2 April 2011

It’s time to think outside the box, Monsignor

Mgr Mannion is one of the liturgical ‘good guys’. He cares about the sacred liturgy. Anyone who has been present when he celebrates can tell that. For decades he’s been campaigning for the better celebration of the modern liturgy and has been leading by example.

He had a “Pastoral answer” in the OSV Newsweekly recently that has the basic position that “History cannot be undone. The liturgical reforms that came after Vatican II were not perfect, but they are what we have. Starting liturgical reform all over again is as unrealistic as trying to put toothpaste back into the container.” He worries that “Much criticism of post-Vatican II liturgical reform is historically ill-informed, out of touch with the pastoral benefits and often ends up subtlety questioning the very legitimacy of the council itself.”

Constrained by an idolization of the modern liturgy?

Well, maybe Monsignor. Maybe not. You see, “what we have” now officially includes the 1962 liturgical books. Also, it is possible to think about, even argue for, a future that corrects the problems with the liturgical books of Paul VI or even those of 1962. Neither box is de fide.

Sure, Monsignor, be faithful to the modern rite and do it well. That helps. But please don’t pretend there is nothing else. Oh, and to think of correcting or setting aside the reforms that followed the Council isn’t “questioning the very legitimacy of the council itself” – it’s seeing the Council’s liturgical reform for what it was and is: some ideas that seemed good at the time, that were adopted by authority, and that may not be good or useful now or in the future. The same authority could drop them.

It’s time, Monsignor, with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to think outside of the box.


  1. We must all, traditionalist, reform of the reform and "neo-con" alike, move beyond the politics and polemics of the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.

  2. The problem that Mannion does not want to face is that the drafters of the Ordinary Form intended for the Mass-liturgy to change as needed, it was to be a "living liturgy." The drafters of the Ordinary Form did not expect it to be static and frozen, as many alleged the mass was before the Council. Proof this may be found in the back of the 1970 book by the late Father Roguet, O.P. entitled "The New Mass." Father Roguet was a member of the Concilium (sic) and was in a position to know. I agree, Pimpernel, we should reform the Ordinary Form, otherwise, hee, hee, we are not being faithful to the vision of the Ordinary Form.

    James Ignatius McAuley

  3. Methinks Msgr. Mannion's a company man. He's writing for Our Sunday Visitor, an American Catholic newsweekly that's firmly broad church. He's not going to get all gung-ho about SP and alienate the readership.

    Leave him be. We need a spectrum of opinions.