Monday, November 30, 2009

The Gamber Preface: Paragraph 3

I have nothing to add to what Cardinal Ratzinger says in his second paragraph, but I must cover paragraph 3, since that is where one of the famous "money quotes" is found, a quote which is heard over and over again. Here is the relevant passage:
What has happened after the Council signifies a whole other thing: in place of a liturgy which is the fruit of a continual development, they have given us fabricated liturgy ("une liturgie fabriquée"). They have gone outside the living process of growth and development so as to delve into fabrication. They have no longer wanted to continue the organic development and maturation of the living thing ("du vivant") down through the centuries, and they have replaced them -- as if it were a technical production -- with a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.
In my original post I mentioned that one "Antiquarian" had objected to using this Preface as a "proof text" to demonstrate that even Cardinal Ratzinger despised the "new rite". "Antiquarian" held that such interpretations misrepresented the point of the Cardinal's words. I agree with him.

The key phrase is "they have gone outside the living process of growth and development", and the pronoun "they" needs to be concretized. As the prior article attests, "they" refers not to the Council, not to Paul VI, not even to the post-Conciliar liturgical Concilium per se, but rather to what I have translated as the "liturgical guild", in French, "le groupe des fabricants liturgiques".

The error consists in their no longer wanting "to continue the organic development and maturation of the living thing down through the centuries". This fault is made manifest by the substitution for that grasp on the authentic Origin of the liturgy, with the fruit of their own hands, "a banal product of the moment". What the "liturgical guild" has been pushing is artificial, not because the words and actions are human -- the words and actions authorized by the Church authentically are also human -- but because the "concrete" expressions that they have generated are not tapped into the Living Origin of the liturgy, the necessary link is not there, the Sacramental signs have been eviscerated.

Cardinal Ratzinger situates the work of Msgr. Gamber in opposition to this "guild" approach, both because of his devotion to the historical sources of the liturgy of the Roman Rite (history implies development, something familiar to the Western tradition), and because he shared the Eastern Churches' sense of the liturgy as "the glint of the eternal liturgy, the light of which, in the sacred action, enlightens our changing time with its immutable beauty and grandeur". In addition, he asserts that these two ways of viewing the liturgy are completely compatible, because they are both true, and non-exclusive.

Thus, Catholics should not be shaken by the abuses of the "Liturgical Guild", and the latter should cease and desist. Above all, Catholics should not engage in the kind of thinking that holds up one Form of the Roman Rite above the other (or any other Catholic Rites). The means are not the End; the means are not the Origin. God is both the Origin and the End of the liturgy, and His will for us is to be simple, faith-filled, charitable, courageous Christians, following the Holy Spirit in accordance with the teachings of His Church.

The Holy Spirit is the Source of the Church's Unity, and liturgy should foster unity and reconciliation, not reinforce divisions.

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