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Benedict better do something soon…

posted by awelborn

…or heads are going to explode.

Of course, if he is about to do something, heads are going to explode anyway. Different heads, but still.

In an excellent, detailed post, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf collects all the rumors and signs pointing to Pope Benedict giving universal permission for the Tridentine liturgy, soon.

Some time ago I suggested that we might see some sort of document from Pope Benedict was coming which would liberalize the use of the older, so-called “Tridentine” Mass, the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum.  As a matter of fact, I heard from one place that the Pope had already signed a document to this effect.

It might be good to review what we do know.  Since every one is going to indulge in the juicy fruit of speculation anyway, it is good to do a summary of points and then think them through. 

Other places where this is being discussed and sorted through:

Rorate Coeli

The New Liturgical Movement



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Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:53 pm


-
You know, short of this possibility, it is entirely legitimate to offer the present “Novus Ordo” in Latin.
-



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Jason

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:54 pm


This from Bernard Fellay’s recent appearance in Denver:
“There is another reason for this change in their attitude [of the French Bishops], which is also interesting. They realize that Rome is about to give an apostolic administration to the Ecclesia Dei people.”
I don’t know where he’s getting his information from, but something like that seems more realistic to me than a blanket permission for Priests to offer the Tridentine Mass whenever and wherever. That would be chaos.



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Bender

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:56 am


A prediction about “universal permission,” if it were ever granted — the number of parishes, chapels, etc. offering it in nearly all diocese would at most go from the present one or two, to an increase to a total of three or four. Contrary to what the trads think, there is not all that great a demand for it, and those that want it are already getting it, even if with some travel difficulties. Besides, in order to have the Tridentine Mass, you need a priest who knows it, and I’ll doubt that there are that many that currently know it or would want to take the time to learn.



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jim

posted April 11, 2006 at 1:00 am


I would think, Bender, that the thinking behind this is not that the Tridentine liturgy will be widely used, but that the permission will take wind out of the SSPX sails. This is partly about liturgy and B16′s strong beliefs on it, but partly about laying the gauntlet down with the SSPX. This is only a small part of the problem for them, but it is a part of the problem. You want your Tridentine Mass? Here you go. Oh, you STILL don’t want to be reunited? And why not?



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Maureen

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:25 am


Re: “every one is going to indulge in the juicy fruit of speculation” –
In other words, we’re gonna chew over tiny bits of information until the flavor is all gone, and then we’re gonna stick it onto the bedpost so we can chew it some more in the morning.
Juicyfruit
Is gonna move ya
It’s gotta taste that gets right thru ya
Juicyfruit
The taste, the taste, the taste
Is gonna move ya!



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tim

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:17 am


respectfully to jim and bender, there are less cynical “points” to allowing the traditional rite: it is desired by many Catholics, it is holy, it will procure great Graces for the Church, its “popularity” will grow, and, though I know I will get flamed for this, it has never been abrogated– and can’t be, pursuan to Quo Primum.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:22 am


desired by many Catholics …
1. I thought the right believed that the church wasn’t a democracy.
2. In any event, isn’t the proper adjective here “few” or “some”?



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Patrick Rothwell

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:39 am


If there is such a document, it’s curious that there hasn’t been a leak like there was with the gay priest document a few days prior to its official rollout.
I am one of those who wonder exactly how a “universal indult” would work. While I am a thousand percent in favor of having a Tridentine mass where desired, I am a thousand percent opposed to forcing the Tridentine mass on the faithful who don’t want it. And, in any event, I would also be surprised if Benedict would do anything to confirm the radtrad interpretation of “Quo Primum” which supposedly binds the Tridentine mass on all of St. Pius V’s successors.
I also think the gushy trad prediction that the restoration of the Tridentine mass will result in the coming of the social reign of Christ, i.e. universal triumphant Catholicism, is pure bunk. The tridentine mass will not convert massive numbers of evangelicals, liberal Protestants, or pentecostals of the African/Latin American variety, much less non-Christians.



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:42 am


RP, you’re correct, the Church is not a democracy (and that’s not what “the right” believes, it’s objective fact). The Church is not ruled by the demands of the majority, but ruled by the will of God, and is responsive to the legitimate needs of all the faithful – few, many, some, one, all (please note the adjective “legitimate” there, it will save some agony if that’s reflected upon).
Besides – what’s your point?



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Patrick

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:44 am


I’ve always believed a well-done Novus Ordo Mass (with some Latin) can be just as reverent as the traditional Mass. In fact, there is not much difference … certainly no significant or substantial difference … between the two rites.
The biggest hang-up many have is with the translation, which may be a moot point soon.
It could be also the Holy Father will encourage the Novus Ordo Mass in the ad orientem posture, which many believe superior to Mass with the priest facing the people.
Here’s a taste of the Anglican usage:
http://www.atonementonline.com/orderofmass/Rite1.html



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:44 am


Patrick,
I don’t know – the Tridentine Mass was fairly successful as a tool of evangelization for a good many centuries. Has mankind changed so much in the last 30 years to render it ineffective now?
And the Mass is not what makes converts, it’s grace, which surely flows from the Mass, however it’s offered.



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Meggan

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:51 am


I grew up with the Novus Ordo mass, so there’s nothing novus about it to me.
The Novus Ordo mass is the one I grew to love throughout my childhood and it’s the one I love now. I’m fascinated by the Tridentine mass because I am fascinated by the history of the mass. But that’s what it would feel like to me if I attended it – a history lesson. I would feel disconnected. It would be good theater and I’m sure that I would be spiritually uplifted. But it wouldn’t be the mass that I know and love.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:55 am


“I don’t know – the Tridentine Mass was fairly successful as a tool of evangelization for a good many centuries. Has mankind changed so much in the last 30 years to render it ineffective now?”
Yes. No more state compulsion to attend Tridentine masses post Franco. Besides, the mass – Tridentine or not – was never intended to serve as a tool of evangelization in the first place, though it has served that function on occasion.



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:58 am


Meggan, I thought as you do… until I attended my first Tridentine mass. OK, actually it took a few times to get my bearings but from that point on the things you mention disappeared.



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:59 am


I’m not sure what you mean about state compulsion to attend Tridentine Mass…surely the state did not compel sub-Saharan Africans to attend Mass when that continent was evangelized in the 16th – 20th centuries.
And since you maintain that the Mass is not intended as an evangelical tool, then why your concern, stated in your previous comment, that the Tridentine Mass “will not convert massive numbers of evangelicals, liberal Protestants, or pentecostals of the African/Latin American variety, much less non-Christians.” ?



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Ken

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:03 am


There’s a lot to Church life besides the Mass and a lot to the human psyche besides liturgical affections. A couple of years ago, the Latin Mass crowd in a nearby city was perturbed because the bishop wouldn’t grant a permission for something or other in Lent. This in a community with their Mass 7 days a week. In other words, if the community and the bishop don’t get along, they will find ways to fight apart from the missal. One other thing: two families came to our parish RCIA this year from the Latin Mass communities here and in that same nearby city. Conversions are a significant part of Catholic life: they really ought to work out a program for it.
The heart of the SSPX problem is a rejection of the authority of Peter. To whatever lessor (or greater) degree we all of us share in that spirit of rebellion, we must repent and adopt a more docile, open spirit. Until we do that, all the liturgies according to our preferred missal won’t build the Church.



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belloc

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:04 am


Thanks to the generosity of my bishop, who has provided for a Sunday morning Mass by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, I have effectively left the Novus Ordo – at least on weekends. I do assist at the NO on weekdays however, sans Sunday antics.
If any of you Chicken Little’s of “Chaos” want to know how this will work, simply go up the street and look for the nearest Protestant church. Chances are out front you’ll see a sign that reads something like this:
Sunday
8:00 am Traditional Worship
10:00 am Contemporary Worship
If the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Assorted Hotentots can make this work, why can’t we?



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:10 am


Patrick and Tim,
I think ultimately the traditional Mass will be restored as the normative Mass in the West. In retrospect, the Novus Ordo will be viewed as just one of those oddities of the 20th century, like widespread contraception and the killings by governments of vast numbers of people under their rule. I don’t think the restoration could or should happen overnight. For pastoral reasons, the Novus Ordo needs to wither and die before it is suppressed. I’m sure that there will be some sort of transition, like a “reform of the reform” touted by the Adoremus folks. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is announced this week.



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Patrick

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:13 am


Tim, I was not saying one was a better form of evangelization over the other. I was speaking strictly in terms of reverence.
Just the other day I got into a debate with a priest I respect a lot over the number of options in the Novus Ordo Mass. He liked them. I wonder whether offering so many options encourages priests to do their own thing since there is not longer one set “script” to stick to. When priests choose to ad lib, reverence is usually the first casualty.
Cardinal Arinze:
“Suppose a priest comes at the beginning of Mass and says: ‘Good morning, everybody, did your team win last night?’ That’s not a liturgical greeting. If you can find it in any liturgical book, I’ll give you a turkey.”



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:18 am


Sorry Patrick, my comment was directed at the other Patrick – Patrick Rothwell.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:28 am


Two Patricks going. Very confusing!
I’m saying that evangelization – up until recent years – was furthered more by state compulsion or cultural domination (Western colonization and empire building, e.g.) than the splendor of the “most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” as the devotees (per Father Faber?) like to say so much. For example, the emisaries of St. Vladimir were impressed by the Greek Rite than the Latin Rite, and even then, the liturgy converted his people less than by his wholesale destruction of their Slavic pagan deities. I’m also saying in general that the benefits to the Church by freeing the Tridentine mass are grotesquely exaggerated by traddies, though the Church will indeed benefit. That is all.



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Suscipe

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:40 am


Is the Mass for us and how “we feel” or is it for God? Should it matter one bit whether we personally prefer to shake hands after the consecration, view the priest face forward, use vernacular tongue, place Our Lord in our palms, be served by the laity, etc..? No. And when these things matter to us, whether because it is as we have always had it or because we are afraid our faith and love of God can only be maintained by the familiar, we are placing ourselves above God.
The Mass should be about God, not us. It is quite obviously more about God than us in the Mass of Pope St. Pius V. This is not so obvious in the Mass of Pope Paul VI. You can still ignore all the changes that make the Mass about us, but it is much harder to do.
Ken, what year did RCIA begin as the normal process for conversion? I guess no one ever converted before then? Are conversions on the rise or fall now?



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B Knotts

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:40 am


I think this is indeed the best way to handle this: to say that the Mass of All Ages was never (and could never be) abrogated, and that, by extension, any priest has the right to offer it.
This doesn’t “force” the Traditional Latin Mass on anyone; rather, it applies the principle of subsidiarity to the liturgy.



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:44 am


Talking about the new Mass in Latin & ad orientem is something of a canard. Where do you find this done? Almost nowhere! In fact, the two priests I know who do this have been censured for it — on priest’s bishop made him stop speaking latin entirely in the Mass and stop using his newly-built high altar; the other priest — a monsignor associated with his bishop’s curia — was told to stop saying the new Mass ad orientem, and that without any complaint from his parishoners.
That’s why trads — rad or not — want free permission for the old Rite. Not because we think it will immediately save the world from all ills, but to be insulated from the stupidity or malice of bishops who would regulate away the traditional liturgical forms that nourished saints and consoled sinners for centuries.
Another canard is the worry about those 4 or 8 priests in the country who might “impose” the tridentine rite on their congregations. Even if they did, what’s the big deal? We all long ago reached the point of resignation to the fact that a new priest could come into a parish, replace a traditional choir with a folk group, move them into the sanctuary, tear down a high altar, move the tabernacle out of the main Church, and institute 700 extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in ANY parish with his bishop’s happy approval. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the existence of two or three pastorally insensitive traditional priests (ex hypothesi, since we don’t know if there are actually any at alll, despite fevered concern on that point!) does not invalidate the desire of the many.
Final point. If, as speculation in some quarters suggests, the Pope completely regularizes the Rite of Pius V, then it would be no imposition at all, so far as the law of the Church goes, to “impose” that rite — it would be another of a priest’s legitimate options, the same options by which he can choose always — or never — to use the Roman Canon / “Eucharistic Prayer I” ; the confiteor or “Lord, you came to save the disenfranchised; Lord have Mercy.” I thought pro-novus ordo folks thought variety was a good thing?



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:45 am


Tim, my point is that to say “many Catholics” want the 1962 Mass doesn’t prove the case that they should have it.



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:45 am


Patrick Rothwell (and yes, it is confusing, but at the same time, it is such a noble name, may it’s use increase!),
I’ve not heard many devotees of the 1962 Missal describe the benefits to the Church of a wider application of that Missal in terms of an increase in number of Catholics, but as a return to a sense of the reverence that the other Patrick so rightly commends. Reverence breeds holiness, holiness breeds apostolic activity, apostolic activity might breed conversion, but that’s still primarily the work of grace and the Holy Spirit (with our cooperation, of course).
Is this saying that the Novus Ordo is, de facto, irreverent? No, certainly not, though it’s implementation in various places has been done in a very irreverent manner.
I believe a wider use of the 1962 Missal (and if a universal indult is granted, I suspect that more and more young priests will utilize it) will produce, by association, more reverent celebrations of the Mass according to the Pauline ordo as well, which will certainly benefit the Church.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:52 am


Ambrosius,
I think you have described the pastoral situation precisely.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:05 am


Tim and Patrick Rothwell:
Personally, I’d be happy to see wide access to the traditional Mass if it would mean that this sort of ultimate insider’s debate would lose most of its steam.
Then we might notice that an almost unbridgeable imaginative and experiential charism is appearing between minority traditionalist Catholicism, rooted in and inseparable from a very specific understanding of European culture/history, and majority Christanity, which is not rooted in European experience and is moving rapidly in another direction.
60% of the Reformation heritage Christians in the world are now heavily Pentecostalized in their worldview, theology, worship, and practice. Pentecostalism has merged with the global missionary movements – these groups are intensely evangelistic, tend to be ahistorical, non-sacramental, anti-intellectual, are very adaptive to the cultures they are working in, and are intentionally trying to cut existing ties with western ways in order to not be repelled as foreign.
They are growing with incredible speed. *And* they are quietly making significant evangelistic breakthroughs even in the Muslim world. Many millions of Catholics have left the Church to join these communities and many millions more straddle the two worlds and are heavily influenced by this new Pentecostlized worldview.
Traditionalism is a debate among the chattering classes of conservative Eurocentric liturgical Christians (which pretty much describes most of us at St. Blogs). It has no meaning or resonance at all with the new majority of global Christians who are not tied to European culture and history.
This is a division as important for the future of Christianity as that between Latin and Greek Christians which led to the millenium-long split between Catholics and Orthodox – but we aren’t paying attention.



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:06 am


I’ll agree with you on that point, RP (and promise to bring up your line of thinking again in other threads – consistency, my friend!).
The fact that many Catholics want something is not proof positive that they should have it (elsewise, the Church would be remiss in prohibiting unnatural birth control), but that desire, as it is legitimate, ordered toward a good, not inordinate, and consonant with the mission and teaching of the Church should not be ignored.



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Henry

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:07 am


Speaking as one who would be delighted to see a general return of and to the Mass of the Ages, I doubt that’s what this is all about. Rather, I suspect Father Z targeted the main point in the following paragraph.
Cardinal Ratzinger sustained that there should be more celebrations of the older Mass in order to help promote a healthy anchoring and then, subsequently, return to organic development of the liturgy. His point was, and he was right, that the way the Novus Ordo was created and implemented, was artificial. It broke the ages long, slow, organic development of liturgy but imposing a scholarly approach. Effectively, cutting and snipping and altering by committees in a compressed time period is not how liturgy works. His position was, therefore, that with wider use of the older rite, we could re-root the newer rite of Mass in the Church’s tradition? and, perhaps over time and in “dialogue” with each other, slowly a tertium quid might emerge. (emphasis added)
That is: Though our Holy Father (as Card. Ratzinger) has often expressed his affection for the old Mass, he is committed to the new Mass. Though he will insist that the old Mass be made available to those who seek it, he knows that the new Mass will remain the predominant Mass of the masses. It is therefore crucial to correct the mistakes that have been made with the new Mass and pull it out of the ditch it’s in. So the larger importance (to Benedict, I believe) of the old Mass is to anchor the “reform of the reform” and serve as a guidepost in reconnecting the new Mass to the tradition of the Church.



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Rich Leonardi

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:15 am


Tim, my point is that to say “many Catholics” want the 1962 Mass doesn’t prove the case that they should have it.
No, your point is to show up on every thread and kick sand on anything smacking of tradition.
Even if priests were given a blanket right to celebrate the old rite, it presumably would be at their discretion whether or not to do so. Unfortunately, at least a few in the “many” who want it celebrated come off as cranky and divisive. (Amy’s story about worshippers at an indult Mass placing their fingers over their mouths when “Novus Ordo” hosts were used to fill a shortfall immediately comes to mind.) I suspect many priests believe it won’t be worth the hassle.
I do like the idea of celebrating the “new” (universal) rite in Latin, or at least incorporating more Latin into it. What do Fr. Fox, Fr. Totten, or any of the other web padres have to say about it?



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:24 am


Rich,
Even if priests were given a blanket right to celebrate the old rite, it presumably would be at their discretion whether or not to do so. Unfortunately, at least a few in the “many” who want it celebrated come off as cranky and divisive. (Amy’s story about worshippers at an indult Mass placing their fingers over their mouths when “Novus Ordo” hosts were used to fill a shortfall immediately comes to mind.) I suspect many priests believe it won’t be worth the hassle.
It is my particular hope that a flood, or at least a decent dollop, of new interest from less “extreme” folks would be one of the happy outcomes of a liberalization of the old Rite whereby the more cranky devotees thereof would no longer be able to be the ones associated with it, or at least that their numbers would be sufficiently diluted to eradicate that impression. I heard tell that the Anglican Use parish in Houston temporarily offered the Tridentine Mass, but then stopped after the priest got an influx of annoying, whining new parishoners who were coming for that Mass.



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tim

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:26 am


“I’ve always believed a well-done Novus Ordo Mass (with some Latin) can be just as reverent as the traditional Mass. In fact, there is not much difference … certainly no significant or substantial difference … between the two rites.” — Patrick
Well, you can believe that if it makes you feel better. As George Costanza says, “It’s not a lie… if YOU believe it.”



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Adam

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:37 am


The Tridentine is freely available where I live. This isn’t the case everywhere?



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Daniel Mitsui

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:40 am


A few things that might be said in general, regarding comments above:
1. The position of many Traditionalists, myself included, is that the new rite is sacramentally valid, but does not represent an authentic, natural development of the liturgy – and thus cannot be the basis for a renewed authentic Christian culture, in the same way that the Mass of Ages provided the creative basis for nearly all art, architecture, music and scholarship in the cultures it touched. Reconnecting the Catholic liturgy to its roots is necessary to restore the Church in an age of artifical mass produced goods, noise, advertisement, entertainment, and secular materialism – unless we offer an authentic, natural alternative, we are just a little robot trying to battle a much bigger robot.
Thus, anything that makes the liturgical, musical, artistic, and intellectual patrimony of the Church more widely available is a good thing – even though the universal indult will not be some deus ex machina to fix every problem in the Church – even if it were not desired by many faithful (who have had their aesthetic and liturgical sense destroyed by 40 years of imposed banality. Most people simply like what is familiar to them).
2. People who can count the number of times they have attended the Tridentine Mass on their fingers and toes should refrain from pontificating on its merits and flaws. As I like to say, the best argument for the old liturgy is the old liturgy itself, and I think that if the neo-Catholic apologists would spend as much time learning about the treasures of the Roman Catholic liturgical patrimony as they do obsessing about the supposed pathologies of Traditionalists, most of them would be Traditionalists themselves. There will be exceptions, but I think that someone should at least approach the Traditional Mass on its old merits before judging it. And if he has not had one available until now – well, maybe he will soon!
3. The Mass as it existed in 1962 was not perfect, and it could be argued that a Novus Ordo with Gregorian propers has as much or more of the Solemn High Mass (which is the Mass of Ages in its complete form) as a Tridentine Low Mass. But I would like to see the double standards removed – neo-Catholic apologists will insist that folk music, versus populum, communion on the hand, altar girls, etc. are not inherent to the Novus Ordo (even though the characterize it 999 times out of 1000) but will hold the Traditional Mass accountable for every niggling flaw in the 1962 Missal. Anyone who criticizes the Old Mass should be fair enough to either consider it in its inherent form and structure, with the possibility of certain reforms. Or to consider the Novus Ordo as it is actually celebrated.
4. The Novus Ordo can indeed be celebrated ad orientem, in Latin, with beautiful traditional vestments, communion at the rail, incense, Gregorian propers and ordinary, the Roman Canon, etc. And it is nice – but the irony that I note is that defenders of the Novus Ordo like it best when it looks, sounds, smells, and feels like the Traditional Mass. I attended such a Mass for awhile – but when I actually read and compared the missals, I realized that the collects and the offertory in the Novus Ordo are banal and vague even in Latin, and that many prayers of great beauty and antiquity were removed. The ‘squint and pretend’ option can only completely satisfy someone who experiences the Mass on a superfical level.
And that is moot, because the Novus Ordo is not celebrated that way in more than a few dozen places worldwide. The Church, as I am sure all will agree, is not some abstract ideal – it is an incarnate reality. And just as it is ecclesiologically wrong for a Traditionalist to declare his loyalty to ‘eternal Rome’ while ignoring the problems in the Church militant; its is wrong for a neo-Catholic apologist to declare his loyalty to some nonexistant Church where the Novus Ordo is celebrated perfectly.



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:47 am


Adam,
The Tridentine is freely available where I live. This isn’t the case everywhere?
Surely you’re joking, right (he laughs bitterly to himself)?



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:50 am


Sherry,
The ugly secret of the Novus Ordo is that it is an entirely Eurocentric artifact. Only enlightened Westerners could have thought that the Sacrifice of the Mass could be improved upon by making it less sacred and thereby more relevant. No one outide of Europe was clammering for a Novus Ordo Mass during or immediately after Vatican II. Indeed, far from not paying attention to the Protestantizing forces to which you refer, the Novus Ordo was conceived, in large measure, as an attempt to make the Church more attractive to Protestants by removing those elements Protestants might find objectionable. Of course, Protestants have not found the Novus Ordo to be any more attractive than Catholics have, but that does not negate the seriousness with which your concerns have already been addressed.



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Daniel Mitsui

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:06 am


Frankly, I find the criticism that Traditional Catholic is Eurocentric silly. The Church, again, is not an abstract ideal – it is an incarnate reality. Like the Word mad flesh, it entered history, and acted in history, and its historical reality is not something that can be separated from its supernatural element.
The Church is Eurocentric because for most of its history it existed in Europe, and in the lands colonized by Europe. To pretend otherwise is to be dishonest, to ignore the incarnate reality of the Church and reduce it to the basic moral and doctrinal and sacramental precepts written in books. It is like accepting the Triune God but ignoring the Jewish Carpenter.



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WRY

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:22 am


If the debate over the old Mass were simply a question of “allowing diversity,” this problem would have been wrapped up a long time ago and permission would have been widely granted. No one disputes that the old Mass satisfies those who like it, as no one disputes that the equally valid eastern rites, for instance, have great beauty and mean a lot spiritually and devotionally to those who prefer them. “To each his own” is an idea that has a lot of appeal today.
What then is the problem?
It is this: there are a substantial number of old Mass advocates who a) flatly believe the new Mass to be invalid and/or defective, or b) suspect it may be so; or c) insinuate its alleged defects by citing abuses (as though condemning apples because some have worms); or d) champion the old Mass by putting down the new one; and e) treating the entire Vatican II Council and everything the church has done since 1962 in pretty much the same way.
I’m all for letting people enjoy the old Mass; all I ask in return is that they acknowledge my preference for the new Mass as *equally valid*, *equally* capable of giving spiritual fruit, and *equally* grace-filled. I think that is all the church asks, too.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:25 am


B. G. Gruff:
I can’t speak to the history of the liturgical changes at V2 but if they were, in part, to appeal to Protestants, it was to the intellectually-oriented, mainline liturgical, Protestants (Anglicans, Lutherans) with which the Church has been familiar for 4 centuries.
The kind of Protestants I’m referring to hardly existed in 1960 and weren’t part of any such dialog. This heavily Pentecostalized Protestantism and post-Protestantism has emerged as a global movement in a single generation. Many of them have intentionally repudiated as “old wine skins” historical creedal Protestantism. To them, liturgical Protestantism and liturgical Catholicism are just variations on the same culturally irrelevant and spiritually bankrupt theme.
We’re still debating the experience in the west of the changes since V2. They couldn’t care less.
One small example: When we were in Indonesia training our local team, we asked them how Indonesian Catholicism had changed at the time of V2. No one could respond because none of them had been Catholic at the time. It wasn’t relevant to their experience at all. And in a country where everyone speaks several Asian languages and Islam is the dominant religious traditiona – Latin-based traditionalist liturgical concerns have no meaning.
What did surprise me was how many Indonesian Catholics are getting a lot of their formation from American evangelicals/Pentecostals.



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Daniel Mitsui

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:38 am


What then is the problem?
It is this: there are a substantial number of old Mass advocates who a) flatly believe the new Mass to be invalid and/or defective, or b) suspect it may be so.

I was going to address this when it was mentioned by Rich above. It is true that a certain number of people at a typical indult Mass (maybe 5 to 9 percent) believe or suspect that when a Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated, the bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ. It is also true that a certain number of people at a typical Novus Ordo Mass (maybe 50 to 90 percent) believe or suspect that when a Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated, the bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ.
The uncharitable Traditionalist response is to tell WRY to mind his own damn wooden beam.
But more politely, I’d say that it if Novus Ordo attendees should not be broadly smeared because of abuses (although to most traditionalists, it is not about abuses but about the rites themselves), then Traditionalists shouls not be broadly smeared because of cranks.
And the two Masses being equally valid *as a sacrament* should not prevent us from considering their relative merits in other regards.



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Patrick Kinsale

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:38 am


Ambrosius:
Canard? perhaps to some. I had an ad orientem Latin N.O. Mass for four years in high school and a Latin N.O. Mass facing the people for four years in college. It provides a mid-step reform of the reform. Even my parish which is not very orthodox uses the Latin Sanctus and Agnus Dei during Lent. I’d be happy with a couple of small changes.
I know a few have even asked for the Sarum rite, which was, I believe the Mass that St. Thomas More enjoyed. Maybe it’s time for a reform of the reform of the reform.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:39 am


No, your point is to show up on every thread and kick sand on anything smacking of tradition.
Come off it, Rich. As usual, it’s easy to disprove your statement. Let’s begin with my many postings on music. Proof that you are wrong again.
On the matter at hand, Tim Ferguson’s reply to me is a beginning of a reasonable standard by which to make a judgment on whether to broaden access to the 1962 version of the Mass.
My guess is that the largest increase in its celebration would be in those dioceses where it is so limited that someone couldn’t readily fulfill the Sunday obligation exclusively by the 1962 Mass. I believe, to Adam’s question, that Los Angeles is one such diocese.



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Tim Ferguson

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:46 am


WRY, another part of the equation you’re leaving out that has caused the unnecessary conflict between “Old Mass” and “New Mass” are those partisans of the “New Mass” who treat those who prefer the 1962 Missal as pariahs or worse. You’re correct that some who call themselves traditionalists heap opprobrium on the new Mass or cast aspersions as to its validity – and those people need to be called on the carpet. There are many others who, in the interest of protecting what they see as reform, do everything they can to make the lives of those who prefer the Old Mass miserable. Anyone active within the traditionalist movement can tell you stories of sacristans who hide the 1962 Missal, or rip up the perfectly good altar cloths for the high altar, priests who celebrate the old Mass and use the occasion to preach harshly against the beloved devotions of those who attend, bishops who limit the Mass to one small chapel in a far corner of the diocese…
There is enough room for self-examination, repentence and reform on all sides of the issue.



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dymphna

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:48 am


So what would happen if universal permission was granted? Nothing. I’m quite certain most of the American bishops would disobey. One well known cardinal insists on using glass pitches for the Precious Blood. He seems to make a point of doing this whenever cameras are sure to be around. You think this guy would go along? No way.



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:59 am


Canard? perhaps to some. I had an ad orientem Latin N.O. Mass for four years in high school and a Latin N.O. Mass facing the people for four years in college. It provides a mid-step reform of the reform. Even my parish which is not very orthodox uses the Latin Sanctus and Agnus Dei during Lent. I’d be happy with a couple of small changes.
You are extraordinarily fortunate. My point was not to deny that this does happen, but simply to point out that it’s inadequate to say that “any priest could just do a latin NO Mass ad orientem, so why are you getting worked up about the old rite?” because it is simply NOT TRUE that any priest can, in practice, do that. Very few can, because of the meddling of Bishops.



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:03 pm


Sherry,
You make a very interesting point, and one of real and grave importance to the world and the Faith, but totally irrelevant to the question at hand. Giving 300 million americans and 300 million Europeans easier access to the traditional, even if it be eurocentric, liturgy of the Church is interesting, it’s news, and -who knows?- it could change those continents. Ok, there are another billion people out there who are panting after pentecostalism. 600 million people is still a big number, and worth tending to!!
(not that I’m saying that everyone in the West is going to start going to the old Mass any time soon. I’m just saying that the Eurocentric cultures of North America and Europe are worth tending to via this sort of indult even granting Sherry’s point that all of Asia, Africa, and maybe latin America will just yawn)



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:12 pm


Sherry,
I don’t want to misconstrue what your saying, so you may need to clarify your point further for me to understand what you.
What I hear you saying is that poorly catechized, recently converted Catholics, who were never exposed to the objective beauty of the Faith and who have had to make do with a bizarre strain of Protestantism, have no appreciation for either history or liturgy (or theology?) and, as a result, they seek to create their own reality with respect to Christianity.
If this is indeed the situation, it should not be at all surprising to anyone. How can these folks know the Truth if it has never been taught to them? Clearly, there is a need for them to be catechized. (Is that what your “team” was doing over there?)
But focusing on the issue at hand, I don’t think that people who have no appreciation for history or liturgy and who are, in your description, poorly formed should be the ones who provide the model for the liturgy of the Church.



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Patrick Kinsale

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:14 pm


Ambrosius:
Point well taken. And the good priests may obey their bishops even on something where they know they have a right. (Interestingly, the dioceses where the actions I mentioned took place were Orange County, Calif., and Los Angeles.)
Sadly, while we have a right to a reverent and proper liturgy, there is no structure to enforce this right.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:16 pm


Ambrosius:
Since the US is the western epi-center of this new style Christianity – the largest group of Christians in this country are not Catholics but Independent post-denominational Christians (80 million strong), it’s going to be played out in our midst.
Traditionalism is of interest to (to be very generous) maybe 1 million US Catholics. They, in turn, may influence others with a historical, intellectual bent but meanwhile a much, much larger number of US Catholics are already part of or being heavily influenced by Independent Christianity.
We don’t pay attention because they aren’t part of the Catholic chattering classes; they don’t write books or go on EWTN or hang out at St. Blog’s. The concerns of the St. Blog’s bunch aren’t even on their mental maps.
But their existance is deeply relevant. A relatively small, historically-minded, culturally elitest conservative liturgical movement on one side – of great concern to the chattering classes – and a much larger, evangelizing, media-obsessed. ahistorical pentacostalized Christianity that is forming the hearts and minds of many average Catholics.
Two hermetically sealed Christian universes in the same nation who literally cannot recognize that each other exists because their worldviews are diametrically opposed.



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Todd

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:27 pm


What’s the point?
If this permission is granted, it will likely:
- weaken celebrations of the 1962 Rite where priests and musicians are ill-prepared for it.
- reinforce the fault of post-conciliar liturgy of giving everybody their “own” Mass: home, school, folk, choir, etc.. If the 62-ers get their own liturgy, why not give feminists an inclusive language lectionary, and southern Californians their glass chalices?
- splinter indult communities along the lines of favorite priests, churches, and convenient schedules, not unlike what happens in big parishes or multi-parish towns now.
It will not, I predict, “anchor” the usual Mass celebrations in parishes that might well need anchoring. Better training of preachers and musicians: a pope can’t do that, and a signed document won’t bring it into existence. If better Catholic liturgy is the goal, it’s time to do the hard work necessary, and not rely on fiats or untested hopes.



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Marc

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:27 pm


Very few Novus Ordo priests have any significant training in Latin and likely will not due to the protestant like divisions over the vernacular modern Mass.
The tridentine Mass will preserve the Roman Latin rite, while the modern novus ordo will continue to fraction to the specific vernacular.(i.e., Hispanic rite, English, etc.)
This is what we have now.



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Suscipe

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:50 pm


Sherry,
Are you suggesting that people of the third world are not capable of appreciating the beauty and truth of the Tridentine Mass? I doubt you are because that would run counter to your obvious concern for them. What should we make of those baptized by Jesuits all over the world for centuries? What about those inhabiting North Africa in the third century? What Mass did they use to attract people in Latin America? Are the faithful in the Diocese of Campos in Brazil anomalies? Why is Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos of Columbia enamored with the Latin Mass?
Really though, this brings us to what may be part of Pope Benedict’s reasoning. Those attending Mass at SSPX centers all over Southern Africa, Central America, South America and Asia (ten locations in the Philippines, btw) seem to be plenty attracted to the old Mass. SSPX has done the work in these areas and now the Vatican wants to reconcile with them. Perhaps they see how successful the society has been in using the old Mass to convert the very same target group you are concerned with.
The use of Latin in the Mass did not begin in Europe and it is not exclusive to the Western World today.



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Daniel Mitsui

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:55 pm


I note with some amusement that Todd is a parish bureaucrat, and all of his solutions to the problems in Catholic music, liturgy, governance or evangelization inevitably involve more (or better paid) parish bureaucrats. It’s funny.
And I don’t think that an enormous immediate increase in the number of Traditional parishes is necessarily desireable – a good many Traditionalists seem to think that there are an inexhaustible supply of priests, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, and choristers. I’d rather have one parish with enough resources to celebrate a high Mass every Sunday than three that can only celebrate a low Mass, at least for the time being. But that isn’t the point – I’m rather spoiled in Chicago, but most traditionalists in America need phone trees and carpools just to live a normal sacramental life. If they are allowed to have a Tridentine Mass every Sunday at all, it often is in scattered locations, and usually a low Mass. And some need to drive to a different diocese just to attend Mass for a weekday feast like the Annunciation. And that isn’t due to a lack of resources – it’s the deliberate opposition of hostile diocesan bureaucrats, and that is what a univeral indult will end.
But their existance is deeply relevant. A relatively small, historically-minded, culturally elitest conservative liturgical movement on one side – of great concern to the chattering classes – and a much larger, evangelizing, media-obsessed, ahistorical pentacostalized Christianity that is forming the hearts and minds of many average Catholics.
Secularism is entirely artificial – contrary to human nature, and to the principles of autentic culture. It is held in power by hype, marketing, mass media, and contrived enthusiasm. It’s like a huge robot.
Evangelical, ahistorical, charismatic Christianity is also artificial – it uses the same methodss of secular culture to try to defeat secular culture. It’s like a smaller robot trying to do battle with a bigger robot.
If Catholicism is separated from the authentic culture of its tradition, it too becomes artificial – and insofar as our liturgy and evangelization are not the products of natural development, they are at best a yet smaller robot.
To argue that the Church needs to imidate evangelical Christianity, or disregard its traditions as irrelevant is to argue that the Church needs to make a bigger robot.
Well, two things are obvious to me: The Catholic Church will never build a bigger robot than secularism. It won’t even build a bigger robot than the evangelicals build. Becuase unlike them, it is not in her nature to build robots.
And when robots do battle, the bigger one wins.
If the Church wants to battle robots, it needs to do so as a natural thing if it has any hope of victory.



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WRY

posted April 11, 2006 at 1:22 pm


Daniel,
I believe the problem of the belief in the real presence goes back to catechesis (or the lack thereof) and not to whether the Mass is celebrated in Latin according to the old rite. I’ll submit that if the Latin Mass had been kept and proper catechesis largely abandoned as it was in so many places, we would still be where we are now.
My point is not to try to say who has the largest plank – I’m sure mine is pretty big – but, given that the new Mass is now the norm, I think the best approach for the old Mass advocates is to emphasize its beauty, rather than make it an either/or thing.
Tim, I wouldn’t begin to pretend that those things haven’t happened, as I’ve heard those stories too. A lot of good stuff was thrown in basements, if not worse. (Hey, I know a church that threw an entire set of the Catholic encyclopedia in the dumpster – and it was the NEW Catholic encyclopedia in perfect condition. What’s that old saying — “Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.”



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 1:53 pm


Sherry,
I had thought you were trying to make a point about the relevance of traditional Catholicism for the developing world. From your last post, though, I see that you are making a larger point, applicable especially in the U.S., about the challenge the Catholicism faces from the likes of the free-form Protestantism of the megachurch.
To me, this situation you describe seems to be just another version of the challenge posed by liberal Protestantism for decades. For this challenge, I think traditional Catholicism is quite well suited. The forms of traditional Catholicism convey the sense of the sacred in a way that those of liberal Protestantism simply do not. To appreciate the sacred in Catholicsm doesn’t require any lofty aesthetic sense or fluency in the Latin language. It merely requires a fundamental human capacity to respond to value. The power of traditionalist Catholicism is indicated by the fact that Catholics did not begin flocking to these Protestant sects until after traditionalism was effectively suppressed in the wake of Vatican II.
You are obviously not enamoured with the traditional Mass. But apart from that, I don’t have a sense of what you would recommend be done liturgically. Are we simply to try to out-Protestant the Protestants?



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Todd

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:04 pm


I note with even greater amusement Daniel thinks I think the answer to everything is more money. I didn’t say that. The answer is more effort.
Better preaching and better music might take material resources to get that done. But it might not.
Reading comprehension needed, my friend.



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reluctant penitent

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:04 pm


‘Traditionalism is a debate among the chattering classes of conservative Eurocentric liturgical Christians (which pretty much describes most of us at St. Blogs).’
SED CONTRA:
http://www.sspxasia.com/
http://www.geocities.com/tradicion_catolica_sudamerica/ingresoenglish.html
http://www.sspx.ca/Angelus/2005_February/Society_In_Gabon.htm



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reluctant penitent

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:08 pm


‘If this permission is granted, it will likely:
- weaken celebrations of the 1962 Rite where priests and musicians are ill-prepared for it.’
What musicians a part of the 1962 rite?



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Jimmy Mac

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:20 pm


Belatedly to Maureen:
“In other words, we’re gonna chew over tiny bits of information until the flavor is all gone, and then we’re gonna stick it onto the bedpost so we can chew it some more in the morning.”
In the words of the immortal Lonnie Donergan (sp?) ….
“does your chewing gum loose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?”



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Jimmy Mac

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:21 pm


Oops … lose, not loose. Sr. Rosanne would have my hide for that one!



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Susan Peterson

posted April 11, 2006 at 3:26 pm


Sherry,
I hear the Orthodox are growing quite fast in this country. Maybe that doesn’t equal all the folks you are talking about, but it does show that a traditional and beautiful liturgy connected to a solid theology does attract people. And by the way, what seems to have started this rash of conversions to Orthodoxy is the conversion of 700 members of the Evangelical Protestant Group, “Campus Crusade for Christ.” True, these people were college educated and somewhat intellectual as well as being Evangelical Protestants. But that doesn’t make them unimportant.
It seems to me that there is a connection between what moves the heart in ceremonial and devotional worship and what moves it in the “Pentecostal” aspects of Evangelism.(insofar as the latter is genuine and not mere naturally based enthusiasm/hysteria.)
I don’t know what you propose that the church ought to do about all of these evangelical pentecostal folks. What I do think I know is that the church in this country and in Europe has to “find itself” before it can go out and find these folks. We can’t bring them home unless we have a home that we really want to invite them to. Doing something about the liturgy as frequently celebrated in the US is part of putting our own house in order. I certainly don’t think we should be trying to copy their worship. We might should copy their ways of finding what they need of a church community in their cultural setting, and we perhaps should copy their serious Bible study.
But again, I think we have to have a Catholicism which is confident in its orthodoxy and which has beauty in its worship, before we will be having enough people on fire to go out and convert the folks you are talking about.
What is your idea about what ought to be done?
Susan Peterson



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Ambrosius

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:06 pm


Well said, Susan Peterson!



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Jason

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:14 pm


The Novus Ordo mass is the one I grew to love throughout my childhood and it’s the one I love now.
I feel the same way. I have attended the Tridentine Mass multiple times, and if you enter into it with a prayerful mindset, the Mass it the Mass. But I never saw it as “heaven on earth”. Looking at it just as a outward ritual, it is somewhat drawn out, cluttered, and distant. But that’s ok if you want that.
At my Church, we have a simple NO in English. Nothing flashy. It’s reverent, the Priest faces the people, there really isn’t any chant. And I love it. I think it’s the “noble simplicity”. I just find it conducive to prayer, and I honestly wouldn’t necessarily want a NO Mass that tried to “imitate” the Tridentine Mass.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:55 pm


To answer Susan’s question, I have a refrain that I’ve been saying the last few days:
Better preaching, and better music.
Those are the keys, and worrying about other things, like the importation of pop culture into the ‘talk-show Mass’ and an overall revulsion from formality, can wait until these are solved.
Now there are major structural problems in the way of getting to these two goals. How do we retrain preachers? We can’t very well fire them. It would even be harder to retrain musicians or abolish dreadful music by fiat.
But that’s where our efforts need to go. In the long run, such an approach would limit the call for the 1962 Mass, or the foolishness of supposedly authentic translations designed to mimic Latin rather than speak in a true, artistic voice in English.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 5:28 pm


RP,
It would be helpful if you would set out some of your criteria for identifying “better music” and perhaps proffer some examples of it. Still, with all the problems with the liturgy today, it’s hard to see why you would identify music (along with preaching) as the key to a solution.



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Henry

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:01 pm


Better preaching, and better music.
Or perhaps a 5-year moratorium on both preaching and music at Mass.
Right now, I find daily Mass much better than Sunday Mass because no music is vastly preferable to lousy music. And I’ve attended many daily Masses that clearly would have been much better with no sermon at all.
So what’s the logical conclusion?



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Bender

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:46 pm


It really is amazing that some apparently believe that the Mass was invented at Trent. It wasn’t. The Tridentine Mass is not the one and only that was used prior to V2 — the Mass, while retaining certain core elements, has in fact changed in other particulars for 2,000 years. The Mass of the Apostolic Age was not the same as what later came to be at Trent. Yet, despite all these “changes,” and despite the changes from the Tridentine to the “Novus Ordo,” it is all ONE Mass. One God, One Truth, One Faith, One Church, One Mass. The Real Presence is the same in the “New Mass” as it is in the “Old Mass.” The same Christ. No difference. And that is what matters.
You know, I was very sympathetic and curious about the traditionalists at one point, and for a very long time, but it is clear that they are they’re own worst enemies. Much of the distain that has been cast their way is due to, not the progressive-types who want to change everything about the Church as a form of self-hate, but it is due to the actions and conduct and separatism of the trads themselves. Don’t you get it my trad brothers and sisters? You once had a friend in me, you once had my full support. But too many of you have shown yourself to be unduly separatist and downright hateful of too many bishops and priests.
I hate to pull a Rodney King here, but we are One Church, so can’t we all get along? Can’t you accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo? Can’t you love it as I do? (the only Mass I have ever known) Can’t you find it in yourself to love even folks like Cardinal Mahony, no matter how much of a loon he might be? Would more Latin be nice in the Mass? Yes, I’d love it. The segregation resulting from different vernaculars is abhorent. But there is still only one Mass. Quit your bitching. Follow Peter.



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Henry

posted April 11, 2006 at 7:06 pm


Bender: Can’t you accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo? Can’t you love it as I do? (the only Mass I have ever known)
From your tone, I’m not quite quite sure where you stand or what and whom you love. But I myself love the Novus Ordo Mass enough to go single every day I can, and hate it terribly when I just have to miss.
However, whereas I make it to perhaps 2 dozen N.O. Masses monthly, I also attend the 2 traditional Latin Masses monthly I can get to.
And the vast majority of traditionally minded Catholics I know are just like me. And the separatists you allude to are probably a considerably greater irritant to me than to you, because I sometimes have occasion to face off with them directly. But I’ll accept a previous poster’s estimate that they may amount to between 5% and 9% of traditonal Catholics.
At any rate, the discredited technique of trying to tar everyone in sight with the same brush pretty much raises a red flag (in my mind) over anything else you have to say.
Can’t you find it in yourself to love even folks like Cardinal Mahony, no matter how much of a loon he might be?
Well, no, not in the unthinking way you seem to mean. I simply love the Mass too much to go this far with you. Anybody, no matter his rank or station, who trashes the Mass parts company with me.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:31 pm


B.G.,
Here are two starting points.
1. From a group of cathedral and university musicians:
http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~awruff/snowbird_statement.htm
2. From a professor of music at Princeton:
http://www.music.princeton.edu/~jeffery/Whatswrn.rtf
Read these and then let’s discuss.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:48 pm


Sherry,
Are you suggesting that people of the third world are not capable of appreciating the beauty and truth of the Tridentine Mass? I doubt you are because that would run counter to your obvious concern for them. What should we make of those baptized by Jesuits all over the world for centuries? What about those inhabiting North Africa in the third century? What Mass did they use to attract people in Latin America? Are the faithful in the Diocese of Campos in Brazil anomalies? Why is Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos of Columbia enamored with the Latin Mass?
Really though, this brings us to what may be part of Pope Benedict’s reasoning. Those attending Mass at SSPX centers all over Southern Africa, Central America, South America and Asia (ten locations in the Philippines, btw) seem to be plenty attracted to the old Mass. SSPX has done the work in these areas and now the Vatican wants to reconcile with them. Perhaps they see how successful the society has been in using the old Mass to convert the very same target group you are concerned with.
Suscipe
The Vatican estimate is that there are about 1 million followers of the SSPX in the world today. In a world with a population of 6,525,486,603, that makes SSPXers approximately 16/1000ths of 1% of globe’s population. Not exactly a mass movement. Even in Catholic terms, they are tiny. 120 times that many Catholics have been involved with the charismatic renewal over the past 38 years and charismatics are still a marginalized movement within the larger Church.
Meanwhile, there are 486 million “independent” post-denominational Christians in the world who make up 20% of all Christians alive today. Many of these millions were baptized Catholics. Apparently, they were not seeking, consciously or unconsciously, the traditional Mass. The beauty and truth that many of them think they have found is of another order altogether.
B.G. Gruff:
You are obviously not enamoured with the traditional Mass. But apart from that, I don’t have a sense of what you would recommend be done liturgically. Are we simply to try to out-Protestant the Protestants?
I’m not recommending anything liturgically. I have zero affinity with the traditional Mass (and I’ve seen it at its best) but I’d personally be very happy with a variety of rites, including the Traditionalist, offered freely and different personal gestures of devotion allowed within the same Mass. I’ve seen endless rancor, not unity, come from the current obsession with lock-step uniformity.
I am saying that only a tiny minority are naturally, deeply attracted to by traditionalist Catholicism. It isn’t the future of Catholicism. It most certainly isn’t the future of Christianity. What I am saying is that in our intense focus upon the sort of liturgical issues that only really engage a tiny conservative cultural elite, we’ve completely missed the implications of a gigantic shift that has occurred right in front of us in our generation.
Susan Peterson:
I hear the Orthodox are growing quite fast in this country. Maybe that doesn’t equal all the folks you are talking about, but it does show that a traditional and beautiful liturgy connected to a solid theology does attract people.
From 1990 – 2000, about 12,000 Americans a year converted to Orthodoxy. During the same time period, 525,000 American converted each year to Independent Christianity. Do the math. Think on these things. Pray on these things.



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Ken

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:58 pm


…what year did RCIA begin as the normal process for conversion? I guess no one ever converted before then? Are conversions on the rise or fall now?
1.) I have no idea
2.) Sarcasm is not an argument. In fact, I converted without benefit of RCIA, though after it was initiated.
3.) I have no idea.
You rather deftly avoided my point, which is that our local FFSP apparently has no conversion process. Actually, my point was that a more general permission for the Mass of Pius V will not resolve all of the issues at hand.



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belloc

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:59 pm


Bender,
I do plan to follow Peter. I’ve read what he’s written. Would you like to read some of it yourself? Here, I’ll help you…oh, and when you’re done reading, why don’t you write and ask him if HE loves the Novus Ordo?
“What happened after the Council was totally different:in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy.”
“We left the living process of growth and development to enter the realm of fabrication. There was no longer a desire to continue developing and maturing, as the centuries passed and so this was replaced – as if it were a technical production – with a banal, on-the-spot product.”
“In its practical materialization, liturgical reform has moved further away from this origin. The result was not re-animation, but devastation.”
“And so the Council did ordain a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not forbid the previous books.”
“Anyone like myself, who was moved by this perception in the time of the Liturgical Movement on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for.”
“The reform of the liturgy in the spririt of the liturgical movement was not a priority for majority of the [Council]Fathers.
The “model Mass” now proposed, which was supposed to, and in fact did, take the place of the traditional Ordo missae, was in 1967 rejected by the majority of the Fathers who had been called together to a special synod on the matter. Some publications now tell us that some liturgists (or perhaps many?)who were working as advisers had had more far-reaching intentions from the outset. Their wishes would surely have not received the approval of the Fathers. Nor were such wishes expressed in any way in the text of the Council.
I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy. The impression was given that this was quite normal. The previous missal had been created by Pius V in 1570 in connection with the Council of Trent, and so it was quite normal that, after 400 years and a new council, a new pope would present us with a new missal. But the historical truth of the matter is different. Pius V had simply ordered a reworking of the Misslae Romanum then being used. There is no such thing as a “Missal of Pius V,” created by Pius himself. There is only the reworking done by Pius V as one phase in a long history of growth.
The prohibition of the missal now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could be only tragic.”
“It seems to me indispensible to continue to offer the opportunity to celebrate according to the old Missal, as a sign of the enduring identity of the Church. This is for me the basic reason: what was up until 1969 THE Liturgy of the Church, for all of us the most holy thing there was, cannot become after 1969 – with incredibly positivistic decision – the most unacceptable thing.”
I can follow Peter all right. Can you?



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Victor

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:07 pm


Sherry,
I think I still didn’t see any proposal of yours how to react to this situation. Perhaps I oversaw it – in this case I beg your pardon.
Still – what do you propose? How do you even want to compare Pentecostal preaching-and-prayer services with Catholic/Orthodox/even Anglican or Lutheran liturgy? Surely you don’t have in mind a “catholic” service w/o the sacrifice of Mass, do you? What should a “Catholic Pentecostal” rite look like?
By the way, you are inconsistent. In the beginning, your concern was that non-eurocentric communities are drifting away of the eurocentric Catholic liturgy. Now your focus lies on the United States, which are probably the most euro-centric non-European state. What is your point?
I agree with you that there is a problem (more over there than here in Germany – we have other problems instead). But I must agree with my fellow posters – for the Catholic Church, to become Pentecostal will not be the solution.



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Bender

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:17 pm


trying to tar everyone in sight with the same brush
You are right Henry, and I was hoping to be clear that I did not mean all of the traditionally-minded, but only some. Unfortunately, it is that “some” that tend to get all the attention, whatever percentage they might be, hence, your own frustration concerning them.
To the extent that I got tar on folks that are were not intended with my brush, I apologize.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:43 pm


Sherry,
I don’t see the basis for you to attribute the undeniable chaos and apostasy that have followed the aggiornomento to the traditional Catholicism that the aggiornomento surplanted. Moreover, I don’t understand what you consider to be, as you refer to them, “the implications of a gigantic shift that has occurred right in front of us in our generation.” Are you contending that the Mass really doesn’t matter?



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:47 pm


C’mon, RP, these discussions really should be self-contained. A synopsis of your position in your own words would have been appreciated, even if you wanted to footnote it. I’ll try to take a look at your links and get back to you.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:12 pm


Still – what do you propose? How do you even want to compare Pentecostal preaching-and-prayer services with Catholic/Orthodox/even Anglican or Lutheran liturgy? Surely you don’t have in mind a “catholic” service w/o the sacrifice of Mass, do you? What should a “Catholic Pentecostal” rite look like?
Victor:
I wouldn’t dream of suggesting liturgical solution because 1) I know where I really don’t know what I’m talking about; 2)I don’t think the primary problem is liturgical.
And that’s where the breakdown in our conversation seems to be. Traditionalists are convinced that the primary problem is one of liturgy; that one very particular kind of ritual beauty is the answer to Catholics falling away by the millions.
I’m saying there is absolutely no evidence that is so and much evidence that the problems lie elswhere. Because traditionalist liturgy is only naturally appealing to a very small portion of the human population. Because the vast major of people aren’t driven by the historical, theological, intellectual, cultural or artistic concerns that drive traditionalists.
I think there is a spectrum of problems: the first of which is that we do not challenge our own to become intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. There is also the lack of decent formation, of genuine fellowship and support in common discipleship, of the confidence that God is alive and working within our midst, that God can touch and change my life.
There is the serious lack of a culture of discernment that takes seriously the vocations of all, not just ordained and religious. These issues, much more than the liturgy, is what is drawing so many Catholics into evangelical/Pentecostal settings.
In the beginning, your concern was that non-eurocentric communities are drifting away of the eurocentric Catholic liturgy.
No – I’m not concerned about that at all. I was trying to point that non-Eurocentric communities by and large couldn’t care less about the Traditional Mass. I.e., again, the liturgy isn’t the real issue.
Now your focus lies on the United States, which are probably the most euro-centric non-European state. What is your point?
Someone tried to say that the Traditional Mass would speak to the 300 million inhabitants of North America because they are of a European cultural background. I just pointed out there is abundant evidence that that isn’t the case at all.
I agree with you that there is a problem (more over there than here in Germany – we have other problems instead). But I must agree with my fellow posters – for the Catholic Church, to become Pentecostal will not be the solution.
No one, least of all me, is pushing for the Catholic Church to become Pentecostal, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a bunch to learn from Pentecostals and Independents and evangelicals about how to help ordinary people encounter Christ in a compelling way.
And helping people have a life-changing encounter with Christ is the first, the foundation, the irreplaceable issue. The graces available through the Eucharist are not magic, they depend upon our disposition to be fruitful, to actually change and save us.
That’s why Catechesis in Our Time, 19, puts it this way:
Many Catholics are “ still without any explicit personal attachment to Jesus Christ; they only have the capacity to believe placed within them by Baptism and the presence of the Holy Spirit”



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:31 pm


Moreover, I don’t understand what you consider to be, as you refer to them, “the implications of a gigantic shift that has occurred right in front of us in our generation.” Are you contending that the Mass really doesn’t matter?
Of course not. I am saying that the emergence of a wholly new kind of Christianity that is not Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, that is already the second largest Christian bloc in the world and which is drawing in millions of Catholics should have our serious attention.
The fact that this new kind of Christianity is our ecclesial anti-type should get our attention. That it is ahistorical, non-sacramental, anti-intellectual, anti-hierarchical, and deeply Pentecostalized is something we’d better start taking seriously. Because something about it is apparently hugely compelling to Catholics who were raised with the Mass and the sacraments. As Russell Shaw asked pointedly in his “Ministry or Apostolate: What Should the Catholic Laity Be Doing?”, why is the Catholic church functioning like a farm team for non-denominational mega-churches?
If the universal longing of the human heart is for the very particular kind of beauty that is to be found in the Traditional Mass, this simply wouldn’t be happening.
I’ve worked with many parishes over the country who are regularly seeing Catholics who have been away for decades and become passionate disciples who then fill the pews, worship, pray, study, serve, give, discern, etc. They are all over the liturgical spectrum, some high, some low. None are traditionalist.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:34 pm


B.G.:
Let me quote from a musical authority, retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland, where he wrote some years ago in America magazine that most of the new music written for the Mass was “trite in both musical form and text, more fit for the theater and the pub than for church,” “of limited value” and “poor quality.”
Music is important because it is the one place where the congregation is expected to participate in some way, either by singing or by attentively listening.



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RP Burke

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:36 pm


Weakland’s view is important because some years earlier he was the sponsor of the Milwaukee Symposia on music, which produced the rationale for a variety of contemporary music forms that he later would disavow (as quoted above).



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Juan

posted April 12, 2006 at 1:01 am


Let’s stop playing the numbers game!
It doesn’t matter whether 1 per cent or 80 are attached to the Mass of 1962 (Amy: perhaps the most precise expression). The Good Shepherd went to find the lost sheep. If even one soul was saved because of the old Mass, then all our efforts have been worthwhile, though we may not see the effects. We cannot ever preclude the possibility (and indeed hinder the grace of God) that someone, somewhere may find his salvation through the Latin Mass. If it is an authentic expression of Catholicism, as the Mass sure is, then we cannot let pragmatism dictate our actions. In fact, we must go out of our way to find that one lost sheep, whatever it may cost to our own lives and to the detriment of our selfish comfort. For that matter, who’s to say that a badly celebrated (according to the popular conception thereof, stymied by such impracticalities as discussed in this thread) of the old Mass cannot draw an unbeliever into the faith? We are already welcoming converts with the Novus Ordo; why not give the old Mass a chance?
These arguments (practicality, music, spread, popularity, etc) are peripheral. If we see someone who is asking serious questions, is seeking a certain ambience, we can’t make lazy responses. From the time that this soul has encountered us, we are personally responsible for him, and will have to answer for our efforts (or lack thereof) before the Judge. Remember that the Church is in the business of souls, not of bookkeeping.
So let’s not worry whether Fr X can’t find Subdeacon Y, or Schola Z is having particular problems with the week’s gradual. It doesn’t matter to the universal Church, who knowingly sets a very high standard, but is wise enough to acknowledge the inadequacies of her members. She draws us ever higher, and that is much better than pulling us to the ground.
We are Catholics, famously of the “Both/And” school, not the “Either/Or”. We will withstand these petty fights, since the Church is larger than any of us. She speaks for all times and places, and will not be impeded by the small problems in our little parishes. The true effects of this age will only be seen a century hence, and thus we must check our impatience.



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Elaine

posted April 12, 2006 at 1:07 am


I grew up before Vatican II and went to daily Mass as a child, but when changes were made I embraced them. I love the Mass in English. How joyful it is to receive Jesus by hand and to drink the Blood of Christ. However, I would not mind on occasion to go to a Tridentine Mass. Would I like it all the time? No way.



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totustuusmaria

posted April 12, 2006 at 1:28 am


I am like Meggan in that I grew up with an incredible love for the Novus Ordo as long as it was done from a charismatic point of view–or, in other words, as long as it was clear that the priest and congregation really believed what was happening.
I became interested in the Traditional Latin Mass at an early age from reading about Dominic Savio whom I took as my confirmation Saint. I attended it for the first time 3 years ago. Now I assist at the Traditional Latin Mass almost every Sunday and am considering joining an Order which offers it.
I don’t speak for all the Charismatics when I say this, but I think a good number of them would agree with me: bring on universal permission! Only grace can flow from it!



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Jeff

posted April 12, 2006 at 8:56 am


I agree with Sherry that the old Mass will not solve all problems. Far from it. I think she is right that Catholics must become more fervent and pious.
But I think also that the old Mass can contain and make vital that fervor and piety. Just look at the Muslims. They are a dynamic faith and they manage to attract people in spite of a very formalized kind of worship that is conducted in a language that virtually none of them–even including the Arabs themselves, who are a minority of Muslims–can understand at all.
There is a part of worship that simply must involve quiet and dignity and a lack of emotionalism. Those sorts of things can indeed play a part in the love of God and the worship we give him. But to have them at the expense of the formal, communal element won’t solve the problem either. It tends to be shallow and Pentecostalism tends to be shallow, too.
There’s a dynamic here that needs attention, Sherry, but I don’t think you’ve thought it all the way through.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 12, 2006 at 9:46 am


RP,
Although I don’t know if everyone here would, I agree with you that music for the Novus Ordo is trite. However, I think the same charge of triteness can be made against the Novus Ordo rite itself. As a Latin Mass devotee, I’d be the first to say, “Degustibus,” but some things are not mere matters of taste.
Just as you can evaluate the relative superiority and inferiority of particular pieces of music for liturgical purposes, I think that you can say that the form of the traditional Mass is objectively superior to that of the Novus Ordo. To acknowledge this is not to call into question the validity of the Novus Ordo or to presume to assess the degree to which any individual Catholic avails himself of the graces available at either rite. It is simply to acknowldge the obvious.
It shouldn’t surprise us that the wisdom and genius of generations of Catholics is superior to the fads of the 1960s. Moreover, it should be a red flag that Palestrina and Byrd and Gregorian chant are so out of place at the Novus Ordo, while the music written expressly for the Novus Ordo is so bad. The Church is a treasure house of music. Why is it that most Catholics today have been reduced to paupers?
Although important, I don’t rank music as highly as you do on the list of problems to be addressed and I don’t know if we would agree on the same solutions, but any difference here may be one of degree rather than of kind.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 12, 2006 at 9:49 am


Jeff:
There is a part of worship that simply must involve quiet and dignity and a lack of emotionalism. Those sorts of things can indeed play a part in the love of God and the worship we give him. But to have them at the expense of the formal, communal element won’t solve the problem either. It tends to be shallow and Pentecostalism tends to be shallow, too.
I’m fascinated at how freely the term “shallow” is strewn about. Traditionalist for whom “quiet and dignity and lack of emotionalism” = spiritual depth are extraordinarily quick to dismiss emotion and personal expression as “shallow”.
Meanwhile, my evangelical/Independent family and friends would take one look at a Traditionalist liturgy and “shallow” would hardly cover their response. “Dead, dead, dead” would about sum up how it would look to them. Because real spiritual depth looks very different in their books.
There is nothing about quiet that automatically makes it “deep”. It could be so or just a convenient cover. We have got to learn to distinquish our personal preferences for quiet or expressive worship from “spiritual depth” or the lack therefore.
I’ve met extraordinary Christians of great depth in all groups – some prefer the prayer of quiet, some the prayer of passionate group singing and prayer.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 12, 2006 at 10:13 am


Sherry,
You don’t seem to address the reality that this “wholly new kind of Christianity” to which you refer began to emerge at precisely the time that the Church endeavored to throw off the strictures of its traditions. The Catholics to whom these sects have appeared compelling would seem to have been (and to be) precisely those deracinated Catholics either who never knew traditional Catholicism, because they were never exposed to it, or else who experienced the disorientation of growing up immersed in the traditional Faith, but then witnessing firsthand Church leaders aggressively denigrating those very traditions. Forty years after Vatican II, it seems strange to blame traditionalism for the admittedly colossal failures of the aggiornomento and the New Evangelization.



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Tim F.

posted April 12, 2006 at 11:03 am


I can’t figure out if Sherry’s words and tone are meant to convey a “Chicken Little esque” fear for the Apostolic Faith or a triumphal victory lap for, well whatever you would call these do it yourself “Christianities”. Whatever the case, the comments come across as extremely arrogant, especially the dismissive attitude toward dignity, solemnity, and silence during the liturgy, whether traditional or novus ordo. In this she certainly puts herself above the pope, bishops, and saints in calling these things personal preferences. Oh wait those would be Eurocentric popes, bishops, and saints. Hmm. I wonder where the Jews and Christians of the East and North Africa fit in to this view. I guess it was just their personal preference as well. I’m very much interested in finding out more about what The Catherine Sienna Institute is selling. I notice from the website that my pastor’s former parish is listed as one that has been, what “enlightened to the mysteries of real Christianity”? It seems that rather than enlighten us here Sherry is just going to criticize her fellow Catholics and complain that we are not enough like those wonderful new Christians that reject history, theology, liturgy, and I guess reason. That doesn’t sound that attractive to me.



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RP Burke

posted April 12, 2006 at 11:11 am


B.G., I neither agree nor disagree with your assertion that “the form of the traditional Mass is objectively superior to that of the Novus Ordo.” It is a statement much argued by people who know much more than I. From my old place kneeling on the altar step — I served Mass for 8 years in the old days — I’d say there is nothing “wrong”, at its core, with the pre-1970 Mass. From my new place at the lectern, organ console or even occasionally the m.c.’s place, I’d say there is nothing “wrong”, at its core, with the post-1970 Mass.
Where I objectively disagree with you is where you say that “Palestrina and Byrd and Gregorian chant are so out of place at the Novus Ordo.” I have attended many Masses of the post-1970 form where classical music of all types, from chant to Bach to Vaughan Williams to Rutter, have been used and they are very far from “out of place.”
Let me give you a model for musical reform. A century ago the Church of England gave a bright young composer and organist who was the son of a clergyman, Ralph Vaughan Williams, the job of creating a new official hymnal. Our church today is crying out for the next Vaughan Williams. The first writers and arrangers of traditionally-based music for the 1970 Mass, like Theodore Marier and Richard Proulx, were shoved aside in the early excitement of creating a “new” Mass. Proulx is still at it, supported by the Gregorian Institute of America (the old name for GIA Music, now publisher of the Gather pop hymnal), but work like his sadly is now only for a niche market. The metaphor is shopworn but true: the baby went out with the bath water.
I just cannot accept that Marty Haugen — who doesn’t even write good pop music, and whose texts are more suited for Unitarians than Catholics — is the best we can do.



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totustuusmaria

posted April 12, 2006 at 12:17 pm


It isn’t just about how people respond. The Mass works at least partially ex opero operato. The Tridentine Mass has its own power: it is powerful. God’s grace is poored forth from it even if it is only a priest offering it without congregation. Without replacing lawful rites, the Tridentine Mass will be a source of grace even if it is only Fr. Shmoe offering it sine populo once a week.



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B.G. Gruff

posted April 12, 2006 at 1:21 pm


RP,
Over the years, I’ve attended numerous Novus Ordo Masses on Sundays at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, which certainly drew upon the musical tradition of the Church. The particular pieces of music were executed by the choir and organist with a great deal of technical skill. The music strove to add a certain solemnity to the Mass, but ultimately it was like a foreign overlay upon the proceedings.
There was a striking contrast between those Masses and a traditional Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Cardinal Stickler I attended in the same Cathedral about 10 years ago. At Cardinal Stickler’s Mass (DVD’s of which I believe are available), the liturgy, the music and the architecture were a part of a coherent whole, as one would expect, since the music and the architecture were developed to support this particular rite of Mass.
The logic of the new Mass is different and seems to call for its own forms. Unfortunately, those forms seem less akin to Vaughn Williams and more to Marty Haugen.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 12, 2006 at 2:12 pm


BG:
You don’t seem to address the reality that this “wholly new kind of Christianity” to which you refer began to emerge at precisely the time that the Church endeavored to throw off the strictures of its traditions.
The post-V2 reaction in the Catholic world and the emergence of Independent Christianity coincide in time but didn’t *cause one another or even significantly influence each others’ development.* That’s what has been so fascinating to see and ponder. Literally, they have developed in hermetically sealed universes. I know them both because I grew up in one and become Catholic as a young adult.
I strive always to think and teach with the Church but I also had some extraordinary exposure to the other world and have kept close tabs on it because of its vast and on-going impact on average Catholics – whose formation is my primary call.
It’s size and astonishing growth and *unrecognized but deep influence” in the lay Catholic world is the reason that I bother. If they were just another little odd Proddy sect, who cares? In fact, I’ve been following it closely for 15 years now and just finished writing a 10,000 word article for a major Catholic periodical on the subject.
The Church spends huge amount of energy on ecumenical relations with groups like the Anglicans (which is 1/5 the size of independent Christianity) because they make sense to us: They are creedal, liturgical, sacramental, have a fairly long history that we are familiar with, etc. But independent Christianity is so unlike us, so unlike any form of Christanity that we consider normative, that it is stays firmly in our blind spot.
One reason why Catholics and evangelical/Pentecostal/independents can so readily ignore one another is that both are huge, complex, and global so they can honestly assume that they are essentially “alone” in their development, essentially alone in the world. 400 years of separate historical development makes it possible for post-denominationalist Protestants to *really* ignore historic Christianity because they regard it unquestioningly it all “Constantian captivity” (their phrase) and “old wine skins” (their term as well) at best.
They are wrong but if we don’t acknowledge their existance and engage them, how will they know there is anything else?



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 12, 2006 at 2:45 pm


My last word on the subject:
I’m very much interested in finding out more about what The Catherine Sienna Institute is selling. I notice from the website that my pastor’s former parish is listed as one that has been, what “enlightened to the mysteries of real Christianity”? That doesn’t sound that attractive to me.
If you’d like to see what we are “selling” just hop on over to http://www.siena.org. It’s laid out with all the magisterial references. We seek meticulously to think with the Church seriously and creatively and to think with the Church especially as regards to the New Evangelization, the formation and apostolate of the laity, the parish, etc. We really trust revelation, we really trust the Holy Spirit acting through the Church.
Since our focus is the theology and formation of the laity, and that subject was debated for the first time at the highest level of the Church in October, of 1964, we naturally focus upon teaching of the Second Vatican Council and all the magisterial teaching since. I have no other agenda.
What I’d like to challenge you to do is to 1) actually order and read what we’ve produced; and then 2) produce a serious, closely reasoned, fully documented response (based upon the documents of Vatican II and magisterial teaching) and send it to me and then we can begin a real discussion.
“It seems that rather than enlighten us here Sherry is just going to criticize her fellow Catholics and complain that we are not enough like those wonderful new Christians that reject history, theology, liturgy, and I guess reason.”
I keep saying “They are out there, we have to acknowledge their existance and pay serious attention to them because something about what they are doing is luring millions of Catholics away.” And that becomes “I’m complaining that we are not enough like those wonderful new Christians that reject history, theology, liturgy, and I guess, reason.”
Traditionalism that remains in full communion is a legitimate movement within Catholicism. But it is not coterminus with orthodox Catholicism anymore than the charismatic renewal is. Charismatics and traditionalists, in general, tend to look upon one another with jaundiced eyes because their style and assumptions are so different but you can’t get over the fact that both have been accepted as legitimate options by the Church at the highest level. That means that while both are acceptable paths for faithful Catholics, neither is normative for all the baptized.
And we must begin to deal with this new Christian kid on the block. If we don’t, they will simply continue to evangelize baptized Catholics – the majority of whom, in this country, throughout the west, and in the majority world, are not yet intentional disciples.



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Susan Peterson

posted April 13, 2006 at 1:26 am


Sherry-
If “traditionalism” means celebrating the mass or divine liturgy in one of the main historic rites of the Catholic Church, then I think it is pretty close to a “sine qua non” of true Christianity.
I didn’t come to this belief by attachment to the “old mass” which I don’t know very well, but by my recent experiences in the Byzantine Rite (and a small amount of contact with Orthodoxy.)
I really think that what the church ought to have done after VII is translate the “Tridentine” rite into English, find ways to set the English text to Gregorian Chant, and kept, at least for Sunday mass, a very ceremonial dignified,ad orientam (-em? ) chanted celebration of it. With the people making the responses and most parts said audibly. (Old mass enthusiasts will disagree with me on this last, I know.)
This sort of liturgy teaches both doctrine and devotion. This sort of liturgy is what the church did for most of its history. It needs this to be itself.
The Novus Ordo didn’t develop slowly; it was put together by liturgists with an agenda. Some of that agenda was to return to an idea of what the early church was like. Historicism always imposes the ideas of the present on history; you get more of what was present historically by living the tradition created by that history.
True a liturgy consciously created out of parts of historical liturgies with an agenda can succeed in becoming the expression of the faith of the people. Look at the influence of Cranmer’s liturgy on the faith..and the literature…of the English people. Of course, some of Cranmer’s agenda was heretical. The Novus Ordo in its current English expression certainly doesn’t have the beauty of language that Cranmer’s Rite did. Because I believe that the Holy Spirit could not abandon the church so far as to give us a mass so marked by an agenda that it did not convey the substance of the faith, I trust, contrary to the old mass schismatics, that the Novus Ordo does convey the substance of the faith. And it has seemed so to me as I worshiped in it over the years. And because that substance is so powerful, in expressing it even the Novus Ordo has liturgical power (I am talking about the power to evoke faith, to catechize, not validity, here..) if it is celebrated with reverence and dignity. (preferably chanted at least on Sunday and certainly minus the banal faux-folksy music.) But I don’t think this is the best road the church could have taken since VII.
In any case, I am convinced that no amount of “small group sharing” or even of prayer groups and bible studies, or even of compassionate actions, can ever convert people or bring them back to Catholicism, without the church doing well the action which makes the church the church.
To put traditionalism, broadly understood as the belief that mass is best celebrated in one of the historic rites of the church, and if celebrated in the “Pauline rite” should be celebrated with the same attitude,style, dignity, and reverence as were the historic rites, on a level with the
“Charismatic Renewal” as some kind of an option …well, words fail me. Maybe when you said “traditionalism” you meant only..parishes that use the old mass and do everything as it was done in 1950,mantillas and all. Understood that narrowly, you might be right. But I have to say, the one parish like that I saw, really seemed to have some life in it. (And lots of babies.)
The mass is central. Whether in ones private devotions or in extra-liturgical group prayer, one prays spontaneously out loud or even “prays in tongues” is utterly peripheral. Any of those things is fine, as long as the tongues thing is practiced within doctrinal guidance. But none of those things will make people Catholic or keep them Catholic unless things are right with the liturgy.
After that, preaching, both to teach and to exhort. And Bible study…not the “What this passage means to me ..and what feelings I have about it” style..and not the debunking textual criticism style, but a real serious attempt to get at and explicate what the text means, including its figurative meanings.
Add to that some real attention to what people need in their daily lives, and how they can be helped to get in a position to get the basics they need for themselves, and I think we would be doing fine.
Susan Peterson



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Tim F.

posted April 13, 2006 at 7:54 am


Sherry,
I guess my issue is I don’t know where your views and their views begin and end, although your last post cleared some things up. But when you refer to your friends and relatives looking at a solemn, dignified mass and thinking dead, dead, dead, I can’t help but wonder if those are your thoughts. I’m not saying they are but your tone(if you can detect tone in a blog) leads me to at least suspect that. This topic was originally about whether there would be a universal indult for the 1962 Mass. Pope Benedict apparently thinks the issue is important. I have read some of his books and he does think Liturgy and how it is done is important. If these independent Christians think that is Eurocentric and old wine skins, then by all means try to convince them otherwise (assuming you don’t think it is Eurocentric and old wine skins). But if they stand fast in their ignorance and rejection of the truth and thereby the Truth, then that is their problem. The faith handed down from Christ and his Apostles is what it is and if they don’t accept it then they don’t accept it. I have heard before somewhere in St. Blogs that we are not expected to win, but to be faithful.
I hope I can look into your program. Like I said my pastor apparently had you folks visit his old parish. And I did quickly look over the website. BTW, I’m not a Tridentine Catholic or a Charismatic. I’d like to think I am just a Catholic pursuing Truth as in Jesus.
Another thing. Susan Peterson’s post is awesome. She expresses much of what I feel only much more articulately and in a more charitable manner.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 13, 2006 at 11:59 am


Tim:
I guess I’d better make clear my personal preferences since almost no one seems to be able to separate my awareness of what is happening among ordinary Catholics in the larger world and my personal preferences.
I spent the first 13 years of my Catholic life in a parish that 1) had the only Latin Mass in the diocese (Dominican rite); 2) Where we routinely sang portions in Latin and Byzantine chant; 3) we had a wonderful woman’s Schola that did all kinds of wonderful medieval stuff in Latin, Spanish, Italian, etc. 4) where communicants were free to receive in the hand or kneeling and no one looked askance at the other for doing so. I was blissfully ignorant of the Traditionalist movement and thought it was all great.
I didn’t attend the Latin Mass regularly but went a few times to familiarize myself with it and show solidarity to those who did attend. (And no, I most certainly did not experience the Tridentine as “dead, dead, dead.” I really, truly, was expressing the very different worldview of my non-Catholic family members and friends. Worship as a series of formal, repeated ritual gestures and phrases is completely foreign to all that they know of God and Christanity – as it is to many millions of genuine Christians around the world) Neither was it an ephiphany of beauty and truth. It was different, it was mildly interesting as another experience of the legitimate diversity of the Church. That was all.
I had no liturgical agendas of any kind and very appreciated the liturgies of the parish without in any way being a liturgical maven. I always thought it was wonderful that people could receive the Eucharist in a variety of reverent ways.
Since I’ve started traveling, I’ve attended Masses in 70 dioceses on 4 continents in 5 languages. Masses in churches in Jakarta where the altar was 6 inches high and you sat on cushions and Masses in a church where bats inhabited the organ. Masses at St. Peter and at the Gesu and in Latin at the Brompton Oratory in London. Anglican use Masses and liturgies with wonderful Mozart Requiums. And innumerable Masses in huge southern suburban parishes and tiny Victorian churches in isolated western or high plains towns. From Anchorage to Toronto, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, I’ve been there. I am, more often than not, in a different parish in a different state every single Sunday.
As simple-minded as it sounds, I pretty much trust the Church on this score and try to enter into whatever Mass is offered at the place I happen to be that weekend. (Like I have a choice!) I have no strong liturgical agendas of any kind. I have some mild personal preferences but that’s all they are.
Liturgy is neither my call nor a natural personal interest so I choose to trust those around me who have received significant formation in this area. It helps that I actually am a world class expert in one very narrow area of Church teaching and practice. That makes it much easier to know the difference between *really knowing* what I”m talking about and just spouting personal preferences or opinions. When it comes to the Mass, I really *don’t* know and I know I don’t know. I’m also clear that its not part of my vocation or responsibility to acquire that expertise. I have all I can manage just trying to keep up with the theology and formation of the laity.
But my area of genuine expertise does include an exceptionally broad exposure to the heart and minds and state of formation of ordinary Catholics across this country. I don’t know anyone else who have traveled as widely for the past ten years and had as many in depth conversations with thousands of average parishioners as I’ve had. Not even bishops usually have chance to acquire this kind of intense and broad,in-depth exposure.
I’m not arguing that the Mass shouldn’t be central. I’m not denying Church teaching of the centrality of the Mass. In fact, I’m not making a theological statement at all.
(And when I say “Traditionalist” I do mean the very specific movement within the Church that habitually regards the Norvus Ordo, the Mass that 99% of Catholics attend, as deeply suspect and barely licit at best and probably profoundly corrupt. Vibrant, orthodox parishes filled with babies are to found all over this country. I’ve been to many. None of them are Traditionalist in the sense that I mean.)
I am saying that if most average Catholics ever experienced or grasped or deeply believed that the Eucharist was the most intimate encounter we can have with Jesus Christ in this lifetime, they wouldn’t leave the Church. And if you’d heard, as I have with wearying regularity, dozens and dozens of former Catholics-turned-evangelicals all over the country tell the same story “I was raised Catholic but never had a real encounter with Jesus until X . . ., you’d be asking the same questions.
Since the majority of baptized Catholics in this country either don’t practice or have intentionally joined non-Catholic congregations, there must be a profound disconnect *somewhere*. People are not experiencing the life-changing grace that we assert is present and waiting for them there. Why, I don’t know. But Catholics are telling us there is serious pastoral failure somewhere by voting with their feet.
In some ways, a universal Indult would be the perfect opportunity to see if millions of Catholics presently attending those evangelical mega-churches come flooding back because they were *really* seeking the high beauty and solemnity of the Traditional Mass in the “distressing disguise” of pentecostalized praise and worship.
If not, the perhaps we’ll start asking some new questions.



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Fr D

posted April 13, 2006 at 3:52 pm


Greetings folks. I’ve been reading through this thread with much interest, and if you don’t mind I’d like to offer a few thoughts of my own on the compare/contrast of the Tridentine Mass to the Novus Ordo.
The question which is often at the heart of the debate is: which Mass is “more reverent.” Which itself leads to the question of defining “reverent” and how that ideal should be expressed. People throughout the spectrum all believe that their own understanding of this ideal is best expressed by their own preferences in worship.
But let’s back up a moment here and take a look at what happened historically speaking. Before Vatican II, the Mass had taken on a lot of extraneous prayers and ritual, and even some redundancy. The experience of most Catholics was to simply attend Mass with very little participation (one would go to church “to hear Mass.”) V2 attempted to address these 2 issues (among others, of course). The rubrics of the Mass were extremely specific, and over the centuries had become even burdensome and sometimes unrealistic. For example, the priest was said to be committing a mortal sin if he allowed his hands to go out too far during the Pater Noster. In fact, there were something like 150 ways that a priest could commit a mortal sin by violating the rubrics–some violations, of course, were more serious than others. Prior to the Novus Ordo, all priests were trained in this very scrupulous manner, with the fear of God that they dare not violate even the most minute instruction. The Novus Ordo tried to correct this issue. After all, it is hard to believe that one would be literally condemned to eternal hellfire because he had his hands so far out that a parishioner might see them. The Novus Ordo, then sufficed to say that the priest “extends his hands.” I personally believe that the Church Fathers who wrote those rubrics thought to themselves “they’ll know what we mean.” Priests suddenly found themselves with a new freedom. The priest was now free to interpret “extends his hands” in any way he chose. I’m not saying that such an interpretation would be liturgically sound, but that it would be within the law, strictly speaking. When our priests made the transition from such exacting rubrics to such general ones, it was difficult for them to truly understand what was meant by the new ones. Human nature being what it is, we tend to explore the bounds of any new-found freedom. I submit that the problem here, in our contemporary situation, is that too many priests have forgotten that principle that the Fathers who wrote those liturgical documents intended that the priest would continue to do the same thing as before, yet without the strict and exacting instructions. I know of one priest who interprets “extends his hands” to do something that I can only describe as resembling the chicken-dance. Unfortunately, he is actually following the letter (though certainly not the spirit) of the law. I believe that much of the liturgical abuse we see today can be traced back to the fact that the transition was made so suddenly from strict rubrics to general ones, that many priests sincerely did not know how to interpret them.
That brings me to my second point about misinterpreting VII: the issue of language. The Council Fathers clearly and unambiguously expected that most of the Mass would still be in Latin. Here again, the liturgical books became the problem. The first Sacramentaries printed (in the US at least) had the Latin on the side of the page, as if it were footnotes or a translation of the English (or an appendix at the back which most never even see). But even that didn’t last long as very quickly the liturgical books were printed only in English. A priest can only deal with the tools he has–and if the Sacramentary is printed only in English, and the missalettes for the people available only in English, then it follows that the Mass will only be said in English. And that English translation is an impoverishment at best. It is clearly more of an interpretation of the Latin rather than a translation. Everyone, especially a priest who has been trained in Latin, knows that “et cum spiritu tuo” does not mean “and also with you.” Yet there it is. Consciously or not, the priest thinks to himself something like “if the people with the authority to translate into English can take liberties with the language of the Mass, then so can I.” What further complicates the issue is that many times the rubrics state that the priest uses “these or similar words.” Agian, human nature being what it is (ie fallen) it’s only natural that the use of “these or similar words” is being ever-expanded by the individual priests and has become an opportunity to say whatever he feels like saying–similar or not. And, in the minds of many priests, if they can change the words in so many parts of the Mass, they will naturally expand upon that to change the words of other parts of the Mass which they do not have the authority to change.
Another problem complicating the issue: seminaries. Seminaries had been cloistered, almost secretive institutions, hardly academic places, but mostly engaged in training priests in how to say Mass, hear confessions, etc., with almost no emphasis on actually understanding the theology or history behind what they were being trained to do. This may sound offensive to some, but quite frankly, many priests trained in such seminaries were little more than “liturgical robots” in that they merely recited the prayers without understanding why they were doing what they were doing. Now, that’s not to say they didn’t care about the people (they certainly did), but merely to say that the seminary system itself trained without realy educating. I once knew a priest who had one homily for baptisms and one for weddings. It was both sad and comical to watch the congregation moving their lips while he preached, as not only he, but they as well had the entire text memorized. In fat, it was the practice in seminaries that the priest who was least qualified to teach was given the task of teaching the Mass–after all, he merely had to train them in what do to. To correct this, V2 called for more scholarship in seminaries. And that became a double-edged sword. Academics are by nature people who need to have “the latest idea” in our “publish or perish” world of higher education. This mentality spills over into the liturgy classes, when, for example, prospective priests are given an assignment of writing their own Eucharistic prayers. This may be a good academic exercise, but it must be done carefully with the caveat: “don’t try this at home, folks.” Unfortunately, when seminarians are told to write their own liturgical prayers as part of their training, they will develop the tendancy (or should I say “temptation”?) to do so as priests.
Prior to the Novus Ordo, priests were essentially anonymous during Mass. Unless you knew what the back of Father’s head looked like (and you probably did!) you could not tell one priest from another. Alright, this may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but point made. Vatican II was incorrectly interpreted (or improperly imposed by the local bishop who understandably wanted to fully implement V2) as saying that the priest “must” face “toward the people”–incidentally, the Latin is “versus populum” which means “against the people”. Once again, we have a new-found freedom: the transition from virtual anonymity to suddenly being the center of attention can be a difficult one–and it was easy for the priest to give-in to the temptation of drawing attention to himself as such rather than himself “in persona Christi”. I could go on and on about this point, but I’ll spare the reader.
So much for my thoughts on misunderstanding the rubrics. Allow me to say a few words on participation. We all know that the laity had very little in the way of participation in the Tridentine Mass. Good people can debate about the value of this, but suffice for the moment to say that participation was minimal. Whether we like it or not, most prayed the rosary or read silently from prayerbooks. Although the Church had been addressing this issue for centuries, when Vatican II said it, this time people listened–even though they also misinterpreted. The fundamental point of Vatican II that most people missed was that the council said that everyone has a proper “role” in participation. One need not be doing the parts of the priest in order to participate. Unfortunately, in the minds of most people, the priests (and to a lesser degree altar boys and choir) did the entire Mass, and so it was difficult to draw the a clear distinction between the parts that belonged to the priest and the parts that belonged to others–that is, when you put it in the context of the emergence of the laity now being permitted certain roles which were definately reserved to the priest (proclaiming the readings, certain chants, etc). Granted, one could simply follow the instructions in the missalette to know which parts to say-and-do and which parts not to, but again, put into overall context (and this is a key point), the distinction between the roles of clergy and laity had become blurred. Re-establishing the permanent diaconate (erroneously sometimes called the lay diaconate), and abolishing subdeacons and minor orders further contributed to the misunderstanding. From a pastoral point of view, priests wanted the laity to perform those roles in the Mass which now properly belonged to them, and in encouraging such participation, abuses and misunderstandings are almost inevitable.
Having said all that, I’d like to offer a conclusion. If the Novus Ordo is celebrated as the Fathers of Vatican II intended the Mass to be celebrated, that is, with reverence, dignity and in the spirit of being consistent with the traditions of the Church as we have received them, it entirely possible for the Novus Ordo to be celebrated with reverence. The problem lies not with Vatican II, nor with the Novus Ordo itself (though I personally believe it could use some improving–by way of restoration), but with the following:
1. context in which these were received by both clergy and laity alike
2. the contemporary problem of attempting to make the Mass something “entertaining” in an entertainment-driven, consumer mentality society
3. contemporary political correctness which perceives a license to change anything we don’t find palatable at the moment
4. worship aids (especially missalettes) printed by people with an agenda of their own rather than the good of the Mass
If we find a way to eliminate the problems of how the Novus Ordo was/is implemented and remember the call of Vatican II that the Mass is the same now as it was before, and set aside personal agendas in favor of worshiping Almighty God, then yes, the Mass can still be celebrated with reverence and dignity and certainly be relevant to modern society, which must conform itself to the Truths of the Church, not the other way around.
Thanks for reading.
–Father D.



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Commuter Cushion With Basic Cover

posted April 23, 2006 at 8:55 pm


Commuter Cushion With Basic Cover

Cover you start commuting in the early summer with your current, basicCommuter Trim Womens Drizzle Boot Womens Rubber Overshoe…



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Ashley furniture.

posted January 26, 2008 at 7:04 pm


Bedroom furniture.

Furniture store. Ashley furniture. Sauder furniture. Patio furniture. Living room furniture. Sex furniture. Furniture. Wicks furniture.



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