Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Draft Uncovered!!

Recently, Rev. Donald Trautman, Bishop of Erie was given the Fred McManus award by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. The text of his acceptance speech as given can be found here. The Dossier, however, has obtained a draft of the acceptance speech,[**] which follows.

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Co-Workers in the Liturgical Ministry of Christ, here's a little bit o' Rattlesnake for ya!!!

How should a recipient of a high honor respond? What should a recipient of a prestigious award say? Whenever Co-Worker Pope John XXIII entered St. Peter's Basilica and walked through the crowds, people applauded and the Pope would bless them and make an uplifting gesture with his hands. One day a reporter asked him: "Holy Father, what does that gesture mean?" Co-Worker Pope John responded: "When I lift up my hands at the applause, I send heavenward the recognition and acclaim the people give me." So, when you ask me, "Holy Father . . . " . I shall likewise show humility and send heavenward . . . This evening I send heavenward your applause and acclaim and recognition of me, myself, and I, unworthy but only present heir to Pope John XXIII's liturgical mantle. Please know I am most grateful to you, the members of the Union Federation of Soviet Diocesan Socialist Republics Liturgical Commissions for bestowing upon me the Msgr. Frederick McManus Award. To be included with past distinguished recipients --- Fr. Godfrey Diekmann who so famously called for instituting "hootenany Masses" Dr. John Page who, as Executive Secretary of ICEL, heroically stalled Liturgiam Authenticam for years . . . Aidan Kavanagh who, by noting that "worship conceived broadly is what gives rise to theological reflection, rather than the other way around," showed the way to re-theologize our stodgy ol' Church through liturgical innovation, Rev. Michael Spillane, to whom you also courageously gave this high honor even when you learned that he'd served as the your executive director for ten years after having been defrocked for molesting children in Baltimore, and Archbishop Daniel "No Contest" Pilarczyk --- is a singular honor and humiliating humbling experience.

In 1994 the delegates to the XXth International national meeting of this organization established a national award for significant contributions to liturgical renewal and named the award after its first recipient Msgr. Fred McManus. Tonight I would like to preface my acceptance of this award with a tribute to Fred McManus, who is an inspiration and mentor to all of us , we, ourselves, the Church. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians (2:9) refers to James, John and Peter as "Pillars of the Church". Paul recognized the pivotal role played by these disciples in building up us, we, ourselves, the Church. A pillar signifies firmness and support. A pillar is essential for the design of any edifice. "Pillar of the Church" is a title that recognizes the importance of a disciple's leadership and service. Fred McManus is a pillar of the Church, a pillar of the liturgical movement, a pillar of liturgical renewal Yes, a pillar -- like when the BCL, of which Fr. McManus was chair, presided over the obliteration of Latin singing, even though the Church specifically directed the continued use of chant, polyphony, and the Latin language in 1967's Musicam Sacram.

I recall the many meetings of the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy on which Fred served as a consultant. He was always a voice of calm and reasoned discussion in liturgical matters. Like when he wrote that, while the official task of "instrumentalities" like ICEL was to faithfully translate the Latin text of the Novus Ordo, "liturgical development and adaptation would ultimately demand much more by way of creativity . . . " tonight I urge all liturgists to be the continuation of Fred's voice --- a voice of expertise --- a voice of balance --- a voice of truth --- a voice of charity because liturgical development and adaptation still demands much more by way of creativity.. A recognized expert in canon and liturgical law, Fred represents the very best of this National Federation. Especially when Fred told the world that the Bishops can forbid priests from celebrating the liturgy ad orientem, even though Church law specifically permits priests to do that, because the Bishops can overrule Church law in select cases for "pastoral purposes."

Fred was present 40 years ago when the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was debated and approved at Vatican II and then ignored almost entirely because "liturgical development and adaptation . . . demand[ed] much more by way of creativity . . . " As a peritonitus peritus to the Council, he saw firsthand the workings of the entire four sessions of Vatican II. This experience gave him a vision and passion to bring renewal to all parishes. Note to Self: Insert reference to St. Francis' dream: "Rebuild my Church in the image of a Methodist Congregation circa 1975". Fred gave invaluable assistance to the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy which, without his guidance, wouldn't have dreamed up half that stuff. He helped found, institute, begin the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and was intimately connected, part of, and elemental to the foundation of this Federation of we, us, ourselves, the Church. was a founding member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and was intimately connected to the foundation of this Federation of United Planets (FDLC).

Today liturgists need to imitate his spirit more than ever --- his spirit of perseverance because people are starting to notice what we've done to the liturgy, his spirit of courage required in order to ignore Vatican directives, his spirit of dedication and commitment to the liturgical principles of renewal as opposed to the non-liturgical principles expressed in the letter of Musicam Sacram and Sacrosanctum Concilium. We need to be his voice --- knowledgeable, persuasive, respectful of all sides of the question until they start getting uppity but ever insistent on what we decree to be the baptismal rights of the assembly for what we think is full participation not to include, of course, the alleged lay right to expect us to have read and follow the GIRM.

We have inherited a great legacy from those who began the liturgical movement. The Apostles! But seriously folks -- Hmmm. Will they laugh, or should I cut that out? Recall the humble beginnings of the liturgical movement in our country. The first liturgical study week was held in Chicago in 1940, in the basement of a parish church. There were between two hundred to three hundred people participating. Thereby representing the "General Will" of the Church via the new progressive exegesis of Matthew 16:18. In a real sense they were the underground church. Hiding from the persecution of they, themselves, the Church, by those those evil Romans! They listened to radical ideas of lay participation in the Eucharist which was later to mean banishing Eucharistic processions, 40 hours' devotions, and the Rosary from Catholic life and the daring concept of parts which was later to mean all the parts of the Mass in the vernacular . . . oh heck, who cares about what they do in Tanzania -- English! English. They listened in secret, after the catechumens had been sent away, always fearful that the Bishop's legionaries would batter down the door and haul them off to be eaten alive by Bears in Soldier Field. In 1940 a person risked much to identify with the liturgical movement. Like now, when a person risks much to identify Humanae Vitae, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and Transubstantiation as teachings of the Church. In the minds of many, these new liturgists were borderline heretics, promoting the involvement of the laity in the Eucharist, which was then perceived as the exclusive domain of the priest. When in fact, as we now know, it's the exclusive domain of liturgists and the "extraordinary" ministers of the Eucharist whom the presider assists!

The founders of the American liturgical movement did not give up. They were persons of hope who patiently persevered. We need to imitate the perseverance and courage of these liturgical icons except we mustn't think about having icons or statues in our Churches, let alone identifiable or visible Tabernacles, because they incite the unwashed to primitive pre-Vatican II understandings of Catholicism -- so perhaps I ought to say "these liturgical felt banners" --- . . . Fr. Godfrey "Hootenanny" Diekmann, Fr. Martin Hellriegel who all of us imitate by handing out copies of the Liber Usualis for parishioners' use at Mass . . . These scholars and pastors who brought the liturgical movement to the United States, and the scores of liturgists who like medieval monks in the face of barbarian Viking raids have sustained and kept alive and continued this movement inspire us to endure and persevere and hope must brush-up my ICEL, because that's only two synonyms: How about "endure, persevere, stay the course, continue, and maintain"?. We must continue to teach, teach, teach what we say are the liturgical principles of Vatican II and ignore, ignore, ignore what the documents of Vatican II would otherwise require us to do.

In 1956 Pope Pius XII who was, by definition, part of the pagan Roman bureaucracy persecuting the "house churches" of the American Liturgical Movement summed up in one sentence the meaning of the liturgical movement. He said that the liturgical movement was a sign of the providential disposition of God, a sign of the movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church to draw people more closely to the mysteries of faith and the riches of grace which flow from active participation in liturgical life. Note the key phrase in the Pope's message: "The liturgical movement is a sign of the movement of the Holy Spirit" in the Church today. That's pretty odd language for the head of a pagan Roman empire persecuting the "house churches" of American liturgists, but hey -- we can beat ‘traditionalists' over the head with it, he was their pope, dontcha know?. It is not to be called a fad in public, it is not to be called the work of liturgical terrorists in public, it is not to be called the invention of liberal liturgical scholars in public; rather, we are to tell the people that the liturgical movement is the will of the Spirit for all of God's people. Spoken through us, we liturgists, the General Will, the Church. That's why punishing a priest for exercising his right to say the Novus Ordo in Latin isn't liturgical terrorism; it's only the General Will of the Spirit of Vatican II

Today liturgists face major challenges. Yeah, I know, what's a couple of magazines and a few naive parishioners who write letters to the chancery? Well, lemme tell you, the fall of an empire always starts somewhere! The hysterical, dissolving euphoria of the Spirit of Vatican II has ended. And, through a bleary hangover trauma, we ask: As the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy which we never read and didn't put into practice fades in time, is its "spirit," which we knew all about and euphorically put in the document's place also fading in influence? Do we recognize a pullback from the Malabar Front of liturgical principles, a lessening of anti-clerical collaboration, a return to ick! devotionalism that focuses on Christ the Resurrected God-Man and Holy Victim of Calvary rather than Eucharistic celebration of we, us, ourselves, the Church? Is there a liturgical backsliding by the Pope and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that causes us to be disillusioned, dejected, disheartened? Hmmm . . . why not try "disillusioned, dejected, disheartened, dismayed, depressed, and disappointed?" We need to recall the founders of the American Liturgical Movement We're the General Will -- we deserve Capital Letters, just like the Holy Spirit does!. These liturgical pioneers just like the pioneers of old, who were racist, patriarchal . . . ooops, uh, just like the Young Pioneers Richard Reed wrote about, who were . . . oops, well just like the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, then, who boldly go where no man has gone before without the company of clergy! did not give up and we must not give up. We must not surrender the progress made at Vatican II We will not give up the barricades of lay progressivism to the inauthentic Trotsykite consciousness of devotional revanchism!

St. Paul that famous extraordinary minister of the eucharist once told his fellow parishioners: While you are waiting for the Lord to come, "Do not quench the Spirit". Do not stifle the Spirit of Vatican II. These are words for we, us, ourselves the Church today. When we encounter those traitors who advocate a "reform of the reform", we must say, "Do not quench the Spirit, shut the heck up, sit down, and start doing what we tell you to do! The Holy Spirit was present at Vatican II as a periti under the auspices of the Young American Liturgical Pioneers and gave us new liturgical direction. When we encounter people who harken back to rigidity in rubrics or anything else, we laugh at the idea of rubrics and say. "Do not quench the Spirit." When inculturation is denied to the Castro Street district of San Francisco and one liturgical form like standing during communion is forced on all unless, of course, like standing during communion, it's ordered by us, we must say, "Do not quench the Spirit" of we, us, ourselves, the Church". When the Scripture translations in our Lectionary are flawed and not proclaimable because they don't inclusively describe God as a forty-year-old unhappy nun trying to center herself with Buddhist mantras, we must say, "Give us the richness of God's Word: Do not quench the Spirit" of we, us, ourselves, the Church". The Holy Spirit prompted the renewal and reform of the liturgy but, not realizing that He is something besides we, us, ourselves the Church, many people want to actually pay attention to the letter of Vatican II documents! So, Now, more than ever, we must say, "Do not quench the Spirit" "or we, who are most definitely not liturgical terrorists, will calumniate you in Diocesan newspapers, see to it you're removed from any roles in parish life, and regard your mutterings as what they are -- the whispering of inconsequential unpeople!

The liturgical theology that we tell people is to be found in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy did not originate on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican II even though we say it did whenever we're smacking around uppity unpeople. The liturgical movement gave birth to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Just like the Blessed Virgin gave birth to Jesus Christ -- we brought forth the gnosis, you see, the divine knowledge of what liturgy really is, hidden in the whited sepulchre of the institutional Church until 1940. The liturgical movement paved the way like it paved over kneelers with concrete floors and indoor-outdoor carpeting. The Constitution was the Magisterial endorsement which is unecessary now and wasn't needed then anyway of the insights and research of scholars like Jungmann and Bouyer who would turn in their graves at some of the stuff we pull today, like the idea I had in the car this morning about acolytes twirling batons during the consecration. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was the answer to the prayers and struggles of those in the liturgical movement for decades and decades because they could play on lay respect for authority by telling people that the demolition of their piety was demanded by the Magisterium, even as they went around encouraging disrespect for the Magisterium on every other issue. Remember the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the liturgical movement. See? There's no reason for me to accurately plagiarize Churchill's "blood, toil, tears and sweat" -- after all, historical development and adaptation ultimately demands much more by way of creativity. And on that subject, let me say that the word "blood" isn't inappropriate. We must never forget the Popes who illuminated the Vatican's gardens with the flaming bodies of Young American Liturgists. Remember those who suffered for trying to advance the liturgical and Scriptural movement . . . Why does the Church hurt its best and brightest? Why? Why do we keep saying, "Goodbye, Good Men" to priests interested in a different liturgical vision? Our love for the Church should prompt us to speak out. But only us, we, ourselves, the Church, not the unwashed unpeople who think "rubric" means something other than what we, ourselves, the Church want done -- those unpeople disobey the Magisterium whenever they obey the Magisterium's teaching, because they're disobeying we, ourselves, the Church!! Wheeeee . . . . sorry, got a little euphoric there.

But since no movement of tired sixties-era activists can thrive without the perception of an imminent Nazi coup d'etat I must add that a recent draft of a forthcoming Vatican instruction included several problematic elements --- elements which were neither pastorally sensitive nor liturgically correct. Why, one might even say they were "borderline heretical"! While we are thankfully reassured that more competent because more liberal and more sensible because less tolerant judgments have prevailed, we need to ask how could such proposals be drafted and approved for submission in the first place? How dare people think they can disagree with we, us, ourselves, the Church! How dare they go against Vatican II's openness by voicing alternative views! How dare they get so uppity on us, those puling Romanist lackeys! Awhhdghtththhpppott . . . cough, cough! Sorry, euphoria again!

When such Roman a community which, by the way, does not qualify for "inculturation" liturgical drafts call us to return to a liturgical mentality prior to Vatican II, we need to say to one another: Keep up your courage. When the high degree of specialized liturgical expertise needed to make the Mass into something for ordinary people is not respected as it should be, we must say to one another: Keep up your courage. When fundamental principles of liturgical renewal are reversed by thinking that 1,000 years of liturgical history are worth keeping around, if only once a month, we must remind one another: Keep up your courage. When liturgical offices are closed "sorry, no liturgy today -- our office is closed!" and liturgical budgets are slashed "the Mass will last only until the second reading because we'll have run out of change" we must say to one another: Keep up your courage. When we see liturgical renewal still wanting in many parishes which have vestigial communion rails and cling to the occasional use of chant in direct contravention of Sacrosanctum Concilium and when we feel the pain of the clerical sex abuse scandal which is, by the way, a direct result of too little innovation in the Mass and too much emphasis on a celibate clergy and its impact on worshipping assemblies known as "parishes" to troglodytes and presiders who are, in pre-Vatican II atavistic spasms, sometimes referred to as "priests" let us give hope to one another.

St. Paul that famous extraordinary minister of the Eucharist writes in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: "Because we possess the ministry through God's mercy, we do not give in to discouragement." These are powerful and timely words for us, we, ourselves, the Church.. I say to you who are in the liturgical ministry of the Church which is not to be confused with the priesthood: Persevere endure, maintain, continue, and hold on; let no one quench put out, quell, muffle, or allay the Spirit we claim for Vatican II; give one another courage; keep hope the liturgical movement alive, keep hope the liturgical movement alive. The Liturgists! United! Will Never Be Defeated! The Liturgists! United! Will Never Be Defeated! . . . . .

Thank you. San Antonio!

[**] Note to anyone who is prone to hyperventilation -- it's not really a draft. It's a parody.

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