Sunday, 20 June 2021

A really good read.

At the end of the year I will post on the books that I have read during 2021. However, the book that I am presently reading is so good that it deserves its own comments.
I'm reading Michael Davies' "Pope Paul's New Mass". I bought and read this book in 1980 and have picked it up again. What a fantastic read! A thorough-going appreciation of the changes to the celebration of the Mass that took place in the 1960s. I have been making some salient notes as I read and will post these here. For purposes of reference, the edition that I am reading is:
Michael Davies, Pope Paul's New Mass, Angelus Press, 1980. And the references that I will make refer to the pages in this edition.

Chapter One. The development of the Roman Rite.
This chapter contains three elements:
1. The best concise description, that I have ever read, of what the Liturgy is.
2. The best concise description of the historical development of the Liturgy that I have read to date. On page 5 the author notes that the Second Century reference to the priest as 'celebrant' was due to the word 'priest' having pagan connotations. In fact, by the Second Century, the three-fold division of 'bishop', 'priest' and 'deacon' was already established. Substituting the word 'celebrant' for 'priest' today is much more anomalous.
3. An analysis of what the Bull Quo Primum Tempore is. This is the Bull with which Pope Pius V published the Roman Missal of 1570.
This Bull established the Roman Missal as an act of the Council of Trent. This was the very first time that a Council or a Pope had legislated on the Liturgy. Up until 1570 the development of the Liturgy had taken place in an entirely organic way, and it had come under "Customary Law" (how general practice is accepted and protected.) Quo Primum adds Positive Law (which specifies or prescribes a particular practice) to this. Specifically, Quo Primum established that no one, other than the Pope, could make changes to the Missal on his own initiative. (Cf, p14)
In looking at how the Liturgy could develop after Quo Primum, the author speaks of an important distinction that must be made. Namely, the legal right of a Pope, and his moral right. The Pope can legally change the Liturgy, but would it be morally right for him to do so. (Cf, p14) Under this distinction, a change to the Liturgy must represent a continuation, but not a contradiction of what has gone before. (Cf, p15)
Thus, a future Pope could legally abrogate (abolish) the Missal of Pius V, but would he have the moral right to do so?
Quo Primum possesses three characteristics that would affect the moral right of a Pope:
1. Its aim is that one Missal should express the faith of the Universal Church.
2. It sought not to establish a new form of Liturgy, but rather to restore the ancient Roman Missal. In other words, it codified the organic development of the Liturgy, rather than enacted an artificially procured form of the Mass.
3. It is the act of a Pope expressed with the full force of Apostolic authority, in conformity with uninterrupted tradition. 
(Cf, 16)
This is wonderful stuff!

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