Thursday, July 14, 2022

“The Rupturist Rubric”: The Attempt to Cut Off the Liturgy from Tradition

At the “Defense of the Immemorial Roman Rite: Traditionis Custodes v. Summorum Pontificum” Facebook group, our founding editor Shawn Tribe posted the following insightful text, which I reproduce here with his permission. (Shawn is the administrator of the group, and Gregory DiPippo and I are both moderators with him.)

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The Rupturist Rubric
A problem that many have identified is that frequently in practice we find in operation what we might term the “rupturist rubric.”

What is the rupturist rubric? The rupturist rubric is an approach to matters liturgical and otherwise which seemingly adopts the principle that any approach to the liturgical rites is generally acceptable or at least tolerable so long as it is not the ‘traditional’ (i.e. “pre-conciliar”) approach.

Some examples of the rupturist rubric in action:

1. You can wear no clericals at all should you like, or any kind of hat you like as a cleric, but if you adopt the cassock or biretta or a Cappello Romano, etc. this is intolerable.

A dangerous restorationist caught in the act of undoing the Council’s good work!
2. Clerics may wear sandals or sneakers or even buckled monkstrap shoes if they like, but if you adopt the traditional buckled clerical shoe that was in force until the later 1960s this is ‘verboten.’

3. Playing with and improvising the liturgical texts and rites is openly tolerated, but should you adopt exclusively the most traditional options within the Pauline rite, this is considered suspicious at best, a “rejection of Vatican II” at worst.

4. Use of Jazz or other contemporary secular forms of music within a liturgical context, while not common is tolerable, even desirable, while use of sacred polyphony of Gregorian chant is considered “elitist art music.”

5. A priest might freely roam the church during the liturgy, might ‘bless’ with a guitar, but the adoption of ad orientem is intolerable.

These are purely examples and while they might vary in specific form and degree, the basic gist of the rupturist rubric is that anything that is different from the tradition is more often than not either tolerated or viewed in a positive light, while those things that adhere to the patrimony and tradition of the Latin rite are considered suspect or even openly criticized and censured.

The rupturist rubric is ultimately an expression of a rejection of Catholic patrimony and identity.

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Together with this text, Shawn posted the following amusing photograph:

This aptly ballooned photo can be linked to two incisive remarks from recent articles. The first, “Further thoughts on ‘inculturation’: Why ignore the liturgy that sustained the evangelization of the entire globe?”, quotes Monika Rheinschmitt:
If there is anything we can learn from considering (a) the diversity already allowed by the Novus Ordo’s own rubrics, (b) the diversity added on top of this by official or unofficial attempts at “inculturation,” and (c) the further diversity created by rampant abuse and bad custom, about which the Vatican pretends to care but never takes concrete action, we are justified in reaching the following conclusion: The unity of the Novus Ordo consists exclusively in not being the traditional liturgy.
As if continuing the train of thought, Michael Charlier, in a piece entitled “The amorphous ‘Roman rite’ and the authentic Roman Rite,” states:
Everything that has been promulgated and will be promulgated after THE COUNCIL is a valid expression of the Roman Rite—everything that was before is not (anymore).... Apparently, the view of Francis and the Sant’ Anselmo liturgical school behind him is that everything under the immediate jurisdiction of the Roman See belongs to the Roman Rite.... This is how one can regard it—if one takes a legal positivist standpoint and, incidentally, wants to follow Francis’s hyperpapalistic fantasies of omnipotence. In terms of liturgical history, this inflation of the term Roman rite rather implies the dissolution of the Roman rite into a series of individual rites, which only show a loose agreement in some basic elements and are connected above all by the fact of approval by the central office....

Let us try to put these three observations together.

According to the pope, the Roman Rite has no objective meaning other than what he himself declares to be the Roman Rite. Because “the Council” has radically changed ecclesiology, and the liturgy must give expression to theology (the inversion of the lex orandi, lex credendi axiom), therefore only the liturgy after the Council can be the Church’s lawful liturgy. Since this liturgy calls for variation and welcomes extensive inculturation, it has no inherent formal unity; its unity consists in being not something definite or something preconciliar (the two of course go together in this way of thinking), but rather in being indefinite and anti-preconciliar. Thence arises the necessity to tolerate (at best) or eliminate (at worst) any remnant of preconciliar practice -- even the most accidental, and even that which is technically still allowed, just as one can find some texts in the Council that do not reflect the spirit of the Council, and must therefore be sidelined or overcome by development (cf. Benedict XVI, Address on December 22, 2005).

In a lengthy article last April, Massimo Faggioli wrote:
But the most disturbing phenomenon [in our day] is the transition from a crisis of ecclesial authority to a crisis of the authority of Vatican II and therefore a collapse of a healthy sense of the tradition: a dynamic and organic idea of the tradition; the letter of the tradition not as a paradigm of understanding, but as an expression of the act of understanding; a shift from cognitive and propositional to a personalist and dialogical understanding of revelation.
The subjectivist and evolutionary language here is unmistakable: if we were to take him at his word, it would mark the end of a religion founded on truths that can be formulated with precision and defined as true always and everywhere. (Consider what the Pontifical Academy for Life is attempting to do now with reversing the Church’s perennial teaching on contraception and in vitro fertilization.) In fact, the parallel between the old view of dogma and the old view of liturgy is quite exact: formal, objective, definite, knowable in se, stable, and a source of transformation of cultures, rather than something informal, subjective, indefinite, solely reliant on external authority, ever-changing, a kind of material substrate that must be shaped by cultures that take it up.

We are dealing here with a major epistemological and ecclesiological crisis, the general outline of which has long been acknowledged in traditionalist and sometimes in conservative circles, but the actual magnitude of which has only begun to be clear to us, thanks to the rupturist actions and documents of Pope Francis. It is all the more urgent to adopt a minimalist account of papal authority together with a robust account of the rights of tradition and the limits of obedience, so that we may reject the nominalist, voluntarist, and Hegelian interpretation of liturgy that is now being put forward.

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