Sr. Chittister on Summorum Pontificum

As usual my emphases and comments.

Published on National Catholic Reporter Conversation Cafe
Coming soon to a church near you

By Joan Chittister
Created Jul 10 2007

It used to be that if you asked a question about the Catholic church, you got very straightforward answers. No, we did not eat meat on Friday. Yes, we had to go to church every Sunday.  [Before legions of the discontinuity folks really snatched the reins of power in schools, chanceries, universities, seminaries, convents....]

They tell us now that Mass texts — including even hymns — may not include feminine references to God. And this in a church that has routinely addressed God as Key of David, Door of life, wind, fire, light and dove. God who is also, they tell us, "pure spirit" can never, ever, be seen as ‘mother.’ [sniff] Are we to think, then, that even hinting at the notion that the image of God includes the image of women as well as the image of men, as God in Genesis says it does, is dangerous to the faith? Antithetical to the faith? Heresy?  [If the shoe.... well....]

Or, too, we learned that the words of the consecration itself would soon be edited to correct the notion that Jesus came to save "all" [Nooooooo... that is not what the correct translation "pro multis".] – as we had been taught in the past — to the idea [the FACT] that Jesus came to save "many." The theological implications of changing from "all" to "many" boggles the mind. Who is it that Jesus did not come to save?  [This is just tendentious.]

Does such a statement imply again that "only Catholics go to heaven?"  And, if read like that by others, is this some kind of subtle retraction of the whole ecumenical movement?

Now, this week, we got the word that the pope himself, contrary to the advice and concerns of the world’s bishops, [First, the Pope is not subject to the bishops.  Second, the bishops are to be in union with Peter.  Third, Peter's role is to strengthen the brethren and govern the Church entrusted in the first place to him. Fourth, the Pope DID consult... and consult, and consult, and consult.  And do you think he was just twiddling his thumbs without anything to do before he became Pope?] has restored the Tridentine Latin Rite. [Noooo..... even a fast reading of the MP shows that the older, extraordinary form of the Roman Rite had never been abrogated.] It is being done, the pope explains, to make reconciliation easier with conservative groups.  [Noooo.... it doesn't stop there.  That is unjust.  These provisions are for THREE, groups, those who are in questionable unity or broken with the Church (which subsists in its fullness in the Catholic Church), those who were wounded by the changes decades past, and those who have discovered the older ways and want them now.  The writer was lacking in justice not to give the Pope's document a fair reading.  But here at WDTPRS we try to be just.  If you want peace, work for justice, after all.  This is a social-justice oriented blog, or rather an ad orientem justly social blog... well... you get it.]

But it does not, at the same time, make reconciliation easier with women, [HUH???  Whenever I go to  a approved parish or chapel to celebrate the older use of Holy Mass (something the writer of this article will never do in any use) I always see lots of women.  Women everywhere.  Big women, old women, little women, young women, girls, and they are pretty happy to be there, too.  You can tell by the way their chapel veils hang.] who are now pointedly left out of the Eucharistic celebration entirely, certainly in its God-language, even in its pronouns. [Nooooo....left out especially in its pronouns, Sister, let's be precise.]  Nor does it seem to care about reconciliation with Jews who find themselves in the Tridentine Good Friday rite again as "blind" and objects of conversion. It’s difficult not to wonder if reconciliation is really what it’s all about. [Well... it ain't about reconciliation on your terms, Sister, I can tell you that.  And the provisions for the use of the extraordinary right really aren't about the Jews at all.  They don't figure in the equation.  And, you know what?   That's okay.  Moreover, the writer is not just wrong, but also unjust.  True Catholics don't treat other people as "objects".  People, made in God's image and likeness, are the dignified subjects of their own actions.  That dignity cannot be violated.  No one is forced to be a Catholic or to listen to us.  But, darn it, we have a right to be Catholic, and have our own language, and symbols, and prayers.  And if anyone is interested in talking, we'll talk.  But in the CATHOLIC Church, we are not going to betray Jesus Christ and compromise our beliefs for the sake of "buonismo".]

What’s more, where, in the intervening years, bishops had to give permission for the celebration of Tridentine masses in the local diocese, the new document requires only that the rite be provided at the request of the laity.  [Right.  This empowers the laity.  It empowers WOMEN, come to think of it LAY WOMEN!  And SISTERS!  Sisters can now boss priests around and make them say the old Mass!]

But why the concerns? If some people prefer a Latin mass [I think the writer means the older form of Mass] to an English mass, why not have it?

The answer depends on what you think the Mass has to do with articulating the essence of the Christian faith.

The Latin Mass,[I think the writer means the older form of Mass] for instance, in which the priest celebrates the Eucharist with his back to the people, [kaCHING!  Say da magic woid, winnahunnud dahlahs!] in a foreign language — much of it said silently or at best whispered [much of it said very much out loud]– makes the congregation, the laity, observers of the rite rather than participants in it.  [I think we have covered what the Church really means by "active participation" here so often readers can recite it in their sleep.  So, let's just back away from this embarassing cliche and move on.]

The celebrant becomes the focal point of the process, the special human being, the one for whom God is a kind of private preserve.  [Well.... yah... that's about right.  When the priest is at the altar, he IS special.  He is alter Christus.  That, Sister, is special!]

The symbology of a lone celebrant, [cue Clint Eastwood music....] removed from and independent of the congregation, [a clear whistled melody.... the distant howl of a wolf and... what's that hear?   Gunfire?!] is clear: ordinary people have no access to God. They are entirely dependent on a special caste of males to contact God for them. [B as in B.  S as in S.] They are "not worthy," to receive the host, or as the liturgy says now, even to have Jesus "come under my roof."  [Ehem.... one of those things the lone male priest is saying silently up there at the altar Sister can't approach is "Domine, non sum dignus... Domine, non sum dignus... Domine, non sum dignus..." before anyone else says it.  And, NEWS FLASH: No one is worthy to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Jesus in the Eucharist.  We approach Him because He invitingly commands it and we, in hope that He will crown His own merits in us, extends to us now this great pledge of future glory.  We come with humility, not a sense of our own "worth".   His Holiness even before his election wrote and warned eloquently about an unbridled sense of "self-sufficiency" in the Church.]

The Eucharist in such a setting is certainly not a celebration of the entire community. It is instead a priestly act, a private devotion of both priest and people, which requires for its integrity three "principal parts" alone — the offertory, the consecration and the communion. The Liturgy of the Word — the instruction in what it means to live a Gospel life — is, in the Tridentine Rite, at best, a minor element.   [Riiiighhhht.... so... show me that list of great saints raised up solely on the newer form of Mass.... oppps.... where are they?   It look like all these saints we so venerate were nourished on a Mass that had little to do with the Gospel life.  I guess the Chinese and Spanish martyrs, Teresa of Calcutta, Damien of Molochai, Catherine of Siena, Bakhita, and well... others somehow just stumbled onto their.... thing... by chance.]

In the Latin mass, the sense of mystery — of mystique — the incantation of "heavenly" rather than "vulgar" language in both prayer and music, underscores a theology of transcendence. It lifts a person out of the humdrum, the dusty, the noisy, the crowded chaos of normal life to some other world. It reminds us of the world to come — beautiful, mystifying, hierarchical, perfumed — and makes this one distant. It takes us beyond the present, enables us, if only for a while, to "slip the surly bonds of earth" for a world more mystical than mundane.  [So far so good.]

It privatizes the spiritual life. The Tridentine Mass is a God-and-I liturgy.  [Riiiight.... that is why St. John of God and Camillus of Lellis, the aforementioned Teresa of Calcutta founded hospitals and houses for the desperate, why saintly mother foundresses built schools and shelters and orphanages, why holy missionaries left everything to go to the ends of the earth.  This is why millions of quiet lay people saved and sacrificed to build their churches and support women religious (before they needed pants suits and hairdoos) and give to the poor and to missions.  In the end, everyone of them, if you were to ask them after Mass why they did those things they would say without hesitation.... "It's all about me and Jesus".  That's right!  That's sure what they would tell you.]

The Vatican II liturgy, on the other hand, steeps a person in community, in social concern, in the hard, cold, clear reality of the present. [Especially when those out of tune guitars start a strummin' and the shouting into the microphone over the bongos begins.... hard, cold reality of the present... for an hour or so that seems never to end.] The people and priest pray the Mass together, in common language, with a common theme. They interact with one another. They sing "a new church into being,’ non-sexist, inclusive, centered together [BLEEEEEAAAAACHHH   ....  'scuse me  o{]8¬{   sorry… please go on… ] in the Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Galilee curing the sick, raising the dead, talking to women and inviting the Christian community to do the same. 

The Vatican II liturgy grapples with life from the point of view of the distance between life as we know it and life as the gospel defines it for us. It plunges itself into the sanctifying challenges of dailiness.  [Wow... no one had EVER thought of that before 1963!]

The Vatican II liturgy carries within it a theology of transformation. It does not seek to create on earth a bit of heaven; it does set out to remind us all of the heaven we seek. It does not attempt to transcend the present. It does seek to transform it. It creates community out of isolates in an isolating society.  [Ehem.... to me... that sounds like hell.  That sound like exactly the OPPOSITE of what Vatican II asks of the baptized living in the world.  Still... let's all sing! 

Not in the dark of buildings confining, 
not in some heaven, light years away, 
but here in this place, the new light is shining; 
now is the Kingdom, now is the day. 
Gather us in - and ....aaaaaaaand.....

BLEEEEEAAAAACHHH   ....  sorry... sorry again...]

There is a power and a beauty in both liturgical traditions, of course. No doubt they both need a bit of the other.  [After all that, you make this admission?] [The] Eucharist after all is meant to be both transcendent and transformative. But make no mistake: In their fundamental messages, they present us with more than two different styles of music or two different languages or two different sets of liturgical norms.  [Which is a pretty good start, thank you very much.] They present us with two different churches.  [B as in B.  S as in S.]

The choice between these two different liturgies bring the church to a new crossroads, one more open, more ecumenical, more communal, more earthbound than the other.  The question is which one of them is more likely to create the world Jesus models and of which we dream.  [While those who follow followed the heremeutic of rupture and "dreamed", in the bad old day Catholics WORKED and created the infrastructure the dreamers are still living off of.  For people like this, who can see things only in blacks and whites without any flexibility and nuance, who are incapable of taking what is good from the last, say four decades, and then make corrections, I bet all of this really is pretty scary.  We should be nicer....   ....   .... later maybe... ]

There are many more questions ahead of us as a result of this new turn in the liturgical road than simply the effect of such a decree on parish architecture, seminary education, music styles, language acquisition and multiple Mass schedules.  [I'll settle for those.]

The theological questions that lurk under the incense and are obscured by the language are far more serious than that. They’re about what’s really good for the church — ecumenism or ecclesiastical ghettoism, [Always the drama... always with the drama.] altars and altar rails, [yeppp..... pretty scary]  mystique or mystery, incarnation as well as divinity, community or private spirituality? 

From where I stand, it seems obvious that the Fathers [and Mothers] of Vatican Council II knew the implications of the two different Eucharistic styles then and bishops around the world know it still. [And that is why the Fathers ... and Mothers... of the Council mandated only VERY FEW changes to Holy Mass.  Read the documents.]  But their concerns have been ignored. They don’t have much to do with it anymore. Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want — and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come. 

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93 Responses to Sr. Chittister on Summorum Pontificum

  1. Geoffrey says:

    My eyes rolled so much in my head I nearly collapsed! 8-(

  2. mike says:

    Father Z,

    You should write for Letterman.

    m

  3. Cody says:

    liberal ideology => intellectual dishonesty

  4. MrTips says:

    We’ve got Sr Joan Chittister in New Zealand at the moment.
    Funnily enough we’ve had some pretty severe winter storms since she turned up….

  5. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Fr. Z, you really need your own television show ;)

    Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want—and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.

    First of all, we have no right to decide what Church we want, no do we have the right to determine the “very nature of the Church”, because the Church does not belong to us. The problems are caused when people like Sister Chittister come along and try to make the Church into something they want. The Church is not ours, it is God’s, and until the Joan Chittisters of the world understand and accept that the Church is not human but Divine, souls will suffer.

    The very people who will argue in support of the most fanatical heretics and will defend to the death outrageous Liturgical abuses, are somehow able to look upon the Liturgy used in the western Church for over 1500 years as intrinsically evil (about the only evil they believe in). The again, this is not very surprising- was I not taught in my “Catholic” school that the Church survived in spite of itself until Vatican II came along threw out the medieval trash?

  6. Michael E. Lawrence says:

    Fr. Z,

    I am going to have to stop eating or drinking while reading some of these posts. I nearly choked:)

  7. Geoffrey says:

    I read this aloud to my mother (with Father’s wonderful commentary) and we were both in stitches (mostly due to the tripe in black, but also due to Fr. Z’s commentary.

    And I think it’s agreed… Fr. Z should have his own show on EWTN!

  8. Father, right after I posted my commentary on Sr. Joan, I saw this. Great minds think alike!

    You’re a little nicer, though.

  9. Fr K says:

    Since when have the liberals ever bothered to read a papal document before tearing it to shreds? To act this way publically is only to look foolish but they never learn.

    I recall when ‘Veritatis splendor’ was issued there was a panel programme on the Australian ABC. It was loaded with liberals so favoured by our left wing, secularist media, including an angry nun, a few angry priests [at least one of whom soon became an even angrier ex-priest!] and our own Cardinal George Pell [still then an auxiliary bishop] and an Anglican clergyman and columnist who is always far more supportive of the Catholic Church and the Pope than our own.

    Of course, the liberals had a field day ripping the document to shreds, with Angry Nun going so far as to say she couldn’t see anything Christian in it. Well she wouldn’t, not having actually read it. It was the Anglican clergyman towards the end of the programme who made the comment that after having listened to the opinions expressed, it was abundantly clear that the only two people in the room who had actually bothered to read the encyclical were himself and Dr George Pell.

    Seems nothing ever changes, doesn’t it?

    Fr K.

  10. JoeyG says:

    For some reason, her article reminded me of this from a play I did in high school.

  11. Madkins says:

    That was really bad. There has to be a way of countering these mass-media outlets other than the blogosphere. I am so thankful for websites like this and the New Liturgical Movement, but does the average, impressionable Catholic who has been poorly catechized know where to look?

    Bummer.

  12. Madkins says:

    That was really bad. There has to be a way of countering these mass-media outlets other than the blogosphere. I am so thankful for websites like this and the New Liturgical Movement, but does the average, impressionable Catholic who has been poorly catechized know where to look?

    Bummer. Reading story after story about how mean Benedict is for releasing the mass, and yesterday’s CDF release on the Catholica Ecclesia – Pope says Protestant Churches “Defective” – it all is very saddening.

    Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis et Benedicto Decimosexto!

  13. Animadversor says:

    Bummer. Reading story after story about how mean Benedict is for releasing the mass, and yesterday’s CDF release on the Catholica Ecclesia – Pope says Protestant Churches “Defective” – it all is very saddening.

    But Madkins, they are defective, aren’t they, and that’s what the CDF is somewhat less bluntly saying. I can’t fault the mass media here for picking up on that and putting it in more forthright terms.

  14. Allan Hales says:

    With this much love going around, who needs to pray for Jewish conversion? They’ll come flocking after that “discourse”. Perhaps a discussion about the difference between expressing passionately held views and spitting out angry, sarcastic and personal comments is in order.

  15. Peter says:

    You should maybe also point out that symbology is a word practically (ok, it did exist but was never used) made up by Dan Browne. Guess who has been reading the Da Vinci Code for inspiration.

  16. Athos says:

    Ahhh … Thank you, Father, for the valuable, informative, and necessary counterpoint!

  17. berenike says:

    Blessed Marguerite d”Oingt wrote about Christ as mother, possibly God (can’t remember now) – and she wasn’t unique. Nor a heretic.

  18. Joshua says:

    Like Fr Z, it amazes me how that creature (can’t bring myself to name her!) impugns, belittles, and attacks the many many faithful ladies who attend the TLM (or, for that matter, the NOM) – no doubt she would quote Simone de Beauvoir (herself, for all her vaunted feminisme, a captive tool of Sartre) who wrote of women who didn’t adhere to feminism as their own worst enemies, and apply this to feminine devotees of the traditional, or of any orthodox liturgy.

    The dishonesty gets worse; she stoops to employ the womanly guiles of tearful hysteria… again, she dishonours her own sex. Luckily, if she takes after fallen Eve, we have immaculate Mary to uphold true womanhood.

    Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo:
    Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou alone hast trampled down all heresies in the whole world.

  19. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    What amazes me is that a woman with such adolescent reasoning, producing writings so solipsistic in outlook and tone, has made such a name for herself. This piece is almost comic in nature. In fact, it so closely parallels the furtive,pressured themes of a teenage girl’s diary…I must ask. Is this post a joke?

    Just asking.

  20. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    What amazes me is that a woman with such adolescent reasoning, producing writings so solipsistic in outlook and tone, has made such a name for herself. This piece is almost comic in nature. In fact, it so closely parallels the furtive,pressured themes of a teenage girl’s diary…I must ask. Is this post a joke?

    Just asking.

  21. Royce says:

    “Blessed Marguerite d”Oingt wrote about Christ as mother, possibly God (can’t remember now) – and she wasn’t unique. Nor a heretic.”

    I think the difference there is for Blessed Marguerite (just guessing, really) it
    was a point of reflection and spiritual medatition. It’s completely different to
    want to actually refer to God in feminine terms in the Mass. However, I’m really
    confused as to how this is relevant to the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms, because
    the Ordinary text never refers to God as Mother or in any other feminine language.

    This is really just the old spaghetti-at-the-wall tactic. If you throw enough, something’s
    bound to stick.

  22. berenike says:

    Summorum Ponitificium.net has an intriguing quote from the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Vicar for Canonical Sevices:
    “It is important to note that the celebration of the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII is not permitted at regularly scheduled weekday or Sunday.”

    Another statement in there seems to me not to say what the MP says:
    “The celebration of baptism, penance, anointing of the sick, weddings and funerals in the older rite is permitted in these [having a stable-group-of-the-faithful...] parishes.”

    Not to mention the disingenuous identification of parishes-where-there-is-a-stable-group-of-the-faithful with parishes-where-an-indult-has-already-been-granted.

    http://www.diopitt.org/postingboard/gensec_latinmass.pdf

    You have lots of readers, I thought this would be more usefully noted in your comments than in a post bei uns.

  23. Luis says:

    “Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want—and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.”
    Not that that is true but… why is that seen as a bad thing to the liberal feminist author. I thought liberation theology was all about “the peoples” church! I thougth the new “liberation theology Magisterium” was “the people”? What gives? Why is she so sad at the notiont that “my peeps” get to decide whether we want Mass in Latin, priest with his back to us… Why was it OK for the people to have clown Masses and Holloween Masses but we get this melodrama if we want the “old Mass”
    Something very strange is going on here…. Is it the “peoples Church” or isn’t it anymore, this lady has confused me… NOT

  24. Father Anonymous says:

    It is amazing how Sr. Chittister and so many of the “good sisters” of her ilk would love to now be considered individual, unique and liberated women but in reality, they are “semper et ubique” cookie cutter nuns. The pedantic “mother superior” tone of that article or any article of hers -or, for that matter, most liberal nun speaking/writing sends a chill down my spine. As I heard a priest remark once, “They ditched the habit but kept the clicker.”

    Oh well… In a few years they’ll be dead anyway.

  25. Joshua says:

    Yes, thank God, the Church is young, the Church is alive, and Sancta Mater Ecclesia will remain without spot or wrinkle long after poor Sr Joan hopefully repents and eventually dies, as die we must. The bad nuns will go the way of all flesh, and the new happy orthodox sisters the Lord is raising up will take their place.

    Remember that most beautiful prayer for the Easter Vigil (it’s in the new, but not the 1962 book, because it was dropped for a while at Pius XII’s abbreviation of the service):

    O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on thy whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; and by the tranquil operation of thy perpetual providence carry out the work of man’s salvation, and let the whole world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R/. Amen.

    Deus, incommutabilis virtus, et lumen æternum: respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiæ tuæ mirabile sacramentum, et opus salutis humanæ, perpetuæ dispositionis effectu tranquillius operare; totusque mundus experiatur et videat, dejecta erigi, inveterata renovari, et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum, a quo sumpsere principium: Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R/. Amen.

  26. joe says:

    Funny…isn’t there a line in the Bible attributed to some one Higher than the Pope: “MANY are called but FEW are chosen. ” ?

  27. RBrown says:

    As I heard a priest remark once, “They ditched the habit but kept the clicker.”

    Excellent. I’ll remember that one.

    Oh well… In a few years they’ll be dead anyway.
    Comment by Father Anonymous

    A few years ago I emailed John Allen after he had written about a meeting with a liberal American sister who was head of her community. I asked why, in so far as her community was dying and would probably not exist in 10-15 years, he was interviewing her as if she had something important to say about the Church?

  28. RBrown says:

    I wonder whether it’s just coincidence that Sr Chittister’s comments appeared about the same time as the headline:

    Rare giant squid washed up in Australia

  29. Hammerbrecher says:

    Man, was she giving that whining Bishop a run for the money? These mugs are so crazy it is comical. No wonder no one is fooled anymore by them, even someone who knows nothing about liturgy would see that is the biggest temper tantrum this side of romper room…

  30. jaykay says:

    Oh dear oh dear, that article was SOOOOOO funny. My cliche-ometer was waaaayy over the red mark! I was thinking: wow, this womyn actually has a hidden great comic talent and it’s really black humour of the deepest sort.

    Then reality hit and I’m still mopping up the effects…

    Which reminds me: in the long-running UK satirical publication “Private Eye” there used to be a column that collected samples of the latest rantings of the sisterhood, and the title inviting readers to contribute ran “All loony feminist nonsense gratefully received”. This one would sweep the board.

  31. Prof. Basto says:

    This woman isn’t Catholic. Isn’t Catholic and shouldn’t be adressed as “Sister”. Why isn’t she expelled from the Catholic Order to which she technically is still affiliated? Why isn’t she under censure, or excommunication? You look at what she writes and it’s obvious: she is a heretic, and heretics, as we know, incurr latae sententia excommunication.

    It is a pity that, thanks to the inaction of Bishops and of the CDF in declaring publicly that she is a heretic and has incurred the penalty, she is still alowed to create scandal among the faithful by using the title of a nun, the postnominal letters of a Catholic Order, and by expressing her heretical, uncatholic views in a newspaper that, without deserving it, bears the name Catholic.

  32. Jennifer says:

    “The choice between these two different liturgies bring the church to a new crossroads, one more open, more ecumenical, more communal, more earthbound than the other.”

    Just a quick question here. Why would anyone want an earthbound church? I mean, I may be a convert and all… but it seems to me that the whole idea of church means becoming unbound from earth and self…

    OK, so not that’s not the WHOLE idea, but if I wanted to remain earthbound I would have remained a pagan and not gone through all the trouble of converting. Me? I have this audacious desire to be a saint and to unshackle myself from a lot of things, like me and earth, which while good is not as good.

  33. Chris W says:

    This article is very sad, and very telling about Sister’s state of mind and interior life. I was very sorry to have read it. Her superiors and editor will have a lot to answer for one day.

    Feminism has been a real problem, but I believe that it is in retreat in those pockets of the Church where it had become powerful. The bigger problem by far is that the feminist’s themselves, like power-charged old hippies stuck in the defunct philosophy of the last Pauline era, are still around, and being given airtime by bishops and others. I find these older women very hard to understand. Without a doubt, they are somehow simply ‘not whole’, and the men who seem to fall into line with this way of thinking are seriously lacking in intelligence or courage or both.

    Of course, God has ordered nature along sexist lines. The sign of the Mosaic Covenant did not apply to both male and female alike: it was not on the hand or the head or the foot, but on the male foreskin. We seem to have lost sight of this, both in challenging feminism, and all sorts of sexual perversion in general. We must return again and again to pointing out the obvious. As Our Lord told us, He did not come to replace the Law and the Prophets, but to perfect them, and so under the New Law of Grace, (where obviously baptism replaced circumcision), marriage was raised to a sacramental institution.

    It is the servile attitude adopted by women who know their place in the world, (whatever their occupation) which is ultimately their greatest strength, and puts them ahead, so to speak, in the spiritual life. Instead of trying to eradicate this divinely ordained attitude of servility, Sister should try to emulate it, and stop doing such a great disservice to women.

    This is, is it not, the great Feast Day of her Order (in the Ordinary Rite). Keep her in your prayers, please.

  34. marie says:

    So much for love your neighbor

  35. Jordan Potter says:

    I’m very happy that “Sister” Chittister is unwelcome in the Diocese of Peoria. A few years back, when John Myers was our bishop, our diocese boycotted a Catholic education conference because the conference had invited that heretrix to speak.

  36. Steve Skojec says:

    Late have I loved thee, Fr. Z., late have I loved thee.

    Thank you, once again, for reminding me why you’re a daily read.

  37. Kris says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    You provide the way for the release of long pent up tears held inside for over 4 decades, perhaps even unconscious, but you do it with the soothing cushion of humor.

    The Vatican II liturgy carries within it a theology of transformation.

    I think Sister has seen too many Harry Potter movies. I picture some witch who has with delight held on to certain potions of assumed control and power over the Church, now facing the real world rather than the illusion she’s made for herself (or, shall we say, the evil one has designed for the gullible). There is also the “behind the scenes” world of immorality that that world has sanctioned for too long. And THAT is what the drama is REALLY all about – returning to a true conscience – that these changes also invite.

    So, get out the ear plugs folks. At least temporarily. Because there is going to be a lot of waaaaaahing and stomping of little feet for some time!

  38. caleb1x says:

    I guess Sister Joan didn’t read John Allen’s predictions of the media reaction to this motu proprio. Pity that she had to fall into the very pitfalls that her colleague warned of.

  39. Schultz says:

    “From where I stand, it seems obvious that the Fathers [and Mothers] of Vatican Council II knew the implications of the two different Eucharistic styles then and bishops around the world know it still.”

    And yet these same Fathers (and Mothers, of course!) told the Eastern Catholic
    churches to return to their particular roots and strip away the Latinizations. The result,
    of course, would be far more than “two different Eucharistic styles”.

  40. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Hmm, from reading the brief lesson of the life of St. Pius I, Pope and Martyr, to reading today’s morning blog entry. Thank you, dear Father, for tremendously hilarious early morning comedy.

  41. Shoshiru Honda says:

    This post by “Sister” Chittister remind me on one long whine. I think that in the USA, there are too many “sisters” of mamny Orders who think like Joan Chittister. Thier Orders are dead, and have been for years, yet it is traditional Orders like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Holy Eucharist that are growing rapidly.
    In many way, what the Church believed in once, thanks to Pope benedict XVI and the Motu Proprio and other rulings coming, we believe in again. I totally believe the quote Pope benedict XVI wrote, something like ” what was sacred and great in the past, is sacred and great for usnow”
    Has anyone ever visited Sr. Chittister’s Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pa. website? Very sick people when it comes to liturgy, agenda, philosophy etc. They are not Catholic.
    In the longrun, truth is the Church and Mass Sr. Chittister want and liberals like her want is dead and is being dismantled by our Holy Father. We should pray that He succeeds, and has years left to acomplish this great work.
    Finally, “Sister” Chittister, isn’t she about 73 or so…as are most of the nuns in her monastery (or older). Most of people who want a Church like her are around the same age. Their time is over.
    They have a choice. To accept and embrace the return of the Catholic Church to itself, or to leave.
    For Sister Chittister, She doesn’t need to leave. She’s not been a Catholic for 35+ years.

  42. RichR says:

    This article should be clipped out of the Reporter and sent to the CDF for review. I think it is grounds for revocation of the adjective “Catholic” in their title.

  43. Laura says:

    She’s so dishonest it makes me sick! Ugh!

  44. Brian Crane says:

    Some more positive news on the MP:

    http://www.bradenton.com/local/story/94130.html

    From a diocese where one would not expect such a positive reception (were it not for their new bishop)!

  45. nab says:

    “It does not seek to create on earth a bit of heaven; it does set out to remind us all of the heaven we seek.”

    Silly me, I thought when I assist at NO Mass (as with every Mass ever celebrated) that I am partaking of the one offering continually being offered at the Right Hand of the Father by the Divine Mediator, the Second Person of the Trinity. I thought the very choirs of angels and heavenly host are joined in the communion of saints at that time, along with all the earthly members and those in purgatory that are still longing for heaven.

    I guess I’m not materialistic enough.

  46. jmgarciaiii says:

    If God transcends both time and space, perhaps Sr. Chittister is unusually prescient in describing how His Church operates in parallel universes.

    -J.

  47. danphunter1 says:

    I am really surprised that she has has not been condemned by the Vatican.Or maybe the Holy Father has,I am not sure.Does anyone know?
    She is getting very close to gettin a severe spanking by a certain,FATHER in heaven.
    HE will not tolerate any more of this disobedience to HIS Church and HIS Supreme Pontiff.
    We must all pray for the conversion of Sister Chittister,before it is to late.

  48. Carl H. Horst says:

    Somebody ought to ask Ms. Chittister if she serves cheese with her whine.

  49. Mary Jane says:

    This is the longest piece I’ve read by Chittister in some time. I really wish she’d get over it. I was big into the women’s movement 20 years ago – then I finally grew up (OK, I was a bit slow). Sr. Joan is still back there. Furthermore, she never, ever has to attend a Mass celebrated with the extraordinary rite – so what’s her problem.

  50. greg says:

    Just more modernist nonsense. And people wonder why Traditional-minded Catholics sometimes get a little strident in their reaction to such manifestations of the “renewal?”

  51. CPKS says:

    It’s instructive to see the Hermeneutic of Rupture in action.

  52. RBrown says:

    I am really surprised that she has has not been condemned by the Vatican.Or maybe the Holy Father has,I am not sure.Does anyone know?

    The Vatican does not condemn people. It suspends or silences certain clerics or religious. Or it judges their works to be unworthy.

    Only God condemns people.


    She is getting very close to gettin a severe spanking by a certain,FATHER in heaven.
    HE will not tolerate any more of this disobedience to HIS Church and HIS Supreme Pontiff.

    Comment by danphunter1

    You have this strange notion that God is a dictator, and His Church is His police force.

  53. greg says:

    “Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want—and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.”

    Uh, this isn’t American Idol! While I think the laity should have input on the direction of the Church, I don’t want us to “determine its very nature.” That’s why we have a Divinely-inspired hierarchy, Sacred Tradition, et al.

  54. danphunter1 says:

    RBrown,
    Many popes have condemned the teaching of heretics and dissenters in the past.
    God is a Dictator,and the Church is His police force. Very well put.
    He is the Perfect Dictator.
    God bless you

  55. Ave Maria says:

    “Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want—and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.”

    Yes, and I will attend the Mass of the Ages when I have the opportunity. It will not be soon!

    But one day, I will. I already use my missal from grade school to pray the
    beautiful prayers and to prepare my heart to receive Our Lord. I rarely can sing the banal songs.

    What is surprising is that those who are older and knew the Latin Mass have retained this in their hearts. Men who were alter boys 50 years ago recall the answers they gave; it lives within the soul somehow.

    Deo Gratias for the Holy Father.
    Ave Maria!

  56. greg: On the other hand “market forces” will be at work here. If there is great “demand” for the older form of Mass, then there will have to be a greater “supply” on the part of clergy. If people simply stop supporting or tolerating abuses and irreverence, they will diminish.

  57. Maureen says:

    No, the Church is Christ’s hospital for all sick sinners. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to cooperate with Christ the Physician, so not everyone gets well.

    May God have mercy on all of us, and soften our hard and scarred hearts.

  58. Maureen says:

    What’s the deal with the Bradenton article including the “Independent” church?

    I mean, it’s good that they thought to interview the guy, but it doesn’t really provide readers with much guidance about the status there.

  59. greg says:

    Fr. Z,

    Excellent point. Indeed, I think the laity should serve as a “watch dog” for the Church. In my experience, however, I’ve seen bad things happen when over-zealous “parish administrators” have undue influence on the liturgy. I’d rather live or die by the decisions of my ordained pastor and Bishop.

  60. Merite, Pater, merite.
    You’re now a link on my blog.

  61. RBrown says:

    RBrown,
    Many popes have condemned the teaching of heretics and dissenters in the past.

    As I said above, condemning writings and condemning people are not the same.

    God is a Dictator,and the Church is His police force. Very well put.
    He is the Perfect Dictator.
    God bless you
    Comment by danphunter1

    Actually, when you say that He is a dictator, you are committing heresy.

  62. caine says:

    To get so upset about the “pro multis” like Sr. Chittester et al do, demonstrates that they are not so convinced that there exists a personal relationship between each one of us and Christ. Jesus offers us salvation, but we have the responsibility to accept. Men and Women. Catholic and Protestant. Christian and non-Christian. Every individual will face our Lord, and with him, the choice between life and death.

    Does Sister not believe we have free will? “Pro Multis” acknowledges the reality that human beings have free will, and that some will choose death. She states:

    “The Vatican II liturgy grapples with life from the point of view of the distance between life as we know it and life as the gospel defines it for us. It plunges itself into the sanctifying challenges of dailiness.”

    How does it do this if it lies to us all about the role we have in our own salvation?

  63. Wendy Holland says:

    Fr. Z was so insightful and funny at the same time. Thank you for that clarification. I am glad there is but one Holy Father who is Christ’s vicar here on earth. I trust those two are talking. Sr. Joan will have to answer for leading children of God astray.

  64. danphunter1 says:

    RBrown,
    There is absolutely nothing heretical about saying God is a dictator.
    He is a Person,or 3 Persons ruling absolutely,which is the definition of a dictator.
    Fill me in on who else is ruling absolutely,in the universe, and then you may have a point.
    God bless you

  65. Paul Murnane says:

    I can’t decide what I find more funny: the article itself or the equally hysterical comments. The first comment is especially humorous and shows the mindset of many in that crowd.

  66. Pleased as Punch says:

    Three cheers for Fr. Z! If there were an orthodox Catholic priest on Saturday Night Live or the Simpsons,
    he’d be Fr. Z!

  67. Amy G. says:

    St. Benedict, please pray for Joan, our sister in Christ, that she may revert to the faith which she seems to have left. Please also intercede for all who read her work that they may not be led astray by her writing. Heavenly Father, please bless Sr. Joan and all of us. Help us to love You more deeply. Amen.

  68. Fr. Darrell Roman says:

    Dear Father,

    Thank you for your input!!!While ready the article
    by “Sister” I could only think of how she is missing
    the boat! Let us thank the Father,Son and Holy Spirit
    for Pope Benedict XVI.

    Ad Multos Annos!

  69. katymalone says:

    When I read the Motu Proprio, I got the impression that it’s perfectly fine to hear Mass under both the John XXIII (extraordinary) and Paul VI (ordinary) rubrics/languages because they are the same Mass. Both rituals center on Transubstantiation–the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord are–There– under both rituals. Our parish Masses (NO–one Saturday evening, three on Sunday) have a few annoyances (the music during choirless Mases and lining up like cattle to receive in the hand), but it’s done with much devotion by priest in holy dialogue with God and parish. When I began following all this (MONTHS ago), I hoped our young, solid pastor would learn Latin and the rubrics, and every other week (and the big Holy Days) would present the Pope John Mass with our “pretty-good” choir and congregation making “very-good” music. (I got my degree the year Pope John XXIII ascended the Chair, so I’m thrilled that the “Old Mass” is “freed-up.”) After reading these comments, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all right or not to like both versions of the One Mass. I mean, gee whiz, the Holy Father himself says it is. Let’s not lose ourselves in rhetoric.

  70. Sid Cundiff says:

    “Sister” is doing wonders for the sale of Pepto Bismol.

  71. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    The most striking (and enjoyable) irony of this article is that Cha-Cha-Chittister (& Ilk) have yapped relentlessly in past decades for “lay empowerment.” That was ostensibly the impetus for the founding of the NCR in the first place.

    Well, be careful what you ask for, Sistron! This MP is going to show Spirit of Vatican II crowd what lay empowerment really means. Because whether we get the Extraordinary Form or not will depend on us.

  72. Christine Andreoli says:

    This is my first time reading posts on this site [I rarely bother with blogs at all] and sadly, it has been a disturbing experience to say the least, starting with Father Z.’s comments on Sister’s article. What upsets me is not Father’s [or anyone else's] disagreement with Sister’s positions. [I, for one, am perfectly comfortable with, and attend, both Tridentine and Novus Ordo Masses]. What saddens me tremendously is the childish [e.g., "B as in B., S as in S."], mean-spirited [e.g., "'Sister' is doing wonders for the sale of Pepto Bismol"] and quite frankly, un-Christian level of discourse. I thought as Catholics we are meant to love our neighbors as ourselves. To my knowledge, Christ did not qualify that command or limit it to those with whom we are in complete agreement. There are indeed many serious issues worthy of discussion among the faithful but it should be done in a manner that adheres to that faith–with love and respect–and not with personal attacks, sarcasm, and meaningless and divisive labels, e.g., “liberal” vs. “conservative”.

  73. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Dear Ms. Andreoli:

    Thank you for your extensive written commentary explaining that you never write messages on blogs.

    If you will take a moment, I invite you to re-read Fr. Z.’s commentary on Sr. Joan’s editorial. You will see, I think, that the commentary (and, for that matter, the comments placed by other readers) touch on the “biting” side when (and only when), Sr. Joan makes claims (there were several) that are so ludicrous on their face that any honorable person would know them to be false. That she not only makes such claims, but wraps them in such martyr-complex-driven, overwrought hysterics, that she can only be using the claims (awkwardly, I grant) as weapons in a self-proclaimed war against certain legitimate Church authorities.

    If Sr. Joan’s track record supported the notion that she is a well-meaning but misguided soul, I am sure that she would not be subjected to scorn on this or any other weblog. But, of course, her record is of a very different piece, no? She is a personality seeking a church in her own image…for starters. As such, she needs to be called out…for her good and the good of the faithful.

  74. Mary says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    The Holy Father did not say one Mass is better than the other. Just different.
    In the past few years there has been a resurgence of pharisaical behavior in our “Church”.
    In fact the “bloggers” are encouraging this separation even more.
    No one is better than another. We are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Rom 12:5. No one is superior. …do not be wise in your own estimation. Rom 12:16.
    Remember: We are One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Universal.
    “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

  75. Mary says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    The Holy Father did not say one Mass is better than the other. Just different.
    In the past few years there has been a resurgence of pharisaical behavior in our “Church”.
    In fact the “bloggers” are encouraging this separation even more.
    No one is better than another. We are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Rom 12:5. No one is superior. …do not be wise in your own estimation. Rom 12:16.
    Remember: We are One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Universal.
    “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

  76. Christine Andreoli says:

    Dear Mr. “Farmer”,

    Re :”Thank you for your extensive written commentary explaining that you never write messages on blogs.”

    You have apparently misread and misunderstood my commentary.

  77. Fr. Joseph Skelton, Jr. says:

    Fr. Z
    Your commentary is incredible!!! I’m planning to share this with all of my priest friends. Thanks for your informative blog and humor, its so good to know like-minded priests (I know we’re many)! The National Catholic Reporter and its followers and its liberal agenda are a dying breed, they know it, we know it but we must be aware that they will try their best to not go down without a fight. We must keep praying that oneday they will come back to the Church.

  78. Wow. Sister Chittester seems like an interesting person to get to know.

  79. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Dear Ms. Andreoli:

    At some point in life, most of us get a sense of the extent of our own competence (and, by implication, the vast, barren panorama of our own incompetence). Having said that, I am fairly certain that I neither misread nor misunderstood your commentary. I certainly did not misread or misunderstand its irony.

    I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you are now spending more time reading and posting commentary on blogs…activities in which you have only rarely engaged heretofore. As an ascetical matter, though, I would keep in mind that anything that disturbs our interior peace (other than the conscience) is not of God and should be avoided.

    I am sensing that this blog may be disturbing your interior peace, principally on the basis of the apparent internal inconsistencies of your initial comment. If you’ll forgive me…using perjorative language to criticize others for using perjorative language is rather…discordant?

    In sum: the point of this thread is not to mock Sr. Joan or anyone else. The point is to plumb (and comment upon) the MP reaction of someone closely associated with those forces that have suppressed the Extraordinary Form against all custom and law, lo, these many years. If those who have suffered in soul as a result of this unprecedented suppression of an approved form want to have a lil fun with these people, their crippled logic, and their Baroque histrionics, so be it. I’m sure not a few saints (e.g., St. Teresa of Avila, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Pius X, St. Ignatius of Loyola) would have had a chuckle over this thread. And St. Teresa of Avila would then go out to find ole Sr. Joan to “talk shop” about female empowerment…and the woeful desacralization of the liturgy.

  80. RBrown says:

    RBrown,
    There is absolutely nothing heretical about saying God is a dictator.
    He is a Person,or 3 Persons ruling absolutely,which is the definition of a dictator.
    Fill me in on who else is ruling absolutely,in the universe, and then you may have a point.
    God bless you
    Comment by danphunter1

    1. Dictators rule by fiat, with little or no regard for the freedom persons. Further, they can contradict themselves from one day to the next.

    On the other hand, God is perfectly wise and orders all things sweetly according to their natures (cf Wis 8:1). The universe manifests His wisdom and love–both in the nature of things and in their order. And so He is not a Dictator.

    2. Grace (the New Law) perfects nature–it does not destroy it. Unlike dictatorial law, Grace does not destroy freedom but rather perfects it.

    3. Too bad you didn’t take my course “De Deo Create et Gubernante”.

  81. Pleased as Punch says:

    I would also point out, in response to Ms. Andreoli, that Christian satire is a genre with a distinguished
    pedigree. Consider the works of Jonathan Swift or, in our own time, those of Walker Percy. In 1 Kings
    as, I recall, the prophet Elijah deals quite sarcastically with the prophets of Baal. Sarcasm and
    mockery are common and natural modalities of human communication, and plainly can be motivated by a variety
    of emotions: love, hatred, disgust, what-have-you. The simple point is that professing oneself to be a
    Christian and sometimes employing a sarcastic modality of communication are not inherently mutually exclusive.
    In fact, when in the judgment of someone’s conscience a bit of sarcasm or mockery is the best way to reach
    someone, charity requires that it be employed.

  82. Christine Andreoli says:

    Dear Mr. “Farmer”,

    I am sorry but you did in fact misread and misunderstand my comments and you also do not know or understand me. I stand by my original comments. Please however do not misconstrue my failure to respond further to any or all of your comments as agreement or a retraction of my original post; it is not.

  83. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Dear Ms. Andreoli:

    Do I detect issues with “control”?

  84. keith says:

    Thanks Father, this was both entertaining and informative.

    As I said on another site, this woman knows as much about Liturgy and Vatican II as I do about Nambian fertility rites.

  85. RBrown says:

    This is my first time reading posts on this site [I rarely bother with blogs at all] and sadly, it has been a disturbing experience to say the least, starting with Father Z.’s comments on Sister’s article. What upsets me is not Father’s [or anyone else’s] disagreement with Sister’s positions. [I, for one, am perfectly comfortable with, and attend, both Tridentine and Novus Ordo Masses]. What saddens me tremendously is the childish [e.g., “B as in B., S as in S.”], mean-spirited [e.g., “’Sister’ is doing wonders for the sale of Pepto Bismol”] and quite frankly, un-Christian level of discourse. I thought as Catholics we are meant to love our neighbors as ourselves. To my knowledge, Christ did not qualify that command or limit it to those with whom we are in complete agreement. There are indeed many serious issues worthy of discussion among the faithful but it should be done in a manner that adheres to that faith—with love and respect—and not with personal attacks, sarcasm, and meaningless and divisive labels, e.g., “liberal” vs. “conservative”.
    Comment by Christine Andreoli

    I think that if you are familiar with Sr Chittister’s comments over the years, you would realize that the word “divisive” would be a more fitting description of her than anyone posting on this blog.

  86. Andy Milam says:

    Unfortunately, even smart minds miss the point. Let’s not forget everyone,
    that she is a smart cookie. I mean she has to be, all that language and deception.
    She knows just what she is doing. It is great to know that Fr. Z., can and will
    comment on the issues and weed through all the B as in B; S as in S.

    Thanks Fr. Z.

    Andy

  87. Miriam says:

    Sr. Joan wrote, “it seems obvious that the Fathers
    of Vatican Council II knew the implications of the two
    different Eucharistic styles” — WOW! She apparently
    thinks the Council Fathers were individually and
    collectively prophetic; the “Mass of Paul VI” was not
    foisted upon the world until some 15 years AFTER the
    Council ended.

    And (on a more sober note), had the Council Fathers
    known what the implications would be of the “Mass of
    Paul VI”, I think we wouldn’t have wound up with it.

  88. Elise B says:

    If Sister C. is so concerned about the place of women in the liturgy, she should be happy with the 1962 mass which includes seven women saints in the Canon.

  89. RBrown says:

    After all is said and done, I think that, like Bp Trautman and a few prominent others, Sr Chittister is simply out of touch and unable to adjust. Still stuck in the 70′s, not realizing that their circus has left town–the days of trendy rebellion in the Church have long since passed.

    It was obvious during the days of conclave that the News Media, whose profession it is to read the Signs of the Times, understands what is happening. No long were Fr McBrien, Fr Greeley, and Sr Chittister were the ubiquitous TV “experts”. They were replace by the likes of Fr Z and Fr GMurray.

  90. whoah says:

    I’ll never forget the day I told a some church types ala Bp Trautman and Sr. Chittister that we have to be with the Church where She is today. We can’t be stuck in the past, like the ’70s or 80′s. All that stuff is so “Old Church.” Their faces just dropped…

  91. RBrown says:

    I’ll never forget the day I told a some church types ala Bp Trautman and Sr. Chittister that we have to be with the Church where She is today. We can’t be stuck in the past, like the ‘70s or 80’s. All that stuff is so “Old Church.” Their faces just dropped…
    Comment by whoah

    Yep, and you can turn the libs’ tactic back on them by saying that they are resisting change.

    When the libs start moaning about lay vocations, I immediately mention Opus Dei, THE experts in the vocation of the laity.

  92. Mary says:

    Fr. Z’s comments sound unprofessional to me and not a charitable way to be dealing with someone like Joan Chittister who is a serious, committed Christian. She offers a valid way to look at Catholicism and Christianity. I don’t see any reason to get so upset as Fr. Z does. Making fun of others is childish. These arguments or views she expresses are held by many Vatican Catholics and are worthy of respectful discussion.