Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

Assessing Benedict’s views of the liturgy

In “Where Truth and Beauty Meet”: Understanding Benedict (The Tablet August 14, 2010) – Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, aptly summarizes Pope Benedict’s view of the liturgy and his calls for reform

[Pope Benedict] believes that behind many celebrations of the new liturgy lie a raft of disastrous theological, cultural, sociological and aesthetic assumptions, linked to the unsettled time in which the liturgical reforms were carried out. In particular, he believes that twentieth-century theologies of the Eucharist place far too much emphasis on the notion that the fundamental form of the Eucharist is that of a meal, at the cost of underplaying the cosmic, redemptive, and sacrificial character of the Mass.

The Pope, of course, himself calls the Mass the “Feast of Faith”, “the Banquet of the reconciled”. Nevertheless Calvary and the empty tomb, rather than the Upper Room, are for him the proper symbolic locations of Christian liturgy. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist has to be evident in the manner of its celebration, and the failure to embody this adequately in the actual performance of the new liturgy seems to him one of the central problems of the post-conciliar reforms. …

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7 Responses to Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

  • Chris,

    I understand the good intentions behind your post and those you quote in it.

    It is extremely difficult for me to restrain my dislike for the Novus Ordo.

    Novus Ordoism is mediocrity incarnate, and I detest nothing more than deliberate mediocrity, than a deliberate shunning of the beautiful for the plain and the banal.

    To think that we have fallen so far from the aesthetic heights reached by the Church during the Counter-Reformation, to think that we now dishonor God by presuming to offer to him during worship a bundle of sub-par prayers, songs, and movements that reflect more the subjective desires of misguided liberals than objective standards of beauty and reverence.

    Relativism has placed objective truth, egalitarianism has replaced hierarchical truth, and emotionalism has replaced spiritual truth. These are the marks of Protestantism. I have read several articles recently detailing the rapid flight of young Protestants from their churches. One of the primary reasons they do so is because young people – as opposed to the out-of-touch liberal boomers who wrecked everything – don’t want these things. They don’t want this phony “participation”, this phony “inclusiveness”, this forced leveling of everything. They want to be confronted with the truth.

    Catholics are losing young people for very similar reasons. But at the traditional Mass I go to, I see more young families all of the time. It isn’t just old people who are “sentimental”; it is young people who reject the banality of the Novus Ordo, who want a fuller, richer, deeper spiritual experience. The Church may not gain millions of new adherents by returning to her greatest traditions, but those she does retain and attract will be of the highest quality. And that’s more important.

  • Eamonn Duffy mystifies me. The Stripping of the Altars is the finest, most moving account available of the catastrophic consequences of radical liturgical revolution. When I read it, I presumed that he was a traditionalist. In fact however he sounds like a typical product of the revolution, blind to its failure and tone deaf to its consequences. When he implies that “most Catholics” are content with the Novus Ordo, is he really unaware of the war that the bishops and clergy have waged against the traditonal Mass for the last four decades, or of the profound ignorance of the traditional liturgy that now prevails among the vast majority of Catholics under the age of 50? How can you oppose a reform of the reform that nothing in your religious education or experience prepares you even to understand? It saddens me to read someone I admire so much writing like a clueless apparatchik of the “magic circle.”

  • I’m a fairly young Catholic (32), and for years I’ve been going to a Latin language Ordinary Form at a parish that celebrates Mass in both forms.

    I like the Extraordinary Form. I just prefer the Ordinary–when it is celebrated in accordance to liturgical tradition.

    I do think that sometimes enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass tend to shoot themselves in the foot by excessive bitterness towards the Ordinary Form, which often turns off people who are unaware of liturgical tradition.

  • Ah yes, the ol’ unprovable Freemasonic conspiracy theory. “I know a guy who heard from a priest who knew a cardinal who swore that Bugnini was a Mason.”

  • Anywhere I have heard the Traditional Mass it has been sublime.

    The Novus Ordo, although valid, leaves far too much room for ‘innovation’, which is politically correct speak for irreverent.

    I was on holiday for the Sunday on which the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary fell this year and found a Roman Catholic parish, although the building did not look like a church, at the beach. What I had a tough time finding was the tabernacle. I blessed myself facing the crucifix, thank God they had one. Eventually, I located the tabernacle – at the back of the Church!!!!

    I was also privileged to hear a rock & roll Mass, with guitar and Lady Ga Ga like headset microphone. It was great and oh so Holy. Not to mention that the celebrant was so nice as to order all of us to remain standing AFTER we received Eucharist so as to be in the same posture, how democratic. The picnic like assembly IN the Sanctuary, with female altar servers too, was especially pleasant. I was clearly noticed for doing two things in complete and utter disobedience: I received on my tongue, while kneeling and I went back to my pew and hit my knees and bowed my head.

    Is that something wrong with the Novus Ordo? No, but it seems when you give liberals an inch, they’ll take a mile, or is that a centimeter and a meter – I can’t keep clear which ‘standard’ we’re using today, I’m sure it will change tomorrow.

    The Holy Mass MUST be the most important and sacred thing we experience – if it isn’t, why bother with the Faith at all. I don’t think the Novus Ordo is all that bad (although sometimes I struggle greatly to accept that) and I am looking forward to the better translations coming Advent of 2011. Nevertheless, the real problem is having too much wiggle room. I am a big proponent of liberty in the secular world – the Mass is not secular, it is not profane – it is Sacred and when it comes to Sacred things, innovation is not pleasant and should be discouraged.

  • I did have a deep discussion with my SD about the ‘innovative’ Mass. He has directed me in the past to seek God’s Peace and look for positive things, so I stated that the Mass I heard was ‘interesting’ – that is the most positive thing I could say.

    Actually, the rubrics were valid, so the issue was irreverence and not improper form, which is precisely the problem with lax rubrics and the Novus Ordo, as practiced, in general. In some ways we are actually given more grace when we can remain peaceful and reverent during an irreverent Mass.

    Christ told (supposedly) Gabrielle Bossis, “Even if you do nothing at Mass but try to drive away distractions, you please Me all the same. I understand.”

    I also knelt on the floor in front of the tabernacle, after I located the tabernacle, and begged Christ to have mercy on all of us, especially those charged with celebrating the Mass. It was a very powerful experience. Nevertheless, I pray that the new translation and accompanying catechesis helps prevent this blatant irreverence from continuing and spreading.

Tridentine Mass in Houston on July 14

Tuesday, July 13, AD 2010

The beautiful Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite Mass, sometimes called the Traditional Latin Mass, will be celebrated in Houston, tomorrow on Wednesday at 6:30 pm Central time at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Annunciation Church.

Annunciation Church is located on 1618 Texas Avenue near downtown Houston and directly across from Minute Maid Park.

Father Charles Van Vliet will be offering the sacrifice of the Mass.  He belongs to the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Cancti Petri order or F.S.S.P.

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TLM in Houston

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Tomorrow this Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm, Houston’s Annunciation Church (1618 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003) will be hosting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they celebrate a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Recently ordained Father John Rickert will be celebrating.  Deacon Michael Malain will be in attendance.

For those not familiar with the parking situation at Houston’s Annunciation Church, parking will be available in the parish parking lot on Jackson Street, the street behind the church.  The Houston Astros will be playing Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park which stands right next o Annunciation Church, but attendees at that game are not to use any of the parish parking spaces.

This is something that will be an beautiful experience for all those interested in liturgy, music, history and the worship of the risen Lord.

Please try and attend this Mass.  Perhaps many of you have not had such an experience.   To witness and to participate in this Mass will be one of the great spiritual experiences of your life.

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2 Responses to TLM in Houston

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-29-2009

Wednesday, April 29, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Since the passing of Father Richard John Neuhaus, the FIRST THINGS journal has gone through some changes that have enhanced their image.  The mysterious Spengler joined FIRST THINGS as Associate Editor and outed himself in his Asia Times column as David P. Goldman.  Then Elizabeth Scalia, who was once as mysterious as Spengler, with her popular political-Catholic blog The Anchoress joined FIRST THINGS as well.  Not to mention that prior to these two fine additions FIRST THINGS also initiated their very own blog a few months back.

2. David P. Goldman, a.k.a. Spengler, writes an intriguing article on how Israel can reconcile it’s Jewishness with a liberal democracy and how this correlates with the West and its march towards secularism.  Mr. Goldman has this prescient conclusion to this article:

Defenders of the West democracies should take a deep interest in the outcome of what might seem to be arcane legal matters in Israel. Pushed to its extreme conclusion, the secular liberal model will exclude the sacred and the traditional from public life. Of all the things sacred in the thousands of years of pre-history and history that inform Western Civilization, surely Judaism and the Jewish people are the oldest and arguably the most pertinent to the character of the West. Eroding the Jewish character of Israel is an obsession of the secular project, precisely because the Jewish people in their Third Commonwealth in the Land of Israel have such profound importance for the Christian West.

For the article click here.

3. A very disturbing story coming from the Diocese of Savannah where Bishop John Kevin Boland is preventing an orthodox Catholic, Robert Kumpel of the very well written St. John’s Valdosta Blog, from attending any Mass in his diocese.  Bishop John Kevin Boland is doing so in conjunction with a lawsuit leveled against by another layperson to Mr. Kumpel so as to prevent him from investigating allegations of multiple abuses by diocesan officials.  In other words it seems that Bishop Boland is frantically covering something up, but we don’t know what that is because of a restraining order on Mr. Kumpel who was attempting to investigate this.

Bishop John Kevin Boland is the ecclesiastical equivalent of a Catholic politician who is personally opposed to abortion but publicly for it.  For example, Bishop John Kevin Boland is personally orthodox, but ecclesiastically heterodox in his application of Church teaching.  Such as Archbishop Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington where he is known for his personal orthodoxy but is lacking in applying it in his pastoral and management style.

For the article click here.

For more background information click herehere,  here, and here.

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26 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-29-2009

  • Does anyone know if Elizabeth Scalia is related to THE Scalia?

  • S.B.,

    I’ve been wondering that myself. I can only “assume” she isn’t since I haven’t casually come across any mention of this, but there could still be a connection.

  • Does anyone know if Elizabeth Scalia is related to THE Scalia?

    None of Scalia’s kids are named Elizabeth, so while’s it’s possible, the relation would have to be more distant.

  • It seems inappropriate to report the Savannah story without hearing the bishop’s side. Your source is the disgruntled party.

  • Zak,

    I understand your concern, but if the bishop is forbidding a layperson from attending Mass anywhere in his diocese, that is news to me. Especially knowing the upstanding character of Mr. Kumpel.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis,

    Discussions that deviate from the topic will not be tolerated. Please address the post or don’t comment at all.

  • Mr. Henry Karlson,

    Discussions that deviate from the topic will not be tolerated. Please address the post or don’t comment at all.

  • Zak,

    the letter from the bishop’s lawyer states explicitly the reason he is violating his office by denying the sacraments to a Catholic. It is because of pending litigation. This is completely contrary to canon law:

    Can. 843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

  • B.A.,

    Thanks for clearing that on Elizabeth Scalia. It would have been a neat story if she were a sister of the Supreme Court Justice though.

  • VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper said President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears about radical policy changes in ethical areas.

    The comments came in a front-page article April 29 in L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline, “The 100 days that did not shake the world.” It said the new president has operated with more caution than predicted in most areas, including economics and international relations.

    “On ethical questions, too — which from the time of the electoral campaign have been the subject of strong worries by the Catholic bishops — Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed,” it said.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0901955.htm

    So much for “the most extreme” — the Vatican doesn’t think so.

  • Number 3 is very upsetting, and I encourage those who are also upset to contact both the Bishop, and his attorney.

  • Well, the CNS article quotes a whole 120 words from the original article, so it’s difficult to say what kind of judgment is involved. If it were me, I’d prefer to see the actual article before making ultramontanist declarations about what “the Vatican” thinks, but de gustibus.

    Just 2 notes: First, the moderate ESCR guidelines are simply draft regulations subject to comment and modification. I’d reserve judgment on that point until they become finalized, and after the intensive lobbying by ESCR proponents is finished. Moreover, even in draft form, they authorize solicitation of embryos for research from those who avail themselves of IVF. That’s a non-negligible moral problem, and potentially large loophole for mischief.

    Second, the excellent pregnancy support legislation is the laudable creation of pro-life Democrats, not the President.

  • “None of Scalia’s kids are named Elizabeth.”

    Scalia is Elizabeth Scalia’s married name – she’s of Irish descent. If she is related to the Supreme Court justice (I’ve read her blog for quite a while now, and she’s never mentioned a connection), it would be by marriage, not blood.

  • Well, if she had indeed married into the Scalia family, I can well imagine that she might not be bragging about the connection . . . Justice Scalia no doubt wouldn’t want the usual nasty leftists digging around her blog for something with which to discredit him by association.

  • So actually, now that I think about it, never mind.

  • Ah yes, the Anchoress, the noble defender of Rudy Gulianni and apologist for his pro-abortion and pro-gay stands, at least when he was heir apparent to the Republican nomination.

    http://www.firstthings.com/theanchoress/2008/04/29/rudy-novak-etc-cont/

    Another we must put our Republicanism above our Catholicism Catholic.

  • Another wonderful pro-Rudy article by the Anchoress:

    http://www.firstthings.com/theanchoress/2008/01/28/rudy-giuliani-not-endorsed/

    A wonderful addition to First Things.

  • Another we must put our Republicanism above our Catholicism Catholic.

    Exactly.

  • Michael I.,

    On this point I completely agree.

    Elizabeth Scalia defending the pro-abort Rudy Giuliani is inexcusable. I don’t have any time to waste reading her Repulicanist propaganda.

  • Michael — someone who uses the word “heterosexism” to describe the Church’s position on marriage is living in a glass house . . . .

    Ah yes, the Anchoress, the noble defender of Rudy Gulianni and apologist for his pro-abortion and pro-gay stands, at least when he was heir apparent to the Republican nomination.

    Learn to look at dates. That blog posting was from April 29, 2008. Giuliani was not the “heir apparent,” he had dropped out 3 months earlier. And she defended Giuliani only in the sense that she thought he could still take communion.

  • Anyway, it’s funny seeing guys who voted for Obama pretending to be upset that “the Anchoress” might have endorsed a personally pro-choice candidate.

  • Inexcusable.

    Voting for Obama is simply inexcusable and reveals the depth of his Catholicism which is shallow.

  • SB:

    Who I voted for or whether I voted at all is my business. . .suffice it to say I did not vote for Obama.

    Secondly, please do not embarrass yourself by stating the Achoress was not a rabid supporter of Rudy Gulianni just on the Rudy G. link on the left side of her website. The woman salavates over him so much its embarassing.

  • OK, I was just talking about Michael Iafrate, who did vote for Obama.

  • In the 13th century, the Pope placed an interdict on England forbidding any sacraments (except, I believe, baptism and annointing of the sick) there. Bishops may apply an interdict to individual persons as well, which is like an excommunication in terms of access to sacraments but without expulsion from the Catholic community. The bishop’s actions may have been justified under Canon 1373.

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