What I am not going to argueIn 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 core of my caseI 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 bad.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 Spouse?I next present my evaluation of the various changes that have in fact been made.
Changes up to 1962The Holy Week "reform" of 1956 was 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 entirely back-fired.
It was common belief that it was "ultra vires" for even the 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 AntiModernistical 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.
Other Changes that were or could have been madeThe 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".
A 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 Minor Orders.
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 been tolerated!
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 scriptural.
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 Church.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. Archbishop Bugnini, co-author of the New Mass himself said that the changes were not just slight ones but actually "deal with a fundamental renovation .... a total change .... a new creation." In support of this statement, the following remarks can be made:
"....one simply cannot deny that the products of Pope Paul VI's Consillium contained significant and unprecedented ruptures with liturgical tradition."
"I 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.
In addition to these universal changes, there is the matter of the character of the official English version of the liturgical texts:
|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 spiritual significance....
[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; the 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; a 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."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 truely 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:
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."
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 will now encourage the use of the Missal of St. Pius V, or call for a reform of the 1962 Missal is not yet 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."
The judgement of Cardinals Ottaviani and BacciThese two cardinals wrote a famous letter to Paul VI, dated September 25, 1969. In it they say:
"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!"
The judgement of Cardinal RatzingerThe 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 ....
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 ....
The Offertory PrayersThe 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 CanonThe 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:
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 PrayerThis 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 Rubrics.I will treat here only of examples intimately associated with belief in the Real 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
after no significant fast.
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 "double-think"
and "double-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
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 Hulme 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 to me by a traditionally minded priest (in all earnestness) that he had had to stop his congregation kneeling to receive communion in order to be "in communion" with Cardinal Hulme! 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.
"I 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."
The Horrors of ICELI 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 thhe 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 originaal 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.
The New Rite is a pastoral disasterAt 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.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
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."We should be guided by the words of our Lord: "By their fruits you shall know them." The fruits of the New Mass are:
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: "If 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, there 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."
Further CommentsThe New Rite represents:
Has the Old Rite been abolished?It is arguable in law that Paul VIth did not outlaw the OR.
"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 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 starting the NR of Mass, or appending the Last Gospel and Leonine Prayers after 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 now common.
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 ProtestantsSix 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. Thurian said that a fruit of the New mass "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...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.]
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-destructionI 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: for example, 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 Hulme is reported to have said to Sue Coote, the inspirational late secretary of the Latin Mass Society: "I've given up my religion, why can't you sacrifice yours".
What should be done to restore Catholic Order to the Church?
I propose that:
that it was "well known" that Paul VIth never abolished the OR
that the OR is still universally licit
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.
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 Rites.
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.
".... [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 it.
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
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."
The evolution of local Uses within the Western RiteThe 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 to Catholicism. 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 liturgy.
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; not 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
Appendix I : The Canonical Status of the Old Rite
The Papal CommissionIn 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:
A Papal decree should be issued based on the Commission's findings,
making it clear that anyone could choose between the OR and the NR.
Not long afterwards, Msgr. Perl of the Ecclesia Dei Commission published a letter that cast doubt on the above story.
Cardinal Stickler Clarifies the ControversyOn 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 that Benelli"... 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'."Moreover,"the nine Cardinals unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass."He also confirmed the incident regarding the Papal decree: eight Cardinals had been in favour, and one against.
Msgr. Perl againIn 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 Pope stated: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.'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)."
The Sienna CaseA 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.
Canonical QuestionThe 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, because:
the collection of the Holy See's official documents.
could not be prohibited by a notice emanating from a Roman dicastery!
be annulled by the Cardinal Prefect of a Roman Congregation.
treats of a matter in a new manner, it "abrogates" the former law.
that the new one has been introduced [CIC 20].
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.
permission in perpetuity to celebrate Mass according to the rite it codified were revoked.
[CIC 4, 21 & 28]
Theological QuestionThe 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 the Missale Romanum actually in force, one finds the following words: 'We 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 Church."
The Cardinal is wrong again:
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 DonThe 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."
Appendix II : What is the situation of the Society of St Pius Xth?This 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.Hence, whether or not the clergy of the Society of St Pius Xth are 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.
Canonical OpinionThere is a growing concurrence of the most prominent Roman canonists that:
as no ecclesiastical trial was ever held;
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."
JurisdictionAs 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).
At present, I am pleased to say that there are significant negtiations underway between the SSPX and Pope Benedict XVI.
Appendix III : 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.
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 improvement".
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?
Appendix IV : A Latin Parish in the United States of AmericaBased 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 or outmoded.
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 – 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 down."
Appendix V: Juventutum in GermanyBased 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 modern parishes.
'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
"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
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 FatimaBased 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
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.
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
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
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint
Pius X, said, "We had, during our little Act of Reparation, a
Father Geraldo Zendejas, Prior of Saint Ignatius Retreat House, said,
"We came here for a public act of Reparation. And we
This is true. Under Rector Guerra, Hindus were welcome to pray at the
altar. Interfaith Congresses were held at the Fatima
Father Jean Violette, District Superior of Canada, made a similar
point: "I'm sure if we would have worn turbans, the Rector
Father Anthony Mary from the traditionalist Redemptorists in Great Britain,
said, "I heard from Father Schmidberger that
Appendix VII : The Funeral of Roger Schutz of TaizéBased 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," she said.
Appendix VIII : Some Horror Stories
"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 anyway.When 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.
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 "in order to be in better communion with" his Archbishop, the late Basil Hulme. 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 Joyce.
Appendix IX: A bad experience with the Old Mass
"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.
Appendix X: An interview with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine WorshipAn interview with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, published by “La Croix”
One gets the impression that the liturgy is a priority for Benedict XVI.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.