Priests who want “tradition” but retain “versus populum”?

Someone asked a a rather off topic question in another entry. The question was worthy of attention in its own right, so here it is.

Why is it that many Diocesan Priests that love the TLM and pray for its freedom still often still pray the Novus Ordo versus Populum, on a table altar (instead of a high altar), and utilizing lay lectors? … I understand how Diocesan Priests are between a proverbial rock and a hard place with their Bishops in being forced to celebrate the Novus Ordo, but why does it ever have to be celebrated in the manner described above?

I think the answer lies very much in the second point you made: they are between a rock and a hard spot.

Many priests I know would more than likely switch to an ad orientem celebration of Holy Mass, and get rid of all the extraneous personnel around the altar (to name just two issues), but they know that if they do, they will unleash of fire storm complaints from many lay people who will accuse them of “trying to turn the clock back” and, after word gets around, many diocesan bishops will usually side with the lay people and then hammer the priest into dust. And this he can do in a thousand ways.

Parish priests, pastors, have so many headaches to cope with already, that they do not want to court additional problems. Assistants in parishes sometimes have to deal with a liberal, aging-hippy, pastor, or at least one who is unsure of what to do in the face of a tradition they didn’t learn and forms no part of their world-view. I am sure priests who read this blog will back me up on this. (Remember, Fathers, you can post anonymously on this blog.) They may be entirely convinced about the better way to do things, but they just don’t need another problem. What would be required would be a) a place that was already priest friendly (and it is amazing how many parishes are not priest friendly) and b) a long process of liturgical catechesis and the c) a reasonable expectation that the bishop won’t decide to crucify him.

Keep in mind that a priest can be right right right all day long, he can have an ability to speak with the tongue of angels, can back up everything with flawless documentation, can have strong backing from a good number of people. None of that makes any difference if the bishop he doesn’t like it. Sometimes just one complaint letter from a person who understands nothing about anything but is expressing “hurt” or “pain” will get every consideration, leaving the priest twisting in the wind with his bishop.

At the same time, priests can go about things the wrong way and scuttle their own chances of success, no matter what the project, worthy or unworthy.

I believe that the situation I am describing is becoming less and less common, as time goes by. I sincerely hope it is. There is a new liturgical wind blowing in a new direction and more and more ecclesiastics are moving in the right direction. It is the beginning, perhaps of the new liturgical movement His Holiness hoped to contribute something to, as he stated in The Spirit of the Liturgy. Nevertheless, that is more than likely the reason why many priests who otherwise would be very interested in the older form of Mass are still celebrating ad orientem and still have more lay ministers than are truly necessary.

It keeps the peace.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

114 Responses to Priests who want “tradition” but retain “versus populum”?

  1. Arieh says:

    In my previous diocese I attended a parish run by a bunch of very traditional Dominicans. In addition to celebrating the beautiful Dominican Rite, they celebrated the Novus Ordo as traditionally as possible. Every Sunday the NO was celebrated with Gregorian chant only, incense, solemn procession, Latin, old school vestments, altar BOYS, communion rail, etc.

    Being that Dominicans are accustomed to free standing altars our parish an altar that was functionally “dual use”. One week they celebrated the NO ad orientem and the bishop found out. Keep in mind that this parish wanted this, but bishop came down hard (like they were sacrificing to Baal), and our priest were forbidden to ever do it again.

    I hope, in addition to the motu proprio on the TLM, we get a freeing of the ad orientem orientation at mass. I think many priests would jump at the chance to say mass that way.

  2. Fr. John P says:

    Fr. Z

    You hit the nail on the head.
    I would personally LOVE to pray the Mass ad orientem, and I know that I legally can do so now if I wanted, but the potential firestorm that would result would probably bring harm to the renewal ( at least in my diocese) . The best thing that I can hope for is after a prolonged catechesis, that I would be asked to do it by the laity (long-shot) , or a more explicit preference is given to us from Rome. If I more explicit preference is given then I would have more of a ground to stand on. I will say that the longer I have been a priest the more my conscious stings me in regards to celebrating Mass versus populum for all the well documented reasons. For now I tolerate pain, but I wonder how long I can put up with it.

    God Bless

  3. Joshua says:

    Down in Wilmington, at St. Peter and Paul parish (the 2nd oldest parish in California, in the Los Angeles Archdiocese) they celebrated Mass once facing east. They got a very good reception from the parish. The Nobertines had decided to remove the new free standing altar (which was ugly and table like) and, since they had to, replace it with a more fitting altar for facing the people. While the old altar was gone, but before the new was put in, they used the old High Altar. The parish liked it, too bad it couldn’t be permanent

  4. Fr. John P says:

    It seems to me that solid religious orders who possess and administrate their own chapels are churches are more free to celebrate mass ad orentum, hopefully we will see more and more of our religious exercise this option, and getting the foot in the door for the rest of us.

  5. Maria says:

    I think this is more common in some diocese than others. They seem to me to fall into two camps: watch what you are doing because I am and the second, do whatever you want as long as I don’t get hammered with complaints. This is of course a generalization but I have seen many priests that we know attempt to bring a parish into the norms of sacredness, introduce Latin/ad orientem and add devotionals to the parish life. Some “people” don’t want to get rid of the community and touchy-feely ways of worship. Attempts to educate the parish members on the misinterpretation of Vatican II is met with anger and resentment. I have to wonder where the enforcement of the new norms will come from. All in all, it gives me hope regardless.

  6. Diane K says:

    Excellent post, Father and thanks so much for addressing the issue so well.

    While there are many compliments with regards to the Mass in photos at Assumption Grotto via my blog, I also read criticisms by people who critique something that may be legitimate, yet they do not have a clue just how lucky we are to have as much as we do.

    Some are impatient, wanting to see the table altar gone since the wall altar is used on Sundays and solemnities. But I have addressed the issue many times saying that the pastor has said he cannot remove it at this time. This is never enough for arm-chair “CDW Prefects” who want everything now without understanding the nature of offering things traditional in most dioceses (exactly as you describe). Hence, for a time, we will have to live with less than ideal circumstances.

    I too know many priests dying to celebrate ad orientem, in Latin, with chant and no folk music whatsoever. But do these things a little too quickly in any parish and its like lighting wick on a stick of dynamite. Some poor priest can easily find himself so far out in the sticks he won’t remember what year it is.

    You are right that the tide is changing. I see it and people must absolutely be patient and support their priests with whatever little they give them the benefit of the doubt when they do not get all that they want right now.

    Pray for priests and bishops. For those who want to do something about it here are a few ideas, keeping priests, pastors, and bishops in our intentions:

    – Give up one hour of web, hobby or TV time to get up earlier and go to Mass a few times weekly.
    – Adoration weekly – one hour
    – Rosary Daily
    – Learn and pray the Liturgy of the Hours and offer it up for the intention of a priest who is not praying it.

    These things are the best possible things that can be done to “make things happen”. In Psalm 95:10-11, the Invitatory, I always think of the status of the liturgy today when I pray it:

    Forty years long I detested that generation and said, *
    “This people are wayward in their hearts;
    they do not know my ways.”
    So I swore in my wrath, *
    “They shall not enter into my rest.”

  7. Fr. Augustine O.P. says:

    Fr. Z. is absolutely right as to the reason priests who would prefer to celebrate the N.O. ad orientem do not. The fall out, and not just from the bishop is not worth it. Many people (including some priests) actually think that ad orientem celebration is forbidden. And more many this is a more hot-botton issue than use of Latin.

    The one time I took this was when I was a college chaplain in Oregon. I used to supply occasionally at the very old and very tiny St. Joseph’s Church in Jacksonville. The sanctuary was so tiny that between the high altar steps and the communion rail there was a distant of only 2 feet. They used to have a kind of pedestal that had a section cut from the base so that it would fit onto the altar steps. It was literally 18 inches square. A server had to hold the missal because it did not fit on this “altar.” This was just about the strangest set up I have ever seen. I removed the pedestal and used the old high altar, which was a splendid applewood one carved by a parishioner in the late 1800s. No one ever complained. I never heard from the bishop. But then Jacksonville is way out of the way.

    This lovely little church deserves a visit, if you are in the Medford area. Here is a link to a photo:

    http://photos.salemhistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/max&CISOPTR=2286&REC=4

  8. Tim says:

    Father Z, thank you for answering my post! I really appreciate it.

  9. Arieh says:

    Fr. Augustine,

    I grew up in Medford. Southern Oregon is beautiful, I really miss it now that I live in the industrial Ohio Valley. I wish I was a Catholic when I was there, St Joseph’s seems lovely.

  10. Father: You NAILED it! I have nothing but respect and love for any man
    who would answer a call to the priesthood. I don’t think some of them
    realize what they can be walking into out of seminary. The run amok
    liturgical coordinators, musician egos, parish secretaries who don’t
    pass on all their messages, bitter women who want to priests, accounting
    disasters, uncooperative pastors, Bishops with their own agendas, low pay,
    on-call 24/7 etc. etc.

    I just have to laugh at any woman who would want to be a priest! You, men,
    can keep the vocation with my blessing.

  11. John says:

    There’s a good argument to be made that an instruction from Rome permitting ad-orientem-ad-libitum would have a far broader positive effect on liturgical practice than the proposed 1962 Missal indult.

  12. Dan Hunter says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
    We have a priest in our parish who offers the tridentine mass,the novus ordo in spanish,and English,but he offers all of them Ad Orientam,and with no lay readers or EM’s.All altar boys and there is no table in sight.The communion rail is firmly embedded and all recieve communion knelling and on the tongue.
    The present Bishop of the diocese loves it,completely supports it,but the previous Bishop,who just retired in July of 2006 barely tolerated it and was,according to our good Father,a whisker away fro pulling the plug on Tradition,when he had to retire.
    Like I mentioned the new bishop loves this church and its pastor and just recently attended a Classical Rite mass,and was on the sanctuary.
    After the mass His Excellency told the whole assemblage that the Classical Rite comes directly from Christ,and we are so blessed to haveit.
    God bless you.

  13. Tom says:

    Great Question, Great Post…

    My question is, what can we, as laypeople, do about the situation. Write or Call priest? Bishop? Any suggestions would be helpful. I’m willing to do what is necessary, but a bit of direction as to the most productive path to take would be greatly appreciated.

    Tom S. / Greensboro, NC

  14. In my two parishes, we are pursuing a number of things that are aimed at reflecting the true spirit (and letter) of Vatican II, and have the liturgy be what it should be. There are so many things to attend to; and I believe a wise and good pastor is considerate of his parishioners, who experience changes in the liturgy as more major events, than they may be in substance. I.e., introducing prayers in Latin is a big deal; so here, we are doing it gradually. It takes time. (Also remember a pastor has many other matters needing his attention, so things move slowly for that reason, as well.)

    I don’t know at what point I would broach the subject of assuming the ad orientem posture, but I fail to see how one can be low-key about it! I do agree that were the holy father to address it pointedly — perhaps to “permit” it (yes, I think it’s already allowed, but such a “permission” would be useful nonetheless) — that would help.

    Now, one thing struck me in the original post — the idea of getting rid of lay readers at Mass. My understanding is this is something Sacrosanctum Concilium and then, the GIRM, actually call for; not “mandatory,” but definitely preferred. I see this as a different matter from that of overuse of extraordinary ministers of holy communion.

  15. Brian Day says:

    No kidding on the “between a rock and a hard spot”.
    At my parish, I have been slowly sowing the seeds to implement a chant Mass. Very simple plain-chant to start, with perhaps some simple Gregorian chant, and go from there. You should have seen the look on my pastor’s face when I initially broached the subject. He knew this was one powder-keg he didn’t want to be around. While he was very nice about it, it is clear that my proposal isn’t going very far – at the moment.

    P.S. If this posts, please note that some of the word verification phrases are still too long.
    Mine is “Veronese Sacramentar” I am assuming that the second word is “Sacramentary”

  16. Brian Day says:

    Fr Fox points out something I was wondering about. Could a Lector (lay reader) proclaim the Epistle at a Classical Roman Rite Mass? Since the sub-deacon has been suppressed and the Lector instituted in its place, couldn’t a Lector read at the Ambo during High Mass?

  17. Dan Hunter says:

    Tom S.from Greensboro N.C.
    Hi Tom Dan Hunter here from Hillsbourough NC.
    You have what looks to be on its website,a beautiful church,Our Lady Of Grace,in Greensboro.Does it still have its high altar?And is Father Fidel willing to offer mass Ad Orientam if it does.
    What is His Excellency Bishop Jugis mindset on the Classical Rite and Ad Orientam.
    My wife and I live only an hour and a half from there and are wondering if the liturgy is reverant and sacred music is chanted or sung there.
    Please let us know.
    God bless you.

  18. Amy says:

    Isn’t it odd that bishops seem to have:

    1) all power

    and

    2) no power

    all at the same time? Even the same bishops?

    It’s such an odd dynamic.

    Anyway, documents can only go so far. I think the only way that we’re going to be able to go from trickling here and there to a nice full flood is if a)the Pope and b)some bishops set an example. Regularly. Not just once in a while.

    Various US bishops have/have plans to celebrate Mass according to the 62 Missal. Olmstead of Phoenix has done it, Yanta of Amarillo, Burbridge of Raleigh visited the indult parish in his diocese this past Sunday. Archbishop Burke is ordaining Insitute of Christ the King deacons in June. There are probably a few more.

    But until a bishop – just ONE bishop in this country decides to buck his nervous MC’s and diocesan directors of worship and say, “Hey, I’m going to celebrate the NO Mass – don’t worry, we won’t go all ’62 on you – but I’m going to do it Ad Orientem with some regularity now, and by the way, dig up some chant, okay?” there is going to be only limited progress, I really do fear. Progress, yes, but strong examples from the top would really help.

    Don’t you think?

  19. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Why not a brief writing from the pope ENCOURAGING the offering of Mass ad orientem? Maybe the motu proprio or synodal exhortation will contain this, but why the wait? Too much speculative theology from our popes, too little concrete instruction.

    Someday (maybe after I’m dead) we will get a pope (don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of BXVI) who will view the appointment of solid bishops as the key to his pontificate. Until then, nothing much will (or can) change.

    Also, couldn’t BXVI find an opportunity to publicly offer an ad orientem Mass in a venue where ad orientem doesn’t align with versus populorum? I mean, if we simply MUST continue World Youth Day, …

  20. dcs says:

    Fr Fox points out something I was wondering about. Could a Lector (lay reader) proclaim the Epistle at a Classical Roman Rite Mass? Since the sub-deacon has been suppressed and the Lector instituted in its place, couldn’t a Lector read at the Ambo during High Mass?

    A layman (-man, mind you) can serve as a “straw subdeacon” (not wearing the maniple, among other things) if he is an instituted acolyte. This would include singing the Epistle. A permanent deacon could serve as a subdeacon or a deacon at Solemn Mass. In fact, St. Francis De Sales parish (FSSP) in Mableton, GA has two permanent deacons on their staff, so they have Solemn Mass just about every Sunday from what I’m told.

    The Epistle is not sung from the ambo to the best of my recollection. The subdeacon faces liturgical east (i.e., back to the people) to sing it (the Gospel is sung facing liturgical north).

  21. Fr. Augustine O.P. says:

    Interesting comment from “dcs.” Is that right that an installed acolyte cannot serve as a subdeacon in an indult Mass?

    It is my understanding that the modern “acolyte” is not at all the same as the old rite minor order of that name. The old rite “acolyte” was “ordained” by the handing over of a candle. The old rite subdeacon was ordained by the handing over of the vessels. In the modern installation of “acolytes” the rite is that used for the old subdeacon, the handing over of the vessels. It was also my understanding that it was left to the bishops’ conferences as to whether the title used for the ministry involved as to be “acolyte” or “subdeacon.”

    At St. John Cantius in Chicago, I understand, the canons have their installed acolytes function as subdeacons at their indult Mass. I have also seen this done in modern celebrations of the Dominican Rite (including one at the parish in Portland mentioned by Arieh above. I see no reason why an installed acolyte should have to serve as a “straw subdeacon.”

    I do believe also that in the old days one ordained to the minor order of lector could read (chant) the Epistle (as he normally would the prophecies on the Ember Days) at a Missa Cantata. I have seen this done recently also.

    If I am wrong on any of this I am open to correction. Just pass on the citations to the pertinent legislation.

  22. Various US bishops have/have plans to celebrate Mass according to the 62 Missal. Olmstead of Phoenix has done it, Yanta of Amarillo, Burbridge of Raleigh visited the indult parish in his diocese this past Sunday. Archbishop Burke is ordaining Insitute of Christ the King deacons in June. There are probably a few more.

    Click here for pictures of the Bishop of Knoxville in the sanctuary for the indult 1962 Mass on the 2nd Sunday of Advent.

    It might be a bit more interesting to certain liturgist types if there were a picture of His Excellency kneeling to receive Holy Communion on the tongue from the celebrant. (That is, to those “liturgist types” who may not know this is the only acceptable way at a traditional Mass.)

  23. AC says:

    I feel for all priests who want to cling to tradition but know the consequences of doing so. But at some point, every priest needs to ask the question, What is the consequences of not doing so? It could be the complete loss of tradition and the church as we know it. Since i only attend the traditional rite Mass, it is troubling to me that everyone is concerned about little things like adding Latin to the Mass! When the 1970 Missal came out, no one seemed too worried about turning the Mass on its head and rewriting the faith practically overnight. Why are so many priests worried about bringing back that tradition, even if slowly? Is it about what’s best for the Church or about losing jobs and not being promoted or loved by a bishop? At some point, the salvation of souls is the number one job of any priest, not whether he makes Msgr. or bishop one day.

  24. dcs says:

    Is that right that an installed acolyte cannot serve as a subdeacon in an indult Mass?

    Fr. Z. posted the relevant legislation in October 2006:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2006/10/straw-subdeacons-tridentine-high-mass/

  25. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    An instituted acolyte may act as a subdeacon in a 62 missal solemn mass(7 June 1993,Prot.24?92).Being a layman he may not wear the biretta.

  26. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Excuse my typing .The protocol number from Ecclesia Cei is 24/92.

  27. Paul Haley says:

    Yes, it’s the bishops who are in control of the priest’s future, his livelyhood, his assignment, his retirement, his medical care – everything. To get crossways-in-the-pipe with one’s bishop is to place oneself on the proverbial limb with the bishop ready to saw it off. Before a priest does this he must be sure that someone or some group will provide for his needs and I understand fully why many do not. That said, I wonder what the bishops will say to Our Lord when the time comes for having treated His holy priests, and by extension His Faithful, so shamelessly. Are they placing their eternal salvation in jeopardy? One wonders, one really does wonder.

  28. Garrett says:

    “In fact, St. Francis De Sales parish (FSSP) in Mableton, GA has two permanent deacons on their staff, so they have Solemn Mass just about every Sunday from what I’m told.”

    Yes, indeed! This is the parish I attend whenever I can get to the TLM (besides St. Michael’s SSPX once in a blue moon. Solemn High Masses every Sunday should be the norm for every parish, where all parishes to have adequate manpower and properly equipped.

  29. AC-
    You’re right that the salvation of souls must be the top priority of the Church as a whole and of each of her priests. But have you never asked yourself how many souls might be lost if liturgical change is *once again* forcefully instituted across the board? What happened in the ’70s was terrible (so I gather; I was not there), and it seems that there were many souls lost as a result. But might not such a mass exodus from the pews of our churches happen again if another liturgical overhaul is ordered from the top down? Surely you wouldn’t claim that our pastors ought to risk the loss of these souls for an immediate and insensitive return of the old rite (or even of all the old traditions to be used in the new rite). In addition to ensuring the integrity of the sacraments and their ministry, priests and bishops must also ensure that their flock is not scattered out into the world. Where is salvation for souls who are scandalized by too much change too quickly and, therefore, abandon the Church?

    The only reason for arguing that an immediate return to the old rite is worth the risk (that I can think of, anyway) is if you believe that the new rite is invalid as it stands now. If such is your reasoning, AC, then I cannot address it. I’m not trained in liturgy, nor do I know enough about the theology surrounding what happened to the Mass to speak about it.

  30. dcs says:

    An instituted acolyte may act as a subdeacon in a 62 missal solemn mass(7 June 1993,Prot.24?92).Being a layman he may not wear the biretta.

    Yes. He also cannot wear the maniple. I think Fr. Augustine was questioning my assertion that an instituted acolyte can only serve as a “straw” subdeacon and not a “full” (I hope that makes sense) subdeacon. I believe a tonsured cleric can also so serve, with the biretta but not the maniple — at least, I have had the privilege of assisting at a few such Solemn Masses.

    Solemn High Masses every Sunday should be the norm for every parish

    Unfortunately most parishes don’t have the manpower. My parish has one once a month or thereabouts, plus a few feast days.

  31. I was accused of “going backwards” when I chanted the Agnus Dei at a weekday Mass. I would probably be condemned to the depths of hell (by some) if I celebrated tomorrow morning’s Mass ad orientem. My soul weeps at the expectation by many ill-catechized expecting me to be “ring master” and “cheerleader” at every Mass. I maintain my spirituality by consciously offering each and every word of each and every prayer to the Father.

    I have had the opportunity to institute small changes at daily NO Mass over the last 12 months: a male altar server vested in black cassock and surplice, the use of the Sanctus bells, and the use of the “communion plate” at communion.

    There is hope in this diocese. Just yesterday I came across web photos of the NO Mass celebrated ad orientem at a monastery chapel. Also, a very good priest friend celebrated Sunday NO for several months.

    Unfortunately, I have been accused of being “too Catholic” when I introduced a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, so ad orientem might bring cries of “away with him” by many.

    I ask prayers from the readership of Father’s blog as I lovingly and prudently reintroduce a sense of reverence to our Catholic worship for those whom I have been called to serve.

  32. Paul Murnane says:

    Amy brings up a great point about bishops setting an example by regularly celebrating ad orientem. It would also help a great deal if EWTN were allowed to televise an ad orientem daily Mass (see http://www.ewtn.com/library/Media/TVNORMS.HTM for why they cannot). I would allow so many people to become familiar with and get used to the posture. My understanding is Bishop Foley did turn 75 and has tendered his resignation. Any word on a successor? This is a great opportunity for the Holy Father to push the reform agenda forward.

  33. Amy: \”Progress, yes, but strong examples from the top would really help.\”

    Yes. Exactly. I have often thought that the Pope celebrating Holy Mass with the \”Tridentine\” Missal in St. Peter\’s Basilica… (I dream of seeing Archbp. Marini being asked to bring that one off… which I am sure he would try to do flawlessly when told to…) just once would …  well… would be nearly as effective as many other things he might do.

  34. John says:

    I view BXVIs failure to celebrate ad orientem at the first mass after his election in the Sistine Chapel to be a missed opportunity. I recall arising at 4 AM to watch on EWTN and being disappointed to see him at the table altar. But he did deliver his homily in Latin!

    John

  35. Maureen says:

    My understanding is that, due to the unique orientation of St. Peter’s, the Mass was always celebrated there “towards the people” which is also ad orientem.

    So what’s the problem?

  36. Maureen says:

    I came upon you site and so thought you could answer my question. Is there anywhere in Baltimore, Maryland where I can find a Tridentine Mass celebrated? I am getting more and more disappointed with my parish. My daughter is being married in D.C. and my husband and I had to fill out affidavits regarding the free status of the bride. We then had to have it signed by our pastor. The reaction of the sister who is DRE in the parish really frightened me. She said that it was “one of those Roman things” we don’t do in this Archdiocese. My pastor did sign them but thought it ridiculous.
    I asked the director of music for traditional hymns but was refused. She said people didn’t want that kind of music any more.
    I would really appreciate any suggestions any one out there has.

  37. John says:

    Maureen: I am referring to the mass with the cardinals, not in St. Peter’s Basilica, but in the Sistene Chapel. You can see tbot the table altar and the fixed altar in this image.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/21/international/worldspecial2/21pope.html?ex=1271736000&en=b6916d36931d126c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    John

  38. Maureen: I think St. Alphonsus in Baltimore has a Tridentine Mass

  39. Matt Kennel says:

    Maureen,
    I believe that Cathy of Alex is right about the mass in Baltimore. Why not check out the list of episcopally approved traditional masses at http://www.ecclesiadei.org/direct00.htm.

  40. Tired says:

    I am tired of priests telling me how difficult it is to behave in the traditional way. The problem in the Church today is that men do not know how to act like men, or perhaps better yet act like saints. A quick survey of priest saints generally reveals that they are persecuted by a great many, including their immediate superiors (think Ignatius (mostly pre-ordination) or John of the Cross). Sure you may be sent to a rural parish or to a hospital or to an old folks home but big deal. There are no more beatings or clerical prisons (read dungeons).

  41. anon says:

    I think a lot of priest are biding their time until they are in a position of authority, when they can affect real change. Being brave has to be tempered by prudence. If it is not, bravery degenerates into foolhardiness.

  42. AC says:

    For all the good priests on this site, there is hope! It’s really sad reading all of you just looking for breadcrumbs like a couple of prayer in Latin or bells during Mass. While i pray that all of you can not only stop the NO Mass but return to the traditional Latin Mass, the true Mass, for good, and hope that you can do it in full communion with your diocese, there is a way out and that is to go to a group like the SSPX. Or, go independent. The one thing you must not fear is your own livelyhood. Traditionals will always take care of good priests! I don’t any traditional priest that is poor and on the street. In fact, they’re all so in demand they are pulled in too many directions and too busy! If you will, read the book “Priest, where is thy Mass? Mass, where is thy priest?” It is a wonderful book available at amazon or angelus press’ website. You’lllearn you have nothing to fear and God rewards those who cling to tradition even if it means leaving their Catholic-in-name-only flocks behind.

  43. anon says:

    I think most priests who are traditionally minded, but who stay “underground”, do so not because they are primarily concerned with their own livelihood, but rather, because they do not want to separate themselves from Peter. Schism, excommunication, the loss of eternal salvation, is not worth holding onto what one believes (and perhaps mistakenly so) “tradition” to be. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia.

  44. AC writes:

    “For all the good priests on this site, there is hope! It’s really sad reading all of you just looking for breadcrumbs like a couple of prayer in Latin or bells during Mass. While i pray that all of you can not only stop the NO Mass but return to the traditional Latin Mass, the true Mass, for good, and hope that you can do it in full communion with your diocese, there is a way out and that is to go to a group like the SSPX. Or, go independent.

    For my reply I quote our Lord, speaking to his incomprehending vicar: “Get thee behind me, satan!”

  45. Diane K says:

    Boko Fittleworth suggests the Pope celebrate the Novus Ordo ad orientem.

    I have been saying this for over a year now. I wish the Pope would come to Assumption Grotto, St. John Cantius, or St. Agnes sometime in the future and celebrate a Novus Ordo the way folks in those parishes are accustomed – ad orientem.

    I do believe the Pope will eventually celebrate the Tridentine publicly and have felt that for some time, but I truly wish he would celebrate the Mass ad orientem.

  46. Guy Power says:

    Is there anywhere in Baltimore, Maryland where I can find a Tridentine Mass celebrated?

    Maureen,
    Here’s one in downtown B’more: http://www.stalphonsusbalt.org/

    St. Alphonsus – Downtown – 410.685.6090
    114 W Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21201 (intersection of Saratoga St and Park Ave)
    Masses:
    Sunday: 8:30 am (Lithuanian), 10:00 am and 11:30 am (Tridentine)
    Daily: 7:15 am and 12:10 pm
    Holydays: 7:00 am, 12:10 pm and 7:00 pm (Tridentine)

    “Saint John Neumann lived in the present rectory as rector, master of novices, and vice-provincial. Another rector, Father Francis X. Seelos, C.SS.R., is a candidate for beatification. If he is beatified and canonized, Saint Alphonsus will be the only parish church in this country, and perhaps in the world, to boast of two former pastors as canonized saints.”

    Is Benedict, MD too far from you; it’s just south of DC and looks close enough on a map.
    http://www.parishes.org/francisdesalesbenedict.html

    Sunday: 9 a.m. (English), 11 a.m. (Latin Tridentine)

    Note the address: BENEDICT AVENUE, BENEDICT, MD — That’s got to be a good sigh!

    St. Alphonsus looks like a beautiful church!!
    http://www.stalphonsusbalt.org/statridmass.jpg

  47. Ignatius, OSB says:

    Dear Tired,

    Their is great virtue in being able to stand up for what you believe in, but their is still greater virtue in being humble enough to be obedient when it’s called for. Let us not forget that St. Benedict, when speaking of the abbot says that he holds the place of Christ in the monastery, nor that the episcopacy is a divine institution, and Christ said that “he who hears you hears Me.”

    God’s ways are not our ways. We must believe that He is powerful enough to bring good out of any evil. Remember the cross, who could have thought that any good would have come of that? And, yet, Jesus, even though He dreaded it, was still obedient to the Father’s will.

  48. GCC Catholic says:

    Yes, St. Alphonsus is a beautiful parish (the photo does it no justice). I was fortunate enough to attend there a couple of times over the summer. I think it’s also within reasonable walking distance (and if not walking then short driving distance) from the newly-renovated Cathedral.

    (As a shameless plug, it’s a beautiful church but in need of some renovations. They were working on fundraising for a new copper roof to replace the old leaking one when I was there, so if you visit, please chip in a little bit.)

  49. There is nothing more beautiful than the Roman Catholic Mass, properly observed and prayed as a \’propitiatory\’ and \’impetratory\’ sacrifice overflowing with efficacious graces from Almighty God.
    Too many today ignore Our Dear Lord\’s teachings on proper deportment, intellectually and spiritually, as He explains in one of his most poignant parables. See much more!

  50. James says:

    Dan Hunter,

    I think I know what parish you are talking about. Fr. Parkerson’s parish, Sacred Heart in Dunn? Do you drive all the way there each Sunday? If so, God bless you. I live in Clayton, on the other side of Raleigh. I thought MY drive to Sacred Heart was long!

    I totally agree with you. It was a joy to see Bishop Burbage attend the traditional mass there last Sunday. Bless him, and bless our pastor.

    Perhaps I’ll be seeing you on Sunday!

  51. Tired: “Sure you may be sent to a rural parish or to a hospital or to an old folks home but big deal.”

    Oh yah? Try it.

  52. The leaks and spills regarding the Motu Proprio propose an interesting change in the dynamic between priest and bishop. Leaving the Traditional Rite aside itself, it seems that it will be one of the few documents issued in the last hundred years that gives rights to the priest over and above the bishop. It seems to reflect a pre-Tridentine theology of “co-workers” rather than “delegates” of the bishop. Presumably the intention of the Pope is to free priests to follow Tradition and the Church at large rather than the Episcopal whim.
    It will soften both rock and hard place.

  53. Fr. Blake: Insightful comment. Pope Ratzinger’s motto on his coat-of-arms has been Cooperatores veritatis.

  54. Tim Ferguson says:

    It has been said that, since Vatican I clarified the position of the Pope with regards to the entire Church and Vatican II treated of the position of the Bishop, the next council will have to address the position and role of the parish priest. Perhaps the coming motu proprio will provide some grist for the mill if it treats the priest as more than, as from Blake notes, a delegate of the bishop.

  55. Sean says:

    Jesus threw some people out of the temple. So much for humility, quiet suffering, etc.

  56. Brian Mershon says:

    So the suspected responses of modernist, liberal laymen and women is more important than doing what is right in the eyes of God and the Church?

    OK. I get it. Let’s not teach about artificial contraception and its evils for 40 years either, ‘K? Oops! I forgot. This already happened.

    One should do what is right in the eyes of God, the Church and tradition. One should not fall for the weakness of human respect. Of course your analysis is right on.

    I’m just praying that more priests find their manliness soon rather than whimping out “because the lay faithful” will react negatively.” It is getting old. But that is OK. It will surely continue to drive your faithful flock to traditional Latin Mass communities.

  57. RBrown says:

    Their is great virtue in being able to stand up for what you believe in, but their is still greater virtue in being humble enough to be obedient when it’s called for. Let us not forget that St. Benedict, when speaking of the abbot says that he holds the place of Christ in the monastery, nor that the episcopacy is a divine institution, and Christ said that “he who hears you hears Me.”

    Let’s take a more concrete case: What about OSB monks whose monastery has junked the weekly psalter prescribed by St Benedict? It they’re obedient to the abbot in this matter, they’re not obedient to the Rule.

  58. RBrown says:

    The leaks and spills regarding the Motu Proprio propose an interesting change in the dynamic between priest and bishop. Leaving the Traditional Rite aside itself, it seems that it will be one of the few documents issued in the last hundred years that gives rights to the priest over and above the bishop.

    Make that over and above the diocesan bishop–these rights are in fact coming from the Bishop of Rome.

    It seems to reflect a pre-Tridentine theology of “co-workers” rather than “delegates” of the bishop. Presumably the intention of the Pope is to free priests to follow Tradition and the Church at large rather than the Episcopal whim. It will soften both rock and hard place.

    An excellent observation. The authority of the Universal Pastor can mitigate any localization (i.e., vernacularization) tendencies of the ordinarius loci–this is implicit in Veterum Sapientia.

  59. RBrown says:

    It has been said that, since Vatican I clarified the position of the Pope with regards to the entire Church and Vatican II treated of the position of the Bishop, the next council will have to address the position and role of the parish priest. Perhaps the coming motu proprio will provide some grist for the mill if it treats the priest as more than, as from Blake notes, a delegate of the bishop.

    In fact, religious priests took a bigger hit from Vat II than did parish priests.

    Some years ago, returning from Rome, I was complaining about this to a member of the Curia while we were waiting for our luggage. His reply: “Vat II wasn’t good to priests–it was about bishops and the laity.”

  60. Sean says:

    Humility, quiet suffering, obedience, etc are all too often figleaves for the timid. So a priest is sent to an unpopular chaplaincy. Is his priesthood no more than a career? Are those people less worthy of his ministry?

  61. Despite steady thought about it for forty years, I’ve never been able to understand why so many priests “turned” so readily and abandoned so much of their faith so rapidly. We continue to see it in their sermons, in what they teach and don’t teach, in how they live, in the way they celebrate Mass. While most of us know some truly holy priests, they too often seem the exception rather than the rule. For the rest, the consensus in this thread would seem to blame principally the bishops above them and/or the people beneath them. But should not weak and unworthy priests themselves bear their own guilt for their acts (of omission as well as commission)?

  62. tired says:

    Fr. I am a bit taken aback by your response: “Tired: “Sure you may be sent to a rural parish or to a hospital or to an old folks home but big deal.”
    Oh yah? Try it.”

    Are you suggesting that there is something less noble about being in any of these three situations? I would think that any priest would be just as happy in any of these situations as in a big parish or in Rome. Strange response I think.

  63. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Yeah, being sent to an obscure hospital chaplaincy isn’t so awful. (I actually know a priest who requested this. He couldn’t stand the sacrileges promoted by the pastor at the happy-clappy suburban parish where he was stationed.) It is, however, spiritual, psychological, and emotional abuse on the part of the sender-gravely sinful. The priesthood isn’t just a job; neither are priests objects to be used by the bishop or his chancery.

    But there’s been a worse threat than just obscure hospital work: St. Luke’s. Many priests have been sent to places for psychological treatment. There, they were subjected to serious abuse, including psychosexual abuse.

    Probably better to leave the active ministry, disobey your bishop, and go home to Mom (as a 45 year old man), than to go to one of these re-education camps.

  64. dcs says:

    I would think that any priest would be just as happy in any of these situations as in a big parish or in Rome.

    Why would you think that? Priests are men and have human failings just like the rest of us. Even being transferred from one parish to another is enough to set a priest’s head reeling.

  65. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Sorry, Father. I hadn’t read your post. I was in no way trying to downplay the devastating effects a punitive reassignment could have on a priest. I was just pointing out that the wiseguys in the chancery have additional weapons they can, and have, use against priests.

  66. Brian Mershon: “One should do what is right in the eyes of God, the Church and tradition. One should not fall for the weakness of human respect. Of course your analysis is right on.”

    I provided an explanation, a response to a question, offering a possible reason for why some priests who would otherwise do X instead continue to do something they would prefer not to do.

    I don’t think that in what I wrote you can find me condoning or recommending what they do or why they do it. I am merely explaining things as I see them in response to a question.

  67. Jacob says:

    John wrote:
    There’s a good argument to be made that an instruction from Rome permitting ad-orientem-ad-libitum would have a far broader positive effect on liturgical practice than the proposed 1962 Missal indult.

    I agree with this statement to some degree. In all the talk about how use of the 1962 Missal would have a trickle-down effect in pulling up the 1970 Mass, I’ve never really seen any concrete discussion of just how that’s going to happen beyond simply ‘the example will do so much, etc. etc.” I have seen on the other hand lots of discussion on the balkanization of the Mass and the further spiraling downward of the 1970 Mass as traditional minded people flock to more prevalent Indult Masses.

    If there isn’t already one out there, someone needs to come up with a serious program that deliberately states just how the 1962 Mass will help the 1970 Mass.

  68. anon says:

    “I would think that any priest would be just as happy in any of these situations as in a big parish or in Rome. Strange response I think.”

    Why would you think that? While there is good and meritorious work in many of these smaller situations, one of the big reasons to become a priest is to save as many souls as possible. If one is enthusiastic about doing so, being sent to a small location where one cannot exercise his ministry fully is a great hardship.

  69. tired: “Are you suggesting that there is something less noble about being in any of these three situations? I would think that any priest would be just as happy in any of these situations as in a big parish or in Rome. Strange response I think.”

    I prefer it when people actually read what I wrote and refrain from putting extraneous “suggestions” under my own fingers.

    What is important to keep in mind, is the fact that priests are people. They have feelings and aspirations. They can be beat up, wounded and scarred just like anyone else.

    However, there are those on both the left and the right who deny a priest the right to be a man, a human being. They are somehow indignant or outraged when he might express having even so much as a bad day, much less being less than willing to take hit after hit after hit day in and year out from whiners and dissenters, the uber-pious and the self-righteous, the hyper-critical and those who suffer from the deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance. And I am not talking only about the laymen he must deal with, but also his brother priests. While priests are constrained on all sides to conform themselves to every Tom, Dick and Harry’s view of how he ought to be, the priest is required to evince boundless compassion and understanding about everyone who makes such demands.

    It is very easy to say, “Why doesn’t that priest just do what’s right regardless of the cost! He is a coward!”

    It is a very different thing to be in his shoes when he is paying the price.

  70. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    There is a time to act and there is a time to “keep one’s power dry” and I will leave it up to those on the frontline to make such decisions. Slowly but surely the tide is changing. It’s almost palpable. But I think it prudent to keep in mind that all of this will happen on God’s time and not ours. Have faith in the Lord and let’s support His priests rather than tear them down. Thank the Lord for their desire to answer His call and pray that with His help they will continue to navigate the sometime tricky waters in which they sail.

    Vivat Iesus,

    Stu

  71. Martha says:

    “I ask prayers from the readership of Father’s blog as I lovingly and prudently reintroduce a sense of reverence to our Catholic worship for those whom I have been called to serve.”

    Father, be assured of my most fervent prayers. I will also ask two monasteries of contemplative nuns to keep you in their prayers.

    En los sagrados corazones,

  72. David says:

    I have to admit that as a recent convert I can only look at the previous 40 years with some consternation. It’s very rare to hear a homily that upholds the teachings of the Church, to witness a Mass that helps one to understand that something [I]sacred[/I] is taking place, to go to a retreat centre that [I]doesn’t[/I] offer courses on the Enneagram, etc. On the other hand, the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration are almost seen as [I]medieval[/I] by many pastors and religious.

    It’s clear that the Church is in crisis. For me a strong indication of that has been the advice of a seminarian with whom I was talking about the Tridentine Mass – he advised me to keep any involvement with the Traditional Latin Mass “under the radar” if I was considering a job in a Catholic school. The meaning being that otherwise I would jeopardise a potential position.

    What have we come to when any interest in something that, in an organically-developing form, was the fundament of the Church’s liturgy for 1,200 years is how seen as something to be kept “under the radar” as if it were a mild sexual perversion or an extreme opinion?

    As it hard as it will undoubtedly be, it is unfortunately up to those few individual priests who make the brave effort to properly catechise their flock and face the negative propaganda that Catholics have been fed concerning the Bad Old Daysâ„¢ to help remedy this crisis. It won’t happen by itself.

  73. David says:

    I have to admit that as a recent convert I can only look at the previous 40 years with some consternation. It’s very rare to hear a homily that upholds the teachings of the Church, to witness a Mass that helps one to understand that something [I]sacred[/I] is taking place, to go to a retreat centre that [I]doesn’t[/I] offer courses on the Enneagram, etc. On the other hand, the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration are almost seen as [I]medieval[/I] by many pastors and religious.

    It’s clear that the Church is in a deep state of crisis. For me a strong indication of this has been the recent well-intentioned advice of a seminarian with whom I was talking about the Tridentine Mass – he advised me to keep any involvement with the Traditional Latin Mass “under the radar” if I was considering a job in a Catholic school. The meaning being that otherwise I would jeopardise a potential teaching position.

    What have we come to when any interest in something that, in an organically-developing form, was the fundament of the Church’s liturgy for 1,200 years is how seen as something to be kept “under the radar” as if it were a mild sexual perversion or an extreme opinion?

    As it hard as it will undoubtedly be, it is unfortunately up to those few individual priests who make the brave effort to properly catechise their flock and face the negative propaganda that Catholics have been fed concerning the Bad Old Daysâ„¢ to help remedy this crisis. It won’t happen by itself.

  74. Sean says:

    Father, priests are men like anyone else but then again these pressures are not unlike those faced by anyone with job, family, etc. Such a person might pay the price of unemployment, repossession, divorce, etc. What is the price paid by a priest? This is not a rhetorical question. What are the implications in terms of money, accommodation, unemployment, etc. It seems to me that priests by their nature have less to lose.

  75. John Polhamus says:

    I offer this little ditty in a spirit of wry humour. It seems the obvious place to do so, though I’m not sure how many people will read it, buried as it is under the seventy-fourth comment, but I hope it makes you chuckle. I still think more priests could make the effort, doesn’t mean that EVERY mass has to be celebrated ad Orientem, and not every fire turns into a firestorm. Anyway, my lyric is taken from my own Book of Carols through the year, which I’m calling a “SarMummery of Carols.”

    “Father, Turn East!”
    (Sung to the tune of ‘People Look East,’ French Trad.)

    1. People look East! A man sits there.
    Tabernacles were located where
    Tables were made, gradines were blunted,
    Christ our Lord off to the side was shunted.
    People look East at mass today;
    See the fashions of the day.

    2. When you pray, reach your hands aloft!
    Seems God’s arms aren’t long e-noff!!
    Pop music’s nice in any weather;
    Chant is good, but our sound-system is better.
    Liturgies change each day or two,
    That’s the fruit of Vatican II.

    3. Father turn East, you’ll miss the spate
    Of the faithful who come to mass late.
    Send a mes-sage to those who back-slide,
    Dir-rec-tion-al-ly show to them your back-side.
    Turn to the East, as if to say
    “Sixties’ laxity’s passing away!”

    4. Turn to the East! The time has come;
    Put “Lay Ministers” under your thumb!
    Prayerful intents beat fascination
    With so-called active participation!
    Father turn East at mass today.
    Versus Populum’s clearly passe!!

    Hebdomadary

  76. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    John,

    Even coming in 74 (said in a Kasey Kasem voice), your ditty did make me chuckle.

    Cheers,
    Stu

  77. AC says:

    Father, while i understand how hard making these choices must be and how hard it is to stick to tradition if it means feeling the wrath of a bishop, i think we’re all just asking that someone finally stand up for tradition. And not just in terms of which direction you face or if you have a couple of latin prayers in the NO mess, i mean standing up and demanding the traditional Mass that the saints all loved, i mean telling your flocks that birth control is wrong even if 95 percent of them use it, i mean telling them all religions are NOT equal, etc. Demanding the return of the baltimore cat., the oath against modernism, and end to false ecumenalism, etc. This is the truth faith, a faith that is now completely gone. And if priests aren’t willing to say “to hell with my job, my car, my cushy life — i’m going with God,” then who will? Who is going to stand up for us handful of real Catholics? Let’s face it, before V2 75% of american catholics went to church EVERY week. Now, 17% go just regularly. This experiment failed, and all these priests on this site know it, yet chose to keep up this charade. We need you! We’re crying out for you! If you won’t stand up for us, who will?

  78. Sean: \”It seems to me that priests by their nature have less to lose.\”

    I suppose it does seem that way… to you.

    What you are doing, however, is setting up a competitive, rather than complementary, relationship between priests and the laypeople you describe.

    This isn\’t a competition.

    The incorrect division of priest from laypeople in the way you just divided them is what leads on the lefty-progressivist side of things to priests abdicating their authority and the role they ought to fulfill in the Church to laypeople, under the false impression that unless laypeople do what priests do, they are not \”equals\” in the Church. This leads to a nasty and subtle sort of clericalism whereby laypeople are not seen to have dignity of their own unless they do what priests do. This is the result of turning the relationship of priests and laypeople into a competition. \”X has more to lose than Y.\”

    At the same time, know that I have written often about the difficulties laypeople face in living out their vocations and how the challenges they endure might make some priests curl up and call for their mommies. But don\’t think for an instant that the priesthood doesn\’t have its challenges, challenges that might make you shrink in terror. Christ provided for priest with a sacrament, after all, in addition to the baptism and confirmation Eucharist, we all receive.

    Avoid turning this into a competition. What is needed is mutual support between priests and laypeople.

  79. anon says:

    Getting back to the original topic of this thread, it is my contention that the only way the “ad orientem” revolution will take place is if all concerned priests in the US and around the world decide, on one particular Sunday, to start saying Mass this way, recognizing that they are exercising a legitimate option. If there is a large enough turnout, then it will be impossible for all the priests concerned to be punished. However, if only a few priests do it on this particular Sunday, then they will be made examples of.

  80. AC: I certainly agree that more priests must take a stand. Who will not agree with that.

    Therefore, I ask you, when Father takes a stand, what will you do to back him up? What are you willing to sacrifice, to offer him your support? What are you willing to do to support vocations to the priesthood and the ongoing formation of priests after ordination? I say “you”, but I of course mean everyone who expresses these and similar thoughts. Are you (all) actively and concretely involved in supporting vocations? When there is something good happening, do you make sure to say something or offer a word of thanks or encouragement? When there is work to be done in the parish, are you putting yourself on the line to help? Or is this someone else’s job?

  81. anon: “all concerned priests in the US and around the world decide, on one particular Sunday, to start saying Mass this way,”

    Okay… we get that organized and let’s see what happens! o{];¬)

    I wrote something like that once, opining that if the liberal-progressivists seem to be able to get eventual ecclesiastical approval after breaking the law long enough (e.g., Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.) why can’t we obtain even tolerance by doing things that are perfectly legitimate (e.g., using Latin, saying Mass ad orientem

  82. David says:

    Quite right, Father. A priest must not feel that he will stand – and fall – alone. Concrete suggestions from your perspective would be very helpful.

  83. AC says:

    Father, i would never attend a NO mess — I only assist at a traditional Mass which is an indult. So i don’t have this problem to the extent that others do. However, we are denied all the sacraments sans marriage by our bishop and our priests won’t stand up either. Most feel stuck saying the true Mass. But, so you know, i frequently donate to the FSSP, the Clear Creek monks, etc. for the formation of true alter Christos. I help out at church when i can. And, God forbid, I even give money and buy my christmas cards from the SSPX because, if it weren’t for the late Arch Bishop Lefevre, we wouldn’t even have our indult. I challange anyone to find a priest who left the diocese and went independent or stood up for tradition and was stuck in some awful place that is now starving because he did the right thing. It doesn’t happen. Traditional priests are always taken care of. In fact, they’re in such high demand, they could start a chapel basically anywhere and have a flock instantly there’s such a demand. Again, i ask all the priests here to read “Priest, where is thy Mass? Mass, where is thy priest?” You can get it from http://angeluspress.org — You will read stories of all kinds of diocense priests, even a msgr., who left the diocese and went independent after much torment and prayer and who are all very happy with their decision and closer to God than ever.

  84. dcs says:

    all concerned priests in the US and around the world decide, on one particular Sunday, to start saying Mass this way

    I think it would suffice to do this one diocese at a time. Because I don’t think bishops really consult with each other before deciding to come down hard on priests. And it might not be a bad idea to start with a weekday Mass. Say, at a church with side altars suggest to the congregation that they all sit in front of a certain side altar (if it is small), and then celebrate Mass on that altar, which altar in general would probably not allow for vs. populum celebration.

  85. anon says:

    The only other way I can see the ad orientem mass taking off is for a couple of bishops to start saying mass in this manner in some very important cathedrals.

  86. AC says:

    Why are we all so concerned with an ad orientem mass? it’s still the NO mass at the end. let’s at least argue over something semi traditional.

  87. While I sympathize with demands for Tradition Now, I recognize that an incremental approach may be necessary to start pulling the Novus Ordo out of the ditch. And I doubt that, in the typical parish in the typical diocese, any great firestorm would result if a priest announced (perhaps with just a bit of catechesis) that, in response to writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, he was going to try celebrating a “special Mass” (maybe eastward, maybe Latin, maybe even both) maybe once a month, perhaps First Fridays, perhaps the early 3rd Sunday morning Mass. Or if even this gives him the willies, maybe an extra “private” Mass that those interested can walk in and attend. Do priests really have good reason to be afraid of their shadows even before they’ve ever tried anything? How many bishops would object to such modest attempts to re-enchant the Mass? Everyone seems to assume they’re all bully boys? No doubt, some are. But really, how many?

    In a parish I know with few if any parishioners familiar with the arcana we discuss here, a newish pastor announced this year that one of his two Christmas morning Masses would be “special” – it was ad orientem, Latin with Gregorian-chanted ordinary and propers, communion with intinction, four verses of Adeste Fidelis sung by the congregation, Ave Verum Corpus instead of a folk ditty during Communion, etc. The attendance at this special Mass was substantially larger than at the regular Mass that morning, and I doubt that there were any significant complaints.

  88. dcs says:

    I challange anyone to find a priest who left the diocese and went independent or stood up for tradition and was stuck in some awful place that is now starving because he did the right thing. It doesn’t happen.

    The fact that such a priest is not “starving” or “stuck in some awful place” is not necessarily evidence that he did the right thing. In fact some might think it is evidence that he did not. I shudder to think what might happen to the Church if priests start getting the idea that they can “go independent” if they don’t like the assignments given to them by their legitimate superiors. Some priests probably have legitimate reasons for going “independent.” The late Fr. Wickens comes to mind. Others probably don’t have such reasons.

    Suppose there’s a traditionally-minded priest stuck in an awful Novus Ordo parish. Why is leaving the parish, and the diocese, to celebrate the TLM exclusively necessarily the “right thing”? What about all the souls in the awful NO parish who could be lost if he leaves and who might have been saved if he had stayed?

  89. dcs says:

    The only other way I can see the ad orientem mass taking off is for a couple of bishops to start saying mass in this manner in some very important cathedrals.

    But that probably won’t happen any time soon.

    Why are we all so concerned with an ad orientem mass? it’s still the NO mass at the end.

    Because 99% of Catholics who assist at Mass do so at the NO.

  90. AC says:

    How could leaving to pray the traditional Mass and live the traditional faith be wrong? If it is wrong now, it was wrong for 2,000 years, and that means the church and all the saints were wrong for that long until Vatican II. And if you don’t believe that is true, then you believe the NO mass is fine, all religions are equal thought is fine, praying in a mosque or jewish temple is fine, women handing out Communion into someone’s hand is fine, etc. I’m sorry, i don’t say i believe the NO mass is just as good but i prefer the “tridentine” mass. I don’t think it’s good and i don’t simple prefer another rite. and i don’t call it tridentine — Trent only confirmed what had been the Mass in perfection since the 6th century. that name is the name givin by the liberals to confuse people.

  91. CDB says:

    “While most of us know some truly holy priests, they too often seem the exception rather than the rule.” This has always been the case, and not only with priests, but laymen, too.

  92. RBrown says:

    Getting back to the original topic of this thread, it is my contention that the only way the “ad orientem” revolution will take place is if all concerned priests in the US and around the world decide, on one particular Sunday, to start saying Mass this way, recognizing that they are exercising a legitimate option. If there is a large enough turnout, then it will be impossible for all the priests concerned to be punished. However, if only a few priests do it on this particular Sunday, then they will be made examples of.

    No, the only way there were will reorientation to ad orientem is if the pope says it must be so.

  93. anon says:

    “No, the only way there were will reorientation to ad orientem is if the pope says it must be so.”

    That’s not going to happen, because that would mean going against Inter Oecumenici #91. If the Pope started saying all masses ad orientem, then things might change. (But then again, JPII said all of his masses that way.)

  94. dcs says:

    How could leaving to pray the traditional Mass and live the traditional faith be wrong?

    One word: “leaving.” One can pray the traditional Mass and live the traditional faith without abandoning one’s flock. If a priest is enduring a genuine persecution under his bishop, well, then, consider what the laymen under that same bishop are also enduring.

    If it is wrong now, it was wrong for 2,000 years, and that means the church and all the saints were wrong for that long until Vatican II. And if you don’t believe that is true, then you believe the NO mass is fine, all religions are equal thought is fine, praying in a mosque or jewish temple is fine, women handing out Communion into someone’s hand is fine, etc. I’m sorry, i don’t say i believe the NO mass is just as good but i prefer the “tridentine” mass. I don’t think it’s good and i don’t simple prefer another rite. and i don’t call it tridentine—Trent only confirmed what had been the Mass in perfection since the 6th century. that name is the name givin by the liberals to confuse people.

    Your premise doesn’t support your conclusion. In the first place, I don’t think that the NOM is fine, nor do I hold any of the other aberrant opinions listed in your post. Stating that a priest just can’t get up and leave because he doesn’t like his current assignment is not equivalent to saying that the Church and Her Saints were all wrong for 2,000 years.

  95. AC says:

    You say he can’t leave because he “doesn’t like his assignment.”

    Again, that’s the difference between you and someone who is truly traditional. Not liking an assisgnment is being sent from a NO church in the suburb to a NO church in the city. Being denied the right to teach the real faith and pray the true Mass for your flock and administer the true sacraments is something no bishop and no pope can force upon a priest.

  96. Brian Mershon says:

    And I am not condemning you, Fr., for the analysis. This is merely a “pep talk” of sorts from a somewhat frustrated layman who has heard this response so many times before it makes me sick.

    I don’t know what it is like to be a priest. Priests have no idea whatsoever what it is like to work in the secular woarld for 10 to 12 hours per day, assist Mom and Wife with homeschooling and trying to make ends meet “all for the glody or God.” Then, when Sunday comes, which is supposed to be the Lord’s day so we can rightly honor and worship God, have to decide which of the Novus Ordo parishes will be the least offensive to our Lord and to our own sensibilities.

    Oh, and throw in an artificially created vocations “crisis” which keeps the priests who want to offer the TLM from being able to do so due to the excessive number of Masses he must say each Sunday.

    But we accommodate the Spanish and Maronite and Vietnames folks with their special language Masses. No questions asksed.

    So, in short, perhaps I am frustrated. But I am more frustrated by Priests who know exactly WHAT they must do, but do n’t have the manly gumption to suck it up and just do it.

    You will have more against you than for you. But you will be doing right in the eyes of God, so what in the world is the problem? Read the Gospel, suck it up, and be prepared to suffer. Read what some of the martyrs endured for Christ’s sake–literally…

  97. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    I don’t know what it is like to be a priest. Priests have no idea whatsoever what it is like to work in the secular woarld for 10 to 12 hours per day, assist Mom and Wife with homeschooling and trying to make ends meet “all for the glory or God.”

    Oh boy! Given your statement, I would wager priests in general understand your life much better than you understand theirs. Just a hunch.

  98. Priests were not always priests. Some men with later vocations have actually had a real life before ordination, as opposed to the dream-like existence they are thought to be living after ordination.

    This seems to be bogging down (or is it blogging down). I posted the question. I responded.

  99. tired says:

    “I prefer it when people actually read what I wrote and refrain from putting extraneous “suggestions” under my own fingers.” I did read what you wrote and did not put any suggestions under your fingers but simply asked a question (hence the question mark) that was not unreasonable given your response of “Oh yah? Try it.”

    “It is very easy to say, “Why doesn’t that priest just do what’s right regardless of the cost! He is a coward!”It is a very different thing to be in his shoes when he is paying the price.”

    I did not suggest that one must do what is right regardless of cost. Clearly if you were to be excommunicated or executed one might reasonably avoid engaging in certain liturgical activities; however, I asked the question whether any of the punishments that I specified were really all that terrible.

    Am I missing something about the possible consequences? In St. Paul, for example, what would be the punishment for adopting more traditional liturgical practices (non TLM)?

  100. AC says:

    Brian, i feel your pain, and understand your frustration. It really is unbelieveable that Sunday is the least religious day of the week for most Catholics in NO churches. But what do we expect when priests don’t stand up for tradition? And it used to drive me nuts when JPII used to complain that Catholics watch too much sports on sunday and don’t keep the day holy when it was him that allowed Catholics, like Jews, to fulfill a SUNDAY obligation on saturday. What did he expect!?! the only thing you have wrong in this Brian is that you’re still going to a NO mass. While i wish you had an indult, there must be a SSPX mass or independent chapel close by. Go to it. Help it flourish. Only once every traditional is in a traditional Mass site, wheather indult or SSPX or sedevaticanist, only then will Rome and the priests pay any attention to us. Until then, we’ll all be having this rediculous discussion about small-minded breadcrumbs like whether they say a NO mass towards the people or God or if there’s a couple of latin prayers or not in a NO mass.

  101. Fr Kevin says:

    As far as ad orientem is concerned we might hope that the response to the Synod on the Eucharist (the other document expected this month) might point to legitimate options in the celebration of the Mass. Others might be not having Ministers of Holy Communion or female servers or communion under both kinds or the sign of peace. Both documents are of importance, especially to those of us who regarding the Novus et Vetus to be both legitimate.

  102. AC says:

    Fr. Kevin, you don’t have to have girl alterboys or communion in the hand or anything else you mentioned now and you certainly don’t need the the synod for this. All of these things are options that a bishop or priest can use if he wishes. if you don’t want to give Communion in the hand or have women hand out Communion or girl alterboys then don’t. But also don’t, and i don’t want this to sound mean or disrespectful, but don’t hide behind the need for a document when there’s no need for one. Yes, if you follow the letter of the law you may be repremanded by your bishop — even falsly forced to change back. But let him bring that action. Don’t sit back and just wait for another document, and certainly don’t misinform people that you actually need another document. This is why Brian, me and others are so frustrated!

  103. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Kevin, The abuses of the excesses uses of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (so called) was addressed specifically in a document signed by seven Vatican dicastery heads. It basically prohibited their use in but only the mkost extreme circumstances. It was authored in 1997.

    “The 1997 document goes beyond merely stressing that extraordinary ministers should be reserved to extraordinary circumstances. It spells out that “certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated.” Thus, “the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass is to be avoided and eliminated. Why? Because it arbitrarily extends the concept of Ôa great number of the faithful.” http://catholicinsight.com/online/church/liturgy/article_470.shtml

    Apparently, it was ignored like nearly all the rest of the documents from the Holy See in the past 15 to 20 years. Or ach pastor has his own interpretation on how these things should be “applied” all in the name of being “pastoral” of course.

  104. Cathy Dawson says:

    “…there must be a SSPX mass or independent chapel close by. Go to it. Help it flourish. Only once every traditional is in a traditional Mass site, wheather indult or SSPX or sedevaticanist, only then will Rome and the priests pay any attention to us.”

    First, they won’t pay attention to us. They’ll say good riddance. Second, there is a very real possibility that it is a sin to attend the SSPX Mass.

    What might really be helpful to the bishops and priests opposed to traditional practices would be for them to see them bear fruit in traditional communities. More often, it seems, that the fruit that is born is anger and disobedience.

  105. Sean says:

    Father, when I said that priests by their nature have less to lose I did not mean to set up an opposition between priest and laity. I meant that by the fact of taking on a harder life than the rest of us (poor salary, loneliness, grim accommodation) it is difficult for me to understand what dire punishment can actually be levied by a bishop.

    As for what I myself have done, unfortunately I have not yet had an opportunity to support my priest for taking a stand. Just 8 months ago I bit my lip and left for an indult mass after my priest saw fit to paraphrase the creed. Were such a thing to happen I would be keen to personally confront his opponents, contribute to the cost of some decent vestments, serve an old mass, things like that.

  106. AC says:

    Cathy, if you think it’s a sin then you’re the one in disagreence with the Vatican, not the SSPX. Card. Hoyos of Ecclesia Dei has already said that is it not a sin to assist at an SSPX Mass or to give a weekly donation. He said it was a jurisdictional disagreement with Rome that the faithful need not worry about. And believe me, they pay attention. In France, there’s more SSPXers than there are people in diocene churches. Which many say is one of the main reasons the Holy Father is looking to free up the true Mass.

  107. The 1997 document goes beyond merely stressing that extraordinary ministers should be reserved to extraordinary circumstances. It spells out that “certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated.” Thus, “the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass is to be avoided and eliminated.

    At a Louisville conference in 2003, Cardinal Arinze (Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship) decried the regularly scheduled “ordinary” use of extraordinary ministers of holy communion. Asked when the use of EMHC’s would be legitimate, he said:

    A situation in which extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are allowed would be, he suggested, a parish with “one to five thousand communicants and the priest is on the other side of 80 and has arthritis.”

    http://www.thewandererpress.com/a7-31-2003.htm

    How many different ways need the same thing be said for pastors to get the message?

  108. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    As for what I myself have done, unfortunately I have not yet had an opportunity to support my priest for taking a stand. Just 8 months ago I bit my lip and left for an indult mass after my priest saw fit to paraphrase the creed.

    Aside for the desire to go to the indult Mass, why bite your lip? Don’t you owe it to the priest to discuss this with him in a charitable manner? I had a similar experience and wrote my priest a nice letter as to why I was leaving the parish. The letter, coupled with a retreat he did at the same time, was the impetus for some reflection on his part and a full turn around on issues regarding the liturgy and doing it by the book. He even got up in front of the parish and admitted that he was doing some thing wrong and change was needed because “out of obedience, His grace will flow”. True humility on his part and positive change for that parish.

  109. Sean says:

    Jeffrey, not when the priest limits the discussion to a show of hands taken while celebrating mass on a vague proposal with over 90% abstentions.

  110. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Jeffrey, not when the priest limits the discussion to a show of hands taken while celebrating mass on a vague proposal with over 90% abstentions.

    Yes, problematic I would agree. That would probably send me through the roof as well. But still, I think in situations as such you owe it to both the priest and yourself to put your words on paper and make a statement.

  111. RBrown says:

    I don’t know what it is like to be a priest. Priests have no idea whatsoever what it is like to work in the secular woarld for 10 to 12 hours per day, assist Mom and Wife with homeschooling and trying to make ends meet “all for the glody or God.” Then, when Sunday comes, which is supposed to be the Lord’s day so we can rightly honor and worship God, have to decide which of the Novus Ordo parishes will be the least offensive to our Lord and to our own sensibilities.

    Every Opus Dei priest has had a previous profession.

    Of my professors at the Angelicum, one had been an electric engineer, another an aeronautical engineer, a third (Opus Dei) was a civil lawyer. There might have been others, but those three come to mind.

    The problem with many priests now is not that they haven’t had a previous profession but rather that they have been formed to have a superficial understanding of the priesthood. Why? Because the priesthood has been trivialized.

  112. Jordan Potter says:

    “Card. Hoyos of Ecclesia Dei has already said that is it not a sin to assist at an SSPX Mass or to give a weekly donation.”

    Oh come on, AC, we’ve already gone over this. You’re misrepresenting what Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said, evidently to salve your conscience over your giving your support to a rebellious (“independent”) priest and his illicit Masses. Your recruitment efforts here are wearing thin, and I wish you’d just hang it up.

  113. Brian Day says:

    Father Z,

    Isn’t it time to shut down this thread?