Saturday, August 18, 2007

Guest Blog by Christine: On Godfrey Diekmann

Christine made the following comment in the comment box of "Once a Jew always a Jew", and I think it deserves a more prominent airing.
On Godfrey Diekmann, OSB.

Diekmann's name was somewhat familiar to me because of his ecumenical connections and as I recall he favored inclusive language in the Mass, women's ordination and a married clergy, along with that awful "Worship" publication that he was involved in. Pfui !!

Wasn't he also a member of ICEL?

He has gone on to his reward, whatever it might be. The Motu Proprio would probably have given him apoplexy. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

Here's a rather amusing gem about him:

An incident recounted in Sister Kathleen Hughes' biography of Godfrey Diekmann, A Monk's Tale, illustrates this dismissive attitude. In the late fifties St. John's Abbey in Collegeville built a new abbey church. Its design, in which Diekmann was involved, was decidedly “contemporary”.
Andrew Greeley visited the abbey, and Diekmann showed him the model, enthusiastically pointing out all its advanced features.

Greeley asked the perhaps not too innocent question: "But Godfrey, what if it is not the architectural wave of the future?" Godfrey stopped dead in his tracks, frowned as though this thought had never occurred to him, and then waved his hand: "Impossible!"

21 Comments:

At Saturday, August 18, 2007 1:23:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I believe I brought Fr Godfrey into this, in the context of Pelikan and his association with St John's Abbey and University. One aspect of that was the close friendship between Godfrey and Pelikan.

So here. I did not know Pelikan or ever meet him. I knew Fr Godfrey, and many people around me at the time were deeply influenced by him, not just from reading his works. Personally, for me his brother Fr Conrad was the influence, being my professor for ancient and mediaeval literature (Greek, Roman and European -- I suppose to-day one would say Western literature) not to mention haiku.

I disagreed with Fr Godfrey on nearly everything. He was one of the leading lights going into, during, and since the transformation of Catholicism into something unrecognisable to me as such. He argued his positions with a learning, a skill, a precision, a comprehensiveness and an unfailing charity that was absolutely exemplary of the finest academic and scholarly standards, Benedictine or otherwise. It was my great privilege to have known him.

 
At Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:33:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Past Elder, oh yes indeed, it was you who brought in Father Diekmann in the Pelikan connection.

Please forgive the length of this post taken from the Adoremus bulletin but I think it it provides an interesting perspective:

A "remembrance" of Father Diekmann by Father Ronald Krisman, former executive secretary of the BCL, was published on the Collegeville web site a few days later. Father Krisman noted their friendship during the 1980s and 1990s when the US bishops held week-long sessions at Collegeville concerning plans for the liturgy, and from 1990-97 when both Diekmann and Krisman were members of the Advisory Committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL].

I will most remember Godfrey for an incident that occurred on the last day I saw him. The ICEL Advisory Committee had a meeting in Rome on June 4-10, 1996. Godfrey made it to the meeting, although he was hobbling somewhat and using a cane. On the evening of the day our meeting had concluded, we received notice that we were invited to Mass with Pope John Paul II in his private chapel the next morning.

The next morning we met at Saint Ann's gate. Godfrey arrived in a cab - I believe he had been staying at Sant' Anselmo while in Rome. When we were taken into the Holy Father's chapel, the Pope was already there at his prie-dieu and chair facing the altar. We were all seated behind the pope - facing his back and the altar. But Godfrey - because of his physical condition and because, as I remember, he was that day celebrating the 60th anniversary of his ordination - was seated on the raised platform upon which the altar stood. He was facing us - and the pope, as well.

After communion [sic] of the Mass, when the pope was back at his prie-dieu with his back to the rest of us, Godfrey was hunkered down on his stool, resting with both hands on his cane. He was staring intensely at the pope. It almost seemed to be-rude. After Mass, we asked Godfrey why he had been staring down the pope in such fashion. He replied, "You all know that I am not happy with much of that man's leadership of the Church. For that, I don't like him. But I was not STARING at the pope. What I was doing was WILLING MYSELF TO LOVE HIM" (original emphasis).


Of course he must be referring to John Paul II here. I can well understand why he felt irritated by this Pope.

And yet I am reminding myself that the liturgical movement did begin in Europe (Germany?) through the Benedictines. Why is it us Germans always cause all this theological upheaval??

Interestingly, if one peruses the catalogs from St. John's Abbey they offer some very orthodox Catholic material these days. I've ordered some in the past myself, but they are indeed very ecumenical as seems to be the case with many Benedictines.

 
At Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:53:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Having more memory flashes. Those were the days of radicals such as Sister Madonna Kolbenschlag and her feminist ilk (there go those Germans again). Sorry, but I can't feel too charitable to this generation, Father Diekmann included. Being gracious and scholarly doesn't cut it when one is undermining the very foundations of the faith. And I still say "Worship" (or as it was formerly known, "Oratre Fratres" or some such thing which they had to change because after all, vernacular was soooo much better than Latin) was awful. The stable of contributors made my hair stand straight on edge.

 
At Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:18:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I am sure you must have heard the phrase common among Catholics aghast at what was being done to their faith and church at Vatican II -- the Rhine has finally polluted the Tiber.

German monkish squabbles are not confined to Luther's time, or even place, although the phrase was also meant to include the historical critical scholars, whose tomes I was consigned to read.

What an irony that Fr Godfrey and I appear -- on the basis of the event recounted in your post -- to have shared an equal disapproval of the "leadership" of JPII, but for opposite reasons; he, that JPII did not hold to the vision of Vatican II, and me that he did.

Another way to put what I hang around this blog to say (apart from the post on Bouyer) is this: the only thing worse than the "spirit" of Vatican II is Vatican II itself.

Post conciliar types -- the nomenclature seems to be settling on "traditionalist" to mean Catholics such as Catholics once always were, and "conservative" to mean non-"spirit" of Vatican II but nonetheless Vatican II types -- always argue stuff like oh this is just someone's personal opinion not what the church says, this is just "spirit" of Vatican II stuff and not what the conciliar documents actually say, usw.

And, so far as it goes, that is often true. But it does not go far enough. The problem is, the difference between "spirit" of Vatican II and Vatican II selbst is one of degree, not kind. The critiques of "traditionalist" Catholics, while they may loudly and rightly bemoan the excesses of the "spirit" of Vatican II, and while they may even find agreement in that with authentic Vatican II types, always focus their dispute on the documents and the rites themselves, not on the excesses bemoaned by "traditionalists" and "conservatives" alike.

The issue is not the excesses. Actually, I find the imagery in the event recounted, with Godfrey on the raised platform with the altar and the pope and his minions facing it, to be quite apt, and reflective of what has happened indeed.

What was about to be celebrated was in no sense a Catholic Mass. It is a worship engendered by the school of the man there with the altar and sanitised by the school of the men facing the altar into something more easily reconcilable with their continued existence as an institution, in either case there by the suppression of the Catholic Mass.

A complete, total, and utter farce. The institution will most likely reign in the excesses, which will make not the slightest difference, because whether the spirit or the documents prevail, either and both are false to the Catholic Faith. Or to borrow a phrase, it doesn't matter at all whether the cafeteria is open or closed, because either way Catholicism isn't on the menu.

Worship was called Orate Fratres, Pray Brothers, from the prayer before the Secreta and the Preface. This short prayer sums up everything that is wrong with the Roman Mass, pre and post conciliar:

Orate fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem emnipotentem.
Pray brothers, that my and your sacrifice be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.
May the Lord receive the sacrifice from thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, for our benefit and that of his whole church.

So the Mass. I will be privileged to worship at mass where it is clear that it is HIS, not my, our or your, sacrifice, that it IS acceptable to God the Father almighty, which is precisely why we even bother about it (!), that is HAS BEEN RECEUVED to the praise and glory of his name, and it IS BEING GIVEN TO US for our benefit and that of the whole church.

The great fact, not a pious hope. Who could not faint for joy at the thought of such a Saviour!

Indeed, Martin.

And at that heavenly Seder, I would not be surprised at all to see Fr Godfrey, well and with his wonderful smile. Maybe he'll ask me if I remember anything about Etruscan art. Or maybe we'll laugh at how this all turned out not exactly according to what either of us or any here quite thought.

(andrew, if you're reading this, it's 0612, I still don't have any coffee, I tweaked the usual translations of the Latin a little from memory!)

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 2:38:00 am , Blogger Andrew said...

I'm reading. It's a fine rendering of the Latin, but great Caesar's ghost, do you ever sleep, Past Elder?

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 6:52:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

And at that heavenly Seder, I would not be surprised at all to see Fr Godfrey, well and with his wonderful smile.

Past Elder, you are too much. You castigate the current Catholic Church as the "Whore of Babylon" yet you are more than willing to allow Godfrey Diekmann his place at the heavenly Seder even though he was one of the architects of destruction of the only legitimate form of Catholicism you recognize.

You aren't alone. I've met other disaffected preconciliar Catholics and they sing pretty much the same tune you do.

Fine by me. I'm content.

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 1:01:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I know exactly what Fr Godfrey was. And through him and others around him know exactly what was up and what has happened.

I also know, despite our respective positions, that he was a thorough gentleman, a quick wit, an outstanding scholar, and proceeded from things in which he deeply believed -- and I leave the judgement as to whether that consitutes saving faith to God and at the same time my private opinion is I'd bet it does and I think we both, along with many others, will laugh there at the shortsightedness we all experienced here.

And I say again, it was my great privilege to have known him.

 
At Tuesday, August 21, 2007 12:49:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I think we both, along with many others, will laugh there at the shortsightedness we all experienced here.

That's certainly a possibility. I just regret the seeds that he helped sow that have borne so much contentious fruit.

But, as I say, those darn Germans (I can say it 'cause I are one!) Yes, I do remember that phrase about the Rhine polluting the Tiber.

 
At Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:06:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I also know, despite our respective positions, that he was a thorough gentleman, a quick wit, an outstanding scholar, and proceeded from things in which he deeply believed --

What is so remarkable is that there are other equally informed and dedicated Catholic/Christian scholars who come to the exact opposite conclusions of Father Diekmann, but having read one the Biblical commentaries from St. John's with their heavy emphasis on historical criticism I can see the perspective he might have been coming from, but you would know that better than I.

I guess we'll never know in this life.

 
At Tuesday, August 21, 2007 2:56:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I don't have a single thing from the Liturgical Press. Not even in the boxes in the garage. I do have a Jerome Biblical Commentary, a present from one of the conversions in which I unfortunately had a part. And I use that textus receptus of the conciliar liberals, The Jerusalem Bible, all the time -- the first one (1966 I think) not the feminist "New" Jerusalem Bible. My Dutch Catechism, however, is out in the boxes.

My main study Bible isn't a Bible at all. It's Herz' classic Pentateuch and Haftorahs -- the readings of the annual (the synagogue isn't so ridiculous as to have three year cycles) lectionary, with extensive notes and commentary. I asked our host some posts ago if he knew of it or what he thought of it, but no answer -- nor to my recommendation of Chesterton's book on Aquinas either. How's that for the two main study texts of a confessional Lutheran: Orthodox Jewish and conciliar Catholic. For the Bible itself, though, I read the ESV (there's anything else?). In a way though, I find the B of C a study aid, arranged topically rather than textually.

At one time, we were taught that the NT mirrors the structure of the Hebrew Bible, with the Gospels in the place of Law, the Pauline Epistles for Prophets, and the other books as Writings. Matthew is first because it was based on the earliest source in Aramaic, though itself written later, which is also the reason for its prominence in the lectionary (pre three year nonsense) for a Christian Torah portion, so to speak, then a related Epistle haftorah.

I say, if you want to mess around with the ruddy lectionary, bring back the synagogue one but add a third, Gospel, reading on its fulfillment, and revise the calendar accordingly too. Then again, I used to listen to Gene Scott on shortwave -- any of you guys heard of him? You can catch tapes on cable, with his widow, complete with Roman collar, presiding. Unfortunately, Mrs Past Elder will not survive me to do that for my rants.

Maybe at that heavenly Seder, if Godfrey and I are having a good laugh about things here on earth, if I see you or Dave Armstrong walking around I'll wave you over and introduce you!

 
At Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:01:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh I've purchased some excellent resources from Liturgical Press. They seem to be offering more "mainstream" material these days because after all, if you don't give the customer what they want they ain't gonna order from ya. I predict the same thing will happen at the formerly leftist Liturgy Training Publications since Gabe Huck got the axe.

The Dutch Catechism? Ah, shades of Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx!! Need we even mention what that sorry publication has done to the faith in the Netherlands.

I've perused copies of the Tanakh in English published by the Jewish Publication Society. Your description of the NT as a mirror of the Hebrew Bible is very interesting. I've never thought of the Gospels taking the place of the "Law". For me they are primarily the Good News of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what that means for us.

I'm very content with the three year cycle of readings. I think with the mind of the Church, not the Synagogue, sorry.

My favorite Scripture version will always be the RSV. I have a standard RSV, an ecumencial RSV, and the RSV-CE. The ESV most closely resembles the RSV. I never cared for the Jerusalem Bible in any of its incarnations, and the NAB gathers dust on my bookshelves. It's awful. So are the ICEL translations of the Roman Liturgy of the Hours. Hopefully the powers that be will tackle that after the new Roman Missal is published in English.

As for Aquinas, on whom I am no expert whatsoever, giving the Angelic Doctor his due for his magnificent intellect I don't at all like what he had to say about women and animals. But I have to consider the time and worldview he operated in.

 
At Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:58:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

From the National Catholic Reporter regarding Godfrey Diekmann:

In 1926, when he was an 18-year old novice in the abbey community, Diekmann was exposed for the first time to the potent Pauline image of the church as the body of Christ:

“It was a complete revelation to me, and I might say that I suffered a conversion -- something that simply grips you and influences your whole life,” he said.

Diekmann’s conversion mirrored a growing consciousness flowing from the revival of biblical and patristic scholarship at the beginning of the 20th century, which deeply informed the liturgical movement, first in Europe and then in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s, surfacing in key official church statements about the nature of the church and culminating in Pope John XXIII’s surprise call for a worldwide gathering in Rome of the church’s 2,500 bishops.

The council marked a dramatic -- Diekmann would say miraculous -- shift in ecclesiology, in the church’s understanding of itself, after centuries of entrenchment as a kind of highly centralized and clericalized institutional monarchy to a recovery of the more egalitarian and charismatic model of community evident in the New Testament and in the writings of the early church.

 
At Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:21:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I did not mean the Gospel as a new Law. Rather, that as the Law is first in the Hebrew Bible, followed by the Prophets and the Writings, so in the NT you have the Gospels, followed by the Pauline Epistles and the other epistles and the apocalypse (as Catholics once called it).

I like the JPS Bible the current one replaced better. It was basically a rabbinically revised KJV OT, with the books put back in their proper order -- the one Jesus used and referred to. It was also the translation text used in the Herz.

The three year cycle was a deliberate attempt to break with the previous lectionary and the preaching tradition associated with it.

Since the church has lost its mind, adopting a cycle that follows no known cycle of anything just kind if fits. Neither church nor synagogue knew anything of the kind for millennia -- then Vatican II.

The NCR piece says it all. The difference between the "spirit" of Vatican II and the real Vatican II -- one might say the historical Vatican II and the Vatican II of faith -- is one of degree, not kind. Both exist by rejection of traditional Catholicism, which if it is indeed some dark hole in which the church languished for centuries, disproves the whole idea of an organically unfolding entity founded by Christ. Diekmann lite.

It's interesting that WELS is pretty much sticking by the NIV, which I privately think has something to do with LCMS scholars being in on the ESV.

Personally, I wish we would go back to the Hebrew order of books in the OT. I have no idea who started mixing the Prophets and the Writings up.

 
At Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:49:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

the NT you have the Gospels, followed by the Pauline Epistles and the other epistles and the apocalypse (as Catholics once called it).

But that's not the order in which they were written, although I certainly think the Gospels should have preeminence in order of appearance in the NT.

The three year cycle was a deliberate attempt to break with the previous lectionary and the preaching tradition associated with it.

So you think the preconciliar lectionary with its sparse readings from the OT was better?

The NCR piece says it all.

Actually the only point I wanted to make there was further support for Father Diekmann's views and how very different your views are from his. His goals of women priests and married priests have not been realized, however.

It's interesting that WELS is pretty much sticking by the NIV, which I privately think has something to do with LCMS scholars being in on the ESV.

I don't know if the WELS has heavy evangelical leanings but the NIV is one of the most popular translations in the evangelical community (interdenominationally).

 
At Thursday, August 23, 2007 2:46:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

The Gospels are considered to be in the order written, Matthew as we have it not being first written but its Aramaic original was. The Pauline Epistles are by length, not date. Likewise the "catholic" epistles (as Catholics once called them) and Apocalypse last (and almost not at all!)

The preconciliar lectionary better? Yes. And, it's the church's, not the manufacture of creaky celibates (at least from women).

Of course Fr Godfrey's views were different than mine. My point about the post was that it, as if more were needed, shows that Vatican II is not something different than Fr Godfrey but the official embracing of it though it a more moderate form. Which is why those guys have as tough a time with what happened as the traditionalists: for them, the church has not even yet fully caught on to what the Council was all about, but settled on a much reduced version of it. Point being, "spirit" of Vatican II and Vatican II are a difference in degree, not kind, and the Vatican II of JPII and BXVI is just, so to speak, Diekmann lite.

Personally, I prefer full-on Diekmann. At least it is what it is. It has integrity, even though I disagree with nearly all of it. So does traditionalism, which at one time I agreed with. But the RC church is true to neither and false to both. It is neither the Catholic Church nor the culmination of what led up to Vatican II and the church it hoped for. Soldiers may wear different uniforms, but they respect and identify with the soldier in each other.

 
At Friday, August 24, 2007 12:51:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

The Gospels are considered to be in the order written,

No, I meant that it is my understanding that St. Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians predates any of the Gospels. Also, isn't there still some dispute about whether Matthew or Mark were written first?

The preconciliar lectionary better? Yes. And, it's the church's,

From a traditional Catholic site:

The "propers" of the traditional Roman rite differ from their modern counterpart most with respect to the Lectionary, or cycle of Scriptural readings. There are three main differences between the two lectionaries. First, the old rite generally has two readings, one from a New Testament epistle and the other from one of the Gospels, while the new rite generally adds a third reading from the Old Testament. Both usages can claim an equally ancient pedigree,

I will say, though, that I very much miss the closing Gospel from St. John at the end of the old Mass. It's such a beautiful tribute to the Eternal Word and they should never have taken it out.

I'm going to leave our Diekmann discussion alone. It's covered more than enough ground, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

 
At Friday, August 24, 2007 1:02:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Post revolution, I was taught Matthew and Luke depend on Mark with supplements from additional sources or more of the same now lost single source (Q, quelle) behind Mark, whereas John derives from a different tradition.

We were also taught that dropping the Last Gospel was another return to sanity -- the old mass saying Go the Mass is ended then it doesn't end.

As to Fr Godfrey, we can let it go. My main thought on him for this blog has been that a) Vatican II would have never happened without the currents represented by Fr Godfrey, and b) post conciliar Catholicism is simply a watered down version of those currrents and depends upon them for their existence.

 
At Friday, August 24, 2007 11:00:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

We were also taught that dropping the Last Gospel was another return to sanity -- the old mass saying Go the Mass is ended then it doesn't end.

That rates another "Pfui" (my beloved Lutheran grandmother used to use that word a lot!) from me. The Last Gospel was magnificent and in in these trying times we could use the prayer to St. Michael too.

I'm becoming very interested again in the whole process that led up to Vatican II (I was in my early teens when the Council was convened). Especially Annibale Bugnini and all the lurid speculations that he was a freemason. I am especially curious as to why he was fired from one conciliar commission by John XXIII and brought back by Paul VI.

Post revolution, I was taught Matthew and Luke depend on Mark with supplements from additional sources or more of the same now lost single source (Q, quelle) behind Mark, whereas John derives from a different tradition.

Yup, that was the construct in the Protestant mainline also.

 
At Saturday, August 25, 2007 3:52:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Bless us and save us Mrs O'Davis!

You want to leave off discussing Fr Godfrey, then bring up Hannibal Lector, er, Bugnini?

Well blow me down. God bless me if I'm not old enough to remember the old people when I was a kid upset about the tinkering around with Holy Week. Guess who? Bugnini and the Commission for Liturgical Reform. Hah! We had no idea the mass (no pun) liturgical destruction coming.

And wouldn't these "traditionalists" love to hear that the 1962 editions they cling to and that the miserable Motu now calls the "extraordinary" rite of the Roman church were the products of, guess who -- Bugnini! Who at the same time headed the Preparatory Commission that prepared the essential Sacrosanctum Concilium, which reeks to heaven of strange fire! Only in Rome. Then Montini (whose appearance before the United Nations was a stunning call to repentance from sin and faith in Christ for salvation -- not!) appoints him head of the Consilium, the black shirts to carry it out!

Freemason? Not only that, it was said by those close to him that he was a suicide. Who needs the Da Vinci code? The real stuff is even more bizarre -- I'd say Byzantine, but that would not reflect well on the Eastern Church, whose liturgies are untouched by these savages.

So you get mature Bugnini in the "ordinary" rite and early Bugnini in the "extraordinary" rite. Or you can pray, pay and obey and ignore the whole deal since if it's the Catholic Church it's got to be right, right?

Great Zeus Cloudgatherer! I am reminded of the guy in Rabelais, who got all wound out and had to curse but didn't have time and sent his page outside to curse for him for half an hour! Judas H Priest. Great Caesar's Ghost. Gott hilf mir. OK, when the German starts it's time to stop.

 
At Wednesday, August 29, 2007 3:54:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

And wouldn't these "traditionalists" love to hear that the 1962 editions they cling to and that the miserable Motu now calls the "extraordinary" rite of the Roman church were the products of, guess who -- Bugnini!

As I posted elsewhere, that was the reason (although not the only one) that the SSPV splintered off from the SSPX. And who knows how many other sedevacantists are out there now.

Pay, pray and obey? I still recall one Mass when a little boy behind me was singing his little heart out. Out of the mouths of Babes.

Much more welcome than the elderly woman reported by Thomas Day who muttered "I don't go for that sh*t" when he offered the Peace of Christ to her. She returned to praying her rosary as the Mass continued.

 
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