Peter Jones wrote:...I suggest we all go back to first principles and read paragraphs one to four of Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Those very paragraphs may well be the very heart of the problem. Although they look very fine and dandy, they are deficient in any precision which you would expect in an outline contract specification or invitation to tender, which are the equivalent documents in the secular world.
Sacrosanctum Concilium wrote:The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times.
Anyone preparing to work from Sacrosanctum Concilium would look immediately for the definitions of "sound tradition", "where necessary", "vigor (sic)", and "the circumstances and needs of modern times." Although further down the same document a little more is given on these topics, it hardly amounts to a rigorous definition. The whole document would make the eyes of Mgr Jarndyce light up with glee. It can be argued about for generations.
Think about this sentence:
Sacrosanctum Cncilium wrote:For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.
At first sight this appears to define the liturgy as the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives...
But this is just one possible way of using language. Surely this describes the use of liturgy, and quite possibly its purpose, but not what it is made up of, which is what we often want to know, and argue about.
Remember C S Lewis in the voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace says that in our world a star is a ball of flaming gas. "No" says the retired star, "that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of." We who actually piece together instances of liturgy on the production line, as musicians, priests, or any other role, need to know both, and Sacrosanctum Concilium is very vague at the nuts and bolts level.
I think we are in the position of someone mixing something to a poor specification. Do we add sultanas because they are good for cakes, cement because it is good for walls, or farmyard manure because it is good for roses? After all, all three are well established in our culture.