John R. Donahue raises a troubling question in the current issue of Commonweal: To what extent is the restoration of pre-Vatican II liturgy and ideology a dismantling of the Church's relation to Judaism (painfully recovered at Vatican II)? Also, one wonders to what extent the neuralgic reaction to Liberation Theology was due to an aversion to its Jewish roots in the Old Testament.
'Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states clearly, “The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. In this way a more representative portion of the Holy Scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.” The postconciliar General Instruction on the Roman Missal implemented this directive by prescribing three readings, one from the Old Testament, followed by a responsorial psalm, a reading from Paul or other apostolic writings, and a Gospel reading-all arranged in a three-year cycle. This cycle of readings has been followed by many other Christian groups and has been hailed as a significant ecumenical achievement. Groups such as the SSPX, which claim to be guardians of “Tradition,” might be surprised to know that prior to the Council of Trent various rites such as the Ambrosian, the Gallican, and the Mozarabic, contained three readings, including one from “prophecy,” that is, the Old Testament, as did the older Roman rite for special feasts. Any widespread restoration of the Tridentine liturgy means that the great narratives of Exodus, the struggles for the land, the outcries of the prophets against injustice, along with the joyous praise of God and pleas for help in the Psalms, will no longer be “opened up” for parishioners in many Catholic churches. The specter of Marcion, the second-century heretic who wanted to excise the Old Testament from Christian faith, seems to hover over the restored Tridentine rite. With the granting of widespread permission to use the Tridentine rite and the possible reinstatement of over five hundred SSPX priests celebrating public liturgies, an increasing number of Catholics will be deprived of the rich treasury of the inspired texts that Jews and Christians together cherish as God’s Word. That shared biblical language is indispensible for any serious dialogue with our Jewish brothers and sisters.'