All Your Church Are Belong to Us

 

“Why do you people care so much
about externals?” my non-Trad friends sometimes ask me. And they deserve an answer. A few weeks back, my delightfully contentious colleague here, Mark Shea, waded into the conflict between those who describe themselves simply as “orthodox” Catholics, and those who consider themselves “traditionalists.” (Just to save space in the comments box, I mean by this term people who favor the traditional liturgy — not those who associate with organizations under ecclesiastical suspension.)This line has begun to blur more and more in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, which we Trads greeted as a kind of Emancipation Proclamation — even as many of our bishops answered it with liturgical Jim Crow.
 
Still, the division is palpable. It was lying right there on the table, for any who cared to palpate it, last week when I went to dinner with a Trad-minded colleague and a visiting author who’d come to speak at our college on G. K. Chesterton. (The presentation was riveting, and I highly recommend Dale Ahlquist’s talks and books.) Like the good Mr. Shea, our speaker is a convert, and he shared with Mark a puzzlement at the apparent fixation traditionalists have on restoring former elements of the liturgy and other Catholic practices that are not essential, and resisting innovations that are not inherently evil. Having come from churches that didn’t have the Eucharist, and remaining through God’s grace flush with gratitude for the sacraments, many converts really don’t understand what the rest of us are nattering on about. We who grew up privileged may seem like sulky, spoiled kids. We owe these good people an explanation.
 



Sometimes they think we just care about aesthetics. One visit to a Sunday Latin Low Mass without music, recited soundlessly into a marble altar, should put that idea to flight. Compared to a Novus Ordo liturgy in the vernacular, and from a purely human point of view, attending Low Mass can be dull. You feel like you are eavesdropping. If you follow along in the missal, you can feel that you are watching a very solemn foreign film without any subtitles, except that you have the screenplay. There’s a reason the old rubrics relegated Low Mass to weekdays, and called (though they were rarely answered) for sung Solemn Mass on Sundays and holy days. Pope Pius X wasn’t kidding when he asked for parishes to revive Gregorian chant and teach it to the laity. Nor is there any good reason why Latin Mass congregations don’t give the responses along with the servers — except perhaps the fear that this is somehow the first step down a long road that leads to clown Mass. Get over it, fratres.
 
Other people think that we are a band of Latin scholars, desperate to put our dusty declensions to practical use. Again, one conversation with the congregants at the coffee hour will dash that infant theory against the rocks. Most of us studied Latin, if at all, as part of vocabulary practice for the SATs, and follow the English side of the missal. I don’t know a single Traditionalist who wouldn’t prefer the old Mass, facing the altar, said in English, to the Novus Ordo chanted in Latin facing the people. While the universal language of the Church is still to be revered for all the reasons that Vatican II prescribed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, it isn’t Why We Fight.
 
Still more people think that we cling to the ancient liturgy as a piece of nostalgia for a Church that we vaguely remember, or heard about from our parents, whose schools drummed a stark, simplistic orthodoxy into hordes of dutiful children; whose religious orders and seminaries weren’t riddled with rank heresy and extensive networks of secret homosexuals; whose bishops manfully echoed the traditional teachings of centuries without constant goading from Rome; whose buildings and services at least strove for dignity and austerity, even if they sometimes descended into tedium and kitsch.
 
 
I’m tempted to say at this point: That’s right. That’s exactly what we want. Or at least what we’d settle for. What faithful Catholic wouldn’t, if he could right now, wave a magic wand and swap the American church of 2010 for that of 1940 — with all its acknowledged abuses and hidden worldliness? I’ll take the blustering Cardinal Spellman over the scheming Archbishop Weakland any day.
 
But, of course, things never work like that. You can’t bring back the Habsburgs by hanging their banners in your apartment (trust me, I’ve tried), and we cannot undo the catastrophic “renewal” launched in the name of the Second Vatican Council (often in plain defiance of its documents) by clicking our heels and reciting, “There’s no place like Rome” — even in ecclesiastical Latin. Some confrontation between the Church and late Western modernity was inevitable, and if it hadn’t happened at the Council, it would have occurred some other way. The Eastern churches didn’t vandalize their liturgy; have they been spared the ravages of secularization? Not according to my Greek Orthodox friends, who show up for the last ten minutes of liturgy each week to pick up blessed bread and join their friends for baklava and gossip. The liturgy is miraculous, but it doesn’t work like magic: Rev. Teilhard de Chardin had said the Tridentine Mass for decades even as he invented Catholic Scientology; conversely, his sometime housemate at New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola, the holy Rev. John Hardon, obediently switched missals with every tinkering that came to him from the bishops.
 
Of course, there’s something to be said for a liturgy whose very nature resists and defeats abuses. The Ordinary Form can be extraordinarily reverent when said by a holy priest. I’ve been to such liturgies hundreds of times, and I’m grateful for every one. On the other hand, the new liturgy, with all its Build-a-Bear options, is terribly easy to abuse. The old Mass reminds me of what they used to say about the Catholic Church and the U.S. Navy: “It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots.” The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege. The new rite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly.
 
There are plenty of theological arguments by men more learned than I — such as Michael Davies and, er, the current pope — for the superiority of various elements in the traditional liturgy, such as the priest facing the altar instead of the audience. (I use that word advisedly, given the theatrical quality that took over so many parishes since the 1970s.) There are serious objections to many of the changes made in the prayers of the Novus Ordo — and they were made by the man who used to hold the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s job at the Vatican, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, who presented them to Pope Paul VI, begging him not to issue the Novus Ordo. (Imagine Cardinal Ratzinger begging Pope John Paul II not to impose altar girls. Who knows — maybe he did!) Although I recommend reading these arguments, I won’t rehearse them here, since all of them are prudential. Adopting Lutheran or Anglican language in the Mass probably didn’t cause the current crisis of belief in the Real Presence, and cutting such language by eliminating all but the First Eucharistic Prayer might not do much to resolve it. (Still, it’s worth a try!)
 
 
So what is the practical motivation that drives us Trads to schlep to distant or dangerous parishes, to irritate our spouses and incommode our pastors, to detach from local churches our grandparents scrimped to build? Why insist on external things, like kneeling for communion on the tongue, male altar servers, and the priest facing the altar? None of these, I’ll admit for the 5,000th time, is essential for sacramental validity or credal orthodoxy; isn’t being a stickler on such issues a wee bit pharisaical, even prissy? (I have encountered the odd Trad activist with an unnatural attachment to silk and lace — pastors wearily call them “daughters of Trent” — but they aren’t the norm. Weary fathers of six or seven pack most Latin Mass pews.)
 
Here’s what we Trads have realized, that the merely orthodox haven’t: Inessential things have power, which is why we bother with them in the first place. In every revolution, the first thing you change is the flag. Once that has been replaced, in the public mind all bets are off — which is why the Commies and Nazis filled every available space with their Satanic banners. Imagine, for a moment, that a newly elected president replaced the Stars and Stripes with the Confederate battle flag. Or that he replaced our 50 stars with the flag of Mexico. Let’s say he got away with doing this, and wasn’t carried off by the Secret Service to an “undisclosed location.” What would that signify for his administration? If people accepted the change, what else would they be likely to accept?
 
It’s no accident that the incessant tinkerings with the liturgy came at the same time as the chaos surrounding the Church’s teaching on birth control. As Anne Roche Muggeridge pointed out in her indispensable history The Desolate City, the Church’s position on contraception was “under consideration” for almost a decade — which led pastors to tell troubled couples that they could follow their consciences. If the Church could change the Mass, ordinary Catholics concluded, the nuances of marital theology were surely up for grabs. No wonder that when Paul VI reluctantly issued Humanae Vitae, people felt betrayed. (It didn’t help when the Vatican refused to back a cardinal who tried to enforce the document, which made it seem like the pope was winking.)
 
The perception that the Church was in a constant state of doctrinal flux was confirmed by the reality that her most central, sacred mystery was being monkeyed with — almost every year. I remember being in grammar school when they told us, “The pope wants us to receive Communion in the hand now.” (He didn’t; it was an abuse that was forced on the Vatican through relentless disobedience until it became a local norm, but never mind.) Then, a few years later, “The pope wants us to stand for Communion.” A few more grades, and we heard, “The pope wants us to go to Confession face to face.” What had seemed a solid bulwark of formality and seriousness was suddenly shifting with every year’s hemlines — which is precisely what the heretics conspiring to change the Church’s teaching had in mind. That is why they pushed for these futile, pastorally destructive changes of “inessentials” — as a way of beating down resistance to changing essentials. And, in a worldly sense, they almost succeeded.
 
The campaign of dissenting priests, nuns, and (let’s be honest) bishops culminated, in America, with the Call to Action Conference, which its leading advocate John Francis Cardinal Dearden described in 1977 as “an assembly of the American Catholic community .” This gathering of 2,400 radical Catholic activists was composed of “people deeply involved with the life of the institutional Church and appointed by their bishops” (emphasis added). The Conference approved “progressive resolutions, ones calling for, among other things, the ordination of women and married men, female altar servers, and the right and responsibility of married couples to form their own consciences on the issue of artificial birth control.” This is the mess made by the bishops appointed by the author of Humanae Vitae, which his rightly beloved successor John Paul II spent much of his pontificate trying to clean up. What we Trads feel compelled to point out is that he couldn’t quite finish the job, and that the deformations of the Roman liturgy enacted by (you guessed it) appointees of Paul VI helped enable all these doctrinal abuses. They changed the flag.
 
 
At this point in my discussion of the gravest theological issues that threatened the faith of Catholics in this country, I wish to call your attention to a stupid YouTube video, which gave this essay its willfully illiterate title: “All Your Base Are Belong to Us.”
 
For those of you too young to have experienced the incessant assault upon the sacred that was the liturgical “reform,” or grateful converts who don’t understand all the fuss, I beg of you: Please watch this video. In fact, stop reading and watch the video first, then come back to finish this essay. I can wait.
 
The film takes the Pidgin English from a cheesy Japanese computer game and places it everywhere: on street signs, in Budweiser ads, on cigarette packs. At first, the effect is funny, and you wonder about the geeks who spent their time doing all this Photoshop. But keep watching. Savor the effect as the same mindless, meaningless slogan is plastered everywhere, on every blessed thing. Pretty quickly, it starts to be creepy. By the end, you might feel like Japanese anime aliens have in fact taken over. You can see their fingerprints everywhere . . .
 
That is how it felt to be young and Catholic in the 1970s. Every sacred thing had to be changed, every old thing replaced with a new one, every complicated beauty plastered over by the cheap and the easy. The message was almost subliminal, but by that means all the more powerful: All Your Church Are Belong to Us.
 
And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.
 

John Zmirak

By

John Zmirak is the author, most recently, of The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins (Crossroad). He served from October 2011 to February 2012 as Editor of Crisis.

  • George

    Great article. Haven’t seen the Utube yet. The New Mass hit my generation when I was still in grammar school. But there was no Communion in the Hand till I had already left my parish for Latin Ukrainian refuges. I have to read it again when I can do so slowly. My stepdaughter is addicted to Anime, still at 20. That invasion is another issue. Paganism with a “good” and a bad face, take your pick. Like white and black witchcraft.

  • Ken

    The author wrote: “Nor is there any good reason why Latin Mass congregations don’t give the responses along with the servers — except perhaps the fear that this is somehow the first step down a long road that leads to clown Mass. Get over it, fratres.”

    The reason why it is not traditional for the congregation to make the servers’ responses with the servers (or for the congregation to sing from the pews with the schola) is because those are clerical functions.

    When an altar boy puts on a cassock and surplice (the same attire worn by the schola) he is taking the place of clergy due to a lack of them. There are rules (Catholic men of good standing, etc.) that go along with who may fulfill these roles.

    Indeed, the “acolyte” is a minor order. And the “choir” portion of the sanctuary is where the clergy chanted.

    So, fratres, there are reasons for this centuries-old norm.

    I love a High Mass if the clergy, acolytes and schola are well trained. But I also enjoy a Low Mass — quiet in a noisy world. Never do I feel the need to usurp the altar boys’ role when I am kneeling in the pews. We’re watching and hearing a priest offer the Mass. Relax and pray.

  • I am not Spartacus

    And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.

    Fantastic!!!

  • William

    Ken, you should read Pope Pius XII’s “Musicae Sacrea Disciplina” and “Mediator Dei.” Even way back in 1958, it was permissible and it was strongly encouraged that the congregation speak and sing the responses and ordinary parts at Holy Mass (De Musica Sacra” Para. 9, (3 September 195smilies/cool.gif. Pope Pius was no screaming liberal. He did, however, approve incremental and organic changes to the Liturgy. Who amongst us can question Pius XII traditional credentials?

  • dad29

    With all due regard, Ken, you’re at least 50 years out of date with your “clerical functions” observation.

    That was formally changed by Pius XII in 1955 (with respect to choirs), and the minor order of acolyte was abrogated a few decades later.

    In fact, Pius X, in the early 1900’s, was firm in his teaching that the congregation SHOULD sing the Ordinary Chants of the Mass, and the responses.

    As to the general essay–very nice work. By the way, “incidentals” include such things as fences around yards–and often have the same function. They are merely ‘incidental’ structures–the house is what’s important–but they serve a purpose.

  • I am not Spartacus
  • Nathaniel

    what a great article! I especially loved those last two sentences.

  • Rich

    As someone who grew up in the 1970s in mass every week, I do not at ALL feel as the author does.

    I could rail that I am offended by some of what is written here, but it would make no difference, and I know down deep that being offended is a choice anyway.

    I simply disagree with the over zealous (I might even say: cheap and easy) characterizations that are made about those who were part of my upbringing as they lived through those times in the Church.

  • Chestertonian

    John

    Excellent article. If I read you correctly, you point out that both Dale Ahlquist and Mark Shea are not fans of Traditionlism. My question is why?

    Both these men claim to be Chestertonian – Ahlquist heads up the American Society, if I recall correctly and Shea has played Innocent Smith – but if Chesterton was anything he was Traditional – in the best sense of the world.

    Much of Chesterton’s work is about the importance of inessentials an the essential nature of Tradition. A lot of his arguments are echoed by the anthropologist Mary Douglas (Purity and Danger), the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) and the poet/novelist Martin Mosebach (The Heresy of Formlessness).

    I can’t imagine the ‘Prince of Paradox’ attending the NewRite, or rather I can, and then encouraging everyone to head over to an FSSP chapel and then the pub.

    What Chesterton wouldn’t have had much time for was the lack of charity and general neurotic tendencies of many in the Trad community. But he would’ve addressed that as he did all things – with god humour, charity and common sense.

    Any thoughts?

    DV

  • Christine

    Thank you for your wonderful article. Generally, most “trads” tend to talk down and dismiss anyone who was either too young or not Catholic during the 70s to know about the way the Church was before the changes. You did not do this at all; rather you explained what happened, what you want back and why. No good and upstanding Catholic could begrudge you this or accuse you of not wanting what is best for the Church. I think many of them would want the same thing.

    I still don’t like the moniker “trad”, and I think it is used by many to elevate their status, which is pride. You do not use it in this way, but you should bear this in mind when you do use the descriptive. I think you would be surprised at how many people would be “trad” if they had been blessed with both the history and the opportunities that you currently possess. It is a true mystery

  • Austin

    Tradition and ritual have their place, but they are a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. I am old enough to remember the pre Vatican II church, Latin Masses, etc. and the “good old days” were not always so good either.

    I remember people dozing off during mass, looking out windows, etc. The good old days were not perfect, I was there. I was a Latin Rite Altar boy and I remember how we Altar Boys jockeyed to get certain Priests who could “rip through a Mass” in 15 minutes flat.

    There is a lot of phony nostalgia by people, especially converts who became Catholics in the recent past, about the “good old days.” Believe me, there were good times and plenty of not so good times.

    Pax Dominae Sid Semper Vobiscum.

  • Geoffrey Miller

    Saying that it doesn’t matter what sort of music accompanies the mass, or that the poetry of the prayers recited is inconsequential, is like saying an ugly and a beautiful woman are equally desirable; all that counts is that they’re essentially one in their nature as women.

    It’s sheer madness, this liturgical indifference, this contempt for “inessentials.” It’s akin to claiming all that is important about a man, all that defines him, is that he is a creature made in the image and likeness of God; but that’s what every man is, that’s the basics of the basics each of our individual identities is built on. Everything that makes us who we are is negated by such a claim, and humanity is reduced to a formless mass, or an infinite mirror, or an undifferentiated universal soul.

    All that is good, holy, and beautiful in life is wrapped up in the “inessentials.” You can get by on bread-and-water liturgies, just like with anything else, but bread-and-water is the food of prisoners, not freemen. A life stripped of inessentials is a life frankly not worth living or even mentioning.

  • Michael

    I remember people dozing off during mass, looking out windows, etc. The good old days were not perfect, I was there. I was a Latin Rite Altar boy and I remember how we Altar Boys jockeyed to get certain Priests who could “rip through a Mass” in 15 minutes flat.

    There is a lot of phony nostalgia by people, especially converts who became Catholics in the recent past, about the “good old days.”

    Not perfect, I am sure but….

    Most of my experience is with the NO liturgy (not old enough to remember better days) and people dose off, look around all the time. They dress either like they are lounging in their living room or going out to a bar. I was never an altar boy, because well, it just was not encouraged and it looked pretty lame just sitting to the side with girls in white frocks anyway. I never really got to know any priests either. Of course the music was horrible, absolutely atrocious. If I ever hear Gather Us In again I think I shall heave. Of course, then I grew older and started learning something about my faith on my own. I was confirmed the same time as I received first communion and never even heard the word – catechism. I began to spot the heretical teachings that were coming out in the homily. I never returned to my suburban parish after I heard the priest deny God’s omniscience and the Immaculate Conception in the same breath.

    Sigh, good times. Good times.

  • Okie

    Its true, when you become Catholic, you are happy to be a part of the True Church, even if the Mass you attend is horrible. However, after I was blessed to move to where a Latin Mass was, I will never go back. I think of it this way. If all you had to drink was grape juice, you would eventually realize that grape juice gets pretty gross after a while. So when you finally discover how great beer tastes, any beer, you are happy to drink it, in any form, over the grape juice. However, when you finally get the chance to drink Trappist Ale, and all you have to do is drive an hour and a half longer on Sunday to drink it, you never go back to the Keystone light you were drinking. Well, I was Methodist before I was Catholic, and they are grape juice if anything. The terrible Norvus Ordo Masses I went to in North Carolina were Keystone Light, but at least it was beer, ie it was like Dr. Zmirak said, actually the Mass, even if it was watered down and not worthy for college kids to even drink. When I moved back to Oklahoma, the NO masses were better, so it was like drinking Budweiser, so I was much happier. However, when I finally went to the Latin Masses at St. Peter’s in Tulsa, OK, and the Old Masses out at Clear Creek Monastery, it was like drinking Trappist Ale. Sure, both the NO and EF are Masses, but the EF is such a richer, fuller, more splendid version of the NO, why would you ever go back? So sure, beer is beer, but something is wrong with you if you choose Keystone light on purpose…

  • JC

    “The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege. The newrite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly. ”
    Probably the best summation of the issue I’ve seen.

    Personally, I’m more inclined to the newRite celebrated by the Saintly, or the Liturgy of St. James.

    However, I can speak as someone born in 1977, bred in the Diocese of Erie, where RENEW was rampant and the most orthodox people I was exposed to were, for the most part, Charismatics. I was, however, exposed to a lot of “hints” of what had come before, and I was blessed to read about the Saints.

    This, I think–not to be too harsh on converts–is the reason why many converts don’t “get it,” as you say, or tend to a more Charismatic praxis. They don’t have what a certain writer used to call “Catholic grout.” More particularly, as Tom Howard himself admitted to me once about himself, most converts carry a lingering discomfort with the Cult of Saints in general.

    They may *read* Aquinas, for example, and they may even read Chesterton’s biography of Aquinas, but they look for the intellectual stuff, and they don’t really seem to delve into the *life* of Aquinas. For me, Chesterton’s biography, or Butler’s, is far more efficacious to my salvation than the Summas. Certainly, adult converts have not grown up reading the lives of the saints. Nor have most adult “cradle Catholics,” and I’d dare say that most of us who are traditionalists have to some degree or another been raised reading Fr. Lovasik and Fr. Daniel Lord and Butler.

  • JC

    No need to think about hypotheticals. Consider how many people spell “doughnut” correctly.

  • Roseanne Sullivan

    Tonight I heard my first memorable homily by a visiting priest at a little Oratory dedicated to the EF Mass. It occurred to me he was saying the Latin with an Italian accent (which is how it should be said), and it turned out he just got back from a stay in Rome, which may have explained the vibrancy of the Latin. That fine preacher’s homily touched on most of the theological aspects of the theology of Lent, in a vibrant and original fashion. I’m still thinking about the ashes being the sign of something burnt, and how we have to jump into the fire to have our impurities burned away.

    And now thanks to a link via Fr. Z, I chanced upon this excellent well-written exposition of the appeal of the traditional Mass. Deo gratias! This article also made me very deeply happy. Et ago tibi gratias.

  • Maria

    Simpply spectacular. Brilliant.

  • Samuel J. Howard

    “Nor is there any good reason why Latin Mass congregations don’t give the responses along with the servers — except perhaps the fear that this is somehow the first step down a long road that leads to clown Mass. Get over it, fratres.”

    One good reason… it doesn’t work well. In an unfamiliar language, with people spread throughout the Church, people have trouble staying together. If it’s five people gathered at a side altar or a group of seminarians, that’s one thing, but for the average congregation it just becomes a mish-mash.

    In my experience when the responses are sung, it works better and the at sung Mass the responses are usually sung by the congregation.

  • Aaron

    To those who objected to Ken’s assertion that the responses are for the servers: I think he assumed, as I did, that Mr. Zmirak was talking about Low Mass at that point. Yes, during High Mass, we are all supposed to sing the Mass along with the choir if we can. But at Low Mass, my missals reserve the responses for the servers, unless it is a Dialogue Mass, which requires special permission. At many Low Masses today, at FSSP churches for instance, many of the people say the servers’ responses, so it seems to have become a bit of a gray area in practice.

    Like Ken said, both Masses can be beautiful. I get goosebumps during High Mass when the choir belts out certain parts. The High Mass is incredibly beautiful, and every Catholic should be able to attend it weekly. But at a weekday Low Mass at St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis recently, with a completely silent congregation of a few dozen adults (including a couple of nuns in full habit), I was struck by the reverence. There was no doubt that the people in those pews were “actively participating,” without saying a word. All that silence spoke far louder than if we’d all been stumbling through prayers we didn’t know how to pronounce very well.

    Anyway, great article, Mr. Zmirak. You’ve nailed what we ‘trads’ are concerned about. It boils down to: symbols matter. Whether it’s a flag or how you approach Communion, the symbols we use on the outside reflect how we are oriented on the inside, and over time the opposite becomes true as well. While it’s surely true that, had Paul VI rejected the Novus Ordo, we still would be seeing liturgical abuse today; it’s also surely true that it wouldn’t be as bad as it is, and we wouldn’t see polls where more than half of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence.

    You (talking about Catholics as a group here; not any one individual) can’t have the same attitude about something that you receive on your knees with your hands safely tucked beneath a cloth, as you have for something you walk up and take in your hands. You can’t worship the same with pop songs as you can with sacred music. You just can’t. You can try; you can insist that the externals don’t matter, that you can maintain the same beliefs on the inside while abandoning the external symbols of those beliefs. But the external symbols will chip away at the internal beliefs, slowly but surely. The last forty years have proven that.

  • Bill

    I do not have any problem with the Latin Mass as long as you do not expect it to become the norm again. I have experienced enthusiasm and respect with the current liturgy.

  • JC

    Aaron,
    Have you ever received the Byzantine way? The analogy liberals often use is “little birds,” and that works quite well for me. The impetus behind communion on the hand is really pride, and the refusal to acknowledge God’s superiority: “We used to build churches upward, pointing to God,” I once heard a priest preach, “But now we build them flat and wide, to show that God is among us.”

    Even at TLM, I’ve never felt so completely submissive in my reception of Our Lord as when I’ve knelt at the rail at a Byzantine liturgy and had the species dropped into my mouth, the priest himself not touching It. It is something profoundly intimate and personal.

  • Curtis

    A marvellous article, and one which I will certainly be re-reading in the coming days as there is A LOT of food for thought here. Congratulations on articulating the situatio so clearly (imo).

    For the record, I am a convert. And, increasingly, a “traditionalist”, though I didn’t start out that way. I converted as a teenager after a brief sojourn in the Baptist Church, where I first received the gift of Faith. Throughout the next two decades, I felt much the same way as the converts you describe above. I appreciated the the aesthetic majesty of the Latin liturgy, but I didn’t feel drawn to it personally. In part because I had very good catechetical formation by very holy priests who always offered the Mass reverently according to the Novus Ordo missal.

    But once I went away to university and later briefly explored the possibility of a religious vocation with a couple of different communities, things changed, and by the time I hit 30, I had suffered through every imaginable kind of liturgical abomination (and a few that are pretty unimaginable if you weren’t there to see ’em…). Never once did I doubt my faith or regret my conversion, but I was pretty fatigued liturgically-speaking. And then by God’s grace I was directed to a parish staffed by priests of the Prelature of Opus Dei. Again, the Novus Ordo liturgy, offered reverently by good and holy men.

    Where I live now is the same. I normally attend a chapel where the priests of Opus Dei offer the Mass. But I have also begun attending Mass in the chapel of a convent where a priest from the Institute of Christ the King offers the Mass on Sundays. It is scheduled at an incovenient time (and for the moment there is no possibility of changing that) and poorly attended. But I go as often as I can, and after a period of adjustment, my appreciation for the Extraordinary Form is growing.

  • Robert

    Prefer this vid re the Mass:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9dglfq

    I’m not a trad (‘am “orthodox” though).

    ‘Laughed my face off when this vid came out after the relevant motu proprio.

    It’s snide but I can feel the love (he he),

    Robert

  • Charlotte

    I agree that symbols and inessentials matter. They matter ALOT.

    But in your description of how it felt in the 1970’s to have all those inessentials ripped away and changed – you forget that for some of us of a certain age (me, for example, born in 1969), we have an entirely different set of inessentials and symbols that we are used to via the Novus Ordo. And through no fault of our own – it’s what we were taught and grew up with.

    Therefore, for some of us (and I wish I knew how many of us?), as the Catholic blogosphere continues to come alive with the “gospel of TRAD” or the “brick by brick campaign,” WE feel just as threatened. We see OUR symbols and inessentals being threatened.

    In saying this, I am not placing superiority on the Novus Ordo. In fact, personally, I am attracted to TRADS and the Latin mass, even while I have a love/hate relationship with the whole idea. Be that as it may, I never see any sympathy extended to us who have never known anything else. Rather, we are told to just “give the TLM a try,” as if we will be instantly converted over. To believe in such an instant conversion is ridiculous – conversion to TRAD liturgy and TRAD sensibility is not an overnight process and it’s not something that just suddenly makes sense to you after half a lifetime of the Novus Ordo. (I always laugh at the oft repeated TRAD advice to attend the TLM at least 3 times in a row – as if a TRAD’s attendance at the Novus Ordo 3 times in a row would convert them?)

    I appreciate the perspective offered in this essay and applaud it’s lack of smug self-righteousness. Thank God for that – there is WAY too much of that self-serving attitude in TRAD circles. But again I find evidence that there is little sympathy for those of us who were the unfortunate born in and around the time of Vatican II and who are used to what they have, and find the TLM as foreign as that strange Japanese video.

  • TJB

    I think the most important point that you didn’t dwell on much is the creation of the Mass. As you said, the traditional Mass was slowly and organically developed over centuries by Saintly Popes. Its a simple historical fact that the Novus Ordo was thrown together in a matter of months in an office by small group of bureaucrats. Anyone who is more in favor of the new Mass shows a great deal of ignorance of how that Mass came to be.

  • Cecilia

    Interesting that the author should mention “The Desolate City” by Anne Muggeridge. I happen to be re-reading it right now. She brings up the point that some of the theologians who gained a great deal of power during VII and who pushed for changes in the liturgy believed that Jesus is still dead and buried. She quotes one theologian saying basically that we would be hard pressed to find any Catholic theologian who still believes in the Resurrection, the Virgin birth, eternal life, or even that Jesus was the Son of God. Therefore they wanted to change the Church and the Mass to reflect these beliefs. They weren’t entirely successful but they certainly influenced what happened.

  • Christina

    You put into words what I’ve wanted to tell my “orthodox” friends and family for years. Thanks!

  • Titus

    1. Minor Orders — as has been pointed out, these have been abolished. Even if they shouldn’t have been, they have been.

    2. Responses — the missal does say “priest” and “server.” But the server here is a proxy—he gave the responses because the people, for much of history, simply were not able to. They couldn’t hear the priest without microphones, they couldn’t be expected to remember the responses for the whole ordo, and most of them (depending on time and place) didn’t know the Latin anyways. But if you read the server’s responses, they are quite clearly those of the people who have come to assist at Mass. The Mass is not simply a dialogue between priest and congregation but neither is it merely a spectator sport. The practice of the congregation giving the server’s responses where they are able to do so is a seemingly appropriate and organic development.

    3. Nostalgia — Nobody, not even John I think, has argued that everything was perfect before the council. I’ve heard more anecdotes about people being bored at the old Mass than I can count. I’ve also heard a whole lot of pure conjecture about how many men supposedly beat their wives and how terrible life was in every regard, without any actual evidence except chronological snobbery. Regardless, the plural of neither “anecdote” nor “conjecture” is “data.”

    Be that as it may, it is not the case that traditionalists (or other traditionally minded Catholics who generally resist -ism labels) deny efficacy or necessity, per se, of reform, or even that the Church in the mid twentieth century couldn’t have used some reform. It’s simply that the “reform” we got was a train wreck. Perhaps the new flourishing of the old Mass has been made possible by the intervening decades of silliness. But that reinforces, rather than detracts from, its worth: a truly valuable Thing retains its value, even if Aunt Mildred kept it under her couch for thirty years.

    So it is not a meaningful criticism of adherents of the traditional liturgy to tell the well-known story of Fr. Slapdash in the Bad Old Days. We aren’t asking for a time capsule (although as John observes, given a limited array of hypothetical choices it might be the best available). We’re asking for the same right and responsibility that our ancestors cherished and enjoyed for centuries: the right to hand down the intact Tradition of the Catholic faith to our children, supplemented by our small improving efforts (e.g. better education about the Mass, no more Fr. Slapdash), but free of scarring neologisms (e.g. clown Masses, rampant dissent from basic teachings). That is not, I think, an unreasonable request.

  • matt

    I was born in 1981. The NO was all I ever knew, yet I increasingly came to be dissatisfied with it, without knowing why, beyond the notion that my spirituality was at fault. It was only when I learned through internet and online friends, about what happened after Vatican II that I realised all that had gone on. I prefer the EF Mass but can’t get to it regularly.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I’m going to Rome,Florence,and Venice soon. I know I will see beautiful Churches built according to the Trinitarian aspects of Christian Architecture; Verticality, Iconography, Permanence (VIP).

    In an Age of Faith, into the very stones used to construct our magnificent Churches, there was carved the goodness, truth, and beauty, the verticality, iconography, and permanence that was alive in the hearts and souls of the men of faith.

    In the West, in an Age of Doubt and Decadence, when we were not destroying the wealth, beauty, and symbolism built into the interior of Churches erected during an epoch of Faith, we were building what looked like Puritan meeting places or wasting 100s of millions constructing abbatoirs of ascendancy.

    While in Rome, I’ll try to make it to Santissima Trinit

  • Bryan

    We converts just don’t know. But even we babes can see the difference between good and bad liturgy.

    You can celebrate NO, complete with girl altar servers, and use superb vestments, distribute both species, and chant the main elements in Latin. Indeed, we hillbillies can even learn them words. And the Mass can be amazing enough to get atheists to convert.

    Then, you can get a new pastor who thinks polyester is the new silk, decide that — due to the swine flu epidemic — we cannot offer the Precious Blood to the poeple, and who seems to think that badly sung English hymns are better than chant. He may even give God’s blessing with a weird “as” Father, “as” Son, and “as” Holy Spirit.

    Sometimes, during the procession, I think that God would smite the choir if He really loved me. Though I think this is some sort of sin.

    It is a non-trivial virtue of the old system that the quality of the liturgy was less dependent on the individual executing it.

  • Elaine Cunnane

    Older people,I was born 1938, definately prefer the Latin mass but the younger population prefer the newer, quicker mass. Everthing in life today is geared to “hurry, hurry”. The video was very poigant and should make us aware in our society. Thanks! Great essay.

  • Donna

    I clicked on the link to the article about Fr. de Chardin. While it was OK, the site it is on is, as the saying goes, nuttier than a fruitcake – asserting, among other things, that Pope Paul VI was a satanist and that women are incapable of analytic thought. The webmaster also seems to confuse licitness with validity in his discussion of the Sacraments, and seems to have no clue about legitimate diversity in the Liturgy, i.e. the liturgies of Eastern Catholics.
    I’m no fan of de Chardin, but could one link to an article about him with a less dubious source ?

  • Aaron

    Charlotte, I have a great deal of sympathy for those who grew up in the Novus Ordo and find the TLM foreign. I used to be one of them; most of my family members still are. We were robbed of something that was considered a birthright (or baptism-right) of scores of generations of Catholics before us. As I tell people who come to one TLM and find it confusing or off-putting: until fifty years ago, cradle Catholics grew up with the Mass and knew it intimately, while converts learned it during the catechism process. No baptized Catholic got thrown into it and had to decide whether to like it or not based on one experience, so it was okay that it took some getting used to.

    However, I honestly wonder to what “symbols and inessentials” of the Novus Ordo you are referring. A central feature of the Novus Ordo is that is has been stripped of many symbols, especially those that were considered unacceptably Catholic for our separated Protestant brethren. In the Novus Ordo Masses I attended for most of my life, a main problem was that there were so few symbols that made it clear what the point of it was. The priest was (or seemed) free to make up so much of it as he went along that there were very few things you could hold onto as immutable signs of anything.

    I can come up with dozens of required gestures, words, and movements in the TLM that symbolize some point of Catholic teaching, but I can’t do that with the Novus Ordo, despite being much more familiar with it. I can think of many symbols I’ve seen at Novus Ordo Masses that contradict what the Mass is about: tabernacles moved to closets, sanctuaries without crucifixes, altars that look more like conference tables than a place to offer a sacrifice, priests sitting while EMHCs distribute Communion, etc. But I don’t want to reject your viewpoint, and I’m honestly curious what symbols you see that are new to the Novus Ordo that reflect the meaning of the Mass.

    As Titus says, no trad with any sense will claim everything was perfect in the Church in the 1950s, or that no reform of the Mass could have been beneficial. I’ve heard the stories from my elders about how they didn’t know what they were saying in Mass. That doesn’t really make sense, since I have missals from that time which have the Latin and English in them, so there’s no reason they couldn’t have understood. It seems there was an attitude at that time that the people weren’t supposed to understand, and that certainly wasn’t right and needed to be addressed. Also, the priests and bishops who created the Novus Ordo and so much of the dissent of the 1960s and 70s were in the seminary in the 1940s and 50s, so things must have been going wrong there well before Pope John XXIII decided to throw open the doors. There were problems, certainly — in fact, had the pope recognized those problems and realized the Church wasn’t nearly as healthy inside as it appeared on the outside, he might have thought better of such an ambitious undertaking as the Council.

    Organic reform has always been proper, and it’s my understanding that a 1965 missal was produced that did extend the use of the vernacular and address some other issues that people saw with the 1962 Roman Missal that we currently use. But that reasonable reform was swept away in the revolution a few years later. Personally, I’d be glad to compromise on that 1965 missal and toss out both the 1962 and the Novus Ordo, but that seems unlikely when we’ve got bishops wringing their hands over something as small as a new English translation of the Novus Ordo that fixes some of their casual and incorrect wording. If they think “and with your spirit” is too harshly traditional, I’m afraid there’s not much hope of compromise with them.

  • Donna

    Not all older people prefer the Tridentine rite . My 80-year-old mom thinks the current Ordo Missae is fine, and would probably be more distressed by a return of Latin than I would. (I know, the rite and the language are two different things – but how many people are interested in a Tridentine Mass in English,..besides me ? [smiley=wink] In practice, the issues are bound together. )

  • MRA

    In answer to Aaron: I agree. That’s just it, there is virtually nothing stable enough to get attached to as a symbol in modern liturgy. . .

    EXCEPT the one absolutely universal and universally beloved Woodstock rubric for the Lord’s Prayer – the hand-holding, culminating in the mini-wave at the end. I guess the eagerness with which folks participate in this reveals a hunger for ritual.

    Too bad this ritual doesn’t actually have any coherent theological significance.

  • John Zmirak

    I didn’t explore the rest of the site that provided the Teilhard article. Sorry about that! One major problem for the huge majority of sane Trads is the abundance of nutters who are out there–many of them people who started off fragile, leaned WAY TOO HARD on the human side of the Church for stability, then were broken by the chaos after the Council. Here’s a review in the reputable Roman Theological Forum of Wolfgang Smith’s devastating book on Teilhard:
    http://tiny.cc/SGgsp

  • Dan The Dad

    Wow, that’s one seriously long, rambling article. I still can’t figure out why Trads are so crazy about the Tridentine Mass. I would suggest you use bullet points and write a shorter article that is clear. I really want to know. I just can’t figure it out from the dense prose above. And, to be honest, the style of this article kind of made me think, “You know, maybe Trads are just people who like long, rambling stuff. Maybe that’s why they like the Tridentine Mass so much.”

    P.S. I should reveal my biases. I’m a very orthodox Catholic. I like the Novus Ordo (thought I think it would be better if it were in Latin). I believe the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and kept free from error. Thus, the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo can not be mistakes.

  • NeoCarlist

    Thank you John for making a point that I have often thought should be thrown into these discussions. Many of us would prefer to attend the EF in English than the OF in Latin. It’s not some attachment to the “Latin Mass”, but to what is said during the Mass.
    And I love the closing sentences.

  • John Zmirak

    Okay, Dan, here’s the short form:

    *The New Mass was created in plain violation of the explicit instructions given by Vatican II for a moderate, organic liturgical reform that put the scriptures into the vernacular but left the canon in Latin.
    * The change from facing the altar to facing the people was accomplished by fraud (it is NOT recommended, but speculatively tolerated, in the conciliar documents) and resulted in the smashing of more Catholic altars than at any time since the Reformation. The current pope has written that it was a bad idea.
    * The Council called for the extension and preservation of Gregorian chant. The committee set up by Pope Paul VI to create the new liturgy did nothing to accomplish this, and allowed national bishops’ conferences to basically eliminate chant. Then came the banjos and the dancing nuns. (Not that there’s anything wrong with such things–in their proper place, say, at a cabaret.)
    * The translations from Latin to vernacular languages were uniformly, except for the case of Poland, fraudulent.
    * The post-1970 innovations, such as Communion in the hand, the demolition of altar rails, standing for Communion, and universal abuse of Extraordinary Ministers were ALL accomplished by bishops or their bureaucrats lying about what the Vatican had reluctantly tolerated.
    * The new Eucharistic prayers are ambiguous about the nature of WHO is offering the Sacrifice and WHAT it is. Is it the priest as Christ offering Christ to God the Father? (The Catholic doctrine.) Or is it the people offering bread and wine, with the priest as their “presider” and appointed representative (The low church Protestant doctrine.) Or is it some nebulous mishmash of the two? (The Anglican compromise answer.) Who knows? The text doesn’t tell you. Now, this DOES NOT INVALIDATE the sacrament, but it’s a very bad idea.
    * I could go on, but why don’t you buy one book–just one single book–and read it before you decide about this: Pope Paul’s New Mass by Michael Davies. It’s funny, sad, and easy to read.

    For all these reasons, and the fact that ALL these changes were promoted and enacted by modernists trying to undermine FUNDAMENTAL CHURCH DOCTRINES at the same time by other means, some of us reject these “reforms” of the liturgy and prefer the older form. We probably would be FINE with a moderately reformed liturgy such as that offered in 1965. But that would have to come later, once the abuses that were invented by heretics and imposed by bad bishops got corrected. I’m not holding my breath. Or my neighbor’s hand at the Our Father, for that matter.

    God bless you!

  • John Zmirak
  • John Zmirak
  • Philip Pierson

    It’s amazing how many blogs and sites are springing up, all by lovers of the Old Mass……….
    Like this other good article: http://gabriella50.wordpress.com/

  • I am not Spartacus

    Repetitio est mater studiorum, Dittoes, Dr. [smiley=happy]

  • Cavaliere

    Dan the Dad, the Vatican II as inspired by the Holy Spirit cannot be a mistake. However since much of the renewal that came about ignored the actual teachings of the Council the only guarantee is that the documents are free of error, not that they are necessarily good. This does not mean that the NO Mass is invalid but as some have said give me the EF in English over a NO in Latin any day. Why because the prayers are a far better expression of our Catholic beliefs, not a reduction of them so not to offend non-Catholics. One example is in the Canon of the Mass, EP I, which has the term sacrifice mentioned 5 times. It is not found in EP II, twice in EP III, and four times in EP IV. We wonder why the loss of the sense of sacrifice but you rarely if ever hear EP I at Mass. It is always EP II, the quick one.

  • Adrianne Adderley

    Another funny along the lines of Untitled post by Robert:

    http://tinyurl.com/yc279oe

    SP=Emancipation? Absolutely. I was born in 1966 and bore the brunt of the post-conciliar fiasco. It has destroyed the faith of nearly all my Catholic schoolmates, my siblings, and is in a fair way to finally undermine even that of my parents. My own children seem to be escaping from that wasteland–with the help of Trad friends at Newman-guide colleges: Deo Gratias!

    Great article, and Vive il Papa!

  • an ArchNY Priest

    I had grown up post-Vt II, and had not even realized the drastic changes made to the structure and prayers of the Mass until I entered the seminary -and even there, it was from fellow seminarians and private reading. Until then, I thought it was merely a change of language.

    When I learned the truth, I felt short changed as a Catholic. Part of my heritage had been stolen from me and I was offered an manufactured ritual, albeit a valid and approved one, – produced by clerical think tanks and forced upon the Church. It’s as if the traditional was begotten and organically developed; the new was made.

    Now, I notice Humanae Vitae was July 1968. The New Mass was Advent 1969. From my reading, I think there was still opposition to liturgical changes, but there were also impatient others venturing off by performing horrendous abuses. Could it be that Paul VI just gave up in order to try to stabilize things since so many radical clergy had been itching for change, the Pope offered the new Mass hoping to prevent further abuses and illicit liturgical practices? I find it so bizarre how something so different could be imposed on the Church after a period of barely 6 years.

    Anyway, after ordination, I learned to offer according to the “extraordinary form” (EF). Being able to offer the EF is nothing but spiritually uplifting for a priest.
    I must add that I agree that it would not be bad to have the EF in the vernacular. In fact, this might soften some of the EF haters who probably see it basically as a matter of Latin vs. English.

    But, even if still in Latin, one wish is that people would not be shy about responding with their own parts. This is what occurs in the Eastern Rites. It is not a Novus Ordo invention.
    At present I still offer according to the OF. But, when there is a lack of rubric, I follow the EF, even in the OF. I also try to offer ad orientem when possible.

    Meanwhile, because of the inorganic tacking on of hymns to the OF, and the playful settings of the ordinary of the Mass, I avoid as much as possible OF when there is music.

    Finally, my personal experience: I don’t know about the old days, but the new days certainly aren’t too great. Sometimes I have a morning OF. The Mass is of course, in the vernacular. But, unlike the days when young men may have jockeyed for the quicker Mass, no young men come to serve that OF Mass (they do compete to serve the EF even though it takes longer than the OF!) Moreover, the dull near silence of the congregation when it is their turn to makes responses at the English OF has not gone unnoticed.

  • Cavaliere

    Moreover, the dull near silence of the congregation when it is their turn to makes responses at the English OF has not gone unnoticed

    Amen! If it was not for the traffic cop gesturing of the Cantor I sometimes wonder if there would be any responses at the NO Mass.

  • Seraphic

    I wrote about this recently myself. It seems obvious to me that externals influence our spiritual and mental state. We are, after all, creatures of habit. If we listen to gangsta rap all day, it would probably influence how we feel about women. If we stared down at the floor all day, we would gradually get more and more depressed. And the way the Mass is said certainly influences how we think about the sacrifice of the Mass. Indeed, it was not until I started going to the TLM that I really understood that the Mass was a sacrifice, and not just a symbolically shared community meal.

    Meanwhile, I love my TLM community. The liturgies are pitched at an adult level: the priest never talks down to us or makes up stuff any first year theology student would know was wrong.

    We have beautiful Masses and then meet for tea in the parish hall, and then break off into smaller groups to go out to lunch, for drinks, to the pub

  • SC

    Dear Dr. Z,
    Thank you for this wonderful piece! I was born into a devout Catholic family in 1961. No memory of the Latin Mass. I only remember my mother sobbing at every Novus Ordo Mass and softly saying, “You have no idea what we have lost!” Never strayed from the Mass in English because I thought someone had to keep our Lord company in the chaos. I attend the EF now and love it, although it took about two years to get used to it. I don’t think I will ever get used to the Nutters, but they are at the NO Mass too…in shorts and halter tops.well worth it! Surely we can all agree that judging by the short time it has been around, the NO Mass is a minor blip on the continuum of Church history. When people my age say they are “fine with the EF as long as you guys don’t expect it to become the norm…” I just think, get ready folks, it MUST become the norm or we are doomed. Simple as that. The prayers said at the end of the EF Mass alone are incredibly necessary for our times! The NO experiment failed and it is time we got back to the business of bringing the light of Christ unapologetically into the world! One question. Where can I get my flag??

  • Badger Catholic

    Outstanding article!!!

    Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.

  • Fr. Tyler

    I am a young priest. I currently celebrate only the ordinary form of the Mass, having come through the final years of seminary just as Sumorum pontificum was beginning to be implemented. I would like to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, but have not had the opportunity to learn it yet.

    While I greeted SP and the liberalization of the EF with a certain degree of trepidation, I have really warmed up to it. I hope that it really does accomplish the goal of bringing about greater unity among Catholics. I think it will when both forms of the Mass are widely celebrated in a single parish.

    I find significant problems with the OF. I think that it needs a great deal of improvement. I pray that priests who have named themselves progressive up until now, will be equally progressive as we implement changes that undo their craziness. I appreciate this essay which provides a good explanation of people’s love for this form of the liturgy.

    In spite of all this, a question remains in my mind: Vatican II called for a reform of the Liturgy. They probably didn’t have the Novus Ordo in mind, but that doesn’t mean the call for reform was wrong, misguided, or invalid. Must we not, then, even while desiring the reform of the Novus Ordo, also desire the authentic reform of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. No one seems to be calling for that . . . I have heard it argued that the interim form of the Mass was an authentic interpretation of Sacrosanctum concilium. Why is no one asking for its restoration?

    It seems to me the Old Mass/New Mass debate is misguided when the Counsel seems to be calling for something that is between the two. Surely we don’t believe that the best option is to have Roman Catholics celebrating Mass in significantly different ways perpetually. On both sides of this debates, there is a grave need for the humility to recognize that the form of the Mass we attend is not perfect and the charity to admit what is true in the arguments of the “opposition”.

  • Adam

    Zmirak,
    You are the man. Your article was excellent. Your response to Dan the Dad was pure gold. Rock on!

  • Sam Schmitt

    “Why do you people care so much about externals?” my non-Trad friends sometimes ask me.”

    You might as well ask certain non-trads why THEY care so much about externals.

    I would imagine that they would be upset if English was banned and the old mass was again mandated for exclusive use in the church.

    But they shouldn’t be, if the difference between the two missals is just a matter of externals.

  • Cavaliere

    Moreover, the dull near silence of the congregation when it is their turn to makes responses at the English OF has not gone unnoticed

    Amen! If it was not for the traffic cop gesturing of the Cantor I sometimes wonder if there would be any responses at the NO Mass.

  • Ken

    What a great comment thread. I am impressed to see converts make the case to cradle Catholics on why they prefer the traditional Latin Mass. Just a decade ago we were still in the ghetto and catacombs — now this pope is a friend to tradition. Deo gratias!

    On minor orders, though, they have been restored for traditional Latin Mass orders (Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, Institute of Christ the King, etc.). Porter, acolyte, exorcist and lector. Even the major order of subdeacon. And tonsure. All of these have been at the ordaining hands of diocesan bishops.

  • Pammie

    Dr. Z’s writing on trad issues can’t be bested, so here’s a little comic relief. My husband returned to the Church after an absence of 35 years. We normally hear a TLM on Sundays. Now and then we have attended a NO Mass. On one such occasion ss we were standing to say the Our Father I felt a little “tussle” at my side and looked to see what was going on.

    My husband had his arm under the arm of the quite elderly lady next to him and appeared to be giving her a lift up from the pew. She was resisting, to put it mildly. Although he quickly gave up she still held her arm out and up toward him. I shrugged,he pretended not to see her, and Mass continued.

    Afterwards while discussing it, the penny dropped and we both began to laugh. It seems that this parish holds hands during the praying of the Our Father. My husband, being unfamiliar with this custom, thought the old dear couldn’t get up unassisted and was gesturing for him to help. He’s lucky she didn’t give him a good, hard kick I expect.

    Such is one of the hazzards of hearing Mass in an unfamiliar NO parish.

  • I am not Spartacus

    This book isn’t the place for the critique of recent liturgical changes in the Church-particularly the method of dispensing Holy Communion. But we’d like to suggest an experiment.

    From now on, to get a movie ticket, Americans should have to kneel before a consecrated celibate wearing ceremonial robes and take the ticket between their teeth – never daring to touch it with their hands. Within a generation or so, they’d all develop certain ideas about movie tickets and their significance.

    Now take the Eucharist and reverse the process, treating it like a movie ticket…Enough said.

    Page 70. The Bad Catholics Guide to Good Living. John Zmirak & Denise Matychowiak

  • Steve K.

    It is very annoying to me to hear people say “what do you have against the Mass of Vatican II?” Looking past the manifest errors in a question like that – the N.O. is not “the mass of Vatican II” – nevertheless I ask them, which Mass are you talking about? Because in matter of practice, there is no single N.O. Mass, because in the vast majority of parishes in the US (and most of the places I’ve traveled in Europe), the rubrics are only loosely adhered to, if at all. Priests freely ad lib the rites, all manner of things are introduced at the whims of parish “liturgy councils” like calling kids up the altar to stand around it during the Gospel or having Boy Scout awards ceremonies during Mass, to name just two abuses in a local parish here, and all manner of practices creep in from who knows where. I was an altar server in the late 70s, so N.O. but in those days and that place, the priest more or less stuck to the rubrics, the altar boys, and we were all boys, wore vestments, bells were rung during the consecration, and there were no extraordinary ministers. Now, at my local parish, not only are there altar girls, but they wear street clothes (including very provocative clothing, like short shorts and exposed midriffs on the girls), there are over a dozen extraordinary ministers, so much so that their eucharist takes almost as long as that for the whole congregation, and then there is the whole dopey holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer thing, the walking all over the church and hugging people for the sign of peace, the socialization, which is called for by the announcer, prior to the beginning of Mass… where does all this come from? Where did the Church authorize these things and add them to the rubrics? And it’s always different somehow wherever you go (and I go to Mass all over the place, due to having a job with lots of travel). The only thing I don’t see is a priest offering the N.O. Mass like it says to in the rubrics.

    The real, existing N.O. is an enabler for abuses, that lead to other, more serious abuses that manifest in heresies and even outright apostasies. Yes, it can be celebrated reverently and beautifully and correctly, but it rarely ever is, and there are reasons for that. You can’t separate the activity that gave us the N.O. from the rest of its historical and theological context. Where you find ab-libbed Mass, you find ad-libbed beliefs and behavior.

    TLsmilies/grin.gifR version: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, yesterday, today and always.

  • Mickey

    …for writing down my thoughts so well.

    As I have written often in other forums…it is painful to remember “what was” and see the “what is” as, dare I say “assault”?, on what I was taught and believe to be holy.

    The saddest thing to me is so many don’t even know what they’ve lost…the “muddled middle.”

    The good news is, of course, that the rebellion of the ’70’s is finally (in His mercy) burning out…but not fast enough to suit me.

  • Giovanni A. Cattaneo

    And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.

    Fantastic!!!

    Amen, Amen, Amen!!!

  • Teevor

    This discussion thread sounds something like a support group… which reveals a lot about the mindset of Trads, myself included. We feel as though we have been robbed of something of great value, which was, from time immemorial our right and heritage.

    Our faith is one built on a foundation of tradition, not merely a bullet point list of dogmas or a set of paper back instructional books. Of course the essentials of what it means to be Catholic are accessible to anyone. However, there is a such thing as Roman Catholic culture, which shapes the way one thinks and prays. Tradition has intrinsic value. This is what I think John means by changing the flag. The traditions of the Latin rite symbolize and represent all that we are and guide future generations in continuity with the past. This is something that any even-minded traditionalist should be happy to share with converts, it isn’t gnostic or exclusive, but part of an ever unfolding mystery that adds depth to our faith and reinforces the experience.

    To say that one prefers the Novus Ordo like it’s a mere matter of taste ignores the illegitimacy of its imposition and the great rupture that it represents.

    To say ‘a well celebrated Novus Ordo, with chant and facing ad orientem is just as good as the Extraordinary Form’ ignores that this is a matter of principle, more than just aesthetics. We don’t need to compromise or settle for something that is ‘just as good.’ We don’t need to feel guilty about saying that the Novus Ordo was a mistake, because it was as John points out, a distortion of the will of the Council. And an extra scripture reading doesn’t justify gutting everything else of substance. I for one would prefer an E.F. low mass said in English to the most solemn of latin O.F. masses for these reasons.

    This position, it should be pointed out, doesn’t exclude reform or change, but justifiably asks that it be done in good faith and in measured continuity with the past.

  • dominic1962

    Just because a Council calls for something does not mean it has to be put into effect in just such a way or even at all. Lateran IV said Jews had to wear certain kinds of clothing so they could be identified. No one is clamoring for that ruling to be carried out.

    As to reform, it doesn’t have to take on the form of the 1965(sic) MR as there is no such thing. There are a variety of interim missals that are alterations of the 1962, but there is no 1965 Editio Typica out there. Besides, even the 1962 is infected by Bugnini’s ideas on reform and so were the “spirit” behind the so-called 1965 MR. Why do we need to ditch the prayers at the foot of the altar? Answer-there is no “real” reason. Some avante-garde litnik painted them with the “medieval accretion” brush and they got the axe. Change from anything except from evil is the most dangerous of all things.

    A proper reform of the liturgy would take a look at something like the book by Bl. Ildefonse Schuster and look into restoring some of the things he laments were dropped at various times since Trent. If ANYONE is going to work on the liturgy (not that this is a given that it actually needs tinkering), it needs to be saints and not crazy bureaucrats.

  • joye

    Well, I prefer to attend the NO, but I’m a convert, so I’m apparently to be viewed with pity and generous condescension. I couldn’t possibly have any legitimate reasons for preferring the NO; it’s like preferring an ugly woman to a beautiful woman. I thank you all for your tolerance of my ignorance; it couldn’t be that I’ve read Church documents and come to this decision, and it certainly couldn’t be that when I first converted I attended the EF exclusively, and only gradually and prayerfully came to the conclusion that the OF was better for my soul. That’s just impossible.

    When I’m covering my hair and kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue, I’ll try to remember that I am a hostage to the 70s.

    If only I could be merely orthodox. I would cry with joy if I could be so holy as to be merely orthodox.

  • Kimberly

    You’ll love this:

    All Your Mass Are Belong To Us:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCP2xCBEI4o

  • Thomas Fisher

    Mr. Zmirack,
    Excellent Essay and very good assessment of the situation.
    Thank you for reference to the books of Michael Davies.
    I have found his books to be very objective – free of polemics.
    I dare any “Orthodox” Latin Rite Catholic aka New Mass apologist to read his books – Cranmers Godly Order, Pope Johns Council, and Pope Pauls New Massand not have a softing of heart if not a conversion to the Ancient Latin Mass.
    BTW – I was born in 1978, dicovered the TLM 3 years ago and Love it and would’nt mind if all the Novus Ordo Missals suddenly vanished forever.

  • Jeff

    My feeling is that Mark Shea and others have exactly the same feeling you do, John, but it another way.

    “The flag” for them is not the Mass. “The flag” for them is the Magisterium and its actions on what one might call “essential inessentials”.

    If liturgy really is so central to Catholic practice and mentality, how could the Holy Spirit allow the Church to change it in such a destructive way?

    How could it really have been created and mandated by the Magisterium if it is a force for evil?

    We have to be able to trust the Church where central things like the way we worship are concerned.

    Altar girls, communion in the hand, etc…none of those things really WERE mandated by Rome. But the new Mass to all intents and purposes really WAS.

    If we are supposed to have the attitude of “religious submission of mind and will” even to the non-infallible guidance of the Church, how can we do that if we start treating the Papacy as if it is the engine of destruction to be resisted and corrected?

    Doesn’t THAT destroy our faith more than any supposed imperfections in the liturgy?

    I don’t agree with all of this–at least not entirely–but I sympathize with it and it’s a dilemma worth talking about. I very rarely hear non-trads SAY this, but that often seems to be the basis for their discomfort and frustration with trads.

  • Fr. Tyler

    I don’t suggest that just “anyone” should have the right to reform the liturgy. I do believe, however, that the bishops in council, convened by the Roman Pontiff do teach authoritatively. They DID teach that the old missal was in need of reform. Or do you propose to speculate that the bishops were wrong? Do you question the Magesterium? To say such a thing reeks of a dissent that I am willing to bet you quickly condemn when seen in other areas of our faith. The implementation may have been wrong, as I have already noted, but I have a hard time seeing how the call for reform was not authentic.

  • Seraphic

    Sorry you feel that way, Joye (and I hope you don’t get flack at your parish for covering your head). If it’s any comfort, I find myself outnumbered by converts who go wild at the very notion of Cradle Catholics. There’s a lot of friendly joking about the whole convert/cradle thing. But we’re all on the same side, after all.

  • Cavaliere
  • I am not Spartacus

    They DID teach that the old missal was in need of reform.

    In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy…In this restoration…and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing…Thus to achieve the restoration…

    Sacrosanctum Concilium, repeatedly called for a reform that was a restoration; and the first time a group of Bishops saw the NO performed, they started pelting the NO Performing Priests with rotting garbage.

    OK, I made-up the part about garbage but the Bishops who first saw it performed were scandalised. It was not what they had called for.

    Nevertheless, the revolution was imposed by The Hierarchy and only The Hierarchy could stop the revolution and set in motion the counter-vailing restoration.

    And, after our forty penitential years in the Liturgical Desert, The Hierarchy has begun repairing the damage and correcting the Post-Council errors.

  • Christine

    Wow, Jeff.

    You hit the nail on the head!

    My fidelity to Peter and the Church have to come first. Peter is the rock.

    As with the prior changes, we must be VERY CAREFUL not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • Scranton Priest

    John, this is a great article. So good in fact, that I am forwarding it to the curia of the once great diocese of Scranton, Pa. A little light in the darkness never hurt anyone–anyone that is except the devil.

    Fr. WTC

  • jean

    Excellent article.
    Have we forgotten that the Popes wrote about how modernism is a sin? And the Pope said,”the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary”.
    Has anyone read this book? See the post at WDTPRS dated Sept.25,2009…post entitled:has anyone read this book.
    “Spies in the Vatican:The Soviet Unions War Against the Catholic Church by John Kohler.
    Also, Marie Carre’ AA-1025 The Memoirs of an Anti-apostle.
    Mr.Shea and others do not like to think of conspiracy theories, yet there is much evidence about the enemy within and freemasons etc.

  • Steve Skojec

    Thanks to those of you who posted my old video here in the comments…you beat me to it!

    And thanks to Mr. Zmirak for another excellent article. If you’re interested in seeing a longer treatment of some of the same material, a great book to pick up is The Heresy of Formlessness by Martin Mosebach. He makes a similar argument about the immense potential for abuse in the Novus Ordo unless it is celebrated by saints:

    I have described my conviction that it is impossible to retain reverence and worship without their traditional forms. Of course there will always be people who are so filled with grace that they can pray even when the means of prayer have been ripped from their hands. Many people, too, concerned about these issues, will ask, “Isn’t it still possible to celebrate the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI worthily and reverently?” Naturally it is possible, but the very fact that it is possible is the weightiest argument against the new liturgy. (Emphasis Added)

  • kirsten

    I converted two years ago this Easter. I have not yet been to a TLM (or Extraordinary Form)…. but i have been to a wide variety of Masses. you see, i travel, and i work weekends, so i attend Mass in a variety of churches.

    i have been blessed with some truly wonderful Sundays (and weekdays)so it was hard for me to understand at first what all of you were talking about. i mean…WHAT?
    When you attend a church that has a Saint in residence (St John Neumann) you tend to get a bit more Orthodoxy i suspect…. my alternate church is also very “Orthodox” even though (or perhaps especially) because it caters to College kids

    One Sunday during my first stages of RCIA, however, i went to a church out of town… and i suddenly learned what all of you were talking about. music that would have been at home in a 70 movie, a homily that was downright heretical.. the works.

    then i heard a priest, in my RCIA class advocate (in fact speak of it as an eventuality) married Priests and female Priests. and my fellow Preachers kids and i all spoke up and said NO! while my dad did a very good job as a minister, i saw first hand the COST of being a minister to your family…..and from a purley practical point of view, a female minister bears even more of the weight of family……
    but
    what shocked us all was the fact that this was a Catholic priest, and he was advocating…. well.. the churches we left, Birth Control, women priests, etc.
    luckily for us he was one priest out of 6 or 7 (all of whom were much more solid on their faith)

    but what if our RCIA class hadnt been composed of serious students? including three PKs? it would have been easy to lead us into serious error! (they never did teach us the Rosary, but i gave every member of our RCIA class a Rosary as a graduation present)

    so rest assured there are GOOD, solid, theologically sound moving and meaningful Novus Ordo Masses out there…and then there are the rest of them.

    i hope one day to be able to compare the NO with the TLM

  • Mary Kay

    Oh well
    February 17th, 2010 | 5:25pm
    As someone who grew up in the 1970s in mass every week, I do not at ALL feel as the author does.

    I could rail that I am offended by some of what is written here, but it would make no difference, and I know down deep that being offended is a choice anyway.

    I simply disagree with the over zealous (I might even say: cheap and easy) characterizations that are made about those who were part of my upbringing as they lived through those times in the Church.

    Written by Rich

    Rich, that’s exactly how I feel. They gripe about how horrible others are, yet feel no remorse at the cheap shots they themselves make.

    being offended is a choice anyway
    It’s more than being offended. They’re attacking their brothers and sisters in Christ and rationalizing their doing so.

  • Brian

    One week our Church had its confessionals, and the next week they had been wall-boarded over.

  • Phil Townes

    I remember the Mass:
    There was a time long,long ago when the Host was placed in the hand;then it was changed and the Host was placed on the tongue.
    There was a time when the congration did not see the celebrant and the congration did not receive the Host.
    There was a time when the congration received only the Host and no wine.
    There was a time when we kneeled,try kneeling when you have
    disabilities.
    There was a time when we saw the back of the celebrant.There was a time when the Mass was in Aramic then Greek and then Latin and now the Vernacular.It is so much easier for the congration to participate especially visitors.
    Changes! changes! changes! oh how we hate changes.
    With all the changes in the Mass thru the years no Doctrine or Dogma has changed.The bread and the wine are still consecrated by our Lord into His Body and His Blood.
    Heaven and Earth are still joined during the Mass and that is all that matters.
    We hate change but remember the Church is not a democracy it is goverend by the Bishops not the Lay People or the ordinary priest.We the Faithful tend to forget the words spoken by Jesus to Peter:what ever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and what ever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.
    I am convert from 1966 and I remember the Latin Mass and the only Mass I miss is the High Mass especially at Christmas in the Cathedral.One item from the Latin Mass I will not change
    is Lord I am not worthy to receive you.Speak but the word and my Soul will be healed
    The Greyghost

  • kirsten

    I converted two years ago this Easter. I have not yet been to a TLM (or Extraordinary Form)…. but i have been to a wide variety of Masses. you see, i travel, and i work weekends, so i attend Mass in a variety of churches.

    i have been blessed with some truly wonderful Sundays (and weekdays)so it was hard for me to understand at first what all of you were talking about. i mean…WHAT?
    When you attend a church that has a Saint in residence (St John Neumann) you tend to get a bit more Orthodoxy i suspect…. my alternate church is also very “Orthodox” even though (or perhaps especially) because it caters to College kids

    One Sunday during my first stages of RCIA, however, i went to a church out of town… and i suddenly learned what all of you were talking about. music that would have been at home in a 70 movie, a homily that was downright heretical.. the works.

    then i heard a priest, in my RCIA class advocate (in fact speak of it as an eventuality) married Priests and female Priests. and my fellow Preachers kids and i all spoke up and said NO! while my dad did a very good job as a minister, i saw first hand the COST of being a minister to your family…..and from a purley practical point of view, a female minister bears even more of the weight of family……
    but
    what shocked us all was the fact that this was a Catholic priest, and he was advocating…. well.. the churches we left, Birth Control, women priests, etc.
    luckily for us he was one priest out of 6 or 7 (all of whom were much more solid on their faith)

    but what if our RCIA class hadnt been composed of serious students? including three PKs? it would have been easy to lead us into serious error! (they never did teach us the Rosary, but i gave every member of our RCIA class a Rosary as a graduation present)

    so rest assured there are GOOD, solid, theologically sound moving and meaningful Novus Ordo Masses out there…and then there are the rest of them.

    i hope one day to be able to compare the NO with the TLM

  • Cavaliere

    Well, I prefer to attend the NO, but I’m a convert, so I’m apparently to be viewed with pity and generous condescension. I couldn’t possibly have any legitimate reasons for preferring the NO; it’s like preferring an ugly woman to a beautiful woman. I thank you all for your tolerance of my ignorance; it couldn’t be that I’ve read Church documents and come to this decision, and it certainly couldn’t be that when I first converted I attended the EF exclusively, and only gradually and prayerfully came to the conclusion that the OF was better for my soul. That’s just impossible.

    When I’m covering my hair and kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue, I’ll try to remember that I am a hostage to the 70s.

    If only I could be merely orthodox. I would cry with joy if I could be so holy as to be merely orthodox.

    Now that you have chastised us and presumed that we pity you for being a convert, perhaps you could tell us your legitimate reasons for preferring the NO Mass over the EF? And I believe that preferring one over the other is far more than preferring an ugly girl to a beautiful one.

  • Clay

    The author seems to hint at this in his essay, but why (and I mean in concrete historical terms)did the Mass, when switched to the vernacular, take on all these other changes? I mean, if the point was to make the Mass understandable to the congregation, why didn’t we just translate?

  • suzyq


    I remember people dozing off during mass, looking out windows, etc. The good old days were not perfect, I was there.

    Their children and grandchildren are now talking during mass, texting, etc. The good old days were not perfect, but better.

  • georgie-ann

    i don’t know how it is for “cradle Catholics,” but for converts, i think there are usually steps “along the way,” that one can vividly remember as to how the transcendent God “caught one’s attention,”…

    i could recite many instances, beginning about the age of 4 (in 1950) & to the present, where God has supernaturally “caught my attention,” and very often it has been through the art & architecture of more traditional times,…

    the first of the most intense of the experiences, occurred at age 16, in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where my “humanist”/fallen-away-Catholic step-father, (a great guy, btw)–who had learned that he had an incurable form of systemic cancer (which i didn’t know), and had for that reason decided that “travelling” must be done “now”–had brought us that day on a tour of France’s famous castles & cathedrals,…

    i’m very sure that he never expected, or intended, that this trip would bring about the final step in my strong internal bonding with the Catholic church, but one look at that great “Rose Window,” and i was done,…my ultimate fate was sealed,…

    in looking back, despite many many other things that pulled me to “the Church,” i find it ironic that in France, living faith was actually dying among the people who lived there in the continual presence of this incredible “witness” and testimony to the awesomeness of God,…post WWII grief & depression & cynicism & existentialism colored the human atmosphere, and it became very difficult for me to connect-the-dots between the sublime impressions of the traditional evidence and the strange unbelieving character and behavior of the people,…

    that split has continued for me to this day, both in Europe & here in America,…i believed in God, and i knew for sure that He was in the Catholic Church, but i couldn’t really “see” Him in the people,…they acted cold, closed, bored, condescending, superior, juvenile, and clannish,…so, i “walked on eggs” around them for literally decades,…

    i should mention, in fairness, that i WAS also drawn to the Church by some very noticeable and consistent nobility, and generous self-giving actions of SOME Catholics who really seemed to “stand out” from the rest,…so much so, that i had concluded that there surely MUST BE SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL in that Eucharist that they were all receiving at Mass!,…

    it took the “lightening up” of the post-60s, including the Charismatics, to bring a time of better bonding with the humans on a more joyful, accepting, and personal level,…i, for one, must say that i DO appreciate that difference,…

    …although the weird, the bizzarro, the superficial, (& even the wicked!) have been formidable enemies and distractions from the depth, seriousness, and respect that God deserves,…(i guess i’ve never been an easy person to please!),…

    i would conclude that the supernatural aspects of the realities of our Faith, and how it is “playing out” in each and every beloved person’s life, is on the order of an immenseness that we can never grasp fully on this side of Heaven,…the richness of the traditions; the Love of God that He wishes to impart to & through us; our limitations, fears and insecurities that impel us to hold on to things as they are or as they were,…

    …now fearing to be “open,” we may opt for a judgmental self-satisfied return to an old formality, that may have been undergoing a change because it needed one,…

    i tend to like the ideas of those who say that there was a “middle ground” possible, and i hope this will be explored,…

  • Andrew C.

    ohh emm gee, love the title.

    ————-

    What happen?

    SOME BODY HAS SET US UP THE NOVUS ORDO!

    WE GET SIGNAL!’

    What!!

    *All your liturgy are belong to us!!*

    *Your faith are on the way to destruction.*

    What you say?!

    *You have no chance to survive liberalism, make your time.*

    *Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…*

    CAPTAIN!!

    Take off, every “Trad”!

    You know what you are doing, “John” [smiley=wink]

    For Great Justice.

  • chico charlie

    Like Something… I was 4 years old in1950 but a cradle catholic, and witnessed the changes.
    It was to change an all vertical Mass (without Him we can do nothing) and communion with
    Him to going horizontal to varying degrees, stressing a communion with each other. The
    language that changed the most was body language, that screamed no real presence. That
    begot a loss of reverance that you now only find at a TLM.But a NO Mass can be almost as
    beautiful as a TLM for us all, if you only look 1st for the vertical.

  • Fr. Tyler

    I concur that the way that the NO was not what the fathers of the council intended, and that it was poorly implemented, and that it is in need of much reform. What I do not agree with is the idea that the proper fix (as is proposed by many, though not all) is a wholesale return to the EF. Remember, we got into this predicament because the EF was in need of reform according to the fathers of the council. Gradual, organic, and properly done are presumed. The question remains, however, if those who love and have great devotion to the EF are prepared to admit its faults (as I admit the grievous faults of the OF)and not throw a screaming tantrum when it comes time to change it. I get the impression sometimes that those who are devoted to the EF are simply offended by the idea of change at all. It seems, though, that to not change the EF at all is not an option.

  • Nuggan

    Tradition and ritual have their place, but they are a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. I am old enough to remember the pre Vatican II church, Latin Masses, etc. and the “good old days” were not always so good either.

    I remember people dozing off during mass, looking out windows, etc. The good old days were not perfect, I was there. I was a Latin Rite Altar boy and I remember how we Altar Boys jockeyed to get certain Priests who could “rip through a Mass” in 15 minutes flat.

    There is a lot of phony nostalgia by people, especially converts who became Catholics in the recent past, about the “good old days.” Believe me, there were good times and plenty of not so good times.

    Pax Dominae Sid Semper Vobiscum.

    Oh my goodness! If I had a dollar for every time this nearly identical memory was repeated by someone of that generation, I’d be a millionaire!

    No offense, but I have a theory that those who are in the boomer generation who dislike the EF, for whatever reason, have developed a “collective memory”. It always goes like this: “I never understood what was going on at Mass as a child. The priest ran through Mass in 15 minutes. People fell asleep. People didn’t understand. Etc. etc.” I’m sure there were abuses here and there, but like the article states, it was hard to do it!

  • I am not Spartacus

    APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION
    QUO PRIMUM
    Pope St. Pius V – July 14, 1570

    …For, besides other decrees of the sacred Council of Trent, there were stipulations for Us to revise and re-edit the sacred books: the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary… – We deemed it necessary to give our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, viz, the re-editing of the Missal as soon as possible…and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection, We commanded that the finished product be printed and published as soon as possible, so that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor; and thus, priests would know which prayers to use and which rites and ceremonies they were required to observe from now on in the celebration of Masses.

    Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us…This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.
    This newrite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom…

    Had The Hierarchy simply maintained Tradition, there’d have been no problem vis a vis the Immemorial Mass because it had been in use for over 200 years.

    I agree the Council called for a restorational reform but Pope Paul egregiously erred in instituting a revolution instead of a reform which would have meant a reform that allowed we Christian Catholics to worship as innumerable members of our families had worshiped for centuries.

    That the traditional form of worship was forbidden to us was a revolutionary act.

    I can’t admit there are faults in the Immemorial Mass because I do not recognise there is even one fault.

  • KMM

    Am I the only person who noticed the implicit equating of satanic Nazi banners with the confederate flag?

    Haha, good article. I do not frequent the EF but go occasionally and being someone who defends the EF to people who go to the OF and also the other way round, this was very informative.

  • Mark P. Shea

    He said he had a great time visiting with you and spoke very highly of you. I, of course, concurred.

    Just to be clear, the question “Why do you people care so much about externals?” is not, so far as I can tell, one I have ever asked. I have no problem with externals per se. Indeed, I think such things to be the matter and meduium of culture and therefore deeply important.

    Relatedly, I’m also rather leery of the charge imputed to me above in the comboxes to the effect that I am no “fan” of the Tridentine rite. I am, as I have repeatedly said, indiscriminately grateful for any Mass, including the Tridentine rite. What stands behind the question, however, is what *has* bothered me about the Traditionalist subculture: namely, the very common tendency to suggest that if you aren’t devoted to that particular subculture, you aren’t quite (or, in some more rabid cricles, aren’t at all) really Catholic.

    Catholics who find great spiritual nourraishment in the extrernals of Traditionalist culture are just fine by me. However, so are those who find their spiritual nouraishment in other expressions of the Catholic faith. What troubles me is not that Traditionalists appreciate the externals of Traditionalist piety. It is that some of them make those externals a shibboleth and an excuse for labeling perfectly docile, charitable, pious and obedient Catholics as “Neo-Catholics” and attaching a sinister odor of heresy to them, merely because they don’t happen to belong to or derive spiritual nourishment from the Traditionalist subculture.

  • Cavaliere
  • Cavaliere

    I concur that the way that the NO was not what the fathers of the council intended, and that it was poorly implemented, and that it is in need of much reform. What I do not agree with is the idea that the proper fix (as is proposed by many, though not all) is a wholesale return to the EF. Remember, we got into this predicament because the EF was in need of reform according to the fathers of the council. Gradual, organic, and properly done are presumed. The question remains, however, if those who love and have great devotion to the EF are prepared to admit its faults (as I admit the grievous faults of the OF)and not throw a screaming tantrum when it comes time to change it. I get the impression sometimes that those who are devoted to the EF are simply offended by the idea of change at all. It seems, though, that to not change the EF at all is not an option.

    I wonder what reforms of the EF the Council Fathers actually felt were necessary? While I’m not sure what reforms would actually be prudent I think any aim at reform that attempted a synthesis between the NO and EF would be a disaster. As far as having more of the EF said in the vernacular I see a potential problem with that as well. I have experienced some Masses where the readings are said one in English and one in Spanish to accomodate both listeners. And if you have ever been to the international Mass at Lourdes I find that a complete distraction. Trying to keep focused when they say each section of the Mass in each of 6 different languages seems to defeat the whole purpose. There was a reason that Latin was universal.

  • Aaron

    Clay, part of the problem with the reform was that the people making the changes decided that if they could remove things from the Mass which Protestants found objectionable, more of them would become Catholic. I’m sure many honestly believed that, and went into it with the best of intentions. That meant they had to go much farther than changing the language. To make Protestants more at home at Mass, many prayers had to be removed or modified, the altar had to be turned into a table, etc. Do a search for “Novus Ordo and Cramner’s Supper of the Lord” to see how closely the Novus Ordo tracks with early Protestant services. And that’s true of the Novus Ordo done correctly. Done by ad-libbing priests according to the whims of liturgists, all bets are off.

    I sometimes point out to my Novus Ordo-attending brethren that their Mass isn’t as “normal” as they might think. If they looked at the current rubrics as of 2010, they’d find some things that would surprise them. Communion in the hand is an allowed exception today, not the norm. Altar girls are allowed if necessary, not the norm. EMHCs are to be used minimally where necessary, not the norm. Music isn’t supposed to be the wide-open choice of the musician, especially when it comes to replacing the responsorial psalm with some modern dirge. You get the idea. In a lot of ways, our “throwback” Mass from 1962 is closer to what the new Mass is supposed to be like than what my friends and family actually experience every Sunday.

    A bag of Doritos and a six-pack of Coke is a “valid” meal: it can be eaten, it contains calories, and it will keep you alive another day. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you, and if you made it your regular meal, it would become dangerous to your health. You could try to counter the danger with good exercise and vitamins, but it would be a constant struggle on your part.

  • georgie-ann

    i think that if everyone became perfected in “Perfect Love” (which “casts out all fear”), that most of these “problems” would be easily solved,…

    until that serendipitous moment arrives, it at least behooves us to admit that to be human (even though a Catholic one) is simultaneously to be flawed,…and to resist the temptation to look down on others for any generalized/situational reason,…

    “Love covers a multitude of sins,”…and i truly think that this Love (God’s Love shared with us) is what God, Himself, is trying to teach & impart to us, through any and ALL of the Sacramentalized means available to Him & us,…

    i think we need to be at least as committed to being/becoming vessels for God’s outpouring Love, as to all these other temporal concerns,…not that they lack significance,…

  • georgie-ann

    as long as you still have the Crucifix prominently displayed–no matter what else you “change”–Most Protestants, that i know, wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR the Church,…

  • John

    as long as you still have the Crucifix prominently displayed–no matter what else you “change”–Most Protestants, that i know, wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR the Church,…

    Hence its removal in from many parishes.

  • Aaron

    The problem with trying to re-reform the Mass now, as some sort of synthesis of the good parts of new and old, is that we’re currently in such a time of theological confusion as Catholics (including many of the clergy) that it’s hard telling what might come out of it. We could get a rite that’s the worst of both worlds. It’s like the people who want to have a Constitutional Convention, at a time when most Americans think the purpose of government is to gimme stuff. It’d be a disaster.

    We’ve already seen in the aftermath of Vatican II what happens when the Church tries to make major changes while her leaders aren’t of one firmly orthodox mind. Let’s not try that again.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think liking the Novus Ordo makes anyone a bad Catholic, and certainly not a neo-Catholic. (Nor have I seen anyone here suggest that in 90+ comments.) I do think attending the Novus Ordo can make a person a bad Catholic, or at least a clueless one, but I don’t think that’s the person’s fault. I know lots of bad Catholics who don’t know any better because their Mass seems to demand nothing of them — including me for my first 39 years. If I didn’t “get” the Real Presence all those times He was handed to me by some bored guy in jeans mumbling “body of Christ,” that wasn’t my fault. I don’t blame or label my family and friends who are still in the shoes I was wearing a few years ago; I weep and pray for them.

  • Quovadis7

    Fr. Tyler,

    Here is my take on your questions “Or do you propose to speculate that the bishops were wrong? Do you question the Magesterium?”

    While still humbly submitting in obedience to our Magisterium – and the Novus Ordo is a valid Liturgy, despite my strong preference now for the Traditional Mass – yes, I do believe that a faithful and orthodox Catholic CAN disagree with the purely prudential judgment of the Council Fathers that a Liturgical reform was “needed” when they wrote Sancrosanctum Concilium.

    One thing to ponder – if the Mass really “needed” to be reformed, why didn’t they clearly and explicitly explain what was needed and why? To merely state that there were too many “accretions”, etc. in the Traditional Mass was not nearly enough explanation nor justification for such a crucial reform to the lifeblood of the Church.

    Here’s my take – the Council Fathers were dead-on-target that what was needed was for the faithful and even Priests themselves to more actively participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. However, I think that they got the root cause of the problem ENTIRELY wrong.

    The problem was NOT necessarily the Traditional Mass itself – the problem, imo, was that the faithful and even Priests had a VERY poor understanding of Holy Mass, what truly transpires during the Holy Sacrifice, and HOW the faithful can truly and prayerfully participate in the re-presentation of Christ’s Holy Sacrifice. The “drilling” of the Baltimore Catechism into the minds of the faithful was not nearly enough for them to truly understand that!!!

    What the Bishops really needed to do instead, imo, was to make a concerted effort to provide Liturgical catechesis. And you know what? That STILL hasn’t yet happened!!!

    One key aspect of that would have been to clue them into what real, legitimate, prayerful, and interior participation during the Holy Sacrifice truly entails – what Mr. Jonathan Chamblee describes in his essay “The Secret of the Mass” – see http://www.holyname.cc/documents/TheSecretoftheMass.doc

    Again, we can all agree that in SC the Council Fathers were still protected by infallibility from teaching error to the faithful, while at the same time strongly objecting as faithful and orthodox Catholics that their prudential judgment was very much misguided about the “need” for Liturgical reform.

    While I think all except the most hardened “rad-trads” would have readily accepted modest and organic reforms to the Traditional Liturgy (which is clearly NOT what we got in the Novus Ordo!), I honestly believe that a concerted and universal effort by the Bishops to properly catechize the faithful wrt the Liturgy (now, Bishops, now!) would have allowed the Holy Mass to remain virtually unchanged in all regards.

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  • Jared B.

    …the conflict between those who describe themselves simply as “orthodox” Catholics, and those who consider themselves “traditionalists.” …This line has begun to blur more and more in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum

    This blurring of the line is what interests me most, as I have many Trad sympathies but am certainly not a Traditionalist personally (i.e. don’t attend an EF Mass, basically happy at my NO parish). The day I hear about Catholics who simultaneously are Traditionalists and are active in the Charismatic Renewal, I think we can call the line thoroughly blurred. smilies/wink.gif

  • Mary Kay

    Well, I prefer to attend the NO, but I’m a convert, so I’m apparently to be viewed with pity and generous condescension. I couldn’t possibly have any legitimate reasons for preferring the NO; it’s like preferring an ugly woman to a beautiful woman. I thank you all for your tolerance of my ignorance; it couldn’t be that I’ve read Church documents and come to this decision, and it certainly couldn’t be that when I first converted I attended the EF exclusively, and only gradually and prayerfully came to the conclusion that the OF was better for my soul. That’s just impossible.

    When I’m covering my hair and kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue, I’ll try to remember that I am a hostage to the 70s.

    If only I could be merely orthodox. I would cry with joy if I could be so holy as to be merely orthodox.

    Now that you have chastised us and presumed that we pity you for being a convert, perhaps you could tell us your legitimate reasons for preferring the NO Mass over the EF? And I believe that preferring one over the other is far more than preferring an ugly girl to a beautiful one.

    Joye did give you legitimate reasons – reading Vatican documents and prayerfully coming to that conclusion. Her mild sarcasm was necessitated by the inability or unwillingness by so many (but not all) Traddies to take seriously anyone who is not a Traddie.

  • Jared B.

    I wonder what reforms of the EF the Council Fathers actually felt were necessary? While I’m not sure what reforms would actually be prudent I think any aim at reform that attempted a synthesis between the NO and EF would be a disaster. As far as having more of the EF said in the vernacular I see a potential problem with that as well. I have experienced some Masses where the readings are said one in English and one in Spanish to accomodate both listeners.

    There’s no need to “wonder” about it: just read Sacrosanctum Concilium. The actual proposed reforms were modest, reasonable, and as J. Zmirak and others have already pointed out, many of them were only put forward as possibilities or concessions, not really promoted by the Council.

    I don’t know about a literal synthesis of the two forms, but back when Summorum Pontificum came out, the going idea was that Pope Benedict does in fact intend for the two forms to mutually influence each other. Now that may mean (as I think) that the EF has to go an inch and the OF has to go a mile, but it does imply eventually (whether this is 5 years away or 50) a new edition of the EF missal to replace the 1962 one, screaming tantrums from some traditionalists notwithstanding.

    It is a shame that the 3rd edition of the ordinary missal was written before SP. If it had come later, I think there may have been bigger changes, like wider use of EP I and the Gradual instead of a responsorial psalm, or reintroducing some prayers that were removed wholesale from new Mass like the “Suscipe”.

  • Cavaliere

    Well, I prefer to attend the NO, but I’m a convert, so I’m apparently to be viewed with pity and generous condescension. I couldn’t possibly have any legitimate reasons for preferring the NO; it’s like preferring an ugly woman to a beautiful woman. I thank you all for your tolerance of my ignorance; it couldn’t be that I’ve read Church documents and come to this decision, and it certainly couldn’t be that when I first converted I attended the EF exclusively, and only gradually and prayerfully came to the conclusion that the OF was better for my soul. That’s just impossible.

    When I’m covering my hair and kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue, I’ll try to remember that I am a hostage to the 70s.

    If only I could be merely orthodox. I would cry with joy if I could be so holy as to be merely orthodox.

    Now that you have chastised us and presumed that we pity you for being a convert, perhaps you could tell us your legitimate reasons for preferring the NO Mass over the EF? And I believe that preferring one over the other is far more than preferring an ugly girl to a beautiful one.

    Joye did give you legitimate reasons – reading Vatican documents and prayerfully coming to that conclusion. Her mild sarcasm was necessitated by the inability or unwillingness by so many (but not all) Traddies to take seriously anyone who is not a Traddie.

    Sorry Mary Kay but no reading of the documents of Vatican II could lead one to the conclude that the NO Mass is what the Fathers intended.

  • georgie-ann

    no Crucifix?,…oh, my,…i’ve been so sheltered!,…

    …although, sorry to say, i’ve certainly had my share of undesired & undesirable contact with those so-called “participating in the Catholic Church,” whom i’ve considered, after due exposure, to be rankly subversive & probably actually satanic-on-purpose (i.e., “by intention”),…(there’s a lot of that “stuff” around here anyway),…

    …”false” and misleading “smiles” on the faces all the while, the indescribable aura/atmosphere of disguised hidden “practices” and distortions, & ultimately evil intent, was undeniable after sufficient exposure to their “habits” (pun intended),…

    NO solution possible,…ONLY to get far far away “from there,”…and CHOOSE MORE WISELY next time, next place,…

    something like that, in retrospect, i don’t even consider to be “real” Catholic,…if it’s certainly not “Godly in Spirit,” how could it be?–(satan would still like to replace God on the throne, if he can dupe unwitting humans to put him there, even temporarily)–although you would never know it from the exterior appearances,…”Godly in form only,”…”looking” as Catholic as anything you can imagine,…that’s why i don’t trust solely “in form,”…

    i would imagine that there were “innocent” participants involved/”hoodwinked,” and i pray for their souls with tears to this very day,…the treachery of satan cannot be underestimated,…

    i only say all that unpleasant stuff to illustrate that it is quite possible for me to believe in the allusions made as to the possibility of serious, determined attempts at internal subversion/compromise of the authority of the Church,…

    and it is for this reason also, that i emphasize the need to be very vigilant about the “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5), including prominently God’s Love and man’s humility, being very important evidence of God’s Presence in our midst & our efforts,…

  • dominic1962

    *If liturgy really is so central to Catholic practice and mentality, how could the Holy Spirit allow the Church to change it in such a destructive way?

    How could it really have been created and mandated by the Magisterium if it is a force for evil?*

    Yes, this does seem to sum up the basic theological argument against the us Traddies. However, it belies a certain naive understanding of infallibility and the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. It seems like a kind of neo-Ultramontanism, a seeking for an anchor after being tossed in the rough seas of the post-conciliar fun-fest. I have to stick to whatever comes down out of “Rome” because otherwise I run the risk of turning into a Curran or Kung and then all is lost…

    Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking to Rome-I am no Gallican or Febronian but when it becomes “My Rome, right or wrong” or when we fail to make the distinction of the levels of assent and the levels of authority of various documents etc.

    As to Vatican II, I think if anyone doubts that the Holy Spirit is working in the Church, they need not look any farther than Vatican II. That the Church did not completely plunge into rank heresy (considering all the nutjob periti and ‘progressive’ bishops of the European Alliance) is nothing short of a miracle. That the HS protects the Church from officially teaching heresy does not mean that He inspires all that goes on in the Church. The Church is made up of humans as well, humans that can seriously screw things up. The HS will guarantee that the Holy See doesn’t invalidate the sacraments, but there is no such guarantee that the HS is going to stop every stupid and destructive idea that happens to gain currency in a turbulent time from taking a toll.

    For a good look into the human side of the Church and in the workings of the Council, read “The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber” by Fr. Ralph Witgen. Its an eye opener.

    Also, one reason this debate is rarely fruitful is that some folks take everything so personally and then it devolves into a deluge of emoting. Criticisms of the NO are taken as personal affronts to the piety or the orthodoxy of people who like it and then any sort of meaningful discussion ends right there.

    Another fun one is when things are taken into the realm of personal experience. Well, you really cannot argue with an experience because it is very much individual and subjective. Every time I hear about the drunk priest who yells at someone in the confessional, slaps and altar boy and says low Mass in 15 min. I think of all the folks that tell me their personal experiences of great priests, solidly Catholic folk, a good Catholic culture etc. and come to the conclusion that it is pointless swapping war stories and that we need to go back to the objective…

  • Recovering from Kumbaya

    John, your article does not take into account any factors affecting our decision other than the form of the liturgy.

    I grew up attending a folk mass in the 1970’s. I never appreicated it. I completely understand your point about externals and thei impact, but that is not the only consideration for most Catholics.

    In order to attend the EF Mass, I would need to:

    1) Switch horses midstream while raising our children. We have seven kids, and they have grown up attending our local parish. Six of our kids have made First Communion through the ordinary form. Three have been confirmed through the OF. All of their memories of the Catholic Church are connected with the OF. They have ties to our pairsh priests who hear their confessions and give them the eucharist, to their local friends who are Cathilic, and to the NO Mass itself. We would gladly switch if the Holy Father ended the NO, or if there was some reason to believe the NO is illicit, but as you acknowledge, none of that is true. I would have a difficult time explaining to our kids why we would “force” them to attend the EF Mass instead of the one to which they are accustomed. (The EF was not available when we started our family, incidentally.)

    2) Sever ties with the local Catholic community by no longer going to church with them. Especially for teens, having a band of Catholic friends is a great spiritual help.

    3) Drive 60 miles each Sunday in our fifteen passenger van, instead of driving one mile or walking. We have been blessed with seven children, and I am home full time with them, so we rely on one income. We cannot afford the cost of gas to attend the EF.

    4) True charity and acceptance on the part of our fellow parishioners. The families I know who attend the EF are extremely condescending to mine. Their girls wear dresses exclusively, even when on the playground, and consider me immoral for wearing pants and allowing our daughters to do so. They consider us foolish for allowing our children to go to public high school. They have a multitude of “traditions of men” which are not essential, many of which are cultural and do not even apply to Mass, and they judge us by their rigid standards.

    I believe it could be a near occasion of sin for my children to be exposed to their pride and hypocrisy every week, just so that we can experience externals some consider beautiful.

    John, it’s not as though we have two Catholic Churches, side by side, one with the EF and one with the OF, and we get to choose every Sunday whether to walk in door #1 or door #2. It’s not as though my husband and I are just starting our family and have a fresh start in acclimating oure kids to a particular form of the Mass. We have some serious pros and cons to weigh, and we decided in favor of regular participation in our local parish.

  • Charlotte

    Please defend your preference for the N.O. with references from at least 5 papal encyclicals, including a thorough reading of Summorum Pontificum. Your response must be submitted typed in doublespace format, using Helectica font, with footnotes, and must not be longer than 15 pages.

    Oh – I’m sorry – I was just kidding.

    Unfortunately, the TRADS aren’t. They actually think the average Catholic processes their faith in this way. Which is really, really sad.

    THANK GOD this isn’t how everyone in the Church is expected to understand and discuss their faith.

  • John Zmirak

    Dear Recovering from Kumbaya:
    Peace be with you. I didn’t voice (and hope I didn’t imply) any criticism of people who continue to attend their parishes. The vast majority of people won’t find it prudent to attend the traditional liturgy; I don’t make it every time myself. I’m simply making the argument, in the abstract, for the pastoral superiority of the Extraordinary Form. I hope that bishops make it more available, so it spread beyond the narrow subculture circles which make possible the kind of insufferably rude behavior to which (I’m sorry to hear) you were subjected.

    God bless!

  • Daria

    A bag of Doritos and a six-pack of Coke is a “valid” meal: it can be eaten, it contains calories, and it will keep you alive another day. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you, and if you made it your regular meal, it would become dangerous to your health.

    Dear Aaron,
    I feast upon the body and blood of Christ at either form of the mass.

  • Steve K.

    Please defend your preference for the N.O. with references from at least 5 papal encyclicals, including a thorough reading of Summorum Pontificum. Your response must be submitted typed in doublespace format, using Helectica font, with footnotes, and must not be longer than 15 pages.

    Oh – I’m sorry – I was just kidding.

    Unfortunately, the TRADS aren’t. They actually think the average Catholic processes their faith in this way. Which is really, really sad.

    THANK GOD this isn’t how everyone in the Church is expected to understand and discuss their faith.

    Well done, Charlotte – you really knocked the rubbish out of that straw man.

  • Daria

    [
    This blurring of the line is what interests me most, as I have many Trad sympathies but am certainly not a Traditionalist personally (i.e. don’t attend an EF Mass, basically happy at my NO parish). The day I hear about Catholics who simultaneously are Traditionalists and are active in the Charismatic Renewal, I think we can call the line thoroughly blurred. smilies/wink.gif

    I’ve seen it in Cincinnati, Jared, where a charismatic priest, wishing to be all things to all men, offered the EF every week for the sake of those who loved the old liturgy. IN the process, many of his charismatic followers were introduced to the beauty of the EF. I witnessed the amazing sight of ladies with veils on their heads,with their hands raised in the air and gently swaying, as they chanted the Credo. God rest the soul of Father Al, who brought about this amazing blurring of the lines. I no longer live in Cincy, so I don’t know if this unique situation still exists.

  • Charlotte

    Call it what you want, Steve. TRADS (at least the internet variety) rarely approach these subjects with love and charity toward us lesser, regular Catholics who haven’t had the time or inclination to indoctrinate ourselves on why we prefer or believe in one mass over the other. We’re just trying to live daily life and not land in hell.

    Us regular Joes simply believe and simply want to have a reason to hope for our salvation. Like Shea says, we’re grateful for any mass and we’re grateful to be Catholic.

    And again, I say this as someone who is very TRAD curious and a has ALOT of sympathy with TRAD sensibilites. But like so many commenters above, the nastiness keeps me away.

  • Daria

    Thanks, John for an amazing article and for the wonderful discussion it provoked. But anyone who reads the MIchael Davies stuff that you and several others recommend should also get a rational hearing of the other side, written by two men who love the EF but love the Magisterium as well. It’s called The Pope, the Council, and the Mass, by James Likoudis and Kenneth Whitehead.

  • Cavaliere

    Thanks, John for an amazing article and for the wonderful discussion it provoked. But anyone who reads the MIchael Davies stuff that you and several others recommend should also get a rational hearing of the other side, written by two men who love the EF but love the Magisterium as well. It’s called The Pope, the Council, and the Mass, by James Likoudis and Kenneth Whitehead.

    Michael Davies didn’t love the Magisterium? News to me.

  • Cavaliere

    “What happened at the Council was something else entirely: in the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living, process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product. Gamber with the vigilance of a true prophet and the courage of a true witness, opposed this falsification, and, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge, indefatigably taught us about the fullness of a true liturgy.” Josef Cardinal Ratzinger

  • Marcy K.

    I was born in 1965 and have only known the NO mass and always have felt something really missing. I too remember when the nun would stress how we were to never go behind the altar rail, and confession always behind a screen. People now walk around the altar as if it is a sidewalk, and since they moved the tabernacle I have no idea where to genuflect to upon entering the church. I guess the chapel in the corner. The day they brought us into the Church and presented confession face-to-face, no warning, I did not go back for 18 years. Now it does not bother me, but as a child it apparently did.

    I once had the privilege of attending a Melkite Mass with a wonderful priest. I almost cried. “Why can’t our Mass be this reverent? Why can’t our prayers be this beautiful?” I have attended 2 Latin masses when visiting Kansas City and think the priest facing the altar is wonderful – he’s offering a sacrifice after all. It was beautiful but I find the Latin, even with a missal, very confusing and distracting. I too have thought why didn’t they just use the lovely English translation already in the missals? They didn’t have to butcher the prayers like they have.

    My personal theory though, is that God lets us exercise our free will and make these mistakes, and the nonsensical changes brought to us by the theologians and bishops of the 60’s and 70’s was definitely a mistake. I listened to Fr. Z’s excellent 3 part podcast http://tinyurl.com/novusordoeve about the beginnings of the NO mass and heard the Pope’s announcement of the changes. Even he sounded doubtful. What a shock it must have been when everything was changing and the world seemed to be falling apart – it was 1969, and it was the same week as the moon landing.

    I think we have been in this desert for 40 years because perhaps so many were doubtful, or dissenting, or just going through the motions before. God let this NO mass to come into existence to teach us humility and to really thirst for pure, refreshing streams. Sometimes we need to be in the desert to really understand what we had, and to purify ourselves and the Church of pride or whatever else invaded it.

    I’m glad I’m not 20-30 years older and was there when these changes were made. I’m grateful to be part of the rebirth taking place now, and hope that the Lord has splendid things ahead with a smaller but more faithful body of followers. I’m looking forward to the changes coming within the NO Mass, though I don’t know if it will be enough, but anything that makes the mass more reverent I’m for. Thanks for the great article.

  • John Zmirak

    Jeff speaks to the gravity of the scandal we face in evaluating the actions of Pope Paul VI. The scandal of a pope ordering the liquidation of so many supports to the piety of the faithful was so great that it drove a number of serious Catholics into the heresy of sede-vacantism. Why? Since they couldn’t believe that a true pope could be so… bad.

    Perhaps the worst pope in history, worse than Alexander VI, whose main sins were personal rather than ecclesiastical. Yes, when forced to finally confront the issue of birth control, Paul VI did not teach heresy. Does anybody here think he was FREE to teach heresy? If so, if you give Paul VI (rather than the Holy Spirit) credit for the orthodoxy of Humanae Vitae, then it

  • Cephas

    I agree wholeheartedly: Externals do matter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a priest or seminarian screw up his face in distaste over properly following the rubrics. “I wanna be a ‘pastoral’ priest,” they say . . . as if inflicting their incompetent, lazy liturgies on me Sunday after Sunday is not un-“pastoral.”

    There are a lot of priests and seminarians — even conservative ones — who (frankly) hate ritual. They confuse ritual with being ritualistic. Not the same! On the other hand, I’ve known a lot of ritualistic Traddies and conservative, liturgy-loving priests who think their idea of liturgy — and, usually everything else (Can we say Fr. John Zuhlsdorf?) — should be everybody’s idea of liturgy. Liturgy is not a joyful thing for them, but a matter for doing things exactly correctly as they want it with no mistakes. They suck the oxygen out of any church.

    The Eastern Orthodox provide an apropos example for Traditionalist craziness. The writer himself even uses them as an example . . . except, he seems to forget that there is a large group of “Old Believers” in Russia who split off from the Russian Orthodox Church because Patriarch Tikhon changed how Jesus’ name was spelt in the liturgical books, and how people made the Sign of the Cross, and how many times one said “Alleluia” during the Divine Liturgy, etc., etc. Therefore, the ROC’s liturgy is invalid, blasphemous, sinful, revolutionary, etc., etc. Sound familiar? But, hey, externals matter, right?

    It’s gotten to the point that some of the “Old Believer” communities don’t even have priests anymore because they couldn’t get any bishops to follow them. But, they would forgo even having PRIESTS to serve them rather than darken the door of a Russian Orthodox church and its “innovations.”

    The author doesn’t know of any Traddies who wouldn’t rather have the “Old Mass” in English, facing the altar, than the so-called Novus Ordo (whatever that is) Mass as it’s done in most parishes. Once again, I say: Sound familiar?

    By the by, if that bugaboo of Traditionalists, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, could have said the Tridentine Mass for DECADES . . . uh . . . doesn’t that put to lie the argument that the Tridentine can create saints? Apparently so. Yet, the Novus Ordo nourished Fr. John Hardon.

    Also, by the way: The author above needs to read a few contemporary theology books. Chardin is as moldy an example as Loisy. (That doesn’t mean things are better in much of Catholic theology, but it does mean his information is exceedingly dated.)

    Perhaps, the hardest truth for many Traditionalists to accept is the following:

    The Tridentine Mass will not “save” the Church. It didn’t save the Church before from the Protestant Reformation . . . or, the Great Schism . . . or, the Vatican II aftermath . . . or, the French Revolution . . . etc. and so forth.

    So,please, stop trying to get me to believe that a little more Latin and a couple more genuflections will “save” the Church, the world, whatever. I AGREE with all these things — or, at least, I see no problem with them — but, the message needs to be (in the words of Aerosmith): Get a grip!

  • Okie

    I myself am an Ultramontanist as a spiritual son of Solesmes and Dom Gueranger. However, I think current circumstances lend folks a rather naive definition of Ultramontanism or “Pro-Rome”-ism or “Papalism” as some trads are prone to throw out there. I think the idea has been well traced above, but essentially the idea is that no matter what the Pope or Rome does, it has to be right, or Catholicism falls apart completely.
    However, “Papal Monarchism” as someone like Dom Gueranger would call it, and what most folks would see being enshrined in Vatican I, is not simply “whatever Rome says is right.” It has an explicit political emphasis. Although the “infallibility” Canon is very important, the far more important Canon is that of “universal jurisdiction.” The threat of Gallicanism was ever pressing throughout the Church’s history (for instance, the Investiture controversy), and so the issue of Church and State had to be decided definitely with the rise of Nation-States the world saw at the end of the 19th century. Thus, no “nation,” no “people,” no “ethnicity” could be the definitive mark of the Church…the Church must be Catholic, must be Universal, and so the final arbiter of Truth, of the guidance of the Holy Ghost, must be through the Pope, the Bishop of Unity in the Church, and that is what Vatican I and Papal Monarchy ensures.
    And yet…
    So much of what the Church is IS NOT defined by Papal Monarchy. Like Dr. Zmirak has shown in other articles, you can have a Kingdom, even an Empire, that has an Emperor as the first and final mark of unity and authority, and yet the powers and lives and ways of those “underneath” the Emperor is not directly in every way commanded by the Ruler. Papal Monarchism is not a call for Papal Tyranny, and I think that is what traditionalists worry in regards to the Novus Ordo…a rash of Papal Tyranny. I will admit that they usually don’t go back far enough in their condemnations…the very beloved by Traddies Pius X basically remade the breviary in the image of the Gallican breviaries that Dom Gueranger and other Ultramontanists despised so much. But even Saints are not free from making imprudent decisions…
    So I think Dr. Zmirak hits the matter on the head. Infallibility is a “minimum assurance” of sorts. The Church will not defect into heresy. When the Pope speaks in very specific instances of Faith and Morals, the Pope will not lead the Church astray. But that, combined with Universal Jurisdiction, was not meant to give the Pope, or even encourage the Pope, to control every minute detail of lives of all Christians. It is to make sure that the Church is not first a “french church” or “german church” but the Catholic Church. Ultramontanism does not equate to Papal Tyranny.

  • Louis Tofari

    Not too long ago, I wrote an article published in “The Remnant” regarding the Dialog Mass which also focuses on some misconceptions about basic liturgical notions. This will actually clarify some things commented on from Feb. 17 onwards. The article is available here on my website: http://romanitaspress.com/articles.htm, and a follow-up (rebuttal) is due to be published this month in the same newspaper.

  • Jack in the woods


    I like your coy term ‘daughters of Trent,’ it really helps to describe my position. You seem to place such weight on externals, and sometimes that is okay, but other times it just doesn’t fit. I come from a country that is considered 3rd world or ‘developing,’ and here there is no room for fancy-pants trad externals. There is no option for Gothic cathedrals, diamond-studded chalices or marble altars. How can everyone be expected to chant in Latin? You cant exactly pick up a Liber Usualis if you can’t even read because there are no schools. Give me a brake! Many Trads are hate-filled hypocrites who wont even enter a church that doesn’t have a proper narthex and altar rails. Even the description of Trad is more accidental than substantial. John Chrysostom gives an excellent homily in which he discusses the ridiculousness of the argument of whether or not the chandeliers in the cathedral should be silver or not. I think the answer is clear. Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

  • James III
  • teomatteo

    I would rather…..
    drive one hour on a Sunday afternoon, to an almost empty inner city church where its too hot in the summer and kinda cold in the winter, to hear a priest with his back to me recite in a dead foreign language a most holy and beautiful prayer (the confiteor) than to drive five minnutes from my home, stand with four hundred people in a new-suburban, perfectly air conditioned worship space, and have the priest speek in my language and NEVER EVER recite that prayer.

  • Croix

    Yes, symbols ARE important. But…
    I’ve read tons of similar articles on American Catholic sites – in the beginning it was something exotic, now it begins to worry me.
    Let me explain my point of view – I live in a small Mediterranean country which survived both WW and communist regime, I’m too young to remember anything but Novus Ordo, and I’m not Latin scholar.
    In my country you won’t find anyone who thinks that Vatican II was a work of devil. On the contrary, Vatican II encouraged our Church to find new ways of evangelization in strict communist regime.
    Vernacular or Latin – false dilemma. My grandma and all that generation was very faithful and orthodox, and with Novus Ordo they finnaly understood something.
    Translation? I have never heard that from Italians, Germans etc. Only English speaking people complain about it, so maybe you have a problem. For me, the language used in Mass (and in Liturgy of the Hours, for example) is fascinating poetry. This is not something unknown (I’m cradle Catholic), but it always manages to bring something completely new to me.
    Kneeling? Some people kneel before Communion, yes, but somehow it seems like showing off. I usually have an intense desire to prostrate myself but of course I will never to do it.

    So I agree with Cephas – don’t think that Tridentine Mass will “save” the Church. If it helps you to be closer to Christ, wonderful. But the things are not so simple.
    My forefathers lived for 5 centuries under Ottoman Empire and remained faithul Catholics. Now imagine that – 5 centuries of life as – not second but – last grade citizen, no regular church organization, no sacraments on daily basis (sometimes even for years!), no churches & convents at all, heavy persecutions …

  • Thomas Fisher

    I think we need to get beyond the externals. Either form of the Mass is not about the externals only. I would much rather go to a Low Mass with NO externals than go to the New Mass. It’s really about which Form of Mass best meets the maxim – The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief. It CAN NOT be argued that the Tridentine Mass minimizes any Catholic Dogma. On the other hand much of what goes on at a typical New Mass on any given Sunday were novelties first introduced in 1500’s by protestants to undermine Catholic Dogma.

  • Aaron

    Dear Aaron,
    I feast upon the body and blood of Christ at either form of the mass.

    I’m sure you do. I’ve never claimed the Novus Ordo consecration is invalid (assuming correct form, matter, and intention, of course). But that doesn’t mean that the way the Mass is presented, the rest of the liturgy, the symbols and teachings that go with it, are good for the soul. Certainly the Eucharist is good for the soul, but what of the other things you’re taking in for the rest of that hour?

    Look, the latest polls say 75% of Catholics never go to Confession, and half of the remaining quarter go no more than once a year. Now, one of the precepts of the Church is that we are required to make Confession at least annually. Even the new Catechism, which many trads have problems with, makes that clear in #1457. So when you walk into a typical Catholic church and 99% of the congregation goes up to Communion, you know that many of them are imperiling their eternal souls — not only because they’ve violated a precept of the Church, but by receiving Communion while in that state, they’ve committed sacrilege.

    Do I blame them for that, or think less of them? No, it’s not their fault they’ve been taught badly. They should be pitied and taught better, not condemned. But that’s why this isn’t just about personal preference, as if we think God prefers lace to polyester and Latin to English. There are real, practical, eternal consequences to how we practice the liturgy, because the liturgy is where most Catholics get their concept of what being Catholic means.

    I’m not saying the Novus Ordo is solely to blame for what’s happened; I think it’s both symptom and cause. The Novus Ordo by itself, done properly, might not have taught people the Eucharist is just a communal meal, for instance. But when dissenters wanted to teach that, the Novus Ordo made it easier for them to do so. The Novus Ordo certainly doesn’t tell people not to go to Confession anymore; but by downplaying ideas like majesty and sacrifice, it allowed people to forget why they needed to go to Confession before approaching the altar.

    The first time I went to a TLM, I had been taking Communion sacrilegiously at Novus Ordo Masses for years, my last Confession having been 20 years in the past, and I never thought much of it. My buddy Jesus would understand. When I was faced with the prospect of kneeling down and taking the same Body of Christ on my tongue, with the altar (looking nothing like a table) looming 20 feet above me, I knew instantly that I couldn’t do it. In that church, in that form, with those symbols around me, Jesus wasn’t my buddy anymore, He was God. He would still understand, but only too well: He’d see right through my facile rationalizing.

  • Thomas Fisher

    To those people who strictly adhere to the New Mass, drop the paranoia. No one is taking the New Mass away from you…

    Is it not right and just for the faithful who adhere to the Latin Mass to have that ability to worship as their ancestors in the Faith did? Diversity in the Church is no new thing, there are quite a few Rites of Mass officially used the the Church today.

    To those that are new to this dicussion, Yes many “Trads” can be bitter. This is in response to years of un-pastoral treatment by the members Chruch, which currently is being corrected by Pope Benedict XVI.
    Viva il Papa!

  • Thomas Fisher

    No “trad” will argue that a wholesale return to the TLM will fix the problems of the Church in the modern world. But what is the status of the Church after 40+ years with the New Mass?
    Was the Church more effective in saving souls using the traditional formulas before VCII? Have not the last 40 years been the greatest disaster in the Church since the reformation?

    Today we are seeing a renewal in the Church, not because of the reforms of VCII but rather because of the freedom now being given to traditional forms of spirituality.

  • I am not Spartacus

    For Pete’s Sake, can’t we move on?…(in the words of Aerosmith): Get a grip!

    Dr. Z. not only has a grip,he has a firm grasp of the situation and he explains his ideas with apt sourcing and he defends his ideas with grace and humor.

    Far from being a Big Blue Meanie or an Angry Rad Trad, Dr. Z is filled with Sweet Emotion.

  • Thomas Fisher

    This is what the current Pope has said about Michael Davies:

    “he put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us with important publications especially on the sacred liturgy… he always truely remained a man of the Church. He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the rock of Peter and that the Faith can find its fullness and maturity only in union with the successor of St. Peter”
    -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI 2004

  • Richard A

    On the other hand, I’ve known a lot of ritualistic Traddies and conservative, liturgy-loving priests who think their idea of liturgy — and, usually everything else (Can we say Fr. John Zuhlsdorf?) — should be everybody’s idea of liturgy. Liturgy is not a joyful thing for them, but a matter for doing things exactly correctly as they want it with no mistakes. They suck the oxygen out of any church.

    The problem with your insight, Cephas, is that it’s wrong. Not just wrong, manifestly wrong. Particularly, you owe Fr. Zuhlsdorf an apology.

    http://tinyurl.com/ya7vsjs

    Read the comments.

    I visit several blogs and websites concerning my love for the Catholic Church, from the National Catholic Reporter to the National Catholic Register. Obviously, there is a wide range of opinion expressed about the desirability of OF/EF. On none of them except the blog mentioned above has the website owner corrected a correspondent for an uncharitable presentation of an issue WITH WHICH THE BLOG AUTHOR CLEARLY AGREES. Not only that, but the (anonymous) correspondent accepted correction, apologized to the bishop and formed the resolve to deal with the sin of anger in sacramental Confession.

    The goal of all this is union with Christ and a life of holiness. I have yet to see the ape**** defenders of clown Masses at National Catholic Reporter express in any way the possiblity that relating charitably to a bishop with whom you disagree may be more important than your disagreement. You may want to re-examine what you mean by “joy”.

  • Cavaliere

    The Novus Ordo by itself, done properly, might not have taught people the Eucharist is just a communal meal, for instance.

    Case in point, last night attended a NO Mass, the priest says the Mass very reverently, he says the EF Mass too but the Euchartistic Prayer he used last night mentioned meal and banquet at least three different times, not once did it mention sacrifice like the Canon or Eucharistic Prayer I. Does that affect the Sacrament, no. But it does communicate a different expression of the Mass and that is significant in how we believe.

  • Daniel

    If liturgy really is so central to Catholic practice and mentality, how could the Holy Spirit allow the Church to change it in such a destructive way?… How could it really have been created and mandated by the Magisterium if it is a force for evil?… We have to be able to trust the Church where central things like the way we worship are concerned… How can we do that if we start treating the Papacy as if it is the engine of destruction to be resisted and corrected?

    Doesn’t THAT destroy our faith more than any supposed imperfections in the liturgy?

    Well, if Shea (or whoever) has an ideological, a priori belief that the Pope and his bishops, or an oecumenical council, are simply incapable of making enormous mistakes in extremely important pastoral matters, there is nothing I can do to change his mind.

    However, this line of thinking – The magisterium couldn’t possibly make a mistake this big – simply doesn’t match reality – not the reality of history, not the readily observable reality all around us.

    I became a traditionalist because I was sick of basing my beliefs not on reality, but on my desire to make certain parties (e.g. Paul VI and John Paul II) look good.

  • D

    Whenever these sort of discussions occur, many of the non-trad Catholics made arguments like these:

    “As long as the Mass is valid and licit, it doesn’t matter which form it is”
    “The Mass is the Mass is the Mass”
    “Jesus is still there”
    “We should be grateful for the Mass, not criticize it”

    Consider the year 1950. The Mass was valid and licit in 1950. The Mass in 1950 was the Mass was the Mass was the Mass. Jesus was there in the Mass in 1950.

    And in 1950, the Mass throughout all of the Roman Catholic Church was the Traditional Latin Mass (in either the Tridentine or another more ancient form).

    Now, my question for those who argue as above is this: If validity, liceity and the real presence are all that really matter, then wouldn’t you have been perfectly satisfied in 1950?

    Why on earth would you want a Mass with which you were perfectly satisfied to be drastically reformed?

    And why would you object to a hypothetical future in which the conditions of 1950 (the universal use of the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the Roman Catholic Church) were recreated?

    I haven’t ever seen a satisfactory answer to these questions. It seems that simply taking the line of argument above dodges important issues – this discussion HAS to be about the actual, specific differences between the Old and New Liturgy, and the merits or problems of each. Was Bugnini’s reform a good thing, or a mistake? Saying “The Mass is the Mass is the Mass and we should be grateful for it, not criticize it” does not answer that important question.

    Because if he had been of a mind that “The Mass is the Mass is the Mass and we should be grateful for it, not criticize it” – then the Novus Ordo would never have been created in the first place. It seems odd to defend something by denying its very raison d’etre.

  • jean

    Alot of excellent comments. Alot about how WE FEEL at Mass. Alot about how we are feasting on Jesus at ANY Catholic Mass we can go to.
    Since most Americans are receiving in their hands today,without kneeling, and on the run, an important reality for those Catholics to think about is this: do you realise that when we receive in this way, especially with all the Eucharistic lay servers, many particles of the consecrated Host,[JESUS] are being lost, trampled on, flying away in the air to be ABUSED AND neglected. Since we know these particles ARE JESUS, is not this an awfully abusive way to treat our Lord and our God? Do we not go to Church to love, worship and adore our Lord.To tell Him that we love Him in such a careless and casual way and to treat our Saviour again with such disrespect is shameful.Priests who are so casual and careless to not teach their flock greater reverence and not very much in love with their Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Nathan

    Given the emotion involved with the TLM/NO debate, here are a couple of points that I hope will considered charitable.

    1. Folks (like me) who cherish the TLM are often passionate about the issue. I don’t think, though, that we are a large bunch who are about to go and pillage through your parishes and force you wear mantillas. I would submit that we are passionate because for thirty years (up to 2007) we were, except in a few cases, treated as the “crazy uncle up in the attic” by the entire mainstream Catholic organization.

    As a matter of perspective, as of 2009 there was a regular Sunday TLM at 289 parishes in the US, out of a total of 18,280. (Sources: http://www.cara.georgetown.edu/bulletin/, http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/) That means that 2 years after Summorum Pontificum, only 1.58% of U.S. parishes offer the TLM on Sundays and Holy Days. I hardly think that’s a threat to the mainstream NO experienced by the vast majority of US Catholics

    We do love the legitmacy conferred on the TLM by Pope Benedict. But I would ask our bretheren who stay with the NO to please understand where we came from and realize that our often unbecoming stridency, in many cases, has its origins in real injustice suffered over a long time.

    2. For those not steeped in the NO/TLM debate, there are, IMO, 2 key issues. The most obvious is the comparison between the two forms and the historical/pastoral/theological implications associated. Dr. Zmirak does a fine job arguing in this issue.

    The other, which I think converts such as Mark Shea tend to prioritize, is the one of obedience, summed up in the question “Was the implementation of the Missal of Pope Paul VI an abuse of power?” If you think it was, odds are you’re in the “Trad” camp. If you think it wasn’t, odds are you are fine with the NO simply because that is what was instituted by legitimate authority, and the Trads are troublesome beause they are constantly second-guessing what the Church has legitmately done.

    This is tough–we have a moral obligation to resist an abuse of authority, but faithful Catholics of good will have come down on both sides as to whether the implementation of the NO meets that criterion.

    In Christ,

  • Cavaliere

    Nathan you made a number of excellent comments to which I would like to add one more as to why many Catholics, I refuse to use the word Traditionalist to describe me, are a little put off by our desire to worship in the way our ancestors did. I am forced to drive 3 of my 7 children over 1000 miles roundtrip to have them Confirmed in the Extraordinary Form because our local Bishop does not want to allow this in his Diocese. That’s gonna cost a lot of gas money for our 12 passenger van and a couple nights in a large hotel room. Coincidentally there will be a lot less money available to give to the Bishops Annual Appeal.

  • Mark P. Shea

    Well, if Shea (or whoever) has an ideological, a priori belief that the Pope and his bishops, or an oecumenical council, are simply incapable of making enormous mistakes in extremely important pastoral matters, there is nothing I can do to change his mind.

    You can set your mind at ease. I have never had any such belief.

  • Mark P. Shea

    The other, which I think converts such as Mark Shea tend to prioritize, is the one of obedience, summed up in the question “Was the implementation of the Missal of Pope Paul VI an abuse of power?”

    No. The question I tend to prioritize is, “How about if faithful Catholics not be treated as second class “neo-Catholics” and not be subjected by brother Catholics to the charge of quasi-heresy for their fidelity to the teaching of the Magisterium?”

    As I made it pretty clear in the essay John linked, I have not made it my business to adjudicate whether legitimate magisterial authorities had the rite to reform the Mass. That’s way above my pay grade. Others regard themselves as competent to make that call. They may well be. I don’t know. What I do know is that I am not. So I would not dream of pontificating on the matter. Like most Catholics, I just go to Mass and I’m perfectly happy with whatever Mother Church gives me.

  • John Zmirak

    “By the by, if that bugaboo of Traditionalists, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, could have said the Tridentine Mass for DECADES . . . uh . . . doesn’t that put to lie the argument that the Tridentine can create saints? Apparently so. Yet, the Novus Ordo nourished Fr. John Hardon.”

    Yes, Cephas. I was conceding that point in advance. Rhetoric teachers call it “anticipating counterarguments.” For you to whip this argument out like a flambeed pineapple after I raised it myself is… ineffective.

  • Nathan

    Mr. Shea, I stand corrected. The question you prioritize is good and often we Trads, in our passion over liturgical issues, do speak to others “as second class “neo-Catholics” and subject brother Catholics to the charge of quasi-heresy.”

    Of course, it is neither chartiable nor justified. It is, though, a too-often human response (darn that fallen nature!) by those who have been treated by laity, priests, and even bishops as second class “paleo-Catholics” and subjected by brother Catholics to the charge of the quasi-heresy of “going against the spirit of Vatican II” and obstruction.

    I was hoping, by mentioning what you’ve maintained for a long time in regards to Trad zealousness about liturgical details, to summarize what I’ve understood to be your approach–which you spell out beautifully in the last sentence of your comment, “I just go to Mass and I’m perfectly happy with whatever Mother Church gives me.” I ask your pardon for any misrepresentation of your work, which I can assure you was unintentional. My idea was to link your position to the obedience issue, rather than the liturgical one.

    BTW, Mr. Shea, I really like to read your blog. You are clear and reasonable in your thinking and your writing. It also does a super job of stimulating thought.

    In Christ,

  • jean

    Mark Shea writes that he is like most Catholics who just go to Mass and is perfectly happy with whatever Mother Church gives him.[smiley=shock]
    How about just alittle caffeine?[smiley=happy]

  • Daniel

    Mr. Shea:

    Jeff (#66) used your name as an example, so I repeated it. I really don’t care about you personally, one way or another.

  • Christine

    Wow, I check the com box after a day and it has really filled up!

    I just want to make a few points about this whole Tridentine Mass controversy, because I really think that many fellow faithful Catholics think the same way as I do regarding our Masses and our Church:

    The English Translation of the Mass is horrible. I am glad that the Church is working on making changes to it.
    Nobody wants to take the Tridentine Mass away from anyone, we are happy that those who prefer it have it as an option.
    We all would like to see more reverence during Mass and I think that the lack of reverence has less to do with the type of mass being said than the horrible sign of the times.
    We should all pool our resources to work on increasing reverence at our local parishes. This is a change that we as laypeople should take upon ourselves.
    We recognize that we cannot change the Mass and we trust God to lead his Church and pray for its leaders to make the right decisions.
    The reason many of us who go to the NO mass is simple, we want to be part of OUR community. The community of Catholics close to our home. Our neighbors.

      We aren’t angry at you trads. We think of you as fellow Catholics – brothers in Christ. It seems you are angry at us. I think that many of the complaints that you have against the vast majority of Catholics in the world who do not go to a Tridentine Mass are based upon the rantings of heretics within the Church with whom we all must endure. They have infiltrated our Church, and if you look at history, they have always been in our midst. Instead of running to the
  • Athanasius

    “Joye did give you legitimate reasons – reading Vatican documents and prayerfully coming to that conclusion.”

    Oh dear. No. It is not just difficult, but impossible to come to certain conclusions by actually reading the documents themselves. I taught them at the college level for many years, and often started with a quiz – a list of 20 things that the students had to identify as to whether they were in the documents, or were “Pre-Vatican II.”

    No one ever got 100% No one ever got more than 2 or 3 right. The preference for chant, the desire that the congregation learn some Latin, the primacy of the Pope and the Catholic Church, the view of Mary, the etc. etc. etc. were always said to be pre-Vatican II; communion in the hand, the priest turning his back on God, no kneelers, etc. erc. were always said to be in the documents, and are not. Half the quiz was the more subtle theological conceptions, and people always got those wrong. The shock was palpable when we actually went over each item and read FROM THE DOCUMENTS!

    No study of the documents will tell you what happened after Vatican II, but there are many books that tell you how the Council Fathers THEMSELVES felt about how Bugnini et al twisted and distorted what they said. Thankfully the Holy Father Pope Benedict started (with others) the journal COMMUNIO, which was a breath of truth and light, still being published today, which I wish all Catholics would read.

    BTW, I studied under an invited Protestant “observer” at Vatican II who was there for the entire Council had stories that would curl your teeth — every move was judged by whether it brought Catholic teaching and liturgy”more in line with Protestantism” and made it “less offensive to Protestants.”

  • Beth

    ..somehow, I feel robbed. Robbed of the mystery. And I don’t mean a language I don’t know. No time to read all the comments–someone may have posed the same position. Having been a memeber of many different parishes (due to moving with the military)I have attended mass celebrated many different ways. For the most part, it seems that it has become more and more ‘common’. It seems that folks (laity and priests) are trying to solve the mystery–“Jesus is right here among us—look around!” One liturgy director suggested we teach everyone to look around at communion to “really see Jesus”. At mass, I feel more pushed to commune with the neighbors in the pew than to really open my heart to worship God. Isn’t that what the purpose of the mass is anyway, to worship God? The focus should be on the mystery of God, on us folks who are just way too easy to figure out….

  • Mark P. Shea

    …for your genuinely loving and irenic spirit.

    Have a Blessed Lent.

  • I am not Spartacus

    http://www.catholicherald.co.u…0522.shtml

    A misreading of the Signs of the times and a naive optimism and a lack of Scholastic Philosophy applied to understanding the signs of the times was the achilles heel of the Council.

    With equanimity, future generations may look back on the Post-Conciliar turmoil and the resolution of that turmoil by the Council’s absorption into Tradition but I doubt that they will be shocked, like we will be, to discover that the much maligned SSPX, and its critiques of the problems of Vatican Two, was a not inconsequential catalyst for the impetus of the application of the Hermeneutic of Continuity to the entire Council.

    As regards the Council, which I accept as a legit Ecumenical Council and binding on me, I have never gotten an answer to this question:

    If Vatican Two is binding of all of us, then why were several Bishops at the Council allowed to walk after voting “No” on several of the Documents?

    As I recall, I oncet saw a photocopy of several controversial Conciliar Documents signed by Abp Lefevbre and Bishop Castro Mayer and on those same photocopied pages were “No” votes. I have not been able to find any link to The Acta Apostolicae Sedis to source this so my memory may be wrong on this, but I don’t think it is.

    In any event, if me memory serves me well, it seems to me that at least one Bishop was free to leave the Council after refusing to approve/accept all of its Documents.

    If one Bishop had tried that at Trent, he’d have been excommunicated.

  • I am not Spartacus
  • I am not Spartacus
  • I am not Spartacus

    As far as the NO as a Liturgy representing what was desired by and called for by the Fathers of the Council, we all ought remember this:


    Sacrosanctum Concilium:
    in faithful obedience to tradition the Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognised rites to be of equal right and dignity, that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way

    and then Post-Council, Pope Paul VI stole from us the very Mass the Ecumenical Council promised everyone it would preserve and foster.

    It is also useful to remember how scandalised the Bishops were when they first saw the NO Liturgy performed: (from Una Voce);

    The new Mass was first celebrated in public in the Sistine Chapel on 24th October 1967 before the Synod of Bishops. Afterwards many of the bishops were very uneasy about what they had seen. Only 71 out of a total of 176 voted ‘Yes’ for the newrite. The rest voted ‘No’ or had reservations. It must also be remembered that the rest of the world’s bishops were not given the opportunity of voting. The fact that their newrite of Mass had been rejected did not deter the reformers because this, in fact, with very minor alterations, became your new Mass.

    Una Voce goes no to note:

    Cardinal Heenan addressed the Synod the day after the experimental Mass had been presented and said he did not know the names of those who had proposed the new Mass but it was clear to him that few of them had ever been parish priests.
    “At home,” he said, “it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.”

    Cardinal Heenan was a Prophet

  • Aaron

    Nobody wants to take the Tridentine Mass away from anyone, we are happy that those who prefer it have it as an option.

    I’m sorry, but this is simply not true. There are many who did want to eliminate the TLM as an option, and are extremely unhappy to see it making a comeback in even the smallest way. Some bishops have dragged their feet on Summorum Pontificum, interpreting it so restrictively that Rome has had to correct them and clarify the document.

    As someone pointed out above, only a tiny percentage of parishes offer even a single weekly TLM. Many people still have to drive hours to reach one, and therefore have to choose between the TLM or belonging to a parish where they can be involved and make it to daily Mass and other events. We’re nowhere near a condition where everyone who prefers the TLM has that option in any practical sense.

    One more anecdote from me: In my small town, there’s a small-town sort of Protestant mega-church that’s grown up over the past decade or so. Numerous Catholics have started going there (I may know more Catholics going there than to the Novus Ordo parishes in town), and some go there one week and to Mass the next, just depending on their schedule or what they feel like. From talking to them, I get the impression that it’s easy for them to switch or straddle the fence that way because the two ceremonies seem so alike to them. They walk into a modernish, churchy sort of building, with pews leading up to a raised area. There’s a table with a cloth and candles on it, a cross, maybe some stained glass or other Christian art. There’s a guy up front, maybe wearing robes even, who talks about God and loving your neighbor and maybe even sin. Various people from the congregation go up front and read Scripture or give speeches. There are musicians, and several musical numbers where the people are encouraged to sing along with pop-style religious songs. There’s a communion service where people line up to be handed a piece of bread of some sort.

    As far as they can tell, the two services are basically the same. They may have been taught at some point, perhaps as children, that the Catholic Mass is different and Jesus really becomes present in the Eucharist, but their eyes tell them there’s no real difference. They’ve been going to Mass for years, and then they try this other place and it’s basically the same experience (except maybe the people are friendlier), so they figure who’s to say one is “real” and the other one isn’t? When they look so similar on the outside, how can one be right and good and the other one be an occasion of sin? They’d have to know the theology to answer those questions, because the new Mass no longer has the externals that set it apart.

    Whatever people might think of the TLM, there’s no way you could go from the TLM to a Protestant communion service and think they’re the same thing.

  • Christine

    Hi Aaron,

    I meant most lay-people – you all keep getting the average church goer copnfused with the Bishops.

    As I mentioned before, most lay-people don’t hve a problem with the Tridentine Mass option. Most Catholic lay-people in the world who do not have the Tridentine Mass option do not think this way. If we lay-people can put up with the hokey guitar Mass we can absolutely put up with, welcome and perhaps attend the Tridentine Mass at our local parish with our neighbors.

    I think that you will find that most lay-people believe what I previously wrote wrote, and it bears repeating and clarifying:

    We lay-people aren’t angry at you trads. We think of you as fellow Catholics – brothers in Christ. It seems you are angry at us lay-people. I think that many of the complaints that you have against the vast majority of Catholic lay-people in the world who do not go to a Tridentine Mass are based upon the rantings of heretics within the Church, both clergy and lay-perople, with whom we all must endure. They have infiltrated our Church, and if you look at history, they have always been in our midst. Instead of running to the

  • chico charlie

    This quote is from the Garabandal Journal, from the editor. Nov.-Dec. 2009 edition
    ” The Catholicism that has been passed on for centuries is becoming extinct in Europe,
    the cradle of Roman Catholicism. One of our subscribers in Belgium sent us a note that
    repeated what he said a few years ago only this time he added emphasis: ‘I can tell you we are living in a disaster.’ In countries such as France and Belgium, most parish churches don’t
    have kneelers and consequently everyone either stands (or sits) for the consecration. Kneeling
    and genuflecting have generally been phased out as has Communion on the tongue. All of
    this, of course, only applies to a minority-those who still go to Mass.”
    Having visited a diocese where all remain standing from the “Our Father” on to and thru
    and after Holy Communion, to the final blessing, I wonder how much similar damage USA
    churches have sustained, and worse, how many of you out there don’t see it as such.

  • chico charlie

    This quote is from the Garabandal Journal, from the editor. Nov.-Dec. 2009 edition
    ” The Catholicism that has been passed on for centuries is becoming extinct in Europe,
    the cradle of Roman Catholicism. One of our subscribers in Belgium sent us a note that
    repeated what he said a few years ago only this time he added emphasis: ‘I can tell you we are living in a disaster.’ In countries such as France and Belgium, most parish churches don’t
    have kneelers and consequently everyone either stands (or sits) for the consecration. Kneeling
    and genuflecting have generally been phased out as has Communion on the tongue. All of
    this, of course, only applies to a minority-those who still go to Mass.”
    Having visited a diocese where all remain standing from the “Our Father” on to and thru
    and after Holy Communion, to the final blessing, I wonder how much similar damage USA
    churches have sustained, and worse, how many of you out there don’t see it as such.

  • Aaron

    Christine,

    I’m afraid I’ve met TLM-hating lay people too. True, they don’t have the power that TLM-hating bishops have, but they do make it difficult for priests who might like to introduce the TLM at their parish but are afraid of the reaction. A small group of them at each parish can keep the TLM out of an entire town.

    But they certainly aren’t the majority. The majority of lay Catholics I talk to have no idea what it’s about. Some think we’re sedevecantist, some think they have to be fluent in Latin to come to it, and so on. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.

  • Brennan

    “Cardinal Heenan addressed the Synod the day after the experimental Mass had been presented and said he did not know the names of those who had proposed the new Mass but it was clear to him that few of them had ever been parish priests.
    “At home,” he said, “it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.”

    Cardinal Heenan was a Prophet”

    Yea, and amen. So true.

  • I am not Spartacus
  • gb

    Oh well
    February 17th, 2010 | 5:25pm
    As someone who grew up in the 1970s in mass every week, I do not at ALL feel as the author does.

    I could rail that I am offended by some of what is written here, but it would make no difference, and I know down deep that being offended is a choice anyway.

    I simply disagree with the over zealous (I might even say: cheap and easy) characterizations that are made about those who were part of my upbringing as they lived through those times in the Church.

    Written by Rich

  • Ed More

    Oh well

    As someone who grew up in the 1980s in mass every week, I DO feel as the author does.

    I could rail that I am offended by some of what is written here, but it would make no difference, and I know down deep that being offended is a choice anyway.

    I simply disagree with the over zealous (I might even say: cheap and easy) characterizations that are made about those who simply wish to pass on what they have been given – the ancient Latin Mass.

    Long live Pope Benedict XVI
    Thank you for liberating the Latin Mass!

  • Cephas

    “By the by, if that bugaboo of Traditionalists, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, could have said the Tridentine Mass for DECADES . . . uh . . . doesn’t that put to lie the argument that the Tridentine can create saints? Apparently so. Yet, the Novus Ordo nourished Fr. John Hardon.”

    Yes, Cephas. I was conceding that point in advance. Rhetoric teachers call it “anticipating counterarguments.” For you to whip this argument out like a flambeed pineapple after I raised it myself is… ineffective.

    Thanks, John. Actually, I did get the point that you were making. I was trying to show the fallacy of the argument I’ve heard so many times from Taditionalists that the “Old Mass” creates saints. Well, . . . not always. Sorry for not being clearer.

    Granted, the Tridentine Mass provided and does provide immensely fecund soil for the nurturing of saintly men and women — but, so does the Mass of Paul VI.

    Also, could we please lay off the negative portrayals of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Whether one agrees with his theological opinions or not (I don’t know them well enough to judge), he died in communion with the Holy Roman Church. To imply that he was somehow the epitome of “archheresy” just doesn’t seem right.

    The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege. The newrite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly

    Well, . . . no . . . I have to totally disagree with this statement. There are so many things wrong with it: factual, historical, logical, etc.

    Crafted by saints?

    So, liturgy not only develops, but can also be “crafted”? Hmm . . . That’s quite an interesting statement — and not at all in line with how some Traddies interpret Pius V’s Quo Primum. Are you sure you don’t have any David Power books under your bed? [smiley=wink]

    But, by saints?

    Is this our new criteria for everything in the Church? Well, I guess Traditionalists will have to put away their Rosaries since we don’t know who “crafted” that devotion

    This is both historically and (in my opinion) theologically wrong:

    Most of the men who were Pope during Trent (Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV, Pius IV) were not and are not recognized as “saints.” Nor, were most of the men who sat on the Tridentine commission for the revision of the liturgical books. Nor, were most of the bishops who attended Trent and ordered said revision in their name.

    And, the last “saintly” Pope before Trent? Pope St. Celestine V (1294). So, the Roman liturgy apparently went through 200+ years of development without one canonized saint amongst (at least) the Roman Pontiffs.

    Crafted by saints? When did this become our overriding standard for judging the value of something?

    The saints are examples of holiness (CCC par. 2030); they are not the infallible end-all and be-all for making judgments.

    St. Cyril of Alexandria taught that Jesus was “one nature” of the Incarnate Word. Though his teaching was sound, his language was unfortunate.

    St. Thomas Aquinas thought the teaching on Mary’s Immaculate Conception was theologically impossible. He was incorrect.

    St. Jerome stated vigorously that the Deuterocanonical books in the Old Testament should not be accepted. (In fact, he refused to even translate them for the Vulgate!) He was resisted.

    Etc., etc. I could go on and on about this.

    Without risk of sacrilege?

    What if some “schlub” priest louses up the Latin and says: “In the NAMES of the Father, Son, and Spirit”?
    Or, what if he only genuflects half-way at the Consecration?
    Or, uses a filthy chalice for the Precious Blood?
    Or, races through the Mass so that he can get in and out as quickly as possible?
    Or, pays another priest to say his Masses for him?

    I suggest you read the canons of (say) Lateran V or Trent to see how the Tridentine Mass in all its glory — in Latin; with priests facing the altar; with bows and incense and genuflections and ritual — was being said sacrilegiously by the clergy.

    This is also where I think your stance becomes a little bit superstitious: The framework of the “Old Mass” is so sacred that it by itself alone can absolve any defect in celebration, any sacrilegious action, etc.

    The newrite should can only be safely celebrated by the saintly?

    Unfortunately, you give away the game at the beginning of your post when you admit that by and large the Tridentine Mass as celebrated now and previous was and is “dull.” You feel like you’re watching a foreign film without subtitles.

    That last part is very illuminating. You are the first Traditionalist I’ve heard who admits that congregants are really SPECTATORS at the “Old Mass” — and, not really participants.

    I agree with you. I’ve attended enough TLM’s to know that for the most part people basically just sit there (or, kneel there: ouch!) for long stretches of time watching the priest and altar boys move around.

    Actual participation like (gasp!) giving the responses is looked down upon in many Traddie parishes. And, the silence . . . O, the Silence! Silence is overrated. When I’m on retreat at a monastery, I want silence. When I attend a liturgical celebration I don’t want to kneel, sit, stand in silence.

    I’ll go out on a limb: Any liturgical rite which has the approval of the Roman Pontiff can be celebrated safely by any type of ordained minister: good, evil; competent, incompetent; intelligent, dullard; committed, lazy.

    As St. Augustine taught: When Judas baptizes, Christ baptizes.

    The Sacrament established by Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is what matters.

    Are the externals important, too? Yes. Are some liturgical forms richer and more beautiful? Yes, I think so.

    Should we still get a grip? Yes.

  • John Zmirak

    Cephas knows perfectly well–he was careful to lard his post with enough references to intimidate the unwary–that the Mass canonized at Trent long pre-existed it. The “saints” who “crafted” the liturgy (it didn’t seep up out of the ground or fall from the sky) were those of the early Church, the Church of the catacombs, from which period dates the bulk of the Roman Canon. It’s no surprise that it is the names of Roman martyrs, who weren’t that long ago dead, which appear. Just as if we (God forbid) were compiling new liturgical books, we might make a point of mentioning Maximilian Kolbe or the Mexican martyrs, since we well remember them.

    I find Cepahas’ touchiness about Teilhard…interesting. The fact that he died in formal communion with the Church is of only slight significance. As many commentators have demonstrated, his was a Gnostic system that denied Original Sin, turned the Incarnation and Resurrection into “phases” of evolution, and essentially preached pantheism. His books were forbidden publication, so he circulated their manuscripts among the most intelligent Jesuit seminarians–accomplishing thereby, some say, the apostasy of so many leaders (and then followers) in that once-great order. I don’t think he deserves special honors for being more conspiratorial and less forthright than, say, Hans Kung. The monitum issued against Teilhard by John XXIII has never been revoked. Maritain and Gilson, by the end, were warning all away from him.

    Teilhard hated saying the Tridentine Mass, a “close acquaintance” of his (she insisted to me she was his mistress, but who’s to know if she was just a glory hound) told me. Given his theology, I’m not surprised. The lady in question has passed on to her reward, but I ate sandwiches in her apartment in the late 1980s while she told me Teilhard stories. Her name was Rhoda DiTerra, I believe.

    So, Cephas, I’ll take the saints of the Roman catacombs over the ecumenical bureaucrats appointed by Paul VI, or the Gnostic heretics who corrupted religious orders. See, I didn’t even have to mention the very likely report (Paul VI apparently came to believe it) that Apb. Bugnini was a member of the Freemasons–and hence ipso facto excommunicated, even as he draft the text of the Mass. Didn’t even have to bring it up. I just did it for fun.

  • John Zmirak
  • Tom Campion

    I agree with you. I’ve attended enough TLM’s to know that for the most part people basically just sit there (or, kneel there: ouch!) for long stretches of time watching the priest and altar boys move around.

    Actual participation like (gasp!) giving the responses is looked down upon in many Traddie parishes. And, the silence . . . O, the Silence! Silence is overrated. When I’m on retreat at a monastery, I want silence. When I attend a liturgical celebration I don’t want to kneel, sit, stand in silence.

    If my Lord can be nailed to a cross I can kneel for a little while at Mass. What is wrong with an hour of silence a week or as often as you can attend Mass. If we pray silently God still hears us right? For 20+ years I made all the responses aloud at the New Mass and all those years I felt like a parrot or a robot. It was not until I attended my first Low Mass that I first experienced “participatio actuosa” active participation.

  • Heathen

    This article and this discussion thread are pretty interesting to me. It seems the non-trads are accusing the trads of being mean and nasty. But my experience says it’s the non-trads who are cruel and condescending.

    My mother attends a very modern, liberal church (I myself am not a Catholic anymore, having attended 12 years of Catholic school during the 70s and early 80s and all that this implies. But the church is important to my mother, and I want to support her.)

    Mom had fallen away from the church for some years and is now trying to get back into the swing of things. She’s 80 years old and has crippling arthritis for which she cannot take any meds. She’s trying to do everything that everyone else is doing, she really is, but the pain makes all the hand motions and getting up and down very difficult. It’s also bad for her hands to make the sign of peace with a handshake. Even a handshake that you *think* is very gentle can make her cry out in pain.

    The very liberal, very holy people at her church treat her quite horribly. These non-trads look down on an old woman who is in pain and trying to rejoin the faith of her childhood. It disgusts me, and I want to go talk to the pastor, who enables and is part of this, but mom won’t let me.

    Next week I’m going to take her to a church a half hour away that supposedly has the latin rite. We’ll see how they act there. Maybe they will also be cruel.

    But don’t for a moment believe that the disdain and superior attidude only goes one way.

  • Marie

    Now, my question for those who argue as above is this: If validity, liceity and the real presence are all that really matter, then wouldn’t you have been perfectly satisfied in 1950?

    Yes. And I was.

    Why on earth would you want a Mass with which you were perfectly satisfied to be drastically reformed?

    I did not want the Mass to be drastically reformed, but it happened. I was 19 then, heartbroken, confused, cried a lot and fearful that the Consecration narrative might even be taken away. I was relieved to see that it was not. For a long, long time, I felt that my birthright was taken away from me.

    Until I looked around and saw the transformation of the people around me.

    I was born in the Philippines and nurtured in the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. We lived near a church and I was educated in Catholic schools, so I understood the Mass as much as a Catholic girl could and carried a Latin Missal, published in the U.S., with English translations. (There was no Latin-Tagalog Missals at that time.)

    From childhood, I knew the chant Ordinaries (De Angelis, Orbis Factor, Cum Jubilo, etc. plus a few Latin hymns) because my father was a member of the schola and I used to listen to them rehearse. Plus we were also taught the chants in school.

    But not every child was so privileged. Majority of children of my generation would not afford to buy a Missal, let alone read English or Latin. Although they went to church, they couldn’t follow what was going on. It was the Rosary then. They find the Mass interminable and some people all but lost their motivation to go to church.

    Okay, so there, too, were blatant abuses in the early days of the vernacular Novus Ordo, for which I wept. But as years go by, the abuses were gradually corrected.

    By their fruits? Okay, forty years since the advent of the Novus Ordo, the churches in the Philippines are overflowing. People whom I’ve never known to have gone to church in my childhood now attend daily Mass. Eucharistic adoration, Devotions to the Blessed Mother and the Divine Mercy and the saints are done daily and sometimes more frequently. Priestly vocations increased by leaps and bounds that now, the Philippines is able to send missionaries to the other countries in Asia and elsewhere.

    To be sure, I still long for the old Mass, but not enough to wish it was never reformed. I have come to realize that it’s not my preference that matters, but how people have been transformed by the newRite. And yes, the Mass is the Mass is the Mass.

    And why would you object to a hypothetical future in which the conditions of 1950 (the universal use of the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the Roman Catholic Church) were recreated?

    Not objecting. I’d be the first to attend an EF if it were available in my area. But I would not think myself any better than those who go to the Novus Ordo exclusively.

  • I am not Spartacus

    is dying far away from a FSSP Chapel, where I can be assured I will get a EF Form Solemn Funeral Mass, a Priest Vested in Black, and The Sequence, The Dies Irae.

    If I died, say, in New England, I might get a N.O. Life-Celebration Liturgy, with a Priest wearing white, telling everyone how I went to Heaven and then the Local Youth Ministry will perform a few songs from Bye Bye Birdie.

  • Michael Gavina

    All your Base are Belong to Us.

  • pammie

    How about this one : http://tinyurl.com/2y4amz . Very appropriate and keeping with the celebration theme.

  • Dino

    Just spotted an extremely rare bird at a NO in Orange County. I think it is called an “Altar BOY.”

  • Cavaliere

    That last part is very illuminating. You are the first Traditionalist I’ve heard who admits that congregants are really SPECTATORS at the “Old Mass” — and, not really participants.

    Actually I would heartily disagree. I find that at the EF people are far more engaged in the Mass than those attending a NO Mass. Participation is far more than saying a few lines during the Mass, most of which people mumble through anyway. Any of a number of good books on the liturgy will discuss the proper idea of “participation at Mass” beginning with St. Pius X over a century ago.

    Is not contempletative prayer the highest form of prayer? And yet how is it conducted, in silence. Furthermore contemplative prayer is extremely demanding, one is not simply passively present, a spectator as you use the term. And yet there is not a word spoken.

    As for the situation in the Phillipines although it is good to see the Church thriving I think the problem was much more than people being unable to follow the Mass or afford a Missal. Poor people in many countries for centuries had the same problem and still filled the Churches. There were plenty of stories of blue collar workers filling the Church for Mass at dawn before going off to work.

  • Marie

    Is not contempletative prayer the highest form of prayer? And yet how is it conducted, in silence.

    Agreed. Except that the Mass is not a personal contemplative prayer. The word “liturgy” means “public work.” It is the communal, public prayer of the Church, the Sacrifice of the Lord to which the entire Body of Christ is united. (Even the so-called “private” funeral Mass or Wedding Mass have to have the church doors open – not just to welcome latecomers, but anybody at all who may want to attend that Mass.)

    One can listen to the words and the music and call it active participation, true. One can also meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary and that would still be active participation. But most poor, uneducated people need to hear what is being said before they can listen to and reflect on what’s going on.

    Among the things I like about the Novus Ordo is that you can now actually hear the Readings. In my childhood Tridentine, the Epistle was read only by the priest. I also like the Responsorial Psalm chanted. (The Book of Psalms was opened to me only after I learned to pray Prime and Vespers – in school, not at Mass.)

    Also, the Epiclesis, curiously contained in the old Offertory, is now in its proper place in the Canon. And the Mysterium Fidei is now separated from the actual words of Christ in the consecration narrative. Also, the Easter Vigil celebration has been restored to the Evening of Holy Saturday, instead of just after midnight following Good Friday. Etc. You see, the Novus Ordo is not entirely devoid of virtues.

    Poor people in many countries for centuries had the same problem and still filled the Churches. There were plenty of stories of blue collar workers filling the Church for Mass at dawn before going off to work.

    Yes. But in the 1950’s when I was growing up, they were the same few faces at daily Mass. Usually a dozen old women, dressed in black, with scarves on their head, silently praying the Rosary. Plus a few farmers who came in for a short while before heading off to work. But now, entire families whom I’ve known never to go to Sunday Mass go even to daily Mass because they now “understand it.”

    And how explain the upsurge in priestly vocation, if not that the community having been transformed spiritually now support and encourage more young men to enter the priesthood?

    As I said, if there were only an EF close to where I live, I’d be the first to go. But since what Mother Church offers around here is the Novus Ordo, I am happy with it. And yes, I wear a head covering even to the NO.

    Believe me, the NO can be beautiful, too, if done correctly, preferably in Latin, as was originally intended. (Not sure, but I think the vernacular NO, being “pastoral” by its nature, was intended primarily for mission territories. Unless the U.S. is considered as mission territory…)

    I’ve been to a Latin Novus Ordo, celebrated by Fr. John Baeza in St. Patrick’s Church in San Francisco, and it was just as beautiful as the Tridentine of my childhood. All the Propers antiphons were chanted. The priest sang his parts (including the Canon, believe it or not) and the people chanted the Ordinary. The all-male schola did a breathtaking motet at the Offertory. Yes, it can be done. St. Pius X would have been so proud.

  • I am not Spartacus

    LOL Yeah, I can see that happening were I to die in a NO Parish.

    If that happened, my family would know that inside my Coffin, I’d be spinning faster than an Anemometer atop Mt Washington.

  • Cavaliere

    Marie,

    Except that the Mass is not a personal contemplative prayer.

    I didn’t say that it was except to point out that the idea of “participation” is more than being able to make a few half hearted responses.

    But most poor, uneducated people need to hear what is being said before they can listen to and reflect on what’s going on.

    That is debateable but also irrelevant to the discussion at hand as I and most here have said we would prefer a EF Mass in vernacular than the NO in Latin.

    In my childhood Tridentine, the Epistle was read only by the priest.

    That is not the way it is said most places today and again irrelevant to the larger topic. The change the VII Fathers called for could have meant simply saying the Epistle in vernacular w/o requiring an entire redo of the whole form. Further as I pointed out earlier there are a number of places now where they read one Epistle in English and another in Spanish to accomodate the Spanish speaking population. I don’t speak Spanish so that makes it difficult for me.

    I also like the Responsorial Psalm chanted

    Except that it never is. Instead it is usually sung by some off key cantor with an assembly that half-heartedly responds and it is frequently a horrid rendition of one of the actual psalms.

    the Epiclesis, curiously contained in the old Offertory, is now in its proper place in the Canon.

    Is that Eucharistic Prayer 1 now that is never said?

    And the Mysterium Fidei is now separated from the actual words of Christ in the consecration narrative. Also, the Easter Vigil celebration has been restored to the Evening of Holy Saturday, instead of just after midnight following Good Friday. Etc. You see, the Novus Ordo is not entirely devoid of virtues.

    All of these changes could have been made independent of the revolution of the Mass that we got so really cannot be credited as “virtues” of the New Mass. They could simply have been changes to the existing (EF) Mass as genuinely called for by the Council.

    And how explain the upsurge in priestly vocation, if not that the community having been transformed spiritually now support and encourage more young men to enter the priesthood?

    Seriously? Have you seen the overwhelming number of vocations in the “EF” Seminaries, not including the SSPX? I belong to my local Serra Club and my wife and I are in our 40’s and the youngest in the group by 20 years. Just the other night at the meeting one of them said to me, do you see all the grey hair here? I wish more parents would encourage vocations but most abhor the idea of their sons going into the priesthood. Many of the vocations now are later in life rather than right out of high school. And we have one of the most vibrant seminaries in the country where I live. There is no proof of a correlation between the increase in vocations and the Novus Ordo Mass.

    As to your final point on the way a Novus Ordo Mass can be beautifully celebrated I think that point has been debated sufficiently in previous comments. You can dress up SPAM but it will never be a T-Bone. Further it is not the standard for a Sunday Mass much less a daily Mass. And to the arguement that the old EF was rushed through. I was about 6 minutes late getting to the NO Mass the other night, coming from adoration, and the priest was already at the homily. I do not mean to infer that anyone who goes to a NO Mass is bad or cannot be a very holy person etc. But the fact remains that theologically speaking the Extraordinary Form is much better than the Novus Ordo.

  • Aaron

    I also like the Responsorial Psalm chanted.

    I rarely heard the Responsorial Psalm at all in the last several years that I attended the Novus Ordo; it was almost always replaced by some other song out of the hymnal. One of the worst “features” of the OF is that it so often results in a battle between the musicians who want to spend the entire hour singing from the Glory and Praise and the congregation of poor singers which mostly feels left out. We have at least as much singing (chanting) by the congregation at our High Mass as OF Masses in the area have.

    The best argument I usually hear for the OF is that it can be reverent and beautiful if it’s done just like the EF: Latin, chanted, ad orientem, etc. (Although I wonder if, ironically, doing the OF in Latin obscures the significant differences between the two forms.) But why try to fit a square peg into a round role when you have a perfectly good round peg you could use?

  • I am not Spartacus

    I’ve been to a Latin Novus Ordo, celebrated by Fr. John Baeza in St. Patrick’s Church in San Francisco, and it was just as beautiful as the Tridentine of my childhood

    Oncet, I heard that one Priest in one Church in one Parish in one County in Europe had once done something similar.

    But, it may just have been a rumor.

    On the other hand, I have never been to an EF Form Mass anywhere, High, Sung, or Low, that wasn’t offered without reverence, solemnity, and beauty.

  • Micha Elyi

    No need to think about hypotheticals. Consider how many people spell “doughnut” correctly.

    D O U G H N O U G H T

    [smiley=laugh]

  • Another Old Catholic

    I was a child when the mass was changed, when the Blessed Mother’s statue was “disappeared” from her little altar to the left of the main altar, this old and lovely altar later ripped out and replaced by a large dining room table. I was frightened when the priest, instead of facing East with the rest of us turned toward us got between us and God. It seemed to me that we had gone from the worship of God to the worship of the priest. I was a child but I cringed at the bad music with sometimes sacrilegious lyrics. I was robbed of my tradition, and so were the next two generations who never even had the experience of the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Even now I often leave the Norvus Ordo mass in tears over my loss. The closest TLM near me is an hour away over dangerous roads and my car is also old. All I want is the TLM restored to every parish so that those of us who love it have an equal chance to worship as those who want the Norvus Ordo. I want the next generations to have a chance to see what they have been missing before those of us who remember it are gone.

  • Angela Lessard

    Terrific article, John. It expresses my views exactly.

  • Cephas

    Thanks, John, for your reply.

    The “saints” who “crafted” the liturgy (it didn’t seep up out of the ground or fall from the sky) were those of the early Church, the Church of the catacombs, from which period dates the bulk of the Roman Canon

    Really? Who? Please, name some.

    In point of fact, Charlemagne — not a saint, last time I looked — was more influential in “crafting” the Roman Rite in the West than these unnamed, shadowy “saints in the catacombs.”

    Really, where’s your evidence for this . . . other than a gratuitous claim?

    I find Cepahas’ touchiness about Teilhard…interesting

    Although people had problems with his work, Teilhard de Chardin — like the “nouvelle theologie” Gilson — died in communion with the Church.

    But, you say that dying in communion with the Church doesn’t mean much . . . which could lead me to expound in interesting ways about what the state of your must be.

    So, Cephas, I’ll take the saints of the Roman catacombs over the ecumenical bureaucrats appointed by Paul VI, or the Gnostic heretics who corrupted religious orders

    I guess this passes for good rhetoric: saints vs. bureaucrats.

    Of course, if the bureaucrat were duly constituted in his office by the Successor of St. Peter, Who himself was made Chief of the Apostles by Christ our God, then . . . well . . . call me crazy . . . that matters to me.

    Saints are our examples for holiness, as per Sacred Tradition.

    I could say that, for all you and I know, there were saints working on the Consilium and who helped prepare the new Vatican II rite of Mass.

    But, then again, I’d just be blowing smoke — as you are with your phantasmic “saints from the catacombs.”

  • Cephas

    Is not contempletative prayer the highest form of prayer? And yet how is it conducted, in silence

    Unfortunately, that is not accurate according to traditional Spiritual Theology (St. Teresa of Avil, St. John of the Cross, Garrigou-Lagrange): Contemplation is a gift from God.

    By disciplined meditation and good works, one places himself/herself in the right disposition for contemplation. But, the reality of it comes by an act of God’s grace.

    Contemplation doesn’t necessarily entail silence. And, by the way, worship is meant to be . . . worship. Not contemplation. To each there is a “season” and a place.

  • Cavaliere

    Unfortunately, that is not accurate according to traditional Spiritual Theology (St. Teresa of Avil, St. John of the Cross, Garrigou-Lagrange): Contemplation is a gift from God.

    So? All graces are a gift from God. Contemplation is still the highest form of prayer. Read the Catechism 2705-2724

  • I am not Spartacus

    Really? Who? Please, name some.

    Since the seventh century our Canon has remained unchanged. It is to St. Gregory I (590-604) the great organiser of all the Roman Liturgy, that tradition ascribes its final revision and arrangement. His reign then makes the best division in its history. (Google New Advent + Canon of the Mass)

    In point of fact, Charlemagne — not a saint, last time I looked — was more influential in “crafting” the Roman Rite in the West than these unnamed, shadowy “saints in the catacombs.”

    LOL This will be fun watching you try and source this.

    Dear Cephas. Years ago I read, Fr. Joseph Jungmann’s classic Two Volume, The Mass of the Roman Rite and I didn’t recall any mention of Charlemagne crafting the Roman Rite and so this morning I looked in the Index in those volumes and read the references and there is not one word in that history about Charlemagne crafting the Roman Rite and certainly not the Roman Canon (which was what Dr. Z. was writing about).

    Charlemagne was born in 742, well over a century AFTER the Roman Canon’s final revision and arrangement by Pope St Gregory 1.

  • Marie

    “All of these changes could have been made independent of the revolution of the Mass that we got so really cannot be credited as “virtues” of the New Mass. They could simply have been changes to the existing (EF) Mass as genuinely called for by the Council.”

    But those changes DID happen at the NewRite, at a time when the EF was seemingly suppressed, so I consider them to be the OF’s virtues.

    Actually, what happened was that the Mass was severely pruned to the bare bones, with some new interpretations grafted in. The important parts are still there – the Liturgy of the Word, the Offertory, the Consecration, the Communion. The Readings have been highlighted; the Offertory revised; the Consecration left intact, and the Communion re-interpreted to mean not just the personal encounter with the Lord but also with the Communion of saints. (I like what they have done with the Readings, the Offertory, and Consecration.)

    I agree that the changes could have just been made at the particular parts of the EF instead of crafting what looked like an entirely new Latin Rite – and horrors! – in the vernacular, yet. My heart would not have been so broken.

    The fact is, the “revolution” did happen. Thank God the Mass survived and remained the source and summit of our Christian lives. As I said, I’ll take whatever Mother Church serves to nourish me. I loved the TLM, but over the years, have learned to love the Novus Ordo, too, especially now that in my parish at least, the OF is celebrated with utmost reverence.

    As there is no TLM in my area, I have no personal experience of traditionalists looking down at those who attend the Novus Ordo. I have no problem with traditionalists at all, since I belong to those who have “been there, done that.”

    But articles such as this one by Mr. Z’s (and the other where he listed the NewRite among his examples of acedia, plus many more in various traditionalist websites) hardly ever throw a sympathetic bone to those born or converted after 1965 and, through no fault of their own, are confined to the Novus Ordo. Can you and others (Aaron, et al) afford to think of the Novus Ordo with a little kindness?

    “Seriously? Have you seen the overwhelming number of vocations in the “EF” Seminaries, not including the SSPX?”

    I’m happy to know this. But I was not comparing TLM vs. Novus Ordo vocations in the U.S. (Unlike the U.S., my Philippine hometown is “mission territory.”) What I was comparing was my hometown’s pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II harvests of vocations, where the increase is clearly attributed to the Vatican II changes, including the NO Mass. I hope you are happy for me as I am for you,

  • Marie

    “My greatest fear is dying far away from a FSSP Chapel, where I can be assured I will get a EF Form Solemn Funeral Mass, a Priest Vested in Black, and The Sequence, The Dies Irae.”

    Then feel free to die in my parish in California (where I am the Liturgy planner). Although far away from an FSSP, I’ll make sure you get the Requiem chant for the Introit, “Dominus pascit me” for Responsorial, the Dies Irae as Sequence, the Jubilate Deo Ordinary with the “Dona eis” at the Agnus Dei, and “Lux aeterna” for Communion. I’ll get the priest to wear black (albeit with the deepest violet sheen) for your glorious send-off. Heck, I’ll even throw in “In Paradisum” at the gravesite, and even “Libera Me.”

    But it will all be the Novus Ordo, ha-ha!

  • Marie

    “Once, I heard that one Priest in one Church in one Parish in one County in Europe had once done something similar.

    But, it may just have been a rumor.”

    My point is, it can be done. Have you ever watched an EWTN Mass? I have every reason to believe it’s happening not just in “one Church, in one Parish, in one Country, in Europe.”

    “On the other hand, I have never been to an EF Form Mass anywhere, High, Sung, or Low, that wasn’t offered without reverence, solemnity, and beauty.”

    The last time I was at an EF, 15 years ago, in a FSSP parish, it was, for some reason, a Dialogue Mass. The processional straight out of an OCP hymnal, the people outshouting one another in delivering the responses. The guy sitting beside me, reciting the priest’s parts, as if to prove that he has it all memorized. So much for reverence, beauty, etc.

  • Aaron

    Marie,

    As I said before, while I’m very critical of the form and those who created it, I bear no ill towards those who attend the Novus Ordo. I do think of them with kindness — but also with sadness and concern, because I know so many who have gone astray, either to Protestantism or to cafeteria Catholicism. It’s wonderful that your faith has been nourished by the new form, but you are in the minority.

    The purpose of the Church on earth is to save souls and get them to heaven. As a practical matter, the methods used today don’t seem to be doing a very good job of that. We don’t know who goes to heaven and who doesn’t, of course; but if following the teachings of the Church has anything to do with it, this generation’s prospects don’t look good. As I mentioned before, 75% of Catholics never go to Confession, which violates one of the precepts of the Church, endangering their immortal souls. Great numbers of Catholics use birth control, support abortion, and live contrary to the teachings of the Church in a variety of ways.

    Is the form of the Mass solely responsible for that? No, but it’s not an innocent bystander either. The Mass is the way most Catholics “get” their faith. We might have had some catechism as children (which was dumbed down at the same time the Mass was changed, not coincidentally), but beyond that, we learn our faith at Mass. We get it stated directly from the pulpit, but we also absorb it unconsciously from the symbols involved: everything from the shape of the altar to the music used to how the priest stands. It all works together to teach us what being Catholic means. When the priest spends five minutes bowing and praying before approaching the altar, that teaches something, even if you don’t know what the words mean. And it teaches something different from when a priest starts Mass by talking to the people, and the altar/table doesn’t even come into focus until halfway through Mass.

    Again, I’m very glad that you have a reverent Novus Ordo to attend, and I don’t think badly of you for going there and appreciating it. But please understand that what you have is a rarity. Just as you don’t have the option of a TLM in your area, most people don’t have the option of a consistently reverent and orthodox NO in their area. So we can either fight to make the NO reverent (which many have been doing for forty years, and losing ground), or fight to expand the availability of the TLM — which, while perhaps not perfect, is more tightly bound to be consistent with the faith.

    The latter seems much easier, frankly. But I’d be glad to see both forms offered conveniently to every Catholic, and let people choose the one that nourishes their souls.

  • Marie

    Dear TLM congregants:

    For the daily communicants among you: Are there TLM weekday Masses in your area?

  • Christine

    Aaron,

    I understand your concern for Marie, but are you aware that most masses throughout the world are NO Masses?

  • Aaron

    Christine,

    Yes, I’m aware of that. And?

    Marie, I don’t make it there daily; but in Quincy, Illinois, we have a daily TLM, staffed by the FSSP, since November 2008.

  • Cavaliere

    I don’t remember anyone mentioning it before or how I forgot about it until now but Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote a great essay called the The Case for the Latin Mass and it was found in his book, The Charitable Anathema. And no one can claim that he was not faithful to the Magesterium or being some fringe “Traddie.”

  • Marie

    “As I said before, while I’m very critical of the form and those who created it, I bear no ill towards those who attend the Novus Ordo. I do think of them with kindness — but also with sadness and concern, because I know so many who have gone astray, either to Protestantism or to cafeteria Catholicism.”

    Aaron, yours is the most sympathetic message yet I’ve encountered coming from a traditionalist to those who attend the Novus Ordo. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you and God bless you![smiley=happy]

    I share your sadness and concern that the OF may have caused the exodus of many to Protestatism or cafeteria Catholicism, or even to Sedevacantism. I admit, our Church has been bleeding from within and from both ends of the spectrum. And I agree that all this can be directly or indirectly traced to the abuses in the Novus Ordo.

    “As I mentioned before, 75% of Catholics never go to Confession, which violates one of the precepts of the Church, endangering their immortal souls. Great numbers of Catholics use birth control, support abortion, and live contrary to the teachings of the Church in a variety of ways…Is the form of the Mass solely responsible for that? No, but it’s not an innocent bystander either.”

    Again, I agree the OF is not an innocent bystander in this sad situation. But neither is it the sole culprit. In fact I see it more as the victim rather than the victimizer. From early on, the OF has been warped, spindled, hijacked, and mutilated to a point that it became hardly recognizable from what Sacrosanctum Concilium must have envisioned. As liturgical abuses increased, so did the sacramental abuses. Not sure if there’s a connection, but being that the Liturgy is the “source and summit” of our lives, one can easily connect the dots.

    The good news is, all that can and is starting to turn around. Brick by brick, all the base is now belonging to us. First, we must clean the OF of abuses. Liturgiam Authenticam and Redemptionis Sacramentum came to the rescue just in time. Then, the celebrated Summorum Pontificum.

    Now comes the news that the USCCB’s subcommittee on music will be coming up with the complete Propers chants in both Latin and the English. And that the U.S. amendment to the new ICEL translations (that gives the option to use “songs” instead of chant for the Propers) will produce a theologically correct “white” list of psalm-songs approved by every diocese for its own use. This means that OCP will be contained for use only in the dioceses of Oregon, where it belongs. The Responsorial Psalm, being part of the Readings, will be chanted strictly by the book (from the Lectionary.) And the people will be able to chant in Latin the parts pertaining to them.

    Hopefully, the Charismatic, Teen Life, and NeoCath Masses likewise will mature and be celebrated strictly by the Rubrics.

    The holy water font will stay filled throughout Lent until Good Friday when it’s emptied. The use of the paten and candle during communion will come back. The “essential non-essentials” should come first, and later, we’ll see…

    Right now, the OF and EF cannot be mixed, but God willing that Pope Benedict is given more years as Pontiff, we may see the best elements of both forms co-mingled to into one perfect Latin Rite, ordered along the hermenuetics of continuity.

    With all these developments, expect some fall outs. Nuns who insist on delivering the homily on Sundays will fall away or simply grow old and die. Glory and Praise and Mike Anderson’s “Gloria” will go the way of the dodo. The altar will return to Ad Orientem (hard to do at St. Peter’s Basilica, since to face “ad orientem” means the priests will have to face west, but still…) or else a proper Crucifix will be on or near the altar for all to remember that the Mass is the Holy and Eternal Sacrifice of the Lord.

    But if these improvements do not happen, still we will not worry. A faithful remnant will remain for when the Lord comes back, He will still find faith on earth.

    Why do I believe these things can and will happen? Because improvements I never thought I’d see in my lifetime did happen. During the last Vatican Synod of Bishops on the Liturgy, a group of friends over at Catholic OnLine and I prayed the Adoremus novena for the restoration of the sense of the sacred (reverence) in the Liturgy. We couldn’t agree on the specifics. The traditionalists among us prayed for a wider use of the TLM (not just the indult.) I prayed for the clean-up of abuses of the Novus Ordo and the greater use of the Latin Ordinary. Still a few prayed for improved English translations of the Latin text. It now appears that all our intentions are slowly being granted. The Lord heard our prayers.

    Good, faithful, obedient and prayerful priests are key in bringing all these into fruition. As God cannot be outdone in generosity, He has willed that this year be the “Year for Priests.” In our parish, we pray the Rosary for Priests every weekday for this intention. We believe, as St. John Vianney believed, “The good God is very good.”

    God bless.

  • Cavaliere

    Marie

    I knew there was something more to the increase of vocations in the Phillipines then changes to the Mass. I came upon a quote I used in promoting Eucharistic Adoration which I believe, and can be supported by many Bishops, that is truly behind the increase of vocations globally. This is from one of them in the Phillipines.

    the Archbishop of Cebu, Richard J. Cardinal Vidal,

  • Aaron

    Marie,

    You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind comments as well. Yes, it’s amazing how much things have changed in just two years. It may take more than forty years to undo the damage that’s been done in the last forty, but at least we can see progress now. While I think there are inherent problems with the Novus Ordo, I am glad to see the attempts to fix it, since discarding it immediately isn’t an option — there just aren’t enough priests who can say the TLM. Even if that changes twenty years from now, the people in the pews today need the best Mass they can get. Our FSSP church couldn’t hold all the Catholics in town (although that’d be a problem I’d love to have!).

    I agree totally that vocations (and good formation) are key. If a majority of Catholics are spurning Confession and using artificial birth control (for instance), it’s fair to assume they haven’t been told otherwise often enough or strongly enough from the pulpit. We desperately need good, orthodox priests who lead prayerful lives of example and don’t shy from looking and talking and acting like priests.

    To get more priests we also need bigger families, which is going to require priests who are willing to challenge their parishioners with Church teaching on birth control. So this is all kind of circular, needing good priests to get more good priests, but it’s a spiral that can go up just as it went down.

    God bless.

  • Marie

    Thank you for your kind words, Aaron and Cavaliere! [smiley=happy]

    Have a most blessed Lent.

  • Cavaliere

    Thank you for your kind words, Aaron and Cavaliere! [smiley=happy]

    Have a most blessed Lent.

    Thank you. And a blessed Lent to you too.

  • Augustine

    “Some confrontation between the Church and late Western modernity was inevitable, and if it hadn’t happened at the Council, it would have occurred some other way.”

    A beautiful, modestly dressed woman is walking through a dark alley. It’s her only way home. In this alley are many thugs. One of them attacks and rapes her. His defense: “I was just one of many thugs in that alley. It was inevitable that one them would rape her. I happen to be the one who did it. But since it would have happened anyway, I should be excused.”

    Innocent or guilty?

  • Jitpring

    As someone who grew up in the 1970s in mass every week, I do not at ALL feel as the author does.

    I could rail that I am offended by some of what is written here, but it would make no difference,

    Notice the typical VII Oprahism: you “feel” rather than think. Thorough VII emasculation. Such are its processed.

    Offended? So what? Was Jesus ever concerned about offending people? Be offended.

  • ZJ

    Sorry to come so late to the comments. I read this last week and it has kept coming back to me so I had to jump in.
    I found your argument well-made, but I think it relies too heavily on the premise that if something is easier to abuse, it is worse.
    I kept coming back to the many things in salvation history that God did that are easy to abuse, easier to abuse than other conceivable resolutions. Then, beyond that, St. Jerome’s translation of the Bible to Latin – and all subsequent translations into other languages – may have made God’s Word subject to abuse. However, “all nations” would not have heard God’s Word if it was only written in the original languages.
    I think the best example is Jesus and the incarnation. Certainly, coming to earth opened Jesus to abuse. However, that did not concern Him as much as having the longest possible reach.

  • Chris

    What can easily be missed in the article is the statement that many Catholics (the polls taken say 70%!) no longer believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. So while the Church has stayed true, her children have not. They have been manipulated and co-opted. Just as the culture has been by the feminist/pro-choice movement. Remember that those leading the charge for the gay rights movement wrote that they would take a page from the feminist movement and change the way society thinks by changing the meaning of language.

    The old liturgy taught by doing, by imprinting if you will. Although we all learn differently, some of us being audio learners, others visual and yet others mostly by doing, in all cases, adding the physical action to idea, makes retention and understanding skyrocket compared to only reading or hearing. Bowing my head at the name of Jesus, genuflecting to the tabernacle, kneeling to receive, receiving on the tongue, striking my breast as I repeat

  • JR

    [smiley=cool]Last Christmas, our very young priest gave us a gift and prayed the Trad. Mass for us on a special evening. He had prepared this beautifully with the Gregorian music sung by a special group in the church and the Latin that this priest learned was truly incredible. Now mind you, this priest, Fr. Kevin only wears the Trad. vestments that were given to him by his family and wears them at all Masses, daily Masses included. He is teaching us all the time and because of that, everyone just loves him and of course, his humility is on target. We follow priests like that and so do many, many others. It is all about the prayer life, the rosary![smiley=wink] that makes a person learn the secrets.

  • Andrew C.

    A response from the National Catholic Register has been posted at their site.

    Maybe the Mass isn’t about you…

  • Philip Atkinson

    I was in a junior seminary in England when they tried out the new Novus Ordo on us in advance of its introduction. We just looked at each other and realised that whatever vocation we might have, it wasn’t to recite banalities and pretend to be chat show hosts, spouting the new orthodoxies of liberalism. So a generation of priests was lost.

    It was also notable that the general discipline – not the mindless following of arbitrary rules so much as a basic courtesy and consideration for others – went into decline at precisely the same time. Reading this piece makes me realise there was a genuine connection.

  • JR

    In both rites the congregation receives Our Lord in the Litury of the Word and in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This reception, this union, this miracle is beautiful beyond human comprehension. The beauty of the individual forms is insignificant when considered with the Divine Gifts which both contain equally.

    Is one more likely to be better disposed to receive more Grace in one rite over the other?

    – recent convert and enthusiastic lover of the extraordinary form

  • Christine

    Now comes the news that the USCCB’s subcommittee on music will be coming up with the complete Propers chants in both Latin and the English. And that the U.S. amendment to the new ICEL translations (that gives the option to use “songs” instead of chant for the Propers) will produce a theologically correct “white” list of psalm-songs approved by every diocese for its own use. This means that OCP will be contained for use only in the dioceses of Oregon, where it belongs. The Responsorial Psalm, being part of the Readings, will be chanted strictly by the book (from the Lectionary.) And the people will be able to chant in Latin the parts pertaining to them.

    Marie, could you please give a specific reference on the USCCB site where this information appears, I’d very much like to know. This is wonderful news.

    Christine

  • David L Alexander

    “But at Low Mass, my missals reserve the responses for the servers, unless it is a Dialogue Mass, which requires special permission.”

    If your missal was published before 1960, this is what it would have said. But the norms for people’s responses were already changing by then. And they did not only apply to the Low Mass, but to the High Mass as well. Nor was it a choice between “all” or “none.” The 1958 document from Pius XII cited here, lists more than one level of participation. Having grown up with the Old Mass, I can tell you for a fact (as opposed to reading it in books or listening to someone who wasn’t a twinkle in their Mama’s eye at the time), that the people did legitimately respond to the priest saying “Orate fratres” and “Ecce Agnus Dei.”

    It is true that some parts of the country were slower to respond to this development than others. But it was indeed lawful by the end of the fifties, and anyone who says it was not will be loathe to produce any evidence.

  • Christine

    Us regular Joes simply believe and simply want to have a reason to hope for our salvation. Like Shea says, we’re grateful for any mass and we’re grateful to be Catholic.

    A bit late in coming to this discussion, but I wanted to address this attitude that we should be, in the words of Mr. Shea, “happy to accept whatever Mother Church gives us,” as reflected in the remarks above. I agree–we should be happy with whatever Mother Church gives us. And the Novus Ordo in 99% of modern parishes is NOT what Mother Church gave us.

    The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy did not promote worldwide Mass in the vernacular. It was to be an exception to the rule (only in minor cases where the local bishop thought it desirable). Yet today the Novus Ordo Mass everywhere is in the vernacular. Communion was not to be received in the hand (except in rare cases)–but through continual disobedience of many bishops and clergy, it is now the norm. Altar girls were strictly forbidden–and again, through years of disobedience, progressive dioceses got their way. The Constitution plainly and clearly insists on retention of Gregorian chant–but today we have drums, guitar, and insignificant modern tunes. Nowhere did the Constitution permit standing to receive Holy Communion–but bishops implemented it anyway.

    I ask you: is this what Holy Mother Church meant to give us in the Second Vatican Council? NOT AT ALL. If Catholics can sincerely claim satisfaction with the current state of the Mass, then they either (1) are unaware of the above information, or (2) don’t really care, or (3) are so habituated to the Novus Ordo that they don’t want anything else (which really is a subset of point (2)).

    To throw one’s hands in the air and claim it is above one’s “paygrade” to make judgments about the Mass (the current form of which is the result of years of disobedience, *not* obedience to VII) is to exhibit apathy, pure and simple. This might be excusable in your regular Joe, but in a public figure who makes a living expounding on the Catholic faith, one expects a bit more. God bless Mr. Shea for all the wonderful work he has done and for helping to spread the Catholic faith–but I do hope he takes a keener interest in the true spirit of Vatican II and its reforms for the Mass, rather than the fraud foisted on us by disobedient clergy. (And to cut off any assumptions, yes, I believe the Eucharist is perfectly valid in the NO Mass.)

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