Popularity of Latin Liturgy is Not “Unfortunate”

In an article on the website Millennials, sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, William Bornhoft accuses “TLM Millennials” of hindering the new evangelization by favoring the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Bornhoft, a recent college graduate, makes a number of groundless assertions about TLM supporters and about the liturgical reform promulgated at the Second Vatican Council. Ultimately, Bornhoft fails to demonstrate how the Tridentine Mass is an obstacle to evangelization because he does not understand why so many Millennials are drawn to it.

Bornhoft rightly notes that many Catholic Millennials, whether they prefer the TLM or not, are unfamiliar with the documents of Vatican II or the content of the debates among the Council fathers. Ironically, this “poor catechesis” and “lack of proper education” of so many young Catholics is also evident from Bornhoft’s own weak grasp of Vatican II and the history of liturgical reform following the Council. He rejects criticism of liturgical disruptions that followed Vatican II because he assumes the Council fathers called for these innovations. Therefore, any criticism of the Novus Ordo (New Mass) by supporters of TLM is dismissed as ignorant and heterodox and a grave obstacle to evangelization. However, Bornhoft does not know that TLM supporters discovered what went wrong after the Council from their study of history and tradition and this revelation has led them to welcome Pope Emeritus Benedict’s defense of the Tridentine Mass as an authentic expression of the Council and a sign of continuity with the Church’s liturgical tradition.

Despite being a cradle Catholic, I was not familiar with the details of liturgical reform until I spent a semester in graduate school studying Vatican II and the development of doctrine. How the Novus Ordo came into existence was particularly surprising. Even before the Council, the French and German bishops were pushing for extreme liturgical change, and one month into the Council they openly opposed the Roman Curia’s hesitance to adapt extreme liturgical innovations. While a consensus developed that the vernacular could be permitted under certain conditions, especially in non-Western cultures, this change was insufficient for some bishops who favored more radical deviations from liturgical tradition. Bishop William Duschak S.V.D., for example, wanted a new liturgy stripped of all man-made prayers, using mainly scripture, in the vernacular, with the priest facing away from the tabernacle; however, his proposition was for this mass to be allowed along side the TLM. But the fact is that changes like these never made it into the final Council documents.

Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani was a leading opponent of the progressive faction at the Council. He favored changes consistent with an organic development of liturgy. He felt that the “rite of the Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned at the whim of each generation.” While some Council fathers favored more radical change, their number was insufficient to prevent from inclusion in the final document statements supportive of organic development in the liturgy.

Directly after the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Bl. Pope Paul VI issued a motu proprio on January 25, 1964 in which he gave specific instances in which the document could be applied, and explained that many of the decrees would have to wait until new books had been written and that when it came to liturgy, “not even a priest can, on his own initiative, add or subtract or change anything in liturgical matters.” This directive was disregarded, and in France and other places, the vernacular was introduced in the liturgy. The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was established on March 4, 1964. It was this commission, made up of many of the liberal Council fathers who had been on the Liturgical Commission, that essentially wrote the Novus Ordo. The passages that favored maintaining continuity with liturgical tradition written into the Council documents were largely ignored.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like for liturgy-loving Catholics to experience these sudden and radical changes in the mass, many of which were not even in the Council documents. The first radical change was a completely new liturgy. But the liturgical changes that were not in Sacrosanctum Concillium include eliminating communion on the tongue, removal of communion rails, priest facing the people (and away from Jesus in the tabernacle), an abundance of lay extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, female altar servers, and wide-spread liturgical improvisation. And along with feminism came the abandonment of women covering their heads in church, which had been a tradition since the time of the apostles. The Millennial generation has not had to live through these disruptions, but we have been raised with the results of them. And thanks to Pope St. John Paul II opening up the use of the TLM in 1988 and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issuing Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum in 2007, my generation has been able to experience the traditional liturgy (that is, without becoming sedevacantist).

Far from being opposed to Vatican II and outside the realms of orthodoxy, as Bornhoft claims, TLM Millennials look at the documents of the Council and wonder why parts of them were completely ignored. Those who implemented the Sacrosanctum Concillium in the revising of the Mass and on the practical side overlooked these paragraphs from the document:

That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised…. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing (Sacrosanctum Concilium 23).

Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites (Sacrosanctum Concilium 36).

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30 (Sacrosanctum Concilium 116).

To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence (Sacrosanctum Concilium 30).

Many planners of Novus Ordo Masses are under the illusion that Vatican II made Latin and Gregorian chant optional. The promulgation of a new Mass opened the door to years of liturgical experimentation and abuse not permitted by Vatican II. Millennials like Bornhoft do not even know enough about the Council and liturgical reform to recognize the legitimacy of the practices suppressed. For instance, he dismisses use of Latin in the name of Vatican II not knowing that the Council explicitly called for its continuation. Many Millennials don’t recognize the difference between liturgical abuse and orthopraxis—that is, correct liturgical action. Many priest and liturgical planners even refused to follow the clear rubrics of the Novus Ordo in the years following the Council. TLM Millennials rightly object when they see any departure from liturgical norms. Protestations over liturgical abuse are hardly heterodox.

TLM Millennials embrace a legitimate part of Church tradition, and Bornhoft’s objection to their preference ignores what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in Summorum Pontificum:

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

How I came to love the traditional liturgy is similar to the experience of other TLM Millennials. It mirrored the experience of the Israelites in the book of Nehemiah: Upon their return from exile they wept after having read the law for the first time.

Like the Israelites, I mourned. I mourned for the loss of the traditional liturgy. But rejoiced having entered into a deeper, richer, even more personal relationship through the structure of the old liturgy. I remember liturgies where I had the care of a young infant and all I could do was sit and watch and listen. Liturgical innovators of the recent past may object to my lack of “participation.” Yet such protests would fail to appreciate how beautiful sacred music, composed in the Church’s ancient past, can lift us up in prayer. I went from pacing with a child in the very back to kneeling at the sanctuary and receiving the Eucharist on my tongue. The tradition drew me to itself. It was not about me at all; it was about it. Further, that is what liturgy is about. It is not about whether it is “accessible to man.” It is about man worshiping God.

Bornhoft says that Summorum Pontificum “created—unfortunately and unintentionally—a subculture of young Catholics skeptical of contemporary Catholicism and the reforms of Vatican II.” While Bornhoft acknowledges the growth and popularity of the TLM, he insists that most people will not be willing to “attend an hour-long mass in a language they don’t understand.” He does not explain how a presumably unappealing liturgical “subculture” could possibly undermine the new evangelization. If TLM Millennial criticisms of the Novus Ordo “threaten to intensify divisions within the Church,” why wouldn’t Bornhoft’s criticism of the Latin liturgy do the same? Bornhoft sees no irony in his criticism of Pope Benedict for defending the TLM and his charge of heterodoxy against TLM supporters for following suit. TLM Catholics are not part of a “subculture.” The Tridentine Mass enjoys a legitimacy equal to all the liturgical rites of the Church. The number of adherents to the Mass does not change its spiritual value to the Church. Like Pope Benedict said, the Church has room for all of her traditions. Both rites are acceptable, and it is okay to prefer one over the other, just as it is okay to prefer Dominican theology over Franciscan or Jesuit.

Liturgy develops just like theology. In the early and medieval Church, most cities had their own rites; each liturgy varied from city to city. The Church in Rome, from time to time, would take one of the aspects of a city’s liturgy and incorporate it into the Roman Rite, and from there it would spread throughout the rest of the Western Church. This is what the Church means by “organic development of the liturgy,” a slow acceptance and rejection of liturgical actions that are disseminated throughout the whole Church. It was at the Council of Trent that all rites not older than 200 years were suppressed, and the Tridentine Mass, which we now call the Extraordinary Form, was established as universal for the Roman Rite.

But looking at all of the different rites still present in the Church, and now the two forms of the Roman Rite, these liturgical differences—including conflicts among them—are not unfortunate; rather, they are how the Church grows and develops. It may be that the Roman Rite will not always have two forms of liturgy. It may be that they will develop into each other or one will be suppressed while the other changes to be more in accord with what all Western Catholics need. But it is not unfortunate that young Catholics are experiencing God in the liturgy, discovering how beautiful liturgy can be, and preferring the liturgy that was organically developed over 2000 years to the one written in the 1960s.

Susanna Spencer


Susanna Spencer received her MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She happily cares for her three young daughters and her husband in St. Paul, MN. You can learn more about her at her blog Living With Lady Philosophy.

  • Ed

    I doubt whether any of the stalwarts who read Crisis are going to disagree with this article, but let me be the first to agree with it!

    If you ask me, the traditional liturgy has great evangelising power. I entered the Church at Easter, and one of the main things that drew me in was the Tridentine Mass and all that goes with it.

    Without wishing to sound too precious, people who like tradition and all that kind of thing can be genuinely repelled by shoddy liturgy, sentimental church music, nasty Modernist buildings and so on. Bornhoft may be right to say that some newcomers are put off by an hour-long Mass in a language they don’t understand, but on my first visit to a Catholic Mass I was put off by the scruffy, irreverent, banal celebration of the Novus Ordo that I encountered.

    After growing up Anglican the sight of people receiving Communion standing up, and from laymen, genuinely shocked me, and the whole experience put me off converting for some time. Becoming a Catholic can mean making a very big sacrifice if you go from a non-Catholic parish with good liturgy to a typical Catholic parish, and not everyone will be sufficiently convinced by the Church’s unique claims to consider that sacrifice worthwhile.

    I would bet good money that the Orthodox end up with quite a few converts who would have become Catholics had it not been for our current liturgical lameness. If you’re not quite convinced by the doctrine of Papal supremacy but you do feel a hunger for reverent and mystical worship and for the Eucharist, then you have a viable competing option available to you. I’m sure Bornhoft doesn’t mean to insult our Orthodox brothers and sisters along with us traddie Catholics, but I do wonder what people of his stamp make of them, because by his logic they should be failing miserably to attract converts and foster vocations, and that certainly ain’t the case.

    Ah well. Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI, and Summorum Pontificum!

    • Scott W.

      I would bet good money that the Orthodox end up with quite a few converts who would have become Catholics had it not been for our current liturgical lameness.

      I know at least one.

      • Jay

        I thought about going Orthodox. Not only because of the liturgy, but because of the mess and attempt of some Bishops to change the teaching on divorced receiving communion. We will see…

        • Netmilsmom

          Try an Eastern Rite. I attend a Chaldean Catholic Church, fully under Rome.

          • R. K. Ich

            Eastern Rite Catholic churches have been a blessing to me, and I am dye-in-the-wool Western rite. I hope they flourish here in the West as a counterbalance to this nightmare my poor Catholic brothers and sisters have to endure.

        • Catholic pilgrim

          Jay, Eastern Orthodox churches have (for the most part) accepted the heteropraxy/heresy of divorce-&-remarriage. Although there are evil forces both from within & without the Church attempting to change Her, only the holy Catholic Church has remained faithful to our Lord’s teachings on Holy Matrimony (which is a Sacrament) as pronounced in the holy Gospel (which makes clear that divorce-&-remarriage goes completely against God’s design). Many Eastern Orthodox bishops have also used their teaching office to approve Artificial Contraception (which goes against Genesis & Christ’s loving model of Him & His bride the Catholic Church). As much as I love & respect the Eastern Orthodox, only the Catholic Church (which includes Latin/Western rites like Ambrosian Rite & Eastern rites like Melkite Rite) remains spotless in her Doctrines & Dogmas.

          • Jay

            True, but if the Pope is willing to change the practice of giving/receiving communion to those not in a state of grace, he HAS changed dogma, am I right?

        • me, myself & I r all here

          that’ll be fun, especially since it appears that they breathe the same air that we do on divorce, but a much different attitude about a 2nd marriage ceremony…….

  • ForChristAlone

    In six months I will be happily insconced in my new parish in northern Virginia where TLM is offered every Sunday and TWICE during the week. I do remember how things were in the past when there was reverence for the Eucharistic presence because we actually did believe that we were receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

  • R. K. Ich

    About 15 years ago I was visiting a slew of Roman Catholic Churches in hopes of discovering the Church that produced St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine. I was a convinced Anglican at the time, but thought surely there must be something special about the Roman Communion that commands the heart and imaginations of men. Being a good Tractarian, unshaken in my belief that Mother Rome is one of the venerable branches of the Church Catholic, I set out to visit many of her local churches.

    My experience was disheartening, to put it kindly. What I saw was nothing less than a spirit of destruction. The sacred space was riddled with abstract statues and gaudy banners steeped in the worst expressions of modern art, housed in architecture designed to offend any sense of the transcendent. The music was grating like really poor imitations of Simon and Garfunkel, composed of lyrics that any campfire Unitarian could sing with conviction. The language of the liturgy was artificially lowbrow and insulting if not outright forgettable. The homilies were weak-kneed Social-Gospel dishwater presentations that made me feel like I was sitting in a 2nd grade public school classroom. These are just the beginning of sorrows…

    The end result was this: *IF* Roman Catholicism is true, I thought, it wasn’t apparent at all in her most important act: worship. The only thing that kept me from totally discarding her as a live option was a local Byzantine Rite Catholic Church. I attended a few times to soak in the sublimity of that liturgy. Then upon discovering SSPX chuches, it got me thinking — Rome is a messy thing. She isn’t ALL bad. Clearly the modern crisis she so eagerly adopted back in the early 20th Century will have to run its course like a bad flu. There is a contingent, a remnant, of Catholics that do not want to see their Church die at the hands of the Birkenstock Brigade.

    Here I am 15 years later in St Paul, Minnesota. My family and I are still traditional Anglo-Catholics, but there’s a vigor and revival of tradition afoot in American Catholicism that has our attention. There is a seriousness that we cannot ignore. People like Susanna Spencer (and her exceptional husband, who have warmly entertained my family in their own home) are making us jealous of Catholicism. It used to be, in our old stomping grounds, disaffected Episcopalians and Roman Catholics would come to my church to feel sane and get a rich liturgical experience they remember from their youth; now it seems God has turned the tables. I don’t know how much longer we will be Anglo-Catholics, but I assure you, it is the Traditionalists that will gain more fiery Protestants to your ranks.

    Don’t listen to the silver-ponytailed priests. They are all almost dead and gone anyway. The Modern Experiment has been tried and found wanting. Now all the tomfoolery is out of the way, we can get back to the manly art of wrestling over real theological issues. Now, if I can just get over the Papal Infallibilty hurdle…

    • Dick Prudlo

      You are clearly stepping over the mud pies left by the liturgical innovators who , although not dead (see Blase Cupich) are very close. The hippies still have the power and will do their worst. True Catholicism will prevail, were we not so promised? Pray and never cease.

      • TERRY

        Pray for the hippies while you’re at it.

      • Simon Ingerling

        Yes, it will prevail in the end but that will not come in my lifetime.

        • susan d

          Why so negative? The point of this article is largely based on the fact that the Traditional Latin Mass is increasingly popular, which sounds like prevailing to me!

    • fredx2

      I hope you have attended the mass in St. Paul at St. Agnes 10 am mass. If you have not, you are in for a treat. When I was there, the hair literally stood up on the back of my neck, it was so beautiful.

      • R. K. Ich

        Oh, St. Agnes is our target church — the Masses there are extraordinary (no pun intended). Also, we have our 8 year old boy enrolled for next Fall at their magnificent school.

        I’ve eyed this church nigh unto 4 years, and now we’re actually here I feel like God, in His wonderful sense of humor, is testing us here to reveal what we’d really do given the ideal scenario I’ve been begging from Him for many moons. “Well, here you are: either get in and help, or sit down and shut up,” is what I’m beginning to sense. But that’s remarkably subjective, so who knows.

        It’s one of the few Roman Catholic Churches I’ve encountered that breathe authentic, unashamed Catholicism. If I’m won over, it will be from this

    • Consolatrix Afflictorum

      Thank you for your honest post! I will pray for you so that Our Lord will help you jump those hurdles and enter the Church!

    • TJM

      RKI – Keep yourself open. The Church is not the buildings, the liturgy, the heirarchy. The Church is comprised of the people of God; founded on the centuries of faithful teachings from Paul thru Bernard, thru Newman thru Sheen and Nouwen (to name a few). Suggest reading the collected Office of Readings which spans the centuries and include the Eastern Doctors as well as Western saints. The underlying tenants expressed (whether Augustine, Albert the Great or the hundreds of other collected writers) in the Office of Readings’ short quotations, shows an uncanny sameness of fact and faith through the centuries. Read one daily reading; listen to an audio seminar by Henri Nouwen (few were done unfortunately before he passed on), read B16’s writings. There is a unity of faith and outlook expressed that is unchanging.

      Derivant behavior of today can be matched equally or worse in inspecting certain aspects of Church history centuries ago. The same can be said even more in the social/amoral side of government as its history is inspected. Some behaviors exhibited are simply that of ego-centric individuals, not of The Church. Yet because of the Holy Spirit’s presence, The Church will endure; it DOES endure; it HAS endured.

      Visit the ‘painted churches’ in the small towns in Texas; visit the rural parishes in Minnesota; drive thru the backroads of Louisiana and you’ll find monumental size Catholic Churches as large as St. Patrick’s out in the bayou country (or in Muskogee, OK)! And equally beautiful. Take a tour of the vast number of Cathedrals! Such beauty whether in Little Rock (St. Andrew), Baton Rouge (St. Joseph), Kansas City (Immaculate Conception), or the truly awe-inspiring St. Louis (Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis)…in all these churches, the liturgical experience is alive and well, The Mass is the focus point and the priest leads the mass still. Sure, in my own parish there are times I think the choir and staff run the parish and direct the Mass. Until a strong, recently ordained priest gets assigned (our seminary in Dallas has over 70 men in formation)…one of the JPII generation of priests, and suddenly reverence is returned; theology and teachings mean something. These younger priests (most well over 30 who have spent time in the world) pray a faithful, holy, devoted Mass.

      And by all means, read the spiritual treatises by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus who was a well known Lutheran minister and became a dynamic priest when he realized as a Lutheran, he was already ‘half Catholic;.

      • R. K. Ich


        I love the substance of your response. I don’t know what you think I’ve done for the past 24 years of my life – how could you? I am one of hundreds of millions of internet voices whose life is one-dimensional online. But at the risk of jotting down a tiresome apologia I would have you know I have done exactly that, and much more. I’ve seen it all and have met and prayed with Christians from every denomination and sect under the Trinitarian banner. I’ve prayed with Charismatics and Pentecostals who dance and wave their hands in the air, swear they speak with tongues of angels, and some who have claimed the tongues of men they never learned before; and conversely I’ve worshiped with the most icy cold Dutch Reformed/Presbyterians you could ever meet. I’ve immersed myself in the people and the liturgies of Eastern and Western churches: from Armenian, Antiochian, Greek, and Russian in churches to Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, to the “non-denominational”,
        you name it.

        Great and small, base and beautiful, chaotic and ordered, scandalous to faithful, from North America to Europe. I excluded nobody or no church on the basis of appearances alone, nor cacophanic singing alone, nor bad aesthetic sense alone, nor on defective theology alone, nor upon any other forgivable fractured quality that will pass at the Eschaton. My journey into catholic faith and practice is riddled with brokenness, personal failures, victories and triumphs (soli Deo gloria!), and I have been keenly aware of His Providential work in my life as I have sought to be nothing more than a faithful Christian and son of His church. Your advice is great — it’s the story of my life.

        But now we must distinguish some things here. “High Church”, for all the perils one must be aware of, the sense of humor one must have to take it all rather seriously, is not about mere aesthetics. Many a high churchman will feed the flames of God’s wrath for an eternity because of apostasy and faithlessness. When I say “High Church” I am referring to an ecclesiology informed by a world view, by a theology, that keeps the main things and the plain things front and center. It is code for a vision of unity that enjoins us to a rich Triune fellowship. My harshest criticism is not reserved for any particular church/congregation innocently unaware of its weaknesses or shortcomings. Goodness, surely you know the Church Militant is comprised of wheat and tares growing up together until the Judgment, sinners of all stripes, the weak-minded, high-minded, low-minded, etc. If God would have *me* in His Church then I know He is (1) patient, (2) loving, and (3) surprising (as well as humorous). But I digress…

        The love for High Church is another way of saying, God is really our audience in worship, He really is Holy and we ought to care, and we really should not be consumed with our egos. Now parodixically we cannot forget ourselves in worship that is fixated on self-expression, worship that goes out of its way to be different and dynamic, led by the impulses of what’s going on in the ego. Revealed religion gives us our cues here — God invites us to offer ourselves to Him as He prescribes, not as we wish. The candles, incense, antiphonies, reverence, rubrics, litanies, lofty language, the readings, the responses, the confessions, absolutions, bread, wine, oil, water, paper, ink, icons, statues, vestments, kneelings, prostrations, and whatsoever else that attend a “high church” service are all material signs and symbols of God’s breaking onto the scene of History. The Incarnation and the coming of the Holy Spirit has liberated us from Geographical Jerusalem and the Mosaic Tutor, yet has raised the bar. We cry out “Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders,” and He responds, “Take and eat, This is My body.” God is here in our midst, and how ought we respond to our King? What is most fitting?

        The modern age has been hundreds of years in the making. The spirit of modernity is as old as the devil himself, but this past century it has been unleashed in the West as never before. It is not simply about the messiness of men, it is about a philosophy — a vision of the world — that attacks the roots of our existence, in and out of the Church. It is consumed with consuming, making man the measure and meaning, investing hope in his future by his ingenuity, and a self-liberation sold to him by a talking serpent.

        The modern spirit of religion suppresses freedom by being all too self-aware. It cannot soar because its destination is the horizon not the heavens. The fear of the Lord taken away gives us in its plac only a mirror image of our fractured selves, so naturally worship will become debased and silly and hedonistic. All the external silliness that we see on a mass scale in churches we call Catholic, is a byproduct of human philosophy captivated by a vision of Man that is defective at its root. It is a proud spirit, like Dante’s Satan forever trapped in the icy Coccytus river by reason of the frigid blast of his wings as he tries to lift himself up, so too the devil Morthdyrn has infatuated the church with images of glory wherein we life ourselves up, untethered from the Cross of Jesus and the holines of the Triune God. We are all trapped by a liturgy of self.

        High Church is a good remedy if we take its message to heart. The strictures are liberating because they fasten us to the Cross. It is in stark contrast with those who idolatrously imagine God apart from His attributes. It keeps the main things and the plain things front and center. Thank God for traditionalist Catholics, they get this. They are willing to worship the Triune God as He is presented in Scripture, not as he is re-imagined for “modern” man.

        In closing, my modest library of 500 or so books, comprised of what I deem are the best and brightest minds of Christensom, all share this theme. Benedict XVI is among my favorites. They are my friends on my journey. I try to listen to their counsel. I can be justly accused of snobbery, meanness, pettiness, and many other vices: but at least I have
        a standard, an unfailing standard in the Scriptures, as exposited by the Church. I don’t tinker with the Text to suit my circumstances. I want the Word to tinker with me to make me fit for Heaven. The liturgy, when done right, aids us in this very thing. This is why I am High Church. The modernists think too little of God. God have mercy on me for being a modernist.

        • Michelle Wolf

          Wow…you put it so well into words, but the two sentences you posted say it best: “I don’t tinker with the Text to suit my circumstances. I want the Word to tinker with me to make me fit for Heaven.” God bless you for sharing!!

  • Scott W.

    “Bornhoft says that Summorum Pontificum ‘created—unfortunately and unintentionally—a subculture of young Catholics skeptical of contemporary Catholicism and the reforms of Vatican II.”

    Umm…Mr. Bornhoft…let me make the suggestion that decades of going silent on hard teachings, embracing secular Leftist notions of social justice, and rendering liturgy a trivial puddle of therapeutic mush created of subculture of young Catholics skeptical of contemporary Catholicism and the reforms of Vatican II.

    There are a lot of evil things that can ensnare our youth — pornography, Wicca, Political Correctness, etc. — we should be jumping for joy that young people find the Latin Mass.

  • GG

    If some left wing immoral group does not like TLM and its supporters then you know TLM is good and holy.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    The TLM is disgraceful to them but not ‘charismatic Catholics’ who blasphemously ‘summon the holy spirit’ like a genii out of a lantern and then roll around on the ground babbling in quasi-sexual hysteria. Did you know that their A HUNDRED TIMES more of these so-called ‘charismatic Catholics’ than there are TLM Catholics?

    • Kitty

      I do not recognise your description of any so-called ‘charismatic Catholics’ that I know. I do however know deeply devout, respectful and faithful Catholics involved in what is decscribed as the Charismatic Renewal who love the Lord and are happy to attend either the TLM or the Novus Ordo. Making a caricature of people one has not met is neither charitable or just.

  • Stanislav

    I find it misleading to hear people keep referring to “the Latin Mass,” because that gives the impression that the issue is the language used rather than the theology involved. The theology of the New Mass is different from that of the Tridentine Mass (although it’s not invalidating). After all, a New Ordo Mass in Latin is just as much a problem as one in the vernacular. The New Ordo Mass was not asked for by the documents of Vatican II. I would certainly be able to accept an accurate translation of the Tridentine text into the vernacular. The issue is text (whatever language it’s in), not the language in which the text is used.

    • R. K. Ich

      Agreed. Dumbed down anything, no matter the language, is still dumb. But Latin represents the Old Order of things that progressives so much hate. Rome should have commissioned the likes of Chesterton, Tolkien, CS Lewis, T S Eliot, and Dorothy Sayers to compose a moden liturgy. Liberal theologians will always wreck the Mass. What they needed were men of Letters steeped in the Old Ways to protect their Mass.

      • Steve Kellmeyer

        If TLM fans love Latin so much, they should constantly use the phrase “Holy Spirit” because ‘spirit’ is from the Latin ‘spiritus.’ Instead, the use Holy “Ghost”, which is based in English (and German before that). Similarly, people who don’t like Latin should use “Holy Ghost” instead of “Holy Spirit.”


        • R. K. Ich

          You might get an “Amen” from Tolkien there. I for one love both terms. I am a bit schizophrenic.

      • ColdStanding

        Your plan is off from the get go. The Mass as it was preserved so many centuries in Rome is something no single man, however great the artist, could improve upon. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a gift from God. There is some evidence that it was being celebrated in Latin from graffiti found preserved in Pompeii. That 79 A. D. The vesting prayers are likely related to the traditions of the House of David.

        It is not an artistic production like a stage play. Translating it out of Latin means a loss. Training oneself to participate in Latin is a gain. You participate with the worship and sacrifice of all that came before and will come after you. This is of no mean value.

        No, there is no “composing” a modern liturgy. Who is like God that they dare to attempt to out do Him?

        • LWC

          And it’s well-documented that Jesus officiated the Last Supper in Latin.

          Of course, the very first liturgies defied convention, retaining the ancient, sacred Latin of our Lord despite the official language of Rome.

          • ColdStanding

            Your usual past times not providing enough distraction?

            • LWC

              Not overly 🙂

              Though I appreciate the concern.

        • LWC

          Besides, who really needs to fully understand the syntax, diction, and nuances of one’s prayers to God.

          That’s just silly.

          • ColdStanding

            There is private prayer, any language will do. There is public prayer. (One language is best, though many come close) One forms the individual. The other the society. This is not just any society but the perfect society that is the Church.

            Oh, fiddle sticks, what does it matter to you?

            • LWC

              Indeed it matters quite a lot.

              I’ve been fortunate to travel throughout the world and attend Mass most everywhere I’ve been.

              It goes without saying that unless you’re a native speaker of any given language you’re unlikely to fully appreciate its subtleties, idioms, nuances, etc.. Very few places within the world have embraced Latin to the degree Rome has; and thus, it is unlikely to be fully discerned elsewhere.

              I believe an all-too crucial exercise of faith and supplication before God should be unambiguous and crystal-clear.

              Would you sign a contract drafted in a language you did not fluently speak?

              How then is your profession of faith (in the general sense) any different?

              • ColdStanding

                You have valued human understanding above its capacity.

                It wouldn’t be an act of faith if you fully understood what you were professing. God has given us sufficient knowledge for our understanding, not complete and total understanding.

                • LWC

                  “[A]bove its capacity”

                  Quite metaphysical, no?

                  One is already sufficiently preoccupied in the attempt to comprehend the profession of faith; let alone having to worry with its translation.

                  • ColdStanding

                    The Church provides a sufficient explanation of the meaning of the Apostle’s Creed that is readily available. Anyone who can read should be able to comprehend it. Those that can’t have recourse to those that do understand to help out. It has been translated into many if not all languages. I know that the Jesuits translated it into all the aboriginal languages of what is now British Columbia. You can see their work online if you desire.

                    But this isn’t the point. The universal religion requires a universal language. One, perhaps already given over to pass the time with idle speculations and parlor games, might entertain fancies about this or that language being pressed into service. However, the work has already been done. Latin fits the bill and has been employed for sacred purposes for a very long time. There is much treasure, wisdom and knowledge stored in it. Surely we’d be the servant that buried the talent if we laid it aside.

                    Our Holy Mother, the Church, in Her overflowing wisdom, has indulged the earnest, if misguided, pleas of Her children to grant that their plan of multiple languages being employed in sacred worship and sacrifice be implemented, thinking that they know better than Her.

                    When we finally get tired of banging our head against the wall, She will pick us up and go back to doing what She has always wisely done. Namely, arranging for Her Son to make sacrifice to The Father of Lights in Latin.

                    • LWC

                      Not too much of an argument against what you’ve taken time to explain.

                      I speak from having grown up in the Church from 1973 onward, and take exception to the prevailing notion of some that my prayers in English are inferior and inadequate to those said in Latin.

                    • ColdStanding


                      It isn’t about you. You are not being either criticized or demeaned. I am attempting to aid you in differentiating in your categories between your particular prayer life, aka personal devotions, and the general prayer life of the Church, aka public devotions, the exercise of which has the requirement of a thoroughgoing universality which falls under the rubric of uniformity of worship. How can worship and sacrifice be uniform if the language is different? It might be similar, but it isn’t uniform.

                      When, throughout the ages, anyone that can exert themselves sufficiently to grasp the Latin language has the opportunity to hear the Church speak without translation, this is a very good thing.

                    • LWC



                      Rubrics are the opiate of the Pharisee.

                    • ColdStanding

                      Self-love is the opiate of the perdition-bound. You are persisting in error.

                    • LWC

                      And indeed you persist in sanctimony.

                    • ColdStanding

                      I have not made one claim about my personal sanctity being greater than anyone else’s. How low things have fallen when knowing the teaching of the Church is counted as a fault.

                      It is as it always was.

                    • LWC

                      It’s not so much about you as it your assertions.

                    • ColdStanding

                      Sanctimony is a personal charge. If it is not about me, a personal charge against me is inapplicable. What then is it about?

                    • LWC

                      If the shoe fits…

                    • ColdStanding

                      That is a non-statement, aka a dodge.

                      Why don’t you try the truth?

                    • LWC

                      I’ve spoken nothing but truth.

                    • ColdStanding

                      You’ve taken me a mile and I have gone with you two.

                      Bon chance.

                    • LWC



        • R. K. Ich

          I appreciate your zeal, really I do. If God sees fit to make me a faithful son of Mother Rome, I will be at EF Masses until the Eschaton. However, by “compose a modern liturgy,” you mistaken my words to mean, “new and untried.” I trust Latin is not your native mode of communication, and you (like me) have to translate it in your head. You still have to compose the sense of the Mass in your own mind.

          You will forgive me if I prefer that exceptional cadre of scholars to translate for us than the average internet joe.

          That said, it’s perfect in Latin. I’m not especially interested in diluting it or removing it.

          • ColdStanding

            Its pretty hard to talk shop when we aren’t in the same shop.

            • R. K. Ich

              Indeed, one would presume. But truly surprising God gets through to barbarians like me, right?

  • dominic1955

    Thanks for publically taking Bornhoft to task for that insipid article. I read it and the assertions he makes are risible, at best.

  • St JD George

    I find the subject quite interesting and am happy you raised it Susanna. Having only recently come into the church I’ll admit I don’t have the TLM experience of tradition. My son and I chafe a little on this one – pleasantly of course. Our church is an old one and so isn’t wounded by the modern architecture era, however, doesn’t have TLM and has the tabernacle off to the side of the alter. This drives my son crazy and given a preference he would just as soon go to a more traditional church – which we usually oblige when he’s in town. In addition, I really like our priest and feel blessed to have him. To me the church is the people mostly and the connection with fellow parishioner’s doing what needs to be done administratively as well as well as attending to the community through outreach. When I go to another church (other than on vacation) I feel out of sorts if you will. I appreciate the beauty of TLM even if I don’t follow it entirely, but I guess I am more drawn to doing and for that I feel a stronger sense of belonging to my parish rather than seeking out a church I can’t attend regularly. Does that make sense?

    • guest

      I grew up totally post-Tridentine Mass. I only in the past few years have attended a Tridentine Mass and will admit it was a little jarring at first. But the more I attended the more I understood. I also read a book,, The Latin Mass Explained which helped fill in the gaps. The Parrish where I attend also “updated” about 20 years ago or so and is a very non-traditional Parrish. Recently, I have been drawn to another Parrish that still has the Altar, Tabernacle and Communion Rail…and people kneel for Communion! We have to worship where we are comfortable and feel that connection. I empathize with your challenge.

      • St JD George

        Thanks. I guess where I really struggle is wondering whether Jesus really cares if I hear the Mass in Latin, or whether the tabernacle is in the right position, or if he cares more about action and deeds. I realize of course that is not an either or proposition of course so unfair to portray that way, but my point is that I don’t think in the end we’ll be judged for which style Mass we attended. In reality probably the most important thing is the pastor and I know there is a wide difference in the quality of those. I’ve been blessed to know two that I have a great deal of respect for. I know there are others who shall we say aren’t quite so inspiring, and those we should either help or go elsewhere. To me ultimately my parish is like an extended family and a part of my community.

        • slainte

          The Catholic Mass includes both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist; it is complete in all respects.

          The Word is made manifest by Our Lord’s sacrifice and physical presence in the Holy Eucharist which becomes both the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

          The role of a charismatic pastor/preacher amplifying the Word is always a good thing but it has traditionally played a more important role in protestant traditions than within Catholicism.

          The Catholic focus is a transcendent God in the heavenly Eucharist feeding our souls on the temporal plane.

        • Jay

          I completely understand. I remember seeing something on Fr. Z’s blog that went something like this – that if we want to “fix” the Mass, we need to fix ourselves. The best way we can do that is by going to confession. It always starts with that. Regardless if we take communion at the N.O. or E.F. Mass, if we’re not in a state of grace, it won’t matter. Nothing else matters. So..I’m kind of like you. I don’t know if Jesus prefers the N.O. or E.F., but I do know that going confession and trying to make things right with God is more important.

        • Martha

          I agree, but then you must also ask yourself if words matter to God. If they do (and they do!), grab yourself one of those little red Latin-English Booklet Missals for $3 from Ecclesia Dei and just read through it in English. It is miles from the Novus Ordo in wording. You will be pleasantly surprised and shocked if you’ve never read the beautiful words of the Mass that have been said for over a millennium.

          For me, the TLM is God-centric and not man-centric. Even the best said NO these days is still based upon the man-centric ideology. God deserves the very best worship that we can offer Him.

          I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist in all things, and so I think the changes since VII were very intentional, and have served their purpose most swimmingly. However, even if you don’t buy into anything but ‘good intentions,’ you still must admit of the NO’s inferiority after studying our Catholic heritage in the TLM.

          • St JD George

            Thanks Martha. I’m still forming my “Catholic Conscience” and am coming to understand slowly where some of the VII sentiment was formed. To me it will always be about trying to understand what Christ wants of me first then serving the church and community.

        • Tony

          But don’t underestimate the power of the imagination, and don’t reduce spoken language and body language to utilitarian items that can be exchanged with any other at will. Of course we will be judged by our faith. But Jesus does not command me to be stupid; and stupidity in the liturgy helps nobody. Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves — not rather as wise as pigeons and as innocent as snakes.
          This subject means a great deal to me, because I suspect that we have accepted for most of my lifetime a false, utilitarian, rationalistic anthropology, and have thus deprived our children and ourselves of irreplaceable aids in forming a Christian imagination.

          Jesus prayed in Hebrew, which was a liturgical language for his people; and the Psalms themselves are written in a Hebrew that was different from the “ordinary” Hebrew of the chronicles. The aversion to archaism is a characteristic not of the common people but of the “illuminati” — as is an aversion to folk piety, traditions, folk art, etc.

          Don’t forget that we have bodies …

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    I beleive the Holy Father put it very well, in his 2013 interview with America magazine:-

    “Then there are particular issues, like the liturgy according to the Vetus Ordo. I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.”

    Hence the caution given by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in its instruction Universae Ecclesiae (30 April 2011), “The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”

    • ColdStanding

      I am ever so glad that the novus ordo is completely free of influence from rabid ideologists.

      • James Kohn


        • ColdStanding

          One can understand their dilemma… they are sooo busy policing traditionalists that there simply isn’t time to get to look in on what the novus ordo crowd is up to.

          They are generally well behaved. Right?

    • slainte

      If the fathers of Vatican II never banned the Latin Mass, why did Emeritus Pope Benedict have to issue a decision to “formally allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass” and why does Pope Francis now suggest that the continued use of the Tridentine Mass is conditional?

      Implicit in the positions of both Popes… Francis and Benedict… is a recognition that the traditional mass was suppressed post Vatican II. Both popes, in my opinion, should have unequivocally condemned the suppression as an unjust act and made the Tridentine Mass widely available to the Catholic faithful without conditions.

      It is disingenuous, in my view, to take away one good by rationalizing that another good is an adequate and comparable substitute.

      • No, Pope Benedict explicitly said that it was never abrogated, since Paul VI somehow managed to refrain from passing a law that suppressed it, but it was considered to be abrogated. Indults were issued for some priests to continue using the older books, hence the de facto abrogation. I think Francis misunderstands what Summorum Pontificum did and Benedict’s intentions. Ratzinger held this position at least since the 1980s, when Pope St. John Paul II asked for a review of the status of the 1962 Missal.

      • fredx2

        Benedict had to issue Summorum Pontificum because JP II had issued a document calling for the widest possible leniency in allowing the TLM, but the American bishops completely ignored him and continued to suppress the TLM. So, Benedict, decided to take the decision out of the hands of the bishops and put it in the hands of the priests. There were dangers to this, since renegade priests might use the TLM as a weapon against their bishop. So he had to be careful in how he did this. And, there were those breakaway groups that said that Vatican II was illegal and the new mass was invalid, and he did not want to play into their hands

        Francis has changed nothing in regards to Summorum Pontificum. Any priest that wants to say it can say it. Francis, I think, was concerned about the FFI situation, where the TLM was being used as a weapon to divide an order of priests.

        • slainte

          If as Professor Esolen points out the Tridentine Mass was already translated into English and other languages pre-Vatican II, did the proponents of the Novus Ordo view the Tridentine Mass as needlessly divisive because its origins were rooted in Trent’s response to the Reformation?

          Was the Novus Ordo an effort to reach out to Calvinist protestants who demanded stark simplicity in their worship services or was it designed for a purpose other than unity with separated brethren?

    • Isn’t the revised liturgy even more ideologically driven?

    • fredx2

      “What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.”

      This is a real worry, and I’d be willing to bet that Francis was thinking about the FFI when he said that. There, it appears that the religious involved were locked in a struggle between those who wanted the TLM and those who were OK with the Novus Ordo. Certainly the last thing that should happen is for the form of the mass to become a real battle ground – among people sworn to turn the other cheek. .

      And, as you point out, there is that subset of people who are SSPX’rs or the like who would use the TLM as an attack point. Or Pope Michael for that matter.

  • Jay

    This is why I think it’s important to re-examine the documents of Vatican II. Why not call a conference of world-wide Bishops to do this. Many of the individuals that were there are dying away, and it might be better to do this while we still have some around.

  • Let me guess; “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” are a group like “Catholics for Free Choice”, huh?

    • GG

      Yes, it is a fake group.

    • RufusChoate

      They are essentially a K Street lobbyist group addicted to government sugar and willing to do anything to get their “fair” share. Pull their tax exempt status and they would evaporate. They are the Left for whom advocacy for the poor includes life long employment for them where a healthy sinecure along with excessive sanctimony is the most prized destination for them.

      CACG |1612 K Street, Suite 400 | Washington, DC 20006 |

      • It’s apparently not just government sugar..


        • RufusChoate

          That is clearly a case of tasty Government Cheese. It amazing how the Left can have so many projects and still not accomplish anything worthwhile and get wealth in the prospect.

          • Also amazing how the PHOs here and elsewhere scream “usurer”, “greed” and worse, whenever anybody with the slightest modicum of economic knowledge advocates market PARTICIPATION, but not a peep from them against a fifth column like this, when it receives money from an atheist market MANIPULATOR.

  • Joan

    I am not a millenial but I love the TLM because of it solemnity and beauty something our current vernacular has lost. In the TLM my heart soars to the heights with all the that is beauty and holy before the transcendant majesty of God.

  • Liz

    I recently attended Latin Mass in Phoenix after a life time of novus ordo and I was oh so happy and relieved to find it such a beautiful experience. After so many years of increasingly disrespectful behavior and a growing multitude of lay ministers who feel they’re nothing unless they’re next to the alter, I was becoming very heartsick. It’s oh so good to experience what it’s supposed to be about, Jesus, God, not me. I’m fine with being quiet and soaking in the spiritual experience. It is such an antidote for all the disrespect that there is in the world.

  • Guest

    Admittedly I have always been suspect of Vatican II when I see that it is used by people to “update” our Churches, Liturgy and all things that define Catholics. However, many of the changes I have found were NOT in the Council Documents and were designed without regard to the Council Documents. Today the Mass is supposed to be the same…universal (as I understand). However, the Responsorial Psalm and the Agnus Dei never follow what is printed in my Officially Approved Missal at my Parrish. The words are always different…the meaning is not the same either. When I have asked, I am told they are allowed to use/choose different words/phrases…and when I ask further…BOOM…the Vatican II Card is thrown down. There are many practices that I am told Vatican II “suppressed” such Benediction, Exposition, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the use of incense (which I see the Pope use), reliance on the Sacrament of Penance and too many others to list here. My point is that we now spend a great deal of time defining with this document and/or that document what was so aptly defined by the Tridentine Mass. I think we have lost so much….and many are just now realizing this which makes so many who do not know what has been lost, very nervous. These young millennials are our future and many want to know who they are as a Catholic…and our current documents do not provide that answer, so they are searching for the truth.

    • Steve Kellmeyer

      You can’t blame Vatican II.
      You can only blame the Popes.

    • jacobhalo

      Ecumenism, collegiality, and religious liberty are all against the teachings of the church-pre-Vatican II. And the post-Vatican popes said that no new doctrines were introduced. These new teachings are what SSPX are against.

    • jacobhalo

      One of the problems of the church is that many people think that the church began in 1962. Rarely, will you hear a pope quote a pre-Vatican II pope, unless they agree with them.

  • M.J .

    Having read how Latin, Hebrew and Classical Greek are 3 languages that have special exorcism power ( those were the ones also used in the inscription on the cross ) , thnak God for the prevailance of Latin .
    Hoping that Hebrew too would become more mainstsream – that would have been what The Lord used , at the liturgical celebration with the Apostles, which was solemn and more elaborate than we imagine , as per writings of bl.Emmerich and possibly falls under those words spoken by St.John – of things He did , that are not written about .
    A wider focus and role for Hebrew Catholics can only add to our strenght in efforts for deeper aspects of Catholic living !

  • Tony

    Excellent article!
    A couple of observations, from someone who attends the Novus Ordo Mass:
    1. It is essential to both poetic and liturgical language that it NOT be in everyday idiom; and that it NOT gush out its meanings baldly and openly. Jesus’ parables do not work that way; His language is NOT utilitarian and functional. We need MORE than “understanding,” and certainly more than a bald recognition of the meanings of words. We need NOT-UNDERSTANDING, what the mystical genius of old called the Cloud of Unknowing. We need awe.

    2. If it had been only the language that was the problem, we could merely have translated the Tridentine Rite into the vernacular.

    3. The wanton destruction of art and of the sensibilities that give rise to art, from about 1965 to 1985 in Catholic churches in the United States, was as devastating as what the more aggressive rationalist Protestants did in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. That is how we should view, for example, the evisceration of sacred music, and its replacement with show-tunes and lounge music, with communicants on the way back to their pews slipping a five into the upturned hat on the piano, right next to the long-stemmed champagne glass.

    4. Hundreds of prayers were also sent down the memory hole. Check out an old missal and look at the long and meditative prayers people were encouraged to say before Mass.

    5. There was a salutary shyness, if I may use the word, about the old Mass; a sense of something tremendous about to be granted to us.

    Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam.

    • slainte

      I mean this respectfully.

      As you have ably translated Dante’s “Divine Comedy” from its original Italian, might you also consider translating the Tridentine Mass in its entirety from the Latin so that it resonates in English with the sort of transcending beauty and salutary shyness you describe in your post?

      I have no doubt many clergy and laity in the Church would be grateful.

      • R. K. Ich

        I second that motion.

      • ColdStanding

        Pilate did not put “Jesus, King of the Jews” above Our Savior’s thorn-crowned head. He put “I. N. I. R.” English is not one of the three sanctified languages.


        • R. K. Ich

          Apparently you haven’t read Shakespeare, Spenser, or Donne. English is clearly the preferred language of the Angels.

          • ColdStanding

            In my ear has rattled Shakespeare
            He’s dear, that’s clear.

            Those whose tastes are denser
            Can toil upon Spencer

            Victory over death won?
            Oh, yes, that’s Donne.

            No the angels like not English
            For merit in rhyme it does’t distinguish.

            • slainte

              Coldstanding, Words which are most lovely, most winsome, and most gracious are His due no matter the language used.

              I believe Our Lord reads the hearts and minds of His children as we worship Him and He responds with love because He is love.

              He is a devoted father who chastens His children…but then forgives us with great frequency because He knows how weak and vulnerable we are.

              I am grateful for a loving God…and I believe He hears my prayers even if I don’t use one of the three sanctified languages. : )

              • ColdStanding

                For your private devotions He understands the groaning of your heart in what ever tongue.

                For public liturgical prayer, He, in His wisdom, sanctified three languages by the action of one to whom He had given authority, Pilate. Hebrew, Greek and Latin. It isn’t a criticism of you that you don’t understand Latin. I am not so good at it. However His purposes and plans are greater than ours.

                • slainte

                  I studied Latin in high school many years ago and translated Julius Caesar and Cicero at that time…it amazes me how much of it I still recall when I attend Latin mass.

                  I am curious as to your source regarding Pilate and the three sanctified languages. Please let me know when you have a moment.

                  • ColdStanding

                    St. John the Evangelist states it at St. John 19:20. At St. John 19:11 Our Lord tells Pilate that he would have no power over Jesus Christ unless it had been given to him from above. From this statement we can understand how Pilate, in exercising his office, was acting under the authority given to him by God. Here we see the ancient language of prophecy, Hebrew wed to the language of the philosophers, Greek, and the language of authority and governance, Latin.

            • R. K. Ich

              That rattling you heard
              was not the Bard’s words,
              but most likely the rocks in your head;

              If Rhyme’s to your disliking,
              Milton should be striking
              to a soul that’s otherwise dead.

              • R. K. Ich

                Just to be clear, whoever “Guest” is re-posting my poem, did so on his/her own initiative. But glad to see this shoddy piece on display to remove any doubts about the extent of poetical “prowess”.

        • R. K. Ich

          Since you’re waxing Pharisaic in this fashion,
          you should be reminded in this donnybrook,
          our Lord uttered Aramaic in His passion,
          The cosmos His “lama sabachthani” shook.

        • R. K. Ich

          I recant posting my mean, horrible poetry. Was meant in jest, but bad form all the same.

          • ColdStanding

            See, most attempts at poetry because of the necessity to stuff English into form, end up addling the spirit. I do not feel right after reading or attempting to write poetry in English and I am incapable in any other language.

            I do not like reading the major English poets for this reason. I feel so tangled afterwards.

          • slainte

            I liked your poetry; quite creative actually.

            You might wish to look into Spenser’s reflections on the “Irish problem” and his proposed solution…all reflected upon whilst residing in County Cork and writing the Faerie Queene.

            Spenser’s dark solution came to pass in or about 1845-1852.

            • They should have listened to Edmund Burke, just as we should be listening to Cardinal Burke.

              • ForChristAlone

                the Burkas have it!

      • Tony

        Slainte — Thank you for your kind words. But hasn’t it already been done? That’s another thing that’s infuriating about what ICEL did after Vatican II. The old Missals had already translated all of the prayers of the Tridentine Mass into fluent and sensitive English:

        I shall go in unto the altar of God, of God, the joy of my youth.
        There was no reason at all for the hatchet job they did on the Novus Ordo prayers.

        • ForChristAlone

          Yes! My St Joseph Missal had a simultaneous translation that even I as an 8 year old could comprehend.

        • Dom Gregory Dix usually said Mass in English (as opposed to celebrating the Book of Common Prayer service of Holy Communion like the Mass, which was the alternative and sanctioned practice) but he occasionally used the Missale Romanum. I would substitute the D-R Bible for the Coverdale, but the Anglicans already had translated the missal!

          • R. K. Ich

            Dix is an amazing read. Quite the Anglo-Papalist to boot!

          • I understand the Anglican Ordinariate retains much of that liturgy, I’ve been two a couple AO Masses; the language is florid and soaring.
            It just takes a while to get use to words like “vouchsafe”.

            • slainte

              DE…If you can pass the CPA exam, you can learn how to say words like vouchsafe. : )

              • I can say it. Getting used to it is another matter. I suppose I must be a bit of an Anglophile, because I used to love to watch the questions to the Prime Minister on CSPAN (especially when Betty Boothroyd was the Speaker; Orduh, (gavel), I will have orduh.

                Plus I married a 100% English girl. It is at times for us, the difference between Ditka and Landry.

                • R. K. Ich

                  Lucky man! Legend has it God, every hundred years, turns a handful of Angels into Angles, as a signal proof of His love and favour.

                  I’m a Scotch/Irish/German mutt from the Stuart clan on my mum’s side.

                  • Luck had nothing to do with it. Trust me. Among about 50 chance occurrences that had to happen in the ten years that passed before I took a second bite at the same apple, was me not getting a “sure thing” job. Address: 1 World Trade Center; 18th Floor in March of 2000.

              • ForChristAlone

                The word is still included in the Miraculous Medal novena that we say at our parish every Tuesday. As the nuns used to say to us when we didn’t know the meaning of a word eons ago: “Look it up!” (and we made sure that we did).

            • R. K. Ich

              Love it! Also phrases like, “Ghostly council” — convinced that God plucked up Parnassus and transplanted it on English soil.

            • Well, yes. They have the Prayers at the Foot plus the Last Gospel. Most places seem to use them, but they are technically optional. The priest recites the prayers after the prep. prayers, and the incensation is followed (at least how I have seen it) by the Collect for Purity, said at Introit position. I’ve seen the 2nd deacon act as subdeacon, holding the paten while wearing the humeral veil. Even Mgr. Steenson wears the maniple, and I heard that he said to follow the GIRM, not Fortescue (that’s about the only thing that is passable in the GIRM… the trouble is, I don’t think the GIRM is compatible with (Anglo-)Catholic sensibilities. They only simplified worship because the 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council said to do so, and everyone thought the older rites were abrogated.
              The readings and colors, however, follow the OF cycle, though they retain the Sarum names, i.e. Gesima Sundays and Sundays after Trinity and Epiphany. In an ideal world, the English bishops would have the pre-Reformation sees, and the Sarum Rite would be more freely available (it ought to be, but some CDW clerk said otherwise, not knowing either Quo Primum… or that BXVI would issue Summorum Pontificum).

        • slainte

          Tony writes “…the old Missals had already translated all of the prayers of the Tridentine Mass into fluent and sensitive English…”

          Then I truly don’t understand the necessity for the Novus Ordo mass…was an interactive laity (dialog mass) and turning the priest away from the tabernacle toward the laity that important to promote unity with our separated protestant brethren?

          Many protestants who post comments at Crisis seem to appreciate Catholic tradition, including the Tridentine Mass.

          • R. K. Ich

            Our Anglican Missal is virtually a mirror of the EF Mass, with relatively minor differences. The majesty of our Prayer Book incorporated into this Missal is exceptional: its rhythm, prayers, and structure — it simply has no counterpart in any other liturgical tradition in the English language. The Novus Ordo, as I encountered it back in 1999, just struck me as so tinny, flat, unimaginative, shallow, and uninviting.

            The Tridentine Mass, on the other hand, is a remarkable and awe-inspiring liturgy. I have to believe the diminished use of this Mass is either an assault of the devil or a judgment of God (or both).

            If God opens the door for us to become Roman Catholics, I would treasure that Mass enough for myself and for the many Catholics who couldn’t care less for it.

            • ColdStanding

              The door is open.

              • R. K. Ich

                Willing to come in, just need to let my head catch up to my heart.

            • slainte

              My good friend who is a parishioner at a local Episcopal Church in Connecticut has commented on how much she loves the beauty and elevated language of T. Cranmer’s “Book of Common Prayer”. She views it as an integral part of her Anglican tradition and an indispensable connection with her English heritage.

              I am not sure whether there is a difference between the Anglican Missal and the Book of Common Prayer; any information that you may provide in this regard would be appreciated.

              Perhaps Emeritus Pope Benedict’s Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham might be of interest to you and your family. I understand there are participating Anglican/Episcopal parishes in the U.S which enjoy the beauty of Anglican traditions while gently moving toward fuller communion with Rome.

              • dominic1955

                The Anglican Missal is basically the old Missale Romanum in KJV English while the BCP is a heavily redacted version of the Sarum Missal tailored to the theologies of the English Reformation.

                • R. K. Ich

                  And still beats the pants off of the Novus Ordo any day of the week (not that it’s an amazing feat in itself — I think my children could come up with a better Mass than the NO as I’ve experienced it).

                  • dominic1955

                    The Anglican Missal? Yes, yes it does. The BCP, as redacted for the Ordinariate, yes it does too. If even half of the parishes in America used the Ordinariate Use, I’d be in hog heaven!

                    • R. K. Ich

                      I’ve visited Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio. Quite possibly the most perfect Church I’ve visited. Their English Mass is unforgettable.

                    • slainte

                      It’s good to know that we who are cradle Catholics can pray with you in these Ordinariate churches.

                      I am curious about your traditions and will seek out a local Ordinariate Church to attend mass.

                    • R. K. Ich

                      Just your run-in-the-mill Oxford Movement ritualist who treasures his Anglican roots and catholic faith. Currently in a crisis of faith (going on for years now) because I’ve decided to take seriously the idea that Rome has some sort of claim to being a key to catholic unity. Trying to figure it all out right now, but God is not puzzled about this even while I am.

                    • slainte

                      I attended this evening a novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception with accompanying Eucharistic Adoration. The homilist was Father George Rutler who spoke with great eloquence about Our Lady as the Seat of Wisdom.

                      In his homily, Father referenced Blessed John Cardinal Newman which caused me to recall that like Blessed Newman, Fr. Rutler had been an Anglican priest before he returned home to Rome.

                      In his homily, Father described the spotless sanctity and holiness of Our Lady who remained free from sin even as a babe in her mother’s womb. He recalled for us how Our Lady held Our Lord as a babe in her lap and then later held his lifeless body when He was taken down from the cross. He spoke of her as the source of childlike innocence in contrast to worldly pride; one who was beloved by Our Lord for her holy simplicity and lack of guile.

                      Father’s reflections drew upon the totality of his experience as an Anglican priest and as a Catholic priest; the result was a profoundly beautiful meditation which honored the mother of Our Lord.

                    • Live a little, there’s twenty some odd other rites in full Communion with Rome; experience more than one.

                      Who knows what was said in the caves and catacombs? The language is far less important to me than not having people chatting during Mass.

                    • Athelstane

                      The language is less important to me that the theological strength and richness of the prayers – and it is on this score that the modern Roman Rite is most impoverished.

                      But the chatting irritates me, too.

          • Phil Steinacker

            There wasn’t a true need for the NO, as you imply. I have friends to this day who claim the NO was needed because they couldn’t understand what was happening in the TLM. Of course, when I point out all they had to do was own and use a missal, they have nothing to say.

            In their case, I’m not sure whether it was laziness or the obstinance I have since discovered at the root of similar excuses offered by the catholyc left.

            • susan d

              For me, I really like the scriptural readings of the Church year found in the Novus Ordo. And I pray better hearing those readings in English (my native language) at the time of their proclamation, not stuffed, as it were, into the space between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Also, I truly find the participation of speaking out my Faith in the responses found in the Novus Ordo to help me integrate my mind and body to bring my whole self to the Lord in worship.

              I rejoice with those who love the Traditional Latin Mass, but I do not share this particular passion. So, enjoy! And let us who find joy in the Novus Ordo continue to do so!

      • ForChristAlone

        agree totally

      • Athelstane

        If you can find an Ordinariate parish near you using the English Missal options in its Ordo, you might find just that.

    • Unanimous Consent

      re: # 2….. The old rite largely was translated into the vernacular. Look back at the 1965 and 1967 Tres sbhinc annos Missals. The full Mass was translated.

      Oh, yes…. Then compare it to today’s translation of the new rite, and one will find it matches up in most parts (at least where the novus ordo hasn’t dropped things.)

  • redfish

    As a Jewish person, this is a strange issue for me, since even the most liberal branches of Reform Judaism wouldn’t suggest replacing Hebrew services with English ones. Its taken for granted that Hebrew is an important part of the liturgy.

    Though, I understand where these issues are coming from, because the conservative synagogue I grew up in has recently been doing a lot of experimentation with the music, to the point that its almost become more like a theater performance that everyone is expected to listen to, rather than sacred prayer for the congregants to be a part of. The rabbi tries to justify the changes with all sorts of arguments from tradition, but its just becoming something completely silly and not even worthwhile to sit through. The only reasons to go would be to socialize or to listen to the rabbi’s (often pompous) sermons on social justice.

    So recently, I left, and I’ve been attending a Chabad (Hasidic) service instead.

    • ColdStanding

      Why not really show them the what’s what and convert to the Holy Roman Catholic faith and receive the sacraments according to the old rite?

    • fredx2

      Good point. The whole idea of removing Hebrew would be considered ludicrous. Yet we dumped our Latin, and the result is, as Benedict said, “banal”

      • redfish

        And besides the sacredness of Hebrew, it helps unite Jewish people because anyone, from any language background, can join a service and be familiar with it and understand it.

    • Catholic pilgrim

      The late NYC Jewish Mayor Koch (who was a big friend of Catholicism & would even attend St. Patrick’s Christmas Midnight Mass every year) used to say: “I believe God hears prayers if they’re in Greek, Latin, or Hebrew.” There’s power & meaning in languages (even “dead” languages).

    • slainte

      Is it easy to transition to a new synagogue? I recall some years ago there was an ongoing dispute among various branches of Judaism regarding who was actually a Jew…a controversy I never fully understood.

      • redfish

        Its not really a synagogue, in a formal sense. Its a house that the rabbi and his family rent in the neighborhood specifically for the purpose of services so people in the area can have some place to go to within walking distance. Yes, and they’re very friendly and welcoming, it wasn’t a problem at all. Its a lot less distant and more personal than at the synagogue.

        • slainte

          I wish you well and hope that your new home allows you to fully and reverently worship G-d in accord with Jewish law.

  • I am not fond of the Vetus Ordo Mass. Not so much because of it itself, but because I just cannot stand listening to Latin being murdered during a most holy liturgy. If it’s not the priest who got no or just bad training in Latin, it’s the faithful failing to say their responses or just mumbling some incoherent gibberish. If this was the state of the Church earlier in the century, then I understand the eagerness of some bishops to change that. Of course, education would be the right course, instead of throwing the baby out with the water. As for me, pig Latin is just too distracting.

    • Kenneth J. Wolfe

      The solution is not to abandon the traditional Latin Mass because of a poor understanding of Latin by those speaking/singing it, but to find a church that has great liturgy.

      Not all parishes adopt the so-called dialogue Mass of the 1950s of which you speak. The parish I attend, for instance, in Washington, D.C., usually has High Mass when the trained schola sings the ordinary and propers, and Low Mass when the trained altar boys respond to the priest in the sanctuary, as opposed to the congregation assuming most of these clerical roles (which can be found at other TLM churches).

      Moreover, is your solution to a sub-par traditional Latin Mass really to attend a novus ordo liturgy? Waiter, my filet mignon is a bit too rare, so please bring me whatever well-done hamburger you have in the kitchen instead!

      • The church where I sometimes attend the Vetus Ordo Mass does has but a couple of altar boys and, as much as the priest hints the congregation, it still remains silent. Again, it could teach the basics of Latin in order to improve the liturgy, something I advise all interested in the Vetus Ordo Mass.

        Still, I did find a Church that has great liturgy: the Maronite Catholic Church! But, yes, a reverent Novus Ordo Mass is far superior to a sub-par Vetus Ordo Mass.

        • dominic1955

          So, what exactly do you notice about the priests butchering the Latin? Do you know Latin?

          • Yes, I do. Not proficiently, but enough to read a text with the proper ecclesiastic pronunciation and reasonable understanding.

            • My ecclesiastical pronunciation is generally very good, but sometimes I make mistakes if one is insisting on a proper Roman pronunciation. Here’s the thing, though. Most priests never used the Roman pronunciation. Granted some priests like Cardinal Cushing of Boston needed help, but most people can be taught the basics and left alone after that.

            • Jude

              There really isn’t such a thing as a native Latin accent. All speakers will bring their own accent to it, which is actually quite beautiful. Pope Benedict spoke Latin with a heavy German accent. I’ve sat through many a Novus Ordo Mass with priests from Africa, India, Korea, etc… whose accents were so thick while they were speaking English, it was barely understandable.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                No, theree is no such thing as a native Latin accent, but there is such a thing as quantity, which can be reconstructed from Latin verse and there are many excellent guides to accidence, such as the Gradus ad Parnassum, which schoolboys used to use, when they were required to compose Latin verse. Nowadays, they are not even taught scansion.

                One thing I find particularly grating is “sed libera nos a mālo (long)” which means “deliver us from the apple tree.” It should, of course, be “mălo” (short), meaning evil.

                • ColdStanding

                  Well there is a fortuitous pun if ever there was!!
                  Apple tree… garden of Eden… original sin… anything yet?

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                    Well spotted!

              • Marcelus

                Except for Italians and spanish speakers

            • dominic1955

              Have you ever been to a Mass at one of the FSSP or ICKSP parishes? I think they usually do a good job at proper pronunciation. Some of the diocesan priests, eh, not so much but God bless them for being willing to give it a go.

        • Well, we need to learn and teach Latin. Pope Benedict made that clear in his letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio.

        • Jude

          Our TLM parish has no shortage of altar boys at all. Two at each low Mass and nine boys at the High Mass and plenty extra looking to jump into an unfilled spot. I think part of the success has been that they take altar boy training seriously, including having a Knights of the Altar group for the boys. None of this “two hour meeting and a handout” training. There are monthly practice sessions that cover segments of the Mass, and you can’t serve until you have learned the whole Mass. The boys hold each other to high standards, and the priests give a lot of guidance.

        • Jay

          What’s Vetus Ordo Mass?

        • Athelstane

          But, yes, a reverent Novus Ordo Mass is far superior to a sub-par Vetus Ordo Mass.

          A reverent Novus Ordo Mass will still have to use that regrettable three year lectionary, stripped down calender, and bowdlerized offertory. And I wager that it’s not going to be ad orientem ot with communion on the tongue, either. (I’m going to hope that “reverent” at least excludes EMHC’s, any EP but the Roman Canon, and OCP hymnals.)

          I grok that there were many subpar Masses in the old days (talking 40’s, 50’s here) before Council, with hastily mumbled Latin. But in my experience moving around the US and Europe over the last 14 years, poorly celebrated TLM’s are few and far between. Rather, reverence and care are the order of the day, because the only people doing it are those who really care. And I have yet to see such a thing from an Eccclesia Dei society priest.

          But I can’t blame anyone for trying an Eastern Catholic rite. For many years, such were the only islands of liturgical sanity on offer.

          …the congregation, it still remains silent.

          I don’t see why this is a problem, unless having a dialogue Mass is very important to you.

          But even if it is, I think it’s more problematic to have dialogue done poorly than to just do without it, sung Mass or not.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      I was 24 years old in 1969, when the Novus Ordo was introduced, so I well remember the Tridentine mass and the manner in which it was, for the most part, celebrated.

      The priest’s pronunciation was certainly not a problem

      I recall attending Low Mass in Notre Dame de Paris – the choir, from the chancel arch to the high altar is 36m and the transept adds a further 14m, so someone in the front pew was 50m (162 feet) from the priest, under a vault 33m high. The nave is 60m long, so someone at the back was about 100m from him – about the length of a football field. There was no sound system.

      A Low Mass was completely inaudible and the Sanctus bell served a very practical purpose. When the priest turned to us, we knew, of course, that he was saying “Dominus vobiscum,” but, had he said « Salut les copains » only the server would have been any the wiser.

      Sermons were preached from the pulpit in the nave. The celebrant’s manner was usually brisk, but reverent, and his gestures restrained; without a homily, mass lasted for some 20 minutes.

      That is, perhaps, an extreme case, but even in the typical parish church, the distance from altar to front pew was often a good 20m (65 feet).

      Now, I happen to regard Haydn’s Nelson Mass (Missa in Angustiis) as one of the great moments of Western Music, I love Mozart’s Coronation Mass and I know few things more lovely than Fauré’s In Paradisum. I love the early composers – Josquin des Prez and Guillaume Dufay, but it is the music, rather than the form of the rite it accompanies that is important here.

  • Francis Ribeiro

    I am one of the limping wounded from the liturgical ravages of Vatican II- and one who continues to be inflicted by it to this day. I was old enough to have served mass as an alter boy from about 1958 to 1962. I later also sang in the choir, at least before the rock and folk bands took over. So I remember all of the beauty and reverence of that real and palpable worship of God (not of ourselves).

    I know one should never gloat, but I sometimes can’t help feeling a little shiver of satisfaction when the barbarians are barbed in their turn. So, “good on” Susanna for her excellent piece.

    The tide has not, however, turned.To this day, a lifetime later and now on another continent (Australia), we continue to be cursed with committees who (on those extremely rare occasions when they deign-and then only on special feast days- to allow us to sing a recognizable Hymn, like “Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven”) feel it necessary to change the words so as to neuter them as much possible; or else to change God the “Father” to God the “Mother”; Praise Him becomes Alleluia; His, He, or Him become God (though this time not also with the words “the Mother” added on).

    Neutering, and meaningless, and quite unnecessary changes are heard every Sunday when the Gospel readings are taken from a “new” book ( yet another new book !!!).

    I will say nothing about the poor quality and ugliness of the music except that it is so bad and-given the committee system running parishes-can only continue to be bad (or worse) in the future. That being so, I’m forced to conclude that it would be better, and much fairer to everyone, to have no music at all any longer in the Mass.

    • fredx2

      Do you have the screechy voiced lady down there who sings most of the song and then imperiously lifts her hand when she has deemed it appropriate for the peons to sing?

      • Jude

        Ha ha! Of course he does. Because there is one at every parish. Gotta put on the show.

      • For the most part, most of the cantors? I’ve experienced aren’t that bad; although a couple do believe they are quite the siren and have that imperious gesticulation; on the other hand I know my voice sounds like two chalk slates mating, so who am I to judge?

      • Francis Ribeiro

        For our sins, yes we do. I am at my wit’s end and holding on by a fine thread. It’s only the true presence in the Blessed Eucharist that keeps me attending Mass.

  • AugustineThomas

    Bornhoft says that men won’t be interested in the proper Mass, but that’s the only Mass I see men under 65 at–those who aren’t musicians looking for a chance to practice their music in front of an audience anyway.

  • Unfortunately, female service at the altar is SOP in most parishes millenials grew up in. The year my friends were born and just before I was born, 1994, was the year Pope John Paul II allowed for female servers.

    • fredx2

      And they started the practice of making all altar servers wear sacks instead of the better looking male altar server attire. It makes them look sloppy and yet again banalizes the whole thing.

      • If the albs were not made of cheap polyester, and instead were of quality linen or other suitable white cloth, with amice and cincture as is the norm, then I’d be OK with albs. They are the more traditional vesture, though not after Trent, and not for all servers (the thurifer and certain other assistants wore the surplice at Sarum). But they are not, probably because the alb is a universal garment (baptism) and because the cassock is associated with acting in place of or being a cleric.

    • R. K. Ich

      I’m one of those biblical chauvinistic curmudgeons: I am convinced women should (during service) be banned from the chancel and altar area, have head coverings to pray, and be silent otherwise (singing excepted). Not popular to say this in the liberated West, I understand, but it’s the standard.

      • zoltan

        I’m a 27-year-old married woman, about to join the Church in Easter, who credits the “old mass” for its evangelization fruits, and I 100% agree. Acknowledging the differences between the sexes is not implicitly chauvinistic or curmudgeonly. It’s heartening to see a man stand up for a traditional, though unpopular, belief, if only on the internet!

        • R. K. Ich

          Congratulations on your entry into the Roman Communion. The Tridentine Mass is pretty remarkable.

          As for the other stuff, it’s all enforced pretty regularly in my household. My wife loves it. She’s an avowed ex-“feminist” and revels in the Apostolic mandates.

  • Also, I think that there are some unfortunate changes in the council’s constitution on the liturgy… While there is a strong debate over the hours for secular clergy today, certainly a monk can be expected to pray Prime. That’s one example.
    Article V of Paul VI’s motu proprio moved marriage to after the Gospel; that’s a most unfortunate and innovative change.
    I think that the TLM certainly needs some modifications in the assignment of the propers and the orations, and perhaps with readings in addition to the current cycle, but it really ought to have been left alone. That being said, the teaching on the Eucharist in Sacrosanctum Concilium is wonderful.

  • It’s also not true that the Near Eastern and European nature of the Christian liturgy, especially in the Tridentine form, is a hindrance to evangelization. Look at the faith and devotion of those in Asia and Africa. The OF is still highly Eurocentric, though not Roman-centric. And we are the Roman Church. We must never lose that in our worship and the culture surrounding it. Benedict XVI made that clear.
    In Japan, the novices of St. John’s Abbey (not know for supporting the EF) think inculturation was actually damaging. Canon Ueda of the ICRSS is Japanese, and in both Japan and China, and other Asian countries, there is strong attachment to the EF. The ICRSS was founded in West Africa.

  • fredx2

    There is no reason that each parish cannot offer a 7 am Traditional Mass on Sundays,, and the rest in the Novus Ordo. The traditionalists would be ecstatic just to be able to attend a TLM without driving 50 miles. And they would get up at 7 am to go to that mass.

    • GG

      That is a good point. We have teen mass. We have children mass. We have Polka mass. The one mass that is forbidden is the Latin mass. Why? Ideologues hate it.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    Vatican II is irrelevant to the liturgy. Councils only matter insofar as (a) the Pope signs off on what they say and (b) the Pope implements what he signed off on.

    The current liturgy was not produced by the Council, nor does Sacrosanctum Conciliam matter at all. It’s completely irrelevant because the Popes have never considered it relevant in any practical way.

    This has a long history. Look at Fourth Constantinople – Photius was banned by an ecumenical council from ever holding a bishopric again, but ten years later he was bishop of Constantinople with the Pope’s blessing. Or Fifth Lateran, essentially none of whose decrees were implemented. Or Constance, which was completely ignored (no, we don’t have ecumenical councils every five years).

    The liturgy is promulgated by Popes, not councils. Vatican II is completely irrelevant except insofar as a Pope implements some aspect of it. Appealing to a council document is a complete waste of time. It’s all on the Pope – Pope likes it, we do it, Pope doesn’t like it, we don’t do it, even if he signed off on it.

    The last 50 years of nattering about the Council as if it were relevant just goes to show how badly formed most Catholics are. Councils only matter insofar as Popes implement them. In every other regard, they are useless.

    • fredx2

      You mean Benedict XVI was “badly formed”? He would have grave issues with what you say.

    • Athelstane

      This is actually a fair point, and obviously an accurate point, given how little the modern Roman Rite actually resembles what is called for in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

      No, the blame for the destruction of the liturgy in the Latin Rite world over the last century must be laid chiefly at the feet of Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI – and, to the extent that they have failed to undo the damage, their successors. And blame is required given that, while the Bishop of Rome has an authoritative locus as far as the Roman Rite is concerned (as Fr. John Hunwicke has put it), no such Pope (or any Doctor) ever appeared to entertain the proposition that this authority extends to the possibility that the pope, or any bishop, can create a new liturgy or discard large portions of the old liturgy.

      • Steve Kellmeyer

        Which is why everyone still prays the Mass in Aramaic, the language of the Saviour, and there are no authentic Greek, Latin, or Syriac liturgies. Right? No one can create a new liturgy, right? St. John Chrysostom is in hell because he TRIED to create a new liturgy, right?


  • LWC

    It’s otherwise a consequence of the “Harry Potter Syndrome.”

  • AnneM040359

    As one who was born towards the end of the 50’s and hardly remembers the TLM nor is a much younger Catholic and lives rather in the shadows of VC II, I do want to appriciate the great gift from both God and the Church called the holy mass.


    Catholics in Maine:

    There is a traditional Latin High Mass celebrated at St. Peter & Paul Basilica in Lewiston every Sunday at 8 a.m. The music is acapella and exquisitely lovely, and many people accompany the singers, who stand off to the left in the front of the Church. People are QUIET when they enter the Church.

    Confessions are heard at 7:30 and the Rosary is recited at 7:30.

    Following the Mass Fr. Parent goes to Portland where he says the Latin Mass at noon at the Cathedral.

    People have been known to drive up to 100 miles to go to either one of those services.

  • jacobhalo

    At our Latin mass, we have at least 10 altar servers, adult men and boys, and on holy days we have about 20. We have many, many young people and many of them are involved with the church activities.
    Our pastor gives wonderful sermons on issues that no priest would talk about in the Novus Ordo. Our church is in Berlin, NJ, Mater Ecclesiae. All are welcome.

  • AnneM040359

    As a person who was born in the late 1950’s and can hardly remember what the old TLM was like and is not of the younger generation who has taken a very large interest in it, but rather have lived under the shadows of VC II, I am in the process to begin to learn about the Bible origins of the holy mass.

  • Deacon Dennis

    One thing that everyone, I think, is forgetting is that the “official” language of the Novus Ordo Mass is Latin. This is why I kind of object to the term “Latin Mass” because we are the Latin Rite. The problem, as I see it, is the lack of education in the Latin language which ceased in both Catholic and secular highschools in the mid 60’s. I had the advantage of having Latin in my schooling and have had the advantage of not having to rely on the Dictionary in later graduate and post-Graduate studies. Bring it back, just for learning and understanding’s sake!

    • JP

      I think many people, when they think of the “Latin Mass” think of the 1962 missal. Others just call it the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). I’ve seen the Novus Ordo Latin Mass, and it differs greatly from the TLM. When Bishop Jenky (Bishop of Peoria) was still in South Bend, he officated the Novus Ordo Latin Mass quite a few times. As a matter of fact, he was one of the few clerics that I know who still do it. That’s too bad, as the Novus Ordo Latin Mass can be quite beautiful if done correctly.

  • cmac

    I don’t think it’s a problem with the Novus Ordo per se, but a complete lack of reverence during the Mass, which more often than not, starts with the priest celebrant and then spreads throughout the pews. I have attended only one TLM (we only have one place in this archdiocese that celebrates it and it’s so far away) and I keep praying that our Monsignor will celebrate it with just one half the reverence I witnessed that day. Then maybe the folks in the pews wouldn’t be constantly checking their watches and cell phones hoping to get out in time for kickoff.

  • JP

    Much of this began with theologians like Karl Rahner. Even before the Second Vatican Council, there was a belief that the Church should go beyond Rome. The Mass, they believed, should be stripped of its Rome-Centric qualities in order to better represent indigenous cultures through-out the world. The New Mass, stripped of its smells, bells, Latin prayers, majesty, and long practiced Traditions, would somehow become a pure offering of God’s people – more authentic than the trappings of the Medieval rubrics. The leader of this way of thinking was theologian Karl Rahner. One writer summed up Rahner’s life work as as reformulating Christine Doctrine as to be better understood by people brought up in an age of empiricism.

    Much has been written about Rahner’s work. Whether one agrees with him or not, Rahner exercised an inordinate amount of influence on the Second Vatican Council. Much of his time was spent working on Lumen Gentium, but we shouldn’t ignore his over-all influence in directing “The Spirit of Vatican II”, especially what occurred with the Mass. Again, there were forces (namely those from Germany) that worked to make the Mass less centered on Roman traditions. This is very important, as through the ages, most theologians believed that it wasn’t an accident that God chose Rome as being the earthly home of His Church. In the Book of Acts, Peter goes to Rome and sets up shop. The Church in Rome absorbed, in the opinions of many, all that was best in Roman Law, philosophy, and customs. Augustine, himself a Roman citizen and scholar of antiquity, became a bedrock of Church theology; and Jerome translated the Canon into the common Roman tongue (the Vulgate). Over the centuries, this tradition gave the Vatican its independence from earthly powers and pressures. Latin remained the language of the Church for a reason. The Mass belonged not to French, German, Spanish, or Italians – but to God and His Church. There was no “People’s Mass, as there was no Mass for Monarchs and Dukes. It was this point of view that clashed with the Post War reformers.

  • Joe

    I hope someone will answer my question. Why does it have to be such a dichotomy? Why must it be “Gather Us In” or TLM? The parish we attend in suburban DC has rather beautiful NO masses, complete with chanted propers in Latin and often beautiful renaissance motets. While we don’t receive at the communion rail, EMCs are limited. The priest often chants the words of consecration and it is sublime. People who have been to mass in Rome know full well the NO can be every bit as reverent and mystical as the TLM. I have no problem expanding use of the TLM, but we must also put an end to the desecration going on in the NO.

    • R. K. Ich

      Because Haugen “hymns” are horribly written, they are grating musically, and not fitting for the title “sacred music.” In spite of what the liberals tell you, form and substance are interconnected. New compositions must pass certain theological and aesthetical canons for it to become acceptable to the worshiping community.

      • New compositions should not matter, for the GIRM allows them only as the last possible alternative to the normative possibility of the propers. The problem is that the least desireable alternative became the de facto norm.

        • R. K. Ich

          Agreed. However, my only point is that new hymnody must come under the watchful eye of Scripture, tradition, good taste and decorum. Simply slapping together a hymn (or one of those wretched “Praise & Worship” songs) under a supposed fit of inspiration doesn’t make it ipso facto fit for popular use.

          • As a matter of fact, most hymnals are full or heretical hymns. I suggested our music director to burn them in a pyre, but he comforted me reminding that Advent was near, when he directs the choir to lead the congregation to chant the propers.

            • R. K. Ich

              Amen, and amen.

  • Mark Magister

    Bravo, Susanna. You’re spot on.

  • Simon Ingerling

    I believe that after Benedict passes on, Francis will issue his own motu proprio abrogating Summorum Pontificum. He and his progressive advisors will attempt to shut down the extraordinary rite forever.

    • Marcelus

      Do you know TLM is said in Argentina?

  • MIKE

    “CATHOLICS in ALLIANCE for the COMMON GOOD”, are heretical Catholics who support Obama and the Democratic Party of Death – which includes in their official Platform (goals) – support for Abortion, Contraception, and Homosexual Marriage.
    These are the people who do NOT adhere to the two most important books in the Catholic Faith (which includes V II).
    1) Sacred Scripture in entirety which is the speech of God (CCC 81);
    2) “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” (of 1997) which contains the Doctrine of the Faith.

  • MIKE

    For those who want more info on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (aka: EF, Latin, Tridentine):

    SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM – Apostolic Letter, Motu Proprio

    Instruction regarding Summmorum Pontificum:

    If your Priest (or Bishop) wants more info they can contact the FSSP (the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter).
    The FSSP will train Priests in the EF Mass, or with invitation/permission of the Diocese Bishop might be able to establish an EF Parish within your Diocese.

    Young Men who want more information on Vocations regarding the EF Mass and the FSSP, should contact them directly.

  • MIKE

    Those attending an EF Mass for the first few times might want to purchase an inexpensive “Latin-English Booklet Missal” for better understanding.

    There is a children’s Missal for ages 4 – 10.

    For women who are interested in a Mantilla (which can be worn at both EF and OF Masses) – There are inexpensive ones on the EWTN Catalogue –

    There is a moderately priced “Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal” –

    The “Roman Missal 1962″ Daily Missal by Baroness Press is also available.

    None of these are required. But I recommend them. Hope you find this info helpful.

  • donttouchme

    JPII was working hard to annihilate the TLM just like he tried to annihilate the role of the father as head of the family. We have Archbishop Lefebvre and Lefebvite priests to thank for JPII “opening up the use of the TLM in 1988.”

  • GrahamUSA

    At Ship of Fools’ Mystery Worshiper site there is a review of the Church of Our Saviour in Manhatten at the time Fr. George Rutler was the pastor there. The anonymous reviewer was surprised by the number of young worshipers at a traditional Latin Mass. I can only speak from my experience here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, but Novus Ordo parishes can be overtly hostile to those of us who, ultimately, find a home in a TLM parish as I was fortunate to do. Here they tend, ironically, to be in the city of Detroit in some of the poorest neighborhoods. That is they sit along side the debris fields of all those social, cultural, political, and ultimately ecclesiastical ambitions that have so devastated our cities and politicized Catholic theology and liturgy. Certainly conservative and orthodox Catholics are not the problem here. Rather it is the frantic, even desperate efforts of liberal Catholics, priest and laity, who are literally driving many of us away and into the arms of an astonishing and impressive devoutness. And I suspect, nearly driving these Catholics away from the Church altogether. As a priest expressed the situation, we are considered by many in the Chancery as “retrograde” and “out of touch.” What a dispiriting and even tragic place the Church is in at this moment. And it can all, all, be laid at the foot of progressive Catholics.

  • Unanimous Consent

    One slight correction to the article. The author states “And thanks to Pope St. John Paul II opening up the use of the TLM in 1988…”

    Pope John Paul II actually opened it up in 1984 with Quattuor abhinc annos – before the 1988 ordinations that resulted in Ecclesia Dei.

  • The middle man

    The reasons for increasing secularization and falling church attendance are very complex. It involves culture, history, education, economics, politics, globalization, and on and on. To say that people don’t attend the new Mass because it’s not Baroque enough or beautiful enough is simplistic, bordering on fundamentalist.

    Nowhere have they done Baroque beauty better than in Austria and Bavaria. But church attendance from 1900 to 1965 plummeted there, with hardly a change in the liturgy. It was already low by the 1950s, before the Holy Week reforms. According to your theory, this couldn’t have happened and shouldn’t have happened.

    It is true that some EF celebrations are growing in size. But it is a tiny, tiny fraction of the population that is getting a bit bigger. It is not attracting the remaining 99% of the population, it is not attracting hardly any of the vast majority of Catholics and others who don’t go to church.

    Maybe there is something about the liturgy that attracts some people to magical thinking, to superstitious beliefs about what would work. When the evidence says otherwise, we must resist this robustly.

  • profling

    In my lifetime I have never seen a more confused, balkanized Church.

  • Clint

    Ah Susanna, blessings upon your head for this wonderful article in defence of the TLM. I teach RCIA; our biggest challenge is reversing the shocking to non-existent catechesis since Vatican II. I honestly think that 90% of Catholics don’t have the vaguest clue what is in the Catechism. And that of course suits Cardinal Kasper and those around him seeking to hammer the next nail into the coffin of our faith!