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Heat, but also some light

The Genius of the Roman Rite: historical, theological, and pastoral

perspectives on Catholic liturgy

Uwe Michael Lang (ed.)

GRACEWING, 255PP, £17.99

Tablet Bookshop price £16.20 Tel 01420 592974


oman Catholic proponents of a reform of the liturgical reform have attracted some scholars skilful enough to shine a light upon liturgical history yet passionate enough to dim the contributions of the Second Vatican Council. One needs to look no further than the title of this book, which borrows from Edmund Bishop’s early-twentieth-century essay. The “Roman Rite” in question has to refer to the pre-conciliar Missal, because the contents of this volume attribute scant genius to the Missal of Paul VI. Consequently, those who believe the liturgical reforms of Vatican II were catastrophic will take heart in these pages; those convinced by the beauty of today’s Mass will feel affronted. These scholarly efforts ride along the waves of emotion, so they draw the emotions of the reader into their wake. Editor Uwe Michael Lang has compiled the proceedings of the 2006 International Colloquium of the Centre International d’Etudes Liturgiques – International Centre for Liturgical Studies, held in Merton College, Oxford. In general the

When the Virgin was bugged

Spies in the Vatican: the Soviet Union’s Cold War against the

Catholic Church

John Koehler

PEGASUS BOOKS, 352PP, $26.95

ne of the most vicious and relatively unknown struggles of the Cold War was the persistent infiltration of the Vatican by Soviet agents. John Koehler, a former army intelligence officer and reporter for 40 years (mainly in Europe) for the Associated Press, plots the course of this struggle, from the first recorded martyr of the Soviet regime, Mgr Konstantin Budkiewicz, whose life ended with a bullet in the back of the head in Moscow’s Lubyanka Prison on Easter Sunday 1923, to the unsuccessful assassination attempt on John Paul II by the KGB acting through their surrogates, the Bulgarian secret police. With the unification of the two Germanys in the early 1990s, it was claimed by the head of the East German secret police


24 | THE TABLET | 22 May 2010

research is good and the arguments are provocative. Christina Dondi’s deft handling of the scarce material concerning liturgies of medieval military religious orders is a case in point. Similarly, Claude Barthe makes a sincere appeal to recover the mystical meaning of the Mass through a judicious use of allegory. The argument has merit because there are biblical and liturgical antecedents, and academic research into the literal sense of the liturgy is essential but incomplete. Yet even the best research in an article like Gabriel Díaz Patri’s “Poetry in the Latin Liturgy”, which offers positively illuminating information on the development of hymnody in the Roman liturgy, cannot refrain from lamenting the developments that evolved after the council.

At times, the research of an entire article crumbles under the weight of anger. Eamon Duffy’s opening salvo, “Benedict XVI and the Liturgy”, purports to lead a tour of the papal mind. Duffy says the Pope’s unease with the direction of liturgical change “is often perceived as part of a general rejection on his part of the conciliar reforms, or, to put it more crudely, as part of a more general reactionary repudiation of the council”. This statement concerns a perception, but the article does nothing to reject it. Instead, Duffy feeds this perception, oblivious to the simple choice Pope Benedict makes every day when he celebrates Mass from the Missal of Paul VI. The result is a desperate essay about Duffy’s preferences projected on to the under-footnoted mind of Benedict XVI. Most offensive is Alcuin Reid’s dismissal

(HVA), Markus Wolf, that the files of the Stasi had been destroyed. But he “had overlooked the resourcefulness of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the hundreds of magnetic tapes bearing important details on sources that had been stored outside Berlin. CIA officers were able to obtain microfilms bearing index cards with the personal data of about 280,000 persons who had collaborated with the HVA between the early 1950s and 1988.” The CIA code named this operation “Rosewood”. According to Koehler, the CIA still refuses to reveal how it got its hands on the microfilms, but one version suggests that a Stasi officer sold them for US$3 million; another version has it that a KGB officer, instead of taking them to Moscow, sold them to the Americans. The KGB relied on bugs planted in key

offices; one was planted by a housekeeper couple in a statue of the Virgin Mary. A great number of priests who acted for the KGB are named by Koehler, priests who

of the postconciliar eucharistic prayers as “cuckoo eggs”. It is hard to imagine that Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia and Francis Cardinal George, whose endorsements fill the back cover of this book, would agree. There are editorial problems – missing words and misspellings, for example. Inconsistencies mar several arguments. Duffy asks whether calling the Mass a meal reduces its sacrificial character, but uses the place settings of the Last Supper to shore up his argument for celebrating Mass ad orientem. He complains that the Missal of Paul VI was “invented by scholars and imposed by arbitrary and irresponsible papal command”, but hopes that scholarship such as his will inspire a different command from the present pontiff. László Dobszay singles out the “questionable harmonisation” in the cycle of responsorial psalms, but praises the spiritual and psychological fruit of a preconciliar Mass where the theme of the gospel cohered with that of the introit. By the end, the book introduces the reader to the minds of a select circle of Catholics who respect the validity of the Missal of Paul VI, but want it thoroughly re-edited. Readers looking for scholarly insights into the liturgy – its incorporation of poetry, the formulation of its antiphons, the origins of its calendar, the beauty of its imagery, the place of popular piety – will find all that in here. They just may need to bring something else into the room with this collection of writers – the patience to endure some groaning in the quest for

understanding. Paul Turner

With the election of the

had been blackmailed due to indiscretions or schooled in intelligence work in the Ukraine. It is startling to learn of the regular access the Soviets had to inner deliberations within the Vatican with American and other world leaders such as Henry Cabot Lodge, William Casey and South Vietnamese Foreign Minister Tran Van Lam during the Vietnam War peace negotiations. Information on the Helsinki Conference, the Solidarity movement, Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty negotiations, and numerous other issues, were regularly reported by

Polish Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II, the Soviets stepped up their campaign against the Church

priest-agents for decades. In addition to Vatican access, the KGB collaborated with the Stasi, the Polish SB and other Eastern bloc services, to infiltrate dioceses

and bishoprics in Eastern European countries. Verbatim reports abound: the secret meeting between President Nixon and Pope Paul VI was transcribed by a Vatican spy and relayed to the Soviets. With the election of the Polish Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II, the Soviets Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44
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