The Tablet: another dreadful editorial

It will hardly surprise anyone familiar with The Tablet that an article against the derestriction of the older form of Mass might emerge when the date of the MP ostensibly draws nearer.  In finem citius after all.

The Tablet’s editorial is a response to an editorial in The Catholic Herald arguing that we should welcome the Motu Proprio and naming H.E. Cormac Card. Murphy-O’Connor as a leader in the resistance to the MP. 

In the following editorial track a few things.

1) The obtuse, blithering repetition of the tired cliches about the older Mass: "back to the people… muttering" blah blah.  These people are like Ambrosian Chant… forever on the same dull note.

2) The usual liberal condescension: they redefine resistance and whining on the part of progressivists as giving advice and they consider the legitimate apsirations of traditionalists as the whining of spoiled children.

3) Blanket approval for what bishops do over and against the rights of priests and lay people.

4) Sidestepping of theological importance of the gestures and active participation in the old way of doing things while reducing them to mere "culture".

5) Promotion of the party line.

My emphases and comments.

Editorial, 23 June 2007

Dangers of a narrow faith

Pope Benedict XVI has made it clear that he would like to end the almost universal prohibition [that's accurate at least] on celebration of the Tridentine Mass. He has run into some opposition, and the reasons are worth examining. One of the few exceptions to the prohibition was an indult (the technical term for permission to deviate from Church law) obtained by the bishops of England and Wales, [This was granted by Paul VI long before the 1986 indult of John Paul II] which gave individual bishops in those countries the power to authorise the rite on specific occasions. The funeral of an elderly priest was often cited as an example [In other words, it was intended to be as rare as hen's teeth, and by no means should it be a normal occurance.]. But the English and Welsh bishops were aware that the Tridentine Rite was regarded in some ultra-conservative quarters as the only valid form of Mass. In a wider constituency than that, it was still regarded as a flag of defiance against the whole Second Vatican Council. So they have been careful to limit its use to situations of pastoral need, ["carefull.... pastoral..."] so that it did not become the focus of an undeclared schism[Let's not mention parishes where year in and out they have been making things up as they go...  that wouldn't be schism, would it?]

They [English and Welsh bishops, I suppose, i.e, the resistance] are said to be passing on to the Pope the benefits of their experience of that indult, to help him shape the change in canon law that would be required  [That's is.. yah... just "passing on" their "experience".  Yah... that's the ticket.  See how helpful they are?]. There is one important lesson they have learned: that the bishops must be allowed to keep control, to monitor the use of the rite, and to prevent altar being set up against altar. [Pay attention to the Donatist allusion (see below).  This is where Rod Serling steps out from behind the vestment case.  First, it is suggested that the bishops have practical experience and they have learned a "lesson".  That phrase sounds as if they have really suffered and are now wiser.  Thus, they are in a position to teach BENEDICT XVI what the real situation is, as if the Pope hasn't been involved in this business for nearly 30 years as it is.  Secondly, the editorial touches a sore spot.  The Motu Proprio may not go down in history as important for the liturgy.  It may also be important as the really the FIRST document to uphold the rights of priests, rather than rubber stamp everything bishops decide.  Often very pious lipservice is given to how important priests are to bishops, their beloved brothers, blah blah.  In the harsh light of reality, however, that is very often not experience by the bishop's beloved priest brother.] Indeed, some of the things being said by supporters of the rite who are eagerly looking forward to the Pope’s proposed motu proprio are a warning of what could happen. Some Catholics hold to, and expect others to observe, a very narrow definition of the faith. Theirs is a kind of Catholic Puritanism [!??!] which, like the Protestant Puritanism of the seventeenth century, tends towards scrupulosity and even, on occasion, bigotry, witch-hunts and paranoia.  [Does this sound like hysteria?  Behold the progressivist attitude about anything pre-Conciliar.  "Scrupulosity", right... the sort of narrow-mindedness that thinks you should be in the state of grace when receiving Communion, that the rubrics should be obeyed, that there is more to the Church's Magisterium than Gaudium et spes, that active homosexuals shouldn't be ordained, that formal heretics probably shouldn't be teaching in seminaries and Catholic universities, that after years and years of cold and callous treatment, they might imagine that they are not wecolme or liked.]

This is not just theological conservatism but cultural too.  [It is really all about culture, a world view.] They want to reinstate not just the words of the Tridentine Rite but its ambience and choreography[get ready... here come the litany of clichés, right on schedule.... yawn...] the priest with his back to the congregation muttering in Latin; the people following as best they can in Latin Missals or just quietly praying their rosaries; no eucharistic ministers, no girl altar servers, [Apparently those are good things.] no lessons read in English, and no exchange of peace [ditto] . Given that Latin can still be used without anyone’s permission in the current version of the Mass, [And THAT is happening far and wide?] as can plainsong, and that the principal prayers such as the Gloria, Credo and Agnus Dei are the same in old and new rites, it is fair to ask what else it is the Tridentinists are after.  [Hmmmm.... a neologism: "Tridentinist".  Remember the allusion to Donatism (above)?  The description of the "Tridentinists" as  scupulous, narrow, bigoted and paranoid, is like a page taken from the "altar against altar" schism in 4th c. North Africa.  This guy is implying that "Tridentinist" aren't real Catholics if they want the use of the older Mass and the "culture" that goes with it.]

The Pope may feel [An admission that the Pope has a heart?  Nooo... this is just the usual substitution for "think".] that a small gesture of reconciliation [read, "handful of dirt thrown"] towards the liturgical conservatives may wean [Because they are whiny, like 2 year olds] them away from more extreme theological positions. [What would they be?  What are these theological positions?]  But that has to be judged case by case [therefore, nothing "universal" can be permitted] or the opposite might happen, and the Vatican cannot micro-manage such a process from afar.  [This is hilarious.  For decades now John Paul II and the "Vatican" have been accused by the progressivists as SUCCESSFULLY micro-managing everyone's live!!  They have kept up the steady drum beat for an extreme sort of subsidiarity.  Now they say that the Vatican can't micro-manage?   Too funny!] Bishops must remain in charge. Indeed, given that the guardianship of the eucharistic mysteries is one of a bishop’s most important duties, this is a dangerous area in which to have his authority undermined by Rome [Which defines and codifies that duty.   So, I ask you, how are their Lordships doing in the UK about liturgical abuses in parishes?  Is there liturgical unity and probity there these days?  No problems to report or correct?]

The Tridentine Rite itself is capable of great beauty, and modern celebrations of the Mass have much to learn from it. [At the very end we seem to be drawing near to a reasonable point, in fact, probably the real reason Pope Benedict wants to derestrict the use of the older Mass.] If a sense of the mystical has been allowed to escape from the modern liturgy, [Ooohhhh nooooo, certainly that hasn't happened!]  wider acquaintance with it might point towards a remedy. But it needs handling with care – as it has been handled successfully so far in England and Wales.  [This last point is perhaps the driving motive of the editorial: this is the party line for the bishops in the UK and Wales.  This is precisely what H.E. Murphy-O'Connor is promoting.  This is party line.  However, for the holders of the party line, success means virtual supression of the rights of the faithful in regard to traditional forms of liturgy.]

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51 Responses to The Tablet: another dreadful editorial

  1. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    Who are these people that spew forth this grossly misinformed and deliberately misleading pablum?
    And why do that comment on something thta they obviously have no idea about?
    It would be as if I were to write a commentary on medulla oblongata surgery,attempted at high altitude,and then to criticize every variable involved with brain trepanation.
    God bless you.

  2. Huh? I guess I just can’t wrap my brain around that one.

  3. Hugh says:

    “But it needs handling with care – as it has been handled successfully so far in England and Wales.”

    Careful handling such as this:

    A group of my friends and I were graced with the opportunity of singing at a Missa Solemnis in a next-to-maximum security prison in England a couple of years ago. Some of the inmates – capital offenders all – trained themselves to in the serving roles over a period of months (taking up their small recreation period) and performed their duties with the utmost dedication. There were about 25 in all at the celebration. Afterwards we joined them for a cup of tea during which they expressed their unalloyed joy at the occasion.[While we were talking with them, I noticed some prisoners had not left the chapel and were kneeling for a long time before a statue of Our Lady.] I particulaly benefited from talking with one inmate who had been baptised into the Faith a couple of weeks earlier. He was downcast – he was about to be transferred to a less strict facility … where he wouldn’t have access to the traditional liturgy!

    Later that year our group revisited the prison and at the inmates’ request taught them the basics of Gregorian chant and Latin pronunciation, plus rubrics such as bowing at the “Gloria Patri”, etc. We held a service of (Old Rite) Vespers and Benediction. Again, a totally positive response.

    … and the local Ordinary’s attitude? He rejected a request from the Chaplain – on behalf of the inmates – for permission to hold more than one Missa Solmemnis and three low masses a YEAR!

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    “Indeed, given that the guardianship of the eucharistic mysteries is one of a bishop’s most important duties …”

    This strikes me as a humorous line to read in The Tablet. Would anyone argue that the diligence of the bishops (as a whole) in guarding the eucharistic mysteries from liturgical abuse has matched their diligence in guarding minors from clerical abuse?

  5. Hugh: Great story. Truly.

    He rejected a request from the Chaplain – on behalf of the inmates – for permission to hold more than one Missa Solmemnis and three low masses a YEAR!

    Let us pray for …. His Lordship.

    Perhaps the inmates might spend time in extra penance, such as a little fasting (from prison food, I know…) for the sake of the bishop. At a certain point effort must be made to open his heart. Get them all praying to the bishops guardian angel to bug him about this.

    o{];¬)

  6. DoB says:

    “But it needs handling with care – as it has been handled successfully so far in England and Wales.”

    This is typical English-speak understatement for DO NOT TOUCH WITH A BARGE POLE UNLESS WE ARE BADGERED TO DEATH OVER IT.
    Looks like some badgering is ahead of us.

    Father, thank you so much for this analysis. Your comments reflect quite accurately the UK position and form an exquisite counterpoint to the foolish thinking in this mainly unintelligent and frequently anti-Catholic so-called Catholic magazine. There.

  7. Charles Robertson says:

    I find the reference to the Donatists amusing because setting “altar against altar” refers to setting up a parallel diocese with a non-Catholic bishop. It has nothing to do with liturgical diversity.

    Always love this blog!

  8. Anglo-Papist says:

    Let’s not forget that The Tablet used to be the personal property of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Whilst that is no longer the case, it might as well be given the slavishly obedient line towards the hierarchy The Tablet always takes.

    Those hoping that the MP in England will see a sudden rush of parishes ‘reforming the reform’ will be disappointed as the bishops, by and large, will do everything possible to put obstacles in its path. Not only that but must remember that a large number of the parochial clergy, trained in the ’60′s and ’70′s will also resist calls for ‘the Old Mass’. The hope lies in the new breed of seminarian and priest who are, in the main, much more liturgically conservative than their seniors and can’t wait to ditch the cassock-albs.

  9. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    I was saying that whomsoever penned the above article has no idea that God is more pleased with the offering of the Classical Rite not to mention their near complete ignorance of its rubrics.
    It would be as if I decided to write an article tearing down the greatest brain surgeon on earth, not knowing the first thing about brain surgery.
    Is it commonplace for the writers of the Tablet to execute zero research before jumping into that pool?
    God bless you.

  10. Hugh says:

    “Altar against altar”

    … if only!

    More like altar against card table.

    Thanks for the great critique, Fr. & you’re right – I should pray more for that bishop.

    God bless

  11. Dan O says:

    Comment by danphunter. “God is more pleased with the offering of the Classical Rite

  12. Dan O. says:

    Comment by danphunter. “God is more pleased with the offering of the Classical Rite

    Sorry, the rest of my post just disappeared into the ether. I’ll try again.

    Dan, perhaps I misunderstood your comment, but I wonder where you find any justification that God prefers the Classical Rite. You, personally, may prefer it, but if the NO also makes the body and blood of Jesus truly present on the altar, I don’t think it is correct to say that God necessarily also prefers it. The NO is a rite properly established by the Roman Church and it would seem to be a bit presumptuous to pretend to know the mind of the Almighty in this regard.

  13. JoeyG says:

    Father, I was reading yesterday the now-infamous address given by the Holy Father at Regensburg, and I think that the opposition to the Motu Proprio really lines up with what he calls the “third stage of dehelenization,” which he says is now in progress. Of course, in the speech, he refers to the traditions of Greek philosophy that influenced the early Church, to which some modern scholars turn up their noses, but the middle ages grew organically out of that early period and the Latinate period is a valuable connection to our ancient roots.

    What do you think about this as a possible explanation for the rabid opposition to the derestrictions of the old Missal?

  14. JoeyG: opposition to the Motu Proprio really lines up with what he calls the “third stage of dehelenization,”

    YES! I think you are on to it. It is my conviction that the derestriction of the older form of Mass is part of a much larger vision.

  15. JPG says:

    I am 47 years old. When I survey the mess in which we
    find ourselves, the first thing I wonder is how were
    these changes swallowed so lock, stock and barrel
    by the priests and laity of the time? I was 10 when the
    current missal was promulgated. I remember by elderly
    near retirement age pastor celebrating the New Mass with
    reverence and devotion. We had Forty Hours, Benediction
    after our weekly stations during Lent. This was in the
    early seventies. It was Philadelphia and even in the eighties this was still the practice and when I moved to Cleveland all of that
    was but a faint memory in 1985 for that diocese.
    I hope the MP will undo much of this. I remain pessimistic many Catholics are functional Protestants. An enormous change in teaching is needed.
    As long as the directives letters and instructions
    of the Holy See are routinel ignored; as long as the abuses of the New Liturgy are continuedwithout comment from Rome( aside from maybe you guys should not do that) ie depose a few of these gentleman with purple hats
    perhaps the culture would then change.
    JPG

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    Dan O: It might be helpful to understand two different levels of grace available to us from Mass, which I recently heard described by a very fine priest as follows:

    Ex opere operato (or “from the work itself”) refers to the graces that we receive from the Mass itself, which is a determined amount of grace from the action itself, that God ordains from all eternity to be merited from the Holy Sacrifice. Whether the Mass be celebrated poorly, devoutly, whether we pray with the most devotion possible in the pews or whether we unintentionally fall asleep, this amount of grace is merited to us by the mercy of Our Blessed Lord.

    Ex opere operantis (which means “from the work of the worker”) refers to those graces over and above the predetermined graces that we can receive, and they are granted to us by Our Blessed Lord according to the amount of devotion and attention with which we assist at Holy Mass. The Mass celebrated by a holy priest with much devotion becomes more valuable than the Mass celebrated by a priest in the state of mortal sin who celebrates in a sloppy way, according to ex opere operantis. All the little insignificant “furnishings” also add to making us able to receive more grace in this way. Mass celebrated with beautiful vestments in an ornate church will raise our souls to better participate in these Mysteries than Mass celebrated in a locker room. Paintings and statues will move us to devotion easier than bare walls.

    So as I understand this, the intrinsic merit may be the same in one valid Mass as another, but the extrinsic merit may depend upon all sorts of variable particulars. Hence, while it may sound very fine to say that one Mass is the same as — or equally pleasing to God, or equally grace-giving to us — this would appear to be contrary to accepted sacramental theology.

    At any rate, speaking for us rather than for God, the value of the Holy Sacrifice might vary greatly from one equally valid Mass to another, depending on our receptivity and participation, which generally are affected by a wide variety of external particulars.

  17. Denis Crnkovic says:

    The reality is, of course, that we have had “Altar against alter” for many years now…

  18. danphunter1 says:

    The Derestriction of the Classical Rite will effect the gradual disintegration of the Pauline Mass.
    It is obviously inevitable,and I give The Lord Almighty high praise and thanksgiving for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI who stands ready at all moments to give his life for Holy Mother Church.
    Deo Gratias!

  19. danphunter1 says:

    Dan O.
    The Novus Ordo is like a fine diamond in a ring setting of brass.
    The Classical Rite is the same fine diamond in a magnificently arrayed setting of sapphires,rubys and emeralds,with a platinum band.
    I ask you,which is better?
    God bless you.

  20. Serafino says:

    One when thinks of the History of the Catholic Church in England, and the many loyal Catholics, both clerical and lay, who died for the Holy Mass during the 16th and 17th Century, why are so many bishops and priests against the MP?

  21. Dan O says:

    Henry

    Thanks for the posting. I agree with you and with the distinctions that you make, if not all the conclusions drawn from the distinctions. danphunter1 said that God is more pleased with the Classical Rite. Your post does not prove this. Sloppy celebration and lack of attention can be seen in either rite. Beautiful vestments and statues may be helpful in making us more receptive, but not necessarily. Devotion and attention are not inherent in any rite. That is an attitude that we bring to the Eucharist. In your terms, I believe I was speaking only of “ex opere operato” and you actually make my point that God ordains from all eternity the grace merited from the Holy Sacrifice, the same grace for both forms. Hence, God is not more pleased with one ‘rite’ over and above the other. As for the “ex opere operantis” , that is our part of the sacramental equation. You may be more drawn to statues and vestments and Latin, I probably am also, but that does not mean that others do not participate with full devotion at a Novus Ordo celebration and receive a full complement of graces.
    Not all Masses are equal and I don’t mean to imply that, but it does not follow from that that one could say that God is more pleased with the Classical Rite. I don’t believe that I have said anything contrary to sacramental theology here. A rushed silent indult Mass does little to help me participate with devotion. A “clown” NO Mass would also not be a source of devotion for me. I still believe it is presumption to pretend to speak for the Almighty on which rite is his particular favorite.

  22. danphunter1 says:

    Dan O.,
    It is not a matter of favoritism with God,but rather justice.
    The Classical Rite is a more just mass.

  23. RBrown says:

    The liberals now have to sleep in the bed they made.

    For all intents and purposes, Latin is associated only with the 1962 Missal.

    Although the Novus Ordo can be said in Latin, 99% of the time it refers to vernacular liturgy, replete with the liturgical silliness of the past 40 years. If the libs had been so concerned with mumbling, inaudible mass, they should have seen to it that Latin Novus Ordo was made widely available. But they didn’t, simply because they were out to kill Latin. And they wanted to kill Latin because they wanted to destroy the Church, turning it into a new Protestantism with valid Sacraments.

    Now the liberals are left to do what they do best . . . whine.

  24. RBrown says:

    It is not a matter of favoritism with God,but rather justice.
    The Classical Rite is a more just mass.
    Comment by danphunter1

    No, that’s completely incorrect and offensive to Catholic doctrine.

    God is Infinite; man is finite. Therefore, there is no perfect justice between man and God. These matters do not concern justice.

  25. Thomasso says:

    “One when thinks of the History of the Catholic Church in England, and the many loyal Catholics, both clerical and lay, who died for the Holy Mass during the 16th and 17th Century, why are so many bishops and priests against the MP?”

    Serafino – in short, because by and large the bishops’ conference of England and Wales (I use ‘conference’ deliberately, as our bishops always act as one, never as chief apostle in their own diocese) is not truly Catholic – not in the sense of being obedient to the revealed magisterial teachings of the Church.

    There are so many issues on which they have lied to Rome, lied to the people, bullied sound and loyal priests and, generally, simply absorbed themselves into the left-wing politically motivated sub-strata of the British Establishment.

    Yes, I readily aknowledge that occasionally one or two of them make the right sound-bites – but they don’t provide the sort of leadership we need to further the faith in our land – the faith for which our Martyrs gave their lives.

    But, they will become a spent force. In time, they will move on to their eternal reward. The only priests we will have in future will be loyal priests – and it’s from their ranks that bishops will be appointed.

    All is not lost here, but it will take some time to get better.

  26. CDB says:

    The comments are spot on, but what’s with the swipe at Ambrosian chant?

  27. RBrown: God is Infinite; man is finite. Therefore, there is no perfect justice between man and God. These matters do not concern justice.

    Yes!

  28. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Father:

    Surely they sound like a guitar group warming up before strumming its way through the Mass?

  29. CDB: what’s with the swipe at Ambrosian chant?

    It tends to be monotone, repetitive and dull.

    Other than that, it’s great!

  30. Chris: Surely they sound like a guitar group warming up before strumming its way through the Mass?

    ??!?

  31. Denis Crnkovic says:

    RBrown:

    It is correct, I believe, to say that neither the Novus Ordo nor the Vetus Ordo is “more just”. In the Divine scheme there is only one “just”, i.e. only one way things are in relationship to the the Absolute (justum being, of course, the verbal sign signifying the way things should be in a perfect world). For the Christian, that is the world without sin (the one to come). Given that, the issue of the “justice” of one Mass over the other can be raised. For example, the Anglican mass is not “just” because of the Church of England’s broken episcopal lineage. The Masses of the Roman rite, on the other hand, in all of their approved forms are certainly just and no one holds sway over another.

    CDB:

    Yeah, what’s with the swipe at Ambrosian chant? Do you think we could engage the good father in an explanation?

  32. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf:

    “Monotone, repetitive and dull.” I once heard these very words used to describe the recitation of Rosary…

    It is my theory (underscore “theory”) that Ambrosian chant is a direct descendant of the “recto tono” and the isocolic rhythmical prose of the early Christian texts. This would give it a noble pedigree. It certainly has a meditative charm to it.

  33. Denis: This entry has NOTHING to do with Ambrosian chant, really. Let’s not go down the rabbit hole.

    I am pleased to know that you know that it is “recto tono”.

    Not everything medieval needs to be preserved.

    I find most of Gregorian chant (with the exception of the some of the more recent erstaz stuff wonderful.  I find most everything of Ambrosian chant I have heard… to … beeeee….

    …..zzzzzz….. 

    sorry… what was the question?

     Still. I see you share Archbishop Weakland’s interest. o{]:¬p

  34. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf!

    Wake up!

    Here’s the deal: I think the post I wanted to be most clear was the question of “justice” as it concerns the forms of the Mass. Since the Mass is of Divine origin it is inherently “just” and can’t be otherwise. As human members of the “finite” world we are given this especial sacrament so we can occasionally get close to Absolute justice. It is a fine thing to have at our disposal in an unjust world. I can’t get behind the notion that the Mass and justice are divorced.

    {Notice how I charitably ignored the Bishop Weakland comment… oops superbia predominat…

  35. Denis: ZZzzznnnnngghhhh…. huh?

    Mass is of Divine origin

    Sure, the heart of the Mass as the extension and continuation in a sacramental way the Last Supper and Sacrifice of the Corss… is of divine origin. Particular expressions of that divine heart in the Church are going to vary, and have, and will vary over time, while preserving the heart.

    Now… back to the topic of the entry….

  36. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf (and all),

    And the particular expressions of that divine origin must respond to their divine origin by being the best that we humans can offer. The thread of this discussion has been about the so-called value of one liturgical form over another. In the grand scheme of things all valid Masses are equal. Yet, we as humans have a responsibility to use every gift we have to make the Mass as close as we can get to “perfect”. (cf. St. Paul’s exhortations in Romans [12?]). The greatest problem with the Novus Ordo is that few people rise to the extreme challenge that it presents to man’s discipline. It is a much harder rite to execute well than the Tridentine Mass. And there are very few parishes that succeed (exceptions: St John Cantius, St, Agnes, and a few others – sadly, the Vatican is off this list) in mastering its demands. If you look at the Novus Ordo seriously and closely you gradually realize that it requires of the celebrants and the servers a vast knowledge of Scripture, liturgical practice, many languages (and on and on) in order to be celebrated as best as can be. This is, I think, – along with the too easy practice of liturgical abuse – one of the greater drawback of the Novus Ordo. Let’s not miss the great irony here: in their attempts to “simplify” the Mass for priests and people, countless liturgical commissions and committees have made the Mass rather too convoluted. It takes a lot of savvy and a long time studying to understand all of the demands of the Paul VI Missal. The other irony is that so many Catholics think that the majestic simplicity of the Vetus Ordo is “harder” for the lay person to grasp than the exceedingly demanding rituals of the “new liturgy”.

  37. Denis: The greatest problem with the Novus Ordo is that few people rise to the extreme challenge that it presents to man’s discipline. It is a much harder rite to execute well than the Tridentine Mass.

    As one highly respected priest friend says, “the old Mass is like a suit of armor”.

    If you look at the Novus Ordo seriously and closely you gradually realize that it requires of the celebrants and the servers a vast knowledge of Scripture, liturgical practice, many languages (and on and on) in order to be celebrated as best as can be.

    What the last Synod and Sacramentum caritatis called ars celebrandi. But one can say this of the older form of Mass as well, in its more solemn expression.

    in their attempts to “simplify” the Mass

    I had many conversations with such as the great Card. Mayer and even the once Card. Ratzinger about this. There was an idea that Mass had to be made understandable. In doing so, Mass lost its mysterious and vertical component and started to be a horizontal and “didactic” moment. The introduction of a third reading on Sunday and the vernacular did not help against this trend.

  38. TerryC says:

    I hope that the derestriction of the Tridentine Mass has a useful trickle down effect on the NO. I think that anyone who believes it will Universally replace the NO is deluded. I am not likely to see it anywhere near where I live. Not counting military parishes there are ten parishes within a 50 mile radius. One already has a chapel where the indult is in effect. It is 35 miles away. Of the rest I know perhaps half the priests. Of those not one would be supportive of the use of Latin, not even in an NO litugy, let alone a Tridentine.
    At least several of these parishes were seemingly built to make ad orientem almost impossible, being “Church in the round.”
    In my own parish, with a pastor who deviates not a hair from the licit liturgy, but likewise has no taste for chant and particularly dislikes Latin as it “makes impossible the active participation of the laity,” I know that there will be no inclination to support a Tradentine Mass, no matter how many parishioners ask for it. We might be better addressing any such request to the bishop, though I doubt he would over rule one of his pastors in the matter.
    My hope is that younger priests, who have a greater respect and knowledge of Latin and chant will simply celebrate the NO the way it was intended by VII. With the propers in Latin, hymns limited to places where there are not already antiphons and use of the venacular in the readings. And no clowns.

  39. TerryC: I hope that the derestriction of the Tridentine Mass has a useful trickle down effect on the NO.

    THAT friend is one of the main objectives! Another reason is that the NO can have a good effect on celebrations of the older Mass. That has actually been happening.

    There is another, larger objective.

    When considering the objective of this Pope we must always think ad intra and ad extra.

  40. Denis Crnkovic says:

    By my previous post I didn’t mean to undermine the discipline required of the commonly called Tridentine rites. I intended to say (and probably failed in clarity) that the newer rites have so many variables that they demand a lot of serious study in order to be understood well: all of the rituals, Scripture readings, prayers and numerous other variables connected with them require academic study of the highest order. Of course, the Tridentine rituals certainly demand the same amount of study, but study of a different – and, I would say, more transcendent, and less “practical” – quality. All of this said, I must also add that the texts of Tridetine Mass and other rituals are, from the viewpoint of a professional literature teacher, vastly superior to those of the new rites on many, many levels. And that is one place where the “vertical” component of the Vetus Ordo shows its greatest strength.

  41. Michael says:

    Hmmm… ad intra & ad extra. Father, are you suggesting Il Papa may be about separating sheep from goats? Both within the laity and the clergy? I sent the following passage to an old friend a few weeks ago:

    John 21:17. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him:

    Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.

    The veritable crux of the question!

  42. Maureen says:

    You know, it’s possible that a lot of educated people (theologians, priests) didn’t really understand the old Mass. After all, if they had, they would probably have celebrated both Masses more similarly.

    The thing is, with any Mass a lot of what’s going on is a mystery. There are certain logical, reasonable explanations for what we do and sing and read, but a lot of it is “this is how the Christians before us did it” or “this is what Jesus told us to do”. A lot of it, therefore, is only to be understood more fully by meditation, intuition, or poetic and artistic ways of thinking. Nobody in this world really understands any of it _fully and completely_.

    And I honestly think that bugs certain people, especially some very smart and very intellectual ones who are purely logical thinkers, or purely people persons. If they don’t watch out, they have a tendency to think that all the facets of the Mass which don’t fit their cognition style are unnecessary and boring accretions. If they really don’t watch out, they have a tendency to think that the mystery is annoying instead of the point.

    So I don’t think there is one form of the Mass that’s misunderstood and under attack; I think that all forms of the Mass need to be better loved and appreciated.

  43. Maureen says:

    If a church was built in the round and the altar’s plumb in the middle, there’s absolutely nothing stopping the priest from facing east. He could start tomorrow. People might not even notice.

    Putting up a baldacchino would be stylish, of course. And all those bare white walls will look awesome with some frescos, or with a whole bunch of huge framed paintings hung on them. But that will come.

  44. That editorial reflects for the most part the attitude in many chancery offices.

    In any case, Fr. Z should know his blog is proving the most informative and entertaining of any Catholic blogs at this time.

  45. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Father:

    I don’t know much about Ambrosian chant, but it seemed to me that dull, monotonous buzzing was more characteristic of the mindless “look at me” ism of guitars warming up before Mass than it was of any kind of chant, which is, after all, directed toward God, however awkwardly.

  46. Chris: guitars

    Even Ambrosian chant is better.

  47. jaykay says:

    The Tablet editorial would pretty much reflect the views of the hierarchy (and I suspect also the majority of clergy) in Ireland as well. By and large, and with respect, they’re wedded to mediocrity, only one example being the almost total lack of really good music or scholae (there are some notable exceptions but almost fewer than the fingers of one hand). There are very few indult Masses as it is, with entire diosceses not having even one, and you almost get the impression that they’re regarded like the embarrassing old relative in the garret, in the hope that they’ll go just away. In fact that Tablet editorial could as well have been written by the religion correspondent of our leading bien pensant “paper of record”, so replete is it with all the usual dreary cliches. I’m sure a rehashed version of it will surface when the MP does finally emerge.

    I have to say that I have no great hopes for the MP. Maybe that’s too pessimistic but I just feel that in one year’s time from now (and in a decade) it’ll be the same old same old. And then they have the gall to wonder why young people in particular aren’t attracted to
    coming to Mass!!

  48. Leo Hayden says:

    Far from being a “rabbit-hole” in the discussion, Fr Z’s absurd remark, which I would like to think he keenly regrets, about Ambrosian Chant, one of the supreme glories of Western Art during the “Dark Ages” and far from monotonous, is actually an example of the very thing he, rightly in my view, is accusing others of doing: criticising any deviation from the norm (Fr Z’s norm being, presumably, the Classical Rite and Gregorian Chant) especially one which harks back to a previous age. His throwaway line reminds us that a lot more rites than the Tridentine were all but extinguished by Vatican II’s reforms, including the Mozarabic, the Ambrosian, the Coptic and those variations of rites which were peculiar to religious orders.

  49. Leo: Yes, this is a rabbit hole and it will be the final mention of Ambrosian chant in this thread.

    I do not regret my remark about Ambrosian chant. I have never heard Ambrosian chant I found remotely interesting. I just don’t like any of the Ambrosian chant I have heard. That’s it. This has nothing to do with limiting sacred music to a narrow range of genres, which I don’t subscribe to.

    If someone wants to send me what they think are heavenly recordings of exquisite Ambrosian chant I will try to remain awake long enough to give them a fair shot. If I change my mind, I will let you all know.

    By the way, I also do not like over-cooked vegetables or lite beer. They are dull too.

    Moreover, I do not think the “Classical” Rite is the norm: the Holy Father intends that the Novus Ordo be the ordinary rite and that the older form be an extraordinary rite. That’s fine by me.

    I do not think the “Classical” Rite is the only sort of chant that can be used. I think what the Church thinks: Gregorian chant has pride of place. In my opinion, that would include its close cousins, (Ambrosian and Mozarabic, etc.).  If the music is truly sacred, artistic, and well-executed, it’s fair game for the Church’s liturgy. That’s it.

    More comments on Ambrosian chant in this entry will be removed when I find them.

    o{];¬)

  50. Diane says:

    You know, if something like that were published on another topic – like race or gender, the author would be charged with bigotry himself.

    Good grief what uninformed, biased trash. Then again, it is The Tablet.

  51. RBrown says:

    It is correct, I believe, to say that neither the Novus Ordo nor the Vetus Ordo is “more just”.

    Gee, thanks.

    The argument in favor of the Roman Rite is that it is a better expression of Eucharistic doctrine than in the Novus Ordo (esp. in the vernacular). This is known in various ways, among which are theology and liturgical tradition.

    In the Divine scheme there is only one “just”, i.e. only one way things are in relationship to the the Absolute (justum being, of course, the verbal sign signifying the way things should be in a perfect world). For the Christian, that is the world without sin (the one to come).

    Not really.

    1. It is irrelevant to this matter whether there is only one Justum, especially considering that there are various rites, e.g., Roman or that of John Chrysostom.

    2. Man cannot secundum naturam render to God what is owed to Him. It is therefore a matter not of nature and justice but rather grace and mercy.

    3. It is not a matter of a world without sin but rather of worship (here, the liturgy of the Eucharist) that uses Divinely inspired words and gestures.

    Given that, the issue of the “justice” of one Mass over the other can be raised. For example, the Anglican mass is not “just” because of the Church of England’s broken episcopal lineage. The Masses of the Roman rite, on the other hand, in all of their approved forms are certainly just and no one holds sway over another.

    Comment by Denis Crnkovic

    Because the Anglican Eucharist is not valid, it can be said that it is in some way sacrilegious. The virtue of religion is a virtue annexed to Justice but is not Justice properly speaking: It has in common rendering to someone his due, but it is not properly speaking considered Justice for the reason I mentioned earlier–that there is no perfect justice (or strict justice) between God and man.

    That is why we don’t refer to divination, or superstition as unjust but rather as sacrilege.

    Now we don’t find in the Novus Ordo sacrilege, but we do find certain lacunae (incl versus populum and the use of the vernacular) that permit the suppression the virtue of religion and thus the vitality of the Church.