In this document, I concern myself only with the Rite of
Mass. This is not because I am not concerned about equivalent changes made
to the celebration of the Sacraments (especially ordination), the Office
and various "popular devotions" (especially Benediction), but simply to
limit my subject to one of (barely) manageable proportions. To save confusion,
ill will and misunderstanding, I shall first list a number of propositions
I have no sympathy for:
The Order of Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VIth (the New
Rite: "NR") is invalid.
The traditional Roman Rite as codified by Pope Pius Vth (the
Old Rite: "OR") is not in need of reform.
Latin is to be strongly preferred over the vernacular.
It is desirable that all Western Rite Catholics conform to
the same Use.
Those who generally approve of the NR are heretics.
I brief I shall argue below that the Liturgical changes of
the 1960's were generally misconceived, pastorally inept, uncatholic in
character and profoundly damaging to the life of the Church. The case for
this has previously been made very thoroughly by Michael Davies in his
book ["Pope Paul's New Mass", Angelus Press (1990)].
My main purpose here is make my own position clear and to try to delineate
a possible way forward based on the idea of a Living and Developing Tradition:
as opposed, on the one hand, to sterile conservation of the past and, on
the other, a dissolute disregard for it.
Not all the 20th Century Liturgical changes were
For what it's worth, I think that, a number of limited reforms
of the OR were called for. The OR was codified under Pope St Pius Vth in
the aftermath of the Council of Trent. There was little attempt to vet
or evaluate or perfect the Liturgy in this process. The only concern was
that it should conform (in a Q.A. sense) with the "best" Roman documents
and contemporary practice. Until that time, it had been subject to gradual
evolutionary change: errors and abuses arising and then being corrected
and new ideas being introduced and either passing or failing the test of
time. The fact that it was frozen at a certain moment necessarily meant
that it was captured "warts and all", with certain contemporary abuses
uncorrected. Hence it is pretty obvious that one should expect the the
"Tridentine Codification" to be capable of improvement.
"Must we .... conclude
.... that all these things should have been kept unchanged? The [Second
Vatican] Council, with temperance and prudence has answered otherwise.
Some reform and renewal was needed .... Is it not devoutly to be wished
.... that those who have lived through the Council should strive, in perfect
submission to the Successor of Peter, so to bring [reform and renewal]
about as to arouse true and generous undertakings sprung from the purest
tradition of the Church and born of the Spirit of God yet living in His
The first part of the Mass, intended
for the instruction of the faithful and as a means of expressing their
faith, clearly stood in need of a means of achieving these ends more plainly,
and in some way, more intelligibly. In my humble opinion, two of the reforms
proposed for this purpose appeared useful: first the rites of this first
part and some vernacular translations.
Let the priest draw near the faithful,
communicate with them, pray and sing with them, stand at the lectern to
give the readings from the Epistle and Gospel in their tongue, sing the
Kyrie, the Gloria and the Credo with the faithful in the traditional divine
melodies. All of these are happy reforms, restoring to this part of the
Mass its true purpose. The arrangement of this teaching part of the rite
should set, in the sung Masses of Sunday, the pattern to which other Masses
should conform. These aspects of renewal seem excellent." [Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre "A Bishop Speaks: Writings andAddresses
I next present my evaluation of the various changes that
have in fact been made.
up to 1962
The wholesale changes made to the liturgy after Vatican II
are on an entirely different plane, both textually and theologically, compared
to the simplifications of the 16th century; nevertheless, the simplification
of the 16th centuries (with the removal of much of the medieval material)
was dramatic. In much popular traditionalist historiography of the Roman
Rite, the impression is given that very few changes were made to the liturgical
books of the Roman Rite from the late 6th to the 16th centuries, and that
very little was lost or dispensed with. While the wholesale removal of
the sequences, tropes and other rites and ecclesiastical compositions are
sometimes mentioned, this is normally done in passing, as if to say, "St.
Pius V got rid of some trash.... don't think about it... it was all worthless."
Now, Pope St. Pius V was a great Pontiff and a saint, I do not deny his
authority to do what he did, and I love the Missal that he codified; nevertheless,
I think it is a legitimate question to ask: "Was too much thrown out in
the 16th century? Was the process by which many old rituals and ceremonies
were simplified or cancelled out altogether, a sign of a creeping liturgical
minimalism that would finally attain full force in our own time?" Many
of the "tropes" and sequences that were thrown out (some of which came
back to life as "hymns" and "processional chants" in hymn books) are not
trash at all, but gems of liturgy and of theology; and one doubts very
much if we are better off because of their disappearance.
The Holy Week "reform" of 1956 was, I do not doubt, well
intentioned. The idea, I suppose, was to relieve the average parish of
the undoubtedly onerous ceremonial that had been conceived for and was
only appropriate in the context of a Cathedral or other major Church. Because
a reduced liturgy would be more practical, what remained might be better
performed and so be more edifying for the average congregation. Unfortunately,
the reform was effected in terms of simply excising huge chunks from the
rite; in particular, and most sadly, large numbers of pertinent lessons
from Holy Scripture. Instead of making certain texts optional, the reading
of these lessons was, in effect, forbidden! I suppose the Holy See just
couldn't stomach the idea that local decisions on liturgical matters could
ever be legitimate. This, it turned out, set a dangerous precedent, and
It was common belief that it was "ultra vires" for even
Pope to sanction the slightest change to the Roman Canon. First because
it was in some sense viewed as almost "magical" and second because it was
known to be the oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use. The Eucharistic
prayers ascribed to Chrysostom and Basil, for example, are much
later in composition. Although they are undoubtedly more sophisticated,
polished and theologically erudite, they are considerably less Apostolic.
Indeed, the Roman Canon remained unchanged from Patristic times until 1962:
with the exception of one short clause inserted by St. Gregory the Great
in the "Hanc Igitur". The reaction of the Roman laity to that change
was one of outrage. They threatened to kill the pope because he had dared
to touch the Sacred Liturgy! Since that time no pope dared to change the
Canon, until Pope John XXIII added the phrase "beati
Ioseph, eiusdem Virginis Sponsi" [of blessed Joseph, Spouse of the same
Virgin] to the Communicantes of the Canon. Even this was a shock
to the Catholic system. Clearly, it was a pious act. Certainly no doctrinal
harm was done: the names of other saints had been added to it in the past.
Sadly, this change opened the way to others being made.
The introduction of the "dialogue" form of Low Mass (in
which the congregation as a whole was encouraged to "answer" the priest
with the responses previously made by the server alone) was a huge improvement.
Although "participation" in the liturgy is not at all equivalent to "making
verbal responses" (as anyone who has shared in the celebration of an Eastern
Rite Liturgy will understand) it does help! Moreover, I am fairly sure
that many of the server's "responses" were originally meant to be the "liturgy
of the laity" as a whole and had only been restricted to the server as
a sensible reaction to the low level of education and literacy of medieval
congregations. Some of the "responses" are properly hymns. The Kyrie, Gloria,
Sanctus and Agnus Dei had earlier been usurped by the choir, as remains
the case with equivalent texts in the typical Eastern Liturgy. The Creed
was originally imposed on the priest as a sort of "personal oath of orthodoxy",
rather like the
Oath promulgated by Pope St. Pius Xth: which was, however, never incorporated
into the Mass! Others, such as the Introit, Tract, Gradual and Alleluia
were intended for the choir and soloist singers (cantors) from the beginning.
Still others, I suppose had never been intended for general use: e.g. the
responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Nevertheless, they can
be extended to congregational use with good effect: except that it might
be even better to have the congregation sing or say the Introit while the
priest and server get on with the "Judica me" etc, and not have the priest
say the Introit at all.
The second confiteor (before the distribution of Holy
Communion) though something that I personally find helpful, was clearly
a minor "corruption" (part of a "Communion Service" intruded into the flow
of the Order of Mass) and its suppression was understandable, though I
believ pastorlaly inept.
Other Changes that were or could have been made
The re-introduction of the general distribution of Communion
from the Chalice was a good idea. The original rationale for lay communion
to be "under one kind" ceased to be valid generations ago.
The use of the vernacular, in accordance with the guidelines
enunciated in Vatican II's Constitution of the Liturgy "Sacrosantum Concillium"
(rather than how it is in fact being used) would have had an entirely positive
effect of the Church's liturgical life.
It would have been a good idea to have the whole congregation
join with the celebrant in the Lord's Prayer. This was a feature of the
1965 "Dialogue Mass".
renewal of the lectionary was long over due. This could have most conveniently
have been done by adding additional cycles of readings in addition to those
appointed to be read in the Tridentine order. Also, optional Old Testament
lessons could have been allocated to the existing cycle of Epistles
and Gospels. Allowing lay men and women to read both OT Lesson and Epistle
(in the absence of a subdeacon) would have been a good idea: though it
would have been better for them to be given suitable training and then
be made "Lectors", one of the Traditional
The suppression of the Last Gospel as part of of the public
eucharistic liturgy, as was done in 1965, was an understandable move: though
as a Platonist I find it sad to see the regular
celebration of the Divine Logos removed from Church's liturgical life.
A review of the rubrics was long over due. The amount
of hand and object kissing and the number of special privileges and exceptions
pertaining to various ranks of prelate was excessive. Moreover certain
practises associated with particular celebrations (such as the use of a
"fake coffin" in the Requiem Mass for All Souls day) should never have
The extension of the "Kiss of Peace" to the whole congregation
is a good idea, in principle. However, I think that this should have been
transferred to the offertory (where the Anglicans and other protestants
place it!) because it would both be less distracting there and also more
The introduction of an "Offertory Procession", would have
been a good idea.
The introduction of "prayers of the faithful" would have
been a good idea. I would have preferred it to have taken the form of a
litany, like those that feature in the liturgies of the eastern churches.
The composition or adoption of other Eucharistic Prayers
to complement (but not supplant!) the Roman Canon might have been an enrichment
of the Roman Liturgy. The extension of the range of Eucharistic Prefaces
is fairly obviously a good idea: though I think that the use of the Preface
of the Holy Trinity (or others on the same theme) for all the Sundays between
Trinity Sunday and Advent should have been continued. This because of the
crucial importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity,
and because it is so very poorly understood and preached.
The evolution of local Uses (as in Sarum, Ambrosian, Mozorabic
etc) could have been encouraged. Unlike the practice of the East; it was
never part of the tradition of the West to impose the Liturgy of its Patriarchal
See upon all of its provinces. This expedient was only adopted after the
Council of Trent, partly by accident and partly as a laudable tactic in
the Counter Reformation fight back against Protestantism. The important
(theoretical) question of how such Uses might be evolved is discussed at
the end of this essay.
The New Rite was nevertheless a disaster for
The typical Catholic reading the previous section of this
essay might be forgiven for asking "Well what is his point? What he's describing
is more or less exactly the situation that we now have!" This is far from
the truth. While the NR can be presented as being what I have just described:
in fact it is nothing of the kind.
Benedict XVI's own Master of Ceremonies has admitted that
the changes imposed on the liturgy in the late Twentieth Century were not
truly in accord with the suggestions of the Council Fathers.
"There is an urgent
need to reaffirm the 'authentic' spirit of the liturgy, such as it
is present in the uninterrupted tradition of the Church, and attested,
in continuity with the past, in the most recent Magisterial teachings:
starting from the second Vatican council up to the present pontificate.
I purposefully used the word continuity, a word very dear to our present
Holy Father. He has made it the only authoritative criterion whereby one
can correctly interpret the life of the Church, and more specifically,
the conciliar documents, including all the proposed reforms contained in
them. How could it be any different? Can one truly speak of a Church
of the past and a Church of the future as if some historical break in the
body of the Church had occurred?..
For some years now, several voices
have been heard within Church circles talking about the necessity of
a new liturgical renewal. Of a movement, in some ways analogous to
the one which formed the basis for the reform promoted by the second Vatican
Council, [This 'movement' was the 'Liturgical
Movement'. Its vision was not brought to fruition by the actual 'reform'
that took place - Pharsea] capable of operating
a reform of the reform, or rather, one more step ahead in understanding
the authentic spirit of the liturgy and of its celebration; its goal
would be to carry on that providential reform of the liturgy that the conciliar
Fathers had launched but has not always, [What
an understatement! - Pharsea] in its practical
implementation, found a timely and happy fulfillment."
[G. Marini "Introduction to the
spirit of the Liturgy" (Jan 2010)]
Archbishop Bugnini, co-author of the New Mass himself said
that the changes were not just slight ones but actually
with a fundamental renovation .... a total change .... a new creation."
In support of this statement, the following remarks can be made:
Explicit mention of the Holy Trinity has been minimized.
is not a single "glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy
Spirit" left in the NR. Many of the prayers of the 1962 Missal are addressed
to the Second Person of the Trinity, and two: the "Suscipe, sancta Trinitas"
at the Offertory and the "Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitase" are addressed
to the whole Trinity. This pattern of liturgical prayer reflects and makes
manifest the central dogma of the Holy and Undivided
Trinity. The 1970 Missal removes almost all of the prayers addressed
to the incarnate Son and both of those that are addressed to the whole
The word anima, 'soul',
has been excised from the 1970 liturgy of the
dead and elsewhere. Prayers addressing the soul of the dead person are
replaced or adapted to refer to God's 'famulus(a)', Godís servant or handmaid.
All references to the priest's sinfulness and compunction
have been removed.
Innumerable Eucharistic Prayers for various purposes have
The use of Latin has been almost extirpated.
The rubrics have been grossly simplified.
It is virtually forbidden for Mass to be celebrated with
the Celebrant facing in the same direction as the Congregation, and the
altars of almost every Western Rite Catholic Church have been broken up,
ripped out or at least re-located to enforce "Mass facing the People".
The Offertory Prayers have been removed.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar have been removed.
Almost every reference to the saints have been removed.
Use of the maniple and (until the promulgation of the 2002
General Instruction) the chalice veil has been suppressed.
The length of the Eucharistic fast has been reduced such
that it means nothing in practice, at least on a Sunday.
The calendar of traditional Saints has been pruned excessively,
while an immoderate haste to canonize numerous contemporary figures has
The idea of "commemorations" has been abolished.
Holy Days of Obligation (with the exception of Christmas)
are regularly transferred to the nearest Sunday.
"....one simply cannot
deny that the products of Pope Paul VI's Consillium contained significant
and unprecedented ruptures with liturgical tradition."
[Dom Alcuin Reid: "Do we
need a New Liturgical Movement?" UK CIEL conference, London (2004)]
"Let those who, as I did, knew and
sung the High Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant, remember it if they can.
Let them compare it with the Mass which we now have. Not only have the
words, songs, and gestures been changed. To tell the truth: it is a whole
new Liturgy of the Mass. This must be said without subterfuge: the Roman
Rite, as we knew it, exists no longer. It has been destroyed." [Fr
still feel robbed and cheated out of my heritage due to the misinformed
ever changing directives of some diocesan liturgical commissions
in regard to liturgy on the parish level. Most of what passes for
liturgical use in the average Roman parish has little in my humble opinion
to do with the liturgical directives of Sancrosanctum Concilium in the
documents of Vatican II.
That makes me angry. It makes
me angry that a whole generation of Romans have grown up being led by many
who for all their good intentions basically destroyed the Romant Rite in
their zeal for antiquity and making the liturgy revelant to the common
I have seen the Novus Ordo Missae
done with much beauty and solemnity (St Agnes church in St. Paul, Minnesota
and St. Michaels Church in Munich) but unfortunately too often the liberty
that is taken in regard to rubrics and decorum is lacking in continuity
and is not an organic development of the centuries but in many situations
a real breach with continuity. This is what disturbs me. This and the often
times indifference I've found among many Roman priests who are misinformed
has caused me much grief.
If the faithful are strengthened
in their faith in the Eucharistic Saviour and in their zeal for performing
good works by their assisting at and participating in the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass when their lives are transformed in holiness by the liturgy
be it Anglican Use, Novus Ordo, Tridentine or whatever: then the liturgy
is serving its purpose I think.
My question is whether this is the
case in many places."
[Private communication from an
Anglo-Catholic (January 2006)]
"Are we truly certain that the promotion
of an active participation consists in rendering everything to the greatest
extent possible immediately comprehensible? May it not be the case that
entering into God's mystery might be facilitated and, sometimes, even better
accompanied by that which touches principally the reasons of the heart?
Is it not often the case that a disproportionate amount of space is
given over to empty and trite speech, forgetting that both dialogue
and silence belong in the liturgy, congregational singing and choral music,
images, symbols, gestures? Do not, perhaps, also the Latin language, Gregorian
chant, and sacred polyphony belong to this manifold language which conducts
us to the center of the mystery?"
[G. Marini "Introduction to the
spirit of the Liturgy" (Jan 2010)]
I think the Motu Proprio has a great
value in and of itself, for the Church and for the liturgy. Although some
regret this - judging from the reactions that have arrived and which continue
to arrive - it is right and necessary to say that the Motu Proprio is not
a step back nor a return to the past. It is to recognize and accept, with
simplicity, in all its breadth and history, the great treasures of the
tradition, which has in the liturgy its most genuine and profound expression.
The Church cannot afford
to disregard nor give up the treasures and rich legacy of this tradition
contained within the Roman Rite. It would be a betrayal and denial
We cannot abandon the historical legacy
of the Church's liturgy, nor desire to establish everything from anew -
as some would claim - without amputating the body of the Church. Some understood
the conciliar liturgical reform as a rupture, and not as an organic development
of the tradition.
In those years after
the Council, "change" was an almost magical word; it was necessary to change
that which had been, to the point of forgetting it; everything new; it
was necessary to introduce newness after a human work and creation.
We cannot forget that the post-conciliar
liturgical reform coincided with a cultural climate intensely marked and
dominated by a conception of man as 'creator' which hardly goes well with
a liturgy which, above all, is the action of God and His priority, a "right"
of God, the worship of God and also the tradition which we receive and
we are given once and forever. The liturgy is not of our doing, it is not
of our making, but this conception of man as 'creator' leads to a secularized
vision of everything, where often, God does not have a place;
this passion for change
and the loss of tradition has not yet been surpassed,
and this, in my opinion, among the
other things, has meant that some saw the Motu Proprio with much distrust
or that they dislike welcoming it and implementing it, re-visiting the
great wealth of the Roman liturgical tradition which we cannot squander,
or seeking and accepting the mutual enrichment between the two forms of
the one Roman rite, "ordinary" and "extraordinary". The Motu Proprio, Summorum
Pontificum, is of great value which we should all appreciate has not only
to do with the liturgy, but with the whole of the Church's being and what
it means to tradition, without which the Church is converted into a changing
human institution, and of course, also has an application to the reading
interpretation that is made of Vatican II. When one reads and interprets
it in the light of rupture or discontinuity, one does not understand anything
of the Council and distorts it. For this reason, as the Pope indicates,
only a "hermeneutic of continuity" leads us to a right and correct reading
of the Council, and to a knowledge of what it says and teaches as a
whole, and particularly in the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
Concilium, which is inseparable, furthermore, from that same whole. The
Motu Proprio, therefore, also has a very significant value for the communion
of the Church. [Cardinal Cañizares
Llovera, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (Jan 2010)]
In addition to these universal changes, there
is the matter of the character of the official English version of the liturgical
The ICEL English rendering of the NR contains explicit and
The ICEL version of the NR is not a translation and contains
The ICEL version of the NR employs an impoverished idiom
of the English Language.
The Jerusalem Bible is an inaccurate and partizan translation
of the Holy Scriptures.
The following observations regarding common practice can
also be made:
The laity are encouraged to join in with parts (or even all)
of the Eucharistic Prayer.
Clergy often neglect to play their proper liturgical roles,
giving way to lay people.
Clergy regularly modify the texts used, improvising prayers
and bits of prayers.
The standard of serving is abysmal.
The standard of reading is abysmal.
The standard of singing, and music in general, is abysmal.
The standard of preaching is abysmal: both in presentation
The following is quoted out of a sense of
"No one doubts the great
effects resulting from the liturgical renewal prompted by the spirit of
the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the post-conciliar liturgy has greatly
fostered the active, conscious and fruitful participation of the faithful
in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar." ["Instrumentum
laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
(July 7, 2005)
The same document states that:
"An increasingly secularized
society has caused a weakening in the sense of mystery. This is witnessed
in mis-interpretations and distorted ideas in the Council's liturgical
renewal, which has led to rites superficial in nature and devoid of
Some liturgical celebrations suffer
from an improper balance, ranging from a passive following of rituals to
an excessive creativity which sometimes draws too much attention to the
celebrant of the Eucharist.....
Many responses noted that some celebrants
at the liturgy seem more like showmen, who must draw people's attention
to themselves, instead of servants of Christ, called to conduct the faithful
to union with him....."
["Instrumentum laboris" of the
11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)]
"[There are] deficiencies
and shadows in the celebration of the Eucharist on the part of both the
clergy and the faithful which seem to have their origin in a weakened sense
of the sacred in the Sacrament .... for example, a
neglect by the celebrant
and the ministers to use proper liturgical vestments and the participants'
lack of befitting dress for Mass; the use of profane music in Church;
tacit consent to eliminate certain liturgical gestures thought to be too
traditional, such as genuflexion before the Blessed Sacrament; an inadequate
catechesis for Communion in the hand and its improper distribution;
lack of reverence before, during and after the celebration of Holy Mass,
not only by the laity but also the celebrant; the scant architectural
and artistic quality of sacred buildings and sacred vessels; and instances
of syncretism in integrating elements from other religions in the inculturation
of liturgical forms." ["Instrumentum laboris"
of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7,
Note that this document seeks to lay the blame for the desolation
of Catholic worship on "secularised society" rather than on any policies
of the hierarchy, where it truly belongs.
Subsequently, the secretary of the Congregation
for Divine Worship conceded some "negative results"
of liturgical changes since Vatican II, and voiced support for reform of
the post-conciliar liturgy. Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige
Don told the I Media news agency that the Council fathers had hoped to
reinvigorate the sense of an active encounter with God through the liturgy.
"But unfortunately, after
the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection,
in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past."
The result, the archbishop said, was quite different from
the Council's intent. As examples, he listed:
"The abandonment of the sacred and
"The confusion between the common priesthood
of all the faithful and the ordained ministry."
"The concept of the Eucharist as a
common banquet rather than a representation of Christ's Sacrifice."
These changes, he said, have produced negative consequences
for the Church even beyond the liturgy. In the face of a growing secular
trend in society, the Church urgently needs to cultivate a deeper sense
of the sacred and a more active interior life. Fortunately, the archbishop
said, there is a growing sense among Catholics of the need to recover
the sense of the sacred. He said that the work of the Congregation
for Divine Worship entails helping bishops and episcopal conferences to
refine the liturgy by incorporating the strengths of the past.
Asked whether he was hinting at approval of the use of
the old Missal of St. Pius V, he said that requests for the use of the
pre-conciliar liturgy have become more common. "The
Pope knows all this," he said; "he knows the
questions, he is very conscious of the situation, he is reflecting, and
we are waiting for his indications."
with the publication of Summorum Pontificum, this matter is now resolved.]
He added that the use of the Tridentine rite "has
never been abolished or banned." However, he said, because of
the split in the Church caused by the traditionalist followers of the late
Archbishop Lefebvre, the old Mass "has taken a certain
identity that is not right." Whether Pope Benedict would encourage
the use of the Missal of St. Pius V, or call for a reform of the 1962 Missal
was not then known, the archbishop said. What is established, he said,
is the need for a liturgy that is "more beautiful,
more transcendent." The secretary of the Congregation for Divine
Worship cautioned that it is imprudent to press for quick decisions, running
the risk of falling into new errors because of haste. "We
have to reflect a great deal," he said; "and
above all, we have to pray for the Holy Father and the Church, and listen
to what the Lord wants of us."
Max Thurian, a brother of the French
Protestant Taizé community was one of the Protestant observers who
advised Pope Paul VI's Consilium (committee) which composed the NR. The
French daily Le Monde announced on 12 May 1988 that he had not only become
a Catholic but had been ordained to the Catholic priesthood by the former
Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Ursi. He waa then invited to join the International
Theological Commission. As a member of this commission and a celebrated
convert, he caused a considerable stir with an article which he wrote just
before his death:
"The great problem of contemporary
liturgical life (apathy towards worship, boredom, lack of vitality and
participation) stems from the fact that the celebration has sometimes lost
its character as mystery, which fosters the spirit of adoration. We often
encounter an inflation of words, explanations and comments, homilies too
long and poorly prepared, which leaves little room for the mystery being
Serious mistakes have sometimes
been made in certain places: the location of the altar, tabernacle, and
celebrants' chairs, overpowering illumination, excessive removal of ornamentation,
etc...The fact that the celebrants and faithful constantly face each other
closes the liturgy in on itself. On the other hand a sound celebration
which takes into account the pre-eminence of the altar, the discretion
of the celebrants' ministry, the orientation of everyone towards the Lord
and the adoration of His presence signified in the symbols and realized
by the sacrament, confers on the liturgy that contemplative atmosphere
without which it risks being a tiresome religious disquisition, a useless
community distraction, a sort of rigmarole...
Wherever tradition has left stupendous
altars placed against the apse, this arrangement could be respected by
dividing the celebration into a face-to-face between the celebrants and
the community for the Liturgy of the Word and a common orientation towards
the altar from the time of the offertory to the Amen of the Eucharistic
Prayer. This solution is preferable to setting up a second, portable altar
in the shape of a chest or small table...
The urgent need for the Church's
liturgy today is to arrange everything so as to foster in the greatest
possible way the contemplative adoration of the Lord , who reveals himself
to His people in Word and Sacrament, and whose humble unobtrusive servants
are the celebrants." [Rev M Thurian "The Liturgy
and Contemplation" in L'Osservatore Romano", English edition (24
The judgement of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci
These two cardinals wrote a famous letter to Paul VI, dated
September 25, 1969. In it they say:
The NR of Mass suggests "that truths
... can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit
of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever."
The NR of Mass represents "a striking
departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as formulated in Session
XXII of the Council of Trent" which, in fixing the "canons,"
provided an "insurmountable barrier to any heresy
against the integrity of the Mystery."
"Recent reforms have amply demonstrated
that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment
in the faithful who already show signs of uneasiness and lessening of
"Amongst the best of the clergy the
practical result" of the NR of Mass "is an
agonizing crisis of conscience..."
"The pastoral reasons adduced to support
a grave break with tradition ... do not seem to us sufficient."
"Will priests of the near future who
have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus
Ordo Missae with the intention of 'doing what the Church does,' consecrate
validly? One may be allowed to doubt it!"
BV: Paul VI's denunciation
of the presence of the smoke
of Satan in the Church is unforgettable. Still today, that discourse
seems to be incredibly relevant.
VN: You from Petrus, have gotten
a real scoop here, because I am in a position to reveal, for the first
time, what Paul VI desired to denounce with that statement. Here
it is. Papa Montini, for Satan, meant to include all those priests or bishops
and cardinals who didn't render worship to the Lord by celebrating badly
Holy Mass because of an errant interpretation of the implementation of
the Second Vatican Council. He spoke of the smoke of Satan because he maintained
that those priests who turned Holy Mass into dry straw in the name of
creativity, in reality were possessed of the vainglory and the pride of
the Evil One; so, the 'smoke of Satan' was nothing other than the mentality
which wanted to distort the traditional and liturgical canons of the Eucharistic
BV: It is thought that Paul VI was
the real culprit as the cause of all the ills of post-Conciliar liturgy.
But based on what you have revealed, Eminence, Montini compared the liturgical
chaos, even if in a veiled way, actually to something hellish.
VN: He denied that craving to be
in the limelight and the delirium of almighty power that many sought was
in any way a true following of the Council at the liturgical level.
Mass is a sacred ceremony, he often repeated, everything must be prepared
and studied adequately, respecting the canons, no one is lord of the Mass.
Sadly, after Vatican II not many understood him and Paul VI suffered this,
considering the phenomenon to be an attack of the Devil.
BV: Your Eminence, in conclusion,
what is true liturgy?
VN: It renders glory to God.
must be carried out always and no matter what with decorum: even a
sign of the Cross poorly made is synonymous with scorn and sloppiness.
Alas, I repeat, after Vatican II it was believed that everything, or
nearly, was permitted.
Now it is necessary to recover,
and in a hurry, the sense of the sacred in the ars celebrandi, before the smoke of Satan completely
pervades the whole Church.
Thanks be to God, we have Pope Benedict
XVI: his Mass and his liturgical style are an example of correctness and
of Cardinal Ratzinger
The folowing are extracts from Pope Benedict's Autobiography.
They speak for themselves:
"The promulgation of the
banning of the Missal that had been developed in the course of centuries,
starting from the time of the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, has
brought with it a break in the history of the liturgy whose consequences
could be tragic ....
The old structure was broken to
pieces and another was constructed, admittedly with material of which the
old structure had been made and using also the preceding models .... the
fact that [the liturgy] was presented as a new structure, set up against
what had been formed in the course of history and was now prohibited,
and that the liturgy was made to appear in some ways no longer as a living
process but as a product of specialized knowledge and juridical competence,
has brought with it some extremely serious damages for us."
Elsewhere he states:
"The liturgical renewal
in its concrete application is straying ever further away from its origin.
The result is not renewal, but devastation."
[Cardinal Ratzinger in his Foreword
to Monsignor Klaus Gamber's book ''La Reforme'' (1992)]
In this way, in fact, the
impression has arisen that the liturgy is made, that it is not something
that exists before us, something given, but that it depends on our decisions.
It follows as a consequence that this decision-making capacity is not recognized
only in specialists or in a central authority, but that, in the final analysis,
each community wants to give itself its own liturgy. But when the liturgy
is something each one makes by himself, then it no longer gives us what
is its true quality: encounter with the mystery which is not our product
but our origin and the wellspring of our life ....
I am convinced that the ecclesial
crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the
collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived
of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter
any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to
But if in the liturgy the communion
of faith no longer appears, nor the universal unity of the Church and of
her history, nor the mystery of the living Christ, where is it that the
Church still appears in her spiritual substance?" [Cardinal
Ratzinger: "From My Life: Remembrances1927-1977" (1997)]
Your primary service to this world
must therefore be your prayer and the celebration of the divine Office.
The interior disposition of each priest, and of each consecrated person,
must be that of "putting nothing before the divine Office". The beauty
of this inner attitude will find expression in the beauty of the liturgy,
that wherever we join in singing, praising, exalting and worshipping God,
a little bit of heaven will become present on earth. Truly it would not
be presumptuous to say that, in a liturgy completely centred on God,
we can see, in its rituals and chant, an image of eternity. Otherwise,
how could our forefathers, hundreds of years ago, have built a sacred edifice
as solemn as this? Here the architecture itself draws all our senses upwards,
towards "what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined:
what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor 2:9) In all our
efforts on behalf of the liturgy, the determining factor must always be
our looking to God. We stand before God Ė he speaks to us and we speak
to him. Whenever in our thinking we are only concerned about making the
liturgy attractive, interesting and beautiful, the battle is already lost.
Either it is Opus Dei, with God as its specific subject, or it is not.
In the light of this, I ask you to celebrate the sacred liturgy with your
gaze fixed on God within the communion of saints, the living Church of
every time and place, so that it will truly be an expression of the
sublime beauty of the God who has called men and women to be his
...God is never simply the "object"
of theology; he is always its living "subject" as well. Christian theology,
for that matter, is never a purely human discourse about God, but always,
and inseparably, the logos and "logic" of Godís self-revelation. For this
reason scientific rationality and lived devotion are two necessarily complementary
and interdependent aspects of study.
... In its desire to be recognized
as a rigorously scientific discipline in the modern sense, theology can
lose the life-breath given by faith. But just as a liturgy which no
longer looks to God is already in its death throes, so too a theology
which no longer draws its life-breath from faith ceases to be theology;
it ends up as a array of more or less loosely connected disciplines."
[Pope Benedict XVI "Address to
the monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey" (9th September 2007)]
In his book "The Spirit of the Liturgy"
Cardinal Ratzinger makes a strong critique of Mass facing the people, warning
that such Masses could and in some times and places had become a 'closed
circle', where the attention which should be fixed on God became fixed
on Man; he even likened such 'self-initiated' and 'self-seeking' liturgy
to the worship of the Golden Calf: the ultimate substitution of a human
artifact for God as the object of worship. In that book and elsewhere,
Ratzinger notes the problem of silence in the New Mass, since for the most
part periods of silence in the course of Mass were only possible by bringing
the liturgy to a temporary halt. On the contrary, Ratzinger argued, to
be fruitful silence needs to be an integral part of the liturgy, what he
calls 'filled silence', and not merely an artificial pause. In these and
in other ways the reformed liturgy actually militates against effective
[This paragraph is based on
a talk given November 29, 2007 by Rev. John Saward at the Oxford Newman
The Offertory Prayers
The Tridentine Offertory prayers are without question a late
addition to the OR, but no less valuable for that. I consider their loss
to be deeply damaging. In particular, the prayer "Veni sanctificator...."
supplies the formal deficiency of any "Epiclesis"
(invocation of Holy Spirit) in the Roman Canon. More generally, the offertory
prayers of the OR made it very clear that the core of the Eucharist was
"Sacrifice". Arguably, the theme of sacrifice and expiation
is so prominent in the Roman Canon that the additional emphasis in the
Offertory prayers is "too much of a good thing"; but this is certainly
not the case when any of the other NR Eucharistic Prayers are substituted
for the Roman Canon.
The present predicament of the Roman Canon
The Roman Canon still has theoretical pride of place in the
NR, though it is now called "Eucharistic Prayer I". It has been edited
in the following ways:
Its two lists of saints have been made optional;
various "per ... Christum .... Amens" have been excised and
the words of consecration have been changed:
the phrase "....which will be given up for you" has been
added to the consecration of the bread;
the phrase "the mystery of faith" has been removed from the
consecration of the wine and
the word "multis" has been replaced by "omnes" within it.
I find most of this regrettable, I do not think that any of these changes
are of fundamental importance. The removal of the "per .... Christum Amens"
makes the prayer flow better, but obscures the character of the Roman Canon,
which is an ad-hoc compilation of "favourite texts" from various sources
together: the word "canon" means a "list".
The phrase "mysterium fidei" was plausibly sung out loud
by the deacon as the celebrant concluded the prayer of consecration under
his breath. It is grammatically foreign to the words of consecration, and
while Oecumenical Councils may have stated positively that this phrase
was part of the consecration of the wine, the converse opinion has never
(to my knowledge) been anathematized.
The change of the word "multis" (the many) to "omnes"
(all) is potentially theologically significant. Unfortunately for those
who might wish to pounce on this as a pretext to denigrate the NR, the
word "omnes" is arguably more orthodox than the original!
In practice, of course, the Roman Canon is rarely used.
Eucharistic Prayer III is the norm for most Sunday Masses, with Eucharistic
Prayer II coming in as a close second. I rather think that use of the Roman
Canon is generally seen as a political statement in favour of the OR, and
so is avoided at almost all costs.
The Second Eucharistic Prayer
This is supposedly based on the most ancient recorded Eucharistic
prayer. However, it is far from clear that Hippolytus' Canon was ever used
in practice. It may have been nothing more than one person's idea as to
what should be said: not what ever was said. Certainly, antiquity
of itself is no recommendation for a liturgical text. This is as true of
the Roman Canon as of that of Hippolytus. As time goes by, additional
theological insight and a development of devotional practice might go together
to perfect a liturgical text, such that the earlier use might be justly
thought to be naive, unsophisticated and inept. It is clear that the Second
Eucharistic Prayer of the NR is abrupt and perforce theologically shallow.
It hardly seems the appropriate way to address Almighty God when celebrating
the central Mystery of the Faith. The Eucharist is the central act of Worship
for the Church, it is when the Christian People "make love" to God: or
better, God makes love to them. This is something which time and attention
should be lavished on, as Mary lavished nard on the feet of Our Lord. It
is not something to be rushed over, without grave and urgent cause.
Impoverishment of the
will treat here only of examples intimately associated with belief in the
Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic Elements. In the OR, once the
celebrant has put down the consecrated host he never unjoins the finger
and thumb between which he held it, except in order to take it up again:
e.g. at the "little elevation" at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer; at
the fraction when adding a fragment of the host to the chalice; and to
minister Holy Communion. The manifest idea behind this rubric is to avoid
the possibility that a crumb from the host might be dropped and lost. Needless
to say, this practice is no longer enjoined in the NR and very few priests
continue with it. It should hardly need saying that observance of this
rubric has no negative consequences whatever, and could have no possible
impact one way or another on lay experience of or participation in the
Liturgy. I should perhaps add that the rubrics of the OR associated with
accidents involving the dropping or spilling of the Eucharistic Elements
are very specific and involved. They treat of such incidents with the care
and attention manifestly due to them if they really involve the Body
and Blood of God: our Saviour Jesus Christ. I know from my own bitter
experience what the typical NR response to such events is: blank indifference.
I cannot say what is the "official procedure" in the NR, I hope
that it is not: "try to ignore what has happened, and certainly don't make
a fuss over it", which is what happens in practice!
The liturgical changes associated with the reception
of Holy Communion by the laity are truly startling. Whereas in the OR,
Holy Communion is received:
from the hands of an ordained minister
who is wearing vestments,
out of a sacred vessel made of a material esteemed as valuable:
normally silver or gold,
taken from a tabernacle placed in the centre of the High
on the tongue and
after a three hour fast
Now, in the NR, it is common for Holy Communion to be received:
from the hands of a lay person: even if a cleric is present,
who is wearing ordinary clothes,
out of an earthenware vessel,
taken from a cupboard let into a wall of an obscure side-chapel,
standing, and with no sign of reverence,
in the hand and
after no significant fast.
"Everything in the liturgical act,
through the nobility, the beauty, and the harmony of the exterior sign,
must be condusive to adoration, to union with God: this includes the music,
the singing, the periods of silence, the manner of proclaiming the Word
of the Lord, and the manner of praying, the gestures employed, the liturgical
vestments and the sacred vessels and other furnishings, as well as the
sacred edifice in its entirety. It is under this perspective that the
decision of his Holiness, Benedict XVI, is to be taken into consideration,
who, starting from the feast of Corpus Christi last year, has begun to
distribute holy Communion to the kneeling faithful directly on the tongue.
By the example of this action, the Holy Father invites us to render visible
the proper attitude of adoration before the greatness of the mystery of
the Eucharistic presence of our Lord."
[G. Marini "Introduction to the
spirit of the Liturgy" (Jan 2010)]
has been so far lost in the Church, that I have had to listen to a Catholic
priest argue that the current practice of "cafeteria communion" (as described
above) is devout and represents the dignity of the Christian in his/her
Risen Lord. This is in my view nothing other than Orwellian "New-speak".
I have also known it argued - by a priest who went on to become an ArchBishop
- that kneeling to receive communion is wrong because it is "penitential".
This is shear nonsense! One does not kneel out of penitence: sorrow and
regret, but out of a sense of smallness before that which is greater than
oneself. So, for example "our heroes" falls to their knees crying "Not
worthy!" when they meets Alice Cooper in the comedy film "Wayne's World".
One falls to one's knees out of awe, humility, respect (and perhaps
excitement), more than from sorrow or self-denial or mortification. Of
course, hard and sharp edged uncarpeted altar steps might make kneeling
to receive communion a painful matter: but this is easily rectified!
It is hardly surprising that belief in the Real Presence
of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament has hugely declined.
I find it ironic that the late Cardinal Hume found occasion to publicly
bewail the loss of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, when he was personally
and specifically responsible in his own diocese for imposing some of
these innovations. I shall never forget it being explained in all earnestness
to me by a traditionally minded parish priest of St Mary Morefield's London,
that he had had to stop his congregation kneeling to receive communion
in order to be "in communion" with Cardinal
Hume! It is most regrettable that although pope John Paul II specifically
apologized on behalf of the contemporary world-wide episcopate for the
widespread abuses that had entered the common liturgical practice of the
Church, neither he nor they did anything subsequently to correct
them for twenty years! The deviation from liturgical traditions described
here has inevitably resulted in a huge loss of orthodoxy among the laity.
"If a thoroughly malicious
sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible, had been
able to be advisor to the Church, he could hardly have done a
better job." [Dr. Berger, Lutheran sociologist,
in "Homiletic and Pastoral Review" (Feb. 1979)]
would like to ask forgiveness - in my own name and in the name of all
of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate - for everything
which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience
or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and
erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council,
may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation
of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray
the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing
with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any
way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."
[Pope John-Paul II "Dominicae Cenae"
"In some places the practice of
Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various
parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with
regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful
sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding
of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is
celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity
of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at
times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to
its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and
there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge
in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church
expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this? ......
It must be lamented that, especially
in the years following the post-conciliar liturgical reform, as a result
of a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation there have been a number
of abuses which have been a source of suffering for many. A certain
reaction against 'formalism' has led some, especially in certain regions,
to consider the 'forms' chosen by the Church's great liturgical tradition
and her Magisterium as non-binding and to introduce unauthorized innovations
which are often completely inappropriate."
[Pope John-Paul II:
Encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", 2003]
this regard it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite
grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments as well
as the tradition and the authority of the Church, which in our day not
infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment
or another. In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses
has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed
and must cease." [Congregation for Divine
Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:"Redemptionis
"Neglect of prayer, contemplation
and adoration of the Eucharistic mystery has weakened the sense of the
sacred in relation to this great Sacrament..... This situation can lead
to compromising the truth of Catholic teaching concerning the change of
the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, traditionally
It can also threaten faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,
a belief which suffers from ideas which intend to explain the Eucharistic
mystery not so much in itself but rather from a subjective point of view,
for example, in the use of terms like 'trans-finalization'
It is widely held that Christís presence is a result of the community and
not Christ himself, who is the font and centre of our communion and head
of his Body, the Church .... at times, a certain way of acting indicates
that transubstantiation and the Real Presence are understood in a symbolic
It is worth considering whether
the removal of the tabernacle from the centre of the sanctuary to an obscure,
undignified corner or to a separate chapel, or whether to have placed the
celebrant's chair in the centre of the sanctuary or in front of the tabernacle
- as was done in many renovations of older churches and in new constructions
- has contributed in some way to a decrease in faith in the Real Presence."
["Instrumentum laboris" of the
11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)]
"It is not difficult to realise
how far distant some modes of conduct are from the authentic spirit of
the liturgy. In fact, some individuals have managed to upset the liturgy
of the church in various ways under the pretext of a wrongly devised creativity.
This was done on the grounds of adapting to the local situation and the
needs of the community, thus appropriating the right to remove from, add
to, or modify the liturgical rite in pursuit of subjective and emotional
ends. For this, we priests are largely responsible."
[G. Marini "Introduction to the
spirit of the Liturgy" (Jan 2010)]
"This, I believe, is of primary
importance: to overcome the temptation of a despotic behaviour, which conceives
the liturgy as an object, the property of man, and to re-awaken the interior
sense of the holy."
[Cardinal Ratzinger "God and the
To curb abuse, which are unfortunately
many, and to correct them... is something which the liturgy deserves,
the life and future of the Church and communion with it. On this, on the
many liturgical abuses and correction of them, the Congregation issued
an important statement a few years ago, 'Redemptionis Sacramentum', it
is an urgent duty to correct existing abuses if we as Catholics are
to bring something to the world to renew it. The propositions are not concerned
with hindering creativity, but rather to encourage, promote, revitalize
the truth of the liturgy, in its authentic sense and genuine spirit, we
cannot forget or ignore that liturgical creativity as it is often understood
and meant is a hindrance to the liturgy and the cause of its secularization,
because it is in contradiction with the nature of the liturgy itself."
[Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation
for Divine Worship (Jan 2010)]
The Horrors of ICEL
I shall make this brief, though it breaks my heart. The English
language is a beautiful thing, capable of many nuances and great depth
of expression. Many great poets and playwrights have effected works of
genius in it. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth,
Dickens, Wesley, Wilde .... the list is endless. The language of ICEL is
a different beast altogether. It is bare of adjectives. It is shallow of
cadence. It is devoid of allusion. It is the language of a committee, not
of a poet. It is all compromise and contrived simplicity and nothing of
genius. It is meant to be "accessible" to the meanest intellect and hides
nothing from the shallowest understanding. It is ugly, brutish and base.
Moreover, the ICEL texts are not translations. Over and
again, words are omitted from the Latin: words that would have a clear
and natural role in an English text. I will only give two examples. After
the celebrant asks the congregation to pray for God to accept the oblation
he is about to make, the ICEL response is "May the
Lord accept the sacrifice .... for ... the good of all his Church",
whereas the latin clearly says "Ecclesiae suae sanctae"
- His Holy Church. The dropping of the adjective is not necessary
or advisable from any stylistic, grammatical, theological or cultural point
of view that I can think of. It is simply wrong.
My second example is hugely worse, as it involves heresy,
and heresy of the worst possible kind. The heresy is so awful that I do
not think for a moment that it is intentional. There are many places in
the ICEL version of the NR where it is very plausible that protestantism
is intentionally winked at and flirted with. This is not one of those places.
The heresy involved would have been repugnant to Luther, Calvin, Zwingli,
Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Knox. I presume that the error represents
nothing other than gross carelessness on the part of the ICEL
translator(s) and gross negligence on the part of whatever authority
gave official sanction to the English text. The original ICEL rendering
of the preface of the Fourth Eucharistic prayer opens
"Father in Heaven
.... you alone are God, living and true...."
This is Arianism: the specific denial that Jesus Christ and
Holy Spirit are consubstantial with the Father, fully participating with
the Father in the fullness of the Divine
Nature. Needless to say, the Latin says no such thing. It might be
rendered accurately into English as "Heavenly Father
.... you are the One True Living God." This is entirely orthodox,
as it does not involve any implicit comment on the status of the Son and
Spirit; of whom exactly the same statement could be made! To those who
might say that I am splitting hairs, I reply that what matters isn't the
number of syllables that are wrong, but the meaning! Sexist language involves
the use of "man" rather than "woman" or "mankind" and "he
and him and his" rather than "she and her and
hers" or "they and their and theirs". The issue that raged at Nicaea
was whether the Son was "identical" or "indistinguishably similar" in substance
with the Father, the difference being an undotted "i" in the Greek,
but pIvotal for theology! The original ICEL mis-translation was
corrected - formaly - a few years ago, but the original english wording
is still regularly to be heard in Catholic churches throughout the UK.
At long last, after many representations, Rome accepted
that the ICEL rendering of the NR was flawed and attempted to have it corrected.
The response of the English Speaking bishops was entirely predictable:
howls of fury, that Rome should stick its nose in to their local business
and jurisdiction! By doing so, they painted themselves into the role of
people defending rank heresy.
".... some lamented the
poor quality of translations of liturgical texts and many musical texts
in current languages, maintaining that they lacked beauty and were sometimes
theologically unclear, thereby contributing to a weakening of Church
teaching and to a misunderstanding of prayer." ["Instrumentum
laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
(July 7, 2005)]
After much delay, first the U.K., and then the U.S.A.
bishops [June 2006] agreed to a revision of the translations.
"It is well-known that
the official translations into the vernacular of the Liturgy of the Mass,
Divine Office and Sacraments are highly (and deliberately) defective. Those
translations have been under criticism since their first appearance in
1970, and it is almost a miracle that so many years later they will finally
be corrected. 'The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly
fine.' The 'changes' now to be introduced are certainly a great and long-awaited
improvement which will finally bring the vernacular liturgical texts back
into line with the Latin original and with the Scriptural references, some
of which themselves are drawn from ancient liturgical texts.
[It is interesting to note, however
that] the soon-to-be-introduced linguistical changes are, in fact, for
the most part not at all new, but are the very same expressions found in
the unofficial vernacular translations of the Liturgical texts in use before
1965, and are the very same expressions as found in the official vernacular
translations of the Liturgical texts in use between 1965 and 1970,
that is, before and up to the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae. I
remember very well how both priests and lay faithful struggled to become
accustomed to the completely new and unheard-of translations introduced
in 1970, which sounded then like very streamlined (adjective-less),
colloquial, secular, lowest-possible-level and incorrect paraphrases of
the sacred original. This is true regarding not only the English liturgical
translations, but nearly all the translations made at that time, and which
are still in use to this day!" [A Catholic
priest (June 2006)]
The New Rite is a pastoral disaster
At the time of the Liturgical Changes, very few of the laity
wanted them. They were mainly supported by a small vocal
class of self-important middle-class "intelligentsia". The OR had been
a breeding ground of sanctity for innumerable years. Whatever its limitations,
deficiencies and problems: as the central defining act of the Catholic
Community it worked! The Church viewed as a sociological entity was highly
cohesive, with a clear sense of identity and purpose. Every Catholic knew
that "It's the Mass that matters!" Even changing the language used from
Latin to the vernacular was to court disaster. Though of no possible objective
significance; for many, it was difficult to adjust to this change. Altering
the character of the Liturgy in addition to its language as profoundly
and rapidly as was done, was a source of great pain, distress, confusion
and disillusionment to very many people. It seemed to deny the truth of
all the standard arguments adduced in favour of the character of the OR
and by implication started to undermine the credibility of the Magisterium.
"I remember knowing, when
attending a funeral mass that as the casket was rolled up the church aisle
toward the exit, that it was on its way to Heaven.
I miss the mystery of the old rites,
the ceremony in which each gesture, each word had a specific meaning. It
conveyed a certainty that today's rite does not. I miss incense and vestments.
I miss the sprinkling of Holy Water.... I miss the music, grand and swelling
in joy, or somber in funeral/Lenten rites, but still quickening to the
spirit. But most of all, I miss the access one had to the quiet of the
church at any time.
I resent the moving of the tabernacle
to some side altar/chapel as if it were some disgraced relative we keep
hidden in a private room when the guests arrive."
[A lapsed Catholic (June 2006)]
I do not know, if you have ever
been at a funeral and witnessed those hallelujahs, hand-clapping, giggly
phrases, etc. One really asks oneself if these people have ever read the
Gospel. Our Lord himself cried over Lazarus and his death. Here now, with
this oily sentimentalism, nothing is respected, not even the suffering
of a mother. I would like to show you how the people in old times participated
in a Funeral Mass and how in the midst of that compunction and devotion,
the magnificent and tremendous "Dies Irae" was intoned.
[Mgr D. Bartolucci, Maestro Emeritus of the Sistine Chapel, interviewed
by P. Cipriani and S Carusi (2009)]
Practices that had in 1950 been condemned under pain of mortal
sin were in 1970 encouraged or even relentlessly enforced. What would happen
next? The statistics make it quite clear that the decline in every objective
measures of the health of the Church all date from the introduction of
the NR. Of course, there might have been some other coincidental cause.
I have no idea, however, what else this might have been. The decline in
Catholic statistics did not follow those of Protestantism until
the NR was introduced. Even now, Bishops argue that accepting the OR's
legitimacy within the Church would be a source of confusion. If this is
true now, how much more must the imposition of the NR have been a cause
of confusion in the 1960's!
The NR is not in any real sense an improvement on the
OR. If it had been, then the harm due to mere change would have been offset
by the benefit due to these improvements. In my view, the few acknowledged
advantages of the NR are hugely offset by its general betrayal of good
doctrine and its dumbing down
of decent and dignified liturgical practice. The NR does not nurture devotion
to the Blessed Sacrament. The NR does not inculcate a sense
of awe: neither does its banality effect any sense of intimacy either
with God or fellow worshipers. The NR is simply dull, boring and uninspiring.
That is all. There is no joy in it, neither dignity nor passion. It is
bureaucratic and officious. It is no breeding ground of saints. For any
one regularly participating in it, "there is the
serious risk of what one might term 'spiritual food poisoning' from the
diet of poor translations, gross informality, trite music and any number
of abuses". [Dom Alcuin Reid:
"Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?" UK CIEL conference,London
I know what participation
in old times was like, both in Rome, in [St. Peter's] Basilica and outside
it; for instance down here in Mugello, in this parish, in this beautiful
countryside, which was then populated by people strong in faith and full
of piety. During Sunday Vespers the priest could just start singing "Deus
in adiutorium meum intende" and thereafter fall asleep on his seat to wake
up only at the "chapter", the peasants would have continued alone and the
heads of the family would have intoned the antiphon! [Mgr
D. Bartolucci, Maestro Emeritus of the Sistine Chapel, interviewed by P.
Cipriani and S Carusi (2009)]
The NR is an evangelistic disaster. Metropolitan Anthony,
of the Russian Patriarchal jurisdiction, used to tell a story of a postman.
This man was converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity as a result of
sticking his head into the Cathedral at Enismore Gardens, London, when
he couldn't deliver a recorded delivery parcel at the presbytery. The man
was so struck by the beauty of the liturgy: the icons gently glowing in
the candle-light; the vibrant colours of the vestments; the haunting cadences
of the unaccompanied choir and the urgent petitioning of the deacon, that
he was rapidly drawn into the Christian Fellowship there. This simply could
not happen with a standard celebration of the NR. A Methodist friend of
mine once described a Catholic wedding that he had attended (which I presume
included a Nuptial Mass) as "embarrassingly
informal". I know what he means.
"The faith thrives where
the Eucharist is celebrated worthily, drawing the Christian community into
its mystery and power. Yet in many parishes Mass attendance has plummeted;
congregational participation is indifferent; and liturgies are marred
by lack of preparation, casual or rushed gestures, unsuitable music, and
banal sentiments in hymns and, above all, in homilies. There is widespread
awareness that, thirty years after the Council, the goals of liturgical
renewal have been met more in letter than in spirit."
[Msgr. Philip J. Murnion: "Called
to be Catholic: Church in a Time of Peril" (1996)]
We should be guided by the words of our Lord: "By
their fruits you shall know them." The fruits of the New Mass are:
30% decrease in Sunday Mass attendance in the U.S.A.: NY
A great decrease in conversions to Catholicism followed the
use of the New Mass.
Before 1960 they were up to 100,000 a year in the U.S.A.
They are now less than 10,000.
The number of people leaving the Church far exceeds those
Within seven years of the introduction of the New Mass,
the number of priests in the world decreased from 413,438
to 243,307: Holy See Statistics.
I well recall the words of Archbishop Bruno Heim, then Apostolic
Delegate to the U.K., spoken to me at a private interview in about 1980:
I had known what was going to happen as a result, I would not have voted
for it" (it being the Vatican Council's Constitution on the Liturgy.)
"Statistically, most Catholics
today come nowhere near the Liturgy, and even when they occasionally do,
is the serious risk of their being infected with what one might term 'spiritual
food poisoning' from the diet of poor translations, gross informality,
trite music, and any number of abuses.... with which they may be confronted."
Alcuin Reid:"Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?"UK CIEL conference,
The New Rite represents:
A significant betrayal of Catholic Eucharistic Doctrine.
An impoverishment of the Church's cultural heritage.
A revolution outside the stream of Tradition, not an organic
development within it.
The loss of Latin as a bulwark against Racism, Nationalism
and heresy in general.
The use of law to prohibit the OR is grossly uncharitable.
The common neglect of competent authorities to enforce what
law relates to the NR is tyrannical.
The general attitude of the hierarchy seems to be that there
are only two totally unacceptable evils: to favour the Tridentine Liturgy
over the Rite of Paul VIth and to be gay. I
have experienced reactions to requests that the Tridentine Mass be celebrated
that one might have expected on requesting a Satanic Ritual to be performed!
One is called a "protestant", in a most un-Ecumenical way: i.e. it is clearly
meant that protestantism is a seriously bad thing! It rankles to be told
with recognizably protestant beliefs that that I am a
protestant, when I purposefully gave up protestantism to embrace the Catholic
faith over twenty years ago. Of course, what they mean is that I am being
disobedient to authority: which is true.
While he may have intended to do so, he failed to
mention either it - or any of the other ancient Uses - specifically by
name in the document that promulgated the NR. According to established
principles of Canon Law, no practice of "immemorial right" (i.e. that has
been going on for more than a few hundred years) can be forbidden or changed
without being specifically identified. This is no more than a matter of
common courtesy and a means of ensuring that unintended consequences are
It is fairly common knowledge that when a Commission
of Cardinals was asked to look into this matter by Pope John Paul II,
it concluded that Paul VIth had not abolished the OR. Of course, this conclusion
was never made public. It would have been much too embarrassing.
The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop
Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told the "I Media" news
agency on 23rd June 2006 that the use of the Tridentine rite "has
never been abolished or banned."
His Holiness Benedict XVI himself
confirmed that this position was correct, in his Motu Proprio of July 2007.
or not the OR has been outlawed, it shouldn't have been! Arguably, even
if Paul VIth had formally succeeded in abolishing it, he would have been
acting ultra vires. He swore the following oath, when he became Pope:
"I vow to change nothing
of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded
by my God pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit
any innovation therein. To the contrary: with glowing affection as her
truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on
good, with my whole strength and utmost effort ..... I will keep
without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church
.... Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication
anyone - be it ourselves or be it another - who would dare to undertake
anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and
the purity of the Orthodox Faith and the Christian Religion, or would seek
to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who
undertake such a blasphemous venture."
The blanket suppression of the OR in order that the NR be
introduced was simply un-Christian in character. It was an exercise in
arbitrary heavy-handed authority. When Pius Vth promulgated the Tridentine
Liturgy, he had no thought to impose it where other Uses had immemorial
right. In particular, as Catholicism started to re-emerge in Great Britain,
reversion to the Use of Sarum was discussed, even though it had fallen
into desuetude during penal times, when missionary priests ministered to
the faithful using "standard issue" liturgical texts. Unfortunately, this
was rejected as "pointless". If the NR had any great value, it would have
been able to establish itself if offered as an option. If it was
not a divergence from Sacred Tradition it could not have become a cause
of contention and a standard for dissent: as neither could have the continuing
OR. The existence of the Ruthenian, Melchite, Coptic, Syro-Malabar and
other Eastern Liturgies within the Catholic Church is no more cause for
dissent and ill will than is that of the Ambrosian or Dominican Use!
"For the correct formation
of the liturgical conscience, it is important to stop condemning the liturgical
form as it was known up to 1970. Those, who at this moment defend the
validity of the traditional liturgy or its continued use, are treated like
lepers: all tolerance for them ceases to exist. In the whole history of
the Church we have never before seen such intolerance manifested! This
stance shows a contempt and scorn for the whole history of the Church.
How can we ever trust the Church, with such a point of departure? I have
never been able to understand why so many bishops, with no plausible reason,
have given themselves over to this law of intolerance and thereby work
against the needed reconciliation within the Church." [Joseph
Cardinal Ratzinger: "God and the world" (2002)]
The application of Law as regarding the NR is entirely different.
In my experience, no matter what documents are quoted to competent authorities
regarding NR liturgical abuses, no action is taken to correct the situation.
The attitude seems to be that "anything goes" for the NR, and "nothing
goes" for the OR. Of course, it is not as simple as that. I am sure that
if some priest thought to re-introduce aspects of the Old Rite into the
New (for example by prepending the prayers at the foot of the alter before
the NR of Mass, or appending the Last Gospel and Leonine Prayers
concluding the NR of Mass, or was caught saying the OR offertory prayers
under his breath out of private devotion) he would be stamped on! Of course,
there is no law stopping a priest doing any of these things. None of these
involves any change to the official text of the NR, but merely additional
"informal" extra liturgical matter. There are, of course, specific injunctions
against many of the regular personal variations in the Liturgy that are
Why did all this happen?
Not being a Vatican insider, it is difficult to know how or why the liturgical
revolution occurred. Some people believe in one conspiracy theory or another.
All have a common theme: that some organization (such as Continental Freemasonry)
managed to infiltrate the Church and intentionally disrupted and corrupted
Her Worship. This sounds extravagant, and I do not personally believe there
is enough evidence to establish any such theory. It is, however, certain
that one motivation behind the Liturgical changes was a concern to appease
Protestant opinion. The chief of the liturgical
revisionists, Archbishop Bugnini, himself said: "[We]
desire to do everything to facilitate the path of union for our separated
brethren, by removing every stone that could constitute even the shadow
of a risk of stumbling or of displeasure." [Osservatore
Romano, March 19, 1965].
Appeasement of Protestants
Six Protestant clerics collaborated in re-writing of the
Catholic liturgy. They were: Revv. George, Jasper, Shepherd, Kunneth, Smith
and Thurian. The photo shows some of them. Enough Catholic theology was
removed from the NR of Mass that some Protestants can now use its text
without difficulty. Rev. Max Thurian (of Taize) said that a fruit of the
"will perhaps be that the non-Catholic communities
will be able to celebrate the Lord's Supper using the same prayers as the
Catholic Church." [La Croix 4/30/69]
Jean Guitton, a distinguished French writer as well as
the great friend and confidant of Paul VI, has said that his "intention
.... was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost
coincide with the Protestant liturgy .... beyond the Council of Trent,
and closer to the Protestant Lord's Supper .... making less room for all
that some would call 'magic', (namely) .... transubstantial consecration,
and for all what is of the Catholic Faith; .... there was with Paul VI
an ecumenical intention to remove ....
what was too Catholic, in the traditional sense, in the Mass, and,
to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass." [Broadcast
December 19, 1993 by Radio-Courtoisie, Paris.]
"A great deal of Catholic
liturgists seem to have come to the conclusion that Luther, rather than
Trent, was substantially right in the 16th century debates...
It is only against this background
- the de facto rejection of the authority of the Council of Trent - that
the bitterness of the fight against allowing the celebration of the Holy
Mass according to the Missal of 1962 .... can be understood.
The possibility of celebrating
the Mass in that way provides the strongest, and therefore most unbearable,
proof against the opinion of those, who believe that the faith in the Holy
Eucharist, as formulated by Trent, has lost its validity." [Cardinal
Ratzinger: Lecture held during the Liturgical Conference at Fontcombault
Along with the NR of Mass goes also a new catechesis; a new
ethics; a new spirituality; a new Code of Canon Law; a new calendar, in
a word: a New Church. "The liturgical reform
... do not be deceived, this is where the revolution begins." [Msgr.
Dwyer, Archbishop of Birmingham, spokesman of the Episcopal Conference
of England and Wales.]
"At times it seems that
some individuals are truly partisan to a way of thinking that is justly
and properly defined as an ideology, or rather a preconceived notion
applied to the history of the Church which has nothing to do with the
true faith. An example of the fruit produced by that misleading
ideology is the recurrent distinction between the preconciliar and the
post conciliar Church. Such a manner of speaking can be legitimate,
but only on condition that two Churches are not understood by it: one,
the pre Conciliar Church, that has nothing more to say or to give because
it has been surpassed, and a second, the post conciliar church, a new
reality born from the Council and, by its presumed spirit, not in continuity
with its past. This manner of speaking and more so of thinking must
not be our own... The liturgy cannot and must not be an opportunity for
conflict between those who find good only in that which came before us,
and those who, on the contrary, almost always find wrong in what came before.
The only disposition which permits us to attain the authentic spirit of
the liturgy, with joy and true spiritual relish, is to regard both the
present and the past liturgy of the Church as one patrimony in continuous
development." [G. Marini "Introduction to
the spirit of the Liturgy" (Jan 2010)]
The methods used to promote the NR of Mass follow
closely the authoritarian methods of the English heretics. Holy Mother
Church canonized numerous English men and women who suffered martyrdom
rather than participate in Cranmer's liturgy!
Appetite for self-destruction
I have encountered pre-1960's devotional material which explicitly
advocated the entire destruction of the personality in favour of an 'ideal'
personality: supposed to be that of Jesus. It favoured the idea that one
should become a slave
(not even servant!) of God. This amounted to self hatred, as far as
I could understand what was said.
I rather suspect that such self hatred was the basis of
much of the inhumanity that has from time to time featured in the Church:
Jansenism and related tendencies.
I think that it also contributed to the wanton destruction of Catholic
Order in the 1960's. Church leaders were accustomed to denying themselves
things that they found attractive: so it was not remarkable to them that
they should destroy the beauty of the liturgy or the harmony of well regulated
church life. After all, these were things that they found pleasure in:
so they must be sacrificed when they were instructed by Papal edict to
do so! As Cardinal Hume is reported to have said to Sue Coote, the inspirational
late secretary of the Latin Mass Society:
up my religion, why can't you sacrifice yours?"
The reform was done by
arid people, arid, arid, I repeat it. And I knew them. As for the
doctrine, Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli himself, once said, I remember
it well: "How come that we make liturgists who know nothing about theology?...
It became a kind of fashion. Everybody
talked about it, everybody was "renewing", everybody was trying to be like
popes in the wake of sentimentalism, of eagerness to reform. And the voices
that raised themselves to defend the two thousand year old Tradition of
the Church, were cleverly hushed. There was the invention of a kind of
"people's liturgy" - when I heard these refrains, it came into my mind
something which my professor at the Seminary used to say: "the liturgy
is something given by the clerics to the people." It descends from God
and does not come up from the bottom. I have to admit, however, that this
foul-smelling appearances have made themselves a bit more rare. The young
generations of priests are maybe better than those who came before them,
they do not have the ideological fury of an iconoclastic ideology, they
are full of good feelings, however they lack in education...
Once we were together with a Bishop
whose name I forgot, in a small church in Mugello, when there came the
sudden notice that a brother of ours had died. We suggested that we at
once celebrate a Mass, but then we realized that we only had old Missals
at hand. The Bishop refused categorically to celebrate. I will never
forget it. [Mgr D. Bartolucci, Maestro Emeritus
of the Sistine Chapel, interviewed by P. Cipriani and S Carusi (2009)]
The Jesuits in Amsterdam have had
to rescind their prohibition of laity from receiving Holy Communion on
the tongue after only three weeks. In the short and hard-to-find announcement
in the weekly sunday bulletin of their church, it merely states that ''because
the Mexican flu now seems te be retreating, the measures taken three weeks
ago regarding Holy Communion wil no longer be in effect.'' The fact is,
that people had complained all the way to Rome, and according to good sources,
the General Superior of the Jesuits intervened, reprimanding the Jesuits
in Amsterdam. However, a bad precedent has been set: the Jesuits
can always try again in the future to ban Communion on the tongue, and
people who always received on the tongue have for three weeks been forbidden
from doing so: will they now have the courage to face the angry looks of
the Jesuits and receive again our Lord on the tongue?
Meanwhile, the Flemish Jesuits
(Belgium) have called on lay people to celebrate their own ''Eucharist''
(much as the Dutch Domincans did two years ago) claming that Christ establsihed
no church, no apostolic succesion, no priesthood and no sacraments. Obviously
they believe the Mass to be just a symbolic rite, so the shortage of priests,
according to these Domincans, can be remedied by electing lay persons to
celebrate Mass and Sacraments. So far, i have heard no Bishop or Cardinal
or Pope intervening to reprimand the Flemish Dominicans on these important
questions of faith. Can it be that only questions regarding sex are of
interest to the Hierarchy? [A Catholic Priest
Intellectualism, legalism and clericalism
"The liturgy that is the
ordinary worship of the Church today is... the result of a liturgical movement
that sought to recover the living experience of the liturgy for the whole
Church in a time when that experience had been stifled by legalism and
clericalism. But along the way this movement made the fatal error of falling
into believing that observation of the liturgical texts, that the study
of the sociology of contemporary man, that historical research into the
development of the liturgy, that all of this work could do what
had to be done. And of course it failed, and what it produced is
a piece of work, and unlike lilies, a piece of work cannot be considered
nor contemplated. It is something always artificially constructed, never
something given to be contemplated. It turns participation into multifarious
acts, hoping that if enough different people are given different things
to do that the whole thing will add up to a worship experience. It is still
born, because it does not understand that celebration is inextricably linked
to contemplation that is the basis of divine worship. And no matter how
well or beautifully the piece of work is done, it can never be that experience
of playing in the fields of the Lord that is Christian divine worship."
[Sermon given by Father Richard Cipolla (August 17 2008)]
What should be done to restore Catholic Order
to the Church?
I propose that:
The personal right of any Catholic to participate in the
Traditional Liturgy of his or her Patriarchate, this right stemming from
Immemorial Custom rather than any graciousness of the Apostolic See or
of any other Ecclesial Authority, be confirmed as a matter of extreme urgency.
This out of a loving concern for the salvation of souls and
as the only means of defending the integrity of Catholic Eucharistic belief
within the Roman Patriarchate, and indeed the Unity of the Western Church.
This would level the playing field between adherents of the
New and Old Rites and give grounds for the latter to start to trust Rome.
It could be done without any juridical act. All that would
be required is for some senior Cardinal to remark in passing:
that it was "well known" that Paul VIth never
abolished the OR
that it is therefore the right of any priest to
celebrate it in public as a matter of his own personal discretion;
and that no ordinary has the authority to interfere
with this right in any way and on any pretext whatsoever.
The ICEL version of the NR be immediately declared
flawed and be replaced by accurate translations conforming to orthodox
doctrine as a matter of urgency, just as the Roman Curia apparently
now wishes. Similar action should be taken, where necessary, regarding
other vernacular versions.
This is now underway.
The Jerusalem Bible be replaced with the (N)RSV or Knox version.
The many abuses associated with the NR be systematically
extirpated. In particular:
ordinary use of "extra-ordinary" ministers of communion.
use of earthenware or glass Eucharistic vessels.
verbal participation of the congregation in any part of the
preaching by either members of the laity or protestant clergy.
replacement of the homily/sermon on Sunday by a money raising
The NR be reformed to bring it back within the clear scope
of Catholic Tradition. In particular:
a set of clear rubrics should be issued and energetically
enforced. The manifest minimum aim should be to re-establish respect for
the Blessed Sacrament.
the celebrant should keep the finger and thumb of the hand
in which he holds the host closed (except when holding the host) from the
consecration until the ablutions.
communion should be received either kneeling; or after genuflection,
prostration or three profound bows.
the prayer "Come Sanctifier"/"Veni Sanctficetur" should be
added to the Offertory, at least whenever the Roman Canon is to be used.
the prayer "Lord, I am not worthy"/"Domine non sum dignus"
should be said three times before communion.
Eucharistic Prayer II should be withdrawn from use.
the various "Eucharistic prayers for various occasions" should
be withdrawn from use.
Eucharistic Prayer IV should be allowed to be prefaced by
others than its own proper preface.
the Subdiaconate should be restored.
the Acolyte should be made only an extra-ordinary
minister of Communion.
the Acolyte should be made the only extra-ordinary
minister of Communion.
the sign of peace should be removed to the time of the Offertory.
I note that the 2005 synod of bishops has called for this
priests should always wear chasubles when concelebrating
I note that this is called for (but not insisted on) in the
decree "Redemptionis Sacramentum".
deacons should always wear dalmatics when officiating.
genuflection at the "and became man"/"homo factus est" in
the Creed should be restored.
the head should be inclined at the mention of any of the
The use of either the 1958 or 1962 Holy Week Ceremonies be
The use of the NR lectionary in the OR and the Tridentine
Lectionary in the NR be allowed.
Over an extended period of time a dialogue be established
and prosecuted in charity between those who adhere to the Old and New Rites
with the aim of merging the best of both into a Common Liturgical Resource,
by the use of options and variations where necessary and appropriate.
Over the longest term, flexibility and variation without
pre-determined limits (except those demanded by sound doctrine, decency,
reverence and cultural resonance) be allowed, and indeed encouraged within
the Western Liturgical Tradition. If pastorally appropriate, this might
allow for the organic evolution of "African", "Chinese", "Indian" and other
the correct formation of the liturgical conscience,
it is important
to stop condemning the liturgical form as it was known up to 1970.
Those, who at this moment defend the validity of the traditional liturgy
or its continued use, are treated like lepers: all tolerance for them ceases
to exist. In the whole history of the Church we have never before seen
such intolerance manifested! This stance shows a contempt and scorn for
the whole history of the Church.
How can we ever trust the Church,
with such a point of departure? I have never been able to understand
why so many bishops, with no plausible reason, have given themselves over
to this law of intolerance and thereby work against the needed reconciliation
within the Church."
[Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: "God
and the world" (2002)]
".... [this is what I] object to,
and very strongly: the fact that, contrary to the explicit instructions
of the Second Vatican Council, one can scarcely find a Mass in Latin, and
even then it's often viewed with suspicion; that Mass ad orientem, though
just as licit as it has always been, is so rare as to be practically non-existent
in Latin-rite churches in this country; that Gregorian chant and the polyphonic
heritage of the Western Church have been so universally replaced by songs
of the present day (or from the 1970s) that people don't even have an option
to worship regularly in the context of the traditional music; that the
way that Communion has been received in the Western Church for over 1,000
years is now frowned upon or openly discouraged in some quarters; that
vestments of more traditional design - whether Roman or Gothic - are disparaged
or effectively banned for being obsolete and not up-to-date (as if any
liturgical garment were "up-to-date"); that every modern option that has
been introduced in the last 25 years is now obligatory for all; that every
liturgical option that Bl. John XXIII would have recognized is now somehow
retrograde and reactionary, even if current legislation continues to allow
I object to all of this. I object
because these nasty tendencies have alienated two generations of Catholics
from their birthright. The forms of worship that our ancestors practiced
for centuries - and in some cases for over a millennium - have been forcibly
pried from the Church, so much so that those once-common elements of Catholic
worship are now as alien to millions of Catholics as Buddhist or Muslim
worship would be to them. This is not an indictment of what has taken the
place of those traditions. It is, rather, an indictment of the narrow-minded
intolerance with which those traditions have been replaced and continue
to be shut out of the Church's life. If the 'contemporary liturgies' and
the music of the St Louis Jesuits are as spiritually uplifting and relevant
as their admirers say they are, then they really have nothing to fear from
a widespread and permanent offering of worship according to the more classical
forms of Catholic liturgical tradition. By alienating those traditional
forms and making it burdensome to celebrate them, one merely succeeds in
alienating the Catholics who prefer them and in fostering factionalism
and a (not always unjustified) sense of paranoia.
This isn't nostalgia for the 1950s.
I don't remember the 1950s any more than I remember 1968, and I really
don't want to live in either. (That, by the way, is one of the reasons
that one typically finds 'Tridentine Masses' attended by so many young
people: if it were really a matter of nostalgia, the congregants would
be on the whole quite grey by now.) To desire the classical forms of Roman
liturgy as it has developed through the long centuries is no more 'mere
nostalgia for obsolete practices' than was the restoration of the permanent
diaconate or of offering the possibility for Communion under both kinds
again. To say that the Church now only has room for 'contemporary liturgy'
(whatever that is) is narrow-minded, arrogant, intolerant, and - in my
estimation - immoral.
I'm not calling for my 'traditional'
monopoly to replace the reigning 'contemporary' monopoly. I'm saying, let's
break the monopoly up and start giving people some meaningful choices."
[Rev Jim Tucker]
The evolution of local Uses within the Western Rite
The form and style of all such Uses must be clearly conducive
to the proclamation of Catholic Eucharistic doctrine and in all regards
impeccably orthodox. Manifestly, turns of phrase and physical actions can
have dramatically different and even opposite meanings in different cultures.
For example, standing is a sign of respect in Western European culture,
but is a sign of hostility in parts of Africa: it is very inappropriate
to have people from such a culture stand at the reading of the Gospel!
The objective should be to have commonality of meaning and significance,
which can only be achieved by diversity of expression. Intrusions
such as ancestor worship; the cultus of pagan deities disguised as Catholic
Saints; and spiritism: the forms of which I have witnessed
at Lourdes, should not be tolerated, still less encouraged. I do not
presume to stipulate what new forms might be incorporated into the Liturgy
or put any limit on these. I would be willing to countenance an "Anglican"
Use to accommodate some of the worthwhile features of CofE liturgical practice
to help ease the way for those clergy and laity who from time to time convert
Such a Use is established
in the USA, though it has not been allowed in the UK! Whereas the wonderful
medieval mystery plays evolved from quasi-dramatic interpolations in the
liturgy, it should be recalled that these interpolations did not meet with
universal approbation, and in the end all such forms were expelled from
The initiative to evolve such Rites of necessity
lies with the local Church. This right should be unambiguously recognized
and affirmed (not "granted") by Rome and such initiatives be actively encouraged;
as a matter of largesse, but from a pastoral obligation to the well-being
of the Christian People. It is equally clear that the Episcopacy in
general (normally in the person of the Patriarch, or his Curia) has
an inescapable duty to determine (with all cultural sensitivity)
whether the conditions for Catholicity are met. This duty and the
authority it implies, should be enthusiastically acknowledged by
the local Church, not as a matter of compromise, but out of a fervour for
Catholic Unity. In the last analysis, the requirements of Catholicity must
(by the nature of the case) prevail; and so the authority of the Patriarchal
See prevail in practice: with appeal to the Pope or Ecumenical Council.
Litany of Reparation
in Honour of the Blessed Sacrament
God the Father of Mercy,
God the Son, mediator between God and man,
God the Holy Ghost, enlightener of hearts.
Holy and Undivided Trinity of love,
Sacred Host: expiation for the sins of the world,
Sacred Host: offered on the altar by priests,
Sacred Host: despised and neglected,
Sacred Host: neglected and abandoned,
Sacred Host: abandoned and blasphemed,
Have mercy on us.
Be merciful : spare us, O Lord!
Be merciful: hear us, O Lord!
so many unworthy communions,
For the irreverence of thy people,
For the neglect of the diaconate,
For the blasphemies of the presbyterate,
For the complacency of the episcopate,
For the desecration of thy altars,
For infamous discourses made in thy churches,
For the sacrileges which profane The Sacrament of Love,
For the tepidity of the greater number of thy children,
For their ignorance of Thy holy doctrine,
For their contempt of Thy loving invitations,
For the infidelity of those who style themselves Thy
We offer you our sorrow.
For our abuse of Thy grace,
For our unfaithfulness,
For our delay in loving Thee,
For our tepidity in thy Holy Service,
We are sorry and repent.
For Thy sorrow at the ruin of souls,
For Thy long waiting at the door of our hearts,
For Thy sighs of love,
For Thy tears of love,
For Thy passion,
For Thy death,
We praise, thank and adore Thee.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: audi nos.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: donna nobis pacem.
Lord Jesus, you expose yourself to the outrages of the
rather than withdraw your sacred presence from your people.
Grant us heartfelt sorrow for the sacrileges committed
against the sacrament of love.
Help us, by your grace,
to make up for the contempt you endure
at the hands of your servants
by our love and devotion.
For you are God,
living and reigning with the Father
in the unity of Holy Spirit,
Ages on Endless Ages.
I : The Canonical Status of the Old Rite
Subsequent to Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio of 2007, this appendix
is pretty much redundant, having been fully vindicated. Deo gratias! It
will not be substantially added to, but remain here as a historical record.
As for the use of the 1962
Missal as a Forma Extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like
to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically
abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. [Pope
Benedict XVI: Letter to the Bishops (July 7th, 2007)]
In 1986, Pope John Paul II secretly appointed a commission
of nine Cardinals to examine the legal status of the OR. It consisted
of Cardinals Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict XVI], Mayer, Oddi, Stickler,
Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, and Tomko and was asked two questions:
Did Pope Paul VI authorize the bishops to forbid the celebration
of the traditional Mass?
Does the priest have the right to celebrate the traditional
Mass in public and in private without restriction, even against the will
of his bishop?
The Commission reported, in private, that:
Pope Paul VI never gave the bishops the authority to forbid
Priests cannot be obligated to celebrate the NR.
Bishops cannot place any restrictions on the celebration'
of the OR.
A Papal decree should be issued based on the Commission's
findings, making it clear that anyone could choose between the OR and the
It was the Pope's intention to issue such a decree in November
of 1988, but he failed to do so: giving way to pressure from other Cardinals.
Not long afterwards, Msgr. Perl of the Ecclesia Dei Commission
published a letter that cast doubt on the above story.
Cardinal Stickler Clarifies the Controversy
On May 20, 1995 at the Christi Fidelis conference in Fort
Lee, New Jersey, Alfons Cardinal Stickler gave an address entitled "The
Theological Attractiveness of the Tridentine Mass". During the question
and answer session after his speech, His Eminence was asked about the Nine
Cardinal Commission of 1986 regarding the Tridentine Mass.
His Eminence began his remarks by recounting
an incident where Eric de Saventhem (former head of Una Voce in Europe)
asked explicitly if the Tridentine Mass had ever been forbidden. Cardinal
Benelli never answered ... not yes, not no. Cardinal Stickler explained
"... couldn't say 'yes
he (the Pope) forbade it'. He can't forbid a Mass that has been used not
only for centuries, but has been the Mass of thousands and thousands of
Saints and Faithful."
The Cardinal continued,
"the difficulty was that
he (the Pope) could not forbid it, but at the same time, he wanted that
the new Mass be said... be accepted. And so, he could only say 'I want
that the new Mass be said'."
Cardinal Stickler then addressed the issue of the Commission.
He first confirmed that it had been appointed and then that he had been
a member. He continued,
"the answer given by the
nine Cardinals in 1986 was 'No, the Mass of Saint Pius V (Tridentine Mass)
has never been suppressed'."
"the nine Cardinals unanimously
agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine
He also confirmed the incident regarding the Papal decree:
eight Cardinals had been in favour, and one against.
The Cardinal said that the Pope seemed willing to promulgate
this sort of announcement, but a few National Episcopal conferences who
found out about the "danger" of this permission, came to the Pope and said
"this should not be absolutely
allowed because it would be the occasion or the cause of controversy in
the people of God - in the faithful themselves... one against the other,
and so on."
and in the face of this argument, the Pope refused to sign
Msgr. Perl again
In October of 1997, Msgr. Perl wrote another letter. In it
he says that:
"...we wish to point out
that the effect of law was removed from the Bull Quo Primum by the Apostolic
Constitution Missale Romanum issued by Pope Paul VI on 3rd April 1969.
At the conclusion of that document promulgating the new Roman Missal, the
'It is our will that these
decisions and ordinances be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding
any Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinances made by our predecessors, and
all other decrees including those deserving of special mention, no matter
of what kind.'
The legal basis for the celebration
of the traditional Latin Mass today does not derive from the Bull Quo Primum,
but from the documents Quattuor abhinc annos (1984) and Ecclesia Dei (1988)
which were issued under the initiative of Pope John Paul II. Thus, the
traditional Mass would be forbidden and could not legally be celebrated
except by derogation, in the case foreseen by the two documents just
cited (Quattuor abhinc annos of 1984 and Ecclesia Dei of 1988)."
This apparently contradicts the judgement of the Papal Commission.
In fact it does not, as he is talking about the positive legal basis rather
than the traditional immemorial right. Of course his comment regarding
the "forbidding of the Traditional Mass" is shown to be false by Benedict
XVI's Motu Proprio of 2007.
The Sienna Case
A priest of the diocese of Sienna,
Italy, was in the habit of offering the traditional Latin Mass. He justified
this by referring to the perpetual indult granted by St. Pius V in his
bull Quo Primum, dated July 14, 1570. The Archbishop of Sienna submitted
three questions about this to Cardinal Medina, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation
for Divine Worship (SCDW). The first question was canonical in nature,
the second, doctrinal, and the third, practical. The
Cardinal replied on June 11, 1999, in a very important letter. To the last
question, the Cardinal replied kindly, recommending that a church be reserved
for the exclusive celebration of the traditional Mass, but the first two
questions are more important, and the replies unacceptable.
The first question was: "Can
every priest use the Tridentine Missal without seeking any permission,
since St. Pius V has assured him of the faculty in perpetuo?"
The Cardinal answered: "No,
because the Missale Romanum so-called of St. Pius V must no longer
be considered as being in force." He only gives two reasons: an explicit
notice of the SCDW of October 28, 1974, and a reference to Canon 6, §1,
no.4 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC). The Cardinal was wrong,
The infamous notice of 1974,
"Conferentiarum Episcopalium" claims to prohibit all priests from
using the Tridentine missal unless they are sick or elderly; and the faithful
from attending even these masses.
However, this notice is not
even mentioned in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the collection of
the Holy See's official documents.
It was in no wise ratified by
The Immemorial Mass, which was,
so to speak, canonized by Pope St. Pius V, could not be prohibited
by a notice emanating from a Roman dicastery!
Neither can a solemn Papal bull
such as Quo Primum, be annulled by the Cardinal Prefect of a Roman
Canon 6, §1, no.4 speaks
about the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC),
not the new Mass.
A common principle is nevertheless
invoked in this canon.
This is that when a new disciplinary
law comprehensively treats of a matter in a new manner, it "abrogates"
the former law.
This means that the former law
is superseded by the very fact that the new one has been introduced
Even if this principle
applied to the Ordo Missae, which is arguable: the
most one could conclude was that the normative form of Mass was the
rite of Paul VIth rather than that codified by Pope St Pius Vth.
that the supplementary
clauses of Quo
Primum granting permission in perpetuity to celebrate Mass according
to the rite it codified were revoked.
Common law is one thing, a particular
permission is another.
Cardinal Medina wrote in his
introduction: "If the will of the Pontiff (Pope Paul
VI) had been to leave in force the preceding liturgical forms as an alternative
that could be freely chosen, he should have said so explicitly."
In fact, the Cardinal is wrong about this on two counts.
When Cardinal Heenan, the Archbishop of Westminster, asked
Pope Paul VI if he was abrogating or prohibiting the Tridentine Mass, the
"It is not our intention to prohibit
absolutely the Tridentine Mass."
The Tridentine Mass was not
the work of the Council of Trent; it is first and foremost the traditional
Mass and as such is of immemorial custom. Cardinal Medina's
is contrary to Canon Law, which requires an explicit revocation, not to
maintain, but rather to suppress acquired rights and privileges:
rights, and likewise privileges hitherto granted by the Apostolic See to
either physical or juridical persons, which are still in use and have not
been revoked, remain intact, unless they are expressly revoked by the canons
of this Code.
the revocation of a previous law is not to be presumed; rather, later laws
are to related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonized with
the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke centennial or
immemorial customs." [CIC 4, 21 & 28]
These principles of Canon Law
cited according to the 1983 edition are themselves of immemorial right,
and were previously affirmed in the
1917 Code of Canon Law (see
Canon 4; 6 §2, 6 §4; 23; 30).
The second question was: "Can
a Pope 'block' a rite forever?" The Cardinal answered:
"No. On the power of the
Church concerning the administration of the sacrament of the Eucharist,
the Council of Trent expressly says "that this power
has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments,
preserving their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may
judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or
for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances,
times, and places." From a canonical viewpoint, one must say that,
when a pope writes '...We concede in perpetuity,' it must always be understood
as saying as well 'until it is otherwise disposed'. The special attribute
of the Roman Pontiff's sovereign authority is to not be bound by purely
ecclesiastical laws or to the dispositions of his Predecessors. It is bound
by the immutability of the divine law and the natural law, and by the Constitution
of the Church. Thus, if with the Motu Proprio of St. Pius V, one
looks at the Apostolic Constitution (April 3, 1969) by which Paul VI promulgated
Missale Romanum actually in force, one finds the following words:
wish that these Our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective
now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic
constitutions and ordinances issued by Our Predecessors, and other prescriptions,
even those deserving particular mention and derogation'. It is clear
that the authority of the Council or of the Roman Pontiff is not exercised
in an arbitrary manner, but as keeping in sight the common good of the
The Cardinal is wrong again:
Whereas every pope possesses
the same plenitude of supreme power in the Church, not every papal act
engages this plenitude of authority. A simple comparison of the bull Quo
Primum of St. Pius V and of the Constitution Missale Romanum of
Paul VI shows most clearly that St. Pius V engaged all the plenitude of
his apostolic power in this bull, but that Paul VI did not engage the same
plenitude in his Constitution.
Paul VI's Constitution merely
"presents" the new Mass. It does not even specify whether this is merely
permitted or imposed! If it it is obligatory, it does not specify who are
subject to the obligation; nor the possible exceptions; nor the gravity
of the obligation.
Compare the bull Divino Afflatu
which Pope St. Pius X changed some of the
rubrics, or the motu proprio Rubricarum
of Pope John XXIII: the
obligations are clearly defined, the abrogations clearly and expressly
There is nothing like this in
the Constitution of Pope Paul VI.
The formula, cited by Cardinal
Medina, is insufficient, because the expression 'these
Our decrees and prescriptions' is supposed to make reference to
something, but to what? To the "presentation" of the new Mass?
One must then conclude with
Cardinal Stickler and seven other cardinals (for a total of eight out of
nine polled) that Pope Paul VI did not suppress the Mass of St. Pius V.
Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don
The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop
Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told the I Media news agency on 23rd
June 2006 that the use of the Tridentine rite "has
never been abolished or banned." This position has subsequently
been fully vindicated by Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio of 2007.
Appendix II : What is the situation of the Society
of St Pius Xth?
question is not really part of the present discussion. Moreover it is none
of my business! I have no wish to be impertinent. However, I think that
some comment on my part is necessary. In brief, I consider that Archbishop
Lefebvre had no practical alternative but to do exactly what he did, in
order to preserve as he could the substance of Sacred Tradition. The Vatican
has repetidly proven itself to be dishonourable and untrustworthy. It was
unreasonable to expect the Sainted Archbishop to "trust the Holy Father".
He would have failed in his personal Apostolic duty, if he had not done
all in his power to provide for the continuance of a Catholic Episcopate
unequivocally committed to Sacred Tradition, believing as he did - and
for good reason - that the Church was involved in "a
process of auto-destruction", to quote pope Paul VIth:
"The Church finds herself
in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would
even better be called auto-destruction.
It is an acute and complicated upheaval, which nobody could have expected
after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking herself.
We looked forward to a flowering,
a serene expansion of concepts which matured in the great sessions of the
council ... one must notice above all the sorrowful aspect. It is as
if the Church were destroying herself." [Pope
Paul VI, 7 December 1968, Address to the Lombard College]
Hence, whether or not the clergy of the Society of St Pius
Xth were formally excommunicated; I do not hold this of any account whatsoever.
The act which may have attracted the excommunication was objectively just,
and was necessitated by grave cause: namely the almost total
loss of "Catholic Order" within the Church. The Jesuit theologian Francisco
Suarez (1548-1617) remarks:
"And in this second way
the Pope could be schismatic, if he were unwilling to be in normal union
with the whole body of the Church, as would occur if he attempted to excommunicate
the whole Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if he
wished to overturn the rites of the Church based on Apostolic Tradition."
"If [the Pope] gives an
order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if
he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common
good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force
he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defence." [De
Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16]
It should be noted that the 1917 Code of Canon Law does not
impose excommunication as a penalty for the act of consecrating a bishop
without papal approval.
This question is now academic, as Pope Benedict XVI formally
revoked the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops in January 2009. Deo
There is a growing concurrence of the most prominent Roman
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did not commit a schismatic act
by consecrating bishops without papal mandate.
The declaration of excommunication by the Sacred Congregation
of Bishops is null and void:
Archbishop Lefebvre was technically not "excommunicated"
as no ecclesiastical trial was ever held;
rather, the Congregation simply declared that he had "excommunicated"
Archbishop Lefebvre disputed this, citing the 1983 Code of
Priests and faithful associated with the SSPX are under no
censure at all.
The Vatican has admitted in practice that traditional
Catholic priests are not schismatic.
When the traditional priests of Campos, Brazil,
were received into "full communion", the Vatican did not pretend to absolve
them from any censure for schism.
"The situation of the members
of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The
Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used
in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the
priests of the Society are valid. The bishops are validly ... consecrated."
[Edward Cardinal Cassidy,President
of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity:May 3rd,1994]
The act of consecrating a bishop
[without explicit papal permission] is not in itself a schismatic act."
Jose Cardinal Castillo Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission
for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, President of the Disciplinary
Commission of the Roman Curia]
"The fact is that Msgr. Lefebvre
simply said: 'I am creating bishops in order that my priestly order can
continue. They do not take the place of other bishops. I am not creating
a parallel church.' Therefore, this act was not, per se, schismatic."
Neri Capponi, Professor Emeritus of Canon Law at the University of Florence]
"With the episcopal consecrations,
Archbishop Lefebvre was by no means creating a schism." [Professor
Geringer of the University of Munch]
"It is not the consecration of a
bishop that creates the schism. What makes the schism is to give the bishop
an apostolic mission (which Archbishop Lefebvre never did)." [Rev.
Patrick Valdini, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Catholic
Institute of Paris]
As to the matter of "jurisdiction"
(which impacts on the validity of the sacraments of confession
and matrimony), I consider this to be a practical means of regulating matters
when there is good order within the Church. In the present chaotic situation,
restrictions arising out of deficiencies in jurisdiction are complications
that the Catholic Faithful can ill afford. In all "emergency situations",
it is well known that "the principle of
economy applies" (Eastern
concept) or "the Church supplies jurisdiction" (Western concept).
: Changes afoot in the U.S.A.
It seems that the following changes in devotional practice
are to be imposed on the laity in the United States of America, as dioceses
begin implementing the updated General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Raising their hands at the Lord's Prayer.
Embracing the person in the next seat at the sign of peace.
Bowing before receiving Holy Communion.
Not kneeling in prayer after Communion, but instead, standing
until the distribution of the Sacrament is complete.
The Rev. J-Glenn Murray, director of the Cleveland, Ohio
diocese's Office for Pastoral Liturgy, said the changes will unsettle many
Catholics, but the diocese hopes the uniform guidelines will help people
in the pews have a richer experience of the sacrament. "I
think the current rite stresses presence and holiness in a very powerful
manner," Murray said. "I think it's a vast
This is amazing. That such trivial changes could be thought
to "unsettle many Catholics"! If this is true,
what must the introduction of the NR have done? It is doubly amazing that
such trivial changes could be thought to constitute "a
vast improvement". It is triply amazing that the previous practice
is hereby criticized as being capable of "a vast
The parish of St. Bede the Venerable in Mentor has already
adopted the practices of bowing before Communion and raising hands
at the Our Father. Joanne M. Tadych, liturgist at St. Bede, said that bowing
before receiving Communion has had a profound effect on parishioners. "It
has a very calming effect. It gives you just a moment of peace to think
about what you're really doing. You're not just rushing through." One
elderly parishioner is reported as saying that bowing before receiving
Communion "is a wonderful mark of respect."
Another middle-aged parishioner, said she sometimes forgets to bow at Communion,
because "It's a big change."
I am lost for words here. It is the same authorities and
persons who systematically extinguished any practice of reverence
at the reception of Holy Communion that are now claiming to have discovered
the obvious truth that the addition or subtraction of even a slight sign
of reverence can have a "profound effect on parishioners"!
It is gratifying to have it admitted that the NR practice of neigh on forty
years amounts to "just rushing through". If
bowing before receiving Communion "is a wonderful
mark of respect", I wonder how the traditional practice of kneeling
should be described?
IV : A Latin Parish in the United States of America
Based on an article in the December 21, 2003 Virginian-Pilot
Prejudice would suggest that an ever-dwindling band of
nostalgic, silver-haired Catholics would attend St. Benedict's Chapel,
Chesapeake, to hear the Rev. Damian A. Abbaticchio lead worship in Latin.
In fact, Sunday mornings find youthful faces throughout the church. A steady
trickle of newcomers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s has boosted St. Benedict's
congregation to about two hundred. This has led to a second Sunday Mass
being held there regularly and an expansion of the building. The congregation
was about eighty when worship in Latin commenced at St Benedict's in 1992.
For older Catholics and many baby boomers at St. Benedict,
the old liturgy has almost a nostalgic feel: It is the standard with which
they grew up. For some younger Catholics raised on the vernacular Novus
Ordo Missae, the Old Rite is oddly fresh in its return to tradition. Moreover,
the Novus Ordo is too unpredictable and too much like Protestant services.
From the Old Mass to the rosary, traditions that fell
out of favour among their parents after the Second Vatican Council in the
1960s are making a comeback among many young Catholics. "They are a big
trend in the church," said Kathleen Cummings of the Cushwa Center for the
Study of American Catholicism, which is based at the University of Notre
Dame. She explains that the old practices appeal to some within the younger
generation who are struggling to find ways of defining and demonstrating
their Catholic identity. "The Latin Mass would be one way to proclaim one's
self as distinctly Catholic," she said.
For the younger generation, which rarely experienced the
traditions while growing up, the old practices can serve as a new way of
connecting with the divine. "They enable people to pray in a certain way
that helps their faith," said the Rev. James Martin, who has written about
the trend as associate editor of America, a Jesuit magazine. "On the one
hand, you have people, mostly liberals, who say, 'It's baloney and superstitious,'
and you have other people who say, 'You're not a real Catholic if you don't
pray the rosary,''' he said. Martin said the old traditions will continue
to find young adherents. "The most salient part is that for many young
Catholics, these devotions and things like the Latin Mass are just sort
of exotic, sensual, mysterious, very other, so it sort of fascinates them,"
Martin said. Additionally, he said, younger Catholics are less likely to
be biased against traditional practices they haven't experienced than some
older Catholics who remain glad to be rid of ways that they found stifling
In the case of the Old Rite, "there's a sense that the
whole has been refined over centuries," said thirty-six year-old Ron Weber,
a Chesapeake resident who grew up going to English-only Masses. "It gives
you the sense that God is always the same." Weber first learned about the
Tridentine Mass while studying religion at The College of William and Mary.
After graduating and settling in South Hampton Roads, he visited St. Benedict
out of curiosity. He finds in the Old Mass a quality of "immutability Ė
the sense that God doesn't change, and neither does the way you worship."
Joe and Susan Kalis, said they began learning about the
traditional style of worship while giving their children religious instruction
during home schooling. "We were re-taught the faith when we taught our
children, and suddenly realized we had missed an awful lot," said Joe,
who, like his wife, is fourty-one. Echoing a comment common among their
peers at St. Benedict, the couple said the Tridentine rite properly puts
a heavier emphasis on reverence to the Blessed Sacrament.
Most typical was Leanne Smith's view that the Latin Mass
demands more reverence than is usually found at the standard worship service.
Smith, thirty-five, said she skipped from one church to another before
stumbling upon a Latin service in Northern Virginia five years ago. "It
opened my eyes," she said. "This is what our Lord, the apostles, have passed
Appendix V: Juventutum
Based on a Reuters article August 17, 2005
Over 300 young Catholics gathered on Wednesday morning
in the large Saint Antonius church in Duesseldorf for a celebration of
the Tridentine Mass by Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan from Campos in Brazil.
The traditional liturgy, almost forgotten since the Church switched to
vernacular tongues for its services, is making a quiet comeback among a
minority of young Catholics who find it more sacred and prayerful than
the general diet of folk guitars and chatty priests served up in the typical
'There is so much depth and richness and tradition in
this Mass,' said Andrea Nolan, 27, a teacher from Oklahoma City.
'This is the same Mass that saints like Ignatius of Loyola
and Catherine of Siena heard,' said another American, recent law graduate
Matthew Dalrymple, 26.
"We don't understand everything, but we know what it means,"
said Hary Soerijanto, an Indonesian now studying in Berlin.
"There is a lot of suspicion in Switzerland, because one
of these groups has its seminary there in Econe," said Raphael Waldis,
19, who regularly attends Latin Mass at his home in Bulle. "But we're not
schismatics. The Vatican allows this."
"We support people who want to ask their bishop to offer
it," said Robert Lane, an Irish student from County Galway.
Adrian O'Boyle, another Irish student from County Mayo,
said the timeless permanence of the Latin Mass attracted young people to
it. "There's nothing wishy-washy about it," he said.
A new movement called Juventutem (Latin for 'youth', its
main constituency) organised the Latin Masses and other traditional devotions
here for the first time ever. About 800 pilgrims with Juventutem came from
France and 200 from other countries, French traditionalist priest Fr. Jean-Marie
Robinne said after the service here. "Most of these French youths come
from families that have always attended Latin Mass."
Several prelates, including Cardinals Francis George of
Chicago, George Pell of Sydney and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, have agreed
to lead Latin prayers here with Juventutem.
Appendix VI Drama at
Based on an article published in the September 2005 edition
of Catholic Family News.
On 5th May 2004, a Hindu priest was permitted to chant
a prayer for peace at the altar in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions
at the Fatima shrine. On August 21st and 22nd, thousands of concerned Catholics
converged on Fatima to make an Act of Reparation.
On Sunday, August 21st, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior
General of the Society of Saint Pius X celebrated a solemn High Mass
in a field about a mile from the Fatima Shrine. Then on Monday, a low Mass
was celebrated at the same outdoor site, followed by a procession to the
Shrine. Upon arriving at the Shrine, the hundreds of priests, four bishops,
many religious, and thousands of faithful, were confronted by a barricade
that blocked their way to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, even
though the SSPX had made an agreement with Shrine authorities to be at
the Little Chapel at that hour.
The men from the procession opened up the barricade themselves,
and the huge crowd took its place in front of the Little Chapel of the
Apparitions, never entering the Chapel itself. The four bishops of
the Society of Saint Pius X knelt in front of the Little Chapel. The ensemble
of pilgrims chanted the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and then began to pray
the Rosary in Latin.
At about the third decade of the Rosary, three nuns from
the Fatima Shrine approached the podium in the sanctuary, as if they
were going to start a ceremony of their own. We had just finished
a decade, so we began to sing the "Christus Vinces". Immediately after
we started our hymn, the nuns from the Shrine began to sing over the microphone
a different hymn from ours, in an attempt to disrupt our prayers.
It was a dramatic stand-off. We stood at full height and
sang louder. The nuns continued the challenge, singing their own hymns
over the microphone. It was as bizarre as it was childish. Tension mounted.
We were outraged that the Shrine representatives would hurl such
contempt at our group, which was merely praying the Rosary at the Fatima
This "got the Irish up" of an Irish Brother who stepped
over the small outside wall around the Little Chapel and made his way toward
the nuns. His plan was to pull the microphone away from these peculiar
Sisters treating us with derision. As he approached the nuns, he was seized
by Shrine guards. A scuffle ensued. Various pilgrims in the crowd gasped
in horror. Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta from the SSPX rose to his feet to
establish calm. The guards released the Brother. The Shrine nuns withdrew
from the sanctuary and we continued our prayers.
Within two minutes, the Shrine authorities retaliated.
Sacred music suddenly began to blast from the Shrine's sound system. It
was full volume, so loud that I could barely hear the Rosary recited by
the people around me. The entire esplanade vibrated from the Shrine's state-of-the-art
sound system, designed to project sound to tens-of-thousands of people.
It was Sacred music used as a weapon against traditional
Catholics! The pilgrims continued the Rosary as the music blared. The bishops,
priests and people renewed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart
of Mary. The pilgrims sang a final hymn to Our Lady and broke into applause
while doing so. Then the entire group solemnly processed from the Little
Chapel. The Act of Reparation was concluded. We completed what we set out
to do, despite the Shrine authorities' clumsy attempt at disruption.
Australia's Father Kevin Robinson said, "We've just witnessed
an incredible scene. This is the power of Tradition over the devil-inspired
new religion. I think everybody here is very happy to have experienced
the Consecration of the Society. And please God we can overcome these modernists.
They provoked us to pray more, to pray for their conversion. This
is the place where conversions happen."
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society
of Saint Pius X, said, "We had, during our little Act of Reparation,
a very, very nasty reaction from the side of the Sanctuary. They provoked,
but there was a happy end."
Father Geraldo Zendejas, Prior of Saint Ignatius Retreat
House, said, "We came here for a public act of Reparation. And we received
the answer from them (the Shrine). They want to silence us. Every-body's
accepted here, even the Hindus. But today, we were rejected. We were 2,000
people just praying on our knees for the glory of God."
This is true. Under Rector Guerra, Hindus were welcome
to pray at the altar. Interfaith Congresses were held at the Fatima Shrine's
conference center. Anglicans have conducted retreats at the Shrine. But
Traditional Catholics, who believe everything the Church has always taught
and practiced, are not welcome.
Father Jean Violette, District Superior of Canada,
made a similar point: "I'm sure if we would have worn turbans, the Rector
would have greeted us at the Statue. We all would have held hands, and
we would have had a nice ecumenical meeting. Instead, we were received
very rudely - a typical, Novus Ordo, ecumenical gesture."
Father Anthony Mary from the traditionalist Redemptorists
in Great Britain, said, "I heard from Father Schmidberger that everything
had been organized. They (at the Shrine) knew we were coming." Conditions,
he explained, were agreed to with the Shrine regarding the public prayer
in front of the Little Chapel. "We kept the conditions to do the consecration
and Father Schmidberger said that he was very surprised that they broke
the conditions (the agreement). And once they at the Shrine broke the conditions
of keeping the arrangement, then, well, we actually had to break through
the barriers to get through. So I think the whole attitude of them
was despicable. The least they could have had was the simple, natural charity
to let us say our prayers and not try to interrupt it. But it's wonderful
that we managed to do what we had to do and I'm sure graces will
be won for the Fraternity, for Tradition, and reparation done as well."
: The Funeral of Roger Schutz of Taizé
Based on an article by John Tagliabue, August 24th 2005.
At a Funeral Mass celebrated on Tuesday by Cardinal
Walter Kasper, the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of
Christians; for Roger Schuttz the Blessed Sacrament was distributed indiscriminately,
regardless of creed.
Brother Roger's community and friends, including President
Horst Köhler of Germany and the retired archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie
Lustiger, attended the liturgy in the vast wooden monastery church at Taizé,
while thousands more followed it on a huge screen in fields outside the
church. The Taizé community encompasses about 90 members from 20
or so countries and virtually every Christian denomination. Four Roman
Catholic priests from among the members concelebrated the funeral Mass
with Cardinal Kasper.
Petra Simmert, a schoolteacher from southern Germany,
came with her husband and two children. She is Protestant, he Catholic;
one child is Catholic, the other Protestant. "We're an ecumenical family,"
she said, with a laugh. Watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II on television,
they saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, give communion
to Brother Roger, even though he was not Catholic. "That struck us,"
Was Taizé founder a "secret Catholic?"
The religious affiliation of Roger Schutz became a subject
of speculation, at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, when the Taizé
leader received communion from Joseph Ratzinger, although he was known
to be a Reformed Church pastor. The mystery deepened after he was killed,
when Cardinal Kasper presided at a Catholic funeral.
The historian Yves Chiron reported in the August 2006
issue of the newsletter "Aletheia", that Schutz converted to Catholicism
in 1972. He claims this was confirmed for him by Msgr. Raymond Séguy,
former bishop of Autun - the diocese where Taizé is located. Schutz
kept his conversion secret, Chiron is reported to say, to avoid upsetting
the ecumenical harmony of the Taizé community.
An article in "La Monde" also claims that the other founder
of Taizé, Max Thurian (who died in 1996) also became a Catholic,
but that this was not known until 1988. Msgr. Séguy apparantly knew
of this from his predecessor as bishop of Autun, Armand Le Bourgeois, who
he claims received Schutz' profession of faith. The present leader of Taizé
- a catholic - is reported to have said that the report by Chiron was "inexact".
He states that Schutz attended Mass in the Pope's chapel when he visited
Rome in 1972, and received communion there "without a conversion,
which was not requested of him." Apparently Schutz sought communion with
the Catholic Church, but wished to avoid the term conversion, because it
would "imply a break with his roots." He was not required to reveal what
had happened so as not to disturb the ecumenical harmony of Taizé.
"I found.... my own christian
identity in reconciling in my own person the faith of my origins with the
mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking communion with either."
[Roger Schutz "Roman declaration"
The Taizé community later issued a series of statements
rejecting reputes that its funder, Roger Schutz, had secretly converted
to Catholicism. They stated that instead he:
"undertook a step that was without precedent
since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with
the faith of the Catholic Church without a 'conversion' that would imply
a break with his origins. [To speak of a] "conversion" [in this case would
show that one] has not grasped the originality of Brother Roger's search."
In a supporting statement released by Taizé, Bishop
Gerard Daucourt, a member of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity,
pointed out that conversion to the Catholic faith would "involve a written
and signed document. No document of this kind exists in Brother Rogerís
case." He said that, nevertheless, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II had "recognized
an objective and public character in the communion of faith that Brother
Roger lived with the Catholic Church."
Yet another supporting statement came from Rev. Gill Daudéin,
the head of ecumenical relations for the French Protestant Federation.
He said that Brother Roger had "entered into a step that was post-confessional,"
creating a situation that "seems to go beyond what we are able to imagine."
Appendix VIII : Some
"One of the priests who
celebrated in the college Chapel where I went to school avoided the
word blood in the anaphora (He said,"This is the cup of a new testament")
because blood was depressing and we shouldn't talk about it in Church.
Apparently eating someone's body was okay, because he left that part of
the institution narrative intact. Another priest there used to insist that
people consume all of the remaining sacramental elements after his mass,
because he was "uncomfortable" with the idea of adhering presence. I told
him he really ought to think about becoming a Lutheran, earning me an irritated
look. He wasn't anywhere near good enough as a preacher to be a Lutheran
I remember attending a mass at which
the priest said, "This is bread for the journey," and "This is drink for
the journey" instead of the the normal consecration formula. I remember
considering quietly "Validating" the action, but deciding that someone
who would do something that silly might also do God knows what horrible
thing with the left over elements. I decided that since as things stood
that would really be no problem, it was best to just leave things as they
were. In fact, leave is exactly what I did, because I didn't want to knowingly
participate in an invalid sacrament. I remember that the priest got out
of his car wearing his alb when he arrived at the Church where the mass
was being held, which is strange in itself." [From
a priest correspondent]
"Here in Holland, laymen and laywomen
regularly play at priest by presiding at ''Communion services'', even
forbidding ordained priests to celebrate Mass in the churches where they
preside. The Bishops do nothing to stop the abuse. Some lay
''pastoral workers'' or ''pastores'' as they call themselves, even distribute
unconsecrated hosts, saying that nobody can see the difference anyway.
Often, the faithful take an extra Host with them to bring to hospital or
to private homes, as the priest is no longer expected to visit the ill
and dying. Some deacons and lay people even perform an invalid anointing
of the sick!
Many priests keep themselves busy
with all kinds of meetings and ecumenical activities, whilst powerful lay
persons have taken over most sacred functions. In the church where I celebrate
Mass on Tuesdays, I am not allowed to say Mass on any other weekday
because on other days there are lay led "Word and Communion services."
The lay ''pastoral workers'' involved refuse to allow their services to
be substituted by a Mass (this is a widespread phenomenon). So on the other
weekdays I celebrate Mass privately. On Sundays, thank God, I travel to
other cities to celebrate the Mass for groups of traditional Catholics,
who truly long for the Mass, and who appreciate the priest who brings it
This one thing - the post-concilliar
permission for lay people to violate the Sacrament (by receiving it on
their hand) and the Altar (by being allowed to play priest at ''Communion
services'') - like a vicious circle, has so contributed to a loss of identity
and purpose amongst priests, and to a subsequent loss of vocations, that
the lay extraordinary ministers have made themselves an almost indispensable
substitution for the ordained priests who are dying out.
Today I received the monthly bulletin
of that beautiful church of the Sacramentine Fathers called the Begijnhof.
In it was an article so heretical and so belittling of Catholic doctrine
on the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and the priesthood, that I wrote a letter
this evening telling them not to send me the bulletin any more. And they
are 'Sacramentines'. The auxiliary bishop is a Sacramentine, and lives
in that very priory! Their bulletin has always been full of heterodox ideas
but this article is the last straw. It is called 'A history of the Eucharist
in a nutshell' and claims that the protestants were right all along: that
the catholic priesthood; the Sacrifice of the Mass; the Real Presence;
Eucharistic devotion; Holy Communion as a means of grace and Liturgy itself
are all 'strange' ideas happily rejected by Vatican II, ideas which were
foreign to Christ and the first seven centuries of christians, but were
invented by the Germanic peoples after they had been christianized." [From
another priest correspondent]
The mother of a friend of mine,
an opera singer in Lille, died yesterday. What makes me angry, is the unedifying
circus act put on by the modernists in their supposed concern to give "pastoral
care" to the sick and especially the dying.
When my friend's mother entered
the hospital, it was not easy to find the chaplain. Once the chaplain was
finally found, the question arose: "what should he 'do' to his mom?" He
was told that as the old lady hadn't received Holy Communion for a couple
of years the chaplain didn't want to give it her now, because if he gave
her the viaticum, she might mistake it for Extreme Unction. Moreover as,
since the liturgical "reformation" Extreme Unction had been abolished,
the best thing to do would be to simply recite the Lord's prayer.
I mailed a traditionalist priest
who used to serve in Lille. He told me that he didn't do so anymore, but
immediatly spoke by phone to another traditionalist priest from Lille.
This second priest was prepared to go at the hospital; to confess the old
lady, to communicate her and to give her Extreme Unction. In the meanwhile,
the traditional priests said that the family should ask the hospital's
chaplain to give her at least an absolution, in case she died before she
could receive the traditional last rites.
It was impossible to find, the chaplain
yesterday morning, because he had a mass to celebrate outside the hospital.
Eventually he was contacted and suggested that he send a layman to give
the old lady absolution and the anointing of the sick, in order to prevent
the traditionalist from coming. I told my friend that a layman is not allowed
to perform these sacraments, and that they should therefore ask the traditionalist
priest to go to the hospital. Faced with this dilema my friend didn't know
what to do. He remembered that it had been told them that whosoever doesn't
accept Vatican II is backward. So he stalled and waited for a "miracle"
to happen. Inevitably, the old lady died yesterday, without receiving the
last sacraments. [A lay correspondent (27th
"I once assisted at a 'Mass of the
Roman rite', where the priest spoke no words of consecration at all, yet
distributed the non-consecrated wafers as Holy Communion. When I asked
him why, he answered: 'Go and study the new theology!' Of course that Mass
was missing not only the words of consecration but every else as well!
I later found out that this has been going on in ultra-liberal circles
since the end of Vatican II. How can I now with a straight face defend
the integrity of the Catholic Mass and of Catholic sacramentology?" [From
yet another priest correspondent]
"The situation is dire. Anyone can
walk into a Catholic church on a Sunday and see pews, once filled to bursting,
now sparsely populated with grey heads. And there is no other solution
for the church but to begin again, as if it were the church of the catacombs,
an oddball minority sect in a world of casual cruelty and unbending empire
that gathered adherents because it was so unlike the surrounding society."
Cahill: New York Times (5th April 2005)]
"In May I went to a First Holy Communion.
It was my partner's niece and her school class. The service was "sloppy"
people were dressed in shorts, crop tops, T-shirts, bare legs, bare shoulders,
bare midriffs. There was even a dog in the pews! People were drinking from
water and soft drink bottles. My partner and I were modestly and smartly
dressed. He is a protestant as is his mother and his brother is a Mason,
yet we were the only modestly, smartly dressed people there. I was so ashamed
to be a Catholic in a group of protestants who probably thought very little
of us and our behaviour in church. The hymns were turgid and uninspiring."
[A lay correspondent (July 2008)]
"I went to a requiem Mass at Our
Lady of Hal, Camden Town (north London) for one of the local market traders.
I was thoroughly disgusted and unhappy to see many of the more
than casually dressed Irish Catholic contingent chatting the whole
time, drinking Coke from cans and water from bottles, indulging already
obese, fractious children with snacks to keep them quiet, and making
no attempt whatsoever at the hymns - the Protestants tried, but the tunes
were unfamiliar for them. It would have been better to have omitted
the hymns completely. The final indignity and injury to the solemnity was
a couple of unsuitably dressed teenage girls, who decided that they
had had enough of boredom and no cigarettes, and went to the back of the
church to smoke - one waving a cigarette to the other (in a row on the
other side) and the other nodding assent and following her - while the
priest was eulogising in hesitatingly glowing terms the dear departed."
[A lay correspondent (July 2008)]
". . . The effectiveness of the
current liturgy is something many people are discussing - Cardinal
Ratzinger is not a lone wolf howling in the wind on this one.
... the results of two different
well-known polls (which were reported in your paper) that only one-third
of Massgoers recognized the orthodox Catholic doctrine on the Real Presence
as being an expression of their faith, the other two-thirds happily opting
for Zwinglian and Lutheran formulations?....
I think the most serious thing
which can be said about the way we worship in the Roman rite is that it
is in tone, in spirit, utterly different from any of the other rites of
the Catholic Church .... the sense of the transcendence of God, which once
marked liturgy strongly, seems rarely to find expression in our worship
[Fr. F. Wilson, a letter to the
Editor of the "Brooklyn Tablet" (1997)]
I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, a priest invited all of the congregation
of students at a "College Mass" held in one of the student's rooms to join
in the whole of the anaphora. On another occasion, an evangelical was given
specific permission to receive communion at the Chaplaincy, just because
he was the boyfriend of a Catholic girl. One of the Chaplains was regularly
to be seen sitting with various female students on his lap.
When I went on pilgrimage to Walsingham I noticed that
earthenware eucharistic vessels were being used. When I wrote to the Diocesan
Bishop, the late unlamented "Dr Alan Clark", he told me to mind my own
business. This illegal practice has recently been condemned anew, but is
still commonplace, for example in my own parish of "Holy Ghost" Basingstoke,
where pewter chalices are routinely used.
I once attended a Mass at "Our Lady of Lourdes and St
Joseph", Leigh-on-Sea at which a visiting priest preached that "there
is no place for the worship of God in the Christian Religion".
The parish priest of St Mary Moorefields told me that
he had stopped his congregation from kneeling to receive holy communion
order to be in better communion with" his Archbishop, the late Basil
Hume. At the same church, I observed "extraordinary ministers" distributing
holy communion while an assistant priest sat inactive on the sanctuary.
More recently, I saw the Abbott of Douai consecrate a
litre glass jug of wine after preaching a sermon in which he suggested
that Islam was at least as good a religion as Catholicism.
This whacky and wild "Clown Mass" is brought to you
by the parish of Christ the King,
Pleasant Hill, Diocese of Oakland, California.
The portly, balding presbyter in the centre is Rev Brian
"For all the time I've
been a member of this group, I'd never attended a traditional latin rite
Mass - until last week. I have to say, after all I've read and learned
about it from this group, I found it to be terribly disappointing.
I guess I didn't realize how much
of it is utterly inaudible and invisible - even if spoken in a language
I don't understand, I actually missed the consecration simply because I
couldn't see or hear a thing until the bells rang!
I appreciated Father's reverence,
of course - but I had witnessed that reverence during Novus Ordo Masses
as well, and at least I felt like I was doing more than watching the priest
engage in what seemed like his own private liturgy.
I also found myself uneasy with
the male dominated feeling of the whole Mass.... no women anywhere near
the altar, all the women (except me) wearing chapel veils or mantillas,
large families devoted to JPII congregating in the parish hall afterward
for the potluck supper. It was so not my scene, and I don't think I'll
be doing it again. (The old rite baptism of my nephew that preceded it
was kind of cool, though.)
What I did appreciate, of course,
was the altar pushed back against the wall, and the notion of us all facing
God... and a chapel decorated so exquisitely, it could have only been overseen
by a gay man (and Father is certainly that - he just toes the Vatican line).
But aside from that, none of the liturgy struck me as anything like "awesome,"
or superior to the better celebrated novus ordo Masses I've attended.
The Mass cannot be catered to my
or anyone else's tastes, of course, which is the issue - it's about right
worship. I can also certainly better appreciate why people were upset when
the rite was changed, considering the old Mass is really nothing like the
new. But am I missing something?"
[Private communication from a Catholic
laywoman (June 2006)]
"I grew up with the old rite of
mass (and sacraments), was terribly upset with their change (when I was
sixteen years old), and since then have always tried as much as possible
to attend and celebrate the old rite Mass and avoid the new. Your own various
first impressions - both negative, positive and neutral - which you describe
in your posting - seem very logical to me. Aside the circumstances, (large
families present, lack of females near the altar), should you ever continue
to attend the Mass according to the Traditional Rite, I am sure that you
would grow to understand, appreciate and to love the pecularities of the
Old Rite, such as the silent Canon. Granted, I was not present at your
Mass. So I donot know how rubrically faithfully, liturgically, and devotely
the preist celebrated, the altar boys served, and the choir and people
chanted. For if you attended a low Mass - merely recited rather than chanted
- which is not the Roman Mass as it is meant to be celebrated - then your
disappointment is so much the more understandable.
The 'good' liturgical movement (pre-Vatican
II) strove to have the High Mass - chanted by priest, choir and people
- with incense, deacon, subdeacon, acolytes and lectors - become once again
the normal parish Mass on Sundays and Festivals, and to reintroduce into
the exisitng Mass of the Roman Rite elements which in many or most places
had fallen into disuse; elements integral to the Roman Rite, which make
the Sacrifice of the Mass more truly a liturgical celebration that inspires
awe, reverence, and a sense of communion with the Sacred, rather than just
a ritual to 'get through with' as accurately, effeciently and hastily as
possible. Unfortunately the 'good' liturgical movement was hijacked after
the council by the 'bad' liturgical movement dominated by heretics, which
produced the notorious Novus Ordo in its many diverse manifestations; (which
does not exclude the fact which you have noted, that some priests are able
to celebrate even the Novus Ordo Mass in a devote and quasi-traditionally
catholic manner - by applying to the Novus Ordo Mass the texts, attitudes,
gestures, rituals, vestments, tone of voice, sounds and convictions proper
to the Old Rite.)
In a word, it seems to me that not
all that goes under the name of Old Rite is gold, just as not all that
goes under the name of New Rite is dross. Though, you all know a thousand
times over where my religious sympathies and loyalties lie! Try again.
Perhaps somwhere else, or on a different day when a baptism is not being
celebrated just prior to Mass. Perhaps a different kind of crowd will show
[Reply from a Catholic priest (June
X: A good experience with the Old Mass
I attended an early morning Traditional
Latin Mass, and I just wanted to share with the group some of my thoughts:
Though the New Mass is celebrated there
as well, the entire church and the sanctuary were traditional Roman Catholic
- tabernacle on the altar, high and low mass candles, side altars, customary
statues of Mary (3!) and the saints, an altar rail, and vivid Stations
of the Cross. In the "spirit of Vatican II", too many churches have been
aesthetically disfigured under the guise of "renovations". What distinguishes
Catholicism from Protestantism is the former's incarnational- sacramental
doctrinal perspective, which is manifested in ritual, sacraments, and sacramentals.
Our churches ought to visibly mirror that held doctrine.
The TLM was Low, so much of the pomp
and circumstance of the High Mass was not celebrated by the priest and
the servers. With all kneeling at the beginning to express penitence for
(venial) sins committed and receiving (minor) absolution, is most fitting
before entering into the sacred mysteries with pure hearts and souls. Much
more direct mention is made of the Holy Trinity, the Divinity of
Christ, Our Lady and the angels and saints, Mass as an unbloody oblation,
the poor souls in Purgatory, and the veneration of relics, etc. In the
New Mass, there is need of improved translations of texts and imported
doctrinal phrases from its liturgical predecessor.
The silence was overwhelming, and there
were no distracting occasions of informality and chatter. Though I felt
like a silent observer, as the priest and the servers spoke, I came to
understand what it means to "pray the Holy Mass," by whispering the responses
of the servers. Additionally, there was much more time to pray preparatory
and thanksgiving prayers for Holy Communion. With the priest facing "ad
orientum," crossing, bowing, and genuflecting, it became much more clear
that Christ Himself is the Priest and Victim; all of us are but unworthy
servers. Often, the New Mass is celebrated with such rapidity that it is
easy to "go through the motions," especially when there is no time to reflect
Besides railing against Protestant
prostelytism and radical feminism, the priest delivered an excellent sermon
on St. Joseph, a neglected saint, whose feast day is this Thursday.
Appendix XI: An interview with
the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship
One gets the impression
that the liturgy is a priority for Benedict XVI.
Rightly so. When one looks back
at the history of the liturgy over the years, one sees how important listening
to God and touching the transcendent is for everyone. The Church has always
been aware that its liturgical life must be oriented toward God, and must
bring with it a profoundly mystical atmosphere. Now for a number
of years the tendency has been to forget this, and to substitute for it
a spirit of complete liberty that leaves everything open to a rootless
and depthless creativity.
Has the liturgy become an object
of controversy, of debate within the Church, even a factor of serious division?
I think this is a purely Western
phenomenon. Secularization in the West has led to a deep division between
those who take refuge in mysticism, forgetting about life, and those who
the liturgy, depriving it of its role as a mediator with the transcendent.
In Asia - for example, in Sri Lanka, my own country - everyone, no mater
what his religion, is very conscious of man's need to be drawn to the transcendent.
And this should also be reflected in everyday life. I donít think that
the sense of the divine should be lowered to the human level, but that
man should be lifted up to the supernatural level, where we can approach
the divine Mystery. Now, the temptation to take charge of this divine Mystery,
to try to control it, is strong in a society that divinizes man, as Western
society does. Prayer is a gift: liturgy is not determined by man, but by
what God brings to birth within him. It implies an attitude of adoration
toward God the creator.
Do you have the sense that the conciliar
reform went too far?
It's not a question of being anti-conciliar
or post-conciliar, conservative or progressive! I think that the liturgical
reform of Vatican II never got off the ground. Besides, this reform
didn't begin with Vatican II: in reality, it preceded the Council, coming
into being with the liturgical movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
If one abides by what the Vatican II decree Sacrosanctum Concilium says,
the issue was that of making the liturgy the route of access to faith,
and the changes in this area were supposed to emerge in an organic manner,
keeping the tradition in view, and not in a haphazard manner. There
have been many tendencies that have banished from view the authentic meaning
of the liturgy. One could say that the direction of liturgical prayer
in the postconciliar reform has not always been the reflection of the documents
of Vatican II, and in this sense, one could speak of a necessary correction,
a reform of the reform. The liturgy must be won back, in the spirit
of the Council.
Through what concrete steps?
Today, the problems of the liturgy
center around language (vernacular or Latin) and the position of the priest,
whether he faces the assembly or faces God. I will surprise you here: nowhere
in the conciliar decree does it say that the priest must face the assembly,
nor that the use of Latin is forbidden! If the use of the common tongue
is permitted, notably in the liturgy of the Word, the decree is very clear
that the use of the Latin language should be maintained in the Latin rite.
We are waiting for the pope to give us his guidelines on these subjects.
And as for all those who followed,
with a great sense of obedience, the post-conciliar reforms Ė do they need
to be told that they were wrong?
No, this shouldn't be turned into
an ideological problem. I have noticed how much the young priests here
love to celebrate the Tridentine rite. It must be clarified that this ritual,
following the missal of Pius V, has not been "outlawed". Should its use
be encouraged even more? That's for the pope to decide. But it is certain
that a new generation is seeking a greater orientation toward mystery.
is not a question of form, but of substance. In order to speak of the
liturgy, what is necessary is not a scientific or historical-theological
spirit alone, but above all an attitude of meditation, prayer, and silence.
Once again, it is not a question
of being progressive or conservative, but simply of permitting man to pray,
to listen to the voice of the Lord. What happens in the celebration
of the Lord's glory is not a merely human reality. If one forgets this
mystical aspect, everything gets mixed up and confused. If the liturgy
loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, then who is left to help man
free himself from his egoism and self-enslavement? The liturgy must be
above all a road to freedom, in opening man to the infinite.
This interview is from June 25 2006. Three days earlier,
the Archbishop had given a more detailed interview on the same subject
to Antoine-Marie Izoard of the French news agency "I.MEDIA." The
text of this earlier interview is available only to I.MEDIA subscribers.
However, on June 23, the French newspaper "Le Figaro" reprinted some selections
from it in an article by Hervé Yannou.
The great contribution
of the Pope, in my opinion, is that he is leading us toward to the truth
of the liturgy, with a wise teaching he is bringing us to a genuine 'spirit'
of the liturgy (the title of one of his works before he became Pope). He
is, first of all, following a simple process of education which seeks to
move toward this 'spirit' or genuine meaning of the liturgy, to overcome
the wide-spread reductionist vision of the liturgy. His teachings, so rich
and abundant in this area before becoming Pope, as well as his evocative
gestures which accompany the celebrations at which he presides, move in
this direction. We must welcome these actions and lessons if we are are
to live the liturgy in a way that is appropriate to its proper nature,
and if we do not wish to lose the treasures and heritage of the liturgical
tradition. This also constitute a great gift for the formation, so urgent
and necessary, of the Christian people. It is from this perspective that
we should see the Motu Proprio, which confirmed the possibility of celebrating
the rite of the Roman Missal approved by Pope John XXIII and which goes
back, with successive modifications, to the time of St. Gregory the Great
and even earlier.
It is certain that there
are many difficulties for those who use what is their right, celebrating
or participating in the Mass in accordance with the "ancient" or "extraordinary"
rite. Here, there need not be this opposition, nor should it be viewed
with suspicion or be labeled as "pre-conciliar" or, even worse, "anti-conciliar".
The reasons for this are many and varied,
but are basically are the same as those which led toward reform of the
liturgy, not understood as a break in the tradition but of the hermeneutic
of continuity, which demands renewal and the true liturgical reform in
the light of Vatican II. We cannot forget, moreover, that the liturgy touches
that which is most important to the Faith and the Church and, for this
reason, every time one altered something in history of the liturgy, tensions
and divisions have not been insignificant.
[Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation
for Divine Worship (Jan 2010)]
XII: Answers of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia
Dei" to certain questions
As frequent questions regarding the
Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" have come to the Pontifical Commission
"Ecclesia Dei", of which many have been based on the prescriptions found
in the Document "Quattuor abhinc annos" sent by the Congregation for Divine
Worship to Presidents of Episcopal Conferences on October 3rd 1984; the
President of the Commission, H.E. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has considered
it appropriate to give the following answers:
May one refer to the Letter "Quattuor abhinc annos" in order to regulate
matters relating to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman
Rite; that is, according to the Roman Missal of 1962?
Evidently not, since, the publication
of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" renders the restrictions on the
use of the Missal of 1962, previously contained in Quattuor abhinc annos"
and therefore the Motu Proprio of the Servant of God John Paul II "Ecclesia
Of Adflicta" obsolete. In fact, the same "Summorum Pontificum" (art. 1)
explicitly states that: "the conditions for the use of this Missal established
by earlier documents "Quattuor abhinc annos and "Ecclesia Dei" have
been replaced. The Motu Proprio lists the new conditions. Therefore, it
is no longer possible to refer to the restriction fixed by those two documents,
regarding the celebrations according to the Missal of 1962.
What are the substantial differences between the latest Motu Proprio and
the two previous documents relating to this matter?
The first substantial difference is
certainly that it is now clearly permissible to celebrate the Mass according
to the extraordinary rite, without the need for a special permit, called
an "indult". The Holy Father Benedict XVI has established, once and for
all, that the Roman Rite is in two forms, which he has named the "Ordinary
Form" (the celebration of the Novus Ordo, according to the Missal of Paul
VI as published in 1970) and the "Extraordinary Form" (the celebration
of the Gregorian Rite, according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII as
published in 1962) and has confirmed that the Missal of 1962 has never
been abrogated. Another difference is that, in Masses celebrated without
a congregation, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular
or religious, can use one or the other Missal (art. 2). Moreover, in Masses
with or without a congregation, it is for the pastor or rector of the church
where it is intended to celebrate the Mass, to allow all those priests
to do so who present to him a "Celebret" obtained from their own
Ordinary. If they withhold such permission, the bishop, in accordance with
the norms of the Motu Proprio, must ensure that it be granted (art. 7).
It is important to know that previously,
an ad hoc Commission formed of H.E. Paul Cardinal Augustin Mayer, Prefect
of the Congregation for Divine Worship; H.E.. Agostino Cardinal Casaroli,
H.E. Bernardin Cardinal Gantin, H.E. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, H.E. William
Cardinal Baum, H.E. Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, H.E. Alfons Cardinal Stickler
and H.E. Antonio Cardinal Innocenti, was created on 12th December 1986,
"by the will of the Holy Father, in order to examine possible measures
to be taken to remedy the observed ineffectiveness of the Pontifical Indult
"Quattuor abhinc annos" (on the restoration of the so-called 'Tridentine'
Mass in the Latin Church according to the typical edition of Roman Missal
of 1962), issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship "Prot. N. 686/84"
of 3rd October 1984. This Commission had, even then, proposed to the Holy
Father John Paul II many substantive elements for this purpose which have
subsequently been incorporated into the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".
Let me make a summary of the report
that presents the interventions of the Emminent Cardinals, in order that
it may be understood how the later Documents substantially reflect the
vision that such an important Commission of Cardinals had so soon after
"Quattor abhinc annos."
It was affirmed that:
The kindness, desire and mind of the
Holy Father (Pope John Paul II) was the promotion of internal harmony in
the Church and through this the edification of the faithfull.
This must be achieved by the primary
re-establishment of ecclesial communion in accordance with the principle
of 'lex orandi'; which is the sound implementation of liturgical
reform, and with appropriate respect being given to the legitimate needs
of those minoritory groups who are characterized by full theoretical orthodoxy,
a truly exemplary Christian way of life and a sincere and devoted attachment
of the Apostolic See.
Therefore, there was a need for a determined
effort on the part of all: bishops, priests and faithful, to remove those
scandalous and arbitrary actions which a wrongly understood 'creativity'
has produced; giving rise to so-called "Wild Masses" and other desecrations.
These have greatly harmed many of the faithful and made it impossible for
them to easily accept the liturgical reform and the new liturgical books,
including the Missal because they have unfortunately gained the false
impression that these books were the cause of these unedifying actions
The Commission proposed that:
It should be emphasised by the competent
Dicastory that the Pope desires to obtain internal peace among all the
faithful of the local Churches through the concrete implementation of the
concessions made by him in the indult;
The bishops must do the will of the
Supreme Pontiff, putting themselves in spiritual harmony with his intentions.
The bishops must take appropriate action
against those who wish to discourage the use of the Indult, who present
it as a reason for division rather that reunification. The action must
not be polemical, but pastoral, explaining with delicacy and patience,
the letter and spirit of the Indult.
Also it was stated authoritatively that:
The real question at issue does not
appear to be so much the superficial conflict that the Indult addressed,
but rather a deeper conflict which lies behind it and is the cause of it.
Thisi is the conflict between a correct implementation of the liturgical
reform and the unjust toleration of of abuses arising from uncontrolled
liturgical fantasy. Therefore, quite apart from the indult, action is required
generally of the Holy See on a very different level in order to root out
the abuses which deform the onciliar liturgical reform.
The indult, as it was, gave the impression
that the Mass in Latin, the so-called "Tridentine Mass" an inferior reality,
of a secondary order, which was restored only out of pity to humour
those who hankered after it. It moreover gave the impression, as it was
weighed-down with many conditions, that the Holy See would not have granted
it had it not been forced to do so.
It was necessary to reiterate and make
clear to the Bishops what the Holy Father's will is in this matter. Namely,
that it is not simply a negative concession of tolerance; but rather a
positive pastoral initiative taken not so much as to calm the reactions
to liturgical abuse, but to remove dissension and achieve reconciliation.
It was necessary to remove all the
conditions contained in the indult so as to remove the bishops' impression
that it is not something which the Holy See truly wants, and the impresssion
of the laity that they are asking for something which seems to be barely
tolerated by the Holy See.
In the speeches of the Eminent prelates it emerged that:
They were in favour of granting an
indult to all the faithful and priests who wish to use it for their edification
so long as there was no anticonciliar motivation.
The bishops must be made to understand
that the indult corresponded to the Pope's will and must be observed. It
was also necessary to ensure that the faithful that they should should
respectfully ask for the realization of the will of the Pope, such that
Bishops, faced with a respectful requests, would have no more reason to
It was questioned whether, to promote
reconciliation, it was really necessary to obtain the consent of the bishop
in order to celebrate the Holy Mass in Latin.
In general, the stringency of the conditions
limiting the indult should be reduced and any additional ones imposed by
Bishops should be removed.
Regarding the reservation to groups,
since the indult was intended for this purpose, this stipulation should
be maintained, but 'iuxta modum'; that is, on one hand not making a group
three or four people, but on the other, not disallowing additional persons
from joining those groups who have previously received permission.
The Commission itself pointed out that:
There was no difficulty in allowing
the readings to be in the vernacular;
As to the optional use of the New Lectionary,
there was some reservations; out of fear of confusion arising due to its
imperfect match with the schedule of the Old Mass. On the other hand, no
difficulty was seen in allowing the use of the prefaces of the new Missal.
It would be necessary to remove the
conditions added by the Bishops and also those relating to parish churches
and groups contained in the indult.
The use of Latin, as an expression
of unity can not and must not disappear from the Church. To this end, it
desirable that Bishops should be guided in how to discharge their authority
rather than simply being allowed to use them as they see fit. This end
should be achieved by distilling the complex casuistry around the indult
down to criteria of greater simplicity. In doing so, the impression that
the Holy See was by this indult trying to "give with one hand and take
with the other" would be eliminated. To do this, we should show the coherence
of the indult with previous pontifical directions and developments so as
to forestall contradictory interpretations.
In accordance with #23 of "Sacrosanctum
Concilium", regarding the criteria which must be observed in the reconciliation
of tradition with progress in the liturgical reform, and #26 of that same
document, in respect of the rules which must be followed in this reform,
as derived from the hierarchical and communal nature of the liturgy; it
should be insisted that any future document revising the indult should
emphasize the objective and non-arbitrary nature of the implementation
of the liturgical reform. Moreover, it should make clear, in the light
of said criteria, the basis for the use of Latin in accordance with either
edition of the Roman Missal. It should grant permission, that on feast
days, in every church (at least in the major cities) one Mass in Latin
should be celebrated, with free choice allowed between the typical editions
(1962 or 1980 [sic]) of the Roman Missal
It was proposed also to expand the
terms of the indult to all Ordinaries, Superiors General and Provincial
Regarding the consent, or otherwise,
of the Bishop for the celebration of Holy Mass in Latin; it was noted that
Paul VI himself said that a priest should continue to celebrate in Latin
in private, as the concession made for the use of vernacular was for the
sake of pastoral order, to allow the laity to understand the contents of
the ritual and so participate better.
The need to allow free use of the option
of either Missal for the celebration of Holy Mass in Latin was stressed.
Regarding the type of intervention
required, a new pontifical document is to be preferred; in which, focusing
on the real situation of liturgical reform, the free choice between the
two Missals in Latin would be clearly presented, promoting one as a development
of the other and not in any kind of opposition to it, so eliminating the
impression that any Missal is the temporary production of some historical
Referring to the desires previously
expressed, it is reaffirmed that it ought to be shown that there is a clear
logical line of development between the documents of the Church and the
free choice of the two Missals for the celebration of Holy Mass. To this
end it is proposed that we show how they are not to be considered other
than as a development of the one from the other, since liturgical norms,
not being true or proper "laws" cannot be abrogated, but "surrogated":
the earlier into the later.