Some wished to modernize it opening free entrance to “reasonable” proposals and ideas inspired by the spirit of “Humanism.” This tendency represented an overt departure from the Roman tradition. One of the experiments gained wide acceptance: a new breviary published under the name of cardinal Quignonez made the Office more “rational.” It ousted a great part of the traditional repertory, made the Hours quite uniform (with three psalms in each), and removed the chanted genres. The result was a short, “geometrically” arranged breviary, destined for reading. Since this breviary shortened the portion of the priests’ daily prayer considerably, it gained rapid and wide acceptance.

The other proposal was to “purify” the Office from the “ballasts” and restore it in the spirit of tradition. This trend found a good argument partly in the results of the “humanistic” reforms, partly in the liturgical innovations of Protestantism, which made clear (in a negative way) how closely the cult is connected with the depositum fidei (the preservation of the purity of faith).

The Tridentine Council rejected the reform Offices (the Quignonez breviary included). Those who were obliged to pray the Office could either return to their traditional local (-Roman) rite, or take over the new Roman-Tridentine liturgical books planned to be prepare subsequently. The new breviary published with the authority of St. Pius V was a slightly modified version of the Officium Romanae Curiae which was the supposed “authentic” form of the Roman tradition. The medieval additions and the legacy of the Carolingian or Post-Carolingian times (accepted earlier in great parts of Europe) were to a great extent omitted, and the Tridentine Breviary (like its predecessor, the Curial one) also ousted the “pastoral” elements taken over from the tradition of ancient Roman basilicas.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)

No wonder that the work of conversion in Mexico followed hard upon the heels of conquest, and to quote Bourne’s words farther,

“The Aztec priesthood relaxed its bonds and the masses were relieved from the earlier burdens of the faith. In the old world the progress from actual to vicarious sacrifice for sin had been slow and painful through the ages; in the new it was accomplished in but a single generation. The old religion had inculcated a relatively high morality, but its dreadful rites overhung the present life like a black cloud and for the future it offered little consolation.” …”The work of the Church was rapidly adapted to the new field of labor.”

The triumph of the Church’s influence was the preservation of the natives and their gradual uplift. This was a slow process and required almost divine patience, but it was infinitely better than the method by which the English-speaking colonies, in a chapter of history that is almost untellable in its completeness, brought the natives of the country that they had invaded to ruin and practically obliteration. This experiment in applied sociology so successfully accomplished must be placed to the credit of the Spaniards also, and it stands out with all the more interest by contrast with English neglect of duty…

If the effort to understand Spanish America now so manifest will only go to the extent of having our people realize the full truth that until the nineteenth century English America was far behind Spanish America in facilities for higher education, in culture and literature, in the application of the arts to municipal life and, above all, in interest in science, then the prevalent impression that the Popes and the Catholic Church are opposed to genuine progress and true science will disappear. Catholic America was far ahead of Protestant America in scientific education and research until the untimely break from Spain left the Spanish-American countries the prey of political disturbances.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

For Americans it is very probable that the chapter in the history of science which will demonstrate most clearly that there was not only no opposition on the part of the Popes or the Church authorities to the teachings of science or its development, but on the contrary encouragement and patronage, in spite of our English traditions to the contrary, is that which gives even very briefly the story of the evolution of science and its teaching on the American continent. Notwithstanding the very prevalent impression, indeed we might say the practically universal persuasion, that there was nothing worth while talking about in any department of education in America before the nineteenth century, except what little there was in the English colonies, and while it is confidently assumed that above all science received no attention from our Southern neighbors, Spanish America not only surpassed English America in education, but far outdistanced English America in what was accomplished for scientific research and the evolution of the knowledge of a large number of scientific subjects in a great many ways.

Even those among us who thought themselves well read in American history have, as a rule, known almost nothing of this until comparatively recent years. Professor Bourne of Yale, whose untimely death deprived the United States of a distinguished historical scholar, was the first to point out emphatically how far ahead of the English were the Spanish colonies in every mode of education, but particularly in the cultivation of science…

Two Spanish-American universities were founded under Papal charters almost a full century before Harvard as our first small college in English America began its career. Harvard was not to be a university in any proper sense of the term for a full century and a half after its foundation, while the universities of Mexico and Peru, largely under the influence of the ecclesiastical authorities and owing nearly everything to Church patronage under the Spanish Crown, had all the essential university faculties before the close of the sixteenth century. In spite of the predominant Church influence, which, if we were to credit former English traditions, must have been fatal to the evolution of science, Professor Bourne’s researches show that in the sixteenth century the Spanish-American universities were already doing such scientific work as the students in English America became interested in only during the nineteenth century.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

As the Byzantine Church spread to regions inhabited by pagans, new branches of its rite sprang up in the new languages. This process involved not only the texts of the celebrant, but also the chant which began to be sung in the new languages without any speculation about the linguistic character or difficulties caused by different prosodic conditions. As an obvious procedure the same chant was sung, changing only the language. This process is so natural that I myself once met a cantor who sang ex abrupto in Serbian from the Bulgarian ritual or vice versa, as necessity required.

When the Hussites or Luther and his followers decided to change the language of the service, they could have gone down the same path. But rather another path was opened, namely, the replacement of liturgical chants with new examples. At first these were more or less related to the chant, but later they became poems with only a slight reminiscence of liturgical or biblical texts, and finally they evolved into fully independent congregational hymns inspired by subjective religious experiences. The divergence of these two paths took place in connection with changes in the history of literature, liturgy and music. Byzantine chant consists of artistic prose enunciated in an idiomatic musical language, while literature in the age of the early Protestant movements was dominated by strophic verse, the “poem,” and the music by melodious, syllabic, metrical singing.

Strangely, Protestantism while advocating “sola scriptura” proved insensitive to the wording and musical form proper to the Bible taking instead the late medieval trope and cantio as a starting point for its chant. A genuine reform, the longed-for return to “origins” would have meant basing the singing of the congregations on the prose text of the Bible by adapting idiomatic musical material. However, the Reformation simply continued the development of the late Middle Ages in liturgical chant (as in many other matters), instead of returning to the primordial Christian traditions. In this matter, too, it was a child of its time.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)

[T]he arguments advanced to show the opposition of the Catholic Church to science are founded on actual ignorance of the history of science or misunderstandings of particular incidents of that history. Not only was there no policy of opposition to science, but on the contrary encouragement of interest in scientific subjects, patronage of scientific workers and even definite endowment of scientific research by the ecclesiastical authorities. The tradition of Church opposition to science is founded especially on lack of knowledge of what was done for science in the medieval period and a misunderstanding of the medieval universities. This tradition owed its origin partly to the Renaissance, which, having rediscovered Greek, despised whatever Western Europe had accomplished during the preceding centuries and spoke of all that was done as Gothic, as if only worthy of barbarous Gothic ancestors.

Another large factor, however, in the creation of this tradition and one which meant more for us here in America than the Renaissance, was the religious revolt of the sixteenth century in Germany which has been called the Reformation. The reformers made it a point to minimize, if not actually to misrepresent, what had been accomplished under the old Church regime, and this Protestant tradition lived on here in America with much more vitality even than in Europe.

The consequence was the bringing up of a series of generations, who, if not actually believing as so many absurdly did, that the Pope of Rome was the Scarlet Woman and the Church the Babylon of the Apocalypse, were quite sure at least that no good could possibly have come out of the Nazareth of pre-Reformation times. It is only in recent years that we have come to recognize that all the talk about the Dark Ages is, as John Fiske said, simply due to ignorance of the time and its accomplishment. The later medieval period might well be called the “Bright Ages” for its art and architecture, its magnificent literature, its interest in education and in scholarship, its development of democracy and its formulation of the great laws and constitutions by which the rights of men were guaranteed in practically every country in Europe. Just as soon as this true state of affairs with regard to the medieval period is recognized, then all question of any policy of Church opposition to education and science disappears.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

Yet the most important result of the shrinkage of phantasy is to be found in the lack of ability for religious metaphysical visualization. The decay of the imaginative faculty has in this field the most detrimental consequences. Eternal life, God and devil, the angels, the lives of the saints, Golgatha and the Resurrection, the whole theistic Weltanschauung surpasses completely the faculties of the technical homunculus, who like the unfortunate Apostle Thomas only believes what he sees.

The religious communities of the United States, in the industrial areas, who depend upon their flock financially, have therefore to interest their members in material, social, and political questions. These religious societies are in exactly the same situation as the “intellectuals” who follow public opinion instead of leading it, the press or the higher institutions of learning. The Catholics at least have nowhere compromised on the essentials. The “Churches” on the other hand, have followed the trend toward the left in a slavish way, trembling in their shoes lest they be accused of being old fashioned, reactionary, or uncompromising. The masses who cared more and more for security, after having lost their enthusiasm for the lottery of liberal capitalism with increasingly unfavorable odds, have induced the shrewder and more “farseeing” part of the ministry to side with Leftism, thus hoping for a longer lease of life. This involves the acceptance of socialist and pink tendencies, an enthusiasm for all humanitarian and “progressive” ideas like birth control, the surgical abortus, euthanasia, “free love,” and pacifism, not to mention the numerous inroads of modern skepticism, so that little of the depositum fidei remains. The residue is a pale, problematic humanitarianism, which looks with greater respect to the “Men in White” than to the ministers of their faith.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (1943)

It is a well-known fact that the Negro is, in the South, a second class citizen. But even in the rest of the United States, in the land of Whitman, Emerson, Lincoln, and Susan P. Anthony he has not the same recognition as in the City of the Bourbons and the Bastille, or in the benevolent autocracy of Salazar, or anywhere else in Europe except in progressive Germany. It is a fact that colored people are more respected in the Old World with its medieval memories than in the Protestant part of the New World. Paul Robeson has infinitely more trouble to get a hotel room in New York than in Madrid. It would be difficult to imagine an equivalent of a black vice-president of the Chambre des Deputes or the black French undersecretary for colonial affairs (1935) in this country where people are accustomed to think of Negroes in terms of redcaps and bootblacks. But there are aspects of the color question which are far more unpleasant than these. Even in the more hierarchic South, with its Jim Crow car and the ugly Scottsborough case, the results of a materialistic conception of man becomes apparent. Evolutionism gave to the old superstitions a new “scientific” cloak and the view that the Negro stands somewhere between man and ape gains ground rather than loses it.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (1943)