Dienstag, 17. Februar 2015

Evelyn Waugh Lamenting the Reform Of the Holy Week Liturgies

Four years before his passing on Easter Sunday 1966, Evelyn Waugh was sharply critical of the Reform of the Holy Week Liturgies by Pope Pius XII. This is relevant as these liturgies did start the whole unholy process of reform that ultimately led to the Novus Ordo mass. This reminds us of the loss of the Tenebrae services and the non-traditional and non-mystical timing of the Triduum services in this reform and that that the missal of 1962, the only missal allowed under "Summorum Pontificum" for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, is much less than perfect.

Evelyn Waugh

"During the last few years we have experienced the triumph of the liturgists' in the new arrangement of the services for the end of Holy Week and for Easter. For centuries these had been enriched by devotions which were dear to the laity—the anticipation of the morning office of Tenebrae, the vigil at the Altar of Repose, the Mass of the Presanctified. It was not how the Christians of the second century observed the season. It was the organic grovith of the needs of the people. Not all Catholics were able to avail themselves of the services but hundreds did, going to live in or near the monastic houses and making an annual retreat which began with Tenebrae on Wednesday afternoon and ended at about midday on Saturday with the anticipated Easter Mass. During those three days time was conveniently apportioned between the rites of the church and the discourses of the priest taking the retreat, with little temptation to dis- traction. Now nothing happens before Thursday evening. All Friday morning is empty. There is an hour or so in church on Friday afternoon. All Saturday is quite blank until late at night. The Easter Mass is sung at midnight to a weary congregation who are constrained to 'renew their baptismal vows' in the vernacular and later repair to bed. The significance of Easter as a feast of dawn is quite lost, as is the unique character of Christmas as the Holy Night. 1 have noticed in the monastery I frequent a marked falling-off in the number of retreatants since the innovations or, as the liturgists would prefer to call them, the restorations. It may well be that these services are nearer to the practice of primitive Christianity, but the Church rejoices in the development of dogma; why does it not also admit the development of liturgy?"

From "The Same Again Please" in THE SPECTATOR
23rd November 1962