Troubling

Wednesday, July 31, AD 2013

 

 

 

 

I have not been among those who have had concerns about Pope Francis.  This, however, gives me pause:

The decree installs an apostolic commissioner – in the person of the Capuchin Fidenzio Volpi – at the head of all the communities of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

And this in itself is cause for astonishment. Because the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the most flourishing religious communities born in the Catholic Church in recent decades, with male and female branches, with many young vocations, spread over several continents and with a mission in Argentina as well.

They want to be faithful to tradition, in full respect for the magisterium of the Church. So much so that in their communities they celebrate Masses both in the ancient rite and in the modern rite, as moreover do hundreds of religious communities around the world – the Benedictines of Norcia, to give just one example – applying the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of Benedict XVI.

But precisely this was contested by a core group of internal dissidents, who appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general “sentire cum Ecclesia.”

The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11:

“In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo” demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever:

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Troubling

  • I too was worried about this, but right after I got worried I stopped and said, I should know better when there is an implicit Good Pope Bad Pope narrative (in either direction).

    If it turns out you don’t like the proceedings, know that they were initiated under ++Benedict. Francis is just finishing the job. So whatever this is, it is bigger than a particular pontiff’s whims and fancies.

    A Franciscan Friend knows about this congregation, and although while not having read the visitation reports, tells me there were efforts being made to incorporate particular orders of Mass into the very charism of the order. He told me that was totally absurd and wrong, and was asking for deep trouble. So basically this was an intra congregational disciplinary issue.

    I know squat about religious order canon law et al, so I may have botched the paraphrasing of his explanation somewhat. But remember, ++Benedict apparently thought there a big enough concern to start this process.

  • The “core group” of dissidents (some reports say six, others nine) are a very small minority; all are from the United States and at least one has subsequently left the order. In dealing with what appears to be a local problem the Pope has seen fit to override article 2 of Summorum Pontificum in respect of all the friars world-wide. As a result, the priests of the FFI no longer have the same rights as all other priests, both regular and secular. The contemplative sisters at Lanherne in Cornwall, who decided when they set up their community that they would use only the older books, and learned to sing the entire Office from scratch, will need to find a priest from another order, or a secular priest, to celebrate Mass for them.

    This heavy-handedness with regard to those attached to the Usus Antiquior was a feature of the last decade of Paul VI’s reign, and it is why the SSPX is ‘outside’ the Church, and any number of de facto heretics are still ‘inside’ it, and likely to remain so.

  • I love the latin mass. Is it not possible that those who are so insistent on using any mass but the ordinary are acting out of ego and need to feel special or exclusionary and Pope Franceis seeing that it has become a source of friction and disunity has acted responsibly?

  • James, possible but improbable. Groups like the FSSP and ICKSP which use only the older books (including for their ordinations) are not seen as a threat since they keep the Usus Antiquior ‘corralled’. Parish priests and even bishops who mostly use the Novus Ordo but celebrate the Vetus Ordo occasionally similarly pose no real threat. But here we have a new and rapidly growing movement which celebrates in both forms but which is showing a marked tendency, as individuals and communities, to prefer the Mass and Office as it was in 1962 over the revised form, even though the latter can be done exclusively in Latin, thus preserving a lot of the traditional elements. If this is allowed to continue unchecked, and if the Old Rite is seen to be attracting young men to the priesthood (and there is growing evidence that it is) then it will over time undermine the Novus Ordo. I suspect that this might be the opening salvo in a long campaign. Pope Francis doesn’t want to further divide the Church or be a recruiting sergeant for the SSPX, but he has an authoritarian streak which was absent in Benedict, and which could be a good or a bad thing. Who is advising him? Is anyone? Merry del Val, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

  • “…undermine the Novus Ordo.” What does that mean? I’m asking with a very genuine tone. I am a member of a private facebook group of women, half of whom are not only devoted to the EF, but hate the OF. It does get tiring to listen to rants about those of us who consider ourselves faithful Catholics, and enjoy the OF. There are even a few SSPX people there that don’t believe they’re not in line with the Magisterium. That being said, I’ve never been to the EF, so I don’t know what I’m missing (apparently), but I don’t have an interest in it. I do see, however, a prevalent attitude that OF Catholics can’t be devout, and we all wear tank tops & short shorts to mass. Again, I’m not trying to be defensive. I’m just wondering what “…undermine the Novus Ordo” means. I don’t really understand the conspiracy theories about how the Vatican wants to oppress the EF.

  • Missy, I entirely agree with you. The Novus Ordo, Ordinary Form, whatever you want to call it, is the form of Mass most Catholics attend, and most priests celebrate. I have met people who would not attend an EF Mass celebrated by a priest who also celebrates the NO, or go to a church which has ever allowed a celebration of the NO, and as far as I am concerned they represent the lunatic fringe. Examined textually, the NO is obviously not the classic Roman Rite and in fact was never intended to be simply a revision of it; that does not render it invalid, nor even without certain merits.

    However, it admits a wide variety of languages, styles of celebration, and musical accompaniment that the classic Roman Rite quite simply does not (which is not to say that the latter is entirely uniform, particularly as far as music is concerned). What is more worrying is that it (the Novus Ordo) also seems to attract liturgical abuses, some of which were retrospectively authorized by the Vatican (Communion in the hand, women in the sanctuary) but some which continue despite having been formally reprobated (departure from the text, misuse of EMHC).

    The problem with the classic Roman Rite is that its continued existence challenges a lot of assumptions and prejudices. Since we now know it was never abrogated (and arguably never could have been) it stands as an objective standard against which a rite of recent manufacture must measure itself. It stands in fact as a contradiction, which is why many of the V2 generation in clerical positions oppose it so strongly.

  • Or maybe this is an example of this pope’s attempt to step in early and prevent any authoritative conflicts from building …. rather than seeing them go astray and trying to pull them back in later (as has happened to often). The fact it is an orthodox group may not be the issue ??

  • Missy – There’s a lot of confirmation bias in this. A lot of people when they hear the words “Novus Ordo” picture the three worst abuses they ever witnessed (or heard about indirectly).

    I currently attend an ordinary-form Mass. I attend it mostly for the convenience of the time and location, but also a little bit for the sacrifice. For myself, church-hopping leads to a bad way of thinking. There’s something to be said for obedience.

    If I were pope, I think I would have handled this Franciscan congregation differently. Perhaps that’s why the Holy Spirit aggressively campaigned against me becoming pope. Again, for me, it becomes an issue of obedience.

  • The last time I flat-out called something a papal mistake was when John Paul approved of altar girls. I still think I was right on that, but I feel less comfortable criticizing the Pope these days. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to having a pope that I didn’t believe was wrong in practical matters. The next years may prove to be a real test for me. But always I think about the way dissidents have handled themselves lately and I want to make sure that I never scandalize anyone the way they have.

  • Pinky, I had the misfortune to live through the papacy of Paul VI and saw not only the collapse of the liturgy but in the years 1968-1978 a Church in free-fall. The Vatican’s treatment of such loyal sons of the Church as Cardinal Mindszenty and Archbishop Lefebvre was worse than shameful. Although the truth didn’t emerge until the early years of this century, those years saw the peak of clerical sex abuse. When Paul referred to the “fumo di Satana” in 1972 he must have been acutely aware that it happened on his watch, and was ultimately his responsibility. He was a truly tragic figure, a man of great ability who was the victim of his own indecisiveness. It just shows how difficult the top job is. Pope Francis needs our prayers.

  • 1. Thanks for the post Don and link to Father Z’s analysis.
    2. Thanks for raising some interesting points of discussion, Missy.
    3. Thanks for the excellent insights shared by John Nolan and Pinky.

  • The New Revised Edition of the New American Bible had to be revised because of the horrid translations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be revised because of the horrid interpretation of the Doctrine of the Faith. It seems that although Pope Francis has the authentic authority over the Franciscans of the Immaculate to direct their progress, The Latin Mass was never banned, the faithful are entitled to the TRUTH, the Last Supper was said in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, and Latin is the most accurate translation of the Holy Scripture, Pope Francis will give liberal approval of the use of the Latin Mass. No more will the faithful suffer the insult of being referred to as “a thing” as in the use of the pronouns “that” and “which” and “it”. God created them male and female. God, the Supreme Sovereign Being is a person, Jesus is a person and God, the Holy Spirit, is a person. Persons are referred to as “Him” and “Her” and “WHO”, never “that” and “which” and “it”. It is correct to say: “He placed the child in their midst”. The most horrendous consequence of calling a person by the incorrect pronoun is that the rational, immortal soul of the human being is omitted. If the dignity of the human person, body and soul, is to be acknowledged, if the unalienable rights of the sovereign person are to be acknowledged, only “he”, “she” and “who” may be used, Otherwise, “that”, “which” and “it”, reduce the human person to collateral, chattel, and animal.

  • Pingback: More on the Crackdown on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate | The American Catholic

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. …

Continue reading...

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.

Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

Wednesday, December 2, AD 2009

Among my many flaws is a deep appreciation for biting sarcasm.  A recent post by Damian Thompson at his blog at the  Telegraph is a masterpiece of this form of verbal combat:

“It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!”

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.”

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

  • If you hadn’t said this was sarcasm I would have thought that this “wumyn” was off her rocker.

    I think those that “interpreted” what they thought was the new Mass were the main culprits of causing the largest exodus of Catholics from Mother Church in history.

  • SOOOO funny! A classic!
    I love the part about “a sense of the numinous”

  • Latin has its incomparable beauty; however, English can be reverent, especially with the new Novus Ordo translations for next year. The advantage Latin has is that it is dead so it is not organically changing in meaning. Sadly the organic changes in English are overwhelmingly pejorative and politically correct (relativist).

    The fact is that the sparce Churches and modernist clerics are going to retire soon and we will see a true rennaissance in the Church if we can survive the secular progressive (Communist, Critical Theorist, neo-pagan, Satanic) persecutions that are coming.

    BTW – I like the sarcasm, but, as Tito said, it will be lost on many – probably becuase they want the liberality to be true. They have eyes but cannot see.

    Thanks for posting this and if you are blessed to have one near you – go to a Traditional Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine)- it is sublime.

  • AK, English can be reverent, but there’s a natural instinct to pray in another, set-aside language. Muslims and Hindus pray in ancient languages. The ancient Jews prayed in Aramaic and spoke Hebrew; today they worship in Ancient Hebrew. I know that Armenian Apostolic rituals are in Old Armenian, and I think that many Eastern rites follow the same pattern. Even a good share of Protestants doth pray in a separate tongue. I think any attempt to bring worship into the language of the people can undermine the sense of the sacred, and these days, our sense of the sacred is in pretty bad shape.

  • Don,

    I more or less agree… but the NO services I have been to recently are getting even sillier. Sometimes I go just to see what’s going on, other times, when by my own fault or some unforseen circumstance I miss the Latin Mass and have to go to a later NO.

    Every time I go to an NO something is different. It’s constantly being tweaked and twinged, for what purposes, I don’t know.

    I don’t want to translate my preferences into objective reality, but I do believe that the Latin Mass is objectively more reverent, more conducive to spiritual growth, and more beautiful than NO. I believe that it fell out of favor precisely because of these reasons, because reverence, true spirituality and beauty have no place in a consumerist society.

    According to libertarian geniuses such as Ludwig von Mises, absolutely everything social is subjective, whether it is the value of something made in a factory or a work of art. There is no objective value, either in economics or aesthetics. Both the left and the right, such as they typically constitute themselves in America, accept this view for different reasons. The decay of the Mass parallels the decay in art.

    The assault on objective truth might find its greatest champions in the irrationalism of postmodernism but its root is in our unconscious response to the market economy, which wages an unremitting war against the very notion of sacredness. Unlike most other aspects of this phenomenon, however, the fine tuning of the Mass to appeal to spiritual consumers has continually failed.

    I don’t think consumerism has to destroy what is sacred, but I do think that it will if we are not aware of how it operates in our minds.

  • Joe,

    You hit the nail right on its head.

    Thanks for articulating your response very well!

  • Pinky,

    I agree. A Pater Noster or Ave Maria is so much more holy, sacred, reverential and satisfying than an Our Father or Hail Mary.

    May God continue to bless us with priests who seek to celebrate in the more reverential form.

    Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

  • Joe,

    I agree with Mises on many things as pertains to subjectivity. What he misses is the objective view and the intrinsic value of created goods. Ayn Rand said she was objective but her Objectivism was all about the efficacy of man, Sola Sapiens, and her romance and love was nothing more than pornography, anger.

    Thanks in great part to you I am becoming more aware of the flaws in libertarian praxeology. I still hold that libertarian principles applied to the secular world from a Catholic perspective are valid. This will be true as regards utilitarian economics, commodities, etc. It fails, as you point out, when it comes to the objective (a perfectly subjective view for God alone). It especially fails when it comes to the sacred. Libertarian praxeology is profane and works better than any other reasonable concept in the secular world. As you point out the left/right paradigm is false because both sides, and all shades in between, accept the modernist utilitarianism. It is just as false for most of us Catholics (laity and secular clergy) to adhere so fervently to the sacred as to not be able to function in the profane world. We are in it, but not of it. Libertarian praxeology works with limits and must always keep an eye up to God, which in its current use it seldom does. We shouldn’t throw it out with all the other methods; we need to reorient it to God. He promised everyone, everything they ask for provided we seek His Kingdom first. This brings me to where you and I agree. . .

    The Mass is not a commodity or even a man made construct; however, the Church can organically develop it and the Novus Ordo is valid but it is very, very bland. Almost pointless, save for the real presence of Christ. The Extraordinary form is not only Latin. A nearby parish celebrates the NO in Latin as does EWTN sometimes. Latin is beautiful, universal (hence Catholic) and fixed; however, the beauty of the Tridentine Mass goes so much further.

    What I especially like is that the priest has so much less to ‘innovate’ and the laity has so much less external participation. I also find it very difficult to pray the NO because I feel like I am being called to externally participate every couple of seconds rendering the active participation almost impossible (perhaps that is just my hang-up) and then comes the social hour of the sign of conviviality. I pray that I am not arrogant; however, when I am at an NO Mass I just keep my hands together and my eyes close and pray for His Peace, dona nobis pace.

    I feel as though the laity at the NO has no idea that we aren’t Protestants. Moreover, with all the disparate innovation going on in the congregation and the lax manner of dress it is a wonder anyone finds it holy or can even interiorly actively participate easily. If I am not mistaken the Mass is to take us out of time and space and enter into the Sacrifice on Golgotha/Calvary – how do we do that without the sacred beauty of the Extraordinary form?

  • AK,

    “Thanks in great part to you I am becoming more aware of the flaws in libertarian praxeology.”

    Well, I’m glad I could help. It’s especially reassuring given that I am sometimes accused, by members of a different blog, for being unable to “stop thinking like an American.”

    “I still hold that libertarian principles applied to the secular world from a Catholic perspective are valid.”

    Perhaps, but as you later say, only within certain limits. America’s strong classical republican tradition was all but blotted out by the Industrial Revolution. Early America had sumptuary laws, for instance, that made luxury more expensive for the rich; this reflected a view that excessively concentrated wealth and luxury were detrimental to the survival of a republic. The founders of America had a pretty strong virtue ethic that balanced out their liberalism.

    As regards your last question: I don’t think we really can. Mass is about giving God the worship owed to Him; it isn’t a tea party. People might argue that there is nothing wrong with the Mass incorporating elements of the modern culture, as it has been done for generations. But before we can make that blanket assessment, we ought to consider what, objectively, our present culture is and whether or not any parts of it are worthy of being included in the Mass.

    I say, there aren’t too many. It isn’t really that rock music or even the vanilla piano accompaniment are inherently evil, but that they are a step down from the sublime to the common and vulgar.

    And as I pointed out to a certain writer for another blog, I don’t believe that the effects in different eras of history are comparable – yes, perhaps, in the Middle Ages they had clowns and jesters and other strange practices; they also had a universal Christian culture that played a role in their daily lives. We don’t have that today. We have a culture of hedonism, consumerism, materialism and death.

    All the more reason for us to preserve a liturgy that transcends historical epochs. Are Christians not supposed to challenge the dominant secular paradigms? Are they not supposed to stand out? How do you challenge the world with your social message when your liturgy conforms to it evermore? It is an inconsistency, I believe.

    I consider myself a true “rad trad” because I believe that Christianity ought to radically challenge secular society not only in its proclamation of what is right and wrong, but in how it worships God. When we adopt Protestant gimmicks, charismatic side shows, and the like, we aren’t challenging anyone or anything. And I think that in turn greatly diminishes the challenge that our social and moral message poses to the modern world.

  • Joe when we are attacked from all sides we are probably onto something. You and I still disagree on finer points and I am sure that the same misguided fools that attack you wouldn’t find me too appealing either. Christ was condemned for being too religious and not religious enough at the same time!

    The limits to set on a Republic based on liberal (classical) principles is The Church. Sadly, this country was founded by Masons (Luciferians) so the limits were set to be removed. About 100 years ago they were removed and the USA has degraded since and now the pace is accelerating.

    40 years ago the rubrics for the practice of the Catholic faith and the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice were loosened and instead of the Church engaging the modern world as Vatican II intended, it allowed the modern world in.

    The modern world has been assessed and found wanting. We are going back to reverence and orthodoxy. Can we take the secular country back to foundational principles and forward to the one, true faith?

  • Damian Thompson can be crotchety (the last time I checked out “Holy Smoke,” he was grousing about Halloween treat-or-treaters), but every now and then, he hits the nail on the head. (And I cut him some slack for being grumpy, because it can’t be easy being a practicing Catholic in the land of Richard Dawkins and Henry VIII.)

    The worst litugical abuse I have witnessed occurred when I was still a child and it wasn’t until years later that I realized how bad it was. It was the late ’60’s. A priest at our parish who took to VII and the counterculture with great gusto held Mass in a neighbor’s living room. He was dressed in street clothes (then still a rarity in my neighborhood) and used a torn-up loaf of whole wheat bread for the Eurcharist. A hippie folk guitarist was in attendance and sang “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and other such tunes.

    I remember my parents were shocked and horrified by the whole thing, and I imagine the other blue-collar WWII generation attendees were too. I recall being baffled by what to do with Communion, as I had had it pounded into my head by the nuns and my parents that one never bit the host. But it’s very difficult not to chew a big hunk of whole wheat bread. And I think that’s exactly why “Fr. Dan” used it – he wanted his parishioners to overcome fuddy-duddy taboos and get with the swingin’ ’60’s, man.

    A few years later, he left the priesthood to marry an nun who had taken to the spirit of the times with similiar enthusiasm.

  • The worst liturgical abuse I ever heard of occurred at the Newman Center of a secular university one of my relatives attended 25+ years ago; he claimed that the priest actually invoked Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez during Mass. (This particular Newman Center, however, has definitely cleaned up its act since then.)

    I have to admit, that while I like the revived interest in Latin and the greater availability of the Tridentine Mass as an alternative, I have a hard time getting too worked up about the supposed defects of the Novus Ordo. Perhaps it’s because that is the Mass I grew up with — I have absolutely no memory of ever having gone to a Tridentine Mass until I was an adult — and for better or worse, it’s the “real Mass” to me. Plus the vast majority of NO Masses I have attended have been properly celebrated and not marked by any of the grosser liturgical abuses others complain about.

    I used to work full time in a Catholic organization, and back then it was easy to be consumed with urgent life or death questions such as Communion on the tongue vs. in the hand, whether it was liturgically correct to sing first person songs like “I Am the Bread of Life,” and whether it was OK to hold hands at the Our Father. Today, however, living and working in an entirely secular “real world” environment, when I go to Mass on weekends, I’m just glad to be there. As long as the priest is a real priest, nothing that contradicts or misleads concerning Church teaching is said in the homily, everything is done according to the rubrics, and they don’t pray to Cesar Chavez, I’m OK with it.

    I hope nobody gets me wrong here, but to me, I don’t necessarily see it as a sign of virtue or piety to be overly picky or critical about what liturgy one attends — so long as it is valid and celebrated according to Church rules. Isn’t being content with what one has a virtue?

    What I am saying about being content with the liturgy one has applies ONLY to the attendees or congregation. Celebrants, on the other hand, show piety by exerting every effort to make their liturgies as “first class” and reverent as possible. There is absolutely no virtue in CELEBRATING a sloppy or rushed liturgy for no good reason.

  • Elaine,

    I grew up with NO too, minus a brief excursion my family took into the Maronite rite to connect with our roots (it ended when the only Maronite priest around left town). In all my youth, however, I never attended a Latin Mass and only had a vague notion of what it was all about.

    It wasn’t until after my decade of atheism that I discovered the TLM. The first time I heard the magnificent schola chanting was probably when I decided I wouldn’t be going back to NO. As I learned more about the TLM, and then went back and saw the NO, I was pretty sure I made the right choice. There’s just no comparison.

    It isn’t just about the tiny things you bring up, though when you add them altogether, they do make for two very different experiences. With NO, who knows if you’re going to have a reverent Mass, who knows if what they did last week will be what they do this week. In my parish, the TLM is the same every month, with alternating low and high Mass, as well it ought to be.

    I don’t think you give the liturgy the importance it is due. And why should you? It is hard to take liturgical matters seriously when the NO is the liturgy that defines your experience as a Catholic, because NO doesn’t really take itself seriously. I don’t know how to put that in a way that doesn’t sound rude, but no offense is intended.

    No, I don’t think we ought to hammer fellow Catholics over the heads with our liturgical preferences, but I do think it IS a virtue to introduce people to a form of worship that I believe is objectively more worthy of God, more reverent, more beautiful.

  • If you have not assisted at a TLM, do it with an open mind and do not focus on what is different than the NO, nor on the fact that you probably don’t know the rubrics. Just pray the Mass – you are transported to Calvary/The Last Supper/Eternity all at once – just be with Jesus.

    Also, try praying the Rosary in Latin (any good Catholic book store should have a cheat sheet in ecclesial Latin for you). Allow thirty days for it to really sink in and become familiar and you will be drawn by the beauty and majesty.

    Warning: It will become increasingly more difficult to assist at an NO.

  • Taking parts of what Elaine writes:

    …as long as…nothing that contradicts or misleads concerning Church teaching…I’m OK with it…

    such would be true enough, if only such were the case…but the Novus Ordo designers deliberately stripped the Old Mass of much of its Catholicity for the very purpose of undermining it…so as not to cause their ‘separated brethren’ to stumble over it…compare the texts of the two Masses, and note well the suppression of the traditional prayers, and look for the offending terms which doomed them to oblivion…case in point, the suppression of the lovely Psalm 42, at the beginning of Mass, due to its repeated sacerdotal antiphon ‘and I shall go unto the Altar of God’ and its response ‘to God, who giveth joy to my youth’…altars are material to the concept of sacrifice, thus the Altar of God, provides the imagery of the Divine Sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the context of our worship. This is inimical to the Protestant vision, which purports the one time sacrifice of Christ and the subsequent commemoration of, but not renewal of, that event in its faith. The reference to ‘youth’ in the response again grates on the Protestant ear, inasmuch as it invokes the imagery of ‘rejuvenation’, which as Catholics, we receive through confession and absolution, a second chance as it were to lives our lives anew.
    Other instances of this suppression of Catholic thought abound, but I’ll close my post with only one other…consider the removal of the phrase ‘Mystery of Faith’ from the consecrational formula, referring specifically to the transubstantion of Christ’s Body and Blood,to a awkward proclamation after the Confection, consisting of the imagery of Christ’s death, resurrection, and the impemnding parousia…curious is it not? The designers of the NO clearly intended that the true mystical event of the Mass evolve aroung the universal Christian concept of dying and rising, and coming again, instead of the unique Catholic concept of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist under the guise of bread and wine…I fail to see how deliberately deemphasizing the transubstantiation of the matter of the Eucharist can be called not misleading the Faithful as to the teaching of Mother Chuch…