Can SSPXers attend approved “Tridentine” Masses?

On the question of whether the SSPX is schismatic or not (some say yes – that would be the late Pope) I found this on the SSPX website. It concerns whether or not people who follow the priests of the SSPX can also attend Masses under the "indult", that is, with the approval of the Catholic Church’s diocesan bishops. I find this really interesting. Emphasis and comments are mine.

UPDATE: See the useful comment below by "Somerset ’76" which has a possible explanation of what follows.

 

CAN WE ATTEND THEIR [THEIR!!!] MASSES?

If we have to agree to the doctrinal and juridical [This might mean that the Pope has no right/power/authority to make changes to the Mass. This might otherwise mean also that you don't fulfill your obligation by attending the Novus Ordo.] value of the Novus Ordo Missae, then NO, for we cannot do evil that good may ensue [So, attending a Novus Ordo Mass is "evil"?].

This condition may not be presented explicitly, but by implication, such as:

  • By a priest who celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae on other days of the week or at other times [Apparently a priest has to be ordained not just for people but for a book. Talk about being "people of the book", huh?],

  • using Hosts consecrated at a Novus Ordo Missae [This would mean that those hosts would not be validly consecrated because they were consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass?],

  • or with communion in the hand [If the hosts are not consecrated validly anyway, what difference would it make? Otherwise, if they are validly consecrated do they stop being Jesus Truly Present if they touch a hand? I do not quibble in the least about the lack of reverence for that reality, however.];

  • new lectionaries, Mass facing the people, etc., [So, if Pope Benedict celebrated the "Tridentine" Mass at the High Altar of St. Peter's Basilica, the SSPXers could not attend?]

  • by a priest who was ordained in the New Rite, [Does that mean that I am not validly ordained as far as they are concerned?]

  • by sermons that are modernist in inspiration (much to be feared if the celebrant habitually says the Novus Ordo Missae); or [This is strange. "modernist in inspiration" ... how to decide? I guess this is like the phrase of the Supreme Court justice who knew pornography when he saw it. "I can't define modernist in inspiration but I know it when I hear it."]

  • by offering only the revised forms of the other sacraments, e.g., penance. [Okay... so if I absolve a penitent ... ironic ... since SSPX priests DON'T HAVE FACULTIES TO ABSOLVE penitents unless they are DYING - so if I absolve a penitent in using the NEW form of absolution that means that the MASS I say is defective?]

This brings up the whole context of the Indult Mass. It is:

  • A ploy [MWUHA-HA HAAAAHHA... Boy! are we cunning.] to keep people away from the Society of Saint Pius X (for many Bishops allow it only where there is a Society of Saint Pius X Mass center),

  • intended only for those who feel attached to the traditional Latin Mass [If it is so great in itself isn't that enough of a reason?] but nevertheless accept the doctrinal rectitude and juridical right of the Novus Ordo Missae, Vatican II, and all official orientations corresponding to these. [So, when Pope Benedict derestricts the older form of Mass, does it sound like that move is going to be enough?]

Therefore, attending it because of the priest’s words or fellow Mass-goers’ pressure, or because of the need to pander to the local Bishop just to have it, [Heaven forbid anyone should exercise any charitable DIPLOMACY rather than simply issue demands to a successor of the apostles or to the alter Christus, but oh.. that's right... we might not really be ordained properly. Why show us respect?] inevitably pushes one to keep quiet on “divisive issues” and, distance oneself from those who do not keep quiet i.e., it pushes one to join the ranks of those who are destroying the church. [MWUHA-HA HAAAAHHA... Boy! are we cunning.] This one cannot do.

The Indult Mass, therefore, is not for traditional Catholics.

I think we ought to apply the duck argument.

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120 Responses to Can SSPXers attend approved “Tridentine” Masses?

  1. Gregory Mercer says:

    Father,

    Is it wise, is it prudent, to be attacking the Society right now?

    That is why, again, I have to question where you really stand on the Mass.

    You can delete my message, but you should know that we are not all fools.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Father, thank you very much for posting this! While I am all for reconciliation with the SSPX, there are obviously things that they need to confront first! Thank you!

  3. Brian says:

    All good points, and hard to argue with, Fr. Z.

    Illegitimi Non Carborundum.

  4. Gregory: I am sore tempted to delete your message because, frankly, you have been pretty rude to me. But in the spirit of Christmas giving, I will give you a detailed response as an attempt to help you see me and this blog, I hope, more clearly.

    I think I am NOT attacking the Society in this entry (above). I am asking legitimate questions. If people avoid the temptation of imposing a negative interpretation immediately, and they contribute to a discussion intended to create more light than heat, then lots of people can learn something. This is I think what happened in the wake of the discussion of Mary in the recent movie The Nativity Story and its portrayal of her having labor pains. Lot\’s of people learned a lot about that issue because there was civil discussion elicted along the way. I learned some new things also. Faith seeks understanding. At the same time, I think that that excerpt from the SSPX site is truly a violent attack on the Catholic Church. The whole of the SSPX cannot be encapsulated in that quote, but I see it as a pretty serious attack nonetheless.

    That excerpt from the SSPX website is illustrative of the attitude of many of the people involved in that movement around the late Archbp. Lefebvre (whose death memorial card I have in my breviary so I remember to pray for him). I think SSPXers sometimes talk out of both sides of their mouths about their professed \”loyalty\” to the Pope and they are forced into kabuki dances of astonishing complexity to defend some of their claims. If people say the SSPX is not schismatic then I think it is perfectly legitimate to ask question about texts they publish, such as the text I question in this entry. Like the Novus Ordo or not, they are pretty much implying that it is \”evil\”, that priests such as myself (ordained by Pope John Paul II but with the new rite) are not really priests and that our consecrations and absolutions may be invalid. That is a pretty sharp departure from what Roman Pontiff and bishops in unity with him are thinking. I think people adhering to the SSPX would do very well to examine their consciences and think very carefully about what Pope Benedict is trying to do.

    As far as \”where I stand\” on the \”the Mass\”, and I am assuming that you mean the \”Tridentine\” Mass, I have written many times and in many places that I am all for a vast expansion of the use also of the 1962 Missale Romanum. I celebrate Mass daily usually using that Missale, though if I am in a parish or place where the Novus Ordo is used, I do not in the least hesitate to use that Missal and then say Mass as properly and traditionally as I can. You might do more extensive reading of what I have written about the matter before implying that I might not be favorable toward it. I have suffered, truly suffered, seriously unjust mistreatment at the hands of other priests and more than one bishop because of my interest in and defense of the older Mass and for many years. I have bled for it in ways you cannot fathom unless you also are a 1) priest 2) of traditional inclination 3) dedicated to the vision of use of the \”Tridentine\” Mass which is 4) not restricted to a traditionalist ghetto.

    As for my knowing that you are not all fools, please understand that I have this blog precisely because I think people are not fools. How many times in this blog have I posted things having to do with translations and other matters that were difficult from my conviction that people are smart? How many times have I scorned the dumbing-down of texts or disciplines because of the tacit idea that they are \”too hard\” for people? I would think that, given quite a few of my entries here, which lots of people think are pretty cerebral, that the last thing I think is that people reading this blog are fools.

    Gregory: Kindly avoid coming into my place here… and that is what it is… like coming into my living room, and then insinuate ill of me and use me with rudeness. I am pretty sure you would not like it if someone marched into your house and treated you rudely. What I have been through and what I am trying to accomplish here, not to mention Holy Orders, merits something better than that.

  5. Geoffrey: You know… at the same time as I think that the SSPX quote is irresponsible, I also think that the Church has a lot of hard work ahead to clean up the terrible liturgical abuses and rethink things like Communion in the hand and Mass facing the people. We must do this because it will help our dealings also with the Orthodox, not just the SSPX, and more importantly because it would be the right thing to do.

  6. Dan Hunter says:

    God bless you Father.
    Thank you and merry Christmas.

  7. It is not an attack on the SSPX to state that they do not recognize the validity of the Second Vatican Council or the Novus Ordo mass, if those are true statements.

    If true (and those do in fact seem to be the underlying assumptions of the article quoted), then the much-wished-for “freeing” of the Tridentine liturgy would not be sufficient to bring back people who believe these stated positions of the SSPX. The Church would indeed (as it already does) have two valid liturgies. If some withhold recognition of one or the other of those liturgies, to the extent of withholding belief in the efficacy of the consecration in one or the other, then in what sense are they members of the same Church as those who believe in the efficacy of the sacrament in both?

    I’m no authority, just a regular guy, but I had the impression that the reason for the move would be to provide a more traditional alternative for those of us who want the traditional liturgy, and who also believe that, as badly as it may have been applied, that Vatican II was a valid council, and who wish to be in union with the Bishop of Rome and the bishops in union with him.

    If however, one holds that Vatican II must be undone, and the Novus Ordo done away with, I fear that one will wait forever to rejoin the what most of us recognize as the Church.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    Father: I agree 110%!

  9. tim says:

    Father,

    First, Merry and blessed Christmas to you. Your blog is a kind of lifeline for us who wait for the m.p.

    Second, I am not SSPX, but ICKSP. That being said, that post on attending the indult TLM has been on their site forever, and may not remain posted for long, if, Deo volente, things go well with the m.p. and negotiations, etc. I realize of course that the rejoinder is that they are responsible for the content that exists on the site. Agreed, but I hope the thinking of the leadership of the society is in a little better place on this issue.

    Finally, I think the SSPX priests would also have jurisdiction to absolve sins in confession if the penitent were truly ignorant of their jurisdictional issues. Is that true?

  10. dad29 says:

    It would be interesting to learn when this document was issued.

    IMHO, B-16 will be pointing a dagger at the heart of SSPX when he issues his motu proprio, and SSPX knows it…

  11. Brian says:

    “B-16 will be pointing a dagger at the heart of SSPX when he issues his motu proprio, and SSPX knows it…”

    Many of us think it not a dagger but a fine gift and olive branch. To say it is a dagger is to see it through schismatic-colored lenses.

  12. Pope Benedict is a great student of St. Bonaventure who, in combating the heresy of Joachim which was dividing the Franciscans and the Church, did his best to use what of Joachim was good and seek reconciliation as best he could.

  13. Maureen says:

    If SSPX really wants reconciliation with the hierarchy and reform of the reform, then it should be dancing with glee over the indult rumors. “Now at last they see the error of their ways, and that I was right all along! Mwaha! Even if it is not perfect, it is a beginning!”

    But sadly, many traditionalists don’t take this as a win.

    There comes a time when people need to decide whether they want to achieve their goals and be happy, or maintain their right to feel self-righteous and oppressed. Some people decide they’d rather not declare victory, ever. You see them in places like Berkeley. They’re not a good example to follow.

  14. Andy says:

    Father, I would post a more detailed response, but I am currently spending some badly needed time with my family (and cooking up some tastey scallop alfredo), but as to point two (the problem of recieving hosts consecrated in the Novus Ordo), the Society does not question the validity of the Novus Ordo per se, rather, the validity of many Novus Ordo Masses as they are commonly said. This, of course, needs to be further qualified, but as I said, I do not have time right now. Perhaps later this evening.

    In Christo Rege,
    Andy

  15. Dennis says:

    Many people would dance with glee if this Indult was
    promulgated. Nothing has actually happened.

  16. Andy: Right… I know that most of the folks hanging around with the SSPXers do not say that the Novus Ordo is invalid or that “Novus Ordo priests” are not validly ordained. However, that does rather beg the question of why they would have a problem with receiving Communion by means of a Host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass and then reserved in a ciborium in the tabernacle of an altar where a “Tridentine” Mass is later celebrated. It does beg the question. Either they believe that Christ is truly present in such a Host or they don’t. If it is an argument about “indirectly aiding and abetting” the wicked Novus Ordo things they don’t like, then I think their priorities are sorely scrambled.

  17. Catholic Lady says:

    I believe there will still be those who cling to the SSPX and other schismatic groups even with the broader allowance of the Indult Mass. We have FFSP Mass in my area and it is well attended. Initially some of the SSPX folks attended too but they also continued to attend the SSPX Mass. When we first had the Indult, we did not have FFSP priests I must say the SS{X were very helpful in training the altar boys, lending the priests vestments, etc. until they were established. Once the FFSP was appointed there was a definite “change”. Some of the SSPXers had been attending the Indult and had their own children being altar boys. I belive that when the FFSP priest found they were “members” of both churches he offered them a choice and some left to return to the SSPX, others remained and yet I know of two who attend both regularly (guess that would be called covering your bases).

    Last Sunday at our potluck after Mass, I sat with a couple who had not attended Mass for nearly 40 years, never having recovered from Vatican II. They did not go to the SSPX but when they found there was a legitimate Tridentine Mass, they went to confession and began attending Mass again. But one has to wonder how many souls have been lost in the shuffle and must pray they can all come back to Mother Church if it is not too late.

  18. Brian says:

    “why they would have a problem with receiving Communion by means of a Host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass and then reserved in a ciborium in the tabernacle of an altar where a “Tridentine” Mass is later celebrated. It does beg the question. Either they believe that Christ is truly present in such a Host or they don’t.”

    This attitude also runs the risk of making Christ’s Real Presence into a mascot, a secondary issue eclipsed by the human discipline of the Liturgy itself and its form.

    The Liturgy reflects the theology and truths of the Faith. Insofar as the Novus Ordo fails in this catechesis, it is inferior to the Tridentine Mass. However, Liturgy itself is a discipline of the Church, and falls under the authority to lose and bind that Christ granted only to the Church.

  19. DaveJ says:

    I’m a new Catholic having converted from the Lutheran faith in 2005, and have never been to a TLM. I have ,however, watched a few online videos of the Traditional Mass. Like many, I do like the NO Mass, however, as I learn more about it I am becomeing more interested in the TLM and would gladly attend one if it were offered in southwestern Minnesota. I am even trying to understand Latin.

    I have to think that the Pope’s coming indult has got to be about more than fixing things with the SSPX. The message that Fr. Z talks about in this post is a scary think to me becasue I have no desire to see the NO Mass go away (I’d rather see it fixed) and it would appear that at least some of the SSPX cannot (or will not) accept the NO Mass.

    Perhaps the Holy Father’s indult is more about providing for the many faithful Catholics who have suffered at the loss of the Mass they love, but have remained with the church.

    Perhaps the Holy Father’s indult is more about issuing a wake up call to those clergy and lay people who have allowed the NO to be abused to get their act together and start fixing the ship. “If you love the NO then take better care of it becasue people have another option now.”

    Nope, the MP has to be about more than fixing things with the SSPX. I do not think the MP alone will do that. Don’t get me wrong, I pray that the SSPX and all separated communities will return home, but I thnk it is going to take more work to accomplish it.

    Even though I love the NO Mass I join all of you in praying for the return of the TLM becasue I think there is room for both in the Church and I think it might just be what the church needs to grow stronger.

    JustDave

  20. Gregory Mercer says:

    Father,

    Let us suppose that your parents were heretics, apostates or schismatics. At the same time, let us suppose that you had found out that the Holy Father himself was about to come over to their home with a batch of cookies. Now, even though you knew for a fact that your parents were schismatics, would you think prudent to remind them of that right before that special visit?

    Of course the SSPX is wrong to have posted that. It is downright uncatholic. All I am saying is that you are offending possible schismatics at a time when the Holy Father is trying to approach them. And, at the same time, giving ammunition to the enemy at a very delicate time. You are being imprudent.

    Now, Father, as to Holy Orders, I have the utmost respect for them. However, the moment a Priest engages in secular pursuits, such as being a doctor, a lawyer, or a journalist, he opens himself up to secular criticism. Or do you think a surgeon, who happens to be a Priest, cannot be called a bad surgeon?

    I was not criticizing you qua Priest, I was merely saying that as blogger who says that he is for the Mass, you are sure being imprudent.

    I am sorry that you were offended, and I’ll be sure to mention it tomorrow at confession.

  21. dcs says:

    However, that does rather beg the question of why they would have a problem with receiving Communion by means of a Host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass and then reserved in a ciborium in the tabernacle of an altar where a “Tridentine” Mass is later celebrated. It does beg the question.

    I’m sure there are some SSPX adherents who believe that the Novus Ordo is invalid. Their reasons for avoiding the Indult Mass seem to be twofold: (1) they believe it to be a compromise with the “conciliar” Church and (2) they believe that Communion in the hand is a sacrilege and are concerned that they might accidentally tread upon particles of Our Lord by going to a church at which the Novus Ordo is celebrated.

    I don’t know how widespread these views are and I do know people who assist (or have assisted) at both SSPX and Indult Masses with no scruples.

  22. I think this business of tiptoeing around the oh-so-sensitive SSPXers, when their folks are blasting away at Holy Mother Church with sawed-off shotguns, is ridiculous.

    What — do SSPXers have some sort of theological Tourette’s Syndrome, that they just can’t help it?

    Fr. Z is very legitimate in holding them accountable.

  23. dcs says:

    Even though I love the NO Mass I join all of you in praying for the return of the TLM becasue I think there is room for both in the Church and I think it might just be what the church needs to grow stronger.

    JustDave, thank you for your charitable remarks. I don’t think anyone need be concerned that the Novus Ordo is going away any time soon. For myself, I am not an SSPX adherent, but — so long as I have a TLM to attend — I do not foresee a time at which my family will assist at the NO Mass regularly again (we do while traveling, or for funerals and the like). It seems to be easier, at least in my area, to find an Indult Mass than it is to find a reverent Novus Ordo. And smells and bells — forget about it!! (The Indult chapel we attend also has a vibrant parish life, which we never had while going to the N.O. — but I digress.)

  24. RBrown says:

    I think this business of tiptoeing around the oh-so-sensitive SSPXers, when their folks are blasting away at Holy Mother Church with sawed-off shotguns, is ridiculous.

    What—do SSPXers have some sort of theological Tourette’s Syndrome, that they just can’t help it?

    Fr. Z is very legitimate in holding them accountable.

    I agree that they should be held accountable. On the other hand, I also know that they are the ones who preserved the Roman Rite.

  25. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    I think we ought to apply the duck argument.

    Quack! Quack!

    Yup, it’s a duck.

  26. Gregory Mercer: For the last sentence of your comment, I thank you.

  27. RBrown: “On the other hand, I also know that they are the ones who preserved the Roman Rite.”

    And they have our thanks for that. In the meantime, however…

  28. Gregory Mercer says:

    Fr. Fox,

    If I am not mistaken, you think an empty Hell is a real possibility, why would you care, then, if the SSPXers are all schimatics anyways?

  29. Somerset '76 says:

    Being a longtime SSPX supporter (even if not as strongly as before), I can speak to the context of the extract.

    It is to be found on the Society’s U.S. District Web site (sspx.org) and was posted there several years ago, during the administration of one of the Society’s most visible hardliners, Fr. Peter Scott, now rector of its Australian seminary. In fact, if memory serves me right, the text was probably composed by Fr. Scott himself: I believe it’s a direct lift from a Q&A feature he regularly did for the District’s magazine, “The Angelus.” The opinions expressed perfectly conform to Fr. Scott’s view of things.

    The Society’s official press agency, DICI (dici.org) – which operates under the direct aegis of the Superior General – does not feature such a text.

  30. Somerset: That is VERY useful information and I am grateful you posted it.

  31. Joshua says:

    It should also be pointed out that, as contrary as it might sound, they do hold the NOM as valid in itself (though they doubt many of the celebrants having proper intention):

    D. THIS BEING SO, CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS INVALID?

    This does not necessarily follow from the above defects, as serious as they might be, for only three things are required for validity (presupposing a validly ordained priest), proper:

    *

    matter,
    *

    form,
    *

    and intention.

    However, the celebrant must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer in and of itself guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged).

    Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more so with time.

    The words of consecration, especially of the wine, have been tampered with. Has the “substance of the sacrament” (cf., Pope Pius XII quoted in PRINCIPLE 5) been respected? This is even more of a problem in Masses in the vernacular, where pro multis (for many) has been deliberately mistranslated as “for all”. While we should assume that despite this change the consecration is still valid, nevertheless this does add to the doubt.

    http://www.sspx.org/SSPX_FAQs/q5_novusordo.htm

    So at least a Latin NO with an orthodox priest (I guess I am safe then… ;))

  32. Andy says:

    “Andy: Right… I know that most of the folks hanging around with the SSPXers do not say that the Novus Ordo is invalid or that “Novus Ordo priests” are not validly ordained. However, that does rather beg the question of why they would have a problem with receiving Communion by means of a Host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass and then reserved in a ciborium in the tabernacle of an altar where a “Tridentine” Mass is later celebrated. It does beg the question. Either they believe that Christ is truly present in such a Host or they don’t. If it is an argument about “indirectly aiding and abetting” the wicked Novus Ordo things they don’t like, then I think their priorities are sorely scrambled.”

    I think the problem is that in many shared parishes the priest who says the Indult Mass is not the same priest who says the Novus Ordo, which can be problematic when the Novus Ordo is wacked out, and therefore questionable. This is the case in several indult churches that I know of. For the record, I attend the Indult, and have for several years. I am also good friends with a number of people formally affiliated with the Society and know from them that the official position is that the Novus Ordo is per se valid.

  33. Andy says:

    I apologize if I repeated what has already been stated. I did not read through all of the comments before writing that last post.

  34. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Somerset,

    I think your observation is very plausible. But even still, wouldn’t one think that given Papa’s efforts (from what we know) towards liberating the Missal of Pius V and bringing the Society back “into the fold” that they should take some steps to help him out? There is certainly a belief that Rome is trying to tone down the rhetoric. If I were in the Society leadership and wanted to be back in good graces with the Church I think I would take some very tangible steps myself if only to help the Pope out with some of the parties aligned against his intentions. Just saying.

    And just to clarify, I hope and pray for the Society’s return as well.

    -Stu

  35. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    I should clarify my post above…

    The steps I would like to see the Society take would be a scrub of their websites and perhaps a not so subtle memo to those concerned to avoid making statements that could be taken in the wrong way.

  36. Jeffrey: That sure seems reasonable. Dialogue is more than a monologue, after all.

  37. Brian says:

    “perhaps a not so subtle memo to those concerned to avoid making statements that could be taken in the wrong way.”

    Unfortunately, Bp. Williamson’s recent rhetoric is even more inflammatory than the comments upon which Fr. Z’s entry here is based. He claims the Pope is a Hegelian, that Hegelians are absolute enemies of absolute truth, and that the Pope’s recent (and upcoming) efforts at rapproachment are solely to co opt and destroy “Tradition” and the SSPX.

    There are only four SSPX bishops. If Bp. Fellay is unwilling to rebuke Bp. Williamson’s hysterical rants, or unable to silence him, what are the odds that SSPX websites will moderate entries like that of Fr. Scott?

  38. Tim Hallett says:

    I have heard something to the effect that Fellay anticipates a split in the SSPX with Williamson defecting and this has something to do with why Williamson was sent to S. America.
    In any event, some sort of split in the SSPX is inevitable as a segment of their fraternaity will never reconcile with Rome under any circumstances.

  39. Gregory:

    Well, to answer in your terms, because I think it is a possibility* — i.e., I may be wrong; and further, to consider it a possibility means I cannot and do not deem it an impossibility.

    *Actually, however, I do not believe hell can be totally empty, as I believe the enemy of our souls, and the rest of the fallen angels, are in hell.

  40. Michael says:

    In my reading of a sampling of Catholic blogs and periodicals I have come to classify much of what I have seen as orthodoxicide. It seems everyone is out to prove that they are the most loyal and orthodox Catholics mostly by throwing labels at others hoping to prove the same. “They are schismatics.” “They are modernists.” “They fetishize the Pope.” “They are really protestants, even sedevacantists.”

    Sigh. I pray that Pope Benedict can with the aid of the Holy Spirit find the wisdom to bring them all under the same banner and lead them so that they do not end up killing eachother.

  41. citizentim says:

    A few comments on Mgr. Fellay. I know everyone would wish for a speedy regularization of the Society of St. Pius X, including myself, but it doesn’t seem likely to me that this will happen, even with the freeing of the Mass and the lifting of the decrees of excommunication. Fellay’s comment “it’s like an expectation by Rome that, if they give us the Mass, they think that we are going to change and end the battle. And that, you can be certain, it’s not true. Not for anything!” is totally consistent with other statements he has made in the past. I would recommend listening to or reading His Lordship’s talk given at St. Isidore the Farmer Church in Denver (http://audio.saintisidore.org/Bishop%20Fellay%20Conference.html), in which he clearly indicates a desire to end the irregular situation, but not at the cost of the battle that Archbishop Lefebvre began, the fight for Catholic Tradition. To use a modern term, the Society’s ‘beef’ with Rome goes much deeper than the de facto ban on the Mass and even the decrees of excommunication. It is more doctrinal than anything, and to be quite honest, Rome’s treatment of the Society has not been exemplary for some time (with certain excepetions, of course), and thus the Society is distrustful of Rome. Lifting of the decrees and freedom of the Mass will go a long way toward repairing the distrust that the Society shows towards Rome, but the Society’s “end game” is not a formal canonical structure, which from their perspective they do not need, as they perceive (correctly or not) that they can continue in their irregular situation as long as the crisis in the Church remains, which they say is a status granted them by Canon Law. The last thing they want is to be granted a canonical structure only to be treated as so many other Traditionalists have been unjustly treated by Rome: tolerated, so long as they stay in their corner and remain silent to the myriad problems and abuses, liturgical, doctrinal, and otherwise, that are prevalent in nearly every diocese of the Western Church. This, they will not do (per Bishop Fellay). Mgr. Fellay’s (and the Society’s) primary concern is with ending the crisis in the Church, and the preservation of Catholic Tradition, not ‘reintegration’ at the expense of truth and principle. Not that I can speak definitively for His Lordship, but this is how it appears to me. Granted, it’s likely that some in the Society will never accept any agreement with Rome, but there seems little that can be done to appease some, but we should pray for them nonetheless.

    And just a little about where I’m coming from: I am a convert to the Catholic faith (formerly a nominal Anglican), I assist at Masses of the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FSSP), and have never assisted at an SSPX Mass, although I admit that I have sympathies towards the SSPX. I strongly believe the Society at large is not schismatic, but I do not wish to give the appearance of scandal to the faithful that disagree, as the “hellish halo”, as Mgr. Fellay terms the decrees of excommunication, scares some people away from Tradition.

  42. B. says:

    A few observations. Where I’m coming from: I go to the FSSP despite the SSPX being nearer.

    About their recognition of ordinations: Father Gerald Goesche (now the Head of the recognized Institute of St. Philipp Neri) was saying mass for the SSPX for several years, and he was only ordained in the New Rite. But there have been other cases, where “NO-priests” were conditionally reordained by the SSPX. I think the official line is that they conditionally reordain if the priest himself wishes it. I have also heard, that in one case, where Bishop Manat (a “NO-bishop”, who went SSPX) conferred confirmations for them in asia, Bishop Tissier raised hell and insisted that a “real bishop” goes there and reconfirms them.

    About this part:
    “using Hosts consecrated at a Novus Ordo Missae [This would mean that those hosts would not be validly consecrated because they were consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass?],”
    I never thought about that until I accidentally wandered into the NO that took place in the FSSP timeslot (whenever the regular parish decides it needs the FSSP timeslot, it has precedence) at the church where the FSSP says mass. I now have to say that I can’t blame the SSPX for warning about this, even though I normally (of course) believe absolutely in the validity of the new mass, which I also go to occasionally. Should the validity of a mass really be assumed when the priest in his homily explicitly denies even the most basic beliefs of Christianity, like the Trinity or the existence of Heaven?

    Unfortunately I also believe that there will not be a reconciling with the SSPX. The longer it takes, the less likely it gets. The SSPX is getting more and more hardline, which is not at all surprising because (in contrast to twenty years ago) now “softline” Traditionalist with a calling can join several approved traditional societies. The problem already began twenty years ago, because when Archbishop Lefebvre at last decided to ordain the bishops, he chose the most hardline ones. In the days of Lefebvre hardliners and sedes got expelled. Now, as was the case with Frs. Aulagnier, Laguerie, de Tanouarn, Wildfeuer, etc. those who hope for a solution with Rome get expelled.

  43. Barb says:

    The posting by Father Peter Scott, SSPX, which has remained on their web site is the one big reason why I cannot attend the SSPX local chapel even though my bishop forbids the Traditional Mass and sacraments in our diocese and the PCED has said it is not sinful to attend Mass there if we do not have access to an indult Mass and are going for reasons of attraction to the Mass. I know a number of people who attend the local SSPX chapel who agree with Father Scott’s statements, to the point that when in attendance at a NO wedding, said by a devout priest, they will sit through the entire service as if they are Protestants.

    The SSPX document horrified me and I thought it was utterly scandalous and uncharitable, designed to cause doubt in the minds and hearts of those attracted to our traditional liturgies. I grieve that I cannot easily attend the Traditional Mass, and whenever my husband and I are traveling to visit family, the first thing we do is check out the location of indult Masses in the area where we will be.

    It is of great concern to me that those who attend SSPX chapels have bought into the kind of thinking Father Scott advocates. I am praying for the reconciliation with the SSPX, but I don’t think all members will do it. There will be a split because too many of the leadership have been their own magisterium for too long to give it up.

    Barb

  44. Dennis says:

    The Novus Ordo Mass is a new rite promulgated by Paul VI,
    totally unprecedented. So its not surprising that people
    have questions, doubts. While it CAN be valid in many
    cases it most probably is not. Think this through; where
    there is no consecration people are worshiping a piece
    of bread. Idolatry. That is evil.
    These are genuine concerns, not to be lightly dismissed.
    We have a right to the Sacraments. Things have gone
    horribly wrong since Vatican II and we are in a truly
    fearful situation. Thank God some light is being shed on
    this.

  45. citizentim says:

    Barb, I understand your decision not to attend an SSPX chapel, but don’t you think you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face? If you can have the Mass of the Ages versus the Novus Ordo, why would the opinions of the others assisting at the Traditional Mass stop you from feeding your soul in a way that the Novus Ordo cannot do? You could offer the difficulty up, something which I find much easier during the reverant silence of the Traditional Latin Mass. As I said before, I assist at FSSP (there is also an SSPX Church nearby), but I would easily choose SSPX over the Novus Ordo any day of the week (not denying its validity of course), but that’s me.

    An aside: I hate to admit this, but I’m being married in the Novus Ordo next summer. I am delighted to be getting married, of course, but using the Novus Ordo is a major cross to bear. I’m doing it for my fiance, and will be offering up my own pain to Christ, that hopefully he will not look upon the defects of the Mass, but accept my own pain (not that the entire day won’t be joyful :) ) in recompense. But that’s the crux of the matter for myself and many Traditionalists: the Novus Ordo is valid on its face, but seriously deficient, and a radical departure from the Tradition of the Church. Those you spoke of, Barb, who are “sitting like protestants” at the Novus Ordo weddings, are probably more in shock and pain than anything else, but again, I can’t speak definitively for them.

    A Blessed Christmas to All Those Here!

  46. GCC Catholic says:

    While it CAN be valid in many cases it most probably is not.

    Why is this the case?

    If this is not the true position of the SSPX, then it should be off of all of their websites ASAP. In addition, if only the hardliners of the SSPX (and not the SSPX as a whole) hold this view, then it would probably be prudent for you to abandon it as well.

  47. Dennis: “While [the Novus Ordo] it CAN be valid in many cases it most probably is not.”

    Wrong. The rite is not the problem as far as validity is concerned. The way it is celebrated might be.

    “Things have gone horribly wrong since Vatican II and we are in a truly
    fearful situation.”

    Right. And the fact of this is revealed more clearly when you see success stories today in spite of everything.

  48. Andy P. says:

    I think many people here believe more is necessary for the mass to be valid than is needed. I would argue that MOST (even those which are celebrated with a shocking lack of reverence by heretics) are valid. What are needed?

    1) Matter. Most parishes I have attended (even the most liberal) use standard hosts. No problem there.
    2) Form. The form is “This is my body” and “This is my blood”. Despite attending many, many rather horrid masses, I have never heard any priest change this. Everything else is important, and the priest commits a terrible sin if they change it, but it has no bearing on validity.
    3) Intention. All that is necessary is an intention to do what the church intends to do. The only problem I could see is if a priest actively dis-believes in transsubstantiation. Some certainly do, but in general you should assume they buy into the church’s teaching in the weak form necessary for validity unless they explicitely deny it. God will judge them if they (in their heart) secretly don’t, and you incur NO sin if you assume that they do, recieve communion, worship the host, etc.

    Assuming that you can find a parish where these three conditions are met (and though I’ve certainly attended invalid masses, I’ve never managed to find a place in the US where one could not find a parish with a valid, albeit possibly scandalously irreverant mass), then you should NOT attend a SSPX mass, except possibly occasionally.

  49. Vincent says:

    I have even heard of an SSPX priest in France pray for the return of the Indult Tridentine Mass at a particular parish in California.

  50. Vincent: \”I have even heard of an SSPX priest in France pray for the return of the Indult Tridentine Mass at a particular parish in California.\”

    Which brings up one of my comments in the top entry:

    This brings up the whole context of the Indult Mass. It is:

    • intended only for those who feel attached to the traditional Latin Mass [If it is so great in itself isn’t that enough of a reason?]

  51. This is late in the thread, but oh well . . .

    I wonder if SSPXers and those in sympathy with them realize how irritating so much of their caustic commentary on the Mass of Paul VI, beginning with the term of dubious provenance, Novus Ordo*, and continuing with the multiplication and exaggeration of abuses.

    No, I am not denying there are abuses. But I am convinced the way the stories are told and retold on the Internet and elsewhere, they are muliplied and magnified.

    How do I know? Because I daresay I have participated in Mass in more dioceses in this country than most people — before I entered the seminary, I traveled lot on business, and I attending (mostly) weekly and Sunday Mass in at least 30 states. All over the country.

    What I saw most is what I’d call the “standard casual low Mass” per the Rite of Paul VI. Far from what the Mass ought to be, even “low”; but mostly not deliberately irreverent. (And this is still a problem; but it is, to my judgment, a very different sort of problem from what is usually demonstrated by fright anecdotes.)

    Occasionally I saw some abuses as I knew them then (and I was moderately well informed at the time), and rarely, a serious one (i.e., monkeying around with the Eucharistic Prayer). I heard lots of devout if unspectacular homilies, many air-filled but not heretical homilies; perhaps I heard a blatant heresy now and then, but not often. (By the way, I was a lot more critical about these things then.)

    Now, while my experience doesn’t settle the matter, until someone asserting how globally bad things are matches that breadth of interaction at Mass, I’m going to believe my own experience, and ascribe what I read on the ‘net to bad local experiences and a lot of repetition and believing the worst.

    You know, it might just occur to SSPXers and their many sympathizers on the Internet to consider that might find — and ought to want — allies among the clergy, and laity, who want to participate reverently in the current rite of the Mass, but want no part in the hostility of the most radical traditionalists that, I am sorry to say, verges on paranoia.

    It might be time to think about using sugar instead of vinegar. And nursing past wounds and grievances has great attraction — it always seems to come up, sooner or later in this discussion — but it is unproductive. It is, frankly, solipsistic and at some point, becomes very unhealthy.

    So can we please have a truce?

    For my part, in my parish, I’d love to have all the help I can get from those who may consider themselves traditional. And anyone who reads my blog will see plenty of info about how we’ve made moves in the right direction. And while there may not be enough priests who will be receptive, there are more than there used to be.

    And it shouldn’t be necessary to point out that the obnoxiousness that is so common online is not going to help traditionalists win priest-allies. And yet it does have to be pointed out–and that speaks volumes.

    (And, no, it really isn’t about what someone else did first. It’s about what you will do to help the cause you care about–because it’s about the cause, isn’t it? Not your feelings.)

    *I recall a very abusive internet conversation-by-post with a “traditionalist” who insisted, in a very insulting fashion, that the term appeared in the Missal itself. When I asked for the page, he mysteriously fell silent. (I have never found this term in the Missal, or in any official document. It if ever appeared anywhere official, it was far from the “official” name for the liturgy. That wouldn’t matter so much if the term weren’t clearly used in a polemical fashion.)

  52. Dennis says:

    Thanks Father. I meant the way it is celebrated not that
    the Novus Ordo rite itself is invalid.
    We have a success story in the next parish, a priest who
    says Mass in a traditional manner. A great contrast to
    the norm.

  53. Dennis says:

    Fr. Fox, we can only really speak from our own experiance.,
    My own is that I’ve attended Indult Masses, SSPX Masses,
    Novus Ordo Latin High Mass, many ‘standard casual low
    masses’ and a few reverential Novus Ordo venaculars.
    The perspective from the pew maybe what we are talking
    about here. The Sensus Catholicus. Todays laity is more
    discerning/skeptical and votes with its feet.
    Until priests are more receptive to those who consider
    themselves traditional or conservative not much will change.
    Finally, Catholics have a right to the Mass and Sacraments
    and priests a duty to provide them. We do’nt have to put
    up or shut up!

  54. Paul Haley says:

    Well, I guess it’s about time I weighed in on this so here goes.
    There is no reason why anyone in the church should not be able to present their views to the hierarchy, as is shown by the following excerpts from the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and should not this include the SSPX?

    Can. 212:
    §2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

    §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

    Can. 213 The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.

    Can. 214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.

    What’s that you say: this does not apply to the clergy and, therefore, not to the SSPX? Are not clergy also members of the faithful, the Mystical Body, albeit with special “knowledge, competence, and prestige”? Are they not bound by virtue of their special position to “make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires”? Indeed, haven’t they been trying to do this for many, many years? And, sometimes have they even lost their patience and their “cool” in so doing?

    Now the question is: why can’t they do these things in the current church environment? Well, if they are considered not in “full communion” then obviously they don’t have the same rights as those who are in full communion, right? C’mon, folks, let’s be honest. The church needs them and they need the church. It’s long past time to put animosities aside and work for the betterment of the church at-large. I’ve seen where Bishop Fellay was going to write to the Pope and include with the letter the spiritual bouquet of over 2.5 million rosaries. I’ve also seen where the Pope is going to issue a motu proprio freeing up the TLM so that it can be celebrated by any validly-ordained priest without special permission and possibly even lifting the so-called SSPX excommunications. My question is: what’s the hold-up?

    But, perhaps the bigger question is why cannot the SSPX operate its churches and chapels in the traditional rite to serve the faithful who are so inclined? In fact why is every independent traditional group considered by the bishops to be operating outside the church because they hold fast to Tradition and strictly so? What is the crime here? Or, is it that the traditional rite is so despised and hated by the bishops that they refuse to issue faculties to so-called irregular priests? Is not the supreme law of the church the salvation of souls? Please be to God, bring these warring factions together in unity of Faith and purpose. Veni creator spiritus!

    Paul

  55. Andrew says:

    I would never go to an SSPX Mass. My sense of having to adhere to the legitimate hierarchy of the Church would not let me.

    But I get the feeling that the clergy does not have a clue as to how very irritated some of us are getting with the Novus Ordo environment. No need to describe “singillatim” what goes on (and please don’t irritate me by saying that it is celebrated “properly” somewhere, by someone. That does not help.)

    Just please understand that going to Mass some of us are cringing from the time we enter the parking lot to the time we exit. Please help us!

  56. Somerset '76 says:

    Many points have been made here, especially by our host, that would call for a response if I could clearly dedicate the time and energy to them.

    Let me speak to two specific issues that will be real sticking-points in any rapproachment of the SSPX with Pope Benedict’s Vatican.

    1) Commenters have correctly pointed out that where Fr. Scott’s text was indicating the prospect of invalid Masses according to the Rite of Paul VI, he was not speaking to a defect in the text of that rite itself, but to extraneous factors: a) contrary ministerial intent in terms of confecting the Eucharistic species, owing to heretical ideas as to what the Mass actually is and is meant to accomplish; b) the use of invalid matter for the bread and/or wine; c) defects in at least the ministerial intent of the bishop ordaining priests in the revised Rite of Ordination (if not in the text of the rite itself). Just in the last year, however, the SSPX endorsed a study acknowledging the validity of episcopal consecrations in the revised rite, so point (c) might well not now get the emphasis it once did.

    So, for the SSPX, it’s not the validity of the new rite of Mass that’s the issue but its legitimacy in being deemed an official rite of the Catholic Church. The term “bastard rite,” oftentimes used in polemics on this subject, is meant in that word’s original sense, viz., illegitimate offspring, and in the Paul VI rite’s case, the “parentage” is said to be the collaboration of neo-Modernist Catholics and the infamous six Protestant advisors, working from a construct known as “the theology of the Paschal mystery,” as advanced by the generation of Blondel, the periti of Vatican II, and especially the late Pope John Paul II — a construct the Society believes to be indisputably heterodox.

    This is the essence of an official study published in the Society’s corporate name, from the motherhouse in Switzerland, called The Problem of the Liturgical Reform (2001), a study in which the treatise expounds at length on what it terms a clear clash between traditional Catholic doctrine on the purpose of our Lord’s Crucifixion (a propitiatory sacrifice appeasing God the Father for the infinite injustice of the sins of all mankind) and the view of this new theological construct (not a question of justice but of the full revelation of God’s love for us), a deviance that asserts itself in the revised Rite of Mass.

    I have explained this matter further in a forum post here:
    http://www.universalindult.org/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=325

    You will notice right away the thread topic: the same Fr. Peter Scott’s disdain of the “universal indult” on pretty much the same grounds he gave in the Q&A that our host discovered. My explanation of how the “theology of the Paschal mystery” impacts the Society’s view of the illegtimacy of the new Rite is 2/3 of the way down the page.

    2) Another very sticky issue, and one that gets almost no attention at all (apparently even from the Ecclesia Dei Commission, as best as I can tell!) is the Society’s entire approach to marriage annulments. Short version: it essentially doesn’t trust anything coming out of a diocesan tribunal, or even from the Roman Rota itself, if the grounds for annulment are something that wouldn’t have passed theological-canonical muster before the Sixties. Moreover, in the last ten years, the Society has evoked its understanding of the principle of supplied jurisdiction to not merely second-guess the decrees of nullity issued by others, but to begin issuing its own as well. This is, for me, one of the problem areas, and I cannot understand why this issue doesn’t get more attention from the Roman side of the negotiations. Perhaps our host, as a one-time staffer of the Eccl. Dei Commission, could explain this?

  57. RBrown says:

    It should also be pointed out that, as contrary as it might sound, they do hold the NOM as valid in itself (though they doubt many of the celebrants having proper intention):

    D. THIS BEING SO, CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS INVALID?

    This does not necessarily follow from the above defects, as serious as they might be, for only three things are required for validity (presupposing a validly ordained priest), proper:

    *

    matter,
    *

    form,
    *

    and intention.

    However, the celebrant must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer in and of itself guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged).

    Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more so with time.

    The capacity of the SSPX to f up the simplest theological principles is boundless. Any of my students in Intro to Sacraments who gave me that theological explanation would have had to take the test again.

    The principle that the minister of the Sacrament must intend to do what the Church intends means just that: It is the minimal intention–and is a GENERAL intention (to intend to do what the Church does) not a specific intention. This minimal intention is the same for all the Sacraments. Thus the minimal intention for any priest celebrating mass is to intend to do what the Church does. This minimal intention is NOT to transubstantiate or sacrifice, both of which are specific intentions.

    In order for a priest to have invalid intention, he must have an intention that contradicts what the Church intends to do.


    The words of consecration, especially of the wine, have been tampered with. Has the “substance of the sacrament” (cf., Pope Pius XII quoted in PRINCIPLE 5) been respected? This is even more of a problem in Masses in the vernacular, where pro multis (for many) has been deliberately mistranslated as “for all”. While we should assume that despite this change the consecration is still valid, nevertheless this does add to the doubt.

    St Thomas does not consider the substance of the Sacramental form and the essence to be exactly the same. The essence of the form designates the matter (Hoc est enim corpus meum), but the substance may actually be longer than the essence. And so the essence of the second consecration is Hic est Calix Sanguinis Mei, but the substance is in fact longer and includes the pro multis.

    Re the second consecration: Changing the essence of the form produces problems with validity, but not necessarily so with the substance. Thus the sad translation of “for all” does not produce doubtful validity.

  58. RBrown: Kindly quote only the relevant point of your interlocutor.

  59. Somerset '76 says:

    For the information of our host and his readers:

    While I wasn’t able to track the issue of The Angelus that I thought would have been the original source of the text he’s discussing here, I did track down a lengthy article by Fr. Peter Scott from the April 2003 issue of this same magazine, “How Are Catholics to Respond to the Present Crisis in the Church?”, which gives even deeper insight into his thinking on these themes.

    Those who carefully track such things will know, as I do, that Bishop Fellay’s own thinking and words more closely resemble the things Fr. Scott contends in the article than they dissemble therefrom.

    [N.B. One of the references Fr. Scott used in this article for his quotations of Archbishop Lefebvre, Cor Unum, is an internal, members-only publication of the SSPX General Headquarters. The members of the Society, correctly speaking, are only its clergy and those of its seminarians in at least the second year of studies. I myself was a seminarian-member for three years in the mid-Nineties and received all the Minor Orders.]

  60. Andrew:

    No offense, but I keep hearing what you say, online . . .

    At my parishes, I have made a number of obvious changes in a traditional direction.

    I announced in my bulletin that — acting on requests from several folks, I was open to having a Mass in Latin (according to the current rite), perhaps once a month.

    I asked people to LET ME KNOW WHAT THEY THINK . . .

    I got THREE — count ‘em — three responses. One negative.

    So I don’t doubt you are out there. But folks who feel as you do seem not to be as widespread as you may think. At least not hereabouts.

    (Now, I will do what I’m going to do on the Latin Mass. But if people don’t show up for it, then . . . hmmm . . .)

  61. Andrew says:

    Fr. Fox:

    I understand and I agree. I just returned from a Mass, where after communion we were treated to a rather long solo performance of some young girl singing (good five minutes of it) followed by copious applause, followed by a request from our pastor for some young man to stand up while the congregation sang “happy birthday” followed by lots of laughter … the whole thing is designed to prevent anyone from remaining in prayer after having received holy communion: to seduce us away from Jesus.

    Here is why I’m mentioning this: EVERYONE goes along happily. They all applaud, they all hold hands for the Our Father, they all raise their arms with each reply to the celebrant, they all laugh and walk out without any thanksgiving. But the Mass is not about numbers. Even though they all do it: it does not justify it. We are getting to a point where Christ is regularly insulted in our churches. And I am supposed to be timid about saying that the Novus Ordo is to blame. We’re supposed to whisper quietly that we might prefer the Roman rite where such antics are not permitted?

    I don’t care about what people like or don’t like. What is the will of God? Does he want to be worshiped a certain way or not regardless of any numbers.

    And please be sure that I take no offense at anything you might say.

  62. Andrew,

    Very well said! Thank you. May I add that it is not merely we ourselves whom such Mass antics offend directly, but Christ Himself. And the hurt we feel personally is, I believe, meaningful only to the extent that we can offer it up in each Mass as our own tiny share in the suffering of the whole Body of Christ in our time. So I have come to regard this unity with Christ in His suffering as am important reason to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily (in my case, Novus Ordo except for a couple of Sunday TLM’s monthly).

    But at the same time, this is the main reason I try to work positively and constructively to promote the traditional liturgy, both for the glory it gives to God in itself, and because I’m convinced it is the best tool we have to promote liturgical reform that reclaims reverence and respect in the new liturgy as well.

  63. bob says:

    Fr. John, an Orthodox layman here. Around 20 years ago I was acquainted with a young lady who attended a Pious X mission in Washington State. We had a great time; she called me a schismatic, I called her a protestant. That made her bristle, but not as much as when I called her a Latin Rite Protestant. Or a Papeless Papist…You get the idea. From the rubrics you supply to their website, it looks more and more like the first name I called her was the proper one. These guys don’t think you’re Catholic, why should you think they are? It’s pretty straightforward. That is the first condition of even wanting to commune together. They want to be protected *from* you, not have you over to Mass.

  64. John says:

    I find all of the foregoing, including the quote that introduced this topic, somewhat troubling.

    First, I have a great respect and appreciation for almost everything Fr. Z is doing in this blogg.

    Second, without any doubt the SSPX have thundered, many times harshly, against the “concilliar church” and its hierarchy. I must also add much criticism was heaped on John Paul himself by people inside that conciliar church. Many on the left accused him of being a reactionary, many on the right that he was not “doing enough” to defend the Church from those who wanted an absolute break with the Church of 2000 years.

    The SSPX was a creation of the right. The prevailing forces of the time made sure that no reconciliation would be possible. The left was intransigent. The SSPX was bitter and became more so as it was force into exile and vilified they vilified those who were their preceived tormentors.

    The quoute by Fr. Z should be presented in somewhat this context. It is not. His quote is accurate but lacks a certain sense of understanding of the “sinner”. The prodigal son receives an unconditional wellcome. In this discussion he does not. The older son would not be disappointed by the tone of this discussion.

    I support the SSPX return. It will not be smooth going always with them at the table. However, at the table they must be and soon or else we will all be the worse for their absence. Most importantly, I believe, Christ wants them there welcommed.

  65. Diane says:

    Andrew: Your description of the kind of chaos which prevents thanksgiving, adoration, reparation and petition – all things we should be doing quietly in our hearts following reception of Holy Communion is a good one.

    I have been going to a very reverent Novus Ordo that is devoid of all such nonsense. When I must return to one of many former parishes I once attended it is easy to see how these things distract from what we should be doing – remaining in total silence. It took being away for me to see just how chaotic and ridiculous it has become. Even the sign of peace – another busy part of the Mass all the while Our Lord is on the altar – rips us from the contemplative dimension of the Mass.

    However, I recognize these as abuses. Abuses which are not suppose to be in the Novus Ordo. Hence, as people begin to experience abuse free Masses, things will start to happen.

    Granted, some will never accept any Novus Ordo no matter how reverent. However, I can tell you that I know many people in parishes like mine where the Latin Novus Ordo is celebrated with solemnity and reverence who have an option to attend a Tridentine just 10 minutes away and they choose the Latin Novus Ordo. 20 minutes away is a tiny schismatic parish – perhaps SSPX.

    People go to my parish because it does provide reverent, reserved, and solemn masses without chaos. It enables people to assist at a N.O. which allows us to experience the contemplative dimension of the Mass should God call us to that. Silence and lack of stimulii are the enablers. They also go to my parish for the solid orthodox homilies – also a trait of Indult parishes. And, they go because the community as a whole values sacramental penance. It’s a whole different culture – one that I believe is more spiritually mature just due to the fact that it is unattached to props so many priests use today to keep peoples attention as if the Mass were a business meeting.

    I believe that the statements on the SSPX website do not express the opinions of all who belong to that schismatic sect and widening of the TLM will bring a chunk of the sensible folks back. I also believe that the flood of non-Catholic Christians to Orthodoxy has much to do with their desire for a more reverent liturgy. If their only exposure to Catholicism is the happy-clappy Mass, a Tridentine can showcase Catholicism in a new light for them, as well.

  66. Andrew says:

    The fact that here and there we might find pockets of orthodoxy does not excuse that fact that overall the Novus Ordo experiment has given us worldwide liturgical dissolution. And we can identify the main causes for this:

    Vernacular is “better” they say: Wrong. (It might be better for someone who does not know Latin, but it is not “better” per se).

    Giving everyone a chance to “participate” is “better” they say: Wrong. That sort of “participation” dilutes the proper role of ministerial priesthood, and subsequently, it takes away the proper understanding and veneration of the eucharistic mystery: therefore we see massive irreverence all over at our parishes.

    It is better to have some freedom, the ability to stretch the rubrics as needed, they say. Wrong: That is gradually leading us down the road leading to total degradation.

    The introduction of drums and guitars and other craziness is a good thing they say: Wrong. Popularizing something does not enhance it. If everyone’s taste is of equal value then we shall surely descend to the least common denominator in a hurry.

    Why here and there we might find some sanity of the kind you describe is most likely attributable to a few good souls who make a special effort to do something with the little that’s available. Thank the Lord for their effort, but let’s not confuse that with the true causes of the disaster that we have seen in the last 40 years.

  67. Dennis says:

    Fr.Fox, don’t be disheartened by the small response and
    if there’s low attendance at Latin Mass don’t give up on
    it. Remember we’ve been through a cultural revolution
    in the liturgy and Latin can be a culture shock! Also,
    those who do attend might get some ‘stick’ back home
    (i.e. “why go to a Mass you can’t understand”). So give
    it time, its on your side.

  68. Dennis:

    I hear what you’re saying.

    My point was that my real, actual experience does not match the promises of, and allusions to, the vast multitudes longing for a restoration, such as some here make.

    So I guess my choice is to believe strident, anonymous posters online, or my own eyes.

    Bottom line: I wonder if the many self-described traditionalists who post repeatedly on this and related subjects realize that they hurt their cause in their stridency, sweeping generalizations and caustic denunciations of the Rite of Paul VI.

    Count me as a “traditional”* Catholic who is very turned off by most of the “traditionalists” I encounter online.

    (*I put it in quotes because the word has, sadly come to be a loaded term, rather than simply describing someone who embraces tradition.)

  69. RBrown says:

    Andrew:

    No offense, but I keep hearing what you say, online . . .

    At my parishes, I have made a number of obvious changes in a traditional direction.

    I announced in my bulletin that—acting on requests from several folks, I was open to having a Mass in Latin (according to the current rite), perhaps once a month.

    I asked people to LET ME KNOW WHAT THEY THINK . . .

    I got THREE —count ‘em—three responses. One negative.

    So I don’t doubt you are out there. But folks who feel as you do seem not to be as widespread as you may think. At least not hereabouts.

    (Now, I will do what I’m going to do on the Latin Mass. But if people don’t show up for it, then . . . hmmm . . .)

    I think there are two reasons for the lack of interest. First, the Church (and liturgy) in England wasn’t dumbed down nearly as much as it was here in the States. The English were able to fall back on a considerable tradition of the liberal arts–we don’t have that. Further, I don’t think in England there were the Gestapo tactics to stamp out Latin liturgy that were common in the US.

    Second, I think that most people have simply adjusted to the present situation. They might still go to mass, but they ignore Humanae Vitae and keep their distance from most priests and religious for various reasons.

  70. RBrown says:

    Let me add a comment by JPII in 86-87; The vitality of the Church has been deadened.

  71. Diane says:

    I also meant to make a suggestion to Fr. Martin Fox.

    In my parish we have a weekly Latin Novus Ordo with Gregorian Chant. It did not start overnight. What I see a few other pastors doing is to slowly sprinkle in some Latin and over time increase it.

    One parish near me started by just singing the Sanctus and the Angus Dei, then adding in the Gloria. They provided a pronounciation guide to help. They sing with a simple chant. The Sanctus and Angus Dei are ideal as they are so simple and short.

    In our parish, during the summer when the choir is not singing, the pastor has taped to the front and back of the hymnal (inside cover) one of the easiest chants (can’t remember which) and we sing these each Sunday at our Latin Novus Ordo and other Masses. They are easy to follow.

    In time, 6 months or a year after the Sanctus and Angus Dei have been chanted and introduce the Pater Noster. Then the following year begin doing the Eucharistic Prayers in Latin.

    Having one whole Mass in Latin is one way to do it. The other way is to gradually introduce it and allow people to grow into it in a way that is not totally shocking.

    If you would like, I can send you one of our Latin Novus Ordo booklets that we use so you can see the layout and info provided in order to help people along.

    God Bless and take note of

  72. citizentim says:

    Fr. Fox, I respectfully submit that one of the reasons that most parishioners (I know not of yours, but from my experience) are not clamoring for “more traditional things” is that so many Catholics have been lulled into a type of trance concerning the faith and especially the liturgy, a trance in which their own personal taste has become sacrosanct, where ‘I’, Joe Schmoe in the pew, become the center of the Mass, instead of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, made present for all mankind, through His sacrificial Priesthood. It seems to me that what is required more than anything right now is leadership and good example, a turning back to tradition in the liturgy, without first taking polls (this is not an attack on you, Father). Prudence says that this should not happen in its entirety virtually overnight, as was the case when the new Mass was forced upon the Church, and the beautiful Mass of the Ages was all but swept away (which could never truly happen). People must be awoken from their slumber, to be drawn deeply into the mysteries of salvation once more. I humbly submit that a grave error has been made in the principles guiding the fabrication of and in thereof, endless options present in the Novus Ordo Missae, in that the assumption is ostensibly made that people know what’s best for themselves. (Liturgy would thus be tailored to the “tastes of the time,” with the timeless mysteries of the Mass necessarily becoming diminished) History has proven and the Church has demonstrated throughout time that this is most often not the case, which is why God, through His Church, has laid down laws and passed on Traditions, so that those things necessary to communicate salvation (and beauty, which goes hand-in-hand with salvation) to mankind not be lost, especially to our own error. Nearly all people seem to know they need something. They become lost when they look to themselves, as our insidious society commands us to do. They need Holy Mother Church to explain it to them, whether they know it or not.

    Fathers Fox and Z, and all those faithful present, may almighty God grant you a blessed Christmastide, and may He in His infinite Mercy guide and defend us all from the snares of the enemy, and guide us to life everlasting. –Tim

  73. Diane says:

    Citizentim says: so many Catholics have been lulled into a type of trance concerning the faith and especially the liturgy, a trance in which their own personal taste has become sacrosanct, where ‘I’, Joe Schmoe in the pew, become the center of the Mass, instead of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, made present for all mankind, through His sacrificial Priesthood.

    I just got back from my Christmas Eve “family” gathering at a local parish I once belonged to and this is precisely the problem. It is so people-centered – that is, the worship.

    I walked in and the decibels were worse than the mall. For the next 20 minutes as we waited for Mass it was unbelievably loud. It was killing me as I’m not use to this. How can we have any sanctity returned to the liturgy when people don’t understand the nature of silence and it’s place within the church and in the liturgy?

    I agree also that polls should not be taken in order to see who wants or doesn’t want the very things Pope John Paul and now Pope Benedict have asked for. More Latin in the Liturgy. There is no reason why Catholics can’t learn to pray the Pater Noster so that when we are in one huge international assembly we can all pray together in one tongue.

    As I stated earlier, I believe gradual introductions to Latin within the liturgy is far better than a wholesale plunge. This is almost as bad as what happened 40 years ago.

  74. Dennis says:

    Fr Fox:

    I’m sure you realise that somewhere between your own
    experience and the strident posters online there are
    Catholics who want to see and experience reverence in
    the liturgy.
    Take a lead from our Holy Father; the Mass of Paul VI
    with Credo and Sanctus lift millions of souls.

  75. Dennis says:

    Diane, Reading your post and also Andrews bring home to
    me the fact that we are not some whacky minority, we are
    the suffering majority. In my case I’ve left my Parish
    Mass due to an incessant electronic keyboard
    hammering out “Here I Am Lord,
    Is It I Lord” week after week, and an ad-libbing Priest
    vested in some sort of nightgown who wakes up abruptly
    when he sniffs money.
    I go to Mass in the next parish where they have Perpetual
    Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
    and a good priest who offers Mass in a traditional manner.
    This parish is well attended while my own is dying.

  76. Andrew says:

    As to anything I might have said, I don’t take myself too seriously and I know that I might be very mistaken about many things, except the following, for which I would not budge an inch:

    Where the causes of disarray are many, one cure is not enough. Many things are wrong in the Church and many things need to be strengthened and fixed, and one of them is Latin.

    We need a Latin revival in the Church. We are ROMAN Catholics and without the Roman we are lacking something essential. I am a member of a canonical association that meets annually to pray, to celebrate the liturgy, to attend lectures and to converse (yes, converse) in Latin. Latin is not some mumbo-jumbo to be known only by a professor buried behind oversized dictionaries in a dusty corner of some university. Latin is OUR CATHOLIC LANGUAGE, to be spoken, known, written, published, used. But here is the thing: do you suppose priests and bishops are rushing to our seminars? Are catholics beating on our doors asking to be shown the way to more Latin? For me, that is one of the tests of a true, and I would not say “traditionalist” but a true Roman Catholic: does he show some interest in using the Church’s maternal voice (vox materna, as John XXIII called it). Not only in liturgy but otherwise too. Is he a scholar? Has he published anything in Latin? Would he like to do so? Or does he think that it should all be translated into English: that Latin is good as a background prop but not as an actual tool of communication. How many publications do we have in support of the Latin (tridentine) Mass. But how many of those publications are in Latin? None. Zero. Nihil. So go figure.

    Finis argumenti, punctum, nihil dicam amplius de hac re umquam, nisi latine.

  77. Eric the Read says:

    I must say, every time I hear about these wild and crazy NO masses, I wonder where they take place, as I’ve never seen one (I believe they exist, but just not anywhere I’ve ever attended Mass). Growing up in post-conciliar East Tennessee, we gave communion on the tongue or hand, as the recipient chose (I remember handling the platens); I’ve never seen a priest stop Mass to sing “Happy Birthday” to anyone, and every Mass I’ve ever attended there, in the Netherlands, or in Colorado has been celebrated with reverence and respect for the liturgy.

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s a matter of “pockets of orthodoxy”, as Andrew put it, I think rather that there are pockets of unorthodoxy that unfortunately get a lot of press. The vast majority of NO masses are, I’d submit, quite orthodox.

  78. Andy says:

    Eric,

    You would have to define ‘orthodox’. I have lived in several dioceses around, and I have seen very few Novus Ordo Masses that qualify as orthodox.

  79. Brian Mershon says:

    I believe that the posting of this SSPX website explanation by Fr. Scott is perhaps accurate, but does lack perspecrtive. And the timing is not good. If you had relatives on their way to reconciling with the Church, would you go back and point out all of their flaws and sins of their past life and call them schismatics before coming to Christmas dinner?

    As for all those “strident” traditionalists. I have been called many things. A schismatic by my “conservative” CAtholic friends and a “modernist” by many online traditionalists because I do not buy the entire SSPX “profession of faith” hook , hook, line and sinker. However, my poor little feelings are not going to keep me from continuing the dialogue with aneither group of friends. In any case, I don’t have to LIKE any of them as friends, but we must remember one thing. No layman has ever been excommunicated due to attending an SSPX chapel–even regularly.

    There is fault on both sides of this. Many people who have experienced the “indult” experience and have attended byoth ICR and FSSP chapels, and occasionally, SSPX chapels are quite tired of being tolerated and treated as “second class citizens” as Cardinal Castrillon has lamented publicly. My spirituality and my family cannot conntinue this Novus Ordo spritiuality and back-and-forth with traditional spirituality (the mess of the Novus Ordo liturgical calendar, for one instance) and keep our sanity.

    Do any of the priests here realize how many questions young children ask? “Daddy, why was that immodestly dressed worman giving out Jesus at Holy Communion?” “Daddy, why is it so loud prior to Holy Mass?” “Daddy, why do they pass out the charli at the “happy” Mass, but only the priest distributes Holy Communion at the quiet Mass?”

    And on and on and on…

    Don’t be surprised if many of us 30 and 40-something “traditional” Catholics can’t wait the years it will take to implement some of the “more traditional” elements of liturgy and respect into the Novus Ordo? Our children are growing. I have wasted almost 10 years of my life dealing with the diocesan and parish bureaucracy and idiocy. No more. I’m not going to bbe a Catholic activist any more. Going to go where my wife and family are spiritually fed.

    No more “offering up” the shenanigans of the Novus Ordo while attending Holy Mass. I hope more diocesan priests figure it out in the meantime. Many seem to prefer to cater to the 99% who really could care less and just come to Mass out of some vague sentiment or notion they should. Not disparaging them, but if this really gets into being a numbers game, then I’m out. This American “numbers” mentality is sheer stupidity and unCatholic.

    Both “Catholic ghettos” and “oases” AND diocesan Latin Masses, both Novus Ordo and TLM are necessary. But don’t be surpised, Fr. Martin, if a MONTHLY Novus Ordo in Latin doesn’t fall flat on its face. What is the point of “monthly?” Repetistion est Mater studiorum.

  80. Brian Mershon says:

    Sorry for the typos. For some reason, part of the post goes offscreen. Of course, I meant “repetitio” and “charlice” as two of them.

  81. Jordan Potter says:

    Actually I think you meant “chalice,” not “charlice” or “charli.” Although I suppose at some Masses, God forbid, you might actually see Charlie passing out. ;-)

  82. Geoffrey says:

    I received an interesting gift for Christmas. A prayer book entitled “Christian Warfare,” published this year by the SSPX. Among the many prayers, devotions, and meditations this book has, it also included an Examination of Conscience. Under the Third Commandment regarding keeping holy the Lord’s Day, it asks: “Have you attended and actively participated in the ‘New Mass’? Have you received Holy Communion in the hand?”

    So it would seem that they believe attending the “New Mass” and receiving Communion in the hand are mortal sins that need to be confessed?

  83. Dennis says:

    Brian Mershon

    Remember the fact that those baptised in the Old Rite
    have a right to that Liturgy and Sacraments. Millions
    of middle-aged Catholics are therefore ENTITLED to the
    Old Rite Mass.
    I point this out because its overlooked when deciding
    how to deal with ‘strident’ traditionalists.

  84. Paul Haley says:

    This is my interpretation of the curent situation with respect to the SSPX. The church needs them and they need the church. It’s long past time to put animosities aside and work for the betterment of the church at-large. I’ve seen where Bishop Fellay was going to write to the Pope and include with the letter the spiritual bouquet of over 2.5 million rosaries. I’ve also seen where the Pope is going to issue a motu proprio freeing up the TLM so that it can be celebrated by any validly-ordained priest without special permission and possibly even lifting the so-called SSPX excommunications. My question is: what’s the hold-up? But, perhaps the bigger question is why cannot the SSPX operate its churches and chapels in the traditional rite to serve the faithful who are so inclined? In fact why is every independent traditional group considered by the bishops to be operating outside the church because they hold fast to Tradition and strictly so? What is the crime here? Or, is it that the traditional rite is so despised and hated by the bishops that they refuse to issue faculties to so-called irregular priests? Is not the supreme law of the church the salvation of souls? Please be to God, bring these warring factions together in unity of Faith and purpose. Those of us who do not take sides in this unholy debate earnestly request the Holy Spirit to intervene and give them “hearts of flesh and not of stone”.

  85. Brian Mershon says:

    Actually, at least presuming that correspondence from the Ecclesia Dei Commission can be taken with a moral certitutde, no Catholics, canonically have a RIGHT to a certain RITE of sacraments. It is a privilege allowed currently. We do have a RIGHT to the sacraments, but not in a certain RITE.

    This is confirmed in duplicate correspondence with the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

  86. Jordan Potter says:

    “Remember the fact that those baptised in the Old Rite
    have a right to that Liturgy and Sacraments.”

    I wonder if any trained canon lawyer is of that opinion. Has the Church ever said anything, or is there anything in the current Code of Canon Law, to support your assertion?

  87. Paul Haley says:

    With due respect to the Ecclesia Dei folks am I missing something here, to wit: Can. 214 The Christian faithful “have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite” approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.

    Has it not been said that the traditional rite has never been abrogated and, in fact, is this not the reason for the very existence of the Ecclesia Dei Commission?

  88. Dennis says:

    Yes Paul Haley, Canon Law affirms the right to ones own
    rite. (Also common sense; I’m baptised into a rite for
    the purpose of continuing in that rite).

  89. Dennis says:

    Jordan Potter: See ‘The Reform of the Roman Liturgy.
    Its Problems and Background’ Msgr. Klaus Gamber;

    Chap.IV. Does the Pope Have the Authority to Change the
    Rite?

    The popes have always respected the different liturgical
    rites of the East and West, and allowed changes from an
    Eastern Rite to the Roman Rite, and vice versa, only in
    exceptional cases. According to canon law, it was the
    rite of baptism that decided which liturgical rite
    applied in a particular case (see C.I.C. Canon 98, 1).

    The author refers to Canon 98, 1 in the C.I.C. of 1917.
    The appropriate canon listing in the (new) C.I.C. of 1983
    is Canon 111, 1. -Trans.

    The following point is worth pondering: As already
    discussed, according to canon law, a persons affiliation
    with a particular liturgical rite is determined by that
    persons rite of baptism. Given that the liturgical reforms
    of Pope Paul VI created a de facto new rite, one could
    assert that those among the faithful who were baptized
    according to the traditional Roman rite have the right to
    continue following that rite; just as priests who were
    ordained according to the traditional Ordo have the right
    to exercise the very rite that they were ordained to
    celebrate. (pp30-39).

  90. Brian Mershon says:

    According to the PCED, the Traditional rite and the Novus Ordo are both two forms of the same rite. In other words, if you have access to the Novus Ordo, it is officially the Roman rite you were baptized in–believe it or not!!!!

  91. Dennis says:

    Msgr. Gambers position was that the Rite of Paul VI did’nt
    develop from the Old Rite and is therefore a New Rite.
    The Missal of St. Pius V and the Missal of Paul VI are
    now officially two forms of the one Roman Rite, but this
    sounds to me like a ‘forced marriage’. For a long time
    the position was that Paul VIs liturgical reforms were in
    line with the traditional Roman Rite, and that was the
    case with the 1965 missal, probably this did develop from
    the 1962. The ‘on the spot banal product’ of 1969 is the
    same Roman Rite…….Hmmmmm.

  92. dcs says:

    I’ve never seen a priest stop Mass to sing “Happy Birthday” to anyone, and every Mass I’ve ever attended there, in the Netherlands, or in Colorado has been celebrated with reverence and respect for the liturgy.

    Consider yourself lucky.

    I wonder if any trained canon lawyer is of that opinion. Has the Church ever said anything, or is there anything in the current Code of Canon Law, to support your assertion?

    Msgr. Gamber suggests it in his book The Reform of the Roman Rite (recently reprinted by Roman Catholic Books — check it out, it’s a real eye-opener). That’s the best citation of which I am aware. And of course Msgr. Gamber’s book was lauded by then-Cardinal Ratzinger (in the preface to the French edition). So make of that what you will. (I see Dennis has already cited this.)

    If we consider what makes up a Rite of the Church (forms of the Sacraments; Eucharistic Prayers; the Calendar), then — logically — it seems pretty clear that the traditional Rite and the New Rite are two separate Rites. Of course the Church has never really defined what makes up a Rite so this conclusion doesn’t have a firm foundation.

    As far as the “reverent Novus Ordo” is concerned, what constitutes “reverence” seems to be a matter of opinion; and having assisted regularly at the TLM for some time, I’ve found that a “reverent Novus Ordo” is even more difficult to find than an Indult TLM! This is particularly true of Latin Novus Ordo Masses — according to the Latin Liturgy Association, there are about 128 locations in the U.S. and Canada that offer regular or sporadic Masses according to the New Missal either wholly or partly in Latin. Meanwhile, there are over 200 such locations that offer TLMs (and I’m considering only diocesan-approved Masses in my count).

  93. Dennis says:

    “So it would seem that they (SSPX) believe that attending
    the ‘New Mass’ and receiving Communion in the hand are
    mortal sins that need to be confessed?”

    Handling the Sacred Host certainly used to be a mortal
    sin. This was a privilege reservered to the ordained. I
    knew of a case where a First Communicant took the Host
    off her tongue to look at It. Terrible scandal! The whole
    area was washed with holy water and cordoned off. A mortal
    sin a few decades ago is’nt a sin now?

    I note that the SSPX Examination Of Concience asks: “Have
    you attended and actively participated in the New Mass?”
    Perhaps praying privately while attending the Norvus Ordo
    is not sinful.

  94. Geoffrey says:

    I am all for abolishing receiving communion in the hand, but since the Church currently allows this, how could it be a mortal sin? Is there proof that it was/is officially a mortal sin? Once upon a time I was an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and received in the hand. Prudence made me realize that I shouldn’t be doing either, but when I did I did so with utmost decorum and devotion. I don’t believe I was committing a mortal sin.

    Being born long after Vatican II and having only been to the Tridentine Mass twice, I refuse to believe that attending the new Mass is sinful. Granted, many questionable and abusive things may take place (like liturgical dancers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, etc.) but attending the new Mass cannot be a mortal sin! What about those holy celebrants who would say the new Mass with reverence and devotion?

  95. Jordan Potter says:

    “A mortal sin a few decades ago isn’t a sin now?”

    Yep. Just like it’s no longer a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays, or for a woman to attend Mass with her hair uncovered.

    Even so, liturgical theology and common sense would seem to support the maintaining of liturgical disciplines that reduce the probability of sacrilege. It would also support a rule that Communion should only be distributed by those whose hands are blessed and cleansed beforehand.

    I’ve been a Catholic for almost seven years, and I’ve never received Communion in the hand, and I never will. Not unless a bishop or priest blesses and laves my hands first before each Holy Communion I receive. I know that’s not something the Church requires, but it is something I need to do for Jesus, and it is something that is fitting and just.

    “I note that the SSPX Examination Of Concience asks: ‘Have
    you attended and actively participated in the New Mass?’”

    Yes, more evidence of the schismatic character of the SSPX>

    “Perhaps praying privately while attending the Novus Ordo
    is not sinful.”

    That’s mighty generous of you, Dennis. ;-)

    “Msgr. Gamber’s position was that the Rite of Paul VI did’nt
    develop from the Old Rite and is therefore a New Rite.”

    Yes, that certainly makes a lot of sense, given how drastic and unprecedent the liturgical reform was. Still, the Church’s position seems to be that the Pauline Missal is the Missal of the Roman Rite, not the MIssal of a wholly new rite. Consequently, if there is a right to a rite (something I’m not sure there is, or is an absolute right at any rate), then a Latin Rite Catholic’s rights to his rite are lawfully satisfied by the current forms of the Roman Rite.

    “The Missal of St. Pius V and the Missal of Paul VI are
    now officially two forms of the one Roman Rite, but this
    sounds to me like a ‘forced marriage’.”

    I know what you mean, but if there “officially” are two forms of the one Roman Rite, doesn’t that mean that, canonically speaking, a Latin Rite Catholic does not necessarily have a right to the 1962 Missal?

    Do Latin Rite Catholics have a right to the Ambrosian Missal, or the Sarum Missal, or the Gelasian Latin Missal, the same way that you argue they have a right to the 1962 Missal?

  96. RBrown says:

    “A mortal sin a few decades ago isn’t a sin now?”

    Yep. Just like it’s no longer a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays, or for a woman to attend Mass with her hair uncovered.

    Eating meat on Fridays was never an intrinsic evil. The sin was the disobedience in disregarding the Church’s discipline.

    Handling the Sacramental species with little or no consideration that they are Christ’s substance is sacreligious matter. But the culpability of such is mitigated by the present confusion in the Church.

  97. Jordan Potter says:

    “Handling the Sacramental species with little or no consideration that they are Christ’s substance is sacreligious matter. But the culpability of such is mitigated by the present confusion in the Church.”

    Another reason why I think it was a mistake for the Church to allow the reintroduction of Communion in the hand.

    Wow. Are there really 97 comments in this discussion?

  98. Anonymous says:

    If the Blessed Sacrament is now equated with lace mantillas
    no wonder there’s confusion.
    I thought sacrelige was a mortal sin. What else is mitigated
    now?

  99. (I remember handling the platens); I’ve never seen a priest stop Mass to sing “Happy Birthday” to anyone, and every Mass I’ve ever attended there, in the Netherlands, or in Colorado has been celebrated with reverence and respect for the liturgy.

    Eric: I have lived in both pre-conciliar and post-conciliar East Tennessee, perhaps both before and after your time here. It’s true that we initially lagged somewhat behind the pace of post-Vatican II progress, due Bishop William L. Adrian of fond memory, who even before the Council’s end made a widely publicized statement that “they” were trying to de-Catholicize the Church in the guise of merely de-Romanizing it. (And, as we all know now, “they” were spectacularly successful.)

    But since you left, we’ve begun to catch up with the rest of the Catholic world. At the present time, I personally know of only one parish in the diocese where communion patens are still used regularly, other than at our monthly TLM’s. And our liturgical offerings span a pretty full range from the TLM’s you see pictured at the web site http://www.knoxlatinmass.net of our Latin Mass community to the Mass that’s described in the East Tennessee Catholic article Active Participation by local columnist Ginger Hutton that – judging from anguished letters to the editor – has struck some raw nerves.

  100. Dennis says:

    If the Blessed Sacrament is now equated with lace
    mantillas no wonder there’s confusion.
    I thought sacrelige was a mortal sin. What else is
    mitigated now?

  101. Dennis says:

    Geoffrey: My post concerning the SSPX Examination of
    Concience was meant to highlight the fact that I’m not
    surprised if they consider Communion in the hand to be a
    mortal sin. I think they have a point, because I remember
    a time when such a thing would have been sacreligious.
    I do’nt know what the SSPX position on the New Mass is (I
    think Lefebvre accepted its validity). The ‘Examination’
    seems to question “active participation” in this Mass
    rather than attendance itself. If thats they’re point
    its a new one on me!

  102. Jordan Potter says:

    “At the present time, I personally know of only one parish in the diocese where communion patens are still used regularly, other than at our monthly TLM’s.”

    Interestingly enough, after Redemptionis Sacramentum came out, Bishop Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, directed that patens be used again at cathedral Masses. But I’m not aware of any other parishes using patens.

    “If the Blessed Sacrament is now equated with lace
    mantillas no wonder there’s confusion.”

    Read more carefully. The Blessed Sacrament is not equated with lace mantillas. Rather, the discipline of women being forbidden to come to Mass without a head covering is equated to the discipline of handling the Sacred Host being reserved for the ordained. The Church has changed both rules, therefore it is no longer necessarily a mortal sin to fail to observe rules the Church has changed.

    “I thought sacrilege was a mortal sin.”

    It is.

  103. Dennis says:

    Jordan Potter; find a copy of ‘The Reform of the Roman
    Liturgy’ its well worth reading.
    Rome’s insistance that there are two forms of the one
    rite is, to my mind, an exercise in ‘damage limitation’.
    Believe me if you will, in the ’60s and ’70s there was
    one rite (never heard a thing about ‘forms’) and that was
    Paul VIs. This position gradually changed in the ’80s
    yet even then it was pretty hush-hush. Only now when they
    see that the ‘old form’ wo’nt go away and also the mess
    created by Paul VI does Rome think up this 2in1 nonsense.

  104. Jordan Potter says:

    It may be nonsense, but at this time it seems to be the juridical state of the question, unless I’m mistaken.

  105. Dennis says:

    Was’nt just the head covering. Women had to have their arms
    covered and when receiving Communion they had to wear
    gloves! The Church has not merely ‘changed rules’. She
    has chucked-out the Rule book.

  106. Dennis said:

    “I’m not surprised if they consider Communion in the hand to be a mortal sin. I think they have a point, because I remember a time when such a thing would have been sacreligious.”

    Communion in the hand is a custom that has a lengthy history in the church. The Church has certainly regulated the practice to stem abuses, that’s for sure, but it was never an intrinsic evil or a sacrilege. We know that St. Cyril of Jerusalem describes the practice very reverently in his 4th century Mystagogical Lectures:

    “In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hollowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Wilt thou not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from thee of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?”

  107. dcs says:

    Women had to have their arms covered and when receiving Communion they had to wear gloves!

    Of course bare arms are totally inappropriate in church and most other places as well — but I’ve never heard of this requirement that women communicants wear gloves. I know in ancient times women receiving in the hand received in a cloth called the domenica, but this glove thing is new to me. Not saying it isn’t true, of course; I was born in 1972, baptized in 1973, and entered the Church in 1998.

  108. dcs says:

    We know that St. Cyril of Jerusalem describes the practice very reverently in his 4th century Mystagogical Lectures

    And we also know that the authenticity of this passage has been called into question. Later the writer suggests taking some of the Precious Blood on one’s lips with one’s fingers and anointing one’s senses with it:

    Then, after you have partaken of the Body of Christ, come forward only for the cup of the Blood. Do not stretch out your hands but bow low as if making an act of obeisance and a profound act of veneration. Say ‘Amen’. and sanctify yourself by partaking of Christ’s Blood also. While the moisture is still on your lips, touch them with your hands and sanctify your eyes, your forehead, and all your other sensory organs. Finally, wait for the prayer and give thanks to God, who has deemed you worthy of such mysteries.

    It would not seem that the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand today is remotely like that of the patristic age.

  109. It would not seem that the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand today is remotely like that of the patristic age.

    Indeed. Many of us could second with our own frequent experience the sad account below recently sent me by a friend who may be away from his computer, and who I’m sure would gladly be identified, except that I don’t want to risk thereby identifying the particular parish involved:

    “You know, I’ve made it a practice to avert my eyes from reception whenever I’m at the NO. At the TLM I watch in awe while marveling at the gentle respect with which men kneel to reverently receive the Son of God. Well, on Sunday after we received, my wife tapped me on the shoulder … and whispered in my ear, ‘Our son just said he saw a Eucharistic Minister drop three Hosts on the floor. Did you see it?’ I shuddered and shook my head. I’d been spared the sight.

    “But then I began to watch.

    “One young teen about 13 or 14 approached and received in one hand. Monsignor had a look of both amazement and momentary anger as the kid snatched It from his hands. The boy then held the Host and walked at least fifteen feet before consuming It. I nearly stood up on impluse to follow him. Another little girl, about 12, received and slowly cupped her left hand and lowered it. She took a few steps. I couldn’t hear, but obviously her mother noticed too and whispered something, as the girl turned around. She continue to clutch the Host, lowered her her hand to her side, and walked on past the EMHC’s distributing the chalice. Her mother spoke again. This time the girl turned around once more and brought her hand to her mouth and with her tongue licked the Host from it. Can I assume she meant only to take Jesus home to join in His birthday festivities?

    “After that, I continued to look on in morbid fascination. No more overt desecration, just men with their hands in their pockets, 17 year-old girls in mini-mini-skirts and skin-tight jeans, and boys with their arms dangling at their sides. And not one person out of at least 100 I watched received on the tongue.

    “How sad.

    “In watching those three acts – the EMHC, the boy and girl – I thought this is a mere drop in the ocean, and thought of how it was infinitely multiplied across the planet at that very moment. My prayer went from one of restoration to one of reparation. I cannot believe the Church has allowed this, and I cannot believe we will completely escape the consequences of our acquiescence in it, however unintended.”

  110. “And we also know that the authenticity of this passage has been called into question.”

    Do we? I would like to see some reputable references for this claim.

    “It would not seem that the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand today is remotely like that of the patristic age.”

    Nobody suggested it was identical, but I disagree that they are completely unlike. The practice St. Cyril describes as making a throne of your hand to receive the King is the basis of what is recommended today. It is clear that the practice of receiving in the hand is nonetheless an ancient one, and not an intrinsically evil one. What seems to be the problem is a lack of education and preparation for receiving communion in the hand, not the practice itself, which makes it more prone to abuse.

  111. Jordan Potter says:

    The only time I have seen the authenticity of that passage questioned is in traditionalist Catholic literature. Of course, that same literature also included a spurious quote from Pope St. Xystus I that someone had manufactured using a legend in the Liber Pontificalis. Not exactly reputable scholarship, in other words.

    But that’s not to say that reputable scholars have not made a compelling case that the passage could be inauthentic. I’m just not aware that any have. And anyway, even if it’s not from St. Cyril, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t show that in ancient times Christians did receive Communion in the hand. I’m not in favor of Communion in the hand, as I’ve said, but it’s undeniable that it was a practice of the ancient Church.

  112. Dennis says:

    dcs: my Mother (R.I.P) born 1926 told me about this
    requirement for women communicants to wear gloves. At
    least into the 1950s possibly early 60s. I’ve seen post-war
    photos which show gloved women at the altar rails.

  113. Dennis says:

    CatholicScoob; My history in the Church is’nt nearly that
    lengthy! The quote from St.Cyril seems for the most part
    to be warning against particles falling from the Host. If
    only warnings were given today.
    I can’t think of one good reason for the Church today

    allowing this practice. This is a logical consequence of
    deliberately Protestantizing the Mass.

  114. Dennis says:

    Communion in the hand was condemned by the Synod of Rouen
    (650) to halt widespread abuses.
    I do’nt know but I guess Communion on the tounge became
    standard practice with wider use of the Roman rite?

  115. What seems to be the problem is a lack of education and preparation for receiving communion in the hand, not the practice itself, which makes it more prone to abuse.

    What is now lacking most is a uniform lack of belief in the REal Presence. And surely the practice of communion in the hand is a prime cause of the deterioration in this belief, which was well nigh universal among Catholics in the time of reception on the tongue while kneeling.

    Last year I attended Mass at a diocesan Catholic high school chapel on the day communion by intinction was first employed. Just before the start of Mass, before the usual student buzz in the room had quieted down, the priest stepped forward to announce that, because of intinction, only communion on the tongue would be offered. At that instant, an absolute silence descended upon the chapel, and lasted throughout Mass (except during chants and responses; it was a special Latin Novus Ordo). Afterwards, some of the adults present discussed the fact that communion on the tongue — indeed, just the thought of it — had instantly and palpably changed the whole atmosphere dynamic of the Mass.

  116. dcs says:

    Do we? I would like to see some reputable references for this claim.

    I am always happy to oblige. Please see the following pamphlet by Michael Davies:

    http://www.catholictradition.org/Eucharist/communion3.htm

    Nobody suggested it was identical, but I disagree that they are completely unlike.

    Really? Modern-day women receiving Communion in the hand cover their hands with veils? People fast from food and water from midnight to receive?

    Of course the greater issue is that a discipline of an earlier era of the Church has been ripped completely out of context . . . if one is going to “restore” an earlier discipline, then why not the rest of them? How about head coverings for women, sexes separated in the nave of the church, the strict Eucharistic fast, etc.?

    Of course, that same literature also included a spurious quote from Pope St. Xystus I that someone had manufactured using a legend in the Liber Pontificalis. Not exactly reputable scholarship, in other words.

    The pamphlet cited above has no quote from Pope St. Sixtus (Xystus) I, so I’ll assume you’re not accusing Michael Davies of less-than-reputable scholarship.

  117. Jordan Potter says:

    “if one is going to “restore” an earlier discipline, then why not the rest of them? How about head coverings for women, sexes separated in the nave of the church, the strict Eucharistic fast, etc.?”

    Sounds good to me!

    “The pamphlet cited above has no quote from Pope St. Sixtus (Xystus) I, so I’ll assume you’re not accusing Michael Davies of less-than-reputable scholarship.”

    No, what I read was unsigned, and it certainly didn’t sound like anything Michael Davies would have written. Actually it was mostly just a florilegium of patristic and conciliar quotations, some of the real and some of the imaginary, and some misquoted.

    I’ll take a look at the Davies pamphlet.

  118. Jordan Potter says:

    “Some of THEM real and some of THEM imaginary” Duh.

  119. Jordan Potter says:

    Here’s the relevant passage from Davies’ essay:

    “The manuscripts variously assign the Mystagogical Catecheses to authors other than St. Cyril; later writers simply append them to the earlier collection of lectures and regard them as authentic. Modern scholars are divided on their authenticity. [A good summary of the present state of opinion can be found In Quasten, Patrology III, 364/5.] In any case, it is one of the doubtful lectures which is so frequently cited today to justify Communion in the hand. Nevertheless, for the purpose of argument, it can be accepted as genuine. Moreover, the features St. Cyril describes are, as will be shown, corroborated by other patristic sources.”

    So, the only question is whether or not the well-known quote about Communion in the hand came from St. Cyril. Davies affirms that Communion in the hand was a widespread practice in the ancient Church. Whether or not the kind of reverence and devotion for the Eucharist that we find in these ancient sources is excessive or extravagant, it does show that the ancient Christians not only received in the hand, but did so with deep reverence. It only underscores how casual and careless modern Catholics are, who receive in the hand thoughtlessly or automatically and usually offer the Eucharist no worship at all before receiving Communion.

  120. Dennis says:

    Following the link provided by dcs, see

    http://www.catholictradition.org/Eucharist/ottaviani.htm

    “The grave defeciences pointed out by the Critical Study
    were not of a flawed translation of the Novus Ordo, but
    of the original Latin text”.