Liturgy

Religious Liberty Thwarted by Canadian High Court Decision

I should apologize for more bad news from Canada (and more to come with the recent legalization of marijuana), but it comes with a tinge of hope: last Friday, Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Langley, British Columbia, was denied the right to offer law degrees by the Supreme Court of Canada, due to [...]

Our Gestures at Mass Really Do Matter

When I lived in the northeast I had an embarrassment of riches in terms of the availability of Masses. There were 27 options for daily Mass within five miles of my northern home. At our new home on the border of the Carolinas there are only two or three options within 15 miles. Visiting different [...]

God and Mass at Yale

“For God, For Country, and for Yale.” This phrase is etched into the stone arches that dot the landscape of Yale University. Yale, though founded by the Puritans for the purpose of missionary training, Christian education, and familiarity with the humanities and Biblical languages, has fallen far away from its original mission. This is nothing [...]

The Latin Liturgy Appeals to Catholic Youth

Washington D.C. is no stranger to making history. This past Saturday was no exception. You would not have found throngs of people marching with angry placards, but hundreds of Catholics on their knees. They were not assembled at the National Mall, but at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They were not participating in [...]

Restore Liturgical Beauty with Chant and Polyphony

The tragedy of the loss of beauty in liturgy is not something which we should dismiss lightly, for if there is one thing we can glean from Scripture, and from the Church's two millennia of Tradition, it is that we should offer the very best to God in our worship of him; yet what we [...]

Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition

I have this weirdly clear childhood memory of an old lady sitting a few rows up from my family at Mass. She was wearing a doily on her head. I had just learned the word doily—I think—because I had seen them for sale at a home decorating store just a few days before. I asked [...]

The Traditional Mass: A Remedy for Modern Man’s Spiritual Ills

King Henri IV, after a long and bitter fight for the French Calvinist cause, finally sought to quell the fires of religious war by adopting his country’s traditional faith. “Paris is well worth a Mass,” he is rumored to have said, confirming the impression that he continued to reject Romanish ritual in his heart, even [...]

Reflections of a Summorum Pontificum Pilgrim

Over the weekend of September 16, 2017, I was privileged to attend the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage in Rome, marking the tenth anniversary of promulgation of the motu proprio that has restored to the Church the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite. This is a short reflection on the experience. The city of Rome remains the [...]

Liturgy Amidst the Challenges of Modern Culture

I offer this reflection for the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, which occurred on July 7, which provided greater access to the traditional Latin Mass (now known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). Summorum represents a highlight of Benedict’s reform in continuity. It’s no secret that Pope Francis is not [...]

Worship Worthy of God

July 7 is the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, a decree that allows priests to celebrate the form of the liturgy of the Mass before it was reformed in 1970. For most Catholics, this will likely fall into the category of ecclesiastical arcana, and pass unnoticed. Yet this same decree’s widespread obscurity—enacted [...]

Cardinal Sarah’s Defense of Summorum Pontificum

Editor's note: The following address by Cardinal Sarah was delivered at the colloquium "The Source of the Future" on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI, March 29 – April 1, 2017, in Herzogenrath, Germany. Introductory Message First of all I wish to thank [...]

Abandoning Latin Changed Liturgical Music … for the Worse

After 35 years as a liturgical musician, it’s amazing how little I really know about the liturgical music of the Roman Rite. Then again, what should I expect when my earliest memories of music at Mass tend to involve now-forgotten attempts to make Ray Repp tunes, guitar-group versions of Beatles songs, social-justice-pop-folk songs, and patently [...]

The Liturgy as Educator

“I have understood more than all my teachers: because thy testimonies are my meditation.” —Ps. 118:99 Mine is a familiar story. Having grown up Catholic in the 1980s, I was well into my twenties when I first encountered the concepts—not to mention the terms—transubstantiation, real presence, or holy sacrifice. Having fallen away from any semblance [...]

Liturgy and the Dance Band on the Titanic

I'm in the dance band on the Titanic Sing "Nearer, my God, to Thee" The iceberg's on the starboard bow Won't you dance with me.                   ∼ Harry Chapin, 1977 Back in the late 1970s, when I was an impressionable young lad, I was introduced to the [...]

Re-turning to the Lord: A Call for Ad Orientem Worship

Lent is a season of conversion. During this time, it’s common to encounter readings, orations, and teachings from the saints in the Mass and the Breviary that direct us to “turn away” from sin and error and “turn to” God. An example is Joel 2:12-14, which happens to be the First Reading of the Mass [...]

Green Light on the Confessional

Fr. Kenneth Doyle writes one of those syndicated columns in the Catholic press that answers questions about the Church that Catholics pose. Recently, a Minnesota correspondent wrote asking about confessions during Mass. The writer recalled being told in catechism that fulfilling the precept of attending Mass required attendance at the Gospel, offertory, and Communion, but his [...]

A Trinity of Bad Hygiene

“Let us continue to abuse one another / With the kiss of Peace.” ∼  Geoffrey Hill, “The Triumph of Love,” part XLIV Few moments are as completely uncomfortable, for me at least, as the “Kiss of Peace” or the “Sign of Peace” at the Novus Ordo Mass. It’s actually painfully awkward. And during this high-point [...]

The Splendor of the World Redeemed

The aroma was transporting: the familiar smell brought me back to childhood, to being in the kitchen with my mom, as her banana cake baked in the oven, promising sweet and banana-ish goodness. To this day, the aroma of a well-made banana cake (and, you’ll allow me to aver, my mother’s was the best) brings [...]

On Man’s Proper Disposition Toward God During Mass

Anyone coming upon Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Liturgy and Personality (Hildebrand Press), who thinks it will be a manual on how to imbue the liturgy with one’s personality, or how not to do so, is in for a surprise, unsettling and salutary. The work is in the first instance metaphysical: we cannot discuss the relationship between [...]

Hopkins, Autumn, and Christ

A young child, Margaret, grieves for the time-swept autumn leaves. She is the object of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring and Fall,” and her bright Goldengrove is now “unleaving.” Goldengrove, with all its connotations of idyllic youth and sunny play. Goldengrove, where we imagine little Margaret exulting, with Chestertonian wonder, in the gratuitous magic of [...]

When An Opera Is Like a Vatican II Liturgy

Years (and years) ago I went to an opera in Graz, Austria—I guess the American equivalent to this is going to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park (if you are a huge baseball fan) or Ricky Skaggs play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, if you are a big country-western aficionado. Anyway, [...]

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