When the Saints Go Marching Out

The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, should honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them, because they are worthy of honor and as friends of God will help the faithful on earth. — The Baltimore Catechism, 1941

I am trying these days, as best I can, to come to terms with the Church’s reform of the liturgy. But when one truly examines the differences between the “Tridentine” liturgy and the “Novus Ordo” liturgy, and furthermore, compares the “Novus Ordo” liturgy to what Protestant “reformers” (if that’s what you want to call violent iconoclasm) have tried to introduce into the liturgy for the past 500 years, it is hard to remain sympathetic.

On the surface the liturgical revisions of Vatican II were aimed at “increasing participation” of the congregation in the liturgy. I’ll leave aside my complaints about that motive for now. If this were indeed the goal, however, what I cannot understand are some of the other changes that were made, changes that apparently, to my untrained eye anyway, have nothing to do with participation. When, however, I reflect upon the some statements made by Annibale Bugnini, who was at the forefront of liturgical revisions during Vatican II, the changes do make sense. Bugnini is often quoted as having said:

“We must strip from our … Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.”

This ought to go down in history as one of the most opportunistic, unprincipled statements that has ever been uttered. How can the transformation of the liturgy to make it less offensive to Protestants be considered anything other than sacrilege? If he didn’t actually say it, then anyone who can provide the correct quote will have my gratitude (or I will find out for myself as I read his tome on the reform of the liturgy). [Update: this quote appears in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965.]

Tto get a sense of how Bugnini was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, even those of Pope Paul VI, I turn to an op-ed column that ran in the New York Times by a Kenneth J. Wolfe:

How was Bugnini able to make such sweeping changes? In part because none of the popes he served were liturgists. Bugnini changed so many things that John’s successor, Paul VI, sometimes did not know the latest directives. The pope once questioned the vestments set out for him by his staff, saying they were the wrong color, only to be told he had eliminated the week-long celebration of Pentecost and could not wear the corresponding red garments for Mass. The pope’s master of ceremonies then witnessed Paul VI break down in tears.

This was the same Paul VI, by the way, who spoke of the “smoke of Satan” entering the Church. If experiences such as these were typical, I can understand why he said it. If only he had listened to Dietrich von Hildebrand.

Those who wish to ardently defend the “New Mass”, the “Novus Ordo”, ought to be able to answer at least this one question: why is it that everything that 16th century “reformer” Thomas Cranmer wanted to do was wrong when he wanted to do it, but right now that Bugnini has inserted it into the liturgy? Take a look at this list to see what I am talking about.

How does one avoid the logic? No one wants to be labeled an “extremist”; no one wants to be labeled a “rad trad.” But one cannot deny facts, one cannot abuse logic. If reason is God-given, it must be used. I am willing to hear counter-arguments, but what I am not willing to do is to pretend that there isn’t a problem here. There is a serious problem here.

To take only one example, one of the more obvious ones that stands out for me as someone who is not a liturgical scholar, is the near-total absence of the saints in the Novus Ordo liturgy. No specific saints are mentioned, and “the saints” in general are only invoked twice, once in Eucharistic Prayers II & IV – which are the only ones I have ever heard used at a Novus Ordo service (Eucharistic Prayer III includes one reference to a particular saint, “the saint of the day or the patron saint”). At best, then, the saints are now optional, and it is an option rarely chosen in my experience. Here is what we hear at a Latin Mass, during the Invocation of the Saints:

Communicating with, and honoring in the first place the memory of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Joseph, her Spouse, and of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection.

And this is the most we hear of the saints at a typical Novus Ordo Mass:

Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles, and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory.

Why has the community of saints been relegated to the sidelines of the new liturgy? Of course it was part of the effort to appease Protestantism, to appease what is still heresy. How is this in any way excusable or justifiable? The idea that so many Catholics no longer invoke the saints because one man or a committee decided that it was offensive to Protestants – who I don’t think have converted in droves over these changes – is as tragic as it is appalling.

This was one of Thomas Cranmer’s aims, and the aims of many a would-be “reformer” (how I loathe the usage of that word – as if getting rid of the communion of saints were an improvement that needed to occur). In their misguided view, the saints serve as a distraction at best, and a form of idolatry at worst. Though the Anglicans and Lutherans do not take as hard of a line against veneration of the saints as other Protestant sects, they certainly didn’t want them to be a part of the liturgy.

Since I simply cannot believe that anyone seriously thought that the excision of the saints from the liturgy would actually result in some sort of ecumenical paradise, I can only conclude that the people who wanted it done were themselves Protestants in spirit. Catholics ought to reclaim their spiritual heritage and the community of saints by attending traditional Masses, or if they prefer, lobbying their priests or bishops to use Eucharistic Prayer I more often, if they don’t do so already (and as I said, I’ve yet to attend a Novus Ordo Mass where it was used).

No one wants to hear the word “heresy” since it is associated with burnings and executions. In modern times no one could or would be executed for such a thing – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, or isn’t relevant. We can be friendly with Protestants, and we certainly don’t need to fight a violent war over our differences, but we can’t pretend that those vast areas of difference between their beliefs and ours are somehow unimportant. If differences don’t matter, then Unitarianism is the way to go. If differences do matter, if truth matters, then it must be defended.

A reminder to readers that I will be monitoring the discussion, and will delete comments that violate our policy. Think before you post. I’m willing to reasonably discuss anything without fighting – even if I couldn’t disagree more with you.

64 Responses to When the Saints Go Marching Out

  • “We must strip from our … Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.”

    That quote says it all Joe. Most of the changes introduced make no sense unless they are understood as part of a general scheme to make the Mass as much like a Protestant Service as possible. One does not need to be a Rad-Trad, which I am not, to recognize this sad historical fact.

  • Where exactly did he say this? “Reported as saying.” Please at least give credit to the source so people can read it and look at the words in context.

  • Henry,

    I’ve been looking for the original document where it first appeared. According to a Michael Davies, whose article appears on insidethevatican.com, Bugnini was quoted in L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965.

    I have no idea how to get back issues of that paper.

    That is why, I hope you noticed, that I asked my readers if they could provide something to confirm it.

    In any case, it appears that what he is reported to have said, he actually did, at least in part.

  • Joe

    The question is in what context is he saying it; more important, do you realize that the Catholic Church has had a long history of such initiatives? Heck, even Trent was called, in part, to appease the reform movement and reformers — and they were right to do so. Saying that there is an element of desire to work together with Protestants is not a bad thing; indeed, especially in today’s day and age when people are born Protestant in a way people used to be born pagan. How did the Church attract the pagans? Oh, that’s right, using many things which they liked and thought could be used to attract them. The problem for me is not Protestants (though their theology is off), because for the most part, as with most people, they are naive traditionalists to their faith. The problem I find are those who have ill will and who act like the very Protestants who founded the reform ecclesial communities when the Church tries to follow the hard lessens of Christ.

    I would recommend you get the volume of Nicholas of Cusa from TATTI. Read it. This is a good work from pre-Reformation times, and in it, he discusses the issue of liturgy, its development, and the kind of spirit one should have about its changes.

  • If the changes in the Mass were made with the intention to attract more people to the Church and to the Mass, then the changes have indeed been a flat, busted failure.

  • Why should “stripping our Catholic liturgy of everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants” have ever been considered a priority? I love our separated brethren, and have some as close family members, but making the mass more appealing to them is not a priority. The mass is a sacred mystery, and should look like it, not like the Old Time Gospel Hour (with all due respect to my Protestant friends and relaitives).

  • “If the changes in the Mass were made with the intention to attract more people to the Church and to the Mass, then the changes have indeed been a flat, busted failure.”

    You’re absolutely right, Donald. Some of the more liberal Protestants may be more open-minded about what Catholicism is and isn’t, but they havent converted, and those who have, have done so for more profound reasons. Attracting converts is wonderful and desirable, but is more effective when stressing those things that make the Church Catholic.

  • I have to admit, when I saw the title I thought this was a football post predicting the victory of the Vikings this weekend. ;)

    It did draw my attention, and I’m glad I read it. Interesting post!

  • Joe

    The Gospel is a sacred mystery, but it is one which can be, and is put in a multitude of forms. Indeed, the arguments you make today are the arguments people have consistently made against the liturgy and its reform, ever since it was decided it didn’t need to be in Greek! “Why should we make it into Latin?! The Gospels were written in Greek!”

    Being an Easterner, I find the normative Western Liturgical tradition to be plain, iconoclastic. It’s always had that bit of iconoclasm, and although there were some times of high aesthetic integration, even that was an adaptation of and towards an exterior culture and bringing it into the Church, the kind of thing which people, without knowing better, call “liberal.”

    I once again highly recommend Nicholas of Cusa. I recommend a real exploration of the history of liturgy — heck, read the history and debates in the Byzantine world (Schmemann does a good job introducing that if you want!). There is no romantic ideal time. We must stop blaming Vatican II as if it were some destructive force created by anti-Catholics — it is an ecumenical council! Historically, after EVERY council, you get dissidents saying how horrible the council was, how it destroyed everything, look to the chaos around the council — it is normal, it happens. But with Vatican II, this chaos was already brewing and there, and you are just following a typical post hoc ergo propter hoc — the council tried to stop the things you complain about, and indeed, has helped keep and preserve the Church; without it, without the work of the Spirit, we would be in worse shape now!

  • “They have been a failure” not necessarily; there are many converts to the Church. So has it been a complete failure? No, not at all. More important, this post hoc ergo propter hoc argument is all about reducing the crisis of modernity to the issue of liturgy — that’s the wrong place to go; even in the eras of the most aesthetic of liturgies, general attendance was low and heresies developed. The focus is all wrong.

  • Henry,

    “The question is in what context is he saying it”

    My apologies. I thought I had made it clear that I didn’t have access to the newspaper in which the quote appears.

    In any case, I can’t imagine any “context” in which Bugnini’s statement would suddenly make it any better in my eyes. Context is not everything. The notion that the timeless beauty of the Catholic liturgy – which Protestants tried to violently destroy 500 years ago for all time – should suddenly be jettisoned to appease those same forces and that same spirit, doesn’t make me angry, it hurts me.

    It hurts me that anyone, let alone an archbishop, could look at something so beautiful as the Catholic liturgy and want to spoil it to appease some Protestants – who haven’t converted in droves anyway over it, not that that would have excused it. It was a miscalculation at best.

    “Heck, even Trent was called, in part, to appease the reform movement and reformers — and they were right to do so.”

    Trent codified the liturgy, though. Instead of banishing the saints like Cranmer and others wanted (some “reform”), it reaffirmed their place in the Canon.

    “Saying that there is an element of desire to work together with Protestants is not a bad thing;”

    This depends entirely upon what means by “work with.” If that means putting an end to violent conflict, if it means coming together on non-doctrinal social issues such as political strategies to fight abortion or defend marriage, then I am entirely supportive. I have nothing but respect for those Protestants who have participated in the abolitionist or civil rights or pro-life movements.

    But on the liturgy, on Church tradition, on the communion of saints, on similar issues, not only is it unnecessary to tamper with or abolish these things to put them at ease; in my view it is offensive to God, harmful to Catholics, and a terrible insult to the Catholic martyrs who died defending these things.

    It is either very ill-considered, or it is deliberately hostile to Catholicism.

    “How did the Church attract the pagans? Oh, that’s right, using many things which they liked and thought could be used to attract them. ”

    We can’t really compare these two situations, though. Obviously, it goes without saying, that pagans were never Christians, they were never once a part of the Church and then rejected its key teachings. In other words, they could not have ever been heretics. Nothing essential was compromised in those efforts.

    To “attract” Protestants, though, does mean to compromise on key issues and to end up acknowledging that what was once condemned as heresy is now pardoned as some sort of harmless “difference” – as I think we clearly see with the excision of the saints from the liturgy.

    Not only that, but it also appears to be a step down from the heights of divinely inspired creativity and aesthetics to the sort of colorless banality that the Puritans always wanted to impose upon everyone. We can’t have a stained-glass window or a statue or beautiful chant because all of this is supposed “idolatry” – if we don’t believe this, if we know this is nonsense, we shouldn’t give into it one iota.

    “The problem I find are those who have ill will and who act like the very Protestants who founded the reform ecclesial communities when the Church tries to follow the hard lessens of Christ.”

    If you are referring to Catholic traditionalists, whom I hope you do not also dismiss as “naive”, this comparison is invalid. The deform movements of the 16th century wanted to abolish central Catholic teachings and practices. The traditionalist movements of today wish to preserve those central teachings and practices.

    It is not automatically “Protestant” to question or even disobey, when needs be, authority. One of the “hard lessons of Christ” is precisely that – Christ, who defied the Pharisees, who healed on the Sabbath, who chased money-changers out of the Temple, which was to be first and foremost “a house of prayer.”

    Reaching out is good; defiling the temple of God is evil. Communication is good, reconciliation is good, but higher in the hierarchy of goods is the integrity of divine worship, of the sacredness and solemnity of worship.

    So please understand that I do not disagree with the goal of working with or reaching out to Protestants, but that I do disagree with where some people place that on the hierarchy of goods. It is a good, but it is not a greater good than that which I have outlined.

  • “Being an Easterner, I find the normative Western Liturgical tradition to be plain, iconoclastic.”

    I’m an “Easterner” too – part of my childhood was spent as a server for the Maronite rite – and I don’t share this appraisal at all. While Aramaic is a beautiful language, so is Latin. At the traditional Masses I attend, I do not find plainness or iconoclasm – that is what I find during every Novus Ordo service, though.

    “We must stop blaming Vatican II as if it were some destructive force created by anti-Catholics — it is an ecumenical council!”

    I don’t. I blame certain factions within the Church, but my research has lead me to conclude that MOST of the liturgical abuse that takes place today comes from defiance of, and not compliance with, VII. Thus, I can’t agree with people who trace all problems back to VII. The plain truth is that many bishops chose to defy VII from the left, from a progressive point of view, and that many priests were ignorant of the true directives of the council, and thus enforced the wishes of rouge bishops as if they were orders from Rome.

    There was a great confusion, in other words, that I don’t blame on the council, but on disobedient, conniving renegades – the very people to whom Paul VI was referring when he said that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church.

    This business with the saints, though, does seem to be a product of VII, and one of its more regrettable outcomes. That isn’t to say that it abolished them from the liturgy, since there is nothing invalid about Eucharistic Prayer I. But it’s never used at Novus Ordo Masses, not that I’ve seen anyway.

  • Henry,

    I was not talking so much about the language of the mass, as Christ Himself never left instructions as to what language it should be said in, although I do think changing it from Latin into the vernacular was, at least in retrospect, an unnecessary experiment, since a universal language helped make the Church more truly Catholic, that is, Universal.

    Also, most Catholics (not all, unfortunately) who express dismay at some changes resulting from Vatican II do not reject the council itself, since to do so would be to reject them all. It’s a package deal. It’s the “spirit of Vatican II” that is cited by more liberal theologians who conider it lisence to teach things which run contrary to Catholic doctrine which is cause for dismay to many of us.

  • This post would have been better to be about football. Otherwise it proves to be little more than gossip. I’m aware of the second quote; it appeared on a major reform2 website a few weeks ago. But it’s little more authoritative than “We must strip …” Where did that come from? This is why pajamas media will never catch up with journalism when it’s seemingly content enough to chum with picket fence gossipmongers.

    That said, it was true that Roman reforms of the 60’s and 70’s inspired many laudable developments among many Protestants: a common lectionary, a recovery of Communion and rites of the altar.

    Last point: I’d say more liturgical abuse takes place today from pragmatists who know little or care nothing for the liturgy–other concerns are on their minds.

  • Todd,

    First, the quote comes from L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965.

    Secondly, this is your first and only warning. I will not tolerate smug on my discussion threads. If you want to condescend to someone, please do it elsewhere. Here at TAC I am trying to foster an atmosphere of respect.

    It isn’t “gossip” when I acknowledge that the quote might not be accurate. Nonetheless, this quote appeared in the same NY Times article I linked to. Both quotes came from a NY Times Op-Ed. So much for your “pajamas media” theory.

    You seem to be addicted to belittling people. I won’t tolerate it, understand? I’ll ban you in an instant. So show some respect. I don’t go over to your blog and talk down to you. When you’re in my house, respect my rules. I’ll do the same, should I ever find a reason to peruse your blog.

  • Besides, I don’t know why people are getting hung up on the quote when they can compare the liturgies themselves. The proof is in the pudding. The quotes only provide a context.

  • The near absense of the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) seems to be one of the seriously unfortunate aspects of bringing more flexibility into the rubrics. I guess I’ve been particularly fortunate here, in that our priests have been increasingly using 1 lately (as in on major feasts and about 20% of the time on normal Sundays) whereas I gather that in many parishes one never hears it at all.

    Several priests have told me how wonderful they think it is that they we they can pick between several Eucharistic Prayers when planning a mass, in order to select the one which seems most appropriate to the readings, occasion, etc. I guess I can see that, in a sense, but it seems that more often the flexibility is misused more often than it is used well.

    Also, it may be worth noting, that the changing of the liturgy was not itself a part of Vatican II, though the council did provide some very brief directions for seeking to reform the liturgy. It was the work of an independant committee working after the council.

  • ” It was the work of an independant committee working after the council.”

    It does tend to all get lumped together in my mind. Would such a committee have existed without a Vatican II?

  • Also missing from the vast majority of NO Masses are the prayers for holiness and grace – and I can’t help but think that this too has something to do with a spirit of Protestantism. I don’t even think it is FOR Protestants; I think it is FOR Catholics who want to be more Protestant-like.

    Prayer for Grace

    “Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through Thy mercy may it be unto me a safeguard and a healing remedy both of soul and body. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.”

    Look at how much emphasis it puts on worthiness, on the value of the Eucharist. How many Catholics file up to the altar these days in a state of mortal sin to take communion? Can we honestly say that this sin wouldn’t be less frequent if this prayer for grace were more frequently prayed? We need to be reminded of the seriousness of partaking in the sacrament.

  • Sacrosanctum Concilium was the first of the four Constitutions promulgated at the Council, and it *does* give directives for some reform of the liturgy. However, reading SC and then looking at *how* it was implemented raises many an eyebrow (well, no more than two per person, but you know what I mean). For instance, SC does call for some usage of the vernacular, but it clearly indicates that much of the ordo ought to be in Latin. Ooops. SC says nothing about the priest celebrating Mass “versus populum”. Ooops. I could go on.

    The problem — as the NYT op-ed Joe cited indicates — is that Paul VI wasn’t “into” the liturgy… he basically delegated it to Bugnini and just signed off on it.

    Oops.

    I’m guessing some have heard the story Fr. Z tells (having heard it from someone who was apparently there) that on the Monday after Pentecost during the first year of the novus ordo, Paul was surprised to see green vestments laid out (there used to be a Pentecost octave). When he asked who did that, the MC is reported to have gently said, “you did, Your Holiness,” and Paul wept.

  • DC alluded to the Roman canon, and I did want to note that *it* does list numerous saints. Of course, it’s only an option, and one rarely heard.

  • Wasn’t the name of the cardinal that pointed out a lot of the concerns with the reform Ottaviani or something like that? I recall reading his points and frankly, they seemed to make a lot of sense.

    There is a difference between saying the N.O. was a bad idea and the N.O. is invalid (ground chuck and filet mignon are both beef, after all). I have no problem stating unequivocally that the N.O. is valid, I’ve never attended a Traditional Mass, and gone to the N.O. all my life. But even I can see that the so-called “improvements” really weren’t that spectacular.

    As for converts being made because of the change, my assessment is that they converted in spite of the change (and we lost quite a few because of the change). Seems most people convert because of spouse/family or realization of the Truth. Haven’t heard of many converts because the priest now faces the people, we dropped Latin or the saints, the priest uses different vestments, etc.

  • ” I’ve never attended a Traditional Mass”

    Give it a try sometime :)

    Wouldn’t you like to hear this at the beginning of Mass?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gYQWKCqxEE&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  • “Wasn’t the name of the cardinal that pointed out a lot of the concerns with the reform Ottaviani or something like that?”

    Yes:

    http://www.fisheaters.com/ottavianiintervention.html

  • As a fairly recent convert from Anglicanism, I can confirm (at least in my case) cmatt’s assessment that I converted and remained despite what I see as liturgical mediocrity, not because the NO was more palatable to me as a Protestant Episcopalian.

    It felt like a step down in a lot of ways, and I find myself struggling moreso now than I did before coming into full communion.

  • In his book Liturgical Time Bombs of Vatican II, Michael Davies makes the case about Bugnini being an architect of liturgical destruction, perhaps this was his assignment from the Lodge. Here’s Davies on Bugnini being a freemason:

    “But the thoroughness of the destruction caused many to wonder whether it might be more than the result of ill-considered policies. It came as no great surprise when, in April of 1976, Tito Casini, Italy’s leading Catholic writer, publicly accused Archbishop Bugnini of being a Freemason. On October 8, 1976, Le Figaro published a report stating that Archbishop Bugnini denied ever having had any Masonic affiliation. I have made my own investigation into the affair and can vouch for the authenticity of the following facts. A Roman priest of the very highest reputation came into possession of evidence which he considered proved Archbishop Bugnini to be a Freemason. He had this information placed into the hands of Pope Paul VI with the warning that if action were not taken at once, he would be bound in conscience to make the matter public. Archbishop Bugnini was then removed by means of the dissolution of his entire Congregation. I have verified these facts directly with the priest concerned, and the full facts can be found in Chapter XXIV of my book Pope Paul’s New Mass. An important distinction must be made here. I have not claimed that I can prove Archbishop Bugnini to have been a Mason, but that Pope Paul VI dismissed him and exiled him to Iran because he had been convinced that the Archbishop was a Mason. I made this same point in a letter published in the January 1980 Homiletic and Pastoral Review, which prompted a violent attack upon me by Archbishop Bugnini in the May 1980 issue.”

    Bugnini adamantly denied being a freemason.

    Pope Paul VI,in reaction to the allegations of masonic infiltration of the Vatican, assigned the Canadian Cardinal Gagnon to investigate. The dossier he had compiled was, of course, top secret. Pope John Paul II had it destroyed. Dr. Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican confirms this. He visited the Cardinal just before he died, hoping to get names. He was not successful, but Gagnon did say that he had compiled such a dossier at the behest of Paul VI.

    As far as the Roman liturgy is concerned, the canon had never been touched since the time of Leo the Great (461). And I believe the Offertory prayers were virtually untouched since Pope Gregory’s (604) Sacramentary. Additions, such as the Gloria, Last Gospel, Foot Prayers, Confiteor, were placed in the Mass over the centuries. Trent, codified the Roman Liturgy. Nothing new was added. Accretions, that had been tagged onto the liturgy as a result of local diocesan preferences,or monastic additions, were abrogated by Pius V, except in the case of orders whose liturgy was at least 200 years old.

  • Chris,

    Then I repeat my advice to c matt – try to find a Latin Mass! Or at least an Eastern one, i.e. Maronite.

    Of course not everyone has access to one, though Summorum Pontificum was supposed to make access easier. If you can’t get to a Latin Mass, then you might consider getting together with other like-minded Catholics and contacting Una Voce.

    http://unavoce.org/

  • Thank you for that information George.

    It is difficult to know who to trust. We live in an unfortunate time where many reasonable people have had their minds poisoned, or pre-poisoned, if you will, against anything that contains the slightest whiff of “conspiracy” – as if no one ever has any reason to try and hide what they do, or as if one’s mere ignorance of disturbing facts creates a situation where the knowledge becomes too difficult to absorb.

    For my part, I approach all claims with an open and cautious mind. It doesn’t strike me as improbable that Bugnini and other prominent clergy were either Freemasons or communist sympathizers – possibly even KGB plants, for we absolutely know for a fact that the KGB sent spies to the Vatican.

  • I wish the TLM was more readily available – as it is, we have one in Houston downtown at 8 am or something, but Houston covering about 100 square miles, it is not the most convenient. It would not be impossible for me to attend, but getting the fambly together and having our parish N.O. just 5 minutes away, it is very difficult to go to the TLM (and compared to some of the other horror stories I have heard, our N.O. is pretty decent). I will make a better effort to try (I did make a N.O. in Latin w/ chant once, and just those two changes -Latin and chant – made a world of difference – from ground chuck to top sirloin).

  • Joe,

    Thanks! The closest TLM is with an ‘independant’ Catholic parish whose situation is.. well.. irregular, I guess is the best way to put it. They’re not SSPX or sedevacantists, but.. well.. they don’t have a relationship with the local diocese, so I’m not comfortable attending there regularly.

    I’d give anything to have an Anglican Use parish or to speed up the whole Anglican Ordinariate situation. Barring that, or a new TLM closer to the Orlando metro area, I’m kind of stuck.

  • Joe, first, I repsect that bloggers can run their blogs however they want. You can ban me because I have nine letters in my last name if it makes you feel better. The comments I write in comboxes are generally in keeping with the style of the sites and bloggers to whom I reply. This is the Wild West of human interaction. I got used to it a long time ago.

    Second, if you want to provide links to quotes, like I do on my blog, so that your readers can judge context, that’s a good thing. Otherwise, it’s like calling the Lord a crybaby because of John 11:35. Personally, I think it’s a good thing that Roman Catholicism remove non-essential peripherals if it will enhance the return of non-Catholics to Rome. We should all rejoice in that.

    And last, if you were honestly seeking “an atmosphere of respect,” you would stick to serious sources, not calling a then-unattributed quote as “unprincipled,” or calling on your main source an op-ed that itself had no source. Just because something appears in msm print, doesn’t mean it’s true.

  • although I do think changing it from Latin into the vernacular was, at least in retrospect, an unnecessary experiment, since a universal language helped make the Church more truly Catholic, that is, Universal.

    I understand what you are getting at here. However, let me offer a different take on experiencing the universality of the Church. I’ve had to travel oversees a few times in my line of work, and a couple of them involved me being away from home over the weekend. I was able to seek out Mass in Korea and Hong Kong and fulfill my Sunday obligation. Being able to experience the Mass in a language completely foreign to me (unlike Spanish) was quite awe inspiring. The only parts of the Mass I couldn’t understand were the homily and hymns. As for the rest of the Mass, I had no problem following the Mass in Korean and Cantonese. To witness others on the other side of the world, participating in the same Mass drove home that we are indeed a Universal Church.

    I will say that on my trip to Korea, my Protestant friends that were also there didn’t have the same “luck” in finding an appropriate church for Sunday worship.

    In the end, I think the language in which the Mass is celebrated is a non-issue. It can be seen, albeit in different ways, that both demonstrate the Church as Universal.

  • The invocation of the saints in Eucharistic Prayer I is almost identical to what you posted. I have only heard it twice in my life (both within the last two months!), but it’s there.

    If you want back issues of L’Oservatore Romano, try your nearest seminary library. If you aren’t near one, call them up and they may be able to find it for you. Librarians are usually helpful that way.

    This is a very interesting post and I think it shows how “reform of the reform” is gaining momentum from many different directions. Over at Fr. Z’s today, he has a post about his preferring Latin. I have no doubt that he does, but I also think that this groundswell of interest in reforming the N.O. reflects an underlying unease about EVERYTHING that has happened in the Church for the past 40 years. I don’t know what things were like after Trent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were like this and it took 50 to 100 years for things to shake out and reach a new equilibrium. Which is not to say I’m happy about living in such times. But I do think that 50 years from now things will look very different from what we are used to now, and I hope and trust that is in a good way!

    As a “revert,” I have my own strong feelings about this issue that strengthen every year. I just do not understand the embarrassment about being Catholic that seems to me quite apparent everywhere. For instance, when I first returned to the Church I was mystified by Mary, who seemed to be very important but who I almost never heard mentioned. I wanted someone to explain Mary to me, I didn’t want to pretend she didn’t exist — but it seemed that the Church did! If I wanted to be a Protestant, I’d be one.

  • I bet the NO prevented more Catholics from leaving than it has driven out. An even more Protestant-feeling Mass would probably prevent even more Catholics from leaving. I enjoy the TLM but those who argue that the NO is the cause of the decline in attendance are just wrong. This is not a comment on which is better. I know many here would prefer a smaller more traditionalist church.

    Also, Mass can be Protestant in feeling yet thoroughly Catholic in content. The Divine Praises on guitar is actually really good. I’m probably in the minority here but I think both traditionalism and modernism can and should coexist in the Church.

  • Actually restrainedradical, I want the huge faithful Church we enjoyed before the last four decades. What we have gotten is a much smaller, in the number of observant Catholics, Protestant-lite liturgy Church. We have traded Altars for Communion Tables. Where we had majestic Latin we have banal English. Our music sounds like a bad 70’s retro show. Our churches have become box like vacant barns. Silk banners and sacred shrubbery have replaced the paintings and statues of the Saints and Our Lord. Many churches calling themselves Catholic do not even boast one crucifix. Tactful future historians of the Church I think will refer to ours as The Age of Confusion; less tactful ones I think will refer to our times as The Age of Self Destruction. What a glorious heritage has been squandered. I recall what an elderly priest said to me when he talked about so many altars having been junked: “May God forgive those who did it.”

  • Beauty left the liturgy, people left the Church.
    Couldn’t be more plain to me.

  • Except that people started leaving the Church before the NO. It was a time of cultural change in the West. Mainline Protestantism also experienced a similar decline. You’re telling me that the NO made Protestants stop attending service? I think it’s more likely that the NO prevented an even greater exodus.

  • restrainedradical the West is always undergoing great cultural change. The Church has been the Rock to which people have clung amidst the chaos. Unfortunately, in the 60’s too many people within the Church wanted to make the Church relevant to the times, which is why we are still singing so much drek from the 60’s and the 70’s. Instead of the Rock which it had traditionally been, the Church to too many people simply became another piece of flotsam within a sea of change, of no particular importance. Churches that most embraced cultural change, for example the Episcopalians, are precisely those churches nearing extinction. The Church survives in spite of the NO and not because of it.

  • A lot of people who stayed didn’t or do not believe the Catholic faith.

    And of course, there was a great cultural shift taking place, a worldwide rejection of all public authority in the wake of the 20th century’s world wars.

  • “I bet the NO prevented more Catholics from leaving than it has driven out.”

    You would win the bet, at least in the US, according to sociologists. You’re also right that the hemorrhaging of believers began in Europe decades earlier in the 20th century, fallout likely from the decades of wars and the deterioration of moral leadership from the aristocracy and monarchies–aspects of secular culture the institutional Church largely identified with.

    And has been pointed out elsewhere, the Orthodox who reformed not at all, and the Anglicans, who reformed somewhat, have also seen similar drop-offs in membership. Only the evangelicals, with the happy-clappy, seeker, non-commitment approach have seen numbers grow. What’s up with that, counselor?

  • That I stand in awe Todd of the examples you chose. The evangelicals and the fundamentalists stood four square against cultural change from abortion to gay marriage, the changing role of women, etc. Their worship rituals remain what they have always been. They have offered a haven in a changing world and reaped a great harvest. As for the Anglicans, as their gay and female bishops indicate, they went the whole hog of embracing the zeitgeist with disastrous results. In regard to Orthodoxy in this country, I am not familiar enough to comment upon.

    The Church in Europe was in fine shape until the Sixties. The horrors of the World Wars helped foster a resurgence of Catholicism throughout the Continent.

  • Todd,

    “Second, if you want to provide links to quotes, like I do on my blog, so that your readers can judge context, that’s a good thing.”

    When I can find such links, I obviously do. I daresay that I go out of my way to provide more links than the average blogger on a regular basis.

    In this case, there is no link. The quote is attributed to a 40+ year old edition of the Vatican newspaper which is nowhere to be found online. I honestly don’t believe it is a fabricated quote, and I have updated the post with the name and date of the source.

    “And last, if you were honestly seeking “an atmosphere of respect,” you would stick to serious sources, not calling a then-unattributed quote as “unprincipled,” or calling on your main source an op-ed that itself had no source. Just because something appears in msm print, doesn’t mean it’s true.”

    Your if/then doesn’t follow. The op-ed is a serious source, first of all. Secondly, your issue was first that this was an example of “pajama’s media”, now msn print “doesn’t mean its true.” Fair enough. But msn print, at least according to some people, is almost always reliable and almost never likely to allow untrue quotes to float around – one would think, especially, in an piece written by a traditionalist Catholic for a notoriously left-wing rag like the NY Times. Someone had to be watching.

    Finally, and this is the most important point: whatver “journalistic” faux pas I or anyone else makes does not, and never will, justify your smug, condescending, belittling remarks. If you have an issue, state your issue. That you would compare your behavior here to something arbitrary like “having nine letters in your name” only shows that you do this unconsciously, i.e., you have a problem you need to sort out. I’ll pray for you, I’ll forgive you, but I won’t let your problem corrupt my discussion threads in the future. There won’t be another warning.

    Now, onto the claim about the “problems” in the Church before VII…

  • Leaving the liturgy aside, can we all agree that doing away with measuring “time” in purgatory in years was a good thing?

  • To address this spurious claim, I turn to “What Went Wrong With Vatican II” by Ralph M. McInerny. He absolutely demolishes the notion that the Church, at least in America, was in a “crisis” before VII. He cites a book by a Msgr. Geroge Kelley, “The Battle for the American Church”, wherein the follow statistics appear for the year 1950:

    *60,000 priests
    *25,000 seminarians
    *150,000 religious teachers
    *5 million children in Catholic schools from kindergarten to college, 5 million more in non-Catholic schools receiving religious instruction
    *75% of married Catholics attend Mass every Sunday
    *50 take Holy Communion once a month (back when it was taken seriously)
    *85% of single people went to Mass every Sunday
    *(Surprisingly!) College educated Catholics were the most faithful of all (compare to today, where I think they are probably among the least)

    “Msgr. Kelley draws a number of conclusions from such statistics. For the majority of Catholics, the Church was still the vehicle whereby they became assimilated to American society and moved upward on the social and economic scales. The faithful were loyal to their pastors and their bishops and to the teachers they had in the Catholic school system. Catholic parishes were centers of social life, sometimes ethnic, but more usually little melting pots of their own. A Catholic elite was emerging from the Catholic educational system, and lay apostolic movements for social justice, international peace, family life and spiritual perfection flourished. Who can blame Msgr. Kelley from taking pride in that picture?” (10-12)

    So, the notion that there was this huge problem that only VII and modernization/liberalization could fix is simply not true. Not that every change is a bad thing, or that change in and of itself is bad, or that the Church has no right to change – no.

    But it went too far, far out of proportion of whatever problems may have actually existed. As per usual, over-educated, over-socialized, ivory-tower types decided on behalf of Catholics that they weren’t enjoying their faith they way they could. They wanted to shape and mold a Church that reflected their intellectual hobbies, their pet theories in biblical scholarship, liturgy, religious education, etc. etc. etc. I believe many of them were Protestants in spirit, and that is the most charitable thing I can say about them.

  • I wouldn’t say the Church was in crisis before V2. But attendance was declining prior to V2. One can argue that V2 exacerbated it or stemmed it but one cannot argue that V2 started it.

  • “Their worship rituals remain what they have always been.”

    Um, no. They have embraced rock and pop stylings in their music, and even hip-hop. Sinking a half mil into sound system at Willow Creek: not an eyelash was batted. Many seeker churches hold upwards of 20,000 worshipers, a far cry from humble chapels of the 50’s, 40’s and prior. You have only to read Rev Wybbels’ books to see that the most successful of evangelicals are a far cry from their forebears in the movement.

    And the witness of the unreformed, the slightly reformed, and Vatican II, the Orthodox, the Anglicans, and the Roman Catholics: all in attendance decline, precipitous in the 60’s through early 70’s, and less so since–it would seem that a reformed liturgy however great it might have been before, however bad now–had little enough effect in chasing people away.

    Look to the cultural changes in post-WWII America: the mainstreaming of Catholics into secular society, television, homeownership in the suburbs, the automobile, the anti-establishment sentiment of the 60’s, the sexual revolution, the upheaval in pop music, assassinations of admired leaders, Humanae Vitae, widespread use of contraceptives, the end of ethnic parishes as suburban communities came to prominence. It’s amazing we can find liturgy changes in that mess. Zeroing in on liturgy? That’s wishful thinking.

  • Evangelicals Todd have always used hymns based on popular music. Mass camp meetings with thousands of participants were regular events for centuries. The mega-Churches merely give a roof for something that has always occurred among them. What they preach successfully remains completely the same.

    When it comes to decline in attendance Todd, it is precisely the churches which have embraced the mores of the moment which are now on their way to the spiritual La Brea tar pits.

  • Embracing modern pop culture and the culture of dissent is clearly the way to keep attendance strong and breed vocations. Just ask the good people of Rochester.

    Oh. Wait.

  • It’s amazing we can find liturgy changes in that mess. Zeroing in on liturgy? That’s wishful thinking.

    Cannot help but notice that the Church’s demographic indicators took a turn in a most disagreeable direction at a precise moment in time (1965). Naah, couldn’t have anything to do with worship.

  • Not quite true, Art. Priesthood demos peaked in 1947.

  • Interesting statistics, Joe. But that doesn’t seal it for me. There were other cultural upheavals going on prior to and during the Second Vatican Council. I have no doubt that the hippie movement etc… played a role in the shift in your quoted statistics from 1950 to what we see today.

    I also have no doubt that some of the liturgical changes from that era also contributed to the shift. But I can’t say for certain that it was THE prime factor or cause.

    In short, correlation isn’t the same as causation, and it seems all too easy for some to fall into that fallacy. Cheers!

  • The point, though, Big Tex is simply that there was no “crisis” in the 50’s that demanded sweeping changes.

    I wouldn’t blame liturgical changes alone for the shift. I wouldn’t even give them the lion’s share of the blame – that, I think, would go to the emergence of the world’s first mass consumerist culture, which had effects we are still not fully aware of.

    But this was a time when the traditions of the Church needed reinforcement, not undermining. When deciding whether or not one is going to adapt to, or issue a challenge to, the world – one must ask, what is the state of the world today?

    If it is a world of consumerism, of advertising, of the breakdown of morality, then I think the answer to that question is obvious. But I don’t think it was Vatican II that drove people away – it was the renegades, the disobedient scoundrels who used their parishioners as guinea pigs in their disgusting experiments.

  • With the liberalization of the Latin Mass, we’ll see a gradual return to solemnity and reverence in the Mass these next 30 years.

    And we can say goodbye to guitar clown Masses and french bikini-ed liturgical dancers.

    C Matt,

    There are groups in the Houston archdiocese that are organizing to start an FSSP/ICK parish.

    Contact me if you want more information.

  • “The point, though, Big Tex is simply that there was no “crisis” in the 50’s …”

    In Europe, however, there was already a crisis of declining vocations, a malaise in art and architecture, and a laity disillusioned by Church impotence in the face of decades of wars. Click it all off: weak moral leadership at the top of it all (should sound familiar). John XXIII had his reasons, and if he didn’t, there’s always God to blame.

  • Todd,

    I really don’t know if the story is that simple. Pius XII was one of the most beloved Catholic popes in history, and before the absolutely hideous and hateful lies that were spread about him in the 60s, he had the respect and admiration of the entire world.

    I find it tragic too that, first everyone wants the Church to be less powerful, so the secular liberals and socialists box it in and strip away her power. Then, when problems arise that the Church might have been able to deal with in the past, everyone whines and complains that the same Church they rendered powerless doesn’t fix the problems they want her to fix.

    It’s a cruel, stupid, hypocritical game. Either grant the Church the power that befits her dignity, or stop expecting her to save the world.

  • “I really don’t know if the story is that simple.”

    Well, I’ve been the one arguing that it’s not. Your blogging partners are the ones saying it’s the liturgy.

  • I suggest you read Pope Benedict’s (then Cardinal Ratzinger’s) book, “Feast of Faith”, published by Ignatius Press.

    In it is an interview with Communio, which will put questions on the Novus Ordo to rest. I’ve copied a portion here, from pages 82-87:

    COMMUNIO: (…)Having followed the debate about the reform of the liturgy, i.e., of the Mass, which has been going on in recent years both here and abroad, I would like tentatively to suggest this: though small in numbers, there seems to be a definite stratum of the faithful, very committed in their Church membership, whose response to the reform ranges from surprise, puzzlement, discontent, right up to informal and even public protest. Perhaps the Church leaders think, “Let them be; the protests will die down eventually.”

    I do not want to go into all the reasons adduced against the reform. But one thing is certain: the so-called “conservatives” who form this opposition…feel that they have been betrayed and put in the wrong. Nor is this wholly a sunjective matter. For instance, in 1947 we had Mediator Dei the encyclican of Pius XII, and then not 20 years later came the reform. In other words a silent landslide took place without the slightest assurance being given to those involved, the mass of traditional believers. I find it hard to understand how the Church could have so failed to carry her pastoral responsibilies toward those under her care, leaving believers of the old school almost defenseless against the tide of new thoughts and practice. (…)

    (…)I am so much interested in what is right and wrong here, the old belief or the new, but I do want to point out the situation as it appears in the minds of many of the faithful.

    CARDINAL RATZINGER: First of all, I must take up the distinction you have made between “the old belief” and “the new.” I must emphatically deny such a distinction. The Council has not created any new matter for belief, let alone replace an old belief for a new one.

    (…)As to what led up to the reform: there seemed to be more going on in Germany, in terms of preparatory work, than anywhere else. Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, which had a great impact on the declarations of the Council…Moreover, Pius XII had already carried out certain elements of liturgical reform – one thinks of the refashioning of the Easter Vigil.

    All the same I must admit that in the wake of the Council a lot of things had happened far too quickly and abruptly, with the result that many of the faithful could not see the inner continuity with what had gone before. In part it is simply a fact that the Council was pushed aside. Today we might ask, Is there a Latin Rite at all anymore? Certainly there is no awareness of it. To most people the liturgy seems to be something for the individual congregation to arrange. Core groups make up their own “liturgies” from week to week, with an enthusiasm that is as amazing as it is misplaced…(Even) in the official new books, which are excellent in many ways, occasionally show far too many signs of being drawn up by academics and reinforce the notion that a liturgical book can be “made” like any other book.

    In this connection I would like to make a brief reference to the so-called Tridentine liturgy. In fact there is no such thing as a Tridentine liturgy, and until 1965 the phrase would have meant nothing to anyone. The Council of Trent did not “make” liturgy. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing, either, as the Missal of Pius V. The Missal that appeared in 1570 by order for Pius V differed only in tiny details from the first printed edition of the Roman Missal of about a hundred years earlier.

    Basically the reform of Pius V was only concerned with eliminating certain late medieval accretions and the various mistakes and misprints that had crept in. Thus again, it prescribed the Missal of the City of Rome, which had remained largely free of these blemishes, for the whole Church.(…)

    In 1614, under Urban VIII, there was already a new edition of the Missal, again including various improvements. On the one hand it was subject to a continuous process of purification, and on the other, it continued to grow and develop, but it remained the same book throughout.

    Hence those who cling to the “Tridentine Missal” have a faulty view of historical facts. Yet at the same time the way in which the renewed Missal was presented was open to much criticism. We must say to the “Tridentines” that the Church’s liturgy is alive, like the Church herself, and is always thus involved in a process of maturing which exhibits greater and lesser changes. The Missal can no more be mummified than the Church herself.

    Yet for all its advantages, the new Missal was published as if it were a book put together by professors, not a phase in a continual growth process. It is abolutely contrary to the laws of liturgical growth and it has resulted in the nonsensical notion that Trent and Pius V had “produced” a Missal 400 years ago. This loss of perspective is really disturbing. Although a few of those who expressed their uneasiness have a clear picture of these interrelated factors, there is an instinctive grasp of the fact that liturgy cannot be a result of Church regulations, let alone professional erudition, but, to be true to itself, must be the fruit of the Church’s life and vitality.

    Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me add that as far as its content is concerned (apart from a few criticisms), I am grateful for the new Missal, for the way it has enriched the treasury of prayers and prefaces, for the new eucharistic prayers and increased number of text for use on weekdays, etc., quite apart from the availability of the vernacular. But I do regard it unfortunate that we have been presented with the idea of a new book rather than with that of continuity within a single liturgical history. In my view, a new edition will need to make it quite clear that the so-called Missal of Paul VI is nothing other than the renewed form of the same Missal to which Pius X, Urban VIII, Pius V and their predecessors have contributed, right from the Church’s earliest history.

    It is of the very essence of the Church that she should be aware of her unbroken continuity throughout the history of faith, expressed in the ever-present unity of prayer. This awareness of continuity is destroyed just as much by those who “opt” for a book supposed to have been produced 400 years ago as by those who would like to be forever drawing up new liturgies. At bottom, these two attitudes are identical. It seems to me that this is the origin of the uneasiness to which you have referred. The fundamental issue is whether faith comes about through regulations and learned research or through the living history of a Church which retains her identity throughout the centuries.

  • Marie,

    I have to say that this does not “put questions to rest” – not all of them, anyway. I am already familiar with a lot of the material presented here.

    The problem, as I’ve said, isn’t really Paul VI’s missal, but with what many priests and bishops apparently believed Vatican II gave them a mandate to do. Something went deeply wrong with how the council was interpreted.

    I must also say that I cannot agree with this:

    “At bottom, these two attitudes are identical.”

    No. I do not, and I think I can speak for many traditionalists, deny the right of the Church to revise the liturgy over time.

    But there is a serious difference, a qualitative difference, between changes undertaken in the 16th or 17th century, and changes made in the midst of the 20th century, when the forces of relativism, consumerism, communism, sexual liberation, etc. were rife and rampant throughout the culture and throughout our secular institutions.

    The care and caution that was needed was evidently absent, and we have today a serious crisis at the local level in many places, where dissent and abuse are institutionalized and formalized.

  • Joe,

    I agree that something went wrong with how the council was interpreted. Pope Benedict himself said in the text I quoted, “In part it is simply a fact that the Council was pushed aside.”

    I have a wild theory of how this happened. Bishops, on the whole, knew what should have been done at the very start. But their diocesan staffs, composed mostly of “creative” liturgists and overbearing nuns have had the run of the parishes for more than a generation now. And that’s where the problem lies.

    I lived in San Francisco in the past 35 years and through those years, had believed that Latin had been banned in the Liturgy. That’s what we were told. The Archdiocese also launched “Renew” at that time, which was the snakepit of relativism that plagued all parishes under Archbishop Levada.

    Imagine my surprise when Levada was appointed by the Pope to become Prefect of CDFDW! Very clever of Pope Benedict. Now, Levada has turned a complete about-face and has become a bastion of orthrodoxy. Meanwhile, the archdiocese he left behind is still running wild. Until five years ago, holy water fonts were still filled with dry ashes during Lent, nuns preaching the homily, Latin still in the dustbin, Holy Redeemer parish doing whatever gays do.

    It will take sometime but Pope Benedict appears to be cleaning up all the mess accumulated during the past 40+ years. First, there’s Redemptionis Sacramentum, then the Summorum Pontificum. I have great hope that the new ICEL translations of the Liturgy will put the Council back in its proper place and will not take the U.S. Bishops’ ammendment to continue the use of the “four-hymn sandwich.” We will then be chanting the Propers instead of singing Haugen and Haas. Or at least be rid of the OCP monopoly.

    In my parish in the Sacramento diocese, we’re awaiting new music settings of the Ordinary for the new English translations. And while we’re waiting, we are chanting the Ordinary in Latin, using the Jubilate Deo that Pope Paul VI issued for use in the Novus Ordo in the first place. It’s not too late.

    It was a hasty transition more that 40 years ago, I must admit. I myself cried a lot when the altar turned around and people started singing “Lamb of God” to the tune of Peter, Paul and Mary’s “The Cold War is Raging.” My father, who’d just composed a complete polyphonic Latin Mass, died brokenhearted. But I survived. People (like Absp. Trautman) who think it heartless that people will now have to use words like “consubstantial,” “dew of the Holy Spirit,” and “And with your spirit,” don’t remember how oppressed my generation felt in all these 40+ years.

    I like to think that after hitting bottom, the only direction for the liturgy to go is up. Give this new, improved, super-duper, closest-to-the-Latin original ICEL translation a chance.

    But what I’m really hoping for is the Novus Ordo in Latin. Ad orientem, if possible, or the required crucifix at the altar. The priest singing his part in Latin. The schola doing a classical motet at the Offertory. And the people chanting the “parts that pertain to them.” I’ve seen it done at St. Patrick’s in San Francisco five years ago, with Fr. John Baeza celebrating. It can be done.

    I don’t think those “isms” had anything to do with the Novus Ordo as envisioned by Paul VI. (He, not Bugnini, approved it, so the buck stopped with him.) The “isms” somehow seeped in as a result of relativist, consumerist, communist, sexually-liberated, ideologue etc. nuns who felt left out when Vatican II ruled that they are part of laity (not clergy.) These misguided nuns practically usurped the clergy, whose sense of fatherhood was reduced to saying, “Yes, dear.”

    Now that Cardinal Levada’s CDFDW has opened a “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, there’s plenty to hope for.

    Pray, pray for the restoration of the sense of the sacred in the liturgy.

    PS. By the way, the saints are in the Optionals and in the Roman Canon. All the girls are still standing: Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, and Anastasia.

    May their tribe increase.

  • “The “isms” somehow seeped in as a result of relativist, consumerist, communist, sexually-liberated, ideologue etc. nuns who felt left out when Vatican II ruled that they are part of laity (not clergy.) These misguided nuns practically usurped the clergy, whose sense of fatherhood was reduced to saying, “Yes, dear.””

    Now this is an interesting theory.

    I hadn’t considered the possibility that the nuns were behind all of this, but you know, it makes sense.

    Are you aware of any literature on the subject? Not about the degeneracy of a lot of these female religious orders in general, but specifically on the role they might have played, or the influence they might have had, in tainting the local liturgical practices?

  • Marie,

    Amen!

    As for Cardinal Levada, I was criticized by a friend for saying that he converted to Catholicism on the flight over to Rome from San Francisco.

    I still don’t trust the man and hope he is put to pasture soon enough.

  • Joe,

    You asked if I knew of any literature on liberal nuns helping dumb down the Liturgy? Well, you really can’t separate the practice of theirs “Beyond Jesus” belief from their malignant influences as “liturgy coordinators” in the chanceries and parishes, can you? And for that matter, from their unrelenting campaign for women’s ordination.

    The Liturgy being the source and summit of our lives as Catholic, and it having been instituted as a sacrament by Christ at the same time that He instituted the sacrament of the priesthood, it goes without saying that whatever degenerative influence heretical feminist nuns cast on one sacrament is bound to be felt in the other and eventually on the whole parishes. Everyone seems to think it’s common knowledge, but of course you’d want to see written proof.

    Okay. The books I’d recommend are Donna Steichen’s “Ungodly Rage” and “The Hidden Face of Catholic Women” (Ignatius Press, 1991).

    I’d also suggest “The Politics of Prayer – Feminist Language and the Worship of God”, edited by Helen Hull Hitchcock, which I haven’t read, but knowing that Hitchcock writes for Adoremus Bulletin, I’m almost sure this book contains what you’re looking for.

    There are plenty of stories out there, and more on the web, that tell about how feminist nuns pushed for “girl altar boys,” for relocating the tabernacle out of the “worship space,” setting up the “Renew Tree” in the sanctuary instead of the crucifix, the use of gender-neutral lectionaries and hymnals, etc. The list goes on.

    How did they do this? They attacked at the very root. Those feminist nuns left teaching grade schools to take up their own masters degrees, developed a “sojourning theology,” publish books, gave lectures and retreats, celebrated paraliturgical rites in the absence (and sometimes in the presence) of priests, and worked in chanceries and parishes as administrators and “liturgy coordinators” in charge of music and church renovation.

    Another link that may interest you (not sure if it’s kosher, but may generate a few more comments:)

    http://nihilobstat.info/category/women%E2%80%99s-ordination/

  • Thanks Marie. More needs to be said on this, and will be in the days to come.

  • Tito,

    LOL! Can’t blame you, though, for thinking Cardinal Levada converted on the flight to Rome. It’s funny!

    Actually, I’ve met and talked to Cardinal Levada when he was archbishop of SF and he seemed pretty orthodox even then. We were a large group of Filipinos from SF who went to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, accompanied by the then archbishop. We also went to the shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, MD. It was at Emmitsburg that Levada told me that right after he was made archbishop of SF, he flew to St. Elizabeth Seton’s gravesite to pray and thank her for her intercession. Apparently, the Cardinal is much devoted to the first native-born U.S. saint.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also by St. Elizabeth Seton’s intercession that Levada was made Cardinal. I’m praying for him to stay faithful to the Church, now that he is at the helm of the Holy Office.

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