Spiritual Renewal Paul VI Spoke of Has Not Yet Materialized

Earlier this month, Pope Francis celebrated the Saturday Vigil Mass at All Saints Church in Rome in order to mark the 50th anniversary of the so-called “first Mass in Italian.” For, in this parish, on March 7, 1965, Blessed Paul VI celebrated Mass partially in the vernacular for the first time, according to a reformed version of the 1962 Missal (a version of the Missal that was wholly discarded by 1969 to make way for the Novus Ordo Mass).

Like many of his generation, Pope Francis apparently views this event as a milestone in Church history that deserves celebration. Indeed, Paul VI certainly saw his use of the vernacular as a wondrous moment, and five decades on, his words on the occasion merit examination.

In his Angelus address on the day of the “Italian Mass,” Paul spoke thusly:

This Sunday marks a memorable date in the spiritual history of the Church, because the spoken language officially enters the liturgical worship, as you have already seen this morning…

The welfare of the people demands this care, so as to make possible the active participation of the faithful in the public worship of the Church. It is a sacrifice that the Church has made of her own language, Latin; a sacred, sober, beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant. She has sacrificed the traditions of centuries and above all she sacrifices the unity of language among the various peoples, in homage to this greater universality, in order to reach all.

And this [also] for you, faithful, so that you may know better [how to] join yourselves to the Church’s prayer, so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy, the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.

When read now, 50 years later, these words seem to portend the confusion and misdirection that would deluge the remainder of Paul’s reign, and that persists into the present day. Paul appears as a man divided against himself, trumpeting “the chance of a true spiritual renewal” while simultaneously describing this “chance” as the result of the sacrifice of “the traditions of the centuries.”

It is an extraordinary statement, for it seems an utter absurdity to claim that a spiritual renewal could flower from the destruction of the Church’s Sacred Tradition. It is an axiom of the Church’s understanding of herself, so critical in its theological response to the Reformation, that Revelation depends upon Scripture and Tradition. When we say that the Church is a “traditional” institution, we mean it in a literal sense—Tradition is a pillar of the Church, a part of its fundamental essence.

As such, the Church at war with her Sacred Tradition is the Church at war with herself. To sacrifice Tradition is to contradict the Church’s divinely ordained nature. The “sacrifice” of Sacred Tradition cannot lead to “spiritual renewal”—and the half-century that has passed since the Italian Mass proves it.

For some time now, Catholics disturbed by the diminishment and degradation of the liturgy that followed the Vatican II have stressed that the council itself did not mandate the Novus Ordo Mass, but gave only a general instruction with an eye towards modest liturgical reform, noting, for example, that Sacrosanctum Consilium expressly requires that “use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” So, many wonder, how is it that the Novus Ordo of 1969 was born of, and implemented according to, the commands of the council?

The kernel of the answer, it seems, lies in Paul’s Angelus statement. It appears that, perhaps with some misgivings, Paul had already adopted a “hermeneutic of rupture” regarding the liturgy before the council had even closed its final session. Indeed, at the outset of his homily for the Mass, Paul deems “extraordinary, today’s new way to pray, celebrate Mass” and speaks of the “new form of the Liturgy” he inaugurates at All Saints Church. With these words, the pope himself declared the Mass of the Ages dead. He heralded an innovation.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Paul gave approval to the radical re-working of the liturgy that is the Novus Ordo, often rightly called the Mass of Paul VI. The words of March 7, 1965, formed the foundation for the enthusiasms of the Modernists and, rolling over Lefevbre and Ottoviani, for decades the faithful were taught to tear down or ignore the liturgical and devotional life that existed on the day before Paul went to All Saints.

None of this is to say that the Missal of 1962 should have been fixed for all time. The liturgy can be, and needs to be, reformed from time to time. But true reform respects the Sacred Tradition—the ancient form of Christian worship, developed over the centuries—of which the Church is promoter and guardian.

With the proclamation of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict at last paid to the ancient liturgy the respect that is its due. He longed for the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Roman rite, a means, perhaps, to graft the best elements of the Novus Ordo to the Missal of John XXIII, and thereby finally realize the original vision of the council. This work of true reform awaits the next generation of leadership in the Church and, when it is accomplished, we pray, the Church will truly experience the “spiritual renewal” Paul envisioned but never witnessed.

Christian Browne


Christian Browne is a practicing attorney in New York state. A board member of the Nassau County Catholic Lawyers Guild, he earned his J.D. from Fordham University in 2004.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    We must distinguish Holy Tradition (παράδοσις, literally a handing on or handing over), the handing on of saving faith from customs and usages that have grown up in the Church (or parts of it) over time.

    Was there any departure from Holy Tradition, when St Cyril and St Methodius, co-patrons of Europe and known as the Light-Bearers (Φωσφόροι) translated the service books into Slavonic? Was there any departure from Holy Tradition, when the Church of Rome translated its service books from Greek into Latin, in the time of Pope Victor?

    There is always a danger, identified by Bl John Henry Newman, that people will “rely on things more than on persons, and go through a round of duties in one and the same way, because they are used to them, and because in consequence they are attached to them, not as having any intelligent faith in a divine oracle which has ordered them…”

    • Benedetti

      Amen to that! Other councils have been messy, as well. Look at the history of Chalcedon.

  • jacobhalo

    We didn’t need a spiritual renewal. Before Vat. II, the church was vibrant: full convents, seminaries, Catholic schools, long lines at confession, 90% attendance rate at mass, the term “Cafeteria Catholics” was unknown.
    It is after the disastrous Vat. II that we need a spiritual renewal. Vat. II caused a deterioration of the spirit.

    • I can understand such a looking back, and a longing for the past – but I don’t think you can rightly blame Vatican II for what happened, and what continues to happen, in the world in our time. The last century saw an eruption of darkness world-wide, as the “new” post-Christian era rooted itself and began to mature. And this darkness, and its “culture of death,” continues to spread, and deepen, and grow. Vatican II was called in its midst, but is certainly not its cause.

      The Church finds herself in crisis within, while in the midst of the crisis all around her. She is called to proclaim the Truth! We certainly need that “spiritual renewal” now, so that we can and will live the holy vocation entrusted to us by the Lord.

      • JP

        Vatican II was hijacked. In retrospect, the calling for a Vatican Council was a huge mistake. Like the Synod for the Family last autumn, the Vatican Council was just a pretext for launching an all out assault on Catholic Orthodoxy. Yes, most of the documents of VII were orthodox in nature; however, the intents was to make Doctrine a dead letter. Catholic practice is where it is at. The radicals figured that out 55 years ago, and they’ve been transforming the Church ever since.

        • Humanity was “hijacked” – and the enemy can be found wherever man is found, including within men in the Church. I hear the Lord calling us to both vigilance and patience: yes, the innocent must be protected and nurtured; but at the same time the wheat must not be pulled up and thrown out with tares. They will all grow together until the harvest time. We are now witnessing this happening, as the Lord said.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The Church had been in crisis for more than half a century before VII.

      Writing in 1907, Maurice Blondel declared, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.” In the aftermath of Lamentabili and Pascendi, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: “[U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” [for the spirit of faith does not die], nor even an “evolution” [for the spirit of faith does not change], it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth.”

      A brief consideration of the suspicion with which the leading theologians of the 20th century – Joseph Maréchal SJ, Marie-Dominique Chenu OP, Cardinal Henri de Lubac SJ, Cardinal Yves Congar OP and Louis Bouyer – were treated proves the truth of Blondel’s analysis.

      • orientstar

        They should have been treated with suspicion and Blondel was just delineating an artificial crisis so that his successors could create a real one.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          See my reply to Dr Timothy J Williams above.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        The Church has been in a “crisis” ever since Judas opted for social
        justice and Peter denied Christ three times. Saying “the Church was
        already in crisis before Vatican II” is like saying “there was already
        anti-semitism in Europe even before Hitler.” We must still notice that
        things got much worse for Jews after 1933, and for the Catholic Church
        after 1965. And yes, sometimes post hoc DOES equal propter hoc, as when your house burns down because you were playing with matches.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          No crisis, when the Abbé Duchesne – a commander of the Légion d’honneur and a member of the Académie française and perhaps the greatest liturgical historian in the Catholic Church had his Early History of the Christian Church placed on the Index, when the successor to his chair at the Académie française, the Abbé Brémond, the great historian of mysticism was expelled from the Jesuits, when the Abbé Laberthonnière was silenced, when Édouard Le Roy was censured…

          The climateof fear and suspicion was only lifted by the Council

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            It’s fine to lift the “climate of fear and suspicion,” but not to the point of permitting open heresy to be taught as Catholicism.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              The problem was not dogmatics and the names I mentioned were not dogmatic theologians; the problem, which the Council went some way to addressing, particularly in Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium, was the integration of the results of modern biblical scholarship, patristics and Church history within a coherent dogmatic framework, whose expression and frame of reference had hitherto been that of medieval philosophy, alien to, and incompatible with, the body of modern knowledge.

              The importance of Sources Chrétiennes, founded by the Jesuits, Cardinal Jean Daniélou, Cardinal Henri de Lubac and Père Claude Mondésert was that it showed how theology could and had been done, using a quite different philosophical framework, by Church Fathers like Origen, Clement of Alexandria and the Cappadocians and in a dynamic and self-developing way.

      • fredx2

        Yes, but he was probably writing because in 1905 France passed the
        “The Law of Separation of Church and State in 1905, subsequent to prior expulsion of many religious orders, declared most Catholic church buildings property of the state (cathedrals) communes (existing village churches), and led to the closing of most Church schools.

        The law was effectively modified, but not amended, in certain respects, e.g. by subsequent Catholic consent to the state’s approval for the appointment of bishops (see below)”

        This ended funding of the church by the state and caused a lot of disruption of the church in France.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          No one was more scathing than Blondel about those Catholics who opposed the separation of Church and State – accusing them of wanting “a Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

    • VelikaBuna

      jacobhalo……..I am not sure if the times can be compared, and if Novus Ordo is to blame for the decrease in faith. There were many simultaneous changes from then till now, in many aspects of the society and the world. I am just not sold on the idea of Vatican II and Novus Ordo being at fault for all the problems. I think the problems were there already and over time just got worse. If you notice the problem with sexual abuse largely stems from pre- Novus Ordo times, and just got carried over and increased. This is a complicated issue and I trust in the Holy Spirit to lead us out of the crisis of faith we are currently experiencing world wide.

      • JP

        The drop off in Mass attendance, the loss of parishioners, and the dearth of new vocations all occurred within 3-5 years of the VII reforms. That much cannot be refuted. Statistically, it is called a strong correlation. The Second Vatican Council was a huge mistake.

    • Dhaniele

      The widespread student unrest of the late 60’s shows that there was a profound movement away from the past already in motion before the Council. This unrest exploded soon after the Council. Pope John’s summoning of the Council was a prophetic move to give the Church a reasoned answer to the problems that were then bubbling under the surface in Western culture. The Council documents continue to give a reasoned Catholic answer to the problems of our times. The fact that they are ignored by most does not lessen their truthfulness nor their effectiveness for those who are open to the truth.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        As John Senior and the professors of the Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas demonstrated in the 1970s, the student unrest was not a movement away from tradition, but exactly the opposite: a student revolt motivated by the university’s movement away from traditional, liberals arts education, and the adoption of “pragmatic studies.” It left students alienated from the big questions of life and their natural desire to embrace the quest for Truth.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        I actually don’t think the Council fathers had a clue regarding those events. In any case VII, was scarcely the antidote; many in the Church simply capitulated.

      • Idler

        Those widespread student protests that were funded by the Soviet Union through the World Peace Council? Quite similar to how the occupy movement was funded by leftists like George Soros.

  • This article seems to conflate and confuse Sacred Tradition and ecclesial traditions. This error is a fundamental one. Maybe reading the Catechism on the distinctions can help:

    II. The Relationship between Tradition and Sacred Scripture

    One common source…

    80 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.” Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”.

    …two distinct modes of transmission

    81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

    “And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

    82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

    Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

    83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

    Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour


  • Ramon Antonio

    Jesus Himself spoke in at least 5 languages: Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and whatever the Samaritans spoke. Not to mention that as a young he lived in Egypt. Not bad for an untrained Jew. Not bad for the first Rabbi of history.

    In what language was then Salvation effective by Him?

    His epitaph was written by his judge in 3 languages ascertaining that He was the King of Israel. To whom does Pilate directed his address?

    In the first proclamation in Pentecost the apostles SPOKE IN ALL LANGUAGES AT THE SAME TIME AND THEY WERE UNDERSTOOD BY ALL PRESENT. NOT MANY LATIN SPEAKING THEN. The majority were Jews speaking dialects of Hebrew.

    Peter alone converted more than 3,000 and that was not in Rome or in Latin.

    Finally, the first and surely saved person by Him directly repented to Him in Aramaic or Hebrew NOT IN LATIN. That person was hanging on a cross at his side. Isn’t that the real essence of Salvation? To take our own cross and follow Him? Does that cross needs to be Croce in Latin to be valid?

    • JP

      The early Church Fathers didn’t wish for the Mass to become the hostage of local languages and dialects. Latin was chosen, because over time it became a dead language. As a matter of fact, the language of the Church remained in Latin despite the growth of more regional and organic languages. No one kingdom or people could dominate the language of the Church. The Universality of the Roman Church was closely linked to this idea. One could go to Mass in Paris or Trier, and it would be the same as the Mass in Rome or London.

      • Ramon Antonio

        It would indeed be the same. Unintelligible, unknown, without personal understanding of the personal commitment that Jesus made for each of us and continues to make in each Eucharistic Celebration. The Mass, or correctly the Missio, would be truncated for it would be required to Missio in Latin to foreigners.

        Jesus kerygma, the preaching of the reality of the Kingdom of God in Earth would be in Latin. A reality in a foreign lBrothers. Cultural Domination as a requirement for Salvation? This makes Last Day Protestants look almost like Mario Brothers.

        Another Columbus style christianization? Who would then be the cause of the Holocaust and to whom? Worst than that, in the name of who would Salvation be for Latin speaking Christians? This could turn Christianity into something worst than the Third Rich.

        If we preach Eternal life in a dead tongue for a supposed convenience of unity, then what kind of Salvation are we preaching?

        The consequences of staunch conservatism are evident in Jesus times. They were called Pharisees. Pope Paul VI understood that and under the Authority of the Spirit guided the Church to the people to whom Jesus preached. TO ALL OF THEM.

        • GG

          Ask any random mass going Catholic today to list the 10 commandments or the spiritual works of mercy. Let us know how active their knowledge is.

          • Ramon Antonio

            Who am I to judge?

            Why should they respond to my inquiry? Am I anIInquisitor? Do they respond to my definition of faith? Does true faith must be in Latin?

            Who is confused on Who we Follow? The Curia or Jesus? Is the Church based on dogma or on the rock which is Jesus?

            Thanks for the article and the discussion. Yours in Jesus and Mary.

            • GG

              You cannot form an intelligent view on the subject? Why?

              • Ramon Antonio

                Interesting concept. Any view diverging from someone else is JUDGED based on intelligence according to… Whom? THen it is evident that some people understand the Church as a fraternity of knowledgeable persons who can cherish hymns, liturgy and everything else in a “traditional” way. I think this selection of an article in the CATHOLIC ENCICLOPEDIA is sufficient intelligent for even the most… well… unnintelligent.
                St. Thomas (II-II:11:1) defines heresy: “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”. “The right Christian faith consists in giving one’s voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ’s doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics. The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition as proposed to ourbelief by the Church. The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval. The heretical tenets may be ignorance of the true creed, erroneous judgment, imperfect apprehension and comprehension of dogmas: in none of these does the will play an appreciable part, wherefore one of the necessary conditions of sinfulness–free choice–is wanting and such heresy is merely objective, or material. On the other hand the will may freely incline the intellect to adhere to tenets declared false by the Divine teaching authority of the Church. The impelling motives are many: intellectual pride or exaggerated reliance on one’s own insight; the illusions of religious zeal; the allurements of political or ecclesiastical power; the ties of material interests and personal status; and perhaps others more dishonourable. Heresy thus willed is imputable to the subject and carries with it a varying degree of guilt; it is calledformal, because to the material error it adds the informative element of “freely willed”.
                END OF CITATION

                Faith does not depends on intelligence but on obedience to Jesus and his Church. Not obedience to any particular understanding or fashion (however old and culturally established). Obedience requires humility and acceptance from us all. Paul VI established that for the good of the Church everyone should understand the Catholic Liturgy in their own native language because Christianity is not conquering by affiliation but conversion by love.

        • Mark

          Are you seriously comparing Latin liturgy to the Holocaust?

          • Ramon Antonio

            If in the name of Latin Liturgy a faction of the Church requires that correct faith be defined in Latin worship I only ask, what’s the difference from the Third Reich?
            Latin Liturgy has its place in actual and historical liturgy, don’t extrapolate my thoughts. Many of us love that liturgy. I used to be a young altar boy in that liturgy and I survived. THe priests I served with were models of virtue.
            But Latin Liturgy is not the “correct” form of Liturgy because simply there is no one other than the Liturgy that the Church approves. And right now its the “so called” “Novo Ordo”.
            The Inquisition was ordered to “purge” the Church. History has shown the results of that cleansing.
            The “Novo Ordo” was put in order to include the people of varied cultures and nations. And the Church has experienced immense growth.
            There is something called “the signs of the times”. And it is up to the Church to determine how to act when required. Fashion or opinions are not what guides the Church. IT’s the Living Spirit of God He who steers the Church.

            • Mark

              You are completely clueless about history and utterly sick in the head to make such a comparison.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Excuse me, but just what the hell are you rambling about?

          • GG

            If you find out, tell the rest of us please.

          • Ramon Antonio

            In a probably imperfect way I just want to point out the serious collateral damage that a staunch conservatism as reflected by insisting that the change from Latin Rite to vernacular use in Liturgy deems an imperfect or less correct Church devotion causes to the Church message, ie, kerygma.
            The debate has been because most of the responses to my points insist on judgements such as intelligence, capacity of learning Latin as a form of unifying the Church, etc. These statements, even though taken with love by me and making an effort not to take offense by them, reflect the profound divide that some sectors of the Church cause by their adherence to their positions.
            Surprisingly, when someone maintains a position contrary to conservatism, then conservatism accuses them of separatism of their “True Church”. My point is that the contrary is true and the same. THere is no “True Church” of a certain group but The True Church of all. And that one is lead by the Holy Spirit given by Jesus to the apostles and believers through the bishops under the Pope and from the same Holy Spirit through the Gifts and Charisms to the Church as well.

      • The language of the liturgy was changed from Greek to Latin because Greek was a dead language, unlike Latin in the former Roman empire in the West. St. Athanasius (IIRC) protested this change vehemently for daring to abandon the language of the apostles. Replace apostles with saints and you update this complaint to our current times. Some things never change, including the malcontent.

        • Mark

          Knowing things like this makes me feel like things aren’t that bad. Just business as usual for 2000 years now.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Yet many local churches continued to use Syriac and still do. In the 9th century, St Cyril and St Methodius translated the Byzantine (Greek) service books into Slavonic. Ukranina and Belarussian Catholics would be astonished to learn that, for a thousand years, they have not bee3n worshipping in “the language of the Church.”

  • Ramon Antonio

    Forgot to remember, killing of Christians is “a la mode” again.

    Most of those beheaded are faithful NOT IN LATIN RITE. I think Pope Paul VI is somehow responsible for these new and fresh martyrs of Christ. They won’t be there if the rite in their countries were in Latin. In fact, the issue is that they praise the Lord in a way that everyone understands. They are courageous. And they too will be in Paradise with Jesus at his side. He will understand them in their native tongue. But more valuable, He will accept their hearts for that is what he really wants.

    • Benedetti

      I’m sure there are plenty of trads that would be willing to die to force their idea of tradition on everyone else in the Church, but one has to wonder how many would die for our Lord.

    • Mark

      What the hell? Nobody is saying that Islamic savages wouldn’t be murdering Christians if they worshiped in Latin.

  • Lou Iacobelli

    I fully agree with the article’s thesis. Instead of renewal, the Church began to adapt to secularism. Here’s a telling bit of history. In 1967, priests no longer had to take the Oath Against Modernism written by Pope Pius X. It’s worth reading the whole statement. But here’s the first paragraph. It helps to explain much of what has been lost in the Church today: “I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.” Why this loyalty declaration to the faith dropped?

  • djc

    I’ve grown to appreciate and admire Paul VI over the years.

    That a rot was beginning to grow in the church in the decades preceding the council is true; otherwise why the vast apostasy of so many religious in the late 60’s and 70’s? That Paul VI was able to proclaim, and stick to, Humanae Vitae against overwhelming dissent IN THE CHURCH ITSELF was just a remarkable show of strength. I probably could not have withstood the torrent of abuse that followed. Paul VI did.

    I’m not a church historian or a theologian and I’m in awe of many of the learned posts here, but I can’t see where Paul VI did anything that was not orthodox. He banished Anibale Bugnini to Iran in the 70’s.

    I’ve always found the Mass of Paul VI, when chanted and properly celebrated, to be quite beautiful. It wasn’t Pope Paul’s fault if radicals hijacked the post-conciliar church. Was demoting 50% of the American bishops a real possibility? I think not.

    Living through the turmoil of the post-conciliar church is actually a blessing—we can live out our faith when its not easy to do so.


  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    “Things are only temporal when we make them so.”
    -St. Catherine of Siena
    They made them so.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    This wonderful article is going on my office door, so that certain clueless theologians can read it every morning as they meander down the hall towards their office.

    • St JD George

      Let us know how the ensuing dialog goes after they stop to read and ponder.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        There is never any “dialogue.” I just get “requests” to remove items from office door, like the prayer I posted a few years ago for the canonization of Marcel Lefebvre.

        • St JD George

          I figured as much, my “dialog” comment was cynical.

        • Guest

          Amazing…when you agree with the societal view you are offering a dialogue. But when you differ you are called a hater or divisive or worse….Interesting how this works….

    • Veritas

      Your Crisis profile says you teach at U of Steubenville, and right next to your profile is an advertisement for the university. My understanding of this school is that it is on the Newman Society list for being identified as a real Catholic university and it is orthodox. Your profile didn’t indicate you teach out near me at Loyola Marymount U. If that were the case, I could share stories with you about “liberal theologians.”

      So, are you saying there are liberal theologians even in Steubenville? I didn’t think it possible. Thanks.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        I didn’t say “liberal.” But when it comes to the liturgy, Vatican II, the “new springtime” we are supposed to be living, the “new evangelization,” yadda yadda yadda… yes, there are most definitely some who are clueless.

        • Veritas

          I wouldn’t have expected even “clueless” in Steubenville. We learn something new everyday.

      • DOTCOM_MOM

        U of Steubenville? Neo-catholic. This article, “Justice of the Term, Neo-Catholic,” written by Chris Ferrara in 2002 explains it best: http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2002Oct/oct9tra.htm (Ferrara’s book, “EWTN: a Network Gone Wrong,” is also a huge eye-opener regarding Hahn & other “neo-catholics.”) http://www.networkgonewrong.com/ as well as his book: “The Great Façade.” (a second edition is coming out soon!).

        • English Catholic

          You might find these interesting — very good explanations of the difference between traditionalists and neo-cons (most important point is that a trad is not a very conservative conservative):




        • Veritas

          Thank you for providing the links. I quickly scanned them and will need to read them more thoroughly later.
          As in politics, the use of neo begins to confuse in its attempt to more clearly define. In the end, I believe only in Orthodoxy–am I worshiping and thinking “rightly” as one of my favorite authors once defined.
          Is the term neo Catholic implying or not implying orthodoxy? I thought EWTN was orthodox. Does orthodoxy subscribe to the Latin Mass? To faithful adherence to Vatican II? To the belief that the Council was right or wrong? To the belief that it was right but its implementation was right? Wrong?

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    “…so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to
    that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to
    correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy,
    the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.” I have always been struck by the astounding hubris of these words of Paul VI. He is in effect saying that the Mass that fostered countless vocations, nurtured so many saints, consoled an army of martyrs, nevertheless denied Catholics “the chance of a true spiritual renewal.” Unbelievable. This is the modern bureaucrats’ basic view of others: “We know what you need better than you do, so we are not even going to consult you about this. Just rejoice in our superior wisdom.”

    • Howard Kainz

      I can remember constant complaints during the 50s and 60s from liturgists about congregations’ lack of participation in the Mass, just being present while the priest at the altar says stuff in an unknown language. Pope Paul was obviously trying to address this perceived problem.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        “complaints from liturgists” That says everything. If there is anything we have learned in the past 50 years, it is that “liturgists” (and not just lawyers) should all be hung! Once again, an “expert” judging another person’s degree of “active participation” in the liturgy. Thank God there was no liturgists at the Last Supper and at Calvary, to hector the awe-struck apostles, the weeping women, the fearful Roman soldiers, and turn Christianity into a high school play, dooming it before it ever got started.

        • Atilla The Possum

          I bet those so-called ”liturgists” were mostly protestant.

      • GG

        Have you seen the recent video of the dancing priest in France? Whatever the problems that were present before, the “cure” is worse than the disease. Perhaps too many were formulaic I cannot say, but what we have today is definitely not an improvement.

      • Veritas

        I was 8 years old in ’65 and I could follow what was going on in Mass. Not only that, but if I attended regularly, I could essentially learn the language and know what was being said; but that was short circuited in my lifetime. Who can forget, “et cum spiritu tuo?”

        The universal language is one and all Catholics could learn it. If I then attended Mass in Mexico I could still participate. Today, I don’t go to Mexico, but if I want to attend Mass in LA and if my work schedule permits only a certain time of day and the Mass is in Spanish, then I need to learn Spanish and I am frustrated. If it’s in Latin, everywhere, I am in my comfort zone.

        I never understand the complaint that people could not learn Latin.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          We are the same age. And I too had no difficulty following the Mass, the WHOLE Mass, by age 10. And I was shocked and confused by how quickly it was destroyed. The Church went from being the House of God to being about as reverent as the House of Pancakes in about six months.

          • Veritas

            Catholics everywhere around the world had a common language. What was ONE became MANY. If I am traveling in Africa or South America or Asia, I can be united in faith with these people as we are all thinking and speaking in the language of the Mass. It really doesn’t make any sense to separate us by language. Many among us are like movie critics, which is fine if you are a movie goer; but I don’t think Catholicism ever established its greatness by giving ordinary people, like me, the right to be a Mass critic.

            “House of Pancakes.” Funny but true! I attend a very nice, orthodox church that has the Latin rite and in English. What do you call it when it is in English but the priest is facing the altar the entire time? Many of the women wear veils and confession is available 7 days a week, also before and during Mass.

            Last Sunday, a chap came in with a Starbucks coffee. He set it under his seat and forgot about it. Of course, when it came time to kneel, his foot knocked it over. This was unnecessary and caused a bit of a disruption as the usher had to provide towels so he could clean up the spill. There was a time when we were taught reverence. I suppose I’m not so mad at the guy with the coffee as I am about the forces who took away the beauty of the Mass.

            • Atilla The Possum

              ”Last Sunday, a chap came in with a Starbucks coffee…”

              Now why doesn’t that surprise me?

              I saw sweet wrappers underneath a pew before Mass began … and was once overwhelmed with the rancid smell of an open bag of beef flavoured Monster Munch – on Good Friday, a couple of years ago! I told my PP about both incidence.

              And now … a ”sloppoccino” from Starbucks, of all places, is kicked over by accident?!?! Did it also happen to clean off decades of dirt and old varnish from the church floor? For a kick-off, Starbucks is one of the megabucks companies that support Same Sex Marriage and finances those narcissists who wish to ruin the businesses of people who are committed Christians against SSM!
              I sincerely hope and pray the chap in question has ‘fessed up to the priest about his serious deficiency of good manners and respect in God’s House.
              Respect is overdue! Bring it back!

              • Atilla The Possum

                CORRECTION: It should read: ‘I told my PP about both incidents’.

              • Veritas

                He announced his presence from the beginning when he sauntered down the center (and only) aisle of the church searching for a place to sit with coffee cup (maybe not Starbucks, but I blame them anyway) in hand, he turned to the rear and yelled, “Roman.”
                Roman never showed up, even though this fidgety man kept looking toward the door.
                But the people kind of gasped and “shhhh’d” the fellow.
                Some people who will read this may judge me for being judgmental or intolerant, but I kept my mouth closed and remained seated, even though I almost got up and spoke to him.
                What really is sad is that some people honestly feel that this is no big deal. I didn’t learn to be so “uptight” about being reverent; I became that way after seeing my own shortcomings and God’s love, which then somehow made me more humble about Mass and the duty to be obedient in matters Catholic.
                So, thanks for commenting. If I ever see the fellow again, there is a chance that he will pick up on this type of humility. That is our hope.

                • Atilla The Possum

                  Nope, you were neither being judgemental or intolerant. Your peace -your precious quality time being spent with Almighty God In His Real Presence – was disturbed.
                  Besides – why, in the Name of All That Is Holy, should we ‘tolerate’ behaviour like this? God loves all, yes he does – but he also loves give and take!
                  Where was the priest? Why didn’t he let him know where he was and that his behaviour was inexcusable and that respect for others in God’s House is long overdue?
                  I know a group of men who would do more than have a word with this person because I see them ushering drunks and loud rabbles from churches to the door whilst Mass is in progress. Their words to the miscreants are compared to lemon sherbet boiled sweets: tart, sharp, followed by an eye watering blast – minus expletives, of course!
                  Was this person under the impression that he was going to see a play or what, mincing into the church with his overpriced whipped up dishwater and shouting ”Roman!”? If the poor fellow was wearing glasses, clearly he should go to a reputable, well known High Street optician to get his eyes tested!
                  Here’s something for us all to call to mind whenever incidences like these happen: Christ threw out the moneychangers from the Temple, overturned their tables, set free their livestock and scattered the unnecessary coins about the place. He didn’t use a feather duster to drive these buckstews out of the Temple – no matter what the Church of Nice say with their lingo bingo words like ‘charity’, ‘tolerance’, ‘all are welcome’ and ‘judgemental’ etc.
                  If synagogues don’t tolerate people walking in off the street eating a bacon sarnie, then why should we put up with people who – quite simply – are given an inch and they take six foot?
                  Enough’s enough.

              • Jude

                i’ll go you one better. I was at a Saturday morning Mass with my husband and some of our children. We did not know that there was also a “retreat” that same day for first graders and their parents going on. When they came into the “worship center” the couple on our left ignored the table that had been placed in the narthex for them to leave their drinks and brought in their starbucks coffee and their child’s very large water bottle with straw. Only they didn’t want to put them away. They were just going to keep drinking. During Mass. Finally I leaned over and let them know that you can’t drink during Mass. This seemed to be news to them. This church also routinely has parents feeding their children snacks during the Mass. You can hear all the crinkling packages and see goldfish and cheerios and cracker crumbs everywhere. And the children are given activity pages to do during Mass, to make sure they don’t pay attention to anything. It’s not unusual to see a parent coloring along with a child or doing a little crossword puzzle.
                We gave up on ever making a difference at this parish and hightailed it to a TLM parish much farther away.

            • Micha Elyi

              “What do you call it when… the priest is facing the altar the entire time (during Mass)?”

              No matter the language the priest uses to say the Mass, when the priest faces the same direction as do the people in the assembly, it is called ad orientum (toward the east, the liturgical east that is).

              • Veritas

                I should have asked, “when the priest has his back to the people…”
                Thank you for answering my question.

                • Kimberly

                  You would prefer he has his back towards God while facing the people? Just Who is the center of the mass? Is it the priest, the people, or is it God? Ad orientum worship is the physical expression of the truths, that God is present on the altar, that the priest is offering sacrifice to God and that he does so on behalf of all of the people who follow him.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              “Catholics everywhere around the world had a common language”

              Except for those who used Armenian, Church Slavonic, Syriac…l

              • Veritas

                I wasn’t thinking about the Eastern Churches. Did they say Mass in Latin prior to 1054? I think that was the year of the split.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  But Michael, how many of these rites was subject to the root-and-branch style reform that destroyed the Latin rite? How do you think that those attending them would have reacted if they had?

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Sorry Veritas, I accidentlally hit the wring reply. I’ll re-post to Michael.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  No, of course not. Greek and Syriac were the princile languages in the Eastern churches since Apostolic times, although some used Armenian and other languages

                  • Kimberly

                    Did they use them during the liturgy, even if the congregants did not speak it at home? If these were primarily liturgical languages, not commonly spoken elsewhere, then their’s was the same experience as that of the Latin rite Catholics.

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                But Michael, how many of these rites was subject to the root-and-branch style reform that destroyed the Latin rite? How do you think that those attending them would have reacted if they had been?

              • AugustineThomas

                Right. Each of those rites had and has ONE language. They don’t have hundreds like the whacky Novus Ordo version.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  The Byzantine rite has three, Greek, Slavonic and Roumanian

              • Älter und weiser

                Michael, you make a good point.

                But for the Roman rite, there was a unifying language that really was not that hard to follow. English is my native tongue and give me a extraordinary missal and I can follow it. Finally permit me a premature, Christos voskrese! May God bless you my brother

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

              • Veritas

                You got me on that one. My understanding of world and Church history must improve.

            • John

              “Divided by language” The “Tower of Babble” all over again. And separating the “sheep from the goats”. You are blessed to have available to you the better half. I became an alter boy at the age of seven (1955) and had to know all the mass responses in Latin in order to serve at the alter. If a seven year old can know it, why can’t others? It’s because of the sin of “sloth”, (religious laziness). The reform increased sloth a hundred fold.

              • Kimberly

                People will always raise, or lower themselves to meet the expectations set for them.

          • djc

            I make sure to always read your posts and I agree with almost all of them. Your points are well taken and they are always coherent. My question, and I really don’t know the answer, is how was it possible that so much of the reverence in the church was lost so quickly if much of the clergy wasn’t complicit in a lack of faith.

            My premise is this is what Paul VI was trying to fix.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              Conversion to the Faith is never very deep in any of us. We need very little distraction, very little encouragement of our own vices, in order to fall away, to make fools of ourselves, to fail to live up to what we profess. The strength of the Old Mass was its ability to keep the Faith together regardless of any weakness on the part of clergy or laymen. The weakness of the New Mass is its inability to do the same, regardless of the “good intentions” of the reformers.

              • djc

                Thank you for your very thoughtful answer.

              • rodlarocque1931

                Yes, this is a very important observation. The form of the Mass protected it from abuse and so it could essentially speak for itself regardless of what the priest or others thought.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Yes, the much-derided rubrics protected the laity from priestly indiscretions and self-dramatization, didn’t they?

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            No attempt was ever made to solicit the actual state of the laity, they were simply dismissed as mindless, robotic spectators by the sequestered academics who devised the new rites. Not only were we forced to accept them, we also had to tell the liturgists how very grateful we were for their efforts. Nothing like the vanity of intellectuals in my experience, and that’s not limited to the secular academic variety.

          • James M

            At least pancakes are reasonably nourishing – the dreck of V2, not so much.

        • 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.

          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).

          • AugustineThomas

            So because you believe certain churches were too big (which is absurd), we should be happy to have the Mass which inspired “Clown Mass” and “liturgical dance”??

          • John Flaherty

            I, too, have been to Notre Dame in Paris, Michael. I have also been inside the cathedral in Regensburg. These and numerous others reflect the intent of those who built Catholic churches throughout the Church’s history.
            According to Wikipedia, no such thing as a microphone existed until 1870. Our Church celebrated Mass for 19 centuries without them. Given that Mass would’ve been typically offered ad orientem, a priest who prayed out loud would be projecting his voice into the wall. Even in the average parish church, hearing and understanding the priest much past even the fifth row would’ve been quite difficult.
            In other words, our modern-day expectation that we hear and understand the priest’s every word does not accurately reflect the Church’s intent for Her first 19 centuries.
            Maybe we ought to reconsider our modern expectations about how we celebrate Mass.

            I think it’s very interesting to notice that in my modern day parish, if I sit in the choir loft, I struggle to understand the content of the priest’s homily, even with the sound system in use. The building resonates enough that his words become somewhat garbled by the time they reach my ears. I must listen relatively carefully. Yet I would not wish to see us (re)install sound absorbing material. If we did, we wouldn’t be able to hear anything at all, except maybe the organ.

            I begin to think we might be best off to return to mostly silent prayers at Mass, perhaps allowing the priest to offer the first word of each prayer out loud, that we might stay with him more readily. Pope Benedict XVI suggested as much in his book about the liturgy. Certainly the choir can help by chanting/singing some of the more common or important parts.

            For all that I’m reluctant to see us surrender praying the same things at the same time as the priest, I’m forced to admit that the older methods might make more sense as a practical matter.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              It is Low Mass that created the problem – a mediaeval innoivation, unknown outside the Latin rite. In all the other rites, the liturgy is always sung

              • John Flaherty

                I think you rather overestimate the value of singing Mass. Offering prayers in the form of music does not guarantee that anyone knows what might be happening at the altar. Remember that Mass ultimately only requires that a priest offer it, no congregation need be present.
                Given that most priests are encouraged to offer Mass once daily, and given that most priests likely would not object to a few people being present, so long as they did not interrupt his celebration, Low Mass would’ve developed as a practical means of meeting needs of both priest and parishioner, simply without all the pomp and ceremony of High Mass on Sunday.

                (I can’t believe I just wrote that music is not essential for Mass. I rather prefer beautiful hymns and chanted psalmody, so long as the musician knows what he’s doing.)

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  “Remember that Mass ultimately only requires that a priest offer it, no congregation need be present.”

                  Missa solitaria (without an assistant) have always been treated as irregular and uncanonical; thus, the Synod of Mainz of 813, about the time when Low Mass was coming into use, along with others, forbad such masses; this prohibition was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law 1917, “A priest is not to celebrate Mass without a server to assist him and make the responses” (c 813) and the current Code provides, “A priest may not celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.” (c 906)

                  The reasons for the development of Low Mass (and side altars, another exclusively Latin development) were

                  1) The abandonment of concelebration in the West, so that in monasteries and cathedrals, a number of masses were said each day.

                  2) The practice of offering mass for a particular intention and the foundation of endowments of chantry priests and prebendaries to offer mass daily for the founder and his kin. Trade and Merchant Guilds also endowed chantries for their deceased members.

                  • John Flaherty

                    I’m not entirely sure what the point of your latest comments might be, Michael.
                    In a previous comment, you mentioned that the gathered faithful would have difficulty hearing the priest at Mass due to the distance between the altar and the first pew. Near as I can tell, this would be all the more the problem–from your point of view–in a Low Mass, because the priest says almost nothing audibly. In response, I commented that, indeed, in most older churches, the faithful might have held different expectations for Mass than presently because, as you say, they could not hear the priest.
                    After this, you grouch about how the Low Mass is to blame for the problem, essentially charging that such a Mass originally was effectively illegal, and that at least one of the faithful must always be present for Mass to be offered.

                    If it might be the case that at least one member of the lay faithful must be present, I remind you that almost any Low Mass will fulfill this requirement by means of having one server present. An entire congregation need not be available. I have seen pictures within the past few years of several Masses being offered at one time in a tent on a pilgrimage trip. One priest and one server per altar. Looks pretty cool, really.
                    Additionally, I think it interesting that canon law does not require that the priest be assisted every occasion that Mass might be offered. I have been to Mass in the Novus Ordo with all of seven people present, including the priest. I have also seen pictures of Mass having been offered on the hood of a Jeep with somewhat improvised vestments used, with maybe two or three others present. Such may happen because the faithful gathered might not have any other chance at all to attend Mass.

                    If the argument intends to be directed against using Latin for Mass, I remind you, as has someone else, that Latin is a language that may be learned if one wishes. For the life of me, I still don’t understand why academia places so much emphasis on learning a different language, yet so little emphasis on learning Latin. One wonders why they dread that anyone should learn that language that once dominated much of the known world.

                    On the whole. all of these concerns raise the very interesting question of why we insist that all gathered persons must be able to hear the prayers offered by the priest and in their own language. We already have a unifying tongue and a unifying rite in which to use it. I do not for the life of me understand why we insist on multiple different means of offering the same sacrifice.
                    One would surely be quite enough to get us all to Heaven.

        • Mark

          “The complaint that people could not learn Latin”—-simply a straw man used to assist in the deconstruction of the centuries old traditional worship of our Blessed Dominus, using the sacred language; all the while ordering the senses as perfectly imperfectly as we miserable human creatures are capable of. The modernists’ syncretistic milieu of the Novus Ordo Missae, as it is accomplished 95% of the time, is minimally blasphemy and oft times sacrilege.

      • Guest

        Masses during our Holiest Days (The Triduum, Midnight Mass) where only one Mass is said have become a Tower of Babel. There are often a minimum of 3 languages spoken (English, Spanish, Vietnamese) that it is difficult to follow. Yes…I know the Rubrics are the same and we should be happy to be at Mass, but the problem Blessed Paul VI and his advisers tried to address has now become the same problem with all the different languages, not to mention the dancing, talking in tongues and other expressions that have crept in to the Mass. Our Mass has slowly been broken apart, if we can change this why not this over here and this and this….and that is what has happened.

        • Atilla The Possum

          Try going to Lourdes. Mass is celebrated in different languages and if your grasp of another language other than your own is minimal, you can just about manage. I remember once arriving at the Domaine one morning to read the notices of which mass is in whatever language – I missed the English language one by an hour and there wasn’t another one for the rest of the week!
          Talk about frustration!
          As it has been a few years since I was last on pilgrimage there, I’m not sure if there are any opportunities for Mass in Latin anywhere around the various chapels. Could someone give me an idea?
          If there are such opportunities, what’s to bet that they are packed to the door with grateful pilgrims?

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            I remember when JP II tried to lead the faithful in singing the Pater Noster at Fatima, and, sadly, almost no one knew the chant in Latin.

            • Atilla The Possum

              That should have rang more bells than Notre Dame de Paris … but the higher echelons of the Church pretend to be Quasimodo to their pealing!
              If Pope Francis calls this anniversary of the Novus Ordo ”A Milestone”, many are more inclined to call it a ”millstone”
              Sad state of affairs.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              You have to wonder nowadays how many know it in English.

              • John Flaherty

                By that you mean, “How many have been taught the Our Father”? I think most should learn that from weekly use at Mass.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Sorry, that was a bit of tongue-in-cheek that I couldn’t resist. On the other hand, as one who taught second grade CCD for 15 years, I learned that many of the parents whose children I was preparing for their First Communion sent their kids to class, but didn’t take them to Mass, so it’s probably not entirely a joke.

                  • John Flaherty

                    *chuckles* I think if you taught 2nd grade CCD for 15 years, you’re braver (or more patient) than I. I recall volunteering as a catechist aid for 6th graders one year. I decided I wasn’t going to try that again unless I was confident that the DRE and/or parents would actually try teaching and living Catholic faith. I felt like I mostly beat my head against a wall during that year because most people simply vanished almost immediately after class. ..Including most of the catechists.
                    So much for a Catholic community.

                    (BTW, I have not attended that parish in a long time. I found one that takes faith much more seriously.)

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Lucky you, John. What drove me to teach CCD was the stark realization that, if I didn’t, my own kids would be taught by well-meaning but under-prepared lay volunteers, under the general tutelage of a very angry not-so-well-meaning feminist nun who was the DRE. They would have spent their time drawing pictures or in coloring books, and learned that “God loves me.” After that, in another parish, I switched to RCIA at the request of a much better DRE. That was also interesting, but I was still astonded by the lack of even the most rudimentary knowledge I encountered in Catholics in my classes who needed confirmation, etc. I expected to teach my second graders what Transubstantiation was, but the Catholic school grads in RCIA were often clueless as well. You do what you can.

                    • John Flaherty

                      Unfortunately, I can relate to that concern all too well. I discovered in my late teens that I wasn’t entirely sure about what the Church meant by Trans-substantiation.
                      Over succeeding years, I also learned that I knew a great deal less about the Church’s actual teachings than what had been implied from childhood onward. Learning as an adult tended to be quite infuriating.
                      ..Not only because I thought I should’ve learned this or that well before then, but because I felt that many of my generation might have avoided this or that..trial..had we been taught well in the first place.

      • GG

        I remember folk masses and guitar masses and felt banners and cry babies still rebelling against the drama of their upbringing. 50 years later we have the same nonsense plus no catechsis, few vocations, perversion is viewed as normal, and charity now means affirming sin.

      • AugustineThomas

        People will always complain about something. To replace a near perfect Mass with one that de facto inspires irreverence in most cases is not the solution.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        Perhaps, but in the “Age of the Laity,” he might have actually consulted the laity, rather than cloistered academics with little actual parochial experience, don’t you think?

    • hombre111

      The vocations are there. The people who are called just happen to be married or female, and the tradition (small “t”) that created the discipline of male celibacy remains trapped and unable to hear the voice of the Spirit. But the lay people have stepped in to fill part of the void. My parish of around 10,000 souls flourishes because its parishioners do what needs to be done. So many among them are saints. We have some wonderful married deacons, whose Cana experience makes them unworthy of course to hear confessions or anoint the sick. The only ones not rejoicing are those people with set lips and folded arms who come to Mass prepared to take offense at anything that does not fit their view of how things are supposed to be.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Oh, please… don’t you know any other tunes?

        • GG

          No, it is always sex-based and money-based. Sociology as theology and feelings as truth.

          St Gemma Galgani pray for us.

        • hombre111

          What can I say? I am just a 76 year old guy still working in a parish in the middle of the folks, trying to bring Jesus to them, curious if the current crop of John Paul priests who now run the diocese will do any better than we did. New John Paul pastor takes over this parish in a month, age 38, jumping from the campus ministry I used to do, to this 3,000 family parish, half Anglo, half Hispanic. He admits his Spanish skills are marginal, and says his administrative skills leave a lot to be desired. But I say, good luck to him. I will be there without criticism, doing the best I can to help as long as I can.

          I can mutter about married priests and women priests, but I have no expectations. The John Paul priests are not exactly rolling in the vocations. We have, precisely, nine. This is surely a dance of folly, but what the heck, as long as you are orthodox….

          • John Flaherty

            Seems to me that if you have nine JP II priests, then you likely have about 8 more than does the average parish.
            Of course, that’s assuming that your priests actually reflect the ideas and attitudes of John Paul II. I’ve met numerous priests over my lifetime, some of them ordained well after John Paul II’s election in 1978. Very, very few have ever struck me as being motivated by the same kind of faith as John Paul II. Most do not seem to me to have the foggiest idea of the faith he lived.
            Having attended seminary and been ordained after 1978 does not make one a John Paul II priest. Not when faithful and seminaries have formed young men in the way they have.

            • Kimberly

              I always thought that a JP II priest” meant men who were children when JP II was elected, and who were raised to adulthood during that pontificate and thus were heavily influenced by him. Same as the JP II generation (though the jury is still out on how Catholic that generation will be in practice.)

              • John Flaherty

                I think that’s precisely the problem, Kimberly. Having been born and raised during a particular period of time does not necessarily mean that one reflects the ideals proposed by a given leader who would’ve been active at that time.
                I would say that a JP II priest would more accurately refer to a priest who lives out his priesthood in a manner quite similar to the efforts of John Paul II. Most of the priests that I’ve met..don’t do so well with that. Too many seminaries have only reluctantly actually formed priests in the way they could or should.

                • hombre111

                  As I watch the young priests who have taken over from the old guys like me, I pay attention to how they solve the perennial pastoral problems. How do they prepare people for the sacraments? How do they celebrate the sacraments? How do they deal with the youth and young couples? What kind of spiritual formation programs do they develop? How do they work with lay people? The sick? The old? What kind of atmosphere do they set for their parish? What kind of spiritual council do they offer? Are they mentally curious? Do they continue to study?

                  It is too early to respond to all of that. Only time will tell.

            • hombre111

              I guess I did not make myself clear. Working together, all the J2P2 priests who now rule our diocese have managed to dredge up nine seminarians for the whole diocese.

              As far as I can tell, what separates JPII priests from Vatican II priests is their understanding of the basic role of a priest. Surveys have shown that Vatican II priests tend to see themselves as servants in the image of Christ the servant. JPII priests are much more interested in their institutional role and in the correct celebration of liturgy. As I said somewhere, they wear a kind of uniform: An amice under a very ornate alb with lots of lace, a tightly wrapped cincture, a very ornate stole tightly wrapped by the cincture, the way we were trained to do when we celebrated with fiddle-back vestments. When they celebrate Mass, the chasuble is made of rich, lined brocade, like the chasubles worn in the fifties. They come with a complete set in every color. These priests like the formal title of “Father Jones,” and will correct even a friend or family member who calls them “Father Jim.” They tend to apply the letter, rather than the spirit of the law.

              I will receive the JPII priest who is coming to this parish to be pastor with an open heart. I gave him his First Communion. When I retired, I stepped int the role of simple observer. Unless he asks, I will not be offering him advice, and I will not be his critic. I will do my best to help him make the huge leap from pastor of a small parish to pastor of this enormous ten thousand member operation.

      • GG

        Celibacy was the norm from the start.

        • hombre111

          Sigh. What can I say in response? Read a book that researches the subject, and be enlightened.

        • Älter und weiser

          GG, an interesting point. I believe that may be the truth. But the Church has not actually stated it as dogmatic. It is clear that being Married is not an obstacle to ordination. The question is, “Are Married Priests required to be perpetually continent?” I believe the answer is yes, but it is not yet a dogmatic statement. IMHO, it is time to admit married Presbyters (Older (>60) married men into the priesthood. Even if it requires perpetual continence.

          • jdumon

            If we want holy priests 24/24, 7/7 at the service of God and God only, it is preferable they remain celibate.

            • Älter und weiser

              A good an holy celibate priest is a blessing and an ideal situation. However, it might be good to support these men with some auxiliary spiritual warriors. Not every member of the army needs to be or can be a Green Beret. God bless.

        • hombre111

          Read my post, which appears above yours.

      • Mark

        Yeah, I’m sure people who would never join the priesthood unless they were allowed to have their sex cake and eat it too would be perfect candidates. Sure, the discipline could be changed, but I promise you that it would begin with saintly and experienced deacons and not liberal agitators. And this is not even beginning to look into the logistical issues.

        Really strange how the “voice of the Spirit” always seems to line up perfectly with the causes of the modern crybaby liberal brigade and never with what has been and always will be Catholic.

        As for your imaginary “female” vocations:

        “We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

        The Holy Inquisition further clarifies:

        “A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.”

        But never mind all that, a married lesbian priesthood has worked out so well for Anglicans and Lutherans, they’re just booming with vocations.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          In a sense, they have nothing but “vocations.” Before long, every person attending services in an Anglican or Lutheran church will be some kind of “ordained” member of the “clergy.”

          • ColdStanding

            A bishop in every bed by Xmas!

        • hombre111

          Well, we have been praying for vocations for as long as I can remember. The number of single male candidates dropped, then tanked. Nobody even imagined that the Holy Spirit might have been calling married men…or even women.

          Somehow the voice of the Holy Inquisition is quite unconvincing. I am distracted by the echoes of screams from the torture chambers.

          Right now, truth be told, all of the churches are suffering from some kind of vocation crisis, even those fundamentalists whose required credentials boil down to the ability to read. We are in the middle of a society-wide suspicion of institutions, thanks to the wave of individualism that crashed down on us after WW II. Pope Benedict does a good job summarizing this in the first chapter of his “Called to Communion.” An excellent read.

          • Mark

            Maybe nobody imagined that because it does not happen. In the Latin Rite, the vocation to priesthood and the vocation to celibacy have gone together for a thousand years. And for the few married priests in the west (as well as virtually all of them in Orthodoxy), it’s an insanely stressful life, not some kind of pleasurable experience. And “women priests” are absolutely and indisputably off the table. It will never happen.

            And you realize those quotes are from 1991 and 1998? That’s John Paul II’s encyclical on the ordination of priests and the CDF, formerly known as the Holy Inquisition, making follow up remarks on it. Do the phrases “to be held definitively by all the faithful” and “set forth infallibly” mean nothing to you? You don’t magically win the argument by regurgitating anti-Catholic propaganda about “torture chambers.”

            We’re not going to resolve the vocations crisis by kowtowing to liberal fashions. Vocations flourish in dioceses that keep a lid on that on garbage. Compare Richmond or Lincoln to Seattle.

            • hombre111

              Actually, Seattle has a surprising number of seminarians. I have tried to talk our diocese into figuring out what they are doing right.

              I have explained this several times before, offering information available to any patient student of Church history.

              In the Latin Rite, celibacy was imposed by the First Lateran Council to protect church property from priests and bishops who were stealing property for their children. This was done because Europe was not yet in a money economy and property was the only thing of real worth. What the Church did was part of a much larger sociological movement all over Europe, also in an effort to protect family land. Fathers of families kept their property intact by proclaiming the oldest son sole heir. The other sons were forbidden to marry. Those who had the money purchased church offices for some of their sons at a time when every church office was for sale. A man could marry if he could find his own wealth and were trained as knights to do just that. A knight errant looking for a maiden to save was actually looking for a homely woman with a dowery. If you have ever listened to Prairie Home Companion, you have learned about all those Norwegian bachelor farmers. Back in the old country, the land went to the oldest brother. They came to America looking for land of their own. But many of them never married.

              Church history shows that priests continued to live with women. One of the Pope Leos closed the gates of Rome, searched out all the women and their children, and sold them into slavery. There were actually religious orders founded to shelter the women who had lived with priests and the children they bore. Oh, yes, a wonderful spiritual beginning, born of heroic virtue. Now that we live in a money economy, the original reason for celibacy is gone.

              • Mark

                I might have been wrong on the diocesan name dropping. I saw that they had 4 seminarians profiled on their website, and mixed that up with the entire diocese. Regardless, it’s easy to discover how many more vocations come from traditional dioceses compared to others. Lincoln is booming. Anyway, liberal seminary formation led to such things as flaming homosexuals getting ordained and then molesting young men in the Confessional. That’s an even bigger problem.

                Yes, everybody knows that Latin priests used to be married. But episcopal celibacy has been Church law since the 5th or 6th century. I do not think Popes of the pornocracy era should be considered models for anything. Furthermore, celibacy was always considered the norm among Latins, even if it was not always practiced. That particular controversy was simply the final nail in the coffin.

                So what if priests who couldn’t marry still lived with women? You don’t abolish a venerable tradition to appease self-indulgent public sinners. And I cannot find a single source on your claim about the Pope selling the wives and children of non-celibate priests into slavery. That sounds like propaganda made up by anti-Catholic slanderers.

                Can you not wrap your mind around the idea that being a priest requires sacrificing your entire life for the Church and it’s horribly difficult to have a family at the same time? You can read any Orthodox priest or priest’s wife on it or read the blog of Fr. Longenecker. It’s not whatever idealized rainbows and unicorns situation you’ve made it out to be. And celibacy is the objectively more holy state, Jesus was clear about this. Anyway, you still haven’t explained how this is all going to be paid for.

                • hombre111

                  You need to do some more reading. My original discovery of the slavery tragedy was in a Church history series by St. Anthony Press. Unfortunately, when I left campus ministry, I left most of my books behind in the Student Center library.

                  Sigh. A bit more on the history of celibacy in the Latin Church. I am doing this out of memory because it is late and I don’t want to look it up. Apostles like Peter were clearly married. As far as we can tell, so were other bishops and, (eventually, because they did not appear until the third or fourth century) so were parish priests.

                  Monasteries began, with celibacy as a key element. These men and women were living as eschatological witnesses, which required total devotion to Christ. The same was not required of parish priests.

                  The first push to celibacy began because of bad exegesis. In the New Testament, Christ is the only priest. Men did not call themselves priests for many years. But then, the Church discovered the office of Levite. I will talk about parish priests and ignore what bishops did when they took upon themselves the office of High Priest, even though High Priests engineered Christ’s death. The levite abstained from sex when he was serving in the Temple. And so, priests should abstain from sex when they were celebrating Mass. Nobody noticed that a levite might serve in the temple only once or twice in a lifetime. Since priests had begun to celebrate Mass every day in the Latin Church, then he should abstain from sex altogether. Question, was this desire to imitate the Levitical priesthood part of the authentic Christian Tradition? Is that what Christ and the early Church wanted?

                  Along the way, diocesan priests needed reform (blush) and the bishops took this in hand. Often those bishops had been monks. And so they imposed monastic spiritual discipline on diocesan priests. Thus, the Office, which is comes from monasteries. (By the way, I love the office and pray it faithfully). But since they were imposing the monastic way, a decree for celibacy was bound to come. The first time this happened was in the 600’s, in Spain.

                  Still, priests continued to marry. When monks became popes, the push for a Church-wide monastic discipline on diocesan priests became even stronger. As one pope (don’t remember who) said, “In order to reform the clergy, we have to get them out of the hands of their women.”

                  In the midst of all this, there was one solid thread, one good, good reason for being celibate, and the reason I chose celibacy: To follow Christ as literally as possible. But should this be mandatory? It is a charism. A gift from the Spirit. When I was ordained, we did not even think of it as a charism, but as something that came with the territory.

                  And then, finally came the decree from the Lateran Council.

                  If you want to read more, the only books I have left in my library are something that appears in a short study of the sacraments, by Don Gelpi, and a full length book by a Franciscan who taught me a long time ago, which my bleary eyes cannot see at this moment.

            • hombre111

              If the quotes are from John Paul, don’t be an idiot and call it the Holy Inquisition.

              • Mark

                1. The first quote is from John Paul.

                2. The second quote is from the CDF, formerly known as the Holy Inquisition. I gain private amusement out of calling it that to this day.

          • John Flaherty

            I think we should correct this notion:
            We, as a Church, have been praying for vocations in the sense that we sometimes offer a prayer during the general intercessions for more priests. Yet many of the, um, activities, that the average parish offers go a very long way toward discouraging young men from even thinking about seminary.
            When most parishes remember that men and women are quite different, complementary, but not the same, when we drop gender-neutral language, when we drop girl altar servers, when we behave as though the Church actually means something besides a cute dinner party, when we behave as though rubrics for Mass actually should be followed, we might begin to see vocations soar.

            When we insist on treating boys and girls, men and women, as though every person were at least 1/4 female, we won’t see boys having any interest in serving the Church.

            I suspect that every boy looks at the Church the way I did as a teen: If this is what the Church expects us to do, I want nothing more to do with it than absolutely necessary.

            That kind of frame of mind will send the vast majority of vocations running for the hills.

            • Älter und weiser

              John, I agree with your observations about what will attract a boy and what will repel him. Serving with girls at the alter will most certainly repel many boys. It is a mistake.

            • hombre111

              You just set up, and knocked down, a straw man. Every three years or so, my diocese tries another very intense vocation program that has worked well in some other diocese. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars, have vocation directors who go everywhere and talk to everybody, etc. etc.. The John Paul priests took over this task several years ago and have toiled mightily. The result: nine seminarians.

              As a campus minister, I often asked young men to consider the priesthood. The almost universal answer: I want a family. Or, less common, I don’t want your lonely life. Or, even less common, I don’t want to have to work as hard as you do.

              • John Flaherty

                Gee, Father, you’ve done a marvelous job of making my point for me, even while trying to tell me why I’m incorrect.

                So, you’ve asked young men if they would consider pursuing the priesthood, and you’ve heard that the young men want families, not your lonely life.
                If I may be so bold, what precisely did you expect?

                Most of your statements make abundantly clear to me that you appear to most young men–and myself–as though you held some kind of social services job, just without the family. You do not appear to see yourself or other priests as men called upon by God to be a group set apart from the rest of the world.

                Small wonder the diocese only has 9 seminarians. When everyone treats a priestly vocation as though it were a lifelong fool’s errand, not something sacred to be sought after, you won’t get much of anyone to pursue, except by accident.

                Speaking as a layman, I’m not terribly impressed with your apparent expectations.

                • hombre111

                  You don’t know how I behave in my ministry. When I returned to campus ministry at age 65, I was surprised how well I was received by the kids. We had a wonderful time together. The students I met were reacting to the life they saw in their parishes. Actually, I did send several young men off to the seminary. Two of them, unfortunately, chose to study for their home diocese. One of them continues on. The one who studied for our diocese lasted two years and then, abruptly, left and married. I rescued a fourth young man, incredibly talented, from Marciel Maciel and the Legionnaiires. Now that was a man who conned many good men into his seminaries. Two men went also into our diocesan pre-seminary, and quit. I am in correspondence with another young man, encouraging him in his search.

                  The John Paul priest who took my place was able to get a couple of men from the university into the seminary. He is the one with the proud record of nine seminarians. The year before, he had 12, the number dropped to six, and is back to nine. He will be pastor of my parish, and I will see how he does in this large parish. As the retired old man, I leave that search to others, although I have told a couple of young men, would you consider being a priest?

                  I ask you a question, assuming you are married. If you were twenty and not married, would you be a priest?

                  • John Flaherty

                    “You don’t know how I behave in my ministry.”

                    No, I don’t. I’m responding to the sort of attitude that your comments convey.

                    “The students I met were reacting to the life they saw in their parishes.”

                    I mentioned early on about how the average parish tends to convey the idea of the faith in general–and the priesthood in particular–as something that will dissuade most young men from considering seminary seriously.

                    “We had a wonderful time together.”

                    I have no idea of what that means. Being capable of having a wonderful time does not precisely translate into causing young men and women to seek lives of service to the Church.

                    “Two of them, unfortunately, chose to study for their home diocese.”

                    Off the top, I would say that’s a lamentable point of view. i should think that we would want young men to be excited to study for their home diocese. ..Of course if that’s meant to suggest that the home diocese has a..tragic..”Spirit of Vatican II”..view, that might give legitimate reason for why you’d be disappointed. But I have no way of knowing that.

                    “…incredibly talented, from Marciel Maciel and the Legionnaiires. Now that was a man who conned many good men into his seminaries.”
                    In all honesty, Father, that’s almost being needlessly insulting. I’m well aware that Maciel proved to be a serious problem and that the Legionnairres are struggling to reconstruct themselves in the wake of his..actions. That’s just it though: They ARE struggling to make good out of a very bad circumstance. I should think we would be rejoicing over that. I’ve heard many “horror stories” about them too, but most of those seem to be horror that the Legionairres don’t adjust quickly to “modern” attitudes. I’m hard pressed to explain why they take such a bad rap.

                    I answer your question from a somewhat unique perspective: I am still single and will turn 41 this year. I actually seriously considered pursuing the seminary when I was about..33(?). Dad, being a former seminarian himself, was quite pleased when I mentioned that I was seriously considering the seminary, though since I don’t live in the same diocese now, he half joked that he’d love to see me “come home” if I meant to go that route. I recall taking a trip to the seminary with the vocations director and enjoying myself immensely. The camaraderie amongst the men reminded me a great deal of my college years and life in the military and the philosophy course we set in on was quite interesting. I even understood the subject matter to a fair extent.

                    Unfortunately, that was precisely the problem.
                    I had inquired of the vocations director at the time about how certain I should be that I intended to be ordained. I had to admit that I wasn’t very sure. If my original thought had been that I could offer Confession to lots of military personnel and/or Mass to folks who hadn’t been able to attend in some time, I had to face the reality that being ordained as a priest would not guarantee that function by any stretch of the imagination.

                    More importantly, I would not be in the company of friends very much as priest of a (arch)diocese. I would typically be functioning alone.
                    Oddly, the deciding factor in ceasing to pursue the idea was as simple as realizing that I could not imagine myself consecrating the Eucharist.

                    I have since decided that if I ever intended to pursue the matter again, I would most likely need to do so via FSSP. I simply don’t have any confidence in any other route.

                    Unfortunately, I don’t have enough confidence in that route to be willing to incur the degree of debt that would be involved.

                    But I can also answer that from having vaguely considered the idea when I was about to graduate high school: I didn’t think I really wanted to dedicate my life to serving a faithful populace that wished to fool with the rules of the Mass or the faith at large as much as they had during my high school years.

                    Sadly, I’m afraid little has changed in the past 20 years.

                    • hombre111

                      I want to thank you for trusting me with some comments about your tentative search into priesthood. It is honestly something I would do again, despite all of its complications. I can see how you hesitate to accept the financial burden that would be involved in going to the seminary, but it seems to me that the seminary is the only place where you will really be able to discern whether or not you have a vocation. Sounds like you could consider a religious order.

                      One of the things about a discernment process within a seminary or religious order is that they can look at you while you look at them. Priesthood cannot come simply at your terms. A spiritual director, the discipline, learning how to develop a priestly spirituality that will support you through a lifetime, these are the things that happen. Along the way, the seminary or religious order could agree with you about your doubts and questions, and decide you are not for them.

                      I see men who are single at 41 every once in a while. Did God simply call them to that life? That takes discernment. It could be their vocation. But sometimes people who are still single at 41 need to finally put their lives in God’s hands and at least undergo the discernment process about priesthood.

                    • hombre111

                      Marciel Maciel was more than just a problem. He betrayed his religious order at a level that is hard to imagine. I don’t know how the Legionaries are going to survive his hypocrisy. Just think about it. Benedictines can go back for renewal to the spirit of St. Benedict, the Dominicans to St. Dominic. And the Legionaries?

                    • John Flaherty

                      Undoubtedly they have some real tough times and tough issues to address. They’ll need to determine how much of their ethos and identity as an Order came from Maciel’s efforts at keeping his misdeeds concealed. As well, they’ll need to determine what Truths and ideals will provide adequate motivation for them to carry on as an order with a reformed charter.
                      I would think it’s always possible that the extent of the damage will be severe enough that they’ll be forced to disband as an order, thereby sending their membership either into other orders or into diocesan service. ..Or, I guess it’s always possible that some will ultimately seek to be laicized. I do hope such extreme measures would not be needed.

                      If Maciel ultimately committed a grave betrayal, I should think they could still pull themselves together, determine a new mission in life. If so, they could become a prime example of how even the gravest of sin can be overcome and a worthy body of priests could be drawn from the ashes.

                    • hombre111

                      Good, thoughtful reply. Can they pull it off? I have a sister who is Holy Cross, was schooled by the Benedictines, Sulpicians, and Jesuits. I have seen how important it is for them to be rooted in the charism of their founders. But Maciel poisoned the spring. I also was acquainted with an order of religious sisters who continued to flourish even after their foundress got mad at her bishop and left the Church. But it was small potatoes compared to Maciel.

            • winslow


          • jdumon

            Hombre111, I understood recently why the prayers for vocations have poor results when I could read what happened in the Diocese of Madison where Mgr Morlino has to deal with an unprecedented surge in priestly vocations

            Instead of praying for the vocations, let’s begin to pray God to give us a lot of holy bishop as heads for our dioceses. God will bestow us the vocations in the same packages as the bishops.

            • hombre111

              Not a bad idea. I just went to the website. Thirty-three seminarians, but based on the size of the diocese, it is only a start. The expense is an interesting issue. The vocation director wants to raise thirty million dollars. A million dollars a seminarian, and that is only for this year! Actually, vocations work in this way. 1) Someone expresses an interest in the priesthood. I did not check if some of those thirty-three are highschool students. Dioceses like mine accept only college age and older, require an investigation time as a preparation, usually a year attending school under the supervision of the vocation director. 2) If the young man does not have a background in philosophy, he will have to study for two years in some college seminary. 3) If he has studied philosophy, he goes into a one year pre-theology program. 4) Somewhere in the middle of the four years of theology, he will have to take a year off for a pastoral year in some parish under the supervision of the pastor. So, we are talking about a minimum of six years for the preparation of a priest.

              I think of it this way. Supposing by some miracle, twenty men become seminarians and all are ordained on the same day. My diocese is down to forty-four priests. Every priest who leaves is a catastrophe. But the old guys are retiring, some will die, and others will leave as one priest just did, for a warmer climate. Six years will go by before the twenty are ordained. By that time, the number of active priests might be well below forty. Comes the glorious ordination day. But these priests (even though the immature among them will not see this) are not ready. It takes years to gain pastoral skills. Unfortunately, those men won’t have years. In my diocese, JP2 priests ordained for only a few years are already in charge of large parishes. These are not the most energetic, creative parishes in the diocese, but maybe they will be one day. This actually happened in my diocese. We had those thirty-three seminarians, mostly from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Now they are in charge, ready or not.

              At this point, mathematics comes in. Somewhere, I saw the odds of a person doing investigation time going on to the priesthood. It is quite low. Consider money spent on him as money lost. If the student is in college, the odds are still low. Odds get better as the student moves along. And then, once he is ordained, he still might leave. Several priests have left my diocese in this way. My favorite was a conservative guy who went to a diocese run by a conservative bishop. One day the bishop went to visit and found him with a wife and two children.

              Anyway, to get one priest, several other men will come and go. In my day, the glory days, three of us made it out of thirteen who started. Along the way, others came and went. So, three of us made it out of about twenty-five or thirty. A single priest requires an unbelievable expenditure of money. That is why the diocese of Madison is asking for thirty million dollars. Maybe five-ten of those thirty three will become priests. Probably five. Today, seminarians take out student loans they are expected to pay off if they drop out. But many poor students, such as I was, need more help than that. And will some of those men, even though not truly called, go on to priests because they do not want to pay back the loans?

      • disqus_gEynqDDvb8

        My Mass experiences at our parish are similar to yours — our large church overflows every Sunday with an active, joyful, and vibrant laity that supports our overworked priest. Unlike many Catholic parishes with their dismal caterwauling of hymns , we are blessed with a gifted music minister who leads a very large children’s choir at 9:30 am Sunday Mass. The choir is accompanied by a talented band of school aged musicians. I don’t know why some parishes are in decline, while others, like yours and mine, are blossoming and thriving. In any case, God bless, and may you continue to inspire your flock.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Don’t you ever wonder why your priest is “overworked.” It is because you Mass – like that in almost every other parish – produces no vocations! Meanwhile, the traditionalists orders, whom you would probably judge to be lacking an “active, joyful, and vibrant laity,” are bursting to the seams with vocations.

          • Veritas

            Dr. Williams, I’ve heard this thesis that “traditional Mass and Church produces more vocations” often on this site, and to a lesser extent, elsewhere. I need you to qualify this for me. I think I have an idea as to what you mean, but it would be somewhat unrefined. If you care to elaborate for me, and for the previous poster, I certainly would appreciate more qualification on that statement. I sense that it is true and I suspect that I might know why.
            Thank you.

            • rodlarocque1931

              my little chapel of 100 souls (half children), in a small city in Canada, is affiliated with the SSPX. In the last eight years we have produced one priest, two seminarians and two high school-seminarians.

              • ColdStanding

                Winter peg, no?

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              All I can tell you is that EVERY religious order devoted to the traditional Latin Mass – including those completely approved by Rome and those in an irregular or unapproved status – is bursting at the seams. If you want to enter a traditionalist seminary, you have a lot of work ahead of you trying to get in. There are plenty of young men for every available place. Just one example, from France: It is now a certainty, acknowledged by all sides in the liturgical disputes, that there will soon be more priests ordained every year for the TLM than for the Novus Ordo. It is almost a situation of parity today. The handwriting is on the wall. On one side, you have all the gray haired people (like our friend, Hombre) bitching about the need for married priests and wimmin priests. On the other side, an army of orthodox young priests is slowing being organized.

          • disqus_gEynqDDvb8

            Well, that was a cheerful comment:-) For the record, I do not judge traditionalist orders, most priests these days are overworked, and an “active, joyful, and vibrant laity” is a good thing. Our parishioners are very devoted and many are active in charitable work through the parish.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              (I think you have misunderstood my post.)

        • hombre111


      • juan323

        The Church has only a tenth of the vocations it had before Vatican II and remember that the population overall population has increased since then, too. The vocations aren’t there. The Novus Ordo as well as Vatican II were epic failures in their ability inspire and instruct. Christ is present in the Eucharist – pray a mass implicitly instructs in Christ’s present and allows reception of the Eucharist with holiness. Ya, are parishes surviving? Yes, but barely. Male celibacy for service to God – something very Biblical and puts the priesthood apart from a mere pastor who says a pious sermon. The hands that handle the Precious Body and Blood should be apart.

        • hombre111

          In my diocese, the only that endangers parishes is the lack of priests. We have consolidated and consolidated. My town has about ten to twelve thousand Catholics and one parish. In other times, there would have been at least three, maybe four.

          As for Vatican II? Polls have shown that most Catholics are glad it happened. It’s implementation was incomplete because succeeding popes were a afraid of it and tried to minimize its impact, rather than view it as the work of the Holy Spirit that it was. (All the bishops of the world, plus first Pope John and then Pope Paul, and the Holy Spirit was not guiding their deliberations? Give me a break).

          Looking wider, all the Christian churches and most institutions are struggling. All this is happening within a larger context, and not just within the Church.

          For a thousand years, the hands that touched the Precious Body and Blood also touched a spouse in the sacrament of Marriage. But, thanks to Augustine who never got over his Manichean tendencies, the Church has always looked with suspicion on sex. But in the end, marriage was forbidden, not because the Eucharist is so profoundly holy, but in order to keep priests and bishops from getting Church property into the hand so their children. This was also part of a larger trend. All over Europe, the laws of inheritance changed. In order to keep family property from being divided, it went only to the oldest son. Younger sons were forbidden to marry unless they could amass their own wealth and set out on their own.

          • juan323

            Vatican II was a supercharged Modernism that Pope St. Pius X warned of. The oft used canard is “bring the Church up to date” and goes with an unspoken assumption that our Church wasn’t with it and you know what the Holy Spirit surely wouldn’t have downloaded us an update to the Church’s software that did so much damage. To be preached to by German bishops like Kasper whose own country has an attendance rate to mass of 5%. He should spend some time re-evangelizing Germany instead of working toward discarding Christ’s and John the Baptist’s own teachings on marriage!

            Now, when I hear it hasn’t been really tried yet and we are going to really get it done under Pope Francis I I know there will be a schism and those silly German bishops will learn that the “traditionalists” are the backbone of the Faith. Loving Christ in the Eucharist means reverence and to receive our Lord kneeling directly from ordained hands while hearing Gregorian chant strikes me as a most excellent and respectful way to do so.

            It is time to stop taking cues from the world and stand up to the world to say, “Martyr me, because our beliefs aren’t going to change(even if the Pope talks too much.”

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Ironically, it is an apt illustration of how remote, academic and removed from ordinary Catholics that Paul VI and his reformers were. He stonewalled the many cries of woe which arose in response to his reforms, and proceeded to force-feed still more. And yet the Council’s most with it buzz word was “pastoral,” right?

    • Matthew

      I don’t know. I think no matter the Mass, the Church was completely unprepared to address the cultural changes of the 1960s. Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae and many bishops, priests, and lay people revolted. No fault divorce was introduced to American culture with nary a peep of objection from the leaders of the Church, and the Church is complicit in the destruction of the family with tens of thousands of annulments every year. I’m sorry that so many people experienced the trauma of the changeover of the Mass, but I see the changeover as merely symptomatic of the real problem: the bishops wanted to remake the Church in their own image. I love the Mass–whatever the form–but I am concerned that our leaders refuse to confront the culture on a way that conveys love and truth. It is impossible to love someone without telling him the truth.

      • Netmilsmom

        Having lived through the sixties, I can tell you that if the Church had remained solid, the ship would have righted itself.
        We lived through the roaring twenties and didn’t sink to this level.

    • hombre111

      Interesting. As I was making the long journey from our see city, I was thinking about this article. The unparalleled superiority of the Latin Mass. I keep my radio tuned to EWTN, so I turned it on to see what was going on. They had just begun to broadcast the celebration of the Mass, mostly in English, but with a Latin entrance song and the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

      My mind turned to times when I have watched a Latin Mass celebrated in front of television cameras. It presents quite a challenge. The priest has his back to the people, his voice is barely above a whisper. If the camera sticks to what the people see, it is going to be difficult. To maintain interest, there are shots taken from a perspective the people never see: A closeup of the priest’s reverent gaze, his hands, his gestures. And, if I remember correctly, in the background soft music.

      As the English Mass continued, the priest had a good voice, spoke clearly and prayerfully. I felt myself carried along by the sound of the Liturgy I have come to know so well. But as I did, I thought: What if this was all in Latin and I was some layman listening as I drove along. I thought back to most of the history of the Latin Mass celebrated by a priest with his back to the people. Until the very early 1900’s, the faithful did not own missals. In fact, they were outlawed. Missals are a new part of the experience, and so I put myself back in that older place. What would I hear as I drove along? The occasional exchange of prayers in Latin. There would be no glimpses of the priest from in front, no glimpse of his hands, the sacred offerings, the raised Host and Chalice. There would be the bell to tell the listener we were at the Consecration. Hymns, of course, interspersed between long silences as the priest prayed in the soft manner required by the Latin Liturgy.

      As I drove along, I stayed with the spirit of the Mass, thanks to the clear English words spoken by the priest in his prayerful way. I felt very close to Christ, and a spiritual communion was an easy thing to do. After Mass was over, I wondered how in the world such an experience could be carried across the invisible airwaves, if all we had were the Latin words, interspersed hymns, the sound of the bells, and the long silences.

      • Yankeegator

        Sounds like you were very entertained… You would really love an evangelical american jesus service…

        • hombre111

          Not entertained. Caught up in the Spirit. Filled with a sense of the living God.

          • Kimberly

            I apologize in advance if you are not being disingenuous, but your description of a televised mass, and a radio broadcast mass causing you to be “filled with a sense of the living God” sounds a bit over-dramatic. It does sound like you are looking for spiritual entertainment. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that yes, the mass can be boring (and usually is) whether it is Ad orientum and in latin or of the new order and in the vernacular. But that is because people are looking for something entertaining or attention grabbing when they go.
            The mass is one person, kneeling and praying as the priest re-presents Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary to God the Father. It is very much a personal experience and one may or may not be surrounded by other mass attendees when this occurs. The mass occurs so long as there is a priest to say it whether or not the faithful are there to hear it as it is being said. It is not something that will ever lend itself to the spectacle aspect of an old fashioned American Revival (a la Billy Graham.) I like Billy Graham. He is in love with God. He is still wrong on the necessity of sacraments, but his sermons are uplifting. However spiritual and emotional uplifting is not the purpose of the mass. The mass is something different entirely – an act of worship and obedience (“Do this in memory of me.”) The mass was never broadcast to be compelling TV or Radio, but to allow shut-ins to hear the mass that they wished they could attend.

            • hombre111

              Thanks, Kimberly. After 50+ years as a priest, I take the spiritual life very seriously, and I am deeply alert to those moments when God seems to come close. It is this sense that has allowed me to celebrate several thousand Masses over a lifetime. If felt that sense of God when I allowed the words of a priest on the radio to touch my heart. An over-rational Catholicism does not understand the role of feelings in worship.

              • Kimberly

                Congratulations on your many years as a priest. My opinions are based on my own experience with many people over the years who have left or are slowly leaving the church for other more emotional spiritually uplifting churches. Also, this is the same reason many people give for abandoning their marriages. Emotionalism as a motivation to stay or leave a marriage or a church is never a good thing.

                • hombre111

                  Philosophers who ponder such things talk about the role feelings play in our experience of life. The whole experience begins when something touches us in some sensible way and we respond emotionally. This emotional response triggers memories, intuitions, mind-play. Just play some good music or look at something beautiful and feel this happen. This experience is part of experiencing God.

                  If I were Lord of the Church, I would demand a redo on the Liturgy. For hundreds of years, it was in another language, done in mysterious silence by someone who had turned his back. There was no interaction between priest and people. It was the narrow possession of the clergy, and so it lacked the energy and life that could be established by community interaction. Fortunately, the Eastern Church never did this. Then, after Vatican II, someone was supposed to translate this Latin something or other into a beautiful ceremony that would fill and inspire everyone involved.

                  We should go back to the truly ancient liturgies where this dialogue actually existed, learn from them, and create something beautiful that touches both mind and feelings and brings us to the heart of God.

      • John Flaherty

        Sounds to me like you sought the Catholic Mass version of a rock concert. I would prefer a presentation more along the lines of Country/Gospel myself, for a broadcast.

        I guess that’s the point though. We’re not going to Mass, nor listening to it, to have a “moving experience”. We’re attending Mass–in person–to pray to God.
        Interesting that you’d comment about how the Mass in English has been such a blessing. I find I’m frequently much more willing to listen to a well-composed piece in Latin, even if I don’t understand the words.

        • hombre111

          I don’t do rock concerts. My worship is silent and reflective, and I had that moment listening to a priest say Mass on EWTN. I am a bit ADD and my mind wanders. When it did, his words summoned me back to an awareness of the hovering presence of God.

          “We’re attending Mass–in person–to pray to God.” In prayer, God always speaks first. The mystics stop talking and simply sit still in God’s presence. That is what I found myself doing on that long ride. What a peaceful, grace-filled time. Sounds like Latin music does the same thing for you. What a blessing.

  • Segstan

    Before I swam the Tiber to become Catholic, I watched ‘participation’ of the Protestant laity escalate into anarchy .. the Church of Corinth .. then watched those congregations die as attendance dropped off. Their churches are empty. Empty monuments to empty theology. The vast majority of new Atheists are from those dead churches.

    Doctrine cannot be separated from Sacrament without become blatant apostasy.
    Theology cannot become separated from core Faith without becoming spiritually dead.

    Rome had better snap out of it. Tradition holds Faith together, not ‘roll yer own’ theology.

    • Atilla The Possum


  • Dhaniele

    The author rightly mentions the “hermeneutic of rupture” which Benedict XVI indicated as the cause of the severe crisis in the Catholic Church. Looking at it in a historical perspective, it is clear that in the seminaries Modernism was still present in a strategy of concealment and waiting. Thus people like Hans Kung quickly became names in the headlines. If the preaching in the pulpit had remained orthodox, I really wonder what the change in liturgical language would have produced. Many of the sermons in that era were far from orthodox and not rarely the preachers were on their way out of the priesthood. Much the same could be said of the sisters who presided over the spiritual demolition of what their predecessors had painfully constructed.

  • hombre111

    It was way past time for “the tradition (notice the small “t”?) of the centuries” to go. I celebrated three Masses this weekend, two in English and one in Spanish. The people were intense and fully involved. As usual, the music at the English Masses was so-so, but the Spanish Mass, with more than a thousand in attendance, moved the heavens. I chose the first Eucharistic Prayer for Masses of Reconciliation, which was practically written for the beginning of Holy Week.

    So, in the face of the world, Catholic life in this part of the world continues to flourish. I have been pondering this sad reality: After two thousand years of Christianity, the world still fails to bask in the glow of spiritual renewal. Today, the forces against it are almost cosmic. I think of the wealth of the .01% who own almost half of all that exists, and the economic and political machine that keeps them in place. I think of history’s greatest nation in love with war and all its trappings, and with its claim to power over this corner of the universe. I think of the machine offering pleasure in all its varieties. I think of the machine that, crushing the poor, has turned its attention to the middle class. I think of secularism, and the trend against life.

    So, flourishing Catholic life in any corner of the world is almost a miracle.

    • cestusdei

      Your attitude of anit-tradition is exactly why the spiritual renewal has failed.

      • hombre111

        I’m glad you kept the small “t”. Tradition (large “T”) is what nourishes us. Small “t” traditions can be powerful and filled with the Spirit. They also come and go and, when mistaken for Tradition, can actually cause harm.

        • cestusdei

          Small traditions like…Mass verses populum, happy clappy music, girl altar servers…

          • hombre111

            Correct, noble fist of God. And also mandatory celibacy and an all male clergy.

            • cestusdei

              I am betting you have had some troubles with celibacy yourself, that is usual in those who decry it.

              As for male clergy, that is part of the deposit of faith and the ordinary universal magisterium. It is infallible. It cannot change.

              The Anglicans could use you…spiritually you are already one of them.

              • hombre111

                If a priest says he has never struggled with celibacy, he is probably either asexual, or a liar. Some simply have more trouble than others.

                They call it creeping infallibility. There were definitely female clergy during the earliest days of the Church. Now, the question has re-emerged.

                • cestusdei

                  And I am betting you have had “trouble.”

                  Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is infallible. There were no women clergy, I have seen all the usual lies about this. It won’t happen.

                  I suggest the Anglicans for you. See how well it worked for them? Last one turn out the lights…

                  • hombre111

                    Few theologians would call Ordinatio Sacerdotalis infallible. Takes more than that.

                    At age 76, I am still at it, and I would do it again. People go through stages in their life, married people in their way and priests in their way. I am sure you have been blissfully happy all your married life, and your wife has always been a dream. Good for you. But most married people go through times of struggle and questioning. So do priests. But in the end, there we are, still standing.

                    • cestusdei

                      The CDF did and it was approved in forma specifica by the Pope, so it is infallible. You didn’t pay attention in seminary did you?

                      Your current stage is that of “Protestant”. If you believe what you say then you would not remain in a Church that teaches differently.

    • Martha

      With all due respect, Father, how does the Mass of the Saints, which was codified in 1570 by Pope Saint Pius V constitute tradition with a ‘t’ rather than ‘T?’ If the codified Mass (the changing of which was roundly condemned with a pronunciation of anathema in Saint Pius V’s encyclical, Quo Primum), isn’t Tradition, I think we have less than one leg to stand on.

      Hold fast to tradition! 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

      I might add, unnecessarily I hope, that the Mass that was codified way back in 1570 was said as such for hundreds of years prior to its being made official.

      The only way forward is back.

      • hombre111

        I learned when I studied liturgy that the pope succeeding Pius V made some changes in the codified Mass. A tradition with a small “t”. He understood that perfectly.

    • Idler

      I would love to know what your definition of “so-so” is. Are you saying that the choice is a popularity contest? Thousands attending the Spanish Mass versus how many for the English Mass? First, as to wealth, what happened to rendering unto Caesar? The only one of Jesus’ apostles that I noticed caring about wealth and money was Judas. Going to Mass on Sundays alone will not get you into heaven.

      The kingdom of heaven will not give entrance to every man who calls me Master, Master; only to the man that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. There are many who will say to me, when that day comes, Master, Master, was it not in thy name we prophesied? Was it not in thy name that we performed many miracles? Whereupon I will tell them openly, You were never friends of mine; depart from me, you that traffic in wrong-doing.

      • hombre111

        Not sure if I said anything about wealth, so I don’t quite know what you are talking about. Let’s see…I celebrated the English Mass and the place was almost full, which means about six hundred people. At the 8:00 English Mass, the church was 3/4 full. I did not celebrate the 10:00, but it is usually full. There were at least a thousand people at the 12:00 Spanish Mass, with people standing all around the walls. There are about 700 people at the 7:00 P.M. Spanish Mass. The empty churches people complain about in Crisis are not found in this diocese.

        By so-so music at the English Masses, I mean there were only four singers and a piano, and most of the people were not singing along. That’s OK, By our culture, we listen but don’t participate. Protestants sing along in church, But Catholics still struggle with habits instilled in them by a thousand years of silently listening to the choir. I am grateful the four musicians were there, and the main singer has an excellent voice. When I sit in the middle of the folks, I often don’t sing along either. I let the music carry my prayer, and even so-so music helps. But in an Hispanic Mass? Fifteen musicians and singers. The whole congregation joins in with glad rejoicing. The roof comes an inch off the walls and as the celebrant, I soar along with the people. But when Communion comes, the music becomes powerfully reverent. As I have said so often, quibbling about modern music and the superiority of Gregorian Chant is a Gringo thing. The Latinos are not so hung up on Latin.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          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.

          • hombre111

            I have heard magnificent music at some televised papal Masses. Congratulations on your taste. Our Cathedral choir used to be magnificent, but then they somehow got in a big fight and things have gone downhill. I noticed this when I concelebrated at our recent Chrism Mass.

        • Idler

          “I think of the wealth of the .01% who own almost half of all that exists,” qualifies as speaking about wealth.

          Thank you for your take on Hispanic Music. So, quibbling about the superiority of the Gregorian Chant may be a gringo thing but quibbling about the superiority of the music at a Latin (i.e., Hispanic) Mass is OK though? Even you admit that you don’t have to sing along to have a prayerful experience at an English Mass? Or, even to sing at all? There is no reverence in silence? Or, is it not powerful enough?

          My point was to adhere to our Lord and Master’s words and remember that MANY will claim admittance to heaven because they called Jesus “Master”. And, they will be denied entrance. It’s not important how many people find their particular version (how sad that we talk about versions) of the Mass to be reverent, but rather that they do the will of our Father in heaven. That needs to be emphasized. And, really, not much is asked of us, but to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul and to love each other. I think it’s rather sad that the last Mass of the year from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is no longer said as the last Mass of the year in the Ordinary Form. A gentle reminder was lost at an opportune time.

          I think you should not worry about who controls the wealth since they will be answerable to God and not to us. Something tells me that no matter how reverent (powerfully? really?) the music gets, that will not be enough to gain entrance to heaven.

          • hombre111

            Didn’t say that music at an HIspanic Mass is superior. Just different. And it does pick me up and carry me along. I was talking to a Mexican and Colombian priest about this today as we were celebrating our priesthood over a good glass of wine, and they observed that Gringos are “so cold.” So, they don’t ring your bell, you don’t ring their bell. The conversation went on to discuss some wonderful Latino celebrations of Holy Week that would have a Gringo climbing the walls.

            As to who gets to heaven, I leave that up to Jesus.

            My attitude toward the wealthy is expressed in general by the Bible, if you look up all the places where wealth and wealthy people are discussed: wealth-addicted people consumed by an illusion.

        • guest

          Thank you, hombre 111. No one should be hung up on the Latin mass.

  • bonaventure

    Spiritual Renewal Paul VI Spoke of Has Not Yet Materialized

    But the smoke of Satan, of which he spoke, has materialized.

  • An absolute disaster.

    • Benedetti

      Exactly. He should have given it to Lynch.

  • Tony

    Several questions are in play here.

    1. Should the Mass have been revised, or simply left as it was (with perhaps minor alterations)?

    2. Should the Mass have been translated into the vernaculars? (Remember, too, that in many countries that was itself a source of irritation: the “vernacular” chosen was generally not the actual speech of the people on the street, and sometimes it meant the imposition of a dialect from far away, or a “standard” language spoken by nobody.)

    3. Should efforts have been made to preserve as much as possible of the Latin, in the actual experience of the common people at Mass?

    4. Should the Council Fathers have been better versed in what language is and how it works? To wit: it seems to me that their heads were turned by a current functionalist view of language, as is evident in various translations of Scripture that I have seen in the years immediately following V2 (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and, alas, NABBISH, the ersatz English of the New American Bible).

    • Benedetti

      Should Russell Williams have given the ball to Marshawn Lynch for the Seahawk’s last offensive play in Superbowl XLIX?

      • Veritas

        Russell Wilson.

        • benedetti

          right. excuse me

      • Tony

        Yes, he should have.

        The thing is, you can’t replay the Super Bowl, but you can correct mistakes made in your liturgiology. That’s what Pope Benedict was calling for. I’d like to see, in particular, a return to the Asperges and the Judica Me, before Mass, and to the Last Gospel for the end of the High Mass …

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “[T]he “vernacular” chosen was generally not the actual speech of the people on the street”

      There is an old carol, very popular in my part of the country (Ayrshire, Scotland), a translation of the Office Hymn, “Illuminare Jerusalem,” which really is in the language of the nursery, the shop and the street.

      Jerusalem, rejois for joy:
      Jesus the Stern o maist bewtie
      In thee is ris’n as richtous roy
      Frae dirkness tae illumin thee.
      Wi glorius soun o angel glee
      Thy prince is born in Baithlehem
      Whilk sall thee mak o thirldom free:
      Illuminar’ Ierusalem.

      Alas! Few outside the West of Scotland would appreciate it.

  • jacobum

    PP6 will realize the “Spiriitual Rewewal’ at about the same time “Karl Rahner” finds his “Anonymous Christian”. Which means “never”. Now if PP6 really meant “Wreck” when he said “Renew”, he has been wildly successful as to the former. :However, PP6 is a modest diplomat prelate in comparison to PF who uses a “meat clever’ for his crozier and calls it “humility”.

  • James M

    Might not “hermeneutic of schizophrenia” be equally accurate ? It’s as though he had two minds, or were two men. AFAICS one of the marks of holiness – almost its definition – is integrity of personality; but it sounds as though he was dis-integrating.

  • Bill Russell

    The only brave moment of Paul VI ‘s pontificate was Humanae Vitae but he could not avoid that: he was protected by the grace of is office from teaching material heresy. But he was consistently inept and weak in almost all matters involving prudential opinion – one of his most notorious being his treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty. On top of that, he was depressive and depressing. How ever did he get beatified?

  • Yankeegator

    We went from the undoing of Babel at Pentecost when all were called to be one…You could go to a Latin Mass in Africa, China or NYC and it would be the same. Now I can go across town and it doesn’t even feel like the same liturgy. We have returned to Babel… Cranmer would be proud of our Bugnini NO Service…

  • JET55118

    Sacrosanctum Consilium expressly requires that “use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

    This is not entirely accurate. For instance, just after affirming Latin should be used, SC 36(2) states, “But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended.” SC 54 further provides, “In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. . . And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 [“competent territorial ecclesiastical authoity” decides whether “an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed”] of this Constitution is to be observed.”

    SC was plainly a compropmise text. Hardly anything is strictly “required”, and there usually is a gigantic loophole. The use of Latin is a perfect example- SC says Latin “is to be preserved in the Latin rites,” but then gives the “competent territorial ecclesiastical authoity” the power to run roughshod right over that “requirement”. These texts are a mess and it’s high time we admitted it.

  • Kimberly

    “This work of true reform awaits the next generation of leadership in the Church and, when it is accomplished, we pray, the Church will truly experience the “spiritual renewal” Paul envisioned but never witnessed.”

    Will anyone be left to lead the church? With only 2 or 3 notable exceptions, the German Bishops are going full Luther. The Bishops of the middle east and Africa are under frequent physical assault (with the ongoing threat of financial devastation from the German Bishops.) The Bishops of the US and Canada (again with only 2 or 3 notable exceptions) long ago gave up witness for wordly acceptance. Who is leading us? This is beginning to look like the ending of Tolkien’s Return of the King (before the ghostly armies came to his aid.)

  • I don’t put too much stock on either the extraordinary or the ordinary forms of the Mass: both are the representation of the unbloody sacrifice of Our Lord.

    But it’s also undeniable that the ordinary form as it’s currently practiced is not what the council wanted. The rubrics are clear that the priest would be facing East and Latin would still be used. And the failure to follow the rubrics is perhaps the greatest issue we have been living with.

    AFAIK, it was a mortal sin for the priest to deviate an iota from the rubrics. Why did this change? Did it? Perhaps if it hadn’t changed, we wouldn’t be living with horrendous abuses and the normalization of abuse, since the rubrics are not being followed.

    Pax Christi

  • jdumon

    The spiritual renewal Paul VI spoke didn’t materialize because the THE SMOKES OF SATAN he spoke too are still poisoning the atmosphere in the Temple of God, the Roman Catholic Church.

  • guest

    I have always thought that one of the best things to come out of V2 was the mass in English. It definitely fostered my personal renewal, drawing me closer to God. I have always been grateful for this. I am sorry that all the responses to this article say the opposite. The mass in the vernacular with the active participation of the laity has always been a great blessing in my life!!! I never liked the sound of Latin.

  • CharlesOConnell

    I find mentioning Lefebvre and Ottovani in the same phrase to be jarringly discordant. I was very open to the article until that moment.

  • ralph

    what was the language used for first cpl hundred years?

  • Gianna

    In 1971 I became part of the Catholic Charismatic Movement. The movement taught me how to worship and to pray by the help of the Holy Spirit. It is a true renewal.

    I believe that God ordained this movement of the Holy Spirit to “renew the face of the earth.”

  • Guest_august

    Here is a demand:

    End all moves to make further changes to the liturgical worship in either the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) or the Extraordinary Form (Vetus Ordo). The Eucharistic liturgies are okay as they are; they do not require any more tinkering or reform. LEAVE WELL ALONE. Leave what is functioning well alone.
    The sacrificial nature of the Eucharist celebration must be kept at all costs.

  • doomsdae

    Mr. Brown is so “right on” with his comments. Nothing good has come out of V2 except that it’s following in the footsteps of the Protestant church. I know, I was a Protestant for twenty-eight years. I came back eleven year’s later and I still feel like I never left the Protestant church! I don’t like what they’ve done to my beautiful Roman Catholic church so I know attend a Roman Catholic Parish & Oratory run by the “Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priests who do the holy Catholic Mass as it was before V@. I feel like I’m in heaven on earth when I attend mass there, no comparison to the American Catholic church!

  • mgolant

    Wow, this article ignited quite the firestorm! So many raw nerves packed into the comments here. When a compliant laity had their Mass replaced and their sanctuaries destroyed, there was no lack of anger then, either; many expressed it with their feet, and many still do. How extraordinary, really, knowing that, in the case of the destruction of the altars, the sudden change to “ad populum” vs. “ad orientem”, the loss of sacred silence and sacred music – NONE of those were called for by the Council, but rather foisted on the public in large part by Rembrant Weakland and his fellow homosexualists at CMAA and the Music Advisory Board. “[I]t seems an utter absurdity to claim that a spiritual renewal could flower from the destruction of the Church’s Sacred Tradition.”
    But so many act, think or pretend that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass began and/or ended with Trent. It did not. Popes have been adding things and subtracting things for almost 2 millennia. Study the pre-Trent Mass. Study the Mass of the early Chuch – what we can reconstruct of it. How beautiful to learn exactly how ancient much of the Mass really is – that it is not, either in words or in doctrine, a product of the so-called Middle Ages.
    Latin is an extraordinarily beautiful language, but let’s face it: it’s not coming back anytime soon. In my experience, few of the self-described Traditionalists have any facility with it – it is more an emotional connection than an intellectual one (and I say this as someone with a degree in classical languages – so I do NOT have an anti-Latin bias!). It is good for people to hear, and understand, the prayers. Proclaiming the readings in a language the people don’t understand – and then repeating them at the homily in English, as is often done – is just nonsense. Should the people be able to understand and participate, in Latin, for the common parts of the Mass that is properly theirs? Of course. (Clearly, I’m speaking of the ordinary form here, but much of it applies either way). Perhaps one day we will have a beautiful new form of the Mass which combines the Mass as it has come down to us, with both Latin and chant represented as they should be, and still respecting the ability of the people to understand what is being read, said and done. In the interim, perhaps priests will even “do the red and say the black”. Until that day, we’ll have to all continue to muddle through, hopefully without bruising each other too much.