blogs in particular has a habit of deleting comments so as to give an artificial, skewed presentation of the conversation that ensued. My obvious goal in setting up Pray Tell Unchained is making sure any comment I want to make on such conversations stays on the internet. Another goal is to explain why certain liturgy buffs are so keen on control.

Curtailed exchanges: a representative example

One thing you'll find at 'the other' Pray Tell Blog is an overriding insistence the Pauline Mass is the one and only form of worship that can be allowed in the (Latin rite) church. Everyone must conform. When I made the comment (no.10)

Really, we all need to stop telling each other how to pray. We need to give up the desire to control others.

this was the reply from the blog-owner (no.12):

The Vatican II. It really does come down to whether we accept Vatican II or not. The carefully-wrought [sic!!] argument of Grillo is that the EF is not compatible with Vatican II....Arguments for tolerance are distracting us here from Grillo’s central point.'

That pretty much sums it up.  Tolerance is irrelevant, Vatican II is everything (how will that fly with our separated brethern?)  My rejoinder—which he declined to post on the blog—was this:

"But neither is the OF compatible with Vatican 2!

It is perfectly reasonable to accept the notion that V2 was an oecumenical council with some sort of binding, authoritative force and still find the EF superior to the OF. Yes, V2 put forward some moderate reforms—allowing the vernacular for the readings and perhaps for the people’s parts, adding the Bidding Prayers (‘Prayers of the Faithful’) permitting the chalice to the people on certain occasions, etc. Did it happen? Some would say the reforms proposed by V2 are still awaited. (Others would say they occurred in 1965.)

The document that V2 endorsed, Sacr. Conc. was a compromise forged from the opinion of multiple factions. If you read it you’ll struggle to find the Mass of Paul VI in there. But if you read Hans Küng’s ‘The Council, Reform and Reunion’, written when V2 had hardly got off the ground, you’ll recognise it immediately. (How did that happen? Clearly the Consilium threw the compromise out the window and did what they wanted, anyway.

One admission here: when it comes to the authority of V2, I’m with Hans Küng: it’s silly to pretend V2 was an oecumenical council, or V1 for that matter, or any of the post-1054 councils. I think V2 was a large regional synod that was made up of fallible men, who made some mistakes. But I’m voicing this (perhaps heterodox) opinion only in the interests of full disclosure. It’s perfectly possible to have a unquestioning loyalty to V2 and reject the OF—indeed, for the reasons I’ve noted above, logic demands it.
I’m bemused the notion that tolerance distracts from Grillo’s point. I will say this: Benedict was tolerant. What Paul VI did—even if you accept he had the authority to change the Mass, even if you think his mass was superior—was cruel and insensitive. And we as a church have suffered for it."

So there, said it.  But to my other point—why censor?  In the PTB universe, there seem to be a pair of fundamental syllogisms at work:
  • A1. Oecumenical councils are infallible.
  • A2. Vatican II was an oecumenical council.
  • A3. Therefore, Vatican II was infallible.
  • B1. Vatican II mandated liturgical reform (1962)
  • B2. The Pauline Mass (1969) was liturgical reform.
  • B3. Therefore, Vatican II mandated the Pauline Mass.

Now if there’s anything wrong with the initial premises (A/B 1-2), it follows that the conclusion (A/B 3) may be faulty. At PTB, you can be pretty sure that if you question any of those premises, your comment will be consigned to the dustbin. They simply don’t want to consider, for instance, that Vatican II wasn’t really an oecumenical council in the way that Nicaea was, or that the Pauline Mass wasn’t really a ‘reform’ but a series of innovations that Vatican II didn’t call for and which you might even argue were a violation of Vatican II. Such thoughts are anathema.

And another thing...

Don't want this post to get too long, but here’s something from the same Combox that I found hilarious (no.15):

When B16 was asked why he was resigned he said and I quote: “God told me to”. What a rebuke to Benedict and everything he stood for. If God told him to leave I conclude...Benedict was WRONG [i.e., about the liturgy]. Now I can hear the howls from the traddies and the personal attacks against me but either God did tell B16 to resign, or B16 lied or B16 suffers from delusions. Regardless, it doesn’t bode well for what he tried to accomplish.

Strangely enough, my reply didn’t get deleted (no.20); ‘I suspect God has told a lot of popes to resign. What a pity so few of them listened!'

Now how did that one get through?

Yes, a lot of popes should have resigned.  Paul VI should have done so--the day after he got elected would have been nice.  And (I thought after posting this comment)  many another bishop should have resigned too.  And then it occurred to me that maybe God's been telling all of us to resign...take up his cross...etc.

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