Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is There a Need to Re-Emphasize the Use of Vernacular and Inculturation?

"Is there a need to re-emphasize the use of vernacular and inculcation in the liturgy when it is evident that these are in existence in the Catholic liturgical landscape of the Philippines???" I asked myself this question after reading the statement released by the National Meeting of the Diocesan Directors of Liturgy Silver Jubilee Statement.  I hold to the impression that some liturgists in our country may not be aware of the REFORM OF THE REFORMED  program of Pope Benedict XVI.  That's why most statements in relation to the liturgy either openly contradicts the program of the Holy Father or simply downplayed it.  Here are some of my comments.  These are my opinions and I stand corrected.

On the Vernacular

The National Meeting of Dicesan Directors of Liturgy Silver Jubilee Statement as published in the RCAM highlighted several points.  While I observe that there were several good points in that statement I want to offer my own observations on several points.  Let me quote point #1 

"The Use of the Vernacular. While we respect the option to use Latin and celebrate the Tridentine liturgy, we uphold the use of the vernacular in our parishes and communities and recommend translations that faithfully reflect both the spiritual doctrine of the texts and the linguistic patterns of our vernacular languages"
Let me offer some of my observation. (1) Tridentine Liturgy is not the correct word.  The Rite of Mass formulated by St. Pius V during the Council of Trent is not a new rite but rather it was the reformed  liturgy of the Roman Rite, standardized and made universal.  One should understand the liturgical landscape of the reformeation and post-reformation period in Europe.  There were the multiplicity of regional liturgies.  Almost every region or dioceses in Euope has its own local variation.  The multiplicity of rites created confusion and increased the chances that heretical ideas  could penetrate the liturgy.  Thus St. Pius V by the authority of the council revised the Roman Liturgy and made it universal.  However, liturgies aging 200 years old and above were exempted.  Whereas liturgies not reaching the age of 200 were deemed abolished.  This in the context of the saying that the Law of prayer becomes the law of faith.  For as we pray thus we will also believe.  Thus correct word should be Traditional Latin Mass or the Forma Extraordinaria. 

(2)  Why is there a need for the liturgists to uphold the use of the vernacular when there is no widespread demand for the Extraordinary Form?  To me it is absurd.  The framers of this statement should have read the accompanying letter of Pope Benedict XVI to explain the Summorum Pontificum which allay the fears of those who think that the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite will alter the liturgical landscape.

(3) The issue here is not about language. It is not about Latin versus the vernacular because the original text of the Roman Rite is in Latin, whatever vernacular that exists are mere translations of the basic Latin Texts.  There is a danger in spiritualizing the original texts because there are dangers of misinterpretations.  We should remember that language is a tool of communication.  It can also be a repository.  Thus the direct and faithful translations to the vernacular is to be preferred over the "spiritualized" translations. Direct translation will ensure orthodoxy. And the use of Liturgical language will ensure and promote sacrality, which is so much wanting in todays liturgies.  The liturgy is the public worship of the Church, there we enter into the sacred realm away from the profane.  Hence the use of profane language and music in the liturgy demotes the experience of the sacred.  The liturgy just like any other field of human endeavor has its own language that makes it her own.  Thus Christians who attends church regularly will not find it difficult to get acquinted with the nuances.  We won't even have any need for commentators, which often obstructs the flow of the celebration. In fact Vatican II documents on the liturgy only authorize the translation of the Mass in the vernacular on a partial basis.  But the self arbiters of the reform failed to recognize this.  Latin is the Language of the Roman Church and if this is totally eliminated from the liturgy it will create rupture and discontinuity.  This is somehting dificult to comprehend.  Even our Latin Texts contains the Greek Kyreie if only to emphasize that even there was a shift from Greek to Latin we recognize our rootedness in the Greek Church which is more ancient than the Roman.  The masses celebrated on EWTN is a very good example of a Vatican II mass.  They also have done a great job in featuring the Extraordinary Form on several occasions.

Is there a paranoia here vis-a-vis the Latin Mass?

On Inculturation
Liturgical Inculturation. The interest in recent times to revive the Tridentine Liturgy should not draw the attention, especially of the Church leaders, from the unfinished agenda of liturgical inculturation. We are of the persuasion that liturgical renewal, as envisioned by the Constitution on Liturgy of Vatican II, entails liturgical inculturation and that our rich cultural heritage has much to offer to make the Roman liturgy truly Filipino.
Why is there a constant mention of the Tridentine Liturgy??? Is the Tridentine Liturgy a threat to the on going so called inculturation agenda?  I wish that the framers of this statement would read the entire Apostolic Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying Letter to the Bishops.  The statement as quoted above reveals that they are aware of an interest in the use of the Tridentine Liturgy.  The question should be asked logically - WHY IS THERE AN INTEREST IN THE TRIDENTINE LITURGY 40 YEARS AFTER THE SO CALLED REFORM?  Is it because the current reforms which started in the 70s failed to capture the true essence of liturgical reform as envisioned by Vatican II? It seems to me that the statement above expresses sthe unfounded fear which the Holy Father in his accompanying letter to the motu proprio seeks to allay, and I quote the words of the Holy Father:

"In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite."
As for the status of the Tridentine Liturgy here is what the Holy Father says:

"As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."
(Clear as the sun!)

There is a UCAN article written by Archbishop Dosado that explains what the Reform of the Reform of Pope Benedict means.  Please follow the link to read the full article.  In this article Arcbihop Dosado offered his ideas abut the true meaning of the reform and he explained the intent of the Holy Father in promoting the Reform of the Reformed.  He also explained the problem of current state of liturgical renewal in this way:

"Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the liturgy were the so-called “liturgists” who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of liturgy. They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities."

I would opine that the lack of interest in liturgical affairs in the Philippines have given reign to the self arbiters of the liturgical reform.   But its not too late.  The Holy Father has been pursuing quietly but steadfastly this project of genuine liturgical renewal based on the hermeneuics of continuity. 

In conclusion I would like to share with you my comments on the UCANarticle in support of the article.
I would like to reiterate my support for Archbishop Dosado. I was born in the Novus Ordo and I was witness to the gradual disfiguring of our liturgies in the Philippines. The deconstructionists and inculturation schools have done so much damage to the Catholic identity and worship of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Not only it has distorted the historical and legitimate development of the liturgy, the destruction is manifested even in the way religious art and architecture were treated. So much heritage and historical values were lost, all in the name of "renewal" using Vatican II as the card.  I hope that this INCULTURATION school should vanished in the mountains of Malaybalay and I hope that the REFORM OF THE REFORMED of Pope Benedict will find its way into this Catholic country and reestablish Catholic identity. AGAIN CONGRATULATIONS ARCHBISHOP DOSADO you are in our prayers always "Be not afraid... fear not the wolves in sheep's clothing".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Legazpi City: City of My Dreams ( Part 1 )

September 11 is a memorable date because of what had happened in New York several years ago.  But at that time I was travelling for Manila on board a Cebu Pacific Air from Legazpi to Manila.  I have been on this route many times but I simply did not have much time to take photos.  But last September 11 I brought along with me my Olympus Camera.  I took one of the best shots I could ever take of Mt. Mayon Volcano.  Picture speaks more than words.  Upon checking in I specifically requested the lady attending to tickets to put me on a seat near the window so that I could have a full view of the mountain.  I would think that Bicol is a beautiful place and and an excellent one for tourism. This peninsula is gifted with flora and fauna.  

On the picture you could see the coastline of Legazpi City. Stretching from the city center one can enjoy a breathtaking view of Albay Bay and the pacific ocean.  This coastline contains the road going to the City of Tabaco. 

Perhaps a year ago I heard the pilot did make mention of this sight as the chocolate hills of Bohol in Albay.  That famed chocolate hills in Bohol Island in the Visayas.  But one need not go to Bohol to see those hills.  The western portion of Albay is characterized by rugged topography, with small hills donning the countryside.

Mount Mayon volcano as seen from the ramps of Embarcadero, Legazpi's newest shopping center.  The government has done a great job in encouraging private investors to invest in tourism and entertainment business in the city.

The shorelines of Legazpi are dotted with this kind of trawlers or fishing boats.  Albay gulf is a fish sanctuary.  And the waters off the Pacific ocean are rich in marine resources.  Fishing is one of the major economic activity of many of Legazpinos.

Here is another view of Mt. Mayon.
The light house of Embarkadero de Legazpi.