Msgr Gambers hovedpunkter for å forklare den uheldige liturgiske utviklinga

Jeg skal ikke trøtte leserne med mange flere sitater fra msgr Gambers bok om liturgien (se bl.a. HER, HER og HER), men skal avslutningsvis ta med hans hovedpunkter fra kapittelet: The Root Causes of the Debacle of Modern Liturgy. Der han først sier at selvsagt finner vi ikke årsakene til liturgiforandringene i det annet Vatikankonsil, og så går han 1200 år tilbake i tid, og nevner følgende punkter:

* Frankerne overtok Romas liturgi ca år 800 (etter eget ønske), og denne liturgien ble aldri fullt ut integrert i nord-Europas øvrige kultur og liv – så det ble skapt en permanent spenning i liturgien.

* Bruddet mellom øst og vest (dvs. Den ortodokse kirke) avskar Den katolske Kirke fra vesentlige deler av sin liturgiske tradisjon. De ortodokse var spesielt opptatt av å feire den himmelske liturgi på en storslått måte, mens den vestlige tradisjon var mer en minimalisme, som ikke var like fruktbar. (Gamber var svært godt informert om den østlige liturgiske tradisjon og vil knapt kalle liturger utdannede om de ikke har denne kunnskapen. Flere misforståelse på 20- til 60-tallet om den såkalt «oldkirkelige» liturgien kommer pga mangel på slik informasjon, mener han.)

* Den individualistiske fromhetstradisjonen som vokste fram fra 1200-tallet av var ikke heldig for den liturgiske utvikling.

* Salmesangen på morsmålet som etter hvert erstattet messens ledd som introitus, kommunionsvers etc – introdusert i Kirken før Luther, men spesielt sterkt utviklet i den lutherske tradisjon, var negativ for liturgien.

* Frysningen av liturgien under Pius V (etter Trent) var uheldig, fordi den stoppet en naturlig og kontinuerlig utvikling av liturgien.

* Barokkalderen skapte en del ubalanse og fjernet lekfolket fra liturgien på en uheldig måte.

* Opplysningstidas rasjonalisme var det aller mest ødeleggende for liturgien, og har fått stor betydning helt til vår tid.

* I Solesmes begynte den gamle liturgiske tradisjon å komme til live igjen på 1800-tallet, Romano Guardini og Pius Parsch startet 1900-tallets liturgiske bevegelse, og selv om de gjorde positive ting, hadde de for dårlig kjennskap til tidligere tiders liturgi og spesielt Parsch kjørte fram lekfolkets aktive deltakelse på en uheldig måte.

Nedenfor følger et udrag fra dette kapittelet i Gambers bok:
The question we need to ask is: What are the root causes of this liturgical debacle? Any reasonable person understands that these causes cannot be traced to the Second Vatican Council alone. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of December 4, 1963 was but an interim step in a process set in motion long ago, and for many different reasons. In the following pages we will endeavor to identify and define these root causes, one by one; but our discussion will necessarily be limited to basic facts.

In contrast to the liturgies of the Eastern Church, which continued their development well into the Middle Ages, but remained fixed thereafter, the Roman liturgy, in its simple, even plain forms, which originated in early Christianity, has remained almost unchanged for centuries. There is no question that the Roman liturgy is the oldest Christian rite. Over time, a number of popes have undertaken revisions. In an early period, Pope Damasus 1 (366-384) did so; and later, so did Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604), among others.

… The Damasian-Gregorian liturgy remained in use throughout the Roman Catholic Church until the liturgical reform in our time. Thus, it is inaccurate to claim that it was the Missal of Pope St. Pius V that has been discontinued. Unlike the appalling changes we are currently witnessing, the changes made in the Roman Missal over a period of almost 1,400 years did not involve the rite itself. Rather, they were changes concerned only with the addition and enrichment of new feast days, Mass formulas and certain prayers.

Because of political developments in the eighth century, which resulted in a closer liaison between the king of the Franks and the pope, the liturgy of St. Gregory, which had been designed specifically for use in the city of Rome, became the standard of liturgical worship in many other parts of the Western World. The Gallican rite, then in common use, was suppressed. …

The adoption by the Franks of the liturgy designed for use in Rome was the source of steadily recurring problems: the «foreign” rite was grafted onto existing local liturgical traditions of many cities and villages. The process was never entirely successful-and therein lies a great tragedy. It is also one of the root causes of the debacle of today’s liturgy.

A second, important root cause is to be found in the alienation between the Roman Church in the West and the Eastern Churches, an alienation that began in the eighth and ninth centuries and led ultimately to the formal break between Rome and Byzantium in 1054. This break, which was not primarily the result of dogmatic differences, was serious in part because it led to the gradual disintegration of a very important element of worship in our Church-that of the early Christian concept of liturgical cultus.

… The concept of this cosmic liturgy, which continues to exist in the Eastern Church, is founded on a precisely ordered, solemn conduct of liturgical worship. The concept ruled out any of the forms of minimalism which, beginning in the Middle Ages, evolved in the West-forms of worship designed to celebrate the holy mysteries only to the degree absolutely necessary for validity. Thus, in the Western Church, the rites were no more than «carried out,» rarely «celebrated.»

In the Eastern Church, however, the liturgy has always remained a dramatic mystery in which drama and reality were uniquely joined. … With the break between the Eastern and Western Churches, this important «drama» component of liturgical worship has been largely lost. …

As the third root cause for the debacle of today’s modern liturgy, we must look at the phenomenon of individual piety, which originated in the Gothic period. During that period, the people’s active participation in the cult of liturgical worship-when heaven and earth united and divine grace flowed into us–ceased to be the central theme; instead, it was the personal, the individual relationship to God and His grace, developed in private prayer, that predominated.

More and more, the actual performance of the Church’s liturgical rites became the responsibility of the clergy. The faithful were present and remained silent observers following the ceremonies while praying and contemplating. Special, non-liturgical «devotional services» were introduced to the faithful; they made use of the vernacular, and were meant to reflect religio moderna, the new ideal of piety.

The consequence of this development was that the gap between liturgical cult and popular piety grew ever wider. The people were enthralled with all the non-liturgical devotions. which quickly expanded to include many different processions, like the Corpus Christi Day procession, which traces its origin to this time. Also, pilgrimages grew in popularity.

… During the same period, we also note a first blossoming of canticles in German. New, popular songs were written in the vernacular; they could be sung during the intervals of the Latin chants of the Mass, or they could follow them. On Christmas Day, for example, it was common to sing, three times, «Praise to you, Jesus Christ …,» after the conclusion of the text sequence, Grates nunc omnes; or to sing Christmas songs following each verse of the Gloria? Also at that time, many church songs for the faithful were written to be sung during pilgrimages and devotional services.

It was Luther who recognized and understood the significance of these liturgical developments; he adopted them and then built on them. Yet, the German canticle Was not his invention; nor did he, incidentally, even perceive the need to present the scriptural readings of the Mass to the faithful in their own language.

As positive as these developments may have been at the time, we find in them yet another root cause for the debacle of today’s modern liturgy. The popular church song, often of dubious value from a dogmatic and from an artistic point of view, particularly the songs flowing from pietism, tended to submerge the «classical» Latin chants of the Mass more and more, …

the Council of Trent established rigorous rules governing liturgical worship; in particular, the rule prohibiting the use of the vernacular.

At that time, the Council Fathers demanded that liturgical books were to be newly published and that their use would be mandatory. This was accomplished by the publication of the Missale Romanum of Pope St. Pius V in 1570. A special Church office, the Congregation of the Holy Rites, was established to ensure that the strictly prescribed rubrics were indeed being followed.

The reform introduced by St. Pius V did not create anything new. It was simply a comprehensive review of the Missal, editing out some additions and changes that, over time, had found their way into the text. Even so, older, unique rites, if they dated back at least two hundred years, were left untouched – demonstrating a spirit of amazing tolerance at that time in history.

As necessary as the reform may have been at the time, seen in a wider context it also meant that liturgical-forms, as they had developed up to that point, had now been made permanent, making further, organic development impossible. Thus, sooner or later, the stage was set for radical change. …

It is easy to understand today’s level of antipathy against anything associated with ceremonial liturgy, if we see it as a reaction to the liturgy of the Baroque period. Then, the churches were profusely decorated with statues of saints and with ornamentation, and the altars were embellished with superstructures extending straight to the ceiling. …

During the Baroque period, the people, although they were able to partake in the celebration of the Mass in their hearts and minds, could not be active participants in the formal liturgy. Thus, new forms of popular piety emerged, for example, the Forty-Hour Devotion during the Easter Vigil, or the many devotions to Mary. They were deeply rooted in religious practice.

The new forms of piety, together with the formal liturgical worship attracting the faithful with its solemnity and ceremonial splendor, were the pillars on which the Counter Reformation`s newly restored Catholicism rested. Yet, we cannot ignore a great shortcoming of Baroque liturgy: the absence of deeper dogmatic meaning, which also affected the homilies preached in those days. The central mysteries of faith faded into the background, while peripheral truths moved to center stage.

Onto the flowering that life in the Church enjoyed during the Baroque period fell the frost of the eighteenth century and the Age of Enlightenment. People were dissatisfied with traditional liturgical forms because of a commonly held view that they did not adequately address the real problems of the day; there was a prevailing sense of being superior to the Baroque forms of popular piety. A particularly troubling aspect of this first dismantling of the traditional liturgy was that the state had embraced the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment (Josephism), and that many bishops readily joined the club.

In many places, many traditional forms of worship were abolished, at times with the state using brutal force, and going against the will of the people. … During the Age of Enlightenment, the purpose of worship was seen primarily as that of instilling moral behavior in the people-which helps to explain why Latin as the language of liturgy was rejected. …

We can conclude with certainty: the preeminent root cause of today’s liturgical distress is to be found in the Age of Enlightenment. Many of the ideas of that period did not fully develop until today, when we are living through a new period of the Enlightenment

A reaction to the cold reason brought by the Enlightenment was the Restoration period of the nineteenth century with its Neo-Romanticism and its Neo-Gothic art movement. Typically, the Neo-Romantics saw the spiritual ideas of the Middle Ages as the great model to follow and attempted to graft a new cutting from them onto the devastated old tree of liturgy.

At that time, the Benedictine monasteries of Solesmes in France and the priories of the Beuron congregation in Germany came into being. Within their walls, the traditional Latin liturgy and Gregorian chant in its original form were lovingly cultivated; and in these new monastic centers we can also find the beginnings of the liturgical movement of the 1920s. Initially, only small groups of intellectuals and some students were part of this. This liturgical movement continued to make use of the Church’s Latin.

Different from this movement were the efforts of Pius Parsch during the 1930s to create a liturgy for the people. Characteristic of his approach was an over-emphasis on the faithful’s active participation in liturgical worship, together with speculation, mostly erroneous, about the form of worship among the early Christians and the design and furnishing of their sanctuary.

Pius Parsch’s ideas about a form of liturgical worship that was pastorally effective, and also more directly involving the people, became part of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, together with many of his errors, as, for example, his assertion that the celebration of Mass versus populum was historically justified.

It is no surprise that today’s pastors, and among them particularly the young priests who have had no training in the strict norms of liturgy, did not stop with the Liturgy of the People, as conceived by Pius Parsch, but developed what in their view were fresh ideas about a contemporary form of worship-ideas which often do not conform to traditional Catholic teaching. The Council Fathers, when publishing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, simply did not expect to see the avalanche they had started, crushing under it all traditional forms of liturgical worship, even the new liturgy they themselves had. created.

The fact that in addition, all forms of extra-liturgical piety and religious tradition have also been abolished, makes it hard to assess the extent of the damage done to the pastoral care of the faithful, We will have to wait and see what the consequences of this wholesale dismantling are going to be in twenty or thirty years, that is, among today’s generation, which, unlike the older generation, will no longer be able to live on the memory of what remains as the quintessence of our faith. Even the few positive results that have come out of the liturgical reform, which clearly include a greater involvement of the faithful in the liturgy, cannot possibly outweigh the damage that has been done.

1 hendelser på “Msgr Gambers hovedpunkter for å forklare den uheldige liturgiske utviklinga”

  1. Det er en uhyre interessant bok. Jeg kjøpte og leste den for en del år siden og fikk tak i den utgaven daværende kardinal Ratzinger skrev forordet til. («A banal, on-the-spot product»-sitatet mitt kommer derfra.) Boken er relativt hardtslående, men på en «stille» måte. Hans påstand om Pius Vs handling er også svært interessant og en ting man ikke hører særlig mye om.
    Msgr. Gamber var en glemt og relativt avskydd mann i de toneangivende sirkler tidligere, men som definitivt har blitt løftet frem fra glemselen, sammen med særlig Romano Amerio (Iota Unum).

    Leser man Gambers bok og så leser Martin Mosebach » Heresie der Formlosigkeit», så får man to innfallsvinkler til samme problematikk som kompletterer hverandre på en fantastisk måte.

    Interessant post, pastor!

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