Saturday, July 18, 2009

More about the "hermeneutic of continuity"

In the photos of his Mass posted Sunday, 12 July, on my blog, Fr. Johnson spreads the corporal and places the chalice on the altar at the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice.

In response Mr. Bruce E. Ford of Newark, New Jersey, writes:

"Only in a 1975-style 'Mass Without a Congregation' is the corporal spread and the chalice placed on the altar at the beginning of the Mass.

"Why do you hold up this outdated usage as an ideal?

"To say that the celebrant's facing east during the Eucharistic Prayer (for example) is reflective of the 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' would be entirely reasonable. But to revive silly pre-Conciliar practices such as placing the chalice on the altar at the beginning of the Mass is simply silly.

"The 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' does not call for indiscriminate revival of pre-Conciliar practices in contravention of the rubrics of the Novus Ordo. It calls for the interpretation of the Novus Ordo rubrics in the light of tradition."

Thank you, Mr. Ford, for your comment, the entire text of which readers are invited to see in the comments section at the original post.

My first reaction is, who decides which of the Church's customs are silly and which are not? Sounds to me like the beginning of an onion peeling away to nothing. Although I certainly defer to the Church when deciding for the purposes of liturgy what is an accretion and what is noble simplicity.

Comments if you please.


1 comment:

MCITL said...

Thanks to "K" for sending the following comment:

"Although I do not know what 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' means [perhaps some catechesis is in order, Father Cusick], I do think calling a beautifully reverent celebration of the Mass “silly” is missing the point of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

I might ask why placing the chalice on the altar at the beginning of the Mass is 'simply silly' – from my perspective in the pew it makes as much sense as putting it to the side for half of the Mass – but I suspect your reader who can cite the rubrics of a 1975-style 'Mass Without a Congregation' is much more deeply invested in the answer then I am.

"Thus instead I would like to offer some reflections from the book 'Testimony of Hope' by Bishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, who was taken prisoner in 1975 and spent 13 years in Communist prisons, nine in solitary confinement. 'Every day, with three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of my hand, I would celebrate Mass. This was my altar, this was my cathedral! . . . Each time I celebrated the Mass, I had the opportunity to extend my hands and nail myself to the cross with Jesus, to drink with Him the bitter chalice. . . . Those were the most beautiful Masses of my life!' "


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