“Save the liturgy, save the world”


The Eucharist, its celebration and itself as the extraordinary Sacrament, is the “source and summit of Christian life”.

If we really believe that, then we must also hold that what we do in church, what we believe happens in a church, makes an enormous difference.

Do we believe the consecration really does something? Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?

If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.

So does our good or bad reception of Holy Communion.

So must violations of rubrics and irreverence.

Mass is not merely a “teaching moment” or a “celebration of unity” or a “tedious obligation”. Our choice of music, architecture, ceremonies and language affect more than one small congregation in one building. We are interconnected in both our common human nature and in baptism. When we sin we hurt the whole Body of Christ the Church.

If that is true for sin, it must also be true for our liturgical choices. They must also have personal and corporate impact. Any Mass can be offered for the intentions of the living or the dead.

Not even death is an obstacle to the efficacy of Holy Mass.

Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.

In each age since Christ’s Ascension, people have felt they were in the End Times. They were right. In any moment, when the conditions are right, the Lord could return.

Considering what is happening in the world now, I am pushed to think about the way Mass is being celebrated, even the number of Masses being celebrated. Once there were many communities of contemplatives, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament or in contemplation, in collective and in private prayer. There were many more Masses.

Many more people went to confession.

Who can know how they all lifted burdens from the world and turned large and small tides by their prayers to God for mercy and in reparation for sin?

A single droplet of Christ’s Precious Blood consecrated at Holy Mass is the price of every soul ever created in God’s unfathomable plan.

So I repeat:


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65 Responses to “Save the liturgy, save the world”

  1. Diane says:

    I have believed this for over a year now. It is the driving force behind my new website, which I have had to suspend work on temporarily as I help my mother get settled into a new place, and deal with long work hours with upcoming engineering release dates. It doesn’t help that I don’t know html or Frontpage that well. I get a little time to work on it, learn something, then forget what I learned because it has been so many weeks since I was last able to sit down with it. I have been considering a third party to initiate it, but realistically cannot afford that.

    The motto of AdOrientem.com is: Restoring a sense of the sacred in ourselves, in the liturgy, and in the world.

    I have debated back and forth if liturgy should be the first thing in that line.

    My concluding thought was that before we can restore a sense of the sacred in the liturgy, we have to humble ourselves upon entering the Church and first, fall silent. My primary aim in the beginning will be to help restore that silence in our churches before and after Mass. I’ve got several ideas of how we can facilitate this in a most positive way. We have to help them to want that silence. Helping them to want it, involves changing their mindset, not beating them over the head. It will take cooperation of many priests and laypeople, and above all – prayer and hope that it can work. We have to delicately “unteach” people what they’ve been taught for the last 40 years – that talking in church is ok. I’ve seen one priest after another attempt to address this from the pulpit, but it goes ignored. Nice try, but there are other ways and it’s time we begin to use them. That is, a more powerful approach than all of the lectures that can be mustered, laced fully with charity for those who do not yet understand.

    First, the mindset of those who do understand also needs to change. The anger must be replaced with charity first. We “get it” only by the grace of God. One who plays a piano well should not be annoyed with someone who does not know how to play. We will get many with a charitable approach, and few with an angered, fist-pounding, or barbed approach.

    Once I figure out how to get my website launched, I will be able to better lay the ideas out, and be open to communicate other ideas given by supporters. If it is God’s will – a groundswell and movement will begin among pastors, priests and parishes. Initially targeting restoration of silence is, and should be the very first step. At the heart will be the need for tremendous courage, faith, hope, and charity on the part of those priests who “get it” and want silence before and after Mass.

    If we can restore silence before and after Mass (and in some parishes “during”), we have made one giant step towards restoring a sense of the sacred in the liturgy, and ultimatey in ourselves.

    All the beautiful liturgies we could attend can do no good for us, if we lack interior and exterior silence before the Holy of Holies.

  2. Christopher says:

    I can only say… yes, yes, yes! Sadly we don’t hear enough of this sort of thing
    at Mass on Sundays. In fact, I usually hear just the opposite…

  3. Valerius says:

    Of course the overall reduction in the number of Masses, and the intention of the
    priest at those which are offered, must be very significant. Surely one of the drivers behind Vatican II – the sanctification of the laity, was intended to go some way to compensate for the radical decline in numbers entering the consecrated life. When the motor fails, we all have to pick up an oar.

    I always read with interest reports of how many members of the laity now attend DAILY Mass. e.g. about 10% of the entire Catholic population of S. Korea, I think, and here in the U.S. it seems to be increasing year by year. And the congregations are of mixed ages.

    Even the devotion centered on Mercy Sunday, probably the most significant new
    devotion of the current age, while nothing compared to the Holy Sacrifice, also calls
    for the spiritual offering of the Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. (St Gertrude
    spoke on the value of this offering, as I seem to recall). Another (much lower) level of compensation to make up for the reduced number of occasions at which the Holy
    Sacrifice is offered? Not to mention reduced devotion and understanding. Similarly the prayer of the angel at Fatima.

    It is hardly surprising that movements such as the Legion of Mary and Opus Dei
    were raised up as the 20th century progressed. The laity would have to
    become very devout in very large numbers to compensate for the demographic winter (in terms of both numbers and faith) in our convents and monasteries.

    Anyone see this month’s National Geographic on the top boy and girl baby names here, decade by decade. It charts the descendancy of ‘Mary’ and the rise of ‘Michael’ at about 1960. Speak’s for itself. God help us! God will never fail us.

  4. Personally, I prefer the maxim that “the hokey pokey really is what’s it’s all about,” given the origin of that term. But hey, that’s just me.

  5. Father Z,

    Save the liturgy, save the world.

    It seems to me that Pope Benedict himself has (in effect) said this. Or at least something like “Save the liturgy, save the Church”, or perhaps “Disintegration of the liturgy, crisis in the Church”.

    Given a world (if not a Church) that could use a lot of saving, and a liturgy that probably cannot even survive in its present form – if only for the simple reason that it has no present form – I wonder whether you could suggest a plausible reason why the post-synodal exhortation on the liturgy is still unseen.

    Many of us who are so baffled by what appears to be inexplicable inaction will be grateful for any sensible hint you can provide.

    Perhaps there is action underway that is invisible to us. But the simple suggestion that local matters in China, Poland, Turkey, etc. are more diverting or pressing rings hollow. As does any suggestion that more time is needed to work out details by someone who’s obviously been working on them for many years. Surely the world (if not Rome itself) has been burning long enough, and enough fiddling has already been done.

    So there must be some plausible explanation that eludes most of us. What might it be? For instance, there is a seemingly obvious reason for the delay in the motu proprio on the traditional rite. Could it be that there is comparable episcopal opposition to any saving reform of the ordinary rite?

  6. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    My impression from the writings of Benedict is that althugh he believes the appointment of strong orthodox bishops is needed to renew the church he believes that the restoration of the liturgy is more important.I used to be of a different opinion i.e.that the appointment of bishops is the key priority but now I have begun to see things differently.Ann Muggeridge in a classic book details all the travesties of the post VII era and traces them to the ground shaking changes in the liturgy.If the correct celebration of the liturgy becomes the mandatory norm in the church then quitea few bishops who now are wafflers would become stronger and new bishops would be selected on how they viewed the Mass.If a loving openness to the 62 missal and a strong desire for a reform of the NO was a requirement for all prospective new bishops we might see a sea of change in the church.Perhaps I am naive,but I am beginning to strongly think that the Mass correctly and devoutly celebrated would shake the world.

  7. Jon says:

    Father McAfee,

    I believe your epiphany has long been encapsulated in the traditionalist euphemism:

    The Mass is Everything.

  8. Jon,

    Or is it

    “It’s the Mass that matters!”

    (In Michael Davies’ proper English; over here it might be “It’s the Mass, stupid!”)

    Seriously, I suspect Fr. McAfee is precisely right, that a lot of bishops who haven’t been leaders on the liturgy (or perhaps anything else) might be prepared to be better followers now. What they need is a leader. And of course most of us here think they’ve got one, that all he needs is to “Just do it!”

  9. Barb says:

    Which is why we must pray for the Holy Father and for the restoration of the 1962 liturgical books and liturgical piety as discussed by Dr. Alcuin Reid, God bless him!

  10. Mary says:

    “I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter anymore whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us.” Joseph Ratzinger, “My Life:Recollections, 1927-1977″

    Doesn’t the hold-up on the exhortation mean that there is something that may cause controversy in it? That is, it is more than just a re-hashing of the suggestions put forth by the bishops? If it were the latter it would likely have been issued months ago. Benedict does care deeply about the Mass. As difficult as it is to wait, I think he just wants to make sure he gets it right the first time.

  11. Brian says:

    I’m not sure of the point of the baby-name reference in the second or third post. For what is is worth, the most popular baby boy name here in Texas is Jose, for a few years running.

    In any case, I think we are letting our American Fordist (dare I say it, with a nod to Max Weber, Protestant work ethic) ideal of efficiency get in the way of understanding how work is done in Europe, espcially Italy.. Seeing a problem is one thing — and everyone knows that BXVI sees the problem. Finding the best way to fix it and how to implement it is another things, and often takes time and thought. I assume that he is letting it simmer, working on gettings support so that when it drops, the implementation goes as smoothly as possible. A poorly written MP without the support of Bishops — who will have to implement it — does no good.

  12. Rob says:

    Actually, I can see the motu proprio being disastrous. If it really allows “anybody” to do it, then we could see the guy that did the Halloween mass in LA doing his own “innovative” Latin mass. Yikes! If he is going to release this, it is going to have to be carefully scripted to avoid scandal.

    Of course, I can rest easy because I have an indult FSSP mass only twenty-five miles away.

    Dominus vobiscum!

  13. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    I hope that Mary and Brian are correct and that Pope Benedict is letting the Exhortation simmer while he gathers support from bishops. They can be ready with press releases in support as soon as it is released.If the document willbe as consequential or even more than Mediator Dei I can see why the delay but the Holy Father has lost the momentum that was gained after the synod (maybe thats a plus).For my part as a pastor I am beside myself over the prolonged delay.Thinking it would be released in the early fall I had all my priests preach a series of sermons on the liturgical writings of Benedict. Then thinking it would be released in December I wrote a series of articles in our bulletin this november and decemeber on the upcoming exhortation.I sort of look like a fool.A parish scheduled Fr.Fessio to give a day long presentation on Pope Benedict and the liturgy this february again thinking the exhortation would be out in January.My parish will be hosting a series of talk on the Exhortation and have invited noted speakers but the darn thing is still not released.Meanwhile the Georgetown Center for Liturgy in D.C. is running a program in Rome together with Foyer Unitas entitled Dining In tHe Kingdom.Pope Benedict is on the brochure along with a picture of three priests concelebrating,(perhaps at Georgetown) and none of the three is wearing a chasuble! I have never witnessed such a delay in my years as a priest except the one Pope Paul had in issuing Humanae Vitae.The delay in both writing and then issuing it contributed to the atmosphere of dissent that followed.It gave the idea that the church was in doubt.That delay was calamitous.God willing this unbelievable delay will have a better result. And I doubt the Halloween priest will celebrate according to the 62 missal;he doesnot celebrate according to the 69 missal as itis.

  14. Ave Maria! says:

    Last week I heard that the Mass is a gathering of the community to give thanks–which is true but can be done in any protestant church or even in a restaurant for that matter.

    The priest did not adminster Holy Communion but sat down and let the ladies do it. He did not purify vessels either.

    Yesterday the father omitted the penitential rite, kyrie, gloria and creed. Another song was substituted for the Angus Dei and he said something like : behold the Lamb, believe what you see and receive who you are –when holding up the Host. The words of the consecration seemed okay so I guess it was ‘valid’.

    I get a little upset over the mockery of Our Lord at Mass. It is no one’s private property but you might think so. Bad theology and bad behavior are in evidence.

    I long for a holy and properly celebrated Mass and maybe even a true homily sometime.

  15. Fr. McAfee,

    I hope . . . that Pope Benedict is letting the Exhortation simmer while he gathers support from bishops.

    I wonder whether from your vantage point as a senior pastor you see any evidence that this process of steam-gathering is actually occurring.

    From my somewhat lower vantage point, it’s easier to see indications of opposition fomenting while we wait. Which seems to be the more usual result in the Church — that delay of an initiative tends to favor those who oppose it.

  16. Jon says:

    “I think we are letting our American Fordist (dare I say it, with a nod to Max Weber, Protestant work ethic) ideal of efficiency get in the way of understanding how work is done in Europe, especially Italy.”

    I believe there’s much truth in what Brian says. I was thinking this very thing earlier today. The American business culture is so much a part of who we are and how we see the world, that other ways of seeing and doing often can’t be comprehended by us. That said, I think it’s also apparent from history that other popes defended the faith in a much more direct and explicit manner. My reading of history leads me to believe that pontiffs like Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, and Pius XI would not have brooked delay and obfuscation by underlings, much less remained quiet while the Catholic world fell apart like paper in a pond. However my reading of history also reminds me of the inconceivable (to an American)suffering of Europe’s past century, and a resulting reluctance to put forth with Yankee clarity and force that has become as much part of the European makeup as that clarity and force has become part of our own. We are all at the same time sons and victims of our fathers and what they have passed through. Patience is in order. Charity demands empathy.

    At the same time our martyrdom is very real. We in the Church who want simply to worship the way that our fathers worshiped, in a way that Peter (JPII) himself declared right and legitimate and worthy of respect, are denied that right and persecuted to the point of anguish. Why must this be so when the very Vicar of Christ has told us otherwise? Why must this be so when the man who now sits in Peter’s Chair has said and written with unmistakeable conviction – with clarity and force – that he understands?

    Like children, often we must be content with the fact that our father knows best, and out of filial obedience we are to remain quiet and wait. Instant gratification, father knows, is not good for us. But a good father also realizes that to consistently deny children what he has promised (read Spirit of the Liturgy), either directly or by allusion, will ultimately lead not to the virtues of patience and fortitude, but disappointment, heartbreak, and perpetual distrust.

  17. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Henry I fear you are right.Delays on explosive issues do not necessarily guarantee a more ready acceptance.Delays give the opposition time to organize against the initiative.Case in point :the motu proprio.If Benedict could have forewarned certain reliably traditional bishops (such as in this country Archbishop Burke,and Cardinals George and Rigali) and then sprung it on the church the opposition would be dead in their tracks.But delay begets opposition and indecsion hardens it-note the French bishops and whatever other bishops might have complained to the Pope.Humanae Vitae is the example of what not to do.Pope Paul hesitated and delayed and people thought the church was in a state of doubt concerning contraception,for if it wasn’t then why the delay in issueing the papal decsion on birth control.The opposition formed around the birth control commission and the National Catholic Reporter published the confidential majority report of the commission which said the church’s teaching could and should be changed.Bishops began to fill the vacuum with their own thoughts bolstered by their theologians.And worst of all many catholics began to use contraceptives in good faith because they interprted the delay as a sign the commission’s report would be adopted by the Pope.How could he do otherwise?Was he not bound by “collegiality” to follow the commission’s findings? Of course the teaching of collegiality has nothing to do with committees.Then when it cameout the spokesman for the Pope,Archbishop Lambruschini,stated publicly that it was not an infallible document thus launching an era of appeal to conscience.What a mess! Maybe all of it could not be avoided,but a great deal could have been if the indecisive Paul VI would have written and then published the encyclical right away.When Bl.John XXIII called the Secon Vatican Council he told noone but simple declared it. However there is a way that is devious that Benedict might be employing.This approach was done by a previous bishop of mine.He said he had to consult with different groups including those against what he wanted to do.He consulted and consulted and consulted till noone really cared anymore.Then he did what he wanted to do in the first place.But it takes a clever person to bring this off and destroy the opposition without them knowing they have been had.

  18. Stu says:

    Father Z,

    Would you take issue if I reprinted this piece in a newsletter for my Knight of Columbus council?

    Very respectfully,

    Jeffrey Stuart

  19. Stu: Sure. Kindly provide attribution.

  20. ALL: There are some good and thought comments in this entry, of some length I might add.

    I suspect that part of the delay of a post-Synodal document comes from the fact that this Pope does a lot of his own writing. It may be that the post-Synodal document and the Motu Proprio will be in some way complementary. My spies tell me that work on the post-Synodal text was fundamentally completed from the point of view of the Synod’s office. But it is a document of the Holy Father, so he does with it what he chooses. The same with the Motu Proprio. Most of the dicasteries gave their “nihil obstat” a long time back. So, there must be some compelling reason to wait.

    Conjecture.

  21. Diane says:

    When God wills it to be released, it will be done.

    Until then: Patience.

  22. Paul says:

    I notice in today’s Bolletino that Cardinal Medina Estevez had an audience with the Holy Father. A sign of anything? Lets hope so.

  23. RBrown says:

    From my somewhat lower vantage point, it’s easier to see indications of opposition fomenting while we wait. Which seems to be the more usual result in the Church—that delay of an initiative tends to favor those who oppose it.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    I don’t know why the documents have not been promulgated, but I disagree about any delay favoring the opposition.

    The Vatican often lets the opposition shoot its best shot, then makes its move. This is often done with the nomination of new bishops, where the priests of the diocese will raise their voices about their own favorite candidate. Then a quiet period ensues where the shouts and rumors die down, and the pope will nominate his man.

    It’s the Vatican version of Rope-a-Dope.

  24. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Thank you Father and of course no problem on the attribution. I had planned on providing your URL as well. Maybe I can generate a few new readers.

    Regards,
    Stu

  25. RBrown says:

    From Fr McAfee: However there is a way that is devious that Benedict might be employing. This approach was done by a previous bishop of mine.He said he had to consult with different groups including those against what he wanted to do. He consulted and consulted and consulted till noone really cared anymore. Then he did what he wanted to do in the first place. But it takes a clever person to bring this off and destroy the opposition without them knowing they have been had.

    I just noticed that Fr McAfee’s comments. I don’t consider that strategy “devious” but rather “shrewd”. The Vatican (and Italy) is full of such people–”furbi”.

    When the Vatican promulgates a document, it doesn’t want to get into a shouting match. It wants people to pay attention.

  26. When I go to the divine liturgy, following the standards which have been established since the time of Nicea, I do not kneel. This is not because I am disrespectful to Christ nor is it that I do not recognize that it is Christ who is there and who I am about to eat. Far from it. I recognize that it is Sunday, the day of resurrection, the time of joy and not penance. I recognize that I stand in attention in respect of Christ. Standing is not a sign of disrespect unless you intend it as such.

  27. Brian Anderson says:

    When the Motu Proprio does come, that will be the easy part. The hard part will
    be His Holiness leading the way and celebrating our TLM, publically, right in front
    of these reticent bishops who will only do what is “safe”. I fear that if Pope
    Benedict does not lead the way then won’t we just be another rung up the ladder
    from the situation that developed after Ecclesia Dei Adflicta? Actions speak
    louder than the words in a Motu Proprio. As far as I know, correct me if I am
    wrong, Pope John Paul II never publically celebrated the TLM.

  28. Diane,

    When God wills it to be released, it will be done. Until then: Patience.

    Or prayer?

    For Heaven to pour down upon Benedict the power and strength needed to carry out his intentions. For this purpose, two prayers of Pope Leo XIII might come to some minds:

    (1) His prayer (August 15, 1889 encyclical) to St. Joseph including the petition

    Most watchful Guardian, … protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness … defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy”.

    (2) His prayer (September 25, 1888 motu proprio) to St. Michael the Archangel petitioning his defense against

    These most crafty enemies [who] have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid hands on her most sacred possessions … with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

  29. Fr. McAfee,

    Of course, one can hardly think about the present question without recalling the ubiquitous Roman adage

    “cunctando regitur mundus … the world is ruled by delaying.”

    that so often seems to apply in the Church (if not the world). But Pope Benedict certainly knows this as well as anyone. So, on balance, I remain hopeful that he’s being shrewd and spending this time pulling some of those levers he must know so well.

  30. RBrown says:

    As far as I know, correct me if I am wrong, Pope John Paul II never publically celebrated the TLM.
    Comment by Brian Anderson

    I was told that he could not understand why anyone would want it. As a matter of fact, I was also told that the only time anyone ever saw him angry was when he heard that the SSPX was in Poland.

  31. Henry Karlson: With no disrespect to the Eastern Churches and their liturgical rites and practices, I was addressing myself, as I always do on this blog, to the practices of the Latin Rite.

  32. “Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?”

    Either standing indicates indifference and your statement is valid, or it does not necessarily indicate indifference, and then your comment is not valid. If you acknowledge the East and the tradition going back to Nicea suggests one should stand, then you acnknowledge that there are reasons beyond indifference for standing. Thus you have created a false impression and misreading others intentions, and I wonder why.

  33. Btw, a couple other things. First, I am not saying that there are not people who this indicates indifference, but I am pointing out this is going too far to suggest this is the only explanation. Also kneeling is a respected tradition, but it also has its practice within cultural norms which are not exactly the same today.

    Secondly, your comment area causes problems with my computer; when I type it puts some of the text off the screen and I cannot read it. This has caused a couple typos above.

  34. Jon says:

    RBrown,

    Told, by whom? I’m interested, at this point mostly out of historical curiosity.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, the altar of John Paul’s personal chapel was ad orientem, http://www.unavoce.org/pope_celebrating_mass.jpg and the overall celebration of the Novus Ordo in Poland, until very recently, was intensely traditional.

    We’ve yet to see Benedict XVI vested like this: http://photos1.blogger.com/img/7/1435/400/jpiifanon.jpg

    John Paul was also reputed to have celebrated the TLM privately, at least once, at Castel Gondolfo, I think, although I’ve only read rumor to the effect.

    At the end of his pontificate, as we all know, came Liturgiam authenticam, Redemptionis sacramentum, and Ecclesia de Eucharistia, perhaps not the Motu Proprio of our desire, but indisputably orthodox promulgations.

    Why he tolerated the contagion of Marini-itis, on the other hand, remains a mystery, at least to me.

  35. Henry Karlson: \”Thus you have created a false impression and misreading others intentions, and I wonder why.\”

    All part of my evil plan, I guess.

    Moreover, you are today\’s winner of the prestigious \”Sour Grapes Award\”!

    Congratulations!

  36. RBrown says:

    Told, by whom? I’m interested, at this point mostly out of historical curiosity.

    By a member of the Vatican diplomatic corps.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, the altar of John Paul’s personal chapel was ad orientem,

    I’m also aware that Paul VI regularly celebrated privately using the 1962 Missal, while at the same time forcing the liturgical changes on everyone else.


    http://www.unavoce.org/pope_celebrating_mass.jpg and the overall celebration of the Novus Ordo in Poland, until very recently, was intensely traditional.

    The situation in Poland is to a large extent due to the genius of Cardinal Wyszynski and the Communist persecution of the Church.

    John Paul was also reputed to have celebrated the TLM privately, at least once, at Castel Gondolfo, I think, although I’ve only read rumor to the effect.

    See above, Paul VI.


    At the end of his pontificate, as we all know, came Liturgiam authenticam, Redemptionis sacramentum, and Ecclesia de Eucharistia, perhaps not the Motu Proprio of our desire, but indisputably orthodox promulgations.

    You’re right, they’re all good documents even though Liturgiam Authenticam concerns translations–and so is not doctrinal (thus does not concern orthodoxy).

    Note that those documents came out at the end of his pontificate. By then JPII had begun to see that the all the international visits and Time magazine covers had not produced the his hoped for effect. Further, it wasn’t until 1996 that Cardinal Ratzinger was able to get his man (Medina Estevez) in as prefect of Rites & Sacraments, well known for being a liberal congregation.

    Why he tolerated the contagion of Marini-itis, on the other hand, remains a mystery, at least to me.

    JPII didn’t tolerate Marini. Marini gave JPII what he wanted.

  37. RBrown says:

    From Henry Karlson: When I go to the divine liturgy, following the standards which have been established since the time of Nicea, I do not kneel. This is not because I am disrespectful to Christ nor is it that I do not recognize that it is Christ who is there and who I am about to eat. Far from it. I recognize that it is Sunday, the day of resurrection, the time of joy and not penance. I recognize that I stand in attention in respect of Christ. Standing is not a sign of disrespect unless you intend it as such.

    Standing is not a sign of disrespect unless the circumstances call for kneeling. When people ask for mercy, there is usually a sign of deference, bowing the head, kneeling, etc. NB: Domine, non sum dignus . . .

    On Sunday the day of the Resurrection is celebrated, but it is celebrated by the Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Btw, a couple other things. First, I am not saying that there are not people who this indicates indifference, but I am pointing out this is going too far to suggest this is the only explanation. Also kneeling is a respected tradition, but it also has its practice within cultural norms which are not exactly the same today.

    It has nothing to do with cultural norms.

    Kneeling is been the practice in Western Rites because from the beginning the Roman Rite has emphasized the mass as a re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. Eastern liturgies didn’t really consider the Eucharist as a sacrifice until around 500.

    In many of the churches in France the kneelers are not very comfortable, made of wood or wicker, so many people stand instead of kneeling. At most places in the US, however, the kneelers are padded, so only a minimum of devotion is needed.

  38. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    There has been doctrinal promulgations of JPII.For example,the Catechism of the Catholic CXhurch,Evangelium Vitae,Familiaris Consortio,Apostolos Suos,Dominus Iesus,etc.There are rumors of JPII celebrating mass according to the 62 missal at Castelgondolfo but I know as a fact on the testimony of one who was there that he celebrated mass according to the 62 missal at the tomb of either Pius XII or John XXIII. Cardinal Arinze has stated that the Holy Father does not know what Marini is doing.I find it hard to believe but he dlegated the mater of the liturgy to others with disastous effect.The missionaries of charity were appalled at the Indian dancers at Mother Teresa’s beatification.I was told by a curial cardinal that at the first of his pontificate (pre-solidarity days) that he had a hand in ceremonial .That was when Bishop Magee (whom I know) was his MC. Those were the days when he refused to give communion in the hand even to the wife of the president of France on TV.Back then in his first visit to Washington DC he celebrated mass for the priests of the Archdioceses of Washington and Batimore and the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond.He was the only celebrant and all the priests attended in cassock and surplice and sang Gregorian Chant.Those were the days of Inaestimabile Donum.According to this cardinal as the pope became more into the struggle with communism he left liturgical things (for which he never had a great interest) to the MC.Then Magee wentto Ireland and was succeeded by Noe and then by Marini.It is not true that the Pope (JPII) didi not like the 62 missal.In fact as is shown by his letter to the preparatory commission of the Council he wanted only a few changes and warned about too much vernacular.According to Magee JPII never really warmed to the NO and had a love for the TLM.Why didn’t he celebrate it publicly?He thought it would be too divisive but he erected many religious institutes to insure its celebration into the future.And then he was going to issue a universal indult but shelved it because of the opposition of the French and British bishops and others (Fr.Z knows the full story).JPII told Dr.Alice von Hildebrand of his own love for the ancient mass and that he would release the indult when the time was ripe.He also knew that the CDW wastoo liberal and planned to correct that by naming Magee as secretary and then prefect.Because of opposition he sent Magee to Ireland but thatwas supposed to be temporary.He was to be called from Ireland to assome the liturgical post.But that never happened and I think Noe was named.

  39. Jordan Potter says:

    “Eastern liturgies didn’t really consider the Eucharist as a sacrifice until around 500.”

    Well, there’s something of a liturgy that is at least hinted at in the Didache, which is undeniably an Eastern document, and the Didache is the first witness of the interpretation of Mal. 1:11 as a prophecy of the Eucharist. So I would say there are indications that the understanding of the Eucharist as a sacrifice was present in the East well before 500 A.D. Anyway, why would one *have* to kneel for a sacrifice?

    Mind you, I’m not anti-kneeling. Far from it. I’m just not sure we can say the Eastern tradition of standing on Sunday, to represent our participation in the victory of Christ’s resurrection, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with belief in the Eucharist as the New Covenant Sacrifice.

  40. RBrown says:

    Fr Mc:

    1. I realize JPII promulgated documents on doctrine. My point was that Liturgiam Authenticam was not doctrinal.

    2. You forgot to mention Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

    3. How could JPII not know what Marini was doing when the pope himself was the celebrant at many Marini-planned masses?

    4. I’ll go you one better: After the conclave in 1978, JPII wanted to give universal permission for the use of the 1962 Missal. Certain Cardinals, among whom was Siri, advised against it because it would spit in the face of Paul VI.

    5. The would-be indult in the 80′s (when I was in Rome) was pushed by certain Cardinals, among whom was Ratzinger. The fact that JPII bent to opposition from the French and Germans is proof that he wasn’t really all that interested in it.

    6. JPII loosened up on liturgy (incl altar girls) when his emphasis turned to Ecumenism. Why did this happen? He was very, very interested in European Unity, and the biggest impediment to it was Communism. Once the wall fell, the interest in Euro Unity remained, but the tool changed from anti-Communism to Ecumenism.

    7. I’m sure JPII was worried about divisiveness, but he did next to nothing to reform the seminaries, which continued to produce priests with problems. What is more divisive than a priest (or bishop) who scoffs at doctrine?

    8. If you know Bp McGee, I recommend the following: Invite him to dinner. Get a couple of drinks in him and very shrewdly take the conversation to the subject of JPI’s death. You might be surprised at what he has to say.

  41. RBrown says:

    Well, there’s something of a liturgy that is at least hinted at in the Didache, which is undeniably an Eastern document, and the Didache is the first witness of the interpretation of Mal. 1:11 as a prophecy of the Eucharist. So I would say there are indications that the understanding of the Eucharist as a sacrifice was present in the East well before 500 A.D.

    The indications of its sacrificial character are to be found in Hebrews and in 1 Cor. Of course, the Eastern Church was aware of these Scriptures, but the East has always emphasized the Resurrection, and this was reflected in its liturgy.

    My source is Professoressa Winkler, who teaches at Tubingen and is a specialist on Eastern liturgy. I heard her speak last time I was in Rome.

    Anyway, why would one have to kneel for a sacrifice?

    You kneel in humility. The sacrifice is for you: Domine, non sum dignus . . .

  42. tim says:

    Dear Fr. Mcaffee, RBrown, and Fr. Z.:

    I have no personal claim on any of you, but I have a request. You must grant it, for no other reason that I am the only one so far to ask. Others may be turned away for lack of time and resources, of course. It’s your call.

    The request is this: could you please fill me in on all the background info you all have about this and every cool thing you know from Roman service and the like? Please, please?
    By private email of course.

  43. michigancatholic says:

    Europe may end up with her unity, at long last, but it will be a unity of atheism (almost there) or worse, Islam, if she doesn’t watch out. So much for that.

  44. irishman says:

    I am so glad that Bp Magee never got the call back to Rome as head of the CDW. He was responsible for the attempt to radically alter the beautiful sanctuary of St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, Ireland – which only got derailed by a decision of the Irish planning appeals system. He is far from sound in liturgical matters.

  45. Andrew says:

    In the meantime there is another petition for the traditional Latin Mass, this one appears in the December issue of the Latin quarterly published at the Vatican, “Latinitas” – and I imagine both, the Holy Father and Fr. Foster would have seen and read it. It’s written as a poem titled: “Ad Sanctissimum Papam Benedictum XVI ex Bavaria reducem de Missa translaticia restituenda petitio.”

  46. Diane says:

    Henry Edwards: Or prayer?

    Nice catch Henry and I agree wholeheartedly. Let me revise my earlier comment: Prayer and patience…

  47. Mary says:

    Fr. Z,

    “If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.”

    I love this quote of yours…

    To me, those ripples going out to all parts of the world represent the vocation of the laity being lived after having received the Eucharist and the Word of God..

    Mary

  48. fr.franklyn mcafee: May I kindly suggest a slight adjustment to your punctuation practice? Perhaps something more “standard” is in order. It sure would make your contributions easier to read. Spaces after punctuation marks will really be easier on the eyes. Thanks!

  49. tim: “The request is this: could you please fill me in on all the background info you all have about this and every cool thing you know from Roman service and the like? Please, please?
    By private email of course.”

    No. Sorry. Too much work, too little time.

  50. RBrown says:

    Europe may end up with her unity, at long last, but it will be a unity of atheism (almost there) or worse, Islam, if she doesn’t watch out. So much for that.

    I had almost the same opinion during JPII’s papacy. On the one hand, the pope was interested in Euro Unity. But on the other, the fulcrum of a unified Europe is Germany, and the Vatican was doing next to nothing (despite Cardinal Ratzinger’s warnings) to address sad situation of the Church in Germany, which was sliding more and more away from Rome. Euro Unity would be the means for Germany to spread its anti-Catholic errors.

    Did you hear the joke about Islam and France? If Lefebvre wins, Latin will be the liturgical language in France.

    And if he loses, it will be Arabic.

  51. Geri says:

    >The Eucharist, its celebration
    >and itself as the extraordinary
    >Sacrament, is the “source and
    >summit of Christian life”.

    >If we really believe that,
    >then we must also hold that
    >what we do in church, what we
    >believe happens in a church,
    >makes an enormous difference.

    Thank you exactly. And not just and enormous difference, the UTMOST difference.

    The source and summit. And if everything, and I mean EVERYTHING we do and say and believe doesn’t flow from that life-giving font — it’s just bottled water.

  52. michigancatholic says:

    Except it’s not, Geri. Regardless of what the receiver does with or does after
    the Holy Eucharist, it’s really always Christ.

    If “everything we do and say and believe doesn’t flow from that-life giving font,”
    it’s not the fault of the Eucharist and it cannot make Him any less than He is.

  53. Geri says:

    >Except it’s not, Geri. Regardless of
    >what the receiver does with or does
    >after the Holy Eucharist, it’s really
    >always Christ.

    >If “everything we do and say and
    >believe doesn’t flow from that-life
    >giving font,” it’s not the fault of
    >the Eucharist and it cannot make Him
    >any less than He is.

    Sorry, Michigan Catholic, but I think you misunderstood me (my faulty grammar, diction or punctuation.)

    The antecedant of “it” that is merely “bottled water” is “everything we do and say and believe” if it does not flow from the Eucharist.

    As you say, the Eucharist is Who He is, regardless of us and our actions or participation (contrary to nonsense I keep reading that the Eucharist is “incomplete” without us.)

  54. Kenjiro Shoda says:

    Saving the liturgy, saving the world?

    Well, for the Church to save the liturgy(Mass), it would have to bring back the Tridentine Latin Mass to full freedom everywhere in the world. It will be amazing how fast the Church recovers from 40 years of disaster of the Novus Ordo if the Tridentine Latin Mass returns.
    This is the only way to save the liturgy. I’ve read all the experts, and seen several dozen “orthodox” celebrations of the Novus Ordo in recent months. IT’s nothing compared to the Tridentine Latin Mass. It’s like comparing a diamond (the Tridentine Latin Mass), with a piece of ordinary cut glass. Both look pretty, but try to cut a mirror with a fake diamond. Can’t be done. Try to instill old fashioned Catholic zeal for the Mass with the Novus Ordo (even if it is dressed up like EWTN does), and its obviously a terrible substitute.
    We once went to a Mass where a priest tried to chant it, in traditional cadence but it was the banal, bland, insipid English liturgy. It sounded ridiculous. Worse, we had the misfortune to attend an Epsicopalian service a week later, and it was about 90% the same as the Novus Ordo Mass (with little things different). We were horrified how similar we’ve become to the Anglicans.
    So, save the liturgy, save the Church is possible only with the Tridentine Latin Mass.
    And the great devotion and Graces coming for the celebration of that Mass alone, is a powerful force to help save the world.

  55. Ryan G. says:

    As an ex Benedictine I have to admit that I have seen quite a few religious communities who would do well in remembering this. The loss of mystery and reverence at Mass has afflicted the Church in many different ways. I believe that it’s a very sad commentary when it is even moving into religious communities.

    I honestly believe that the devil has a hand in this. Mess with the liturgy and the eucharist and you mess with everything else in the Church.

  56. Recidite Plebes says:

    “Well, for the Church to save the liturgy(Mass), it would have to bring back the Tridentine Latin Mass to full freedom everywhere in the world. It will be amazing how fast the Church recovers from 40 years of disaster of the Novus Ordo if the Tridentine Latin Mass returns”

    Kenjiro: no it won’t.

    I wouldn’t atttend an EF out of choice. Simple as that. Neither would many other catholics.

    If the Catholic Church wants to re-fill its pews it will have to sort a lot more issues out first before it starts worrying about liturgy. I agree that tastefully done liturgy with dignity and solemnity makes a difference, as does aesthetics, but you ougbht to ask a number of lapsed catholics why they have left the church and what would bring them back. You’ll find the number that indicate they would return only if the EF were re-established as the onyl form of mass would be limited solely to the SSPX and no-one else. If you believe otherwise you are deluding yourself.

  57. ED says:

    Recommended book for Father—– PILGRIMS EMPIRE by CHARLES COULOMBE sold by Tumblarhouse.com or .org Very eye-opening about why Catholicism never converted America,couldn’t put it down.

  58. phildem says:

    I think that Christ’s warning to ‘beware the leaven of the pharisee’ was a warning for his followers for ALL time. Are we children of God, or ‘people of the book’, which do we place higher ? The book after all, counts as a graven image, where the people of God, are created
    in his image. This is why Christ rebuked those devout ‘practicing pharisees’ to respect the spirit, and not just the letter of the law.

    Splitting hairs about genuflecting before the rubrics of the sacrament dehumanizes the Eucharist as a sacrament for everyday life. I think if Christ were walking the earth today, the people he would castigate would be the clergy and the so called ‘devout’ who act as though
    they were elect based on their homage to and enforcement of sacramental rubrics, and therefore free to mete out scorn and condemnation on those failing to comply with the ‘higher theological’ interpretations of sacramental devotion.

    Scribes and Pharisees are as much ‘whitened sepulchres’ today as they were in his time, what do you think is meant by the phrase ‘fullness of time’ ?

  59. K. Van Keith says:

    I have been longing for the traditional liturgy with all it’s reverence
    and adoration. Our Liturgy should be “above and out of the ordinary”
    other wise, what is the point?

    I know all about the secular world and it’s values and temptations. What I need
    is something MORE and that’s what the traditional liturgy provides. A sign of
    His deep, amazing and abiding LOVE for us!

    I continue to pray for those to have and are working hard to preserve this very
    lifeline to the Holy.

  60. Christian says:

    The point is the Pope essentially backed down. It can be called a retraction by the priest from the nomination but the message is the same.

    I think if the European bishops stand up – inspired by the Holy Spirit – they can prevent a reconciliation with the SPPX. Which would be disastrous for thr Church. IMO.

    Pray that the Spirit inspires more bishops – maybe Amercian ones – to be so bold as to step out in faith and truth as the Austrian bishops have been.

    This is like JP2 trying to impose a rigid, and un-Christian, fiat on American Catholic universities. It went no where.

    I suspect Benedict’s attempt to impose Tridentism will go no where also. The Spirit is raising up prophetic bishops if Austria is an example.

  61. Paul J. says:

    Based on “46″ should a divorcee (no annulment) who’s remarried [civil bigamy] be allowed to lead the choir next to the priest in front of the congregation?

    Redemptionis Sacramentum
    [46.] The lay Christian faithful called to give assistance at liturgical celebrations should be well instructed and must be those whose Christian life, morals and fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium recommend them. It is fitting that such a one should have received a liturgical formation in accordance with his or her age, condition, state of life, and religious culture.[117] No one should be selected whose designation could cause consternation for the faithful.[118]

  62. Pingback: How to save Europe - OR: The Charism is the Message « Tint’s Travails

  63. Manuel Berríos says:

    I need information on Indulgences, last update. Thanks

  64. Peter Xuereb says:

    All the problems that the Catholic Church is facing is due to the fact that it always wants to reconcile with the world when Jesus said to to his apostles / disciples unless you eatmy body & drink my blood you will have nothing in common with me did he later want to reconcile with them and say I was wrong or lets talk it over well thats what the Catholic Church has been doing for the past 50 years (1) Trying to reconcile with hereticle christian faiths so as not to be \”the bad guy.(2)Trying to reconcile with the world so as not to appear out of date all at the expense of loosing souls

    In the end the Catholic churchs problem lie in 3 areas written below
    which have branched out in to so many other areas that its like trying to unscramble an egg where do you start. Well to get back to Catholic clarity it needs to deal with these 3 issues then things will change

    Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humane – Declaration on Religious Liberty)

    Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio – The Decree on Ecumenism)

    Modernism (Sacrosanctum Concilium – Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

    Peter Xuereb

  65. LionelAndrades says:

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/
    Dr.Scott Hahn has answered three questions with reference to the Catholic dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.His answer is positive and he affirms the dogma.
    When one does not affirm the dogma it is a mortal sin. It is heresy for a priest and he is not to celebrate Holy Mass without the Sacrament of Confession and making public amends( rectifying the scandal). So this is a liturgical issue.

    Dr. Scott Hahn has answered the following three questions with an ‘overwhelming YES’.

    1) Does the Catholic Church teach that non Catholic religions, Hindus, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam etc are not paths to salvation (to go to Heaven and avoid Hell)? Yes

    2) Does the Catholic Church teach that Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water are needed for all people in general, barring the exceptions (invincible ignorance ), for salvation? Yes

    3) When you meet a Jew in Boston can you tell him or her that he or she needs Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water to go to Heaven and avoid Hell? Yes

    Founder and President and Chairman of the Board
    Dr. Scott Hahn, Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is one of the world’s most successful Catholic authors and teachers.
    According to the St. Paul’s Center for Biblical Theology, he earned his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Marquette University, writing his dissertation on “Kinship by Covenant: A Biblical Theological Analysis of Covenant Types and Texts in the Old and New Testaments.” His scholarly writing has appeared in Journal of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Currents in Biblical Research.
    Dr. Hahn is the general editor of the Ignatius Study Bible and is author or editor of more than 20 books, including Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy (Doubleday, forthcoming 2005); Understanding the Scriptures (Midwest Theological Forum, 2005), and The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth (Doubleday, 1999). He has more than one million books and tapes in print worldwide.
    Dr. Hahn holds the Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and is Professor of Scripture and Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
    In 2003, Dr. Hahn became the first lay person to hold the Pio Cardinal Laghi Chair for Visiting Professors in Scripture and Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He has also lectured and served as adjunct faculty at a variety of diocesan and Vatican-sponsored seminaries and institutions of higher learning, including the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and the Pontifical University, Regina Apostolorum, both located in Rome.
    Dr. Hahn and his wife Kimberly live in Steubenville, Ohio, with their six children

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/2009/10/scott-hahn-asnwers-three-questions-with.html