Bishop Peter Elliott defends the “reform of the reform”

Here’s some of what the former Episcopal Delegate for Anglicanorum coetibus said over at the New Liturgical Movement:

Let us be realistic. If you want the Extraordinary Form to become the Ordinary Form, reflect on the millions of people who come to vernacular Masses in our parishes around the world, in many countries and cultures. Would they easily embrace a Latin Low Mass with a server answering? And let us not forget the priests. This is why some pastoral realism is required. But let me put out a challenge – a reform of the Extraordinary Form would first be required – and I note that this has been suggested in terms of the Vatican Council’s “full, active and conscious participation.”

We know would that reform would look like. We already have it at our fingertips. It would be a Latin dialogue Mass, said or sung ad orientem, with the readings in the vernacular. Then questions arise about some other changes set out in Sacrosanctum Concilium. In the context of the wider Church another issue inevitably emerges: could the Extraordinary Form be said or sung in the vernacular?

Several years ago I was surprised to hear this proposed during dialogue over lunch with Bishop Fellay and Australian priests of the Society of St Pius X. I then began to speculate about pastoral problems among their young people. Unlike our young people who discover the Extraordinary Form and are drawn to its sacred beauty in increasing numbers, the Pius X young people have grown up with it, and yet they are aware of the wider vernacular Church beyond their cocoon.

Some might argue that, in the Anglophone world, the Novus Ordo has been rescued by the better ICEL translations. Mass not only sounds different but the atmosphere in our churches has undergone subtle and positive changes. Of course I do not refer to parishes where the priest still babbles or barks, or to celebrants who play with the liturgy, a few even exhuming the 1998 ICEL texts.

What needs to be discerned is whether this re-sacralising trend will endure and develop, for it is a major achievement of the reform of the reform that can be traced back to Blessed John Paul II (the Vox Clara committee), then developed so well by Benedict XVI in his wider project. This is why I do not want to see the gains of the reform of the reform project, fragile as it often is, broken or derided by triumphalist rhetoric, or pushed aside by an impatience that dismisses the whole Paul VI reform as beyond salvation.

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2 Responses to Bishop Peter Elliott defends the “reform of the reform”

  1. Pingback: Bishop Peter Elliott defends the “reform of the reform” | Catholic Canada

  2. Kerry Oti Stevens says:

    I am interested in meeting with Bishop Peter Elliott so that I might have an exorcism performed on me as soon as possible in Sydney

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