1 March 2018


I have been unable to find any conciliar mandate for the post conciliar treatment of the body of Collects; treatment, in one significant respect (Sundays), decidedly more ruthless than what a Zwinglian Reformer, Thomas Cranmer, did at the height of the English Reformation.

Sunday collects. The collects for the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Eastertide were, almost to a man, replaced. What this means is that the whole body of such old prayers was deemed inadequately to express the indoles of the respective seasons ... a breath-taking condemnation!. I can think of at least three academic studies, beginning with that of Fr Cekada, which have revealed the hidden ideological basis of this revolution (often a sort of practical Pelagianism). There is a considerable danger in such radicalism. The true mystagogue - such as Gueranger - derives his mystagogy from his studies in the euchology which eighteen centuries have handed down. He does not form his views on a priori grounds, and then take a pair of scissors to the Tradition.

As far as concerns the collects for the 'green' Sundays, 17 of the 34 are new importations.

Festival collects. The new books reveal a massive campaign to rewrite the collects for festivals of the Lord and of his Saints. This has had a particularly vicious effect as far as the survival of the older collects in the previous books is concerned. Those older collects, many of them in continual use since the days of the early sacramentaries, were commonly terse formulae whose main purpose was a desire to secure a share in the intercessions and fellowship of the glorified servants of God, especially the martyrs. In the Middle Ages, a different style of collect became dominant; one can analyse it as providing God with a biographical summary of the saint concerned, followed by a request that the worshippers might receive congruent graces. (The collects written by Cranmer for those saints who retained propers were all to this medieval formula.) The post conciliar reformers were also wholly committed to the same procrustean methodology. I do not wish to be understood as arguing for the exclusion of such collects: my point is that we should not be limited to them.

You see, my own feeling is that the body of collects, on the eve of Vatican II, found its main and exhilarating strength in its variety. As the days moved on, one went from a Leonine or Gregorian form to a Carolingian and then to a Franciscan composition, and then to a product of the Baroque counter reformation. I see this pluriformity as healthy; it prevents the Church from being imprisoned in the culture of one euchological register. Which is what the post-conciliar books give us; so that, now, all our eggs are in the basket of one particular style. Even where a 'new' collect was in fact resurrected from an ancient source, the bar it had to reach was acceptability to the 1960s ... otherwise, its only hope of being chosen was if it could be bowdlerised into such acceptability. I feel certain that the style and preoccupations of the 1960s have already proved to have dated considerably. Perhaps there was a case for replacing a few of the more plodding of the nineteenth century collects which indeed did tend to say rather obvious and pedestrian things ... I am not a fundamentalist ...

... but Vatican II gave nobody any mandate even to do that much.


1569 Rising said...


Many thanks for your posts - the first things I read every day.
I have always been of the opinion that Thomas Cranmer very carefully changed the rituals of the church depending on what he felt he could get away with. But you have clarified for me that he took much of his theology from Zwingli and the Zurich reformers.

Thank you for that.

mark wauck said...

Not to worry. Pretty soon, as history goes, a New Paradigm will begin to give use added diversity--if that's what you really want. :-(

Prayerful said...

Fr as you know Dr Lauren Pistras in her 'Collects of the Roman Missal' did a side by side of the collects for the entire year. Most of the new collects did draw on earlier material, usually an old sacramentary or patristic text or homily, but anything with too much 'pastorally difficult' mentions of sin and punishment in the hereafter for it, was heavily edited. Concatenation where old sacramentary text and new words of wisdom from the Age of Aquarius were stuck together was a major element of the New Order. Even where most of the words were of ancient origin, bad old things like sin were made to vanish. After all this hatcheting something of notable banality was the result, sad! as DJT might say if he were a liturgist.

Doodler said...

I couldn't agree more!

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The revolution within the form of Catholicism required a new Lil' Licit Liturgy with lots of truncated prayers and striking omissions because it represented a striking rupture with the past; in fact it is, essentially, a new Faith that treats our past as though it were a toxic waste dump we should never ever go near.

Were it not for his particular personal situation, ABS would never- NEVER - go to the Lil' Licit Liturgy because its existence reveals the men who created it and the men who say do not hold the Faith once delivered.

It is always useful to, occasionally, compare the Real Mass prayers, beginning with Te Igitur to the Meal prayer of the Messias-Deniers which was substituted for it.

If that alone does not convince any man that those who assassinated the glorious and beautiful Roman Rite and replaced it with the corpses of our enemies were/are the enemy of the entirety of Catholic Tradition, then nothing will.

The Rear Guard of the Revolution is always alert to the actions and plans of those who wish to restore the Mass to its true good and beautiful status it once recently had and that rear guard is always quick to strike at any Prelate (Sarah, for instance) who is
bold enough to call for an end to the malign machinations of the Modernists who wreck everything they touch.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

ABS intended to write about the substitution of Suscipe sancta Trinitas,,, (The little canon) and not Te Igitur..by the Jewish Meal prayer and Blessing. However, even making mention of the revolution is disorienting...

In any event, nothing says Catholic Tradition like assassinating the beautiful prayers of multi-millenial existence and replacing them with the meal prayers of those who deny that Jesus is the Messias.