Tale of several popes. Unfolding drama unfolds further . . .

The first modern-day papal liturgical reformer, Pius X, 1903 to 1914, is claimed by later reformers as one of their own. But it’s truly an afterthought for them because his ideas and theirs were worlds apart. Or drifted that way, as we shall see.Indeed, this Pius was more in the mold of Pius V (1566-1572), who wound down a council, of Trent, or Tridentum, 1545-1563, and followed through on its edicts and findings with the mass called Tridentine.

This 5th Pius curiously has this in common with his successor-reformer of four centuries later, Paul VI, who followed through on a council he also had not convened with a new mass, “Novus Ordo,” with radically new script and stage directions.

The two masses endure, the first as barely tolerated (by never-Tridentiners among higher clergy and arguably the pope) or lovingly cherished (by traditionalists, or “traddies” as some call themselves) — whereby hangs a dramatic tale.

To these latter this book is mainly aimed, they being a hard core (corps, you might say) of worshipers and increasing numbers of the religiously curious, a curiously growing bunch. (See Western Canada millennials in this 11/30/2018 Crisis Mag piece)

As for the the new mass, it has been offered for much of its life on pretty much a take it-or-leave-it basis, illegal at first — with an endearing exception — and restored in stages by two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It remains a minority experience, however.

Of which more later . . .

History of “the movement” — What went wrong?

Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB and Pope (St.) Pius X were at the origin of the Liturgical Movement in the early 1900s, working towards “renewal of fervor for the liturgy” among clergy and faithful.

Promoters of the New Order (Novus Ordo) of the Mass say that’s where the new Mass got its start. Not so, wrote Fr. Didier Bonneterre in his 1980 book, The Liturgical Movement: Gueranger to Beauduin to Bugnini, Roots, Radicals Results.

The fact is, says Bonneterre in a detailed, fascinating, aggressively partisan argument, the liturgical movement was diverted from its course. It was his business to tell how that happened, discover who set reform off on  the wrong track, what was its early deviation, what the main error, who “hijacked” the movement so as to “propagandize” for Vatican II and a New Mass.

He identified major protagonists who would be “hounding” the Popes of the decades to come, names to conjure with in liturgical history, heroes, even icons, of the religious left (progressive, liberal) — Beauduin, Bea, Parsch, Guardini, Casel, Jungmann, Lercaro, Botte, Reinhold, Winzen, Congar, Harscouet, (Gaspar) Lefebvre, Danielou, Fischer, Bugnini, Nocent, Bouyer, Thurian, Gy, etc. Quite a list.

Thanks to them and their followers, the New Mass had been conceived — “the poisoned fruit of the perversions” of the Movement. How did it happen? His book “helps us to know what to reject and what we must carefully conserve” of the Movement, he wrote.

Alternate titles

Those Old Novus Ordo Blues: How Vatican 2 was betrayed by liturgical enthusiasts in the late 1960s and since then within the bosom of the holy Roman Catholic church

My Novus Ordo Blues: Extremely Old Catholic Looks Back

Novus Ordo Reconsidered: A Meditation

The New Mass Reconsidered: A Meditation

The Mass Since Vatican II: A Meditation

Novus Ordo: The Catholic Mass Since Vatican II

Novus Ordo: The mass since Vatican II and how it tore the heart out of religious devotion

Novus Ordo: The mass since Vatican II and how it offers the church opportunity for respect for conscience

Opening shot, 11-17-18

I began this book in the role of a crabby old (very old) objector to the new mass, intending to issue primarily a cry from the heart, an extended complaynt at the plundering of liturgy as I knew it, which I sometimes considered akin to Henry VIII’s rape of the monasteries — Shakespeare’s “Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.” A despoliation, I feared — and to some extent still do.

You can imagine the shift involved, to go from complainer about the New Mass — Novus Ordo (new order of mass = new mass) — to looking for what I had to learn about it and charting a course for myself among Vatican 2 and other documents and assorted commentary and my own experiences and my own commentary including my complaynts.

So it’s an adventure, a journey of a soul, some might say, but not I. In fact, I shrink from grand statements. Don’t like them, because they glorify a common — not common enough — process of changing your mind or at least somewhat re-positioning yourself in a matter of wide discussion.