Fr. Reginald Foster: “Tridentine” Indult not going to happen

In the Sunday Telegraph there is an article by Malcolm Moore about famed Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD, long-time Latinist for the Holy See. In the article Moore quotes Foster about the so-called "Tridentine" indult. Foster is not positive (emphasis mine).

He said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope’s desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

I have great respect for Fr. Foster, whom I studied with for many years. My Latin experiences with him changed my life. I know him to be a very kind and generous soul. I consider him a friend.

I also know that he rarely speaks in moderate terms. Hyperbole characterizes nearly everything about him. Fr. Foster often makes very strong statements to make sure he is understood and, perhaps above all,
to provoke reactions. I have heard him say entirely crazy things and observe the looks of disbelief on faces around him. I do not think that he is insincere. I believe this is the way a man with 200ghz more brain speed than anyone else in the room copes with what he sees going on in the Church and the world.

That said… I think Fr. Foster is wrong about this. But may be right in one respect.

I think the indult is going to happen. However, recent controversies may have made the Holy Father decide to wait for a good moment.

Right now in Rome (with the exception Foster, obviously) there is sepulchral silence about this document. Fr. Foster, though in the Secretariate of State, may not be in the best position to know the status of the Motu Proprio. He is a translator, not a policy maker. It may be that he will be the one to make sure the Latin text of the document is clean. Perhaps he hasn’t seen it, and so he thinks it won’t happen. Maybe his statement is motivated by wishful thinking.

If Fr. Foster doesn’t want to see a return of the use of the older form of Missale he is perfectly within his rights. Good men and differ on this matter. It is entirely okay that he voice his opinions. There is room for discussion. don’t want… don’t like the "Tridentine" Mass? Okay, fine!

What needs to be done to help Holy Church find her liturgical bearings for the future?

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134 Responses to Fr. Reginald Foster: “Tridentine” Indult not going to happen

  1. Jeff says:

    Well, if Fr. Foster is correct and it is “the Pope’s desire to avoid more controversies,” I’m sure the Holy Father is well aware that after so many months of rumors about the Motu Proprio, deciding against it now might cause irreparable damage with traditionalsts within the communion of Rome who already feel like red-headed step children; not to mention the damage it would do to the relationship with the SSPX. I think the Holy Father is far too concerned with pastoral care and ecumenism for Fr. Foster’s comments to be true.

  2. Ave Maria! says:

    “It is a useless Mass and the whole mentality is stupid”

    Is any valid Mass ‘stupid”? I know who is stupid here. The Mass is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven and the TLM is the Mass of the Saints. It is the offering of the Son to the Father and the unbloody re-presntation of that One Offering that was for our redemption. How can that be stupid?

    Why is it these guys get the press?

    And Latin is indeed begin stuidied in faithful seminaries; this man is stupidly wrong.

    I hate it that the attack on the Mass, AND IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS, comes from within the church. Such a chastisement! And the people have not been told what the Mass is. My pastor said last week that it is a gathering of the community to give thanks. Well you can do that in any church; you can do it in a restaurant, but it is not what Mass is about.

    The devil’s battle is to take out the Mass. Has been for 2000 years.

  3. Jon says:

    Father,

    It’s seven o’clock Sunday morning. My wife and I are readying to wake up our sons for Mass. We’ll get in the car and drive 80 miles round trip on a cold and snowy day to the only Traditional Mass in our diocese. In the process we’ll pass the nearby parish, only a half mile from our house. There our friends will gather along with those of our sons, but we won’t be with them. They’ll gather there and hear the music of Dan Schutte, in a large, bare room without crucifix where the Present Son of God is put away in a glass closet in a corner. There male and female will crowd the priest at the altar. There dozens of unconsecrated hands will press the Gift of Heaven into other unconsecrated hands and at least once that Gift will be dropped upon the floor. There the mealy sentiments of a greeting card will be preached from the pulpit instead of the Faith of Saints.

    And we will go to our Mass, and we will go gladly and happily, and be greatful for the gift we have, and we will kneel and pray simply that the Vicar of Christ live up to his promise.

    Okay, that was dramatic, and I know you know my story. I’ve told it before. But this morning, after reading Father Foster, I’m repeating it in the improbable hope that maybe that one person in the Vatican who’s looking in on this effort of yours might be moved, and will take my story down the hall with a tear and a message: Holy Father, no more. The day is now.

  4. Tim Hallett says:

    That’s it! I’m heading East! The Latin rite is now officially #$%#@#@ beyond repair.

  5. Ave Maria said,

    “the TLM is the Mass of the Saints”

    Any mass is the “mass of the saints”. Grace makes saints. Let’s not limit the full power of the mass to the changeable qualities of the mass, however venerable.

    “My pastor said last week that it is a gathering of the community to give thanks.”

    Giving thanks is where we get the word “eucharist”. Your pastor should’ve explained it in more detail, but he is technically correct anyway. It IS what the mass is about, as a sacrifice anyway.

  6. Do not head east because of the deficiency of expression of one priest in the Sunday Telegraph.

  7. Andrew says:

    Fr. Z:

    I think Fr. Foster is right in one respect: the desire for Latin Mass without a corresponding desire for a healthy resurgence of Latin itself, is a contradiction of sorts. I know that most folks who clamor for the return of the ancient liturgy have little or no interest in Latin outside of liturgical use. Even if we were to get a motu proprio liberalizing the old Mass, not much will improve if the pitiful state of Latin will continue.

    And sadly, you mention that Fr. Foster “is a translator”. Oh how sadly true that is. Those who speak the Church’s language have been relegated to a status of “translators” because everything is done in the vernacular, and then it is translated to “major languages” (whatever that might be) and to Latin, which is allowed to hold a seat among these “major languages”. What a joke!

  8. RBrown says:

    He also said–AFTER the promulgation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis–that women were going to be priests.

    He is a really good guy, a magical teacher, and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met in my life. But Fr RF is full of contradictions. On the one hand, he is a man who has little use for the by the numbers Church of his formation (save Latin), which I think explains his opposition to the 1962 Missal. But on the other, he is disgusted by the contemporary Latin-less Church.

  9. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I disagree that most people who attend the Latin Mass are not interested in Latin. Most of the priests from the traditional orders, I have encountered, have a working knowledge of the Latin and want to see it used more. All the schools associated with the traditional orders teach Latin. (I agree with Fr. Foster that Latin is being taught in a poor way. It should be taught as a living language). With regard to the adults that attend the traditional Mass, I think most are in favor of Latin, and would properly even learn it, if they had the time or will power (the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak).

    With regard to Fr. Foster’s comments, they make me feel very sorry for him. He must know deep inside that what he helped bring about in the Church, as destroyed the thing he loved. I have every confidence that Latin will make a come back in the Church, perhaps not in my lifetime (although I am still young enough to have hope) but eventually it must come back. I can not believe that Church could make a *permanent* change away from something it has done for 2000 years. Anyway, I would recommend that everyone on the list say a prayer for Fr. Foster. He has contributed to the survival of Latin in the Church, and for that we should all be grateful.

  10. Ave Maria! says:

    I apologize that my remarks above were a little harsh.

    I am so tired of the attacks on the Mass…especially those from within the church.

    My pastor does not ever speak of scrifice–well, our money I suppose. I do not know that he believes in the Real Presence. I have never ever heard one thing to lead me to believe that he does. I have almost asked him but that might be counterporductive. No, Mass is all about us–our songs are about us and the ‘homily’ is about us. I do not hear the Name of Jesus Christ mentioned essentially. This is one reason why so many leave the church for at leeast in a Bible church, they might hear of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  11. Brian Anderson says:

    Shortly after his election, Pope Benedict asked us “…to
    pray for him, that he not run for fear of the wolves…”. I don’t
    think that is running. Let us all continue praying for him, and
    let the wolves howl and gnash their teeth.

  12. Andrew says:

    Christopher Sarsfield:

    “I disagree that most people who attend the Latin Mass are not interested in Latin.”

    Have you picked up any magazine written in Latin lately? A newspaper perhaps? You know anyone (a Catholic theologian perhaps) who’s reading a book in Latin presently, or who’s written something in Latin, at least an article or an opinion piece? You know anyone who has Latin books at home on their bookshelf published less than, say, 30 years ago? You know any websites where catholic priests from different parts of the globe and of different linguistic backgrounds discuss things in Latin?

    “To be interested in Latin” means a lot more than just taking some little 3 month course in basic grammar.

  13. LF says:

    Father Foster has a career because the Vatican has moved so dramatically toward the virtual nonexistence of Latin as a vital means of communication and sacred language in the Church.

    If he were living in 1897 instead of 2007, in an age when the pope was composing hymns for the Office of the Holy Family and writing HIS OWN encyclicals in Latin, he wouldn’t have a job.

    Further, the Latin style of modern Vatican documents isn’t anything to brag about. Calling Father Foster a leading Latinist in the world is only further proof of the state of Latin education and knowledge in the world today. He’s competent, workmanly…he’s not, however, a “leading Latinist”.

    As for his comments on the so-called Tridentine Mass…they speak volumes about his mindset: neocon all the way.

  14. dcs says:

    I agree that it’s all right for someone not to like the traditional Mass. It’s not all right for someone to deride the traditional Mass as “useless” (!) and ridicule “the whole mentality behind it.” We would never accept a prominent liberal Churchman saying such things. If it were Card. Mahony, Bishop Brown, or Abp. Weakland we would be up in arms.

  15. mike says:

    I like the way this guy thinks:

    “You do not need to be mentally excellent to know Latin. Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us.”

    Read the whole article –

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/28/wlatin28.xml

    m

  16. Jim McM says:

    Could Father R. Foster be hyperbolic in the interest of provocation and hurrying the release of the motu proprio? I wonder if this might be the words of a person trying to have some “prove him wrong” so hard that this interveiw hurries along that release.

  17. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Andrew,

    I do know theologians that are currently reading books in Latin. Heck, I know one theologian that speed reads Latin. I also know historians who are currently reading books in Latin. I know a literature professor who visited the traditional Benedictines in France. He does not know French so he spoke to the Abbot in Latin. I also know families that are trying to make Latin their household language. With regard to Latin being written recently, I know people that own Latin versions of the Cat in the Hat, Winnie the Pooh, Ferdinand, Harry Potter (the Philosopher’s Stone, and just released Chamber of Secrets). I understand that these are children’s books, but that is where we have to begin if wish to change the system. BTW I would like to know of this 3 month Latin course, most of the Latin Books I have seen require a 2-4 year commitment. The CTN Latin group has over 1100 members. Now I will admit that the circles I travel are almost entirely Traditional Catholic, and the vast majority of them love Latin. There are some like me that have had years of Latin, taught in the dead way, Fr. Foster is speaking of, and are just know encountering Latin as living language (I recommend Hans Oerberg’s Lingua Latina: Per Se Illustrata), others that want to but are unwilling to take the plunge yet, others that are literate and finally some that are fluent.

    Finally, I do not believe that Fr. Foster used the word interest to mean experts in Latin. Having an interest in a subject is not the same as having mastery of the subject.

  18. AC says:

    I’m actually glad he said this because i think it will wake up many so-called
    traditionalists who actually think priests need the indult to pray the true
    Mass. No priest needs an indult and no bishop can keep them from praying the true
    Mass. If more of them would finally just stand up for us and say “no more,” then
    there would be nothing stopping them from returning to tradition.

  19. Dan Hunter says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,
    The only way for the Catholic Church to have a resurgence of morality is for the Classical Rite Mass to be reinstituted in all our churches.
    Aside from the validity of The Classical Rite,what could possibly be useless about a mass that was offered by St.Charles Borromeo,St.John Marie Vianney,St.Thomas Aquinas,St.Padre Pio?
    Were they all engaged in fruitless wastes of time?
    No.
    God bless you.
    Long Live Christ the King!

  20. Sean says:

    Father, I understand why you removed my comment of earlier today regarding Foster but I stand by it. I made it in the early hours of the morning my sleep pattern having been disturbed by a cold and in the knowledge that I would face another 6 hour round trip to the nearest indult mass leaving me awake 24 hours by the time it began. I did not go. I went to sleep instead. I would gladly suffer for my church at the hands of the state, islam, whatever but I will not suffer any longer at the hands of my church. I am withdrawing from the institutional church until it is made perfectly clear that I am no longer a second class Catholic. My only consolation is that I might remain part of the Mystical Body. My conscience is clear.

  21. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Hunter,

    I know this is quibbling, but NO apologists seem to specialize in this, and I would not want you to be embarrassed by them. The Cure of Ars said the Gallican Rite or version thereof not the Roman Rite. I assume Thomas Aquinas said the Dominican Rite, not the Roman Rite. And Charles Borromeo was the archbishop if Milan, so I assume he offered the Ambrosian Liturgy. I hope you do not take this a challenge, your point is very valid, it is just you chose the wrong Saints. May our Lady keep you forever in the blue shadow of her mantle.

  22. Paul Haley says:

    “It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid.” I cannot believe that a Catholic priest would make such an irresponsible, indeed one might say heretical, statement saying it is a useless mass. Perhaps Fr. Foster needs to be sent on a retreat in the desert to rethink his way of presenting what is obviously no more than his opinion on so delicate a matter. I could counter his belief that the motu proprio would upset the modernist apple-cart and the Arabs by saying it would probably encourage the Orthodox to unify with Rome. I shall pray that he will see the Light. I respectfully disagree with the characterization of the speed by which this man’s mind works – it seems to me he fails to see the forest for the trees and, athough his mind may be racing, it’s racing in the wrong direction.

  23. LF: “He’s competent, workmanly…he’s not, however, a “leading Latinist”. … neocon all the way.”

    If you think Foster is only a competent Latinist or that he is a neo-con, then you have not the slightest idea of what you are talking about.

  24. dcs: “We would never accept a prominent liberal Churchman saying such things. If it were Card. Mahony, Bishop Brown, or Abp. Weakland we would be up in arms.?

    Why? What surprise would that be? There is no question that many hate the idea of a freeing-up of the older form of Mass. When it happens, we will need to demonstrate to them that we can use them with the charity they denied us.

  25. Jim McM: “Could Father R. Foster be hyperbolic in the interest of provocation and hurrying the release of the motu proprio?”

    No. I don’t think so.

  26. AC: “No priest needs an indult and no bishop can keep them from praying the true Mass.”

    Oh yah? In theory that works just fine. In practice, you are out of touch with reality.

  27. LF says:

    My comment that Father Foster is neoconservative is based on his (outrageous) statement about the Tridentine Mass. It’s a remark that actually reveals much of the neoconservative idea behind the Tridentine Mass…i.e., not something we need or want to see around as the mainstream form of Roman liturgy.

    As for my remark about his being a leading Latinist…has he edited texts? Has he published commentaries on classical and medieval Latin authors? Does he have a doctorate in classical philology? Has he conjectured emendations of medieval, let alone classical authors whose textual traditions are less than sound?

    If not…he isn’t a “leading Latinist”. Competent, workmanly, sure. But the Latin style of modern Latin documents doesn’t hold a candle to the style of previous days…especially the high points of the neo-Latin Renaissance (last seen in the late 19th century).

  28. Sean: “I am withdrawing from the institutional church until it is made perfectly clear that I am no longer a second class Catholic. My only consolation is that I might remain part of the Mystical Body. My conscience is clear.”

    Then your conscience is not formed properly. You are now dictating your terms for your deigning to be a member of the Church Christ founded. Kindly review: Lumen gentium 14

  29. mike says:

    Father Foster is a genius

    Father Foster has been abused by the Jesuits

    To paraphrase Gny Sgt Hartman: “Father Foster, he’s silly and he’s ignorant, but he’s got guts and guts is enough.”

    m

  30. Dan Hunter says:

    Mr Sarsfield,
    All the branches of the Mass you have mentioned fall under the umbrella of the Classical Rite.
    God bless you.
    P.S.His Excellency Archbishop Borromeo offered the Tridentine Mass,and edited The Catechism of the Council of Trent.

  31. Dan Hunter says:

    Mr Sarsfield,
    According to The Catholic Encyclopedia,The Gallican Rite was offered from,”the earliest times until about the middle or end of the eighth century.”
    Since the Cure of Ars lived during the ninteenth century he missed offering this mass by 1000 years.
    God bless you.

  32. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Father Z said: “When it happens, we will need to demonstrate to them that we can use them with the charity they denied us.”

    I don’t believe that this can be stressed too much. Thank you Father.

  33. Alex says:

    @Andrew:

    At least I know that the Society of St. Pius X hosts an all-Latin Summer Academy for College and University Students and Professional Academics, Scientists and Clergy near Bonn (Rhineland, Germany). Dr. Heinz-Lothar Barth hosts these, supported by e.g. the Dominican Fathers of Avrillé (France), who are affiliated with the SSPX. It is called „Latinitas Vivans” or „Romanitas”, I am not entirely sure.

    So those interested in the „Latin Mass” are also very much interested in cultural and historical Latin and the use of it in culture, music and science.

    It is not like you say. In fact Cicero, Suetonius etc. have a prominent place in many traditional Roman Catholic high schools and internates, as do Goethe, Dante, Savonarola, Molinière and Agatha Christie.

  34. Andrew says:

    Alex:

    Pope John XXIII had this to say (Veterum Sapientia):

    “In accordance with numerous previous instructions, the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin … [] Hence professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. If ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task.”

    That’s what the Pope had to say some forty years ago. Not that here or there someone used Latin, whoopee. But “hey, if you can’t talk Latin you’re out of here”. Where is this being practiced today? What professor has lately been removed from teaching, say, theology, simply because he could not speak Latin or teach from a Latin textbook? Not even the FSSP folks follow that.

    And by the way: all of the examples given by Christopher Sarsfield (Cat in the Hat, Winnie the Pooh, Ferdinand, Harry Potter, etc.) are examples of Latin promoted by secular institutions. None of those were published by Catholics. I know that there is interest in Latin in secular circles, and there are seculars who speak fluent Latin, but they also have an agenda that is or can be harmful to the Catholic cause and even to the promotion of Latin in the long run: long story and not appropriate to discuss at length at this point.

  35. RBrown says:

    (I agree with Fr. Foster that Latin is being taught in a poor way. It should be taught as a living language).

    I don’t really think that is Fr Foster’s points. His approach to learning Latin doesn’t involve the use of the Renaissance method, e.g., memorizing the case paradigms (Spartacus, Spartaci, Spartaco, Spartacum, Spartaco . . . ). He prefers immediate experience with the language itself, with gradual introduction of the cases.

  36. P says:

    If Fr. Foster is correct, that is inexpressably sad.

  37. Barb says:

    To all,

    For myself, it is all too easy to make a snap judgment about someone when one does not know the person. I take Father Z’s assessment of Father Foster at face value. What is most interesting to me is that God permitted this to be said.

    I have found devout priests and Catholics who fear the restoration of the Traditional Mass for various reasons. I would not necessarily call the ones I know “neocons”. But it is always concerning and hurtful to those of us who are attached to the traditional liturgies to be thought of as “stupid” and “medieval”. Yet we are called to bear this cross for the honor of Christ. I agree with Father Z that carrying ourselves with charity will be very important. If we take an “I told you so” attitude, no matter how tempting, we are not acting as Christ did.

    We must also remember that the Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist has not been released either. People think I am with rose colored glasses, but I believe that the Pope will issue the motu proprio and I also believe that the Apostolic Exhortation will have some bombs in it for the Modernists. It must be of some consequence as Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II have written quite strongly on the Holy Eucharist with little effect on the Modernists. Let’s keep praying for our Holy Father who has such a difficult job to do, pray for the release of the motu proprio, and pray that all of us will benefit from it.

    BTW, I cannot read Latin in the sense of being able to look at something and translate it, but I do read the Traditional Mass in Latin and look at the English translations with an effort to enjoy the meaning of the Latin more. I also have a Latin dictionary and look up words. When I hear the Mass in Latin and participate in the Holy Sacrifice, I am filled with a great sense of peace – much different from when I attend the NO in my area. Why that is I don’t know. I only know I love Latin and really miss all the sacraments from the 1962 books. The words are so powerful. Reading Latin out loud is a pleasure for me. I love the cadence of the language. Wierd, huh, for someone who has forgotten the meaning of ablative and dative?
    Barb

  38. Discipulus Romanus says:

    How can any Latinist, who can read the Ancient Roman Rite, ever say that it is useless or stupid?

    Has he ever understood or taken to heart what he has read therein?

  39. Brian says:

    A few random comments:
    Oh we are all so righteosly indignant. But why get angry? The only opinion that counts when the rubber hits the road is Benedict XVI’s.

    As far as the writing of contemporary Latin goes, all one needs to look is to the introduction to various critical editions as in Corpus Christianorum, Oxford Classical Texts, and so forth.

    Finally, let’s remember, Dante and Petrarch were writing in Italian long before Vatican II.

  40. AC says:

    Fr., are you sure it is I that am out of touch with reality?

    For sure, it could be a difficult road, resisting a bishop. But a priest has a
    reponsibility to his flock, not to a man — if that man is leading him down the
    wrong road. I know of two priests that have done this and, while they’ve been
    reassigned to places they’d rather not be, they are as happy as they have
    ever been because they’re doing the right thing.

    Sooner or later, the time for excuses must come to an end.

  41. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Hunter,

    You are looking at the ancient Gallican Rite. The Gallican Rite that the Cure offered was not the same. Very few dioceses in France used the Tridentine Rite, until Dom Gueranger came, and made adoption of the Roman Rite equal to Papal Loyalty. Many Traditionalists in France still think the adoption the Roman Rite was a huge error. It paved the way for the destruction of liturgical diversity in the west. Once that diversity was gone, it was very easy to demand that everyone offer the same Rite as the Pope, which is of course the Novus Ordo.

    I was wondering what you considered the Classical Rite though. I had assumed you meant the Tridentine Rite.

  42. RBrown says:

    Father Foster has a career because the Vatican has moved so dramatically toward the virtual nonexistence of Latin as a vital means of communication and sacred language in the Church.

    If he were living in 1897 instead of 2007, in an age when the pope was composing hymns for the Office of the Holy Family and writing HIS OWN encyclicals in Latin, he wouldn’t have a job.

    Incorrect. Leo XII was a superb Latinist, but he also had a Latin advisor, whose name escapes me. (I won’t hang for it, but I think it was Volpino of Montefiascone.


    Further, the Latin style of modern Vatican documents isn’t anything to brag about. Calling Father Foster a leading Latinist in the world is only further proof of the state of Latin education and knowledge in the world today. He’s competent, workmanly…he’s not, however, a “leading Latinist”.

    He would agree with you on the Latin style of modern Vatican documents–the reason is that they almost always translations from Italian.

  43. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Brown,

    I have never met Fr. Foster or attended his latin program. From the story:

    “You need to present the language as a living thing,” he said. “You do not need to be mentally excellent to know Latin. Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us.”

    I was basing my observation on this statement, and reading some of his former students who are latin teachers. They tend to have abandoned more tradition methods. Many are fans of the Oeberg Latin. But I would love to know the differences in Fr. Foster’s philosophy and Hans Oeberg’s.

  44. Jeff says:

    I of course have no idea whether Father is right or wrong about where the Motu Proprio is going.

    But if we’re going to give Fr. Foster a pass for “hyperbole” then I don’t see why we shouldn’t give others a pass, too.

    Take this:

    “It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval.”

    Now, in the mouth of anyone else besides Fr. Foster I would have to say that this statement is ignorant, asinine, bullying, and offensive.

    He’s just called the “mentality” of many of your fans and other friends “stupid”. Or else he’s called the ethos (is that what he means by “mentality”?) of the traditional Roman Rite “stupid” and “medieval.” Sounds like the liturgical ideas of Joseph Ratzinger are also “stupid” and “medieval.”

    Imagine these comments coming from say a Bishop Trautman. Wouldn’t we be pointing out that they consist of trite falsehoods and poorly expressed concepts? What’s wrong with “medeeeval”? Sounds like your run of the mill complaint from people who don’t like old stuff confusing anything venerable with “medieval” because “medieval” conjures up images of obscurantism and superstition for them.

    Really, isn’t this complaint just the purest example of silly objections to the old Mass from some person in the pews of a modern parish who knows nothing whatsoever about it?

    I’m sure Fr. Foster is brilliant in his way and I recognize that he is your friend. And he seems to have a knack for challenging and stimulating the best in his students. But I’m not sure that that means that he’s not capable of being foolish or running off at the mouth. Or of expressing ill-considered opinions at which others legitimately take offense.

    Is it that those of us who don’t know him “don’t understand”? Or is that his good qualities obscure the bad for those who have fallen under his beneficent tutelage?

    From a distance, I’d have to guess it’s the latter. Being told to wear a habit as religious are bound to do and keep his wild opinions out of the newspapers and off of the blogs for a while wouldn’t hurt him all that much.

  45. Fr. Z:

    You chummed the water with this one, but good!

  46. Andy K. says:

    Dear Dan,

    You wrote: “All the branches of the Mass you have mentioned fall under the umbrella of the Classical Rite.”

    The Roman Rite, with its three liturgies (“Tridentine” “Novus ordo” and Anglican-Use) is one branch of the Latin Church. The Dominican, Bragan, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, and Carmelite Rites are liturgies within the Latin Church that are outside the Roman Rite.

    All the information I have comes from searching EWTN on the difference between “Church” and “Rite” as well as searching for “Bragan” and “Mozarabic”.

  47. LF says:

    Comparing the help Leo XIII received to what has happened in the last few papacies is apples and oranges.

    The last Latinist pope was arguably Pius XII.

    But the point remains; Father Foster’s comments in the press are outrageous. They’d be roundly condemned if they were made, as some have noted, by a Trautman or a Mahony or a Brown.

    And, too…where is Father’s habit?

  48. RBrown says:

    My comment that Father Foster is neoconservative is based on his (outrageous) statement about the Tridentine Mass. It’s a remark that actually reveals much of the neoconservative idea behind the Tridentine Mass…i.e., not something we need or want to see around as the mainstream form of Roman liturgy.

    He’s anything but a neo-con. Basically, he’s someone who passionately believes in the monuments of Western Culture, the primacy of which belongs to Latin literature.


    As for my remark about his being a leading Latinist…has he edited texts? Has he published commentaries on classical and medieval Latin authors? Does he have a doctorate in classical philology? Has he conjectured emendations of medieval, let alone classical authors whose textual traditions are less than sound?

    If not…he isn’t a “leading Latinist”. Competent, workmanly, sure. But the Latin style of modern Latin documents doesn’t hold a candle to the style of previous days…especially the high points of the neo-Latin Renaissance (last seen in the late 19th century).

    Workmanly? That’s the last way I would describe him.

  49. RBrown says:

    I was basing my observation on this statement, and reading some of his former students who are latin teachers. They tend to have abandoned more tradition methods.

    They are not traditional methods. They are typical of the Modern Period and date from the Renaissance.

    Many are fans of the Oeberg Latin. But I would love to know the differences in Fr. Foster’s philosophy and Hans Oeberg’s.

    Other than rejecting the Modern approach*,I don’t really think they have that much in common.

    1. Lingua Latina uses sentences which are the Latin version of See Spot run. Foster only gives famous texts–the first text we received in beginning Latin was from Cicero.

    2. Oerberg’s approach seems to me to be more intuitive:

    *The Modern approach is a reduction to a method and to structure.

  50. JPG says:

    I have knowledge neither of Latin or Fr. Foster. I fear though that these attitudes do reflect the thoughts of many who came of age in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
    To overcome this a great deal of catechesis is necessary.
    JPG

  51. RBrown says:

    Comparing the help Leo XIII received to what has happened in the last few papacies is apples and oranges.

    What does that have to do Foster’s competence as a Latinist?

    The last Latinist pope was arguably Pius XII.

    John XXIII was supposed to have been a good Latinist.

    But the point remains; Father Foster’s comments in the press are outrageous. They’d be roundly condemned if they were made, as some have noted, by a Trautman or a Mahony or a Brown.

    But that was never your point. Your point was that he wasn’t really that accomplished as a Latinist.

    And, too…where is Father’s habit?

    There are lots of priests who wear habits and cassocks who are poor Latinists.

  52. AC says:

    Sean:

    You don’t have to explain yourself. If you’re driving that far for an indult and
    your diocese isn’t willing to follow the order of the pope and be generous with
    the traditional Mass then you should do what you have to to get your spiritual
    fill. No one has the right to keep you from the traditional Mass or force you to
    go to a NO Mass.

  53. Josh Miller says:

    As I interpret Fr. Foster, he doesn’t look with favor upon a Mass which fails to foster “full, active participation,” as was the token phrase of the Liturgical Movement (beginning 50 or so years prior to Vatican II) pioneers. If you see active participation as something to be encouraged through the Mass (as it was prior to the sixth century on, when the liturgy became more and more clericalized), then the Tridentine setting probably isn’t the way to go. That’s – by my reading – how the Church might come off as “medieval” through a reintroduction.

    I’m ambivalent about the whole issue; God and bishop willing, I think it’d be great to celebrate this beautiful old Rite one day. But for now, I’m satisfied with preparing to celebrate the Novus Ordo in a respectable fashion, void of Haugen-Haus or any of the other thousands of small things that take away from the solemnity of the liturgy. And that is perhaps what the Church needs more than anything else right now.

  54. AC says:

    Josh:

    Come to a traditional Mass sometime and you’ll see there’s more meaningful
    participation there then at a NO Mass.

  55. Tim Ferguson says:

    Frankly, I wish the Vatican (and the world, for that matter) looked more medieval on a regular basis. Though I’m not advocating a “turn back the clock” Luddism, there are several aspects of the medieval period that make one wonder and marvel at the human genius. Though it’s commonly used as a pejorative, I prefer to think of it as a compliment.

    I recall the words of an eminent history professor of mine, who was accused by a colleague of being “stuck in the fourteenth century.” He responded, “Actually I’m more stuck in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century at the moment. And honestly, I can think of many other centuries that I’d rather be stuck in than the 20th.”

    As to tolerating Fr. Foster’s bombastic, and I would say inappropriate, comments where we wouldn’t tolerate them from many other sources: the totality of one’s work and life comes into play when assessing one comment. Only Nixon could go to China, as they say. Fr. Foster, while completely wrong in this instance, has shown himself to be completely right in so many other situations. He is right about the appalling absence of Latin from the curricula of many seminaries and religious order. He is right about the inanity of arguments made by those on the right and those on the left regarding Vatican II when the arguers have not read the documents produced by that council and cannot understand the language spoken at that council. He is right about the need to teach Latin as a living thing – a language – rather than a museum piece, if the language is to survive. His pessimism about the prospect of Latin surviving is well-placed. Hence, while reprehensible, his comments about the Mass do not arouse the same sort of ire that they would coming from many others.

  56. Josh Miller says:

    It’s on the list of things to do, AC! :) I’ve watched one on YouTube or some similar site a while back, but that isn’t at all the same experience. What I did see, though, didn’t really encourage me on this whole issue of active participation.

    I think, though, that in the end it simply comes down to preference, and that’s why I ultimately support the indult.

  57. RBrown: “Leo XII[I] was a superb Latinist, but he also had a Latin advisor, whose name escapes me. (I won’t hang for it, but I think it was Volpino of Montefiascone.”

    I wonder if it wasn’t Tardini.

  58. RBrown: ” The last Latinist pope was arguably Pius XII. John XXIII was supposed to have been a good Latinist.”

    Paul VI’s Latin was superb, as was JPII’s. I heard the present Holy Father give an off the cuff Latin summation of a day long conference in Latin. His Latin is excellent.

    After him…..?

  59. Christopher: “Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us.”

    The idea here is that Latin is, after all, just a language. People spoke it every day. If they could, we can. I have been learning Mandarin for a while. I figure that if a billion people can learn, why can’t I? Tough to get into? Sure! Impossible? Hardly! It’s just a language. You make the switch: instead of saying something as “X”, you say it as “Y”.

    You make the switch.

  60. LF: “And, too…where is Father’s habit?”

    Another pointedly daft observation.

    Fr. Foster fought a war in his order for a long time over the habit. He lost.

    Since then, he wears an incredibly simple “habit” comprised of a jacket and matching pants, much as one might see on a bus driver. Everyday. Period. No change. Only in the summer does he loose the jacket for a shirt of the same material. It is always clean and in good repair. When it wears out, people get him a new one. This is a habit more than 99% of religious in the world can claim.

    If you want religious to look like something out of a painting, then take a hike, pal, ’cause you have no idea what you are talking about.

    PS: Last I knew, he wears his Carmelite habit when saying Mass.

  61. Josh: “If you see active participation as something to be encouraged through the Mass (as it was prior to the sixth century on, when the liturgy became more and more clericalized), then the Tridentine setting probably isn’t the way to go. ”

    Then you don’t understand what the Church really means by “active participation”.

  62. AC says:

    Fr.:

    “If you want religious to look like something out of a painting, then take a hike, pal, ‘cause you have no idea what you are talking about.”

    Talk about daft statements!

    Father, you really need to visit a traditional monastary sometime. May I suggest
    the Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay. Then you’ll see how true traditional
    religious dress, and you certainly don’t need a painting to find out.

    http://www.papastronsay.com/

  63. AC: I have already seen and forgetton more traditional religious habits than you will ever know. I have been a guest in various \”traditional\” monasteries where only the older form of Mass is used.

    I have the highest respect for habits. That is why your comment misses the target by yards.

    You don\’t understand what \”habit\” means.

    I am afraid you have fallen into the \”Fly in Amber\” Syndrome.

    I know one group of Franciscans, for example, who started with nothing. They lived an austere mendicant life. They dressed in denim and had only what people donated to live on, including food. They built a PRO LIFE apostolate. Slowly they grew to a point where they wore a more traditional Franciscan habit.

    Don\’t think that what they wore before made them LESS Franciscan.

    You are running the risk of \”Fly in Amber\” Syndrome.

    THINK!!!

  64. Josh Miller says:

    Fr. Z: Maybe not within the context of the Tridentine Mass, which is why I want to attend one so badly. I’m sure I’ll be able to get to one here in Chicago soon. I assure you, though, that I do indeed understand what active participation is :).

  65. AC says:

    Father, you’re missing a huge point here.

    First, it doesn’t matter that you have forgotten more than i know. I will readily
    accept that. But give me a man with a pure love and devotion to the traditional
    faith over a Novus Ordo genius any day.

    Second, you said “Father Reggie” lost the battle with his order to wear a habit. Since
    when do you have to follow the crowd? He can wear the habit even if it’s not the
    norm in his order. That much I do know. Much like NO Mass priests who wear a cassock
    he may be made fun of but who cares. If he thought it was important to look religious
    than he would.

  66. Brian Jilka says:

    Definitely brings me back to Veterum Sapientia. I had forgotten about that goldmine for a while!

  67. Ted Krasnicki says:

    If the motu proprio giving the faithful more access to the TLM does not come, I suspect the size of the SSPX will increase severalfold in a very short time, surpassing even the Roman Catholic Church in some countries, such as France; and along with this increase Vatican II will be put aside accordingly. Too many Catholics are now expecting this Motu Proprio, and to turn back now would create an even greater controversy and result in scandal.

  68. I don’t trust Malcolm Moore to have accurately reported Father Foster’s remarks, based on what I recall of more than one of his earlier articles.

  69. Jordan Potter says:

    Fr. Foster is reported to have said: “It makes the Vatican look medieval.”

    As an amateur medievalist, I would take that as a point in the Trdientine Mass’s favor, not a strike against it.

  70. Josh Miller says:

    AC: Having been trained in a Benedictine monastery for a while, it’s very clear when you have to follow the crowd in a religious order: always. It’s one of the tenants of most religious orders, that you are directly obedient to your superiors. So if you lose the battle, it’s lost. And for the good of both yourself and the community of which you are a part, you do what you’re told. Much like being a seminarian, in that respect ;).

  71. Josh Miller says:

    AC: You and I will be at odds concerning a host of presuppositions if you maintain that Fr. Reggie’s words are “heresy”; just as Fr. Z wrote, if you don’t like the TR, you’re free to express that and hold to it. The use of the term “heresy” here implies that Fr. Foster has somehow undermined one of the tenants of the faith, and if criticizing rites for effectiveness qualifies, then I daresay both you and I are consigned to one of Dante’s inner circles :).

    To find any other order is a messy business. It involves being canonically released from a community. It also carries with it the truth that you have failed in your obedience. It is, in many ways, similar to a divorce. To divorce the community you profess solemn vows to – over something as trivial as a habit – is, to be frank, ridiculous.

    I agree and completely promote the wearing of clerics, habits, veils, etc. However, one should do this for right reason. If a priest or religious thinks a piece of clothing – no matter how holy – is going to make or break him/her, then they’ve got a problem. It should rather stand as an outward sign of outer disposition. But again, one’s holiness shouldn’t be dependent upon a piece of cloth, which should – ideally – serve to signify to others who or what you are. When I’m ordained – God willing – I’d hate to think myself less a priest because I’m not wearing my collar as I join a brother priest for dinner or take a jog around the neighborhood.

    If Fr. Foster wanted to keep his habit but was unable, that’s good enough for me.

  72. AC says:

    Josh: His words, on the surface, were not heresy — the indult to all the saints
    and those martyred over the centuries for the Mass and faith is where the heresy
    lies.

    And, again, the point is being missed. If he wanted to wear traditional habit he
    can, even if it’s not the norm. He chooses not to.

  73. Josh Miller says:

    AC: You’re only correct in that interpretation if you read his words as a defamation of the Mass itself, as a universal concept. Not the Tridentine, not the NO: the Mass itself, as celebrated throughout our history. But that’s obviously not what’s going on here. Unless, of course, you view the Tridentine Rite as the only valid Eucharistic celebration? Those who died in honor of the Holy Eucharist weren’t exactly defending a liturgical setting.

    And if he wanted to wear it, I suppose he could wear it. But it’s not just that it’s “not the norm.” He has been told not to wear it. I’ll take an obedient religious over a freewheelin’, anything-goes type any day of the week.

  74. Andy K. says:

    Dear AC,

    I have been to a Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo in Latin, and I really felt something different about them than I did at a Novus Ordo celebrated reverently. Now, both of those were more reverent than many Novus Ordo Masses I have attended.

    Like Josh Miller, I would prefer to see the Tridentine “freed”. At the same time, I would not like it to be the only parish option, unless it is clear to one and all that this parish is: a) non-territorial, and b) the Tridentine is celebrated there only. I am not a big fan of the Tridentine, but I will not condemn it. If it brings people closer to God, then we should be using it more often.

    Now, the question for anyone: Can a “church in the round” be used to celebrate the Tridentine? I am not asking if this design is the best. I am asking if it is perfectly legal and licit.

  75. RBrown says:

    I wonder if it wasn’t Tardini.

    Tardini was JXXIII’s SecState.

    If memory serves, in the 3rd experience we were given the beginning lines of Rerum Novarum to translate, with Fr RF pointing out that it was LXIII’s Latinist who had the idea to start with Cicero’s phrase.

    BTW, Montefiascone is the home of Est!Est!Est! wine.

  76. dcs says:

    Andy K. writes:
    Like Josh Miller, I would prefer to see the Tridentine “freed”. At the same time, I would not like it to be the only parish option, unless it is clear to one and all that this parish is: a) non-territorial, and b) the Tridentine is celebrated there only. I am not a big fan of the Tridentine, but I will not condemn it. If it brings people closer to God, then we should be using it more often.

    But you don’t have to worry about the traditional Mass being used exclusively in parish settings. It won’t be unless, as you say, the parish is non-territorial or personal.

    Now, the question for anyone: Can a “church in the round” be used to celebrate the Tridentine? I am not asking if this design is the best. I am asking if it is perfectly legal and licit.

    Sure, why not? It’s definitely not the best setting for the traditional Mass, but then it’s not the best setting for any Mass, traditional, Novus Ordo, etc.

  77. Andrew says:

    RBrown:

    This might shed some light on the subject:

    http://www.contestshack.com/leoxiii.jpg

    Clearly, the Pope was an INSPIRED latinist.

  78. michigancatholic says:

    I certainly hope he’s wrong.

    I don’t know Fr. Foster. I’m probably glad of that from the comments I’ve heard about him.

    It may very well be that he’s like a few individuals I know–absolutely brilliant along a narrow lane of expertise, but a bit of a pet rock in other broader areas.

  79. Jordan Potter says:

    “If he wanted to wear traditional habit he can, even if it’s not the norm. He chooses not to.”

    Correct, he chooses not to sin.

    It’s odd that a self-styled traditionalist would put so little stock in a solemn vow of obedience. Or is it?

  80. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Jordan Potter wrote: It’s odd that a self-styled traditionalist would put so little stock in a solemn vow of obedience. Or is it?

    Seems to be a rather common paradox in my experience.

  81. Sean says:

    Father Z: Then your conscience is not formed properly. You are now dictating your terms for your deigning to be a member of the Church Christ founded. Kindly review: Lumen gentium 14

    I have baptism and I have faith. Neither of these can be destroyed by the machinations of careerist clerics. What strange monsters have been produced by the post-Vatican 2 church. An adherent of the old mass who looks to his conscience in the Spirit of Vatican 2!

  82. Sean: “What strange monsters have been produced by the post-Vatican 2 church. An adherent of the old mass who looks to his conscience in the Spirit of Vatican 2!”

    Those who participated in the Council and made the changes after were all formed before the Council. The Church has always produced “careerists”, or have you forgotten how the Apostles argued among themselves about who was to be the first? Then 1/12 of the bishops sold the Lord for silver coins. Moreover, the first example of collegiality of bishops is when they abandoned the Lord and ran away. So… don’t get into a twist about the post-Conciliar Church. Satan hates the Church and hates priests. They are his constant target. Rather than contribute to his victory over some men in some places, how about adopting a practice of penance and reparation for some particular priest who is really out in left field and then stick with him?

  83. LF says:

    “Rather than contribute to his victory over some men in some places, how about adopting a practice of penance and reparation for some particular priest who is really out in left field and then stick with him?”

    Penance and reparation are always wholesome, salubrious things.

    “Stick with him?” I’ll stick with Christ, thank you, and his Holy Church (which Father Foster is not a spokesman for).

  84. Everyone: LF’s is a good example of how to be tendentious over a matter of charity.

    And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. (Matthew 15:40)

  85. RBrown says:

    BTW, Montefiascone is the home of EstEst! wine.

    Should be: Est!Est!Est!

  86. RBrown says:

    Clearly, the Pope was an INSPIRED latinist.
    Comment by Andrew

    In vino veritas.

  87. RBrown says:

    Evidently, “!” is used as a delimiter because I wrote “Est!” three times.

  88. RBrown says:


    It may very well be that he’s like a few individuals I know—absolutely brilliant along a narrow lane of expertise, but a bit of a pet rock in other broader areas.
    Comment by michigancatholic

    Not really. But, as I note above, he is someone who thinks much of his heavy, handed by the numbers formation was a waste BUT also has little use for the contemporary Latin-less Church.

  89. Sean says:

    Father Z: Those who participated in the Council and made the changes after were all formed before the Council. The Church has always produced “careerists”, or have you forgotten how the Apostles argued among themselves about who was to be the first? Then 1/12 of the bishops sold the Lord for silver coins. Moreover, the first example of collegiality of bishops is when they abandoned the Lord and ran away. So… don’t get into a twist about the post-Conciliar Church.

    The strange monster I was referring to in particular was myself, formed after the council. The disciples scattered as well as I recall. Call me a bad Catholic if you will but I would much prefer to pray for Benedict 16 than someone like Foster. I will jump for joy the day these people are dragged kicking and screaming from their comfortable sinecures.

  90. dcs says:

    Sean writes:
    Call me a bad Catholic if you will but I would much prefer to pray for Benedict 16 than someone like Foster.

    One might ask what is preventing you from praying for both of them? If Fr. Reginald is your enemy, then you fulfill a command of Our Lord by praying for him.

  91. Jon says:

    I ran into something interesting over at Rorate, something that might be well find an answer over here.

    One of the posters on that blog recalled that several papal documents in the past have been held up by recalcitrant translators, e.g., Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, was allegedly delayed so long that the Holy Father himself became personally involved in loosening the loggerhead.

    In light of that, someone at Rorate, a student of Father Foster’s, remarked that Father Reggie recently said in the classroom,

    ” ‘…there are two documents on [my] desk, one about the Eucharist, and another one [I’m]refusing to translate [because I] utterly disagree…’

    This off-handed, anonymous comment is very … loaded.

    Can anybody verify or refute this?

    Is it possible the Motu Proprio is being held up by recalcitrant/intransigent translators, as has been suggested regarding other documents of this Pope?

    This is too important a comment to let it hang out here unconfirmed…”

    The poster is right. It is important. It would also explain Father Reggie’s untoward remarks that have kept us all tossing and turning the last few days.

    Father Z, does this speculation ring true with you?

  92. Brian says:

    Wow.

    Is all this trash talk about Fr. Foster good for anyone’s soul?

    Just a question.

  93. Robert Hurd, SJ says:

    In spite of the quotes in the Sunday Telegraph, I can say that I have
    never been at more prayerful, heartfelt liturgies than with Fr. Foster
    below San Clemente and on the Feast of Our Holy (Latin Family) at the
    Teresianum.
    R Hurd, SJ

  94. James says:

    “BTW, Montefiascone is the home of Est!Est!Est! wine.”

    It’s also my ancestral home, where my family came from before it moved to the United States. I am registered there.

  95. AC:
    If Fr. Foster has taken a vow of obedience (and I assume he has, as he is a Carmelite), then he may truly not be free to wear the “traditional habit.” I don’t think that “obedience in all things but sin” would disqualify my statement, since obediently not wearing a habit is not sinful (even after we all agree that habits are wonderful and should be worn).

  96. Michael says:

    The article ends with the following interesting statement, He argued that the only solution to the decline of Latin was for the Pope to lead by example. “Instead of a siesta, he should announce that from 2pm to 4pm every day he will read Latin at the Vatican.”

    He added with a twinkle: “People who come will get assignments. You will be picked on to answer questions, and if you mess up, the Pope will make you disappear. He can do that, you know.”

    Is it possible he means that bringing back the Tridentine mass without bringing back the general use of Latin is “stupid”? Perhaps this is his way of pleading that the Holy Father bring back a more general use of the language rather than simply relegating it to a liturgical ghetto.

    Regardless, it seems that if Pope Benedict does not move forward with the motu proprio he may as well also abandon any attempted reproachment with the Orthodox Churches. They are already rightfully wary of Rome’s hostile attitude towards traditional liturgies, which Fr. Foster seemed to give voice to.

  97. Anon says:

    Fr. Z, what did you mean when you said Fr. Foster lost the battle for the habit. Our Dis. Carmelites wear a white one with a small hood.

  98. “What needs to be done to help Holy Church find her liturgical bearings for the future?” WAS the question. I don’t have an answer. It appears no one else does either, since this thread has completely degenerated into personal commentary on Fr. Foster’s apparel and his “career” and how and why he thinks by a bunch of people whom, other then Fr Z, I think it’s safe to say, have never actually met Fr. Foster.

  99. RBrown says:

    ” ‘…there are two documents on [my] desk, one about the Eucharist, and another one [I’m]refusing to translate [because I] utterly disagree…’

    This off-handed, anonymous comment is very … loaded.
    Can anybody verify or refute this?

    Is it possible the Motu Proprio is being held up by recalcitrant/intransigent translators, as has been suggested regarding other documents of this Pope?

    The last document that I know he “refused” to translate was Veritatis Splendor.

    “Refused” means that he didn’t do it right away or didn’t want to do it. The Sec of State knows that there are other Latinists in the Vatican; he also knows that there are lots of competent Latinists in the Church. Fr RF also knows it. If he’s told they need it in 24 hours, it will be ready.

    Some years ago I was with him when he was talking with one of the cheeses at the Gregorianum. It was all very low-key, polite, chatty, and non controversial. Afterwards, he said to me, “Did you hear what I said? Did you hear me tell him off?” I replied, “No, I heard nothing of the kind.”

    His bark is much worse than his bite.

    When I get some time, I’ll tell you story about Foster and Veritatis Splendor.

  100. Hammerbrecher says:

    Wow over 100 comments!

  101. Jon says:

    Father,

    “I consider him a friend.”

    If this is so, why not pick up the phone and call him, or take him out for one of your famously enjoyable lunches, ask him why he said what he said, and ask him for permission to relay that to the weeping crowd? What can it hurt?

  102. T. Chan says:

    RBrown writes: “When I get some time, I’ll tell you story about Foster and Veritatis Splendor.”

    Please do!

  103. mike says:

    Father Z,

    Say something nice about AC – he’s trying.

    m

  104. Andrew says:

    Inasmuch as this thread has gone everywhere, and to some ugly places also, I might as well bring back Leo XIII into the conversation who wrote this fabulous piece on the art of photography:

    Ars Photographica – 1867

    Expressa solis spiculo
    nitens imago, quam bene
    frontis decus, vim luminum
    refers, et oris gratiam.

    O mira virtus ingenii
    novumque monstrum! Imaginem
    naturae Apelles aemulus
    non pulchriorem pingeret.

    Please note: “novum monstrum” is not the same as “a new monster” because monstrum is also used in a positive sense whereby it means a miracle or wonder. And Apelles was a famous Greek painter. I find these verses reminiscent of some verses from a “hymnus matutinus” by Prudentius:

    Caligo terrae scinditur
    percussa solis spiculo,
    rebusque iam color redit
    vultu nitentis sideris.

    In either case the “spiculum solis” is mentioned, the sun’s sting creating a visible image.

    Now let’s get back to tearing Foster to pieces.

  105. John Polhamus says:

    I could opine, but there’s enough grist in the mill already. Instead, I am happy to observe that one notable book translated INTO latin has as yet gone un-mentioned, even tangentially, and that is “Fabulo Petro Cuniculo” or…(drum-roll, cymbal-crash)…The Tale of Peter Rabbit! featuring “Flopus, Mopsus, Cauda Linea, et Petrus.” Beatrix Potter’s modest but supremely deft illustrations lose not one ounce of character, and even gain in dignified intimacy by association with the eternal tougue. The use of Latin also brings the tale’s didactic quality to the fore; sinful little Petrus, helpes himself to forbidden carrots to the point where the conflict with Mr. McGregor becomes truly a Dies Irae for poor penitent Petrus. The Purgatorial overtone of the temporary captivity in the water-bucket is hard to miss. However, all ends well, just as in the English version. It is published by Penguine/F. Warne.

    I also think that, considering the author’s thoroughly Catholic beliefs, a latin edition of the Lord of the Rings would be a truly noble, and artistically gratifying endeavour. Considering the book’s popularity, it would probably be a productive one as well.

  106. m: “Say something nice about AC – he’s trying.”

    He certainly is.

    When I see consistently negative and baseless observations from a person, I am simply going to remove the comments. Contributions are welcome here, but without the ad hominem attitude.

    The suggestion that a religious or a priest can simply do what he pleases, without consideration of his state in life or the consequences, is simply not rooted in reality. It is very easy (and audacious) for a layman to tell a priest or religious what they ought to be doing when you have no dog in the fight. It shows both a lack of respect and a paucity of consideration.

    Anything that creates more work or irritation than my limited energy allows is simply not going to be tolerated.

  107. Hammerbrecher says:

    Father Z,

    Maybe explain obedience and when a priest/religious has to do what they are told and when they can correctly abstain. This might help AC and others understand. When we have bad leaders, we have to do somethings we don’t like…

  108. TJM says:

    Father Z: I know Father Foster is a friend and former
    teacher,but his remarks regarding the Classical Rite
    were intemperate and over the top. If any of us said
    this about the Novus Ordo, you would be all over us like
    a cheap suit! Tom

  109. RBrown says:

    From AC: But to say a layman like me has no dog in a fight—or that whether or not religious men and women keep to tradition or fall into modernism shouldn’t be important to me—is just flat wrong. This is what happens when clerics live in a bubble and think their actions don’t affect everyone else (and i’m not referring to you).

    I think you have an interest, but I doubt that you, like most most laymen, have any idea of the pressure on priests and religious. People like Fr Foster were trained to love Latin and to live in community, this under the umbrella of treasuring their vocations.

    For a man like Fr Foster, who not only loves Latin liturgy but also sees all reality through the prism of Latin, the loss of Latin was especially traumatic, not just a liturgical matter but rather 24/7. Some years ago he agreed with me that now religious life was little else than survival. It has become not a matter of the obligatory result of sanctification for a religious, but mostly just trying to keep from leaving.

    If that sounds minimalistic, so be it. Those are the times (O tempora! O Mores!) in which priests and religious have to live. I have personally known many good men who were ordained with the best of intentions who were gone a few years later. In fact, last summer a man I knew left the priesthood to attempt marriage. He was well respected, a very good man, 25 years a priest, and a theologian of note.

    Although Foster lives at the Teresianum, he doesn’t frequent the community liturgy. But I have no doubt that if Latin liturgy were restored, he would instantly become a regular, complete with habit.

  110. RBrown says:

    Maybe explain obedience and when a priest/religious has to do what they are told and when they can correctly abstain. This might help AC and others understand. When we have bad leaders, we have to do somethings we don’t like…
    Comment by Hammerbrecher

    That depends on whether the priest is diocesan or religious. And various religious orders have various approaches to obedience.

    I will say that I am firmly convinced that, the question of obedience notwithstanding, in the past 35 years priests and religious have been required to do things that have undermined their vocationas.

  111. Martha says:

    RBrown said:
    “I will say that I am firmly convinced that, the question of obedience notwithstanding, in the past 35 years priests and religious have been required to do things that have undermined their vocationas.”

    Exactly. I was going to refrain from this exchange until you said the above, RBrown.

    My thinking, specifically on religious garb, is that the habit is an aid towards preserving the vow of chastity, and that a command to refrain from wearing one would be imprudent and even an abuse of authority. It would be akin to a husband requesting that his wife discard her wedding ring. I could tell you a story about this, but I won’t bore the readers. Just believe me, a married woman is best off wearing her ring. And a consecrated soul is best off wearing his clerical dress.

  112. Hammerbrecher: “Maybe explain obedience…”

    I think I should leave that to a professed religious, given this is more an issue of the habits of religious orders than the way diocesan priests interact with bishops and their fellow priests.

  113. TJM: “If any of us said this about the Novus Ordo, you would be all over us like a cheap suit!”

    There was no lack of people ready to tar and feather Fr. Foster. Why should I pile on? Furthermore, I stated my opinion about Fr. Foster’s comments at the top of the entry.. what seems like eons ago.

  114. John Polhamus says:

    TJM, you’re mixing your metaphors. To wit: one is not “all over something like a cheap suit.” One says, “He threw him off like a cheap suit.” One is all over something “like ants on honey” or “like flies on [something else]” but one is not “all over something like a cheap suit.” A cheap suit does not cling to one any differently than an expensive one. It may fit to a finer or cruder degree, but it is no more or less clingy. One may be said to be “camp as a row of tents” or to have “folded up like a tent in a high wind”; but to say that one was was “camp as a tent in a high wind” makes no sense at all. Now, these offenses, venial though they may be, against Fowler’s Modern English Usage have got to cease. They demonstrate unclear thinking and a marked tendency to be grandeloquent in one’s verbosity! Zounds, man! Get thee to a grammery!

  115. GHP says:

    TJM, you’re mixing your metaphors. To wit: one is not “all over something like a cheap suit.”

    Yes one is: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cheap+suit

    Google “like a cheap suit” and you’ll see many examples used.

    –Guy Power

  116. John Polhamus says:

    Ah, I see. A history of inorrect usage makes it right. Shall we make the same claim for the Novus Ordo? Personally I read the Oxford Dictonary, not urbandictonary.com, whatever that is. All heresies, once established, whether linguistic or theological, are difficult to eradicate. Sorry, but t’s still a mixed metaphor.

  117. michigancatholic says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

    Laypeople also have a “dog in this fight.” We have our vocation, secular priests have theirs, and religious have theirs too but they all are meant to serve the same end–our personal good (individual & mutual) and the glorification of God. The whole must work together, so that when one part is not functioning properly, the others must point it out. Thus, we laypeople are not mere spectators, even to the obligation between the priests and the bishop. This is why we care about matters like the miscarriages of authority we see all the time in the Church. Goodness knows there are more entertaining things to do than blabber about liturgical malfeasance if we are just looking for a good time. That’s not what this is about.

    To put it very bluntly: The priesthood is not an individual corporation that can make policy like Proctor & Gamble and consider the laity *them* as if we could (or would) choose to forgo the brand with a smile and no consequences. The church is no more our hobby than anyone else’s.

    It is true that priests must take care to obey if they can, but it’s also true that they are not free agents who can buckle with no cost, and claim it’s their own personal business, as if somehow piety, doctrine (fill in the blank) were a hobby or an option they could choose to do without. It impacts us all when a priest “chooses the expedient thing” to save his own hiney. It can be every bit as bad as a priest who “does his own thing,” and for the same reason.

    When the truth of the last 40 years is committed to the historical record, there will have been many “small time” heroes who resisted what they knew was wrong and often paid terrible prices, but the general picture will have been one of coercion, political corruption and loss, I’m sad to say. The statistics in Europe tell the tale.

    I wish I could say something better about this, goodness knows. I’m a convert and sometimes I wonder what I’ve stepped in.

  118. I suspect the effects of obedience in the Church run deeper and farther than what’s been mentioned so far. Every now and then someone starts a thread somewhere with the remark that surely Catholicism couldn’t have collapsed so rapidly after Vatican II if it hadn’t been somehow rotten at the core before the Council. They may even claim this collapse as proof that the traditional Mass had not borne lasting good fruit.

    But I’m inclined to wonder whether a more central role in this collapse was played by a culture of (almost blind) obedience among Catholics, especially among orthodox believers who otherwise might have been the most inclined to resist the takeover of Church structures by dissenters from traditional faith and devotion.

  119. bedwere says:

    Henry Edwards: culture of (almost blind) obedience among Catholics

    On this subject (and others related) I recommend this book:

    The Banished Heart-Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church
    by Geoffrey Hull

    Available for $30 from Pro Multis bookstore
    http://promultis.com/books.php?books=AG

  120. michigancatholic says:

    Henry:

    Your comment is interesting to me because I’ve spent years watching this sort of thing–it’s fascinating to a convert.

    Yes, one still sees the “blind obedience” thing all the time, but it’s not always where one might expect it. I tend to find it most heavily not among the truly orthodox (ie. belief and behavior all of one cloth which makes actual obedience organic in development), but among those who are semi-orthodox, if that terminology makes any sense. I mean to say that in my experience, I am far more likely to see this behavior from the extra extraordinary lay minister (with attitude) than from one of the individuals I know are practicing the faith quietly but plainly.

    One is rather more likely to get, “Fr. doesn’t want it done that way!” or “Our parish council says _____!” than “This is what God wants” or “This is what the Church (universal) teaches!” and most often they aren’t seen in concert, but in an oppositional way.

    Interesting things sometimes seem to be driving this. You see, people don’t want to look “unholy” or uninvolved. And there are some real frustrations people are trying hard to handle. You’d be surprised how peoples’ perceptions of these sorts of thing can drive their actions if they have one foot in and one foot someplace else.
    But it’s the fracture of direction in the spiritual sense that is most evident.

    True obedience is pretty hard to come by. I’m sure you will agree if you examine the Catholic birth control rates. That & our abortion rates are pretty much equal to the national average. Catholics don’t obey so well when push comes to shove AND it can be kept quiet.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with actual obedience, but it has to be yoked with a healthy Catholic identity and sound Catholic teaching or it goes all over and means all kinds of things to all kinds of people. And it can become “blind obedience,” perhaps of the kind you mention.

    BTW, I don’t limit my comments to the ordinary parishoner. I think there are people like this all over the church, high and low, who’ve been disappointed or perplexed by something and have one foot in and one foot someplace else. It’s the nature of humanity, but one tries not to go there too often or too long, eh?

  121. michigancatholic says:

    And of course, God himself is the remedy for all of these puzzles of disappointment and confusion. It’s just that people aren’t encouraged or helped anymore to take the direct route which cuts straight through all these things, but with a purpose.

  122. RBrown says:

    My thinking, specifically on religious garb, is that the habit is an aid towards preserving the vow of chastity, and that a command to refrain from wearing one would be imprudent and even an abuse of authority. It would be akin to a husband requesting that his wife discard her wedding ring. I could tell you a story about this, but I won’t bore the readers. Just believe me, a married woman is best off wearing her ring. And a consecrated soul is best off wearing his clerical dress.

    I certainly agree that religious should wear the habit. My point is that a religious who wears the habit is not necessarily doctrinally sound or oriented to Latin liturgy.

    Actually, the best way to ensure a religious wears the habit is to restore the tonsure.

    American Dominicans in the 1950’s never wore the habit outside cloister–they wore clerical clothes. Those who attended the Angelicum on arrival were immediately tonsured, and all their clerical (or lay) clothes were put in a suitcase and locked away.

  123. RBrown: “Actually, the best way to ensure a religious wears the habit is to restore the tonsure.”

    Very good point! Interesting.

  124. Hammerbrecher says:

    All the minor orders should be brought back, not just reader and acolyte..

  125. gravitas says:

    12 FSSP seminarians were just tonsured last month (saw it in my newsletter).

  126. RBrown says:

    The FSSP tonsure is a symbolic cutting of a lock of hair. The tonsure for religious cuts it all off except for a band of hair around the head.

  127. bedwere says:

    I saw a beautiful movie on Sunday, Sous le Soleil de Satan. Gerard Depardieu played a secular priest in the 1920ies in France. The tonsure was small in diameter (5cm or 2in) but was clearly visible.

  128. michigancatholic says:

    Yes, and that’s only for some religious order priests, not all. And unfortunately, there’s nothing but the collar that identifies a diocesan priest.

  129. gravitas says:

    “And unfortunately, there’s nothing but the collar that identifies a diocesan priest.”

    Let’s not forget the cassock that all priests at my church wear. It would be nice if they all went back to
    that.

  130. RBrown says:

    Yes, and that’s only for some religious order priests, not all. And unfortunately, there’s nothing but the collar that identifies a diocesan priest.

    Those religious orders with a habit (e.g. Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines) sported the aforementioned monastic tonsure.

    Those who didn’t have the monastic tonsure (e.g., SJ’s) didn’t wear a distinctive habit but rather dressed like a diocesan priest, with a cassock.

  131. Scott says:

    Pater Foster,
    qui es in caecis,
    Sanctificetur nondum tuum.
    Advertat Reginaldi tergum.
    Fiat volatus tuus,
    Sicut in caenum et in terrores.
    Paludem nostram quotidianum da nobis odia.
    Et dimitte nobis tradita nostra,
    Sicut et nos decocimus decores notis.
    Et ne nos educas de tentamentis,
    sed libera nos a Missa Tridentina.

    (Scott, who admits this may be in poor taste, but couldn’t resist…)

  132. Tom Bartel says:

    I studied with Reggie in 2000, and I want to say a few things. As to his stature as a Latinist, there are no better. Writing arcane academic tracts is hardly a measure that anyone who regards Latin as a language for communication instead of a subject for pedants’ arguments takes seriously. As to his religiousity, an anecdote: He’d just finished giving several students a “backstage” tour of the Vatican, including the Pauline Chapel, with the Michaelangelo Crucifixion of Peter and Conversion of Saul, the offices with the Raphael grotesques and frescos, and more. As we were finishing, he waved his cane at the walls and said, “Of course, I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what all this has to do with Jesus of Nazareth.”

    So am I.

  133. Paul Hellyer says:

    Back to Fr Foster, … [EDITED BY FR. Z]

  134. No, I don’t think so.