Catholic Herald: H.E. Archbp Conti of Glasgow on ad orientem worship

His Excellency Most Reverend Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow, has revealed his thoughts about ad orientem worship to the UK’s Catholic Herald.

Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.

Catholic Herald
March 14, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Enriching worship

From the Archbishop of Glasgow

SIR – I am spurred on by Tom McIntyre’s letter (March 7) to venture where angel bishops might fear to tread.

The subject is celebrating Mass versus populum or ad orientem.  Much was made of the Holy Father celebrating Mass recently in the Sistine Chapel ad orientem — towards the east.  In fact he was facing west. [Your Excellency, the geographical orientation is not really the point any more, is it?  I think by now everyone knows that today this is in its essence a liturgical and theological distinction and not a matter of cartography.  In ancient times, yes, geographical East was also an important consideration, but as in some many other areas of the Church's understanding of the sacred mysteries, our grasp of the liturgical East has developed and deepened.] The Sistine Chapel runs parallel to the Basilica where, when celebrating Mass at the High Altar, the Pope actually does face both versus populum and ad orientem – since the basilica is not oriented, its facade faces east! [Because of the constraints of the slope of the Vatican Hill, yes.]

Some have suggested that in the "old days", ie in the former Constantinian basilica, the congregation would also have faced east, which would have meant that the celebrant faced the backs of the people.  [And that is indeed the case, but not for the entire Mass. At a certain point the people were to turn about to face East, in this case literally east.  This is very well handled by Klaus Gamber.  St. Augustine (+430) also speaks about the importance of "turning East", turning to where "heaven begins", not because they though God was physically there, but because we must turn our minds to a higher order.  At the end of his sermons, St. Augustine would say conversi ad Dominum, thus instructing his people to turn to the Lord.]

I know that facing east meant for us in the west turning not only to the rising sun but to Jerusalem, where Jesus rose from the dead.  What does it mean for Christians east of Jerusalem?  [Ehem... again... this is not really a matter of geographical East, Your Excellency.  Also, the point Papa Ratzinger makes is that in our Judeo-Christian tradition, prayer in synagogues and thereafter in ancient churches was directed to where the Lord's presence, and his future coming, was most strongly perceived.  For Jews it was the niche for Scriptures, for example, and for Christians it was the liturgical East where the Crucifix came to be situated.  Again, this is more than mere cartography.]

In fact, in our liturgy we take a God-ward stance, neither to the east nor to the west, [If you mean neither to the actual geographical East, then this statement is perfectly correct.] and our prayer is addressed to God the Father, in the name of Jesus who is "in our midst" ("where two or three are gathered together").  [Notice that His Excellency focuses on this manner of the presence of Christ with His disciples, which seems a little arbitrary.  Also, this choice seems to shut out the possibilities opened up by an eschatological consideration of the sacred action in Holy Mass.  Christians believe that Christ is with us always, to the end of time.  We believe He is present especially in the Eucharist, but also in, say, the Word of Sacred Scripture, the person of the priest who is alter Christus, and, yes, in those gathered in His Name.  But Christians also believe that Christ will come again.  This is our constant concern as a Church: maranatha ... come, Lord Jesus!  Our prayers at Mass have a strongly eschatological dimension.  If you are going to diminish the Lord's Second Coming, in favor of His continued presence, then I would be on board with what Archbp. Conti says.  But his starting point is insufficient.  It seems to me that ad orientem worship by far expresses our belief in the Second Coming, at the same as as Mass, especially with the Novus Ordo during the liturgy of the Word can manifest our understanding that Christ is present in our midst.]

Nor is it to the crucifix that we turn other than to be reminded of His sacrifice which in the Mass we are representing (re-presenting).  [Again, I think this is insufficient.  As Papa Ratzinger explained, the Crucifix is not just a reminder of the historic event of Christ's Sacrifice, nor also just a physical expression of our belief that that Sacrifice is renewed on our altars.  It is also an eschatological sign.]  It is to the bread-become-his-body and the wine-become-his-blood that our eyes are turned, for it is through Him made present that we offer the supreme sacrifice of obedience and praise lo the Father.  [Taken with his previous sentence this sounds as if His Excellency thinks that we are to face each other, because when we are together Christ is in our midst, until the consecration, when the Eucharistic species are on the altar.  It seems to me that, even while we can admit that anything that focuses on Christ in whatever way is going to take us beyond ourselves, this position runs the risk of "closing the circle", as Ratzinger describes and warns against.  I think Archbp. Conti is sliding toward "closing the circle" when he sets aside the eschatological dimension.]

I am content, as the Holy Father was, to celebrate the Canon of the Mass facing in the same direction as the people when circumstances dictate or encourage it.  I am more content to celebrate the Canon when we can all face inwards towards the altar and the bread and wine consecrated on it, which we are to "take and eat", "take and drink".  [His Excellency is entitled to his preferences.]

This new order – but not so new in the churches of Rome – is surely the organic development of the liturgy with which the Second Vatican Council has enriched our worship and our understanding of it.  [Does this sound rather like a non sequitur?  I don't think it is.  His Excellency is identifying the "new order" (Latin novus ordo) with Mass versus populum and therefore, by implication, ad orientem worship a matter of the "old order" (preconciliar Mass).  In other words, new order = Vatican II = versus populum, while older Mass = pre-Concilar = ad orientem.  I think he has created a rupture where there doesn't have to be one.  The rubrics of the Novus Ordo, examined carefully, assume that the priest is celebrating ad orientem.  Also, in the TLM there were provisions to celebrate versus populum when necessary.  What is interesting is his use of the word "organic".  He turned "organic" , a word Papa Ratzinger uses, as a kind of buzz word to make it sound as if his position is in harmony with Papa Ratzinger's.  I don't think it is, based on what he wrote here.  I think his strongest statement was that of his personal preference for versus populum worship.]

Yours faithfully,
+ MARIO CONTI
Glasgow

Much food for thought here.

I think we have to read his op-ed in conjunction with his other recent statement about Summorum Pontificum.  I posted on those here (from The Tablet) and here (his provisions on Summorum Pontificum for Glasgow).

He revealed what I think we must call hostility toward Pope Benedict’s provisions.  His comments in the Catholic Herald, though very gently couched, are consistent with his previous statements.

 

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52 Responses to Catholic Herald: H.E. Archbp Conti of Glasgow on ad orientem worship

  1. In the cooments box of the previous incarnation of this post, Michael R asked:
    “Isn’t this the same bishop who celebrated the Sarum Use Mass several years ago?”

    Yes, indeed – for the quincentenary of the consecration of the chapel at my alma mater. And he did it with a very good grace and was very receptive to compliments and kissings of the episcopal amethyst thereafter. He was also a very dignified and willing speaker at the Uni’s Cath. Soc. dinner a couple of years later – of which I have very fond memories.

    I don’t know what has happened to him since he got to Glasgow, but my strong suspicion is “bad advisors”. Eheu!

  2. Thomas says:

    I think somebody should refresh the Archbishop’s mind as to what it means to be a cardinal. I’m pretty sure frustrating the initiatives of the Holy Father isn’t included on the list of “To-Dos.”

  3. Richard says:

    Since he\’s an Archbishop, I\’ll concede him the place to say what he in good conscience thinks needs to be said. I am a bit put off by the conclusiveness with which he makes such assertions as we only look to the crucified Lord to remind us of his sacrifice we are about to re-present at Mass. I have a crucifix at home which I look at often. Most of the time I look at the crucifix it is a reminder of our Lord, period. I have homework for a Masters program, the prospects of getting a better but potentially lower paying job soon, a month-old son, and a wife who wants to make plans to travel to see her family out of nowhere, also to occupy my thoughts. To look up at the crucifix and be reminded that the Lord is with us at all is a wonderful function the crucifix at home helps to serve. So, when the Archbishop seems to limit the function of the crucifix in church as he does it seems we are to take his word for it, only because it seems the crucifix serves a much wider function. It takes faith to see Christ in others. We get that faith from Christ himself. To go to Christ it helps to have something which at times more readily represents his presence among us than the woman talking on her cell phone in Mass – like a crucifix.

  4. Chironomo says:

    This is a bizarre statement… surely the Good Cardinal is not so naiive as to really think that “ad orientem” means to literally face East, and as such, when the Pope was facing the altar, it was not really “ad orientem”, but when the Priest faces the people it is “truly” ad orientem? This is ludicrous… I’m not sure exactly what he’s trying to say here… is he denying that the Pope is trying to demonstrate that ad orientem is a legitimate posture at the Novus Ordo, or is he trying to show that Benedict is ignorant of what “ad orientem” actually means? This is why there needs to be clear and definite statements from Rome concerning these issues…

  5. Chironomo says:

    Excuse me… the Good Archbishop… my bad!

  6. Father M says:

    Ouch. Which is an echo of the even louder ouch that came from reading His Excellency’s comments on Summorum Pontificum. Maybe some Glasgow priests need to think about a sabbatical. I know our diocese would be glad to receive them, and I’d take one into my own parish. I need another priest anyway to be able to offer Mass in the Solemn form. And I’m sure plenty of other priests would feel the same and provide bed, board and maniples.

  7. JPG says:

    It would seem His excellency ought to do some reading “think before posting”? ie Klaus Gamber, Joseph Ratzinger and U.M. Lang for staters.
    JPG

  8. TNCath says:

    This is a lot of doublespeak, very similar to some of our American bishops’ reactions. I’ll never understand why this is tolerated. I realize that the Holy Father can’t micromanage, but he can certainly tell the bishops that enough is enough. The bottom line is this: the archbishop does not like the ad orientem position. As Father Z said, “His Excellency is entitled to his preferences,” but his preferences are not consistent with the mind and heart of the Holy Father. He is certainly not “thinking with the Church.”

  9. RBrown says:

    His comments indicate a Novus Ordo concept of the Eucharist: Transubstantiation, yes; Sacrifice, not denied but all but ignored, the reference point of course being the Last Supper, not the Crucifixion.

    It is sad to think that I have spent most of my 37 years as a Catholic waiting for men like Abp Conti to bow out.

    Also: My recollection from Gamber is that when the Basilican doors were opened, the Congregation did not turn toward the door (with backs to the celebrant) but rather moved to the sides and faced the opposite side–as a monastic choir does.

  10. VeritateOz says:

    And what of the other ambiguities? “represent” and “bread-become-body”? These expressions all are vague trendy theological substitutions for avoiding stating the faith which once was so clear.

  11. RBrown says:

    This is a lot of doublespeak, very similar to some of our American bishops’ reactions. I’ll never understand why this is tolerated. I realize that the Holy Father can’t micromanage, but he can certainly tell the bishops that enough is enough. The bottom line is this: the archbishop does not like the ad orientem position. As Father Z said, “His Excellency is entitled to his preferences,” but his preferences are not consistent with the mind and heart of the Holy Father. He is certainly not “thinking with the Church.”
    Comment by TNCath

    BXVI realizes that it’s just not a matter of order and obey–the liturgical culture of the Church needs to be re-oriented (How about that for a pun?), and that is going to take some time. And the consequences of that liturgical re-orientation will echo throughout the life of the of the Church.

  12. TNCath: his preferences are not consistent with the mind and heart of the Holy Father. He is certainly not “thinking with the Church

    I think we have to be a little fairer than this.  If Archbp. Conti disagrees with Benedict XVI on this point, I can’t then conclude that Archbp. Conti doesn’t “think with the Church”. 

    I think Arcbp. Conti’s arguments are lacking, but he has a right to his preference.

  13. Mark M says:

    Thomas: Conti’s not a Cardinal.

    Fr Z.: in your RSS feed half the letter has strikethrough.

    Anyway, the Archbishop’s letter is strange. He starts talking about compass directions, and it makes me wonder if this is a situation where someone doesn’t actually have anything to say, but says things anyway? Unfortunately, I don’t know him well enough to, nor do I have the inclination to ask.

  14. RBrown says:

    He starts talking about compass directions . . .
    Comment by Mark M

    Unless someone also has a map, which Abp Conti seems to be without, a compass will not tell a man when he’s headed straight for a cliff.

  15. Mark M: if this is a situation where someone doesn’t actually have anything to say, but says things anyway?

    No, I don’t think that is the case. He has a point to make. I think I teased it out. I don’t think his argument is very good, but he is saying something.

  16. Habemus Papam says:

    I’m wondering why the Archbishop bothered to write this letter unless than to leave the impression that the Holy Father is a maverick who dosn’t really understand liturgy.

  17. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    What I have read about the Archbishop before was always encouraging.He was boldly conservative.He was refreshing compared to the Archbishop of Edinburough.But then Pope JPII named the Archbishop of Edinborough a Cardinal and not the conservative Conti.I was surprised and disappointed especially given the reamrks by the soon to be Cardinal oncertain matters of church discipline and faith.But JPII was right.Having admonished the young archbishop,he accpeted his repentance.Now it is the see of Edinburogh that is the home of dynamic tradional Catholicism and Glasgow the home of dissent and liberal opposition to Benedict.How ironic but a lesson to be learned.

  18. snhs says:

    I think perhaps the comments are not as controversial as they are being made to seem. The first few paragraphs are mainly suggesting that the nature of the altar set up dictates how it is celebrated.

    Isn’t Our Lord most strongly present at the altar as opposed to any direction? After all the Priest is acting alter Christus and it is on the altar that the mystery of the Mass takes place. Isn’t the fact that Christ comes to us, is made physically present in the Eucharist a sufficient reminder of his future second coming?

    I know that historically ad orientem was used and I quite like the theology which Fr Z and others have spoken about which backs it up. I know that part of the justification is that the Priest isn’t the centre of attention, but isn’t looking upon the Altar and the Priest, acting as Christ did, speaking to his disciples just as eloquent?

    I think his point on the Crucifix may be a different side of his argument, his point being that we can reflect on a crucifix and the meaning it provides us with any time but we only look on Christ physically coming to us in Body and Blood at the moment of consecration.

    The point here is a matter of practicality, he will celebrate it either way when the circumstances suggest it. His preference seems to come from the view that the Priest should not get in the way of the Sacrifice of Mass. The difference is whereas Fr Z and others might say the Priest is tempted to play up to his audience the Archbishop thinks the Priest ad orientem may present a barrier between the people and what is occurring on the Altar.

  19. Fr Z wrote “The rubrics of the Novus Ordo, examined carefully, assume that the priest is celebrating ad orientem.”

    From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
    “299. The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. …”.
    “303. … In already existing churches, however, when the old altar is positioned so that it makes the people’s participation difficult but cannot be moved without damage to its artistic value, another fixed altar, of artistic merit and duly dedicated, should be erected and sacred rites celebrated on it alone. In order not to distract the attention of the faithful from the new altar, the old altar should not be decorated in any special way.”

  20. Bogdan says:

    NO NEED TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT ARCHBISHOP CONTI’S COMMENTS. AS THEY IN GLASGOW HIS COAT IS HANGING ON A SLAKE NAIL. AT 74 (20 MARCH 2008), HE WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THESE THING IN A VERY SHORT LITTLE WHILE!

  21. John Lilburne: You may be somewhat behind the curve on the problems of the translation of GIRM 299.

    Let me bring you up to speed by sending you to this entry.

    You might want to know that on 25 September 2000 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a clarification (Prot. No. 2036/00/L) regarding #299 in the new Latin GIRM. That clarification says:

    The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has been asked whether the expression in n. 299 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani constitutes a norm according to which the position of the priest versus absidem [facing the apse] is to be excluded. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, after mature reflection and in light of liturgical precedents, responds:

     
    Negatively, and in accordance with the following explanation.

    The explanation includes different elements which must be taken into account. First, the word expedit does not constitute a strict obligation but a suggestion that refers to the construction of the altar a pariete sejunctum (detached from the wall).  It does not require, for example, that existing altars be pulled away from the wall. The phrase ubi possibile sit (where it is possible) refers to, for example, the topography of the place, the availability of space, the artistic value of the existing altar, the sensibility of the people participating in the celebrations in a particular church, etc.

  22. Bogdan says:

    NO NEED TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT ARCHBISHOP CONTI’S COMMENTS. AS THEY SAY IN GLASGOW HIS COAT IS HANGING ON A SLAKE NAIL. AT 74 (20 MARCH 2008), HE WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THESE THING IN A VERY SHORT LITTLE WHILE!

  23. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Unless the Archbishop himself discloses to us the origin of this unhelpful letter, it is doubtful if we’ll ever find out. He has been known to represent the views of Mgr Peter Smith on matters liturgical, but it would be unfair to say that that is what is happening here. He celebrated a pontifical high Mass (EF) some years ago to the delight of the long-suffering southerners who had laboured under Cardinal Winning, and remarked during the bunfight afterwards that a bit of nostalgia was good for one.

    For what it’s worth, my own opinion is that Archbishop Conti never was a conservative as the word is commonly understood, but is simply NOT a cultural philistine. That fact alone would make him stand out from among the generation of Scottish bishops alongside whom he spent most of his Aberdeen years. I *suspect* he also has a fear of being singled out as the ‘traditionalist’ bishop in the country and of attracting all the flak that would involve.

    Whatever, his pension fund is nearly ripe and the wind bloweth.

  24. Bob says:

    As a native of Glasgow, I think fr O Buaidhe might be right. Archbishop Conti loves the music, the bautiful vestments, etc. as cultural expressions not as signs of theology. He is careful to impose his own theological preferences on the diocese – using Mahoney-esque glass flagons for Mass, opposing Summorum Pontificum, ecumenism, etc. He is also going to be “renovating” the cathedral – just in time to burden his successor with it (cf. http://www.cathedralg1.org/). At least we have other bishops who, albeit liturgically “low” are willing to stand up and be counted. Bishops Devine of Motherwell and Tartaglia of Paisley are not afraid to preach the Gospel and defend the Church, even in the face of controversy, and even Cardinal O’Brien has improved with the grace of God that comes with the Cardinalate. I suspect that Archbishop conti was very disappointed not to get the Red Hat and has never really forgiven the Vatican.

  25. Kradcliffe says:

    I just went to Una Voce Scotland’s Day of Recollection at Nazareth House in Glasgow. It’s very depressing to come home to log on and find something like this. But, there were only about two dozen people at the Mass, including the choir and servers, as beautiful as it was.

    What I do not understand is why SSPX in Glasgow attracts four times the people to their Sunday Mass than the diocesan TLM at Sacred Heart, only a couple of miles away at the exact same time.

    I am not a “Traditionalist” in the sense that most people mean it. I am just a convert to Catholicism who wants to worship as reverently as possible. I go to weekday Masses and confessions at my local parish, and I have no problem with “mixing it up.”

    I wonder how people would feel if they were given the opportunity to experience the Latin Mass? I’m sure many would just be turned off by it. But, there must be others who would be intrigued by it, as well. Provided they’re not given the impression that it’s only for blue-hairs and malcontents.

  26. The translation of GIRM 299 I presented was approved on 24 May 2007 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (for Australia, for study purposes, Prot. 1198/06/L.)

  27. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Translations do not sit by themselves in some vacuum. This rather famous rubric of the 2002 GIRM has been clarified by the competent authority in Rome.

    The text of the Ordo Missae, Missale Romanum 2002, presupposes ad orientem celebration.

  28. Justin says:

    Sour grapes from the Archbishop me thinks. He’s clearly still feeling the sting of not receiving the red hat. He’s pretty much been quite useless since the day the cardinalate went to Edinburgh.

  29. John Lilburne: The translation of GIRM 299 I presented was approved on 24 May 2007 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (for Australia, for study purposes, Prot. 1198/06/L.)

    That doesn’t change the fact that the translation is WRONG. Study away, however. Sometimes it is useful to study mistakes.

  30. Richard T says:

    The Archbishop says:
    “It is to the bread-become-his-body and the wine-become-his-blood that our eyes are turned, for it is through Him made present that we offer the supreme sacrifice of obedience and praise to the Father.”

    I thought that the Supreme Sacrifice was Our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself to the Father, which is the climax of the Mass.

    The Archbishop’s wording sounds as if the supreme sacrifice, that “we offer” “through Him”, is of OUR obedience and praise.
    Surely that is very, very wrong. Even if he is merely being ambiguous this seems even more damaging than his drivel about which way Jerusalem is.

  31. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “I think we have to be a little fairer than this. If Archbp. Conti disagrees with Benedict XVI on this point, I can’t then conclude that Archbp. Conti doesn’t ‘think with the Church.’”

    Point taken, Father, and I understand what you are saying. I guess we can’t completely categorize him as not thinking with the church. He does have a right to his preference, but, should an archbishop publicly express his preference (however veiled and nuanced it may be in this article) against something that the Holy Father is obviously trying to promote? That’s what bothers me the most.

  32. Fr Z, Here is the Latin: “299 Altare exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit.” The translation (about which you wrote “the translation is WRONG”) was approved by the Congregation in 2007:
    “299. The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible.”
    How is the English translation of the Latin wrong?

    Dr. Lee Fratantuono says “Translations do not sit by themselves in some vacuum.” But there seems to be an approach of ignoring the General Instruction to come up with: “The text of the Ordo Missae, Missale Romanum 2002, presupposes ad orientem celebration.”

  33. Watching and Waiting says:

    This is a very odd contribution from the Archbishop who has encouraged a weekly, Sunday, ad orientem Mass, Novus Ordo, sung in Latin. It is the only regular Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in Latin in Scotland outside of Pluscarden Abbey.

  34. Mark M says:

    Father: I do apologise, but I’ll have to re-read it. I can’t see it… Unless his point is the bit at the end? The identification of the liturgical orientation with the form of the Rite. Bad logic, if you ask me!

    According to friends, +Conti upsets many both East and West of the Central Belt. But, as many point out, he is soon to go!

    Regarding rubric 299 in the Novus Ordo Missae (“The altar should be built apart from the wall”), is it the case that even “pre-Vatican II” altars were to be at least possible to walk around in a fashion so that they could get… erm… installed? consecrated? (I’m sure I read this somewhere.)

    Bob: I thought glass flagons were illicit (see Redemptionis Sacramentum, if memory servers). Bp Tartaglia is a good man; there’s no mistake there. Bp Devine has also taken a lot of flak recently for his upstanding comments about certainly Politically Correct sins.

  35. John Lilburne: How is the English translation of the Latin wrong?

    You may not have read what I wrote to you the penultimate time. I gave you a link to an entry that explained everything and I also posted, in a comment above, an explanation of the Latin.

    Get back to me if, when you have read what I previously offered, something remains unclear about how that translation is wrong.

  36. Thomas says:

    Oops. “Excellency” starts with an “E,” too. D’uh.

    Oh well, the critique still stands for a plain old archbishop.

  37. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Alas, liturgical law does not stop at the ink of the rubrics in the Latin…it extends into the literature that clarifies said rubrics, namely the instructions and notes from the competent Roman dicastery. For modern decrees of this sort (as well as various notes and explanations), the journal “Notitiae” is the most convenient source.

    Translations in and of themselves are rarely reliable guidelines for what the rubrics actually say.

  38. dcs says:

    What I do not understand is why SSPX in Glasgow attracts four times the people to their Sunday Mass than the diocesan TLM at Sacred Heart, only a couple of miles away at the exact same time.

    As an American I hesitate to speculate on why . . . but nevertheless, is it possible that the SSPX offers all of the Sacraments in the “extraordinary forn” as well as some semblance of a parish life?

  39. Douglas says:

    I sometimes think Archbishop Conti would much rather be an Anglican. That comes through in his approach to liturgy!

  40. Dave says:

    It’s not just the GIRM. The actual mass rubrics include the contrasting instuctions “ad altare versus,” for example, at the priest’s communion, and “versus ad populum,” for example, at the Orate Fratres. These instructions make no sense at all if the priest is presumed to be facing the people the entire time.

  41. vexilla regis says:

    Father Z,
    It is very difficult to believe that Abp. Conti is not truly aware of the liturgical East. Consequently it is very difficult to believe that his letter does other than deliberately set out to obfuscate his flock’s understanding of the case put by the advocates of ad orientem celebration . I would like to be convinced otherwise.

  42. Bob says:

    Mark: glass flagons are clearly banned, as is pouring the Precious Blood from those glass flagons into chalices, as is the fact that the chalices are ceramic. He must know that these are all prohibited and posivtivly chooses to continue using them at every liturgy he celebrates (his Master of Ceremonies seems to bring them all with him).

    The good thing though is that most parishes in Glasgow are not as bad as their bishop. They are liturgically quite “low” and certainly don’t always need the extraordinary ministers that they do have, but they all celebrate the Sacraments validly, using the formulae in the books (not something made up on the spot). All the parishes have specific times for Confession, often twice or more a week. There is a lot of room for improvement, especially in the choice of music, but when I see some of the absuses from America highlighted on blogs like this, I’m always releived that bad music is the worst problem in my local parish.

  43. Glasgwegian says:

    Bob

    There is a parish in Glasgow where the congregation is encouraged to recite the words of Institution with and by the parish priest – who is a Vice-Preisdent of one of the Episcopal Commissions. I’m not sure where in the rubrics that particular practice is encouraged. There is another parish where until recently the congregation were encouraged to stand throughout the entire Eucharistic Prayer. There is still work to be done to ensure liturgical conformity. Perhaps the regular Mass in Latin mentioned in an earlier posts will help to encourage this. It is interesting that the regular priest celebrants of that Mass are all young and fairly recent ordinands.

  44. Bob says:

    Glaswegian – I agree that things aren’t perfect in Glasgow, but they are generally quite good, and are improving! Yes the Mass in Latin might help, but only if anyone actually knows about it. I have never seen it advertsied or heard it encouraged. From what i hear the actual attendence is in single figures.

  45. Glasgwegian says:

    The Glasgow Mass in Latin is at 4pm every Sunday in St Patrick’s, Anderston – a church which is in need of as much sanctification as possible after the terrible events which transpired there in 2006.

    It does indeed need to be more widely publicised – spread the word.

    It appears, as does the Extraordinary Form celebration at 10.15 on Sunday in Sacred Heart, Bridgeton, in the Western Catholic Calendar and Catholic Directory for Scotland, which gives it some ‘regularity’ in various definitions of the word.

  46. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Re: Glasgow.

    I had heard that the weekly OF Mass in Latin is quite well attended, but that the EF weekly Mass is sitting on around the twenty mark. There are of course, difficulties with the set time for one and the location for the other. In a different world/diocese they would both be in the cathedral.

    The SSPX Mass is indeed packed to the gunnels as I can personally testify having visited it to see for myself. While I certainly can’t claim to speak for that community I can repeat what some there have told me, that a number of them persist in going there because they fear that the Archdiocese would cut the indult Mass off once the SSPX should close due to lack of interest, leaving them high and dry. Now that there is no need for the indult it would appear that fear is no longer realistic, but we are dealing with people here and emotions – the emotions of some very cruelly treated people. Couple that to prolonged exposure to the more disagreeable aspects of the SSPX and we see where they are coming from. It is too soon to expect their instant trust. Such trust-building doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda of the Clyde Street Curia…

    In defence of Archbishop Conti, I don’t see any Anglican attitudes in his approach, only carrying on where his predecessor left off: the laws of the Church which he personally sees as relevant to the local situation are to be held without fail, others are not nor will there be any great effort to see them faithfully observed. In acting thus he merges into the episcopal conference as to be indistiguishable from the other bishops. As I said in my previous post, he is not a philistine, and that is perhaps his unique feature as a present-day Scottish bishop.

    It’s nice to see the Glasgow folk here! Hang in there and support those young orthodox priests you have. Those who are still assistant priests are really sticking their neck out for the faithful, and frequently sacrificing their peace in the ‘communal’ presbyteries (US rectories).

  47. Kradcliffe says:

    As an American I hesitate to speculate on why . . . but nevertheless, is it possible that the SSPX offers all of the Sacraments in the “extraordinary forn” as well as some semblance of a parish life?

    No, not really. They have a priest drive up from England on the weekend who goes back and forth between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I suppose they have confessions just before Mass, and I assume they baptise babies when they need to, but there isn’t anything else, that I know of. I was told by someone who attends their Mass that it’s not really a parish community.

  48. Kradcliffe says:

    When you say there are problems with the time of one and the location of the other, I assume you mean: the OF is at 4pm, and the EF is at Sacred Heart in Bridgeton (at 10:15 am)…

    Do you think there are a lot of people who are afraid to go to Bridgeton? I know that there have been some bad acts of vandalism over the past couple of years, due to sectarianism. I wonder if that scares people off?

    Thank you for giving me some explainations for why people stick to the SSPX. I worry that, by now, they’ve had decades to form their own culture of mistrust and suspicion. Perhaps that’s why one runs across so many crazy conspiracy theories around that scene?

  49. Glasgwegian says:

    Bridgeton is difficult to get to, especially early on a Sunday morning, although the Sacred Heart is a beautiful church – as, indeed, is the refurbished and reconsecrated St Patrick’s. The OF Mass has to be at about 4pm because the priests who celebrate have to get back to their own parishes for evening Masses. Fr Ó Buaidhe is right that in a different world/diocese such celebrations would be in the Cathedral.

    Scotland has two regular EF Masses on a Sunday (Edinburgh and Glasgow). London, which has the same population as the whole of Scotland, has at least three, and countless High Masses in the Ordinary Form. Only Pluscarden Abbey, and – for now – St Patrick’s Glasgow, have a sung (or said for that matter) OF Mass in Latin on a Sunday in Scotland.

  50. aelianus says:

    Hexham and Newcastle has at least three EF Masses every Sunday. Latin OF is harder to come by. In my experience liberals find the Latin OF much more offensive than the EF. They see the EF as a rejection of the Council (wrongly obviously) which they can cope with. The OF done properly they see as an attack on their interpretation of the Council and that they can’t cope with. It is very sad about Archbishop Conti. He seemed to like saying the Sarum, EF and Latin Ad Orientem OF himself but was less keen to allow it to others. Although he permitted the EF in his old diocese he put it in a graveyard slot in a parish outside the city centre on a Saturday morning and then canceled it due to ‘lack of interest’. I notice that during the Papal interregnum he started talking about the need for married priests and condoms for married couples with HIV. He is also a great supporter of the Blairs. His brother in St Andrews and Edinburgh in contrast keeps astounding everyone with periodic acts of ferocious orthodoxy hitherto considered uncharacteristic. It is amazing to see the difference a little red hat (or the lack of it) can make.

  51. Mark M says:

    dcs / Kradcliffe: I would venture that certainly the Latin Mass community in Edinburgh is a community of sorts. Indeed, we went away on retreat together, so yes.

  52. I don’t like comments posted “Anon” or “Anonymous”. I almost always delete them when I see them. Kindly repost.