Thursday, December 13, 2012

Liturgical abuses have to stop!

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Pope Paul VI




One of Pope Paul VI’s famous speeches was the so-called “smoke of Satan” that he used on 29 June 1972. There were many who interpreted it to suit their own agenda, until His Eminence Virgilio Cardinal Noè, Paul VI's Master of Ceremonies revealed that it concerned liturgical abuse of the Novus Ordo Missae (aka Paul VI's Mass) by several priests. Extracts from the interview follow (Source for the whole interview).



How did the Holy Father take the liturgical reform desired by Vatican II?


Noe: With pleasure.

Paul VI’s denunciation of the presence of the smoke of Satan in the Church is unforgettable. Still today, that discourse seems to be incredibly relevant…

Noe: You from Petrus, have gotten a real scoop here, because I am in a position to reveal, for the first time, what Paul VI desired to denounce with that statement. Here it is. Papa Montini, for Satan, meant to include all those priests or bishops and cardinals who didn’t render worship to the Lord by celebrating badly (mal celebrando) Holy Mass because of an errant interpretation of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke of the smoke of Satan because he maintained that those priests who turned Holy Mass into dry straw in the name of creativity, in reality were possessed of the vainglory and the pride of the Evil One. so, the smoke of Satan was nothing other than the mentality which wanted to distort the traditional and liturgical canons of the Eucharistic ceremony.

It is thought that Paul VI was the real culprit as the cause of all the ills of post-Conciliar liturgy. But based on what you have revealed, Eminence, Montini compared the liturgical chaos, even if in a veiled way, actually to something hellish…

Noe: He condemned craving to be in the limelight and the delirium of almighty power that they were following the Council at the liturgical level. Mass is a sacred ceremony, he often repeated, everything must be prepared and studied adequately, respecting the canons, no one is “dominus” [lord] of the Mass. Sadly, in many after Vatican II not many understood him and Paul VI suffered this, considering the phenomenon to be an attack of the Devil.

Your Eminence, in conclusion, what is true liturgy?

Noe: It renders glory to God. Liturgy must be carried out always and no matter what with decorum: even a sign of the Cross poorly made is synonymous with scorn and sloppiness. Alas, I repeat, after Vatican II it was believed that everything, or nearly, was permitted. Now it is necessary to recover, and in a hurry, the sense of the sacred in the ars celebrandi, before the smoke of Satan completely pervades the whole Church. Thanks be to God, we have Pope Benedict XVI: his Mass and his liturgical style are an example of correctness and dignity.

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This interview reminded me of a testimony by a Pro Tridentina (Malta) symphatiser who confided the following example of a recent liturgical abuse in Malta. Some details have been omitted to protect the identity of this person, the priest and the other laity.

The Mass was said for the intention of the soul of a deceased brother of one of the employees. It took place at a room at the employer's site that was tentatively transformed into a chapel. Behind the table which had been transformed into an altar, there was a priest sitting. On the altar there were 2 plastic bottles (0,33l), one contained water, the other one – wine. Next to the bottles there were two plastic margarine containers which contained....hosts (hopefully non consecrated ones). There was a crucifix standing with two candles. Behind the crucifix there was a... mobile phone.

The priest commenced the Mass so our friend stood up but then the priest and the people around her told her to sit down again. They informed her that this was going to be a “seated Mass”. The Gospel was read and heard while everyone was sitting. The sermon was about the computer screen being a window to heaven (very useful when IE, Google Chrome and Firefox play pranks).  For the universal prayer and the offering the priest remained seated (looking every now and then at his mobile phone).

For the Transubstantiation (consecration) the priest remained seated. Our friend knelt down together with perhaps 2-3 more people. The Our Father - as by now it became obvious - was said in a sitting position (while the priest kept looking at his mobile phone). And finally there was the Sign of Peace. It was the only moment when the priest stood up to approach each and every faithful to shake his/her hand. Then he returned to the altar, sat down and kept saying prayers. 

Then he announced he would distribute Holy Communion under 2 forms. He warned the congregation, that “wine is somewhat sour and may therefore taste strange” so if anyone wanted to receive the Body of Christ 'only', he/she had to inform the priest beforehand. The priest distributed Holy Communion while sitting behind the altar table. In fact he was making strange signs with his head trying to find out under how many forms do people wish to receive the Holy Communion. He gave the final blessing while sitting and he didn’t even finish drinking the Blood of Christ from the chalice, he didn’t purify the sacred vessels, so one wonders what he did later with the Flesh and Blood of Christ.

When our friend approached this priest to tell him to celebrate Holy Mass in a dignified manner he just said that everyone was entitled to his/her opinion. 

Surely Pope Paul VI never imagined that the Novus Ordo Missae he introduced in 1969-1970 would be abused to such an extent. And, unfortunately, this is one of several similar cases that are happening regularly in Malta.