20 October 2010

I noted on

erstwhile Lutheran, now Roman Catholic, David Schütz's blog this fascinating link:  the music of the new mass.  Come Advent next [corrected!] year, the silly season is largely over for many of the excesses that followed in the wake of Vatican II in the Roman parishes and this new and more stately and dignified Mass will be introduced in them.  Oh, it's still Roman with all the problems entailed therein, but it is still a joy to see them step back from a reform of the Mass so radical that arch-confessionalist Lutheran Hermann Sasse characterized as being "presided over by St. Zwingli!"  Wonder how on earth this will be received in the Roman parishes here in North America.  I'll be eagerly listening for responses.

Some of the oddest of comments we've received at St. Paul's over the years come from disillusioned Roman Catholics who observe that our liturgy (Lutheran through and through, mind you) is rather like what they used to have in years gone by.  They mean, I think, the reverence of the ceremonial, the careful manner in which the liturgy is celebrated with joy among us.  They recognize in our Lutheran Divine Service something more akin to the Masses of their childhood than what they currently find in their Roman parishes.  I hope, for their sake, that this is about to change for them.


Mark said...

The silly season lasts another year.

The NPM page you've linked indicates that implementation begins Advent 1, November 27, 2011. That's the same information on the USCCB page about the new Missal.


Still, this season is seeing the setting of the sun.

Past Elder said...

Silly season largely over, or lasts another year? This pathetic stuff is part of the silly season. It's exactly the same novus ordo Mass, which replaced the ordo missae our classic Divine Service reformed. It is a return to nothing, either Catholic or Lutheran.

It evokes nothing of the Masses of my preconciliar RCC youth whatever, except how, uh, silly we thought the Episcopalians looked when they got all high churchy and tried to be "catholic".

I'd sooner have a Call To Action special complete with liturgical dancers and masks than this pathetic pale shadow of what once was the Mass, distantly recreating a knock off of its externals while its essence is gone.

Anonymous said...

This is related to an answer you gave to a comment I made on an earlier post. Perhaps I should have posted there, but I figured you'd be more likely to check comments here. The comment related to the preaching in acts and corporate guilt for the death of Christ.

I'm really struggling with the role of the atonement in piety, preaching, and liturgy. The songs and passion preaching I grew up with (zum Beispiel the Morningstar classic "What have we done" http://www.morningstarmusic.com/mp3s/50-3506.mp3) were narrow and problematic. All this "he paid the price" talk really seemed to make the Gospel into a Law the way it was preached. It just made you feel really guilty that Jesus had to die for you. Further more this "sanctification" preaching in which I was warned to think about what I was doing because ever sin increased Christ's burden on the cross seems to me now to bear no material difference over-against the notion that Christ is re-sacrified in the mass.

Anonymous said...

That said, there seems to be another side to this coin. When I was at CSL I ran across PhD students who had imbibed enough Barth and Forde et al. to come to the conclusion that the vicarious atonement is a metaphysical fiction that has set the church back since the time of Anselm. Furthermore, they lay the problems with current LCMS preaching at the feet of Francis Pieper for making VA his material principle. They (vague, I know, but trust me) are of the opinion that preaching informed by narrative theology is antithetical to catechetical preaching of VA. The problem with this, as I see it, is that the narrative (which I take as a unity) is hung up on corporate guilt (cf. the wiping out of Canaan and the justification that the guilt of the Amorites was full). What about behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the WORLD? And what to do with Luther's explaination of the second article? - Paying the price language inheres in Lutheranism, to say nothing of Paul.

I haven't read Anselm, but it seems that this claim that his way of thinking about guilt, and the piety of the Middle Ages around the Atonement, is a complete anachronism ignores the Biblical witness, the narrative as a whole. The Passover/Lord's Supper parallel is a big deal. In the old testament people are responsible for damages that their livestock cause. There is guilt that has forensic validity in the Hebrew Geistgestalt.

I also find it interesting that Benedict who seems to be so nostalgic for the pre-Vatican II mass is so turned off by sacrifice.

Anyway, I'm just really confused on this issue. And it seems really important to me. I'm begging for some clarity.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

If I could jump in with Shawn,

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a distinction between the kingdom of the right and the kingdom of the left. Yes, there is salvation for all, but there is also deliverance from civil wickedness and temporal punishment. These two are both true. In fact, I don't even like the term "corporate guilt" for the old testament commands for the take over of Caanan. It's not about guilt - it is about preserving and protecting the people of Israel who would produce the Messiah. I think Luther on "Whether Soliders, Too, Can Be Saved" might be useful reading on this part.

Also, simply paying my own guilt isn't the fullness of the Gospel. It's not just that Christ wipes my slate clean - it's that He gives me life and fills me up - now when I am still a sinful, leaky vessel, and then on the last day when I am given life in full. VA is a vital part of Salvation, it is a necessary aspect of it - but it isn't the entirety of it.

Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic Priest, who looks forward to the corrected translation of the Roman Missal which will begin use on Nov. 27, 2011.

This new accurate translation restores emphasis on man supplicating God and offering himself, with Christ, as a living sacrifice to God. There is a restoration of beauty and loftiness in this Mass.

The Catholic understanding of Mass as a making present of the once for all sacrifice on Calvary is clearer. Sacral language is restored, like the use of "chalice", not cup.

Although many older priest don't like it that the "70's" are over, I am thrilled that the majesty of God and my role as his servant, not his equal, is restored.

The next task is doing something about the horrible state of music in many of our churches. I hope the music of the aging hippies comes to an end.

God bless our Pope Benedict as he slowly strives to undo the silly season clung to by older priests,religious and laity who can't let go of the 70's era. I pray that these priests will not "politically correct" the words of the new Mass as they did with the present form, especially gender words. Thank God for the younger priests and laity who reject political correctness and want to restore divine worship to glorify God and not themselves.

God bless you, Pastor Weedon. I enjoy your blog and wish you many blessings.

Fr. Martin Gerber

William Weedon said...


Part of the rich pattern in which the Scriptures speak of and describe redemption - but note that they never EXPLAIN atonement. They proclaim it! Used to trouble me no end too. The Fathers also reflect this rich variety: Christ trampling down death and sin and hell; Christ offering himself in sacrifice to the Father; Christ's blood blotting out sin; Christ becoming a curse for us upon the tree to free us from the curse; it goes on and on.

Anselm, near as I can tell, only added one thing to the equation and that is the concept of honor and the chivalrous answer of satisfaction for offense. It's that complex that's really new with him; not the idea that our Lord is a substitutionary sacrifice.

Send me an email and I'll ship you a list of citations of the Fathers all running in the way of Pieper, if you will. It's certainly not the ONLY way they speak, but it is certainly A way that they speak. And that's inevitable, because they reflect the usage of Scripture itself.

I love Krauth on this. If' you've not read him, I encourage you to. His summary is that a theory that attempts to explain the atonement is rotten to the core.

Fr. Gerber,

Amen and amen! I wish you all great joy with this upcoming change.

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

Perhaps the Holy Father should also declare a moratorium on the collective works of Marty Haugen, "Gather" et.al.

Past Elder said...

What change? There is no change in the text being translated, which is the novus ordo missae rather than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which means that the only thing worse than poor translations of the impostor is better ones.

It was no amount of excess or "silliness" which was the last straw in bringing about my departure from the RCC -- from which I hope I am excommunicated latae sententiae, it would be a badge of honour -- but rather the discovery of the typical Latin text of the novus ordo (I don't need translations).

One could commit any amount of postconciliar excess daily, and, if there ever were anything whatever to the Roman Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it would not offend God so much as even one "faithful" execution of the novus ordo missae including in the original from which "translations" are made.

If one thinks reverent attitudes, beauty, loftiness, poetic language etc is of the essence, try Large Vehicle Buddhism; they do it much better than fallen Rome. And equally do not have the Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I use a $1 imitation of Calvin Klein's Obsession I buy at Dollar Tree. At least it has the basic honesty to say the product is in no way Calvin Klein's Obsession, unlike the ghastly mendacious duplicity of "Benedict" et hoc genus omne in passing this junk off, let along inventing "ordinary" and "extraordinary" forms of the same thing out of two different things.

You can turn out a whore in better clothes for better tricks but it remains prostitution and a mockery of sexual love, which is all the spiritual pimps of the RCC have done with this latest charade.

christl242 said...

Perhaps the Holy Father should also declare a moratorium on the collective works of Marty Haugen, "Gather" et.al.

Amen to that. Unfortunately Messr. Haugen's reach exceeds that of the Roman Communion, he seems to be everywhere. I would love to hear the restoration of chant in all the Western liturgical traditions.

For anyone who is interested this DVD gives a good presentation of the upcoming Roman Missal:


Anonymous said...


"VA" is not a metaphysical fiction with origins solely in Anselm. I would encourage you to contact my husband Jack (jdk002@aquinas.edu). He's an expert in both Forde and Barth and specializes in Christology and atonement theologies. He would agree about Anselm, but highlight the importance of not ignoring the other models of atonement and argue the result of emphasizing one at the expense of the others is a slide into Gnosticism. Anyhow, I'm sure he's love to talk.

Bethany Kilcrease

Anonymous said...

Anselm Of Canterbury excludes the
active obedience of Christ from the
vicarious satisfaction. Lutheran
theology believes in both the active
obedience of Christ who fulfilled
the Law in my stead perfectly and the
passive obedience of Christ who
suffered and died on the cross

Jim Huffman said...

I've seen estimates that 50% (some are higher) of Roman Christians no longer believe in the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements. I'm not surprised: given the lack of reverence in many of the Masses I've seen, I'm hard-pressed to believe that the participants believe that Christ is present, in any manner.

Tinkering with the liturgy is dangerous. I suspect that many of the problems plaguing the Roman church may be tied to the liturgical tinkering that went on 30 and 40 years ago. A bigger question is whether the chaos and disorder in the larger world over the last 40 years may stem from that tinkering.

Anonymous said...

Anselm (and Aquinas and other Western medieval theologians) excluded the active obedience of Christ from the vicarious atonement due to their Leonine (pseudo-Nestorian) Christology. Due to their belief in the radical separation of Christ's human and divine natures, they believed his human nature was under obligation to completely fulfill the divine law for his own salvation (not for ours). Through his active obedience Christ earned enough merit to not deserve death. Therefore, his death was atoning because he didn't have to die. Thus his passive obedience to death earn extra merit he didn't need and could give to us. The human nature here does the real work and only the passive obedience can contribute to our salvation.

Also, I absolutely believe the irreverence toward the Eucharist institutionalized by Vatican II are what has led to 50% of Catholics not even knowing about the Real Presence. I definitely see it among my students at a Catholic college.

Bethany Kilcrease

christl242 said...

I've seen estimates that 50% (some are higher) of Roman Christians no longer believe in the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements. I'm not surprised: given the lack of reverence in many of the Masses I've seen, I'm hard-pressed to believe that the participants believe that Christ is present, in any manner.

Depends on how the surveys are worded, especially if conducted by non-Catholic pollsters.

Commonweal Magazine presented some background to this in "Yes, Jesus is really there : Most Catholics still agree - holy communion. . ."
Commonweal, Oct 12, 2001 by James D. Davidson

. . .The 1994 New York Times/CBS News poll may also have been misleading. While it offered a choice between two views of Eucharist (one, that the bread and wine are actually changed into the body and blood of Christ; the other, that the bread and wine are symbolic reminders of Christ), the descriptions may have confused some respondents. Thus in a letter to the Times (June 18, 1994), theologian Peter Casarella expressed concerns about the survey's wording. In his view, some respondents might have shied away from the first response category, thinking it meant "the form of the material elements is transformed into the physical body of Christ" (which the church does not claim). Instead, they might have taken the second option, believing that "real symbolic presence and the memorial meal are standard features of traditional Catholic theology." In my view, the two options also might have put an undetermined number of respondents in the uncomfortable position of choosing between two categories, both of which they agreed with. They might have preferred a third option: that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ both really and symbolically (which is consistent with Catholic theology).

Thus, we need to explore other approaches before we conclude how many Catholics believe in the Real Presence. Let me suggest three possibilities. First, without denying the symbolic nature of the sacrament, researchers could ask Catholics if they believe the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ in some real way. Second, researchers could ask if Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine are symbols in which the body and blood of Christ are really present. In both cases, agreement would signify belief in the Real Presence. Third, researchers could ask if people believe that the bread and wine are strictly symbolic reminders of Jesus. Agreement in this latter case would not square with a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist....

Another factor is the upswing in Eucharistic adoration over the past few years. Acknowledging that this is not a Lutheran practice, those Catholic parishes that practice 24-hour perpetual adoration tend to have parishioners who are well-instructed in the authentic teaching on the Real Presence. People don't give of their valuable time to offer prayer before a "symbol" understood in the common sense.

That more parishes need to recover a stronger sense of reverence during the Mass is beyond question, but I think the new Missal will support that. When prayer is offered in language that is too common it loses the sense of the numinous.

Conversely, it is unfortunate that many LCMS parishes hold membership in both the Synod and the Willow Creek Association. What does that do to the Lutheran liturgical framework? Almost all of the LCMS parishes here in NE Ohio hold their main service in the form of a "blended" liturgy. If a "traditional" form is offered it is usually at the earliest and most sparsely attended service. Nor have I ever seen, in any LCMS parish I have visited here, a form of the Common Service I knew growing up.

We all have our problems.

damuchy said...

@Christl242: I'm sorry if I sounded like I was picking on Rome. I'm not. A lack of reverence in the Mass/Divine Service both indicates a problem with believing that Christ is really present, and leads to further disbelief -- whether one is Roman, Lutheran, or whatever.

christl242 said...

@Christl242: I'm sorry if I sounded like I was picking on Rome. I'm not. A lack of reverence in the Mass/Divine Service both indicates a problem with believing that Christ is really present, and leads to further disbelief -- whether one is Roman, Lutheran, or whatever.

No offense taken whatsoever. I have Lutheran and Catholic family and have been exposed to both traditions since childhood.

Past Elder said...

If the goal here is feelings of reverence and senses of numinous, it is just Pietism with a different emotional object and different means to effect that.

Heterodoxy in clergy and laity happens everywhere, and the "excesses" and "silly seasons" are just not the issue. In my own case, I did not leave one church because of their presence (RCC) and certainly did not join another (LCMS) because of their absence.

If disillusioned RCs find the Divine Service as done at St Paul's in Hamel IL more akin to what they used to have in years gone by, that is because the Divine Service as it is done at St Paul's is a reform of what they used to have in years gone by.

THAT Divine Service as well as the Tridentine Rite itself (which is actually the younger of the two) are versions of the same thing; they are not the same thing, they are versions of the same thing.

The novus ordo missae of 1970 is not. If for some reason I had been able to endure being RC after studying the typical Latin text of the novus ordo, the appearance of a better English translation of it along with a pastiche of sorta kinda Gregorian chant modified to suit it being passed off as a return to anything other than being truer to itself would have been the last straw, a grosser insult to "what they used to have in years gone by" than any amount of "excess" or "silliness"

The problem was not ever the translations. The problem is what is being translated. It is itself the excess and the silliness.

Jim Huffman said...

The goal is not a feeling of reverence; it is reverence, pure and simple.

One should be reverent toward that which should be revered: in this case, God's presence in the Eucharistic elements.

Past Elder said...

God is present in the Eucharist because God's word does what it says, and it says he is present in the Eucharist.

Reverence therefore does not depend on anything else. God is present in "Eucharist" regardless of the manner of the minister, regardless of the type or quality of the music, regardless type or quality of the language. If reverence in the faithful is compromised by poor quality in these things, etc then indeed one is looking to something other than God's word, namely, a sense or feeling brought on by those other things.

God is even present in a novus ordo Eucharist. The RC Holy Sacrifice of the Mass involves just a leetle more than that, and that is not present in a novus ordo Eucharist. Which is of no import to us, because we know there is no such thing as the RC Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Our classic (as opposed to the Vatican II For Lutherans versions) Divine Service reformed the Mass to what it really is; the Tridentine Rite, which did not exist in Luther's time, solidified the errors of the Roman Mass; the novus ordo did neither but replaced the mass we reformed and they enshrined in errors, and no amount of trying to dress the Vstican II Mass in bits and pieces of pre-Vatican II externals will change it into something it is not except in Pietistic reactions to the externals.

Jim Huffman said...

My point isn't to debate the various Western rites of the last 50 years -- I'll leave that to others more knowledgeable than myself.

What I'm trying to say is that externals (reverence, or a lack thereof) often indicate an inner attitude or belief. Manoah (Judges 13.22) was frightened because he had been in God's presence. Sometimes, of course, that response is erring. The Iconiums saw God's works through Paul and tried to sacrifice to them. Their response was wrong. But biblically, there's always a response.

When individuals or congregations are irreverent toward God's word and works, it tells us something. God's word does what He says it will. We hear that word, and trust in what God says. But a lack of awe on our part should make us wonder if we are believing what God says, or merely paying lip service.

Past Elder said...

Me, I'm a Page 15 or be damned type myself -- which is something I have never seen anywhere in an LCMS church, even as DSIII. Closest I came was the hacked over "Common Service" in Christian Worship back in WELS. That is why I used the phrase "as done at St Paul's" earlier -- things "as done at St Paul's" is entirely outside my LCMS experience.

When I read about, or see videos of, things such as PW posts, it's just what the Confessions speak of, not a rejection of the mass but a zealous guarding and defending of it, pruning it of the contra-Biblical elements it acquired during the Babylonian Captivity, and otherwise pretty much similar to the ceremonies previously in use.

IOW, it is a Lutheran reformation of the same thing of which the Tridentine Rite was a Catholic reformation. That sense has always hit me strongly, and I suspect some degree of that same sense is what strikes those who make the comments PW mentioned.

Novus ordo missae is an entirely different animal. But those issues are not Lutheran issues; they are, however, why it was finally studying the "new Mass" in its original Latin as promulgated by the RCC, quite apart from the excesses that though unwarranted in it abound everywhere in varying degrees, that was the final straw for me as an RC. Even if we (then the RCC) got back to this, we would still not have gotten back to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but only a reductive imitation deliberately blunted to suit the age.

That is an irreverence far greater than what is generally decried as "irreverent". The spin the RCC puts on its "new translations" and the positive fuss made over it represent a POV that was nowhere to be found in any quarter in the coming about of novus ordo missae, a revisionism by which the "oh-oh" of some, who had no idea the Pandora's Box they were opening despite clear warnings from others at the time that this is precisely what will happen, now seek to put some of that back in the box while leaving it open, ignorant (in the literal sense of ignoring) that it was opening the box that was the mistake.

And too, while I disagree with them entirely, it must be said that those who are irreverent in the sense generally decried do so in no way in an attempt to be irreverent. For them, reverence is not defined in terms and forms derived from mediaeval courtly manners and forms but a joy released from that in the God-with-us and expressed in contemporary manner, and if there is an irreverence it is to seek to confine that in terms of ages past.

Jim Huffman said...

Past Elder: "That is why I used the phrase "as done at St Paul's" earlier -- things "as done at St Paul's" is entirely outside my LCMS experience."

It's outside of my experience, too. And given that, I think it's important for LCMS Lutherans to remember the 1932 Brief Statement: "The orthodox character of a church is established not by its mere name nor by its outward acceptance of, and subscription to, an orthodox creed, but by the doctrine which is actually taught in its pulpits, in its theological seminaries, and in its publications." I would suggest that what is taught is not just by classes or sermons, but by liturgies, hymns, and everything else that constitutes the worship of the churches.

William Weedon said...

You all just need to visit St. Paul's...and we're not the only parish "like this" round these parts. Honest injun!

Past Elder said...

Maybe so PW. DSI, the three-year novus ordo derived lectionary, and a good choir are as good as it gets here. Few weeks ago where I normally go had Divine Service half an hour earlier for a special event in a park, which I couldn't make, and I hit a very well-heeled parish as described above instead. Could have been a conservative novus ordo parish for all I saw. Plus it was insufferably white suburban. But as one of the Board of Directors goes there I better shut the hell up about that. No rocking the boat for mild mannered Past Elder! Couldn't wait till next week when I could get back to where I go in the hood, screen, blended music and all, DSI and the novus ordo lectionary being inescapable except where they escape liturgy altogether. The far and away best attended LCMS church in town is a Willow Creek affiliate. They contribute way more students, and therefore SSS, to the LCMS school system here, though I'm sure $$$ doesn't speak cough hack.

But you know what, I wouldn't trade any of it, warts and all, for a day back in the Whore of Babylon! But, being an escapee, a survivor, of the filth and garbage of the WOB, it bugs me when we decry on the one hand our own version of the "excesses" and "silliness" of the post conciliar era yet on the other put our own version of their official excess and silliness of the novus ordo on a par with the real thing.

If we decry the former, it's the inevitable consequence of the latter.

christl242 said...

You all just need to visit St. Paul's...and we're not the only parish "like this" round these parts. Honest injun!

And you are to be commended for that, Pastor Weedon. A confessional Lutheran parish should be just that.

Unfortunately, what you have in Hamel does not exist here in NE Ohio.

Belief in the presence of dinosaurs on the Ark should never be made a litmus test of Christian orthodoxy, as I encountered in my former LCMS parish.

christl242 said...

If one thinks reverent attitudes, beauty, loftiness, poetic language etc is of the essence, try Large Vehicle Buddhism;

Or, perhaps, try Isaiah who knew that the angels themselves veil their faces in the bright presence of the Holy One -- are they pietists as well?

Always good to get the perspectives of the venerable Past Elder, whose posts are never lackluster :)