George Weigel on the return of the TLM

The site of Newsweek has an article by George Weigel about Pope Benedict’s "revival" of the "Latin Mass".

As you begin, keep in mind what WDTPRS has been saying since Summorum Pontificum was released.  This incredibly important document, perhaps the most important thing Pope Benedict has done so far, is a key part of what I term as his "Marshall Plan" to reinvigorate Catholic identity.  We we Catholics don’t know who we are within our own Church (the ad intra dimension of Pope Benedict’s project) then we will have nothing useful to say to the rest of the world, in the public square (the ad extra dimension).  Pope Benedict knows that our liturgical practice must change for our identity to be strengthened.  Thus, liturgy is, as I term it, "the tip of the spear".  Widespread celebration of Holy Mass and the sacraments in the older, pre-Conciliar form will exert a gravitational pull on every other aspect of the Church, especially because it will change priests’ perception of who they are and what Holy Mass is.  Once they learn something about the older form, they will never say Mass the same way again.  That will affect a whole parish and thus a community.

That said…

Shall we have a look with my emphases and comments

Latin Days Are Here Again?

Pope Benedict wants to revive the Latin mass in Roman Catholic worship. But what exactly does that mean?
George Weigel
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 11:19 AM ET Jun 19, 2008

Is Pope Benedict XVI determined to restore the Latin mass that many Roman Catholics thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history? The answer, in short, is both yes and no. But neither the "yes" nor the "no" quite fits the conventional speculations in several recent media reports [He is proabably talking about Damian Thompson's reports and the parsing on WDTPRS and other blogs.] following off-the-cuff remarks to a small Catholic association in Great Britain by a Vatican official. In unraveling this, it helps to begin at the beginning.

As he reminds us in his memoir, "Salt of the Earth," the young Joseph Ratzinger was deeply influenced, both spiritually and intellectually, by the mid-20th-century movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church’s public worship–a movement that helped pave the way for the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Father Ratzinger was a peritus, a theological expert, at the council, and like many others, he welcomed the council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: here was a ratification of the liturgical reform movement he had long supported and a blueprint for further organic development [The key word here is "organic"] of the celebration of mass. In the immediate aftermath of Vatican II, however, Ratzinger became convinced that organic development had been jettisoned for revolution, the liturgical Jacobins being a cadre of academics determined to impose their view of a populist liturgy on the entire Catholic Church[That is a pretty good description.  It also jives with the account in Bugini's and Marini's books.]

In the decades between Vatican II and his election as Benedict XVI, Ratzinger became a leader in what became known as "the reform of the reform": a loosely knit international network of laity, bishops, priests and scholars, committed to returning the process of liturgical development in the Catholic Church to what they understood to be the authentic blueprint of Vatican II. Seeing a Gregorian chant CD from an obscure Spanish monastery rise to the top of the pop charts in the 1990s, they wondered why much of the church had abandoned one of Catholicism’s classic musical forms. Finding congregations that seemed more interested in self-affirmation than worship, [Nicely said.] and priests given to making their personalities the center of the liturgical action, [Exactly!] they asked whether the rush to create a kind of sacred circle in which the priest faces the people over the eucharistic "table" might have something to do with the problem[Precisely.]

And they reminded the entire church that Vatican II had not mandated many of the things most Catholics thought it had decreed: for example, the elimination of Latin (and chant) from the liturgy and the free-standing altar behind which the priest faced the congregation. [Thanks, Mr. Weigel, thank you, thank you, thank you for getting this right.]

Over the past 40 years, the Catholic liturgical wars have tended to be fought among specialists and activists. The largest post-Vatican II splinter group, associated with the excommunicated French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, certainly had its problems with the new liturgy; but the deeper cause of the Lefebvrists’ march into schism was primarily their rejection of Vatican II’s teaching on religious freedom, [As I have been saying for years, this is going to be the toughest problem.  And notice that Weigel says "schism".] which they deemed heresy. The overwhelming majority of Catholics throughout the world have welcomed [I wonder if it wasn't more a matter of "shrugging and accepting" and then getting used to it?  Dunno.] the new form of the mass that became normative in 1970, a mass celebrated entirely in English (or Spanish or French or Polish, or whatever language the congregation speaks). Over time, the silly season in Catholic liturgy that peaked in the 1970s[He didn't go to my seminary, obviously.] "clown" masses (with the priest vested as Bozo or somesuch), free-for-all prayers that ignored the prescribed rite, dreadful pop music, inept "liturgical dance," a general lack of decorum – began to recede. A re-sacralization of Catholic worship became evident in many parishes. What Ratzinger and other specialists had called "the reform of the reform" was underway at the grass roots, and under its own steam.  [And under the influence of younger priests.]

It was to accelerate that "reform of the reform" that Benedict XVI issued a decree last summer permitting the widespread use of the 1962 Roman rite, known technically as the Missal of John XXIII. [Among other terms.]  Amidst the recent, fevered speculations that Latin days are here again, it’s important to note what the Missal of John XXIII is not. It is not the "Tridentine Rite," [Thank you!] because it includes modifications of the missal mandated by the Council of Trent in the 16th century; it is not the "mass of Pius V," which some Catholic megatraditionalists [Hmmm... a new label.  Interesting.] argue is the only valid form of Catholic worship. It is, in fact, the mass as celebrated every day at every session of the Second Vatican Council. (The 1962 missal did contain a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews, which some, but certainly not all, Jews found offensive. After a brief flurry of criticism, Benedict XVI modified the prayer; conversations about its further alteration continue. The modified prayer was used in the minuscule number of Catholic congregations that celebrated Holy Week 2008 according to the Missal of John XXIII; no pogroms resulted, [LOL!] and indeed the argument seems to have died out.) [Wait till next year!]

Some may find it ironic that the "old Latin mass" that Benedict XVI has permitted is precisely the mass as known by Pope John XXIII, hero of Catholic progressivism. But there is in fact something "progressive," in the sense of reformist, about Benedict’s strategy here.

Yes, the mass of John XXIII is celebrated in Latin, and yes, it is often celebrated (although it need not be) with the priest and the congregation facing the same direction as they pray – looking together, as classic liturgical theology teaches, toward the return of Christ and the inauguration of the heavenly Jerusalem. But the pope’s point in making this form of liturgy more widely available is neither nostalgic nor retrogade. Rather, by encouraging the more widespread celebration of this classic form of the always-evolving Roman rite, Benedict XVI intends to create a kind of liturgical magnet, drawing the "reform of the reform" in the direction of greater reverence in the Catholic Church’s public worship. [Okay... does "liturgical magnet" sound like "gravitational pull"?  He gets it!]  In doing so, the pope is also reminding the church that, as Vatican II put it, the mass is a moment of privileged participation in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle." "Going to mass," in other words, is not something we do for ourselves, or something we make up ourselves; liturgical worship is our participation in something God is doing for us.  [YES!  As we are constantly stressing here at WDTPRS the true actor in Holy Mass is Jesus Christ.  Active participation is really all about interiorly active receptivity to all Christ is doing for us and through our agency.]

Will this Benedictine reform-of-the-reform mean that every Catholic parish will soon have at least one Sunday celebration of mass in Latin, using the Missal of John XXIII? It seems unlikely, not least because very few priests today are competent Latinists. But in those places where the Latin mass of 1962 is celebrated reverently and without nostalgic accretions (lace-bedecked older vestments, for example), it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy. [A couple things here.  I am not sure that I read him right, but he seems to think that the use of lace is a "nostalgic accretion" which somehow interferes with the older form of Mass being spiritually nourishing.  Also, while he speaks about a "minority" he is also stating that a new generation will be learning about this form of Mass.  That implies the potential to grow.]  In international settings, the use of this rite in Latin may help revive that ancient tongue as a common Catholic language for common worshipno small matter in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic church. Among scholars and parish clergy alike, the more widespread celebration of mass according to the Missal of John XXIII may prove to be the reformist magnet that Benedict XVI wants it to be, encouraging those who are already at work re-sacralizing the liturgy.

And the net result, over time? Almost certainly not "Latin days are here again" in every Catholic parish but rather a more reverent, more prayerful celebration of mass according to a reformed missal of 1970–and according to what the Second Vatican Council actually prescribed.

Mr. Weigel has clearly grasped correctly the core of the issue.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

89 Responses to George Weigel on the return of the TLM

  1. Brian Mershon says:

    “But in those places where the Latin mass of 1962 is celebrated reverently and without nostalgic accretions (lace-bedecked older vestments, for example), it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy.”

    Yes. Of course. Lace-bedecked older vestments are the enemy. They are “nostalgic accretions.” I certainly know where this attitude emanated from. Sounds like his priest friend wrote it for him. Go to thenewliturgical movement and search “lace vestments” and you too can see who has this weird fixation against them.

    And I’m sorry, but Cardinal Castrillon’s comment during a news conference was NOT an “off-the-cuff remark” from just another Vatican official, as Weigel tries to downplay it.

    Methinks many of the reform of the reformers are becoming overly threatened by the increasing emphasis on the Mass of All Ages, the Mass of St. Pius V, as Cardinal Castrillon himself has called it on many occasion.

    Let’s see, so the way I read this is that the freeing of the TLM, rather than being a matter of justice, was really just about those priests who want to reform the Novus Ordo and ignore the TLM. Hmmm…

    Oh, and I forgot, the Cardinal’s remarks were to “a small Catholic association” which we dare not name because more Catholics might find out about it.

  2. Ron says:

    “…it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy.”

    I am very tired of this whole “spiritual nourishment for the minority” concept, as if the Gregorian Rite (TLM) is only for those odd balls within the Church who for some reason are attached to it. It needs to be presented as a superior liturgy – or at least it needs to be compared with the New Mass to see how they differ, to critically consider which liturgy is more fitting to God and the Most Blessed Sacrament. It can’t be just some concession that some odd people might like – another spoke on the wheel of variety for the consumer.

    No, it’s a superior form of worship and that needs to be considered. It’s no longer sufficient to say “Well some people receive in the hand and others at Altar Rails, you know we just have variety in practices here.” There needs to be objective criticism and the decision to allow what is most fitting to worship God and to get rid of what is not most fitting.

    Until then I am blessed to be an oddity, a minority in the Church.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  3. Pleased as Punch says:

    I second Mr. Mershon’s remarks. Weigel may grasp some of the core issues here,
    but he is still blind to the woeful inadequacies of the 1970MR and its progeny.

    His seeming opposition to lace is also bizarre.

    And as for his remark that “[t]he overwhelming majority of Catholics throughout
    the world have welcomed the new form of the mass,” this is, at least in the US,
    statistically impossible. The majority of Catholics *stopped going to Mass*.
    Kenneth Jones’s “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators” provides the numbers.
    It can be purchased here:

    http://www.booksforcatholics.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=B&Product_Code=1929291582&Category_Code=

  4. Michael J says:

    As a young man, there was much that deeply influenced me “both spiritually and intellectually”. Now that age has given me the benefit of hindsight and (hopefully) a bit of wisdom I often wonder how I could have been so profoundly influenced by such boneheaded ideas.

    Now, I am in no way suggesting that His Holiness now considers the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church’s public worship a “boneheaded idea” but I am saying that I think it foolish to assume that Pope Benedict has not changed from Father Ratzinger

  5. I agree with Brian. Weigel doesn’t really get it. This is not above the Novus Ordo being influenced laudable as that is. People always overemphasize the externals as though Chant and Ad Orientem are all that it is about. Wrong! What about the content of the prayers themselves? Does Weigel not realize that the collects, secrets,postcommunions, etc have been completely bowlderized in the Novus Ordo? He should have a read of the research done by Dr Lauren Pristas as well as the masterful treatise by Fr Anthony Cekada (see Tan publishers). A complete diminution of Catholic theology has occurred in the prayers of the Novus Ordo and he who has eyes to see can discover this by a quick read of both missals.

  6. But in those places where the Latin mass of 1962 is celebrated reverently and without nostalgic accretions …

    Other than that old lace, I’m not sure what Mr. Weigel means by nostalgic accretions. But, while a half-century ago there may have the occasional hurried celebration of the old Mass — as there is now of the new Mass — in attending TLMs all over during the last 15 years, I’ve not seen a single less-than-fully reverent one. This includes a four-hour solemn pontifical Mass, numerous two-hour solemn Masses, every-Sunday sung Masses, dialogue low Masses, quiet daily low Masses, silent private Masses with only a server and another person or two present, celebrated by diocesan priests and by traditional order priests. Every single one full of reverence and never a hint of anything even slightly casual or less than sacred.

    I doubt that any of this is coincidence or extraordinary good fortune on my part. No, it’s something extraordinary about the invariable atmosphere of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite at the present time.

    Possibly there’s someone alive who’s telling the truth when he trots out the old chestnut about 13-minute Masses he saw in the good old days, but nothing could be more irrelevant to contemporary TLM experience. Indeed, a remark I call from a recent Latin Mass Magazine article is closer to the mark — That the place in his diocese, where a typical bishop is most likely to find actually realized the prayerful active participation that Vatican II called for, is at a traditional Latin Mass.

  7. I am not Spartacus says:

    I think Mr. Weigel has performed a great service. While one can quibble here and there over the way we phrased some things, I think, on balance, he did a great job.

    It always wise to remember the old saying that we ought not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

    I once thought it would only be at my own funeral that I would hear Mass as it appeared Vat Two S.C. intended.

    Yet now, every day, Fr. Z brings us tidings of great joy and when one has Mr. Weigel on one’s side,that is a reality not to be overlooked or under-celebrated.

    The fact is Mr. Weigel is well-known and has a reputation as a serious and sober man. It is hard for him to be dismissed as some out of touch, liturgy-obsessed, crank.

    The more men of his ilk “come over” the more ought reaction be joyful and generous, no?

  8. M J says:

    “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators” can also be purchased here. Great bookstore!
    http://www.latinmassliturgicals.com/index-of-leading-catholic-indicators.html

  9. I am not Spartacus says:

    I think Mr. Weigel has performed a great service. While one can quibble here and there over the way we phrased some things, I think, on balance, he did a great job.

    It always wise to remember the old saying that we ought not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

    I once thought it would only be at my own funeral that I would hear Mass as it appeared Vat Two S.C. intended.

    Yet now, every day, Fr. Z brings us tidings of great joy and when one has Mr. Weigel on one’s side,that is a reality not to be overlooked or under-celebrated.

    The fact is Mr. Weigel is well-known and has a reputation as a serious and sober man. It is hard for him to be dismissed as some out of touch, liturgy-obsessed, crank.

    The more men of his ilk “come over” the more ought our reaction be joyful and generous, no?

  10. Le Renard says:

    “We we Catholics don’t know who we are within our own Church…”

    Yes we do — the Bastards Sons & Daughters of Luther who should start bowing to the Protestants and sharing their theology and repudiate all that was once Catholic!

    “it will change priests’ perception of who they are and what Holy Mass is…”

    To today’s Catholics, Holy Mass is this: Stark naked pagan females dancing to the liturgical rock-n-roll tunes of Rev. Hip-Hop and the like while folks take a sip of grape juice and fig newtons!

    “The site of Newsweek has an article by George Weigel…”

    Why should anybody give heed to Weigel? Isn’t he a Neo-Con?

    [When you cause more work for me through pointlessly inflammatory rhetoric... well... I just make the decision that its not worth it. B'bye!]

  11. Ron says:

    Mr. Weigel says: “…it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy.”

    I am very tired of this whole “spiritual nourishment for the minority” concept, as if the Gregorian Rite (TLM) is only for those odd balls within the Church who for some reason are attached to it. It needs to be presented as a superior liturgy – or at least it needs to be compared with the New Mass to see how they differ, to critically consider which liturgy is more fitting to God and the Most Blessed Sacrament. It can’t be just some concession that some odd people might like – another spoke on the wheel of variety for the consumer.

    No, it’s a superior form of worship and that needs to be considered. It’s no longer sufficient to say “Well some people receive in the hand and others at Altar Rails, you know we just have variety in practices here.” There needs to be objective criticism and the decision to allow what is most fitting to worship God and to get rid of what is not most fitting.

    Until then I am blessed to be an oddity, a minority in the Church.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  12. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Eventually the Church is going to have to come to grips with the true meaning and authority of the VII texts (or just quietly ignore the whole Council). Weigel, JPII’s biographer, seems to be moving beyond the “John Paul the Great” paradigm that others seem stuck in, but the fealty, the de rigeur panegyrics to VII remains. It is better than the allegiance to “the spirit of the Council,” but this allegiance to “the texts of the Council” seems (to me) to devolve into an allegiance to a “spirit of the Council, but a different spirit than the bad one adhered to by those other guys.”

    Allegiance to texts that have not been fully explained or situated in Tradition is simply allegiance to an admittedly more conservative “spirit of the Council.” We need an authoritive interpretation of the texts that does not shy away from seeming contradictions with previously defined doctrine and that is not afraid to admit that some sections are prudential judgments or disciplinary guidelines that may no longer be (and may have never been) prudent. Also an admission that some passages replace the virtue of Christian hope with a silly secular age of Aquarius optimism and that some historical “facts” cited to and relied upon were inaccurate.

    Until the Church authoritatively tells us what the texts of VII mean, those texts will be treated as a totem and used as a tool for whipping into line those faithful who harbor honest misgivings and disagreements about the post-VII project.

    And I didn’t use the pejorative “neocath” once.

  13. Daniel Muller says:

    Yes. Of course. Lace-bedecked older vestments are the enemy.

    I almost burst out laughing when I read this. I cannot count how many people whom I know who have made this statement in only a slightly less hyperbolic fashion. Lace albs and surplices seem to be the symbol of All that was Bad, no matter one’s view of liturgical history.

  14. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Fr. Z, as you have correctly shown, Wiegel, per usual, has stated his point accurately. I certainly agree with him. I would take it a step further, though. I think the Marshall Plan of Pope Benedict has a different aim than arriving at a mere prayerful and reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo. What he would like to see, like all of the reform of of the reform-ers, is the organic development of the 1962 Missal into the one Missale Romanum that the Council called for- not the Missale influenced by Bugnini. This, of course, in due time and all things considered.

  15. Brian Mershon says:

    Hey, “I am not…”

    What about the adage (logical fallacy): “the false idea of a middle way between two extremes” and “the enemy of the best is to always be satisfied with the good”?

  16. malta says:

    Decent article, but a couple of complaints:

    *but the deeper cause of the Lefebvrists’ march into schism was primarily their rejection of Vatican II’s teaching on religious freedom, [As I have been saying for years, this is going to be the toughest problem. And notice that Weigel says "schism".]which they deemed heresy.*

    SSPX is not in schism, one. Second, VII’s teaching on religious liberty is not dogma, nor, to my understanding, was the earlier understanding. So, we’re not speaking of dogmas when we speak of religious liberty, as much as the Church’s present understanding of the topic, ala limbo.

    *”Tridentine Rite,” [Thank you!] because it includes modifications of the missal mandated by the Council of Trent in the 16th century; it is not the “mass of Pius V,” which some Catholic megatraditionalists [Hmmm… a new label. Interesting.] argue is the only valid form of Catholic worship.*

    I think even Pope Benedict XVI has referred to it as the mass of Pius V. Whatever, the next sentence is completely incorrect: No traditionalist, “mega” or otherwise, has ever thought that only the EF is valid. Even the Council of Trent affirmed rites older than 150 years, and the Ambrosian rite has existed for centuries. The traditionalist’s qualm is with the “banal, on-the-spot” (in the words of our Pope) liturgy brewed in a liturgical think tank in the 1960′s.

  17. I think people are looking for ill will in the remark about “medieval accretions,” where in fact there is none.

    Wiegel’s commentary is a positive one concerning the Traditional Mass. (I’m surprised no one has accused him of being a Mason. All in good time…) But some who are introduced to it for the first time might be alienated by attitudes that are not essential to it, and a sense of proportion may be necessary. No, I have nothing against lace with vestments. I wear a Belgian lace surplice every Sunday as an MC, and it suits me fine. At the same time, there are certain quarters who are convinced, to give one example, that baroque “fiddleback” vestments are superior to Gothic, to the point of theological warfare. When I first started attending the TLM years ago, I was shocked at the disapproval at my outward participation in responses (rather modest compared to a full-blown “Missa recitata”) that would have been common for me as a child. I very nearly stopped going, for that and other similar reasons. But I was drawn by the power of the Mass itself. And in time, I came to prefer it.

    I think that’s what Wiegel’s talking about. The “core of the issue,” as the good Father terms it, should be allowed to speak for itself, and should not be sidetracked by things that, while they are our preference and may be good in and of themselves, are NOT at “the core.”

  18. Patrick says:

    I am amazed at the negativity that is spewed by some posters here at an article that is obviously positive. Is the glass ALWAYS half-empty? Do you people enjoy being unhappy?

    Weigel makes some really good points here.

  19. I am not Spartacus says:

    What about the adage (logical fallacy): “the false idea of a middle way between two extremes” and “the enemy of the best is to always be satisfied with the good”?

    Mr. Mershon. Since Vatican Two I have patiently (and not so patiently, at times) waited over 40 years to have my local Pastor offer Mass accrd. to the 1962 Roman Missal or aacrd to what it appears to me that S.C. intended.

    For years, I have been trying to get my current Pastor to offer this Mass but I have been held-off with the explanation that there is only one Indult available in our Diocese. I have also written to my Bishop (with no response). I have called my Bishop (and got no response or a call back).

    All I am trying to communicate is that what Mr. Weigel wrote is, in my opinion, a positive development. There have not been a lot of, visible, positive developments these past two score years and so, to me, to respond negatively would be, for me, to seem to lack the positive and generous response I think his piece deserves.

    That is all. If I failed to communicate effectively, I put the blame on myself. I am not looking for an argument here.

  20. Sid Cundiff says:

    A friendly reply to Malta:

    Anything less than religious liberty on the part of The State is Semi-Pelagian. And the teachings of the Council of Orange (Denzinger #370-397) are most definitely defined Dogma. Faith is a free gift of Grace. It can’t be coerced.

  21. Matthew Mattingly says:

    “The overwhelming majority of Catholics throughout the world have welcomed

    I pasted this from Mr. Weigel’s article.
    Though he get’s the core of Pope Benedict’s message…..it’s easy to tell that Mr. Weigel is also a dyed-in-the-wool 100% supporter of Vatican II/ He’s the kind of Catholic author who would never blame Vatican II in and of itself for any wrong, error, or mistake. It’s always someone else….but never the Council’s fault.
    The line in his article that went something to the effect that the “Mass of John XXIII” needn’t be celebrated with the priest and people facing the same direction”, in other words it can be celebrated in the style of the Novus Ordo is a horrible statement to make. Those are fighting words for traditional Catholics.
    If I’m not mistaken, Mr. Weigel also is the author of many JP II books, and He considers him practically (at least hearing him speak), as the greatest of all Popes. I’ve also heard him pontificate (He doesn’t speak, he pontificates…as if what he says IS the most authoritative answer to a subject regarding the Pope, or the Mass, or the Traditional Latin Rite etc.
    For me, I’ll take the less obnoxious and more “in the know” Vaticanologist like Andrea Torinelli.

  22. Mary Rose says:

    I love it when I’m on the same wavelength as you, Fr. Z. :-)

    I’m in the midst of reading another George Weigel book, The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church. In fact, I even created a “George Weigel” tag on my blog, I love this guy so much! (And just wrote an entry regarding The Tablet’s story and some thoughts from G.W.’s book.)

    He understands the role of priesthood within the Catholic church and Catholic identity along with it. Such good stuff. Thanks for posting this.

  23. David says:

    I hope that the widespread offering of the TLM reforms Catholic liturgy in general, but to treat the ancient liturgy of the Church, a liturgy that has stood on it’s own for the majority of the Church’s life, as a mere tool to “correct” what has been called by a rather important personage “a banal on the spot production” that dates back only 4 decades and was created by a cabal of thinly veiled modernists, is the height of neo-con arrogance. The Traditional Latin Mass is not some device to be used by liturgical utilitarians. I’m afraid, Father, after reading your blog for so many years, that I must conclude your liturgical views, like Mr. Weigel’s, are just that, utilitarian, and at times it seems to me that it borders on modernistic. [LOL! Piffle. Then you understand very little about hat I think. - Fr. Z]

    The historical reality of all this must be accepted. The Novus Ordo wasn’t hijacked by modernists and liberals. It was CREATED by modernists and liberals.

  24. Jordanes says:

    Matthew Mattingly said: The line in his article that went something to the effect that the “Mass of John XXIII” needn’t be celebrated with the priest and people facing the same direction”, in other words it can be celebrated in the style of the Novus Ordo is a horrible statement to make. Those are fighting words for traditional (sic) Catholics.

    They may be fighting words for traditionalist Catholics (not to be confused with “traditional” Catholics — Benedict XVI is traditional, but is not a traditionalist), but they are not for that reason any less true. Not that I think it’s a good idea, mind you — I think the Church should decree a return to ad orientem.

    Sid Cundiff said: Anything less than religious liberty on the part of The State is Semi-Pelagian. And the teachings of the Council of Orange (Denzinger #370-397) are most definitely defined Dogma. Faith is a free gift of Grace. It can’t be coerced.

    A rabbit trail, of course, so I’ll just toss this out there and leave it: it is inconceivable that the Holy Spirit would allow the Church to institute and promulgate the Semi-Pelagian heresy for close to 1,000 years of her history. A confessional Catholic state is no more Semi-Pelagian than a non-confessional state with liberty for erroneous religions is Indifferentist or Syncretist.

  25. Brian Mershon says:

    “I am… ”

    Fair enough. My own experience is not unlike yours.

    Peace be to you.

    Just as an FYI. Don’t fool yourself. George Weigel is no fan of the TLM and continues to promulgate the myth that the SSPX is in schism. They are not.

    To continue to smear Catholics with that label knowing full well what the head of the PCED has repeatedly said is at least a sin against charity if not moreso.

    For the record…

  26. Jordanes says:

    David, you say you find Father Zuhlsdorf’s approach to the traditional Latin Mass to be utilitarian and bordering on modernist heresy, and you think the reformed Roman Rite was the work of modernist and liberal heretics. Speaking for myself, I find your observations to be rash and presumptuous, because it is the Church’s responsibility, not the layman’s, to pronounce who and what is heretical – and your comments strongly imply that you have pronounced Paul VI and the members of the Consilium to be heretics. Also, in my opinion, if you think Father Zuhlsdorf has a utilitarian approach to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, then you haven’t been reading his weblog closely enough. Just because he expects the old Latin Mass to improve the general state of the Roman liturgy, it doesn’t follow that he thinks that is all the old Mass is good for, or that he values it for no other reason.

    Brian said: To continue to smear Catholics with that label knowing full well what the head of the PCED has repeatedly said is at least a sin against charity if not moreso.

    I just wish he’d say it formally, as head of the PCED, and have it clearly upheld by the Holy See, so the back-and-forth about whether or not the SSPX is schismatic will be resolved. Until then, Weigel can hardly be blamed for his opinion, since the Church has never said or done anything to contradict it.

  27. Seth says:

    I remember when Weigel spoke at Christendom College a few months before Summorum Pontificum came out. After his speech on Benedict XVI, someone asked a question about the rumored motu proprio. Weigel’s response was to go on and on about how before Vatican II the mass was celebrated hastily and in mumbles latin, they studied from manuals written in bad latin, and that traditionalists are stupid because they think Christ taught the apostles how to celebrate the tridentine mass. The only pertinent thing he had to say was that if Pope Benedict gave wider freedom to the traditional latin mass, it would only be to improve the way the novus ordo is celebrated. So it was the same … stuff he was spewing in this article. So, I have to disagree Fr., he definitely does not get it, and he never has.

  28. Doug says:

    Brian, were you at the 11 am Mass at St. Mary’s last Sunday?

  29. Mark says:

    After reading Mr. Weigel’s article, my gut reaction was, “this doesn’t inspire me”.

    Mr. Weigel, an author and a thinker whom I admire very much, is a student of Pope John Paul II, and has written very vividly about this Pope and his struggles. Sadly, his present stand “Almost certainly not “Latin days are here again” in every Catholic parish”, is reminiscent of the last decades of the Cold War, when many Western men with “gravitas” advised the hoi polloi from the east to be patient and please don’t rock the boat. Don’t do anything quickly, be realistic, scale down your unreasonable expectations, socialism is too powerful for you to take on. The best reasonable men can hope for is this glacially slow process of reapproachment we’ll manage for you. So, get used to this, and suffer quietly on your side of the wall.

    I believe Mr. Weigel is too good of a student of history to fall into this quicksand. Everything he writes on this period, leads me to believe that he does fully understand it from the inside. I think he realizes that after a long struggle, under the right circumstances, things can change substantially and rapidly. He’s in a unique position to translate the ideas, language, and methods used then, into the present struggle to make the Traditional Mass available in every parish. I hope he shakes off any hint of “gravitas” and rises to his “Solidarity” vocation. And how long it will take is in God’s hands.

  30. Seth: Aside from the things Mr. Weigel may have said about the TLM in other places, in this,  article, which is what this entry is about, he does indeed get the essential point, which is this: What is Pope Benedict trying to do?

    Don’t get bogged down in other things, such as what Wiegel’s personal view of the TLM might be.  Those views aren’t really relevant.

    He does, however, hit the nail on the head when he points out that Pope Benedict has a purpose for what he has done, and I think he identified it correctly. 

    He doesn’t have to agree with it.  He got the point.

  31. JJ says:

    I have to say that I agree with Brian Mershon on this one. I have read, and read, and read, about the SSPX/Schism quandry, and I believe, based on the current Code, custom, principles, and arguments, and the authorities, that they are NOT in formal Schism.

    There seems (from my limited understanding) to be two points in this:

    1. just consecrating bishops with out papal approval does not constitute schism, that is limpidly clear from the Code. If they had tried to give the “ordinary power of jurisdiction” to the bishops, that would have constituted complete rejection of the papal primacy, thus resulting in schism. But they didn’t; they only consecrated those bishops for the purposes of having the sacraments for their faithful. They made it extremely clear when consecrating that they were setting up a parallel hierarchy, or church, or trying to create their own “territories of juristiction”. Holy Orders has two aspects: the power of the sacrament itself, and the power of juristiction. The power of the sacrament itself comes from the consecrating bishops (conference of the sacrament); and Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, no.42, says that the power of juristiction comes from the pope alone. Just consecrating bishops, does not automatically mean total rejection of papal authority. If they tried to confer juristiction, that would have meant arrogating to themselves a power that belongs to the pope alone. They simply did not do that. It’s like little Johnny saying “no” to mum about going up the road to get some milk, and locking himself in his room. Has he disobeyed her, yes, has he completely rejected her parental authority, and that she is his mum. Of course not. He has simply disobeyed. Did he have good reason to disobey? That is the question…it’s the same question for the SSPX. Did they have just cause to disobey the pope? If they had ordained women, which is intrinsically against the Faith, then they would have rejected the entire authority structure of the Church, thus resulting in schism (C.f. bishop burke’s recent statement of those men and women being in schism who did that). But the SSPX ordained men (something that is good in itself) but in an irregular way (without approval) – that does not constitute complete refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff, and thus doesn’t mean Schism. The Eastern Orthodox, however, do reject the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, and therefore reject any submission him, thus meaning that they are in Schism.

    2. As regards the rejection of the teachings post-Vat II on religious liberty, they have the right to have reservations regarding that. Any Catholic does. Those teachings, even though they have been given from an ecumenical council, (bishops in communion with pope), don’t require definitive assent. They weren’t put forward as a canon, or definition. In so far as a teaching is being passed on from the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, it should be assented to. But for novel teachings, there is no absolute definitive assent required. Sure, religious submission or mind and will is expected (C.f., LG 25), but not if the teachings seem to be difficult to reconcile with previous papal teaching. In such a case, a Catholic can ask the Magisterium to clarify, and explain, and should hold onto to the traditional doctrine. Paul VI said, in the closing speech of the Council, that it was not a dogmatic council, and that it didn’t define anything infallibly. It didn’t invoke the charism of infallibility. Not submitting to Vat II’s “religious liberty” doesn’t not constitute Schism. Far from it.

    We have to be careful of a semi-ultramontanism here.

    Many people seem to go on what Patrick Madrid has said in his book “More Catholic than the Pope” – which makes some big errors in it’s arguments.

    And as Brian Mershon has said, Hoyos et al, have now repeatedly said that the SSPX are not in formal Schism.

  32. JJ says:

    Fr John, I agree that Weigel has shown some very promising understandings in this piece. It seems to be a good movement from him, from previous things that he, and others, have said. Good on him. Sometimes it takes a while for even good people to move, and grow in their understandings on these important matters.

  33. John Enright says:

    “In international settings, the use of this rite in Latin may help revive that ancient tongue as a common Catholic language for common worship – no small matter in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic church.” That’s a pretty good reason for using Latin as the primary liturgical language! I’ve been to other countries where I don’t speak the language. Nevertheless, I attend Mass to fulfill my obligation, even though I’m clueless about what’s being said (but since the Mass follows a certain formula regardless of language, I still have an idea about what’s happening). I have a fairly good grasp on Latin, and I’d like to see a universal Mass which doesn’t change according to the vernacular language of the region.

  34. RBrown says:

    And I’m sorry, but Cardinal Castrillon’s comment during a news conference was NOT an “off-the-cuff remark” from just another Vatican official, as Weigel tries to downplay it.
    Oh, and I forgot, the Cardinal’s remarks were to “a small Catholic association” which we dare not name because more Catholics might find out about it.
    Comment by Brian Mershon

    His informal presser in England was not the first time Cardinal Castrillon said that the 1962 mass is to be made available in every parish. Earlier, he made formal, rehearsed comments about the same subject.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=fL7Zf-BtQxU

  35. Malta says:

    *Sid Cundiff: “Anything less than religious liberty on the part of The State is Semi-Pelagian. And the teachings of the Council of Orange (Denzinger #370-397) are most definitely defined Dogma. Faith is a free gift of Grace. It can’t be coerced”.*

    Grace is free but can be freely rejected. To what extent do we say that a parent “coerces” their child into the faith by requiring them to go to mass? Bl. Pope Pius IX said that the idea of religious freedom, in his Syllabus of Errors, was to be rejected. That is, that in the Divine Mind, one is free to reject the true Grace of Christ, found only in the Catholic Church. One must freely accept grace and faith, but without proselytizing faith is impossible. Tricky stuff. When does proselytizing become coercion? Although one can reject faith, does that give them the moral right to do so? That is the question. One has the power to power to commit suicide, but does that give them the divine right to do so? Just some thoughts.

  36. JJ says:

    Just correcting typo: further up, I mean’t to write, “…they (SSPX) made it extremely clear when consecrating that they WEREN’T setting up a parallel hierarchy, or church, or trying to create their own “territories of juristiction””

  37. db says:

    “Yes, the mass of John XXIII is celebrated in Latin, and yes, it is often celebrated (although it need not be) with the priest and the congregation facing the same direction as they pray — … ”

    [emphasis added. And, just to clarify, perhaps needlessly, it appears plain that Mr. Weigel is here speaking of the 1962 Missale Romanum, the "Gregorian Rite", the "vetus ordo Missae".]

    But … Is this really true? I thought the rubrics for the 1962 Missal without a doubt indicate, assume, and otherwise generally specify and require facing ad orientem (for everyone …).

    Then too, to say that the 1962 Mass is “often celebrated” ad orientem seems only to add to the oddness.

  38. David says:

    I fail to see how an insistence that the Traditional Latin Mass be used to assert an ideology on the Novus Ordo is anything other than a utilitarian approach to the TLM. The Traditional Latin Mass doesn’t exist as a weapon for the neo-cons in their liturgical battle over the Novus Ordo. The TLM, and those of us attached to the TLM, aren’t in that battle. If the progressives and neo-cons want to duke it out over ad orientem posture and the use of Latin in the Novus Ordo, then have at it, but that debate doesn’t have anything to do with the Traditional Latin Mass.

    The only “gravitational pull” that is worthwhile is a gravitational pull away from the Novus Ordo and to the Traditional Latin Mass. I’ll be the first to admit that the process must be a gradual one, and I welcome efforts to use Latin and ad orientem posture in the Novus Ordo, but only because such developments may eventually lead people to the TLM and away from the Novus Ordo.

    A priest may not be ordained “for a book”, but he is certainly ordained foremost to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it should be our hope that he does so in the most fitting and worthy manner. Of course, reason must be exercised. Perhaps a given congregation is not ready for the Traditional Latin Mass, but the goal for any priest who loves Tradition ought to be the eventual re-introduction of the Traditional Latin Mass and ultimately the phasing out of the Novus Ordo completely. To be happy with a “TLMized” version of the Novus Ordo is to look at Tradition through the eyes of the modern world, judging Tradition by the arrogance of the “newer and better.” That is a fundamental attitude of the modernist. (Please note that I’m not accusing anyone, especially the person responsible for this blog, of being a modernist… I’m simply making an observation.)

    I apologize for the harsh rhetoric, but a spade is a spade. Annibale Bugnini and his cohorts in the Concilium were what they were. I never once mentioned Pope Paul VI, but certainly, like many of his predecessors and successors, he was capable of making prudential errors in judgement when it came to matters of discipline and policy. His failure to meaningfully address Communism is an obvious flaw on his part. It is also my firm conviction that the Novus Ordo was a devastatingly bad judgement in a matter of discipline. It is an error that hopefully we can now begin to address in a meaningful, prayerful, and despite internet posters, charitable way now that we have Summorum Pontificum.

  39. craig says:

    “Until the Church authoritatively tells us what the texts of VII mean, those texts will be treated as a totem and used as a tool for whipping into line those faithful who harbor honest misgivings and disagreements about the post-VII project.”

    It seems to me that this has been done. Most if not all of John Paul II’s encyclicals were exactly this — interpreting VII with authority and reconciling VII with prior tradition (and vice versa). The Catechism certainly makes frequent reference to these.

    There is an ancient legal principle that “no law is void” — i.e., if two laws appear to contradict one another and neither has been repealed, then each must be interpreted in light of the other such that neither is nullified completely by the other. It is that reconciliation that certain folk have to come to terms with, hence Fr. Z’s comment about the real rub with SSPX being the subject of religious liberty (which SSPX cannot deny without repudiating VII’s authority as a council of the whole Church).

  40. Sour Grapes says:

    George Weigel is a card carrying Modernist. His experience forgets that the Latin Mass is expanding to new audiences, who will learn that the Novus Ordo is a Zionist-Masonic engineered Apostate Service. By George–that’s more than a “Reform” but a Counter-Revolution to the Vatican II Heretical Council. Real Roman Catholics LOVE the Holy Latin Mass, but worms like Weigel hate it!

    I’m Sorry, but The Sour Grapes Award goes to…

    George Weigel

    http://www.wdtprs.com/images/SourGrapesAward.jpg

  41. Geoffrey says:

    Patrick said: “I am amazed at the negativity that is spewed by some posters here at an article that is obviously positive. Is the glass ALWAYS half-empty? Do you people enjoy being unhappy?”

    I have been wondering the exact same thing for a while now!

  42. Warren Anderson says:

    Forgive my bluntness, but all the unqualified chatter about Mr. Weigel getting it, or not getting it for that matter, smacks of arrogance on the part of those making such comments. At the very least, such comments are a poor way of evaluating another person’s opinion since such remarks are unclear if unqualified. Why not restrict the criticism to what he has said and leave it at that. Whether or not Mr. Weigel “gets it” is irrelevant. Mr. Weigel’s comments have, however, provoked certain writers to reveal what is lacking among many who refer to themselves as Catholic, namely a Catholic understanding and proper respect for a major council of the Church, the Mass promulgated with the full weight of the Petrine Office, and the current teaching issuing from that same Office. Lastly, comments such as “…worms like Weigel…” are not appropriate given that George Wiegel is a faithful son of the Church who, at the vanguard of the Church in the public square, has been a tireless and erudite defender of the Papacy and the Church when many of us have been luke warm in the Faith and/or hostile toward the Holy Father.

  43. Jordanes says:

    David said: I fail to see how an insistence that the Traditional Latin Mass be used to assert an ideology on the Novus Ordo is anything other than a utilitarian approach to the TLM.

    You’re missing the entire point, then. The Holy Father apparently believes, and hopes, that wider use of the pre-Vatican II rites will improve the liturgy throughout the entire Roman Rite. But that doesn’t mean he has a utilitarian approach to the traditional Latin rites of which he is the supreme custodian on earth.

    The Traditional Latin Mass doesn’t exist as a weapon for the neo-cons in their liturgical battle over the Novus Ordo.

    Why not? If it exists as a weapon in spiritual warfare against the forces of hell, why shouldn’t the graces that God provides through the traditional Latin Mass benefit the entire Roman Rite and help to defeat those who subvert and weaken the ordinary use of the Roman Rite? Just because they’re “neo-cons” (“faithful, orthodox Catholics who accept the authority of the Pope and Vatican II”), that doesn’t make them unfit to benefit from the blessings that will flourish throughout the whole Latin Church thanks to a revival of the pre-Vatican II Mass.

    The TLM, and those of us attached to the TLM, aren’t in that battle.

    Well, maybe they’re not wielding their weapons, but they’re definitely standing in the middle of the battlefield, and the battle is raging.

    If the progressives and neo-cons want to duke it out over ad orientem posture and the use of Latin in the Novus Ordo, then have at it, but that debate doesn’t have anything to do with the Traditional Latin Mass.

    The traditional Latin Mass is first of all a Catholic rite. A provincial aloofness from the present state of the Roman Rite is unworthy of a member of the Catholic Church’s predominant liturgical rite.

    The only “gravitational pull” that is worthwhile is a gravitational pull away from the Novus Ordo and to the Traditional Latin Mass.

    You probably don’t like to think about this, but the reformed Roman rite will never disappear, will never be suppressed. It may someday become much less common, perhaps in a few centuries.

    Perhaps a given congregation is not ready for the Traditional Latin Mass, but the goal for any priest who loves Tradition ought to be the eventual re-introduction of the Traditional Latin Mass and ultimately the phasing out of the Novus Ordo completely. To be happy with a “TLMized” version of the Novus Ordo is to look at Tradition through the eyes of the modern world, judging Tradition by the arrogance of the “newer and better.”

    The ordinary use of the Roman Rite is a lawful and legitimate rite, and is the chief liturgy of the Church of Rome and the Roman church’s bishop. Therefore there can’t be any objection to a Latin Rite priest celebrating a “TLMized” version of the ordinary use. A Catholic can love Sacred Tradition without being attached to the pre-Vatican II Mass of the Roman Rite. Nor is being happy with a “TLMized” version of the ordinary use “to look at Tradition through the eyes of the modern world,” because the ordinary use was the work of the Roman church, not something that the modern world originated and introduced and that the Church then decided to accept. That the work of reform was done badly doesn’t make it any less the liturgy of the Roman Rite. Therefore it can and indeed must be viewed and celebrated in the light of Tradition.

    It is also my firm conviction that the Novus Ordo was a devastatingly bad judgement in a matter of discipline. It is an error that hopefully we can now begin to address in a meaningful, prayerful, and despite internet posters, charitable way now that we have Summorum Pontificum.

    I entirely agree with you on this point, and I suspect the Holy Father does too. But regardless of the collosal botch-up that the liturgical reform turned out to be, it was done, and it’s here, and we all have to live with it. The only appropriate response is to try to improve the state of the Roman liturgy, not to wash our hands of it and simply hope that someday the Latin Church will return to the state of liturgical affairs as they were in 1962, or 1955, or 1910, or whenever.

  44. Jordanes says:

    “Limbo” and “Sour Grapes” obviously don’t know what Modernism is. (One can’t help but wonder if they’re even in communion with the Holy See.) And sorry, Limbo, but Weigel is right — the Holy Father has not called for, nor does he expect, a complete return to all-Latin Masses or to the traditional Latin Mass.

  45. Brian Mershon says:

    Doug, Yes I was. My wife is too pregnant to make the trek to Mt. Holly with Fr. Novak, as much as I am yearning to go.

    I’ll probably be there again on Sunday. Do I know you?

    bcmershon@juno.com if you need something specific

  46. Limbo says:

    According to my Oxford American Dictionary…

    modernism |?mäd?r?niz?m|
    noun
    modern character or quality of thought, expression, or technique : when he waxes philosophical, he comes across as a strange mix of nostalgia and modernism.
    • a style or movement in the arts that aims to break with classical and traditional forms.
    • a movement toward modifying traditional beliefs in accordance with modern ideas, esp. in the Roman Catholic Church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    I repeat “George Weigel is a card carrying Modernist.”

    I cannot speak for ‘Sour Grapes’ but this little Limbo is in full communion with the Holy See.

    Jordanes says, “The only appropriate response is to try to improve the state of the Roman liturgy, not to wash our hands of it and simply hope that someday the Latin Church will return to the state of liturgical affairs as they were in 1962, or 1955, or 1910, or whenever.”

    …why not ? this seems to be working perfectly in Traditional Catholic communities all over the world – for now I can only dream… and pray.

  47. RBrown says:

    George Weigel is a card carrying Modernist. His experience forgets that the Latin Mass is expanding to new audiences, who will learn that the Novus Ordo is a Zionist-Masonic engineered Apostate Service. By George—that’s more than a “Reform” but a Counter-Revolution to the Vatican II Heretical Council. Real Roman Catholics LOVE the Holy Latin Mass, but worms like Weigel hate it!
    Comment by Sour Grapes

    You forgot to mention the Trilateral Commission.

  48. Andreas says:

    The overwhelming majority of Catholics welcomed the new form of the mass …

    Is this the overwhelming majority that does not attend Sunday Mass regularly?

    Over time, the silly season in Catholic liturgy that peaked in the 1970s … began to recede.

    ????????? What Planet?

    It was to accelerate that “reform of the reform” that Benedict XVI issued a decree last summer permitting the widespread use of the 1962 Roman rite.

    Weigel revealing to the world the Pope’s hidden intentions.

    By encouraging the more widespread celebration of this classic form Benedict XVI intends to create a liturgical magnet drawing in the direction of greater reverence in the Church’s public worship.

    This turns the Extraordinary Form into a mere support mechanism for the Ordinary Form. False!

    Will this Benedictine reform-of-the-reform mean that every Catholic parish will soon have at least one Sunday celebration of mass in Latin, using the Missal of John XXIII? It seems unlikely, not least because very few priests today are competent Latinists. But in those places where the Latin mass of 1962 is celebrated reverently and without nostalgic accretions, it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy.

    Buzzwords: persistent ignorance of Latin, nostalgia, minority preference, “new form” on the way.

    In international settings, the use of this rite in Latin may help revive that ancient tongue …

    That ancient tongue? Revive? So it is dead? What about the value of Latin in itself? As an educational tool for the young? For its mind sharpening precision? For many other reasons too long to enumerate?

    And the net result, over time? Almost certainly not “Latin days are here again” but rather a more prayerful celebration according to a reformed missal of 1970 and according to what the Second Vatican Council actually prescribed.

    Which is it? The reformed missal or what the Council prescribed? The Council prescribed “Latin days” you know.

    This is curious. We have a lot of good, devout, and I would say even (somewhat) learned catholics who unfortunately suffer from a complete eclipse of the “Roman” in their “Roman Catholic”. I don’t know what to call them: vernacular catholics? Somebody please expose them to the beauty of our most salutary and necessary Latin heritage.

  49. dcs says:

    I think that one can say that George Weigel has a thoroughly modern mind and so is “modernist” by the dictionary definition. But does he fit the definition of a Modernist heretic? I think not.

  50. Is there a full moon right now?

    Some of these comments are getting both weirder and dumber.

  51. Limbo says:

    Weigel asks, (then finds a lame answer) … “Will this Benedictine reform-of-the-reform mean that every Catholic parish will soon have at least one Sunday celebration of mass in Latin, using the Missal of John XXIII? It seems unlikely, not least because very few priests today are competent Latinists.

    What George Weigel fails to realise is that the priests of today will not always be the priests of tomorrow and the priests of tomorrow WILL be competent Latinists – Cardinal Castrillion said so !

  52. Limbo: the priests of tomorrow WILL be competent Latinists – Cardinal Castrillion said so !

    Ohhhh… I seeee! That takes care of it, then.

    Let’s forget about men actually studying Latin, or there being adequate instructors to get the job done.

  53. Jordanes says:

    Limbo said: Jordanes says, “The only appropriate response is to try to improve the state of the Roman liturgy, not to wash our hands of it and simply hope that someday the Latin Church will return to the state of liturgical affairs as they were in 1962, or 1955, or 1910, or whenever.”

    …why not ? this seems to be working perfectly in Traditional Catholic communities all over the world

    Retreating into the catacombs is for times of severe and violent persecution. The traditional Latin Mass, and good Latin liturgy, should be promoted throughout the entire Latin Church, not kept in scattered communities out of the mainstream. If the goal is isolating and ghettoising the pre-Vatican II Mass, and making it rarer than hen’s teeth, then yes, by all means, maintain a pre-Summorum “defensive” posture.

    Andreas asked: That ancient tongue? Revive? So it is dead?

    Pretty much, sad to say.

  54. Michael J says:

    Jordanes,
    I’m curious about why you think the reformed Roman rite will never disappear and will never be suppressed. Historically, such an event has precedence.

  55. John Enright says:

    I emailed Fr. Z. about this article long after he had already posted it. I should’ve known better! Sorry, Father.

  56. Jordanes says:

    Michael J asked: I’m curious about why you think the reformed Roman rite will never disappear and will never be suppressed. Historically, such an event has precedence.

    It won’t disappear because it’s the rite of the Roman church. It can be reformed further, and can become stronger or weaker, it can become less common, but it’s always going to be around somewhere, even if it eventually becomes the “extraordinary” use. As for historical precedence for disappearance of a rite, yes, it has happened before, over a long, long, long passage of time. The Sarum rite, for instance, is practically nonexistent today – but it wasn’t suppressed. The Holy See tried to suppress the pre-Vatican II Mass, and we see how much harm and trouble that caused. So there is no way the Pope is going to suppress the reformed Roman rite. It may someday become rare, all but abandoned by the Church, but that’s something that won’t happen for several centuries, and it’s not something that will result from a formal act of suppression.

  57. Jordanes says:

    By the way, I also wanted to say, in reference to Limbo’s earlier remark, that the proper resources for determining whether or not George Weigel is a card-carrying Modernist (didn’t know they carried ID — sure would make it easier to identify them if they did) are Pascendi, the Syllabus of Errors, and the former Oath Against Modernism, and not the Oxford American Dictionary.

  58. Michael J says:

    Jordanes,
    I was just curious if you were basing your statement on philosophical or practical grounds.

    Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum for example, was a formal act of supression of any rites less than 200 years old. Some argued, quite passionately, that Pope Paul VI formally supressed what is now called the Extraordinary Form although His Holiness has cleared up that misconception.

    So it seems that a rite can be supressed, although I am not suggesting that the Novus Ordo will be, and that a rite can virtually disappear in a very short time and completely disappear over a longer period.

    Again, though, I am not disagreeing with your statement. Just wondering if you were thinking that the disappearance of a particular rite somehow touched on the indefectability of the Church.

  59. Jordanes says:

    Michael J asked: I was just curious if you were basing your statement on philosophical or practical grounds.

    A little of both, I guess.

    Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum for example, was a formal act of suppression of any rites less than 200 years old.

    True. The time limit of 200 years is instructive, because it shows that rites of long-standing use, rites that are truly traditional, shouldn’t (and probably can’t, morally speaking) be suppressed by decree.

    Some argued, quite passionately, that Pope Paul VI formally suppressed what is now called the Extraordinary Form although His Holiness has cleared up that misconception.

    It certainly looked like he had, and no doubt he intended to, but he didn’t and probably it would be an act of extreme lack of charity and imprudence to attempt to do so. I doubt we’re going to see a Pope try something like that again — at least not for a long time, and hopefully never again.

    I just can’t see the reformed Roman rite being suppressed, since the Holy See is living with the bitter experience and harm that resulted from Paul VI’s actions. I’d like to think that the Vatican has learned a crucial lesson at the School of Liturgical Hard Knocks, and won’t be likely to keep knocking its forehead against that brick wall any more. Certainly an act of suppression would be disastrous if attempted today or any time in the foreseeable future. Not until the reformed rite weakens and fades away on its own could we expect a future pontiff to say, “Okay then, that was interesting — let’s just be done with this and move along now,” and even in that circumstance I’d think it is more likely that the Pope would take no action and just let the reformed rite quietly whimper and die by itself.

    Again, though, I am not disagreeing with your statement. Just wondering if you were thinking that the disappearance of a particular rite somehow touched on the indefectibility of the Church.

    No, I don’t think that. Thanks for giving me the chance to clarify my meaning.

  60. Mark says:

    Regardless of whether George Weigel is, or is not, a “card-carrying Modernist”, Traditionalists would do well to invite him to support the widespread return of the TLM. He knows how difficult things can be done successfully – he could advise on strategy, organization of resources, use of effective language, etc. in promoting the return of the TLM to every parish. As a student of history he ranks, in my view, with such man as Norman Davies.

    My assessment of the Traditionalist movement today, is that while it is enthusiastic, it is also disorganized, prone to dead-end discussions about tangential subjects (such as the “true” status of SSPX), and not very aware of its potential allies and resources. Worst of all, too many of us tend to get cozy in our little ghettoes. Contrast this with the well organized, well placed, and so far effective, opposition. The idea being proposed, “TLM in every parish”, should be received as a call to broaden our limited horizons.

    I view George Weigel as our potential ally, at least we should invite him to talk to us (if Father Z forgives my impertinence, this blog would be a good place for his guest editorial).

  61. Andreas says:

    When speaking of western liturgy, two things are usually discussed: form and language. The language (Latin) is common to both forms (at least in theory), something that often gets forgotten. I tried to point out that Latin is a fundamental ingredient in any form (ordinary or extra-ordinary). I think one has to get exceedingly verbose to prove this, but Popes are on record about this: that Latin is essential. And I think it is damaging to speak of a future all-vernacular Church whose liturgical life will flourish in the absence of Latin. And by absence I mean a situation where Latin is only known by a handful of “experts”. If this is loony, so be it. Most disturbing about this is the fact that neither trads nor non-trads agree with this premise. All camps pretty much agree among themselves that knowledge of Latin is non-essential. Non-trads don’t want it at all, and trads think it’s just something decorative.

    What does this have to do with this article? The language question was brought up by George Weigel – in a dismissive way.

  62. michigancatholic says:

    It depends on which issue you are saying Weigel “gets.” There are a lot of things he says in the rather longish article.

    In general, he “gets” that Pope Benedict has a plan, and that he’s trying to clean up the deplorable condition of the Novus Ordo, yes. I agree with you there.

    But while saying that, he also displays his beliefs about historical Catholicism and its proper place in the Church of today, and they are skewed. There is most certainly a difference between his point of view and that of a traditional Catholic, and yet again between his point of view and that of a traditionalist (because traditional Catholicism and traditionalism can most certainly be different too).

    Weigel is a religious conservative. A religious conservative is one who thinks that all changes that have been made have got to be accepted prima facie, but changes going forward should be slowed down and modified. Generally they believe this for reasons that have an ahistorical origin, ie. a contemporary set of beliefs about how things work in the church. Conservatives are liberals in slow motion, but they can be convinced of some things, one issue at a time. However, getting them over on one issue doesn’t necessarily change their world-view because of the underlying beliefs about the meaning (or lack of meaning) of history.

    His remarks about lace and the orientation of the priest in the TLM give him clean away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m reading one of his books now–he gets some things right. But he’s wrong on some too, and I’m aware of what his biases are when I read his stuff.

  63. David says:

    Jordanes,

    “Well, maybe they’re not wielding their weapons, but they’re definitely standing in the middle of the battlefield, and the battle is raging.”

    The Novus Ordo is not our Mass. We will not attend the Novus Ordo. We will not participate in the Novus Ordo. Therefore, it is not our battle.

    “The traditional Latin Mass is first of all a Catholic rite. A provincial aloofness from the present state of the Roman Rite is unworthy of a member of the Catholic Church’s predominant liturgical rite.”

    That reasoning is flawed. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a Catholic Rite, but I do not participate in it because I’m not a Byzantine Catholic. Does my “aloofness” from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom somehow make me an unworthy member of the Catholic Church?

    “You probably don’t like to think about this, but the reformed Roman rite will never disappear, will never be suppressed. It may someday become much less common, perhaps in a few centuries.”

    How in the world do you know that? You do realize that the vast majority of Catholics in the 1950s were saying the same thing about their Mass, right? Given the 20th century history of Catholicism, there is an equal likelihood that it will be suppressed as it will not be suppressed. There’s no way you could make such a sweeping and unsubstantiated prediction. Since an abrupt and sudden break with Tradition has already happened, it is, in fact, more likely now that the current state of affairs will once again be abruptly interrupted. What the liturgical revolution did was open the door for a constantly changing landscape that is totally alien to whole history of Catholicism prior to the 20th century.

    “The ordinary use of the Roman Rite is a lawful and legitimate rite, and is the chief liturgy of the Church of Rome and the Roman church’s bishop. Therefore there can’t be any objection to a Latin Rite priest celebrating a “TLMized” version of the ordinary use.”

    You are comparing apples to oranges here. I’m not arguing that the Novus Ordo is unlawful. (I’m not sure how you are using the word “legitimate”; either you mean it in the sense of lawful, in which case you are being redundant, or you are using it to mean right or true in a subjective manner, which, of course, is debatable.) However, not all things that are lawful are good, fitting, pastorally expedient, or authentic in the context of Catholic heritage. There’s no argument, especially from the author of this particular blog, that the Novus Ordo was an abrupt interruption in the liturgical life of the Church, a complete contradiction to the “organic development” of the liturgy so poignantly pointed out here and elsewhere. If the Novus Ordo is, itself, a contradiction to the history of organic development germane to the Church’s liturgical life, in what way can anyone argue that it is good, fitting, pastorally expedient or authentically Catholic? Lawful, yes. That is the apple. Good, fitting, pastorally expedient, authentic? No. And that is the orange.

    The conclusion you draw, therefore, isn’t logically valid, and a TLMized version of the Novus Ordo is still an aberration no better than any other celebration of the Novus Ordo.

    “Nor is being happy with a ‘TLMized’ version of the ordinary use ‘to look at Tradition through the eyes of the modern world…’”

    The Novus Ordo is, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated in a moment of wonderful clarity, an “on the spot” product, and it was a product of modern men. Please do some research on the Concilium and how a small handful of men inflicted the Church with their banal creation. To call it a work of the Roman Church (which should be capitalized, by the way) may be true, but that does not make its creation any less regrettable.

    “But regardless of the collosal botch-up that the liturgical reform turned out to be, it was done, and it’s here, and we all have to live with it.”

    I beg to differ, but I don’t have to live with it. I simply do not attend the Novus Ordo, and I constantly pray that more and more Catholics will follow suit. I do what I can, though I’m not perfect, but I hope that by offering the small sufferings in my life in reparation for the harms inflicted upon Christ’s Mystical Body by the propagation of the Novus Ordo, and that sometime in the not too distant and glorious future, with everyone once again flocking to the Traditional Latin Mass, the Novus Ordo will die of extinction, without a priest to offer it and without a layman to care.

  64. Antiquarian says:

    “The Novus Ordo is, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated in a moment of wonderful clarity, an “on the spot” product”

    Nope, that’s not what he said, nor did he, in the same sentence call the NO “banal” as some claim. He was referring to improvised, abusive liturgies in context– not the Novus Ordo in general.

  65. David says:

    “…and trads think it’s just something decorative.”

    I don’t know of any Traditional Catholics that think of Latin as just something decorative. What is your source or reason to write such a thing?

    (Conversely, I don’t think it true to generalize that all “non-trads” don’t want Latin. I know of one Latinist at the Vatican who deplored Summorum Pontificum, the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholics, but at the same time he bemoans the loss of Latin and the ascendancy of Italian at the Vatican.)

  66. David says:

    How frustrating.

    The complete quote from the Cardinal Ratzinger’s preface to La Reforme liturgique en question, by Klaus Gamber:

    “What happened after the Council was totally different: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We left the living process of growth and development to enter the realm of fabrication. There was no longer a desire to continue developing and maturing, as the centuries passed and so this was replaced – as if it were a technical production – with a construction, a banal on-the-spot product.”

  67. David says:

    What makes you think he is only referring to liturgical abuse? He is speaking to “what happened after the Council”. How does that not include the work of the Concilium and the propagation of the Novus Ordo?

  68. michigancatholic says:

    Antiquarian,

    I don’t know who you might be talking about when you talk about Traditional Catholics thinking of Latin as decorative. I know a lot of Traditional Catholics because I go to the Latin mass here and I am one. We would all say that Latin is no more decorative in a liturgical setting than my American English is in the grocery store. Latin belongs in the liturgy as the vernacular belongs in the business world. This is not difficult to understand. I’m not sure why you seem to be having so much difficulty with it.

  69. Antiquarian says:

    David, that one sentence, out of context, is a) not well-translated, and b) not representative at all of what Cardinal Ratzinger is talking about in the preface of Gamber’s book (where he also decries those who separate themselves from the Church because of an attachment to an older form of the liturgy– something far less widely quoted by those who want to use the preface to make a point0. In context, he is not talking about the Novus Ordo in general.

    michigancatholic, read more carefully, please, you’re ascribing things to me said in a neighboring post.

  70. Antiquarian says:

    The complete text of Cardinal Ratzinger’s preface to the French edition of Msgr. Gamber’s book is here–

    http://www.barroux.org/docum/RATZINGER_REF.pdf

    Note that the relevant passage follows a specific criticism of priests and liturgists who alter the liturgy.

  71. michigancatholic says:

    Sorry, antiquarian. I redirect my comment to the originator of that statement about Latin and traditional Catholics.

    Antiquarian,

    “After the Council … in place of the liturgy as the fruit of organic development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”"

    Here: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/07/motu-proprio-notes-remembering-klaus.html

    And here: http://www.unavoce.org/gambhlts.htm

    And yet again here: http://www.neumannpress.com/reofroli.html

    And here: http://pblosser.blogspot.com/2006/12/neuhaus-on-gamber-benedict-mass.html

    I can get this quoted from a dozen or more sources, OR I can go through my books and photocopy it for you if that’s what it’s going to take, but you know, he wrote it. So don’t try to deny it.

  72. Antiquarian says:

    I didn’t deny that he wrote that one sentence, I pointed out that it’s badly translated and that IN CONTEXT he is not talking about the Novus Ordo in general. As with many such quotations taken out of context, the ability to find them all over the blogosphere is no proof that they are being cited accurately.

  73. Jordanes says:

    Sorry, but Antiquarian’s proposed reinterpretation of Cardinal Ratzinger’s oft-quoted remark does not make any sense. He wasn’t talking about liturgical abuses, he was talking about the liturgical movement that gave us the reformed Roman rite — and he comments how the liturgical movement went awry and resulted in a liturgy that is not the fruit of organic development, but is a “banal” “manufactured” product. The immediately preceding context does not include references to abuses of the reformed liturgy, but a comparison and contrast between organic development of the liturgy and inorganic or manufactured liturgical reform. There’s no doubt what he was talking about, nor has he ever corrected those who have interpreted his words in the manner that Antiquarian says is erroneous. Among those who apparently interpret his comments as a criticism of the manner in which the Roman Rite was reformed and the new Missal was created are Father Richard John Neuhaus, and I’m not aware that Cardinal Ratzinger has ever given Father Neuhaus any reason to think that he has misinterpreted his meaning.

    Really, all you have to do is remember what book he wrote his preface for, and the author of that book. If he wasn’t criticising the reform of the Roman Rite, he wouldn’t have written what he did nor written it for that book.

  74. Malta says:

    *“The Novus Ordo is, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated in a moment of wonderful clarity, an “on the spot” product”
    Nope, that’s not what he said, nor did he, in the same sentence call the NO “banal” as some claim. He was referring to improvised, abusive liturgies in context—not the Novus Ordo in general.*

    Yep, that is what he said (read the last paragraph):

    http://www.latin-mass-society.org/ratzshow.htm

  75. michigancatholic says:

    Antiquarian,

    If you look at the quote carefully, you can see the terms used:

    “in place of the liturgy as the fruit of organic development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

    I understand your point. It is that you are saying that the sentences above refer only to the overlying abuses and not the contemporary liturgical substrate, which would have been the Novus Ordo mass in your interpretation.

    However, Cdl Ratzinger wrote that, “we abandoned the organic, living process…..” If you intend to say that the banality he refers to is only the abuses which overlay the substrate, in exactly what sense was the substrate abandoned? If he had been speaking this way, he might have said it was obscured perhaps or corrupted, but certainly not abandoned, for it would have lain consistently underneath the abuses.

    Moreover, he says that “We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it ….with a fabrication…” The Novus Ordo at the time of this writing was less than 40 years old, and in fact, large sections of it WERE fabricated in the sense that they didn’t appear AT ALL in the previous liturgical books in any form but were written specifically for this mass. Since those things are demonstrably true, it cannot be the case that Cdl Ratzinger meant to refer to the Novus Ordo when he said, “We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries..” Recall that the change from the TLM to the NO was much larger than any break from the NO to the NO with an abuse common enough to have spoken of “we” as the operator of the abuse. No, rather he refers to the Novus Ordo as the fabrication, which followed the abandonment of the TLM, which is what it was.

    I am not very fluent in French but I have studied French and I can tell you that this section, at least, is not misinterpreted. The English wording is very close to the French in meaning.

    That only leaves one conclusion. To interpret as you do is nonsensical–unless you intend to accuse (then) Cdl Ratzinger of being imprecise, which is a laughable result.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that the church has said that the Novus Ordo is valid and licit. That has always been the case since it was first promulgated. However, I do think that one can say both that the Novus Ordo is a valid & licit mass but also a liturgical fabrication with respect to previous tradition, and also a form which has a banal quality. In addition to that abuses often occur, which makes it even more banal than the substrate, the NO, which is always in place underneath when we speak of modern liturgical practice in most places.

    Now, I’m not the only person who thinks this. Many people who are better scholars than me, and many people who are fluent in French and have read this piece think this.

  76. Jordanes says:

    David said: The Novus Ordo is not our Mass. We will not attend the Novus Ordo. We will not participate in the Novus Ordo. Therefore, it is not our battle.

    If you’re a Latin Rite Catholic, then yes, the reformed Roman Missal is yours, whether you like it or not, or whether you choose to attend it or not.

    “The traditional Latin Mass is first of all a Catholic rite. A provincial aloofness from the present state of the Roman Rite is unworthy of a member of the Catholic Church’s predominant liturgical rite.”

    That reasoning is flawed. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a Catholic Rite, but I do not participate in it because I’m not a Byzantine Catholic. Does my “aloofness” from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom somehow make me an unworthy member of the Catholic Church?

    My reasoning is fine — it’s your reading of my words that is flawed. “Aloofness” is far more that simply not participating in a liturgy. Note that I referred to “a provincial aloofness from the present state of the Roman Rite.” If someone had botched the Byzantine liturgy the way the Roman liturgy was botched, wouldn’t you be the least bit troubled?

    “You probably don’t like to think about this, but the reformed Roman rite will never disappear, will never be suppressed. It may someday become much less common, perhaps in a few centuries.”

    How in the world do you know that? You do realize that the vast majority of Catholics in the 1950s were saying the same thing about their Mass, right?

    And they were right, weren’t they — it didn’t disappear. All but disappear, but it was kept alive.

  77. Jordanes says:

    David said: Given the 20th century history of Catholicism, there is an equal likelihood that it will be suppressed as it will not be suppressed. There’s no way you could make such a sweeping and unsubstantiated prediction.

    And yet the prediction has been made — and as my above comments have shown, the prediction is neither sweeping nor unsubstantiated. The most obvious reason why the reformed Roman rite won’t disappear is the same reason that one cannot unbreak an egg. The effects and consequences of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform, both positive and negative, will be playing upon the development of the Roman Rite, for better and for worse, for the rest of the Church’s history.

    As for the likelihood that the Pope will suppress the reformed Roman Rite, we have to keep in mind that the attempted suppression of the traditional Roman Rite was “preconciliar” in character. Before the last council, Popes were much more apt to exercise their authority in such a direct and blunt manner. Since then, the Holy See seems to prefer a different approach. Ironically, this “propose rather than impose” kind of approach was itself imposed on the Church rather than proposed, but now that it has been imposed, it makes blanket suppression of the rite celebrated by the overwhelming majority of Catholics all the more unlikely. To use some extreme illustrations, one might say that the suppression of the reformed Roman Rite is somewhat more likely than the Pope today or in the years ahead declaring a Crusade or calling for the burning of heretics.

    Since an abrupt and sudden break with Tradition has already happened, it is, in fact, more likely now that the current state of affairs will once again be abruptly interrupted. What the liturgical revolution did was open the door for a constantly changing landscape that is totally alien to whole history of Catholicism prior to the 20th century.

    But that is further evidence that the Church would not be likely to make a change that would put an end to constant change.

  78. Jordanes says:

    “The ordinary use of the Roman Rite is a lawful and legitimate rite, and is the chief liturgy of the Church of Rome and the Roman church’s bishop. Therefore there can’t be any objection to a Latin Rite priest celebrating a “TLMized” version of the ordinary use.”

    I’m not arguing that the Novus Ordo is unlawful.

    I didn’t say you were. I said that there is nothing wrong with priests and laity being happy with a so-called TLMized version of the ordinary use, because the ordinary use is supported by law, was instituted legitimately, and is in fact the chief liturgy of the Roman church and of the bishop of Rome.

    However, not all things that are lawful are good, fitting, pastorally expedient, or authentic in the context of Catholic heritage.

    The ordinary use is not just lawful, as noted above. It certainly is pastorally expedient, though the manner in which it was created was not exactly “authentic.”

    If the Novus Ordo is, itself, a contradiction to the history of organic development germane to the Church’s liturgical life, in what way can anyone argue that it is good, fitting, pastorally expedient or authentically Catholic?

    Because it’s the liturgy of the Roman church, the Apostlic See, the place of St. Peter’s Chair, and because it is now the rite of the overwhelming majority of Catholics and will remains so for the foreseeable future.

    The conclusion you draw, therefore, isn’t logically valid, and a TLMized version of the Novus Ordo is still an aberration no better than any other celebration of the Novus Ordo.

    Sorry, that doesn’t follow at all, David. Even if one grants that a “TLMized version” were an “aberration,” it would still be the case that it would be superior than every other manner of celebration of the ordinary use.

    Please do some research on the Concilium and how a small handful of men inflicted the Church with their banal creation.

    I’m already aware of what they did and how they foolishly tried to compress 1,000 years of organic development into the space of five years, with results that were pastorally disastrous. It’s not a pleasant thing to have to say, but as a whole, what Paul VI authorised was imprudent, unpastoral, and uncharitable.

    To call it a work of the Roman Church (which should be capitalized, by the way)

    If you want to capitalise it, feel free. I may or may not capitalise it, depending on what quirky stylistic mood may strike me at a given moment.

    I beg to differ, but I don’t have to live with it. I simply do not attend the Novus Ordo, and I constantly pray that more and more Catholics will follow suit.

    Most Catholics neither can nor wish to attend anything but the ordinary use. That isn’t going to change any time soon. I expect the traditional Latin Mass to become much more common in the next few decades, but for “everyone once again flocking” to the extraordinary use we would need a massive transformation of the culture within the Church and in the surrounding society. That’s not the kind of change that happens overnight, just as the post-conciliar collapse didn’t just happen overnight but was a few generations in the making.

  79. Antiquarian says:

    “I am not very fluent in French but I have studied French and I can tell you that this section, at least, is not misinterpreted. The English wording is very close to the French in meaning.

    That only leaves one conclusion. To interpret as you do is nonsensical—unless you intend to accuse (then) Cdl Ratzinger of being imprecise, which is a laughable result.”

    I respectfully submit that having “studied French” does not suffice to restrict the Cardinal’s complex argument to your own “one conclusion.” His essay is predictably scholarly and subtle, and resists the easy interpratation you prefer.

    Two points–

    I am critizing the TRANSLATOR of this version of imprecision, not Cardinal Ratzinger. That this version is widely used is no indication of its precision– for just one example, the pronoun used is “on” not “nous”– which is just as well translated as “one” or “they” as it is as “we.” I repeat that the commonly cited version is badly translated, but even then the “misinterpratation to which you refer is more one of context, which you dismiss.

    As I believe I have now said three times, you are completely ignoring the context in which the sentence is used– again, not Cardinal Ratzinger’s imprecision as he makes a nuanced, reasoned point instead offering a sound bite. In context he is referring to those who make up “on the spot” their own developments of the liturgy– not the reformed liturgy itself.

    And now I fear Fr Z will complain of a rabbit hole…

  80. Andreas says:

    michigancatholic

    I don’t know who you might be talking about when you talk about Traditional Catholics thinking of Latin as decorative. I know a lot of Traditional Catholics because I go to the Latin mass here and I am one. We would all say that Latin is no more decorative in a liturgical setting than my American English is in the grocery store. Latin belongs in the liturgy as the vernacular belongs in the business world. This is not difficult to understand. I’m not sure why you seem to be having so much difficulty with it.

    Outside of Liturgy, trads have no need for Latin. A few years ago some 400 of them went to Rome to see the Pope. All their speeches, all the articles, all the conversations took place in English, German, maybe French but no Latin. In their schools (FSSP for instance) they teach subjects in the vernacular, not in Latin as required by Veterum Sapientia. Which one of them publishes anything in Latin? Which one of them is working on a good Latin (Christian) dictionary, something badly needed where the word “ecpiscopus” will not be absent or “gratia” will also mean divine favor not just some pre-christian notion? Latin is dying from neglect and it’s been relegated to the study of “classics”, something akin to archeology. And “classicists” have declared themselves to be the “authority” on Latin (something they don’t really know). Which trad website promotes anything else but this “classicism”? Follow one of their links about Latin and you wind up with some stuff about mythology. I could go on and on. You can conclude where someone’s heart is from their actions or from the absence of actions. There are groups that promote living Latin in the Church but they will not be mentioned by trads such as Una Voce (or by this blog for that matter). Why don’t people know the difference between the study of some language as opposed to the study of classical philology? And why don’t churchmen care that their language is being neglected? For trads, Latin’s usefulness is limited to liturgical use. Which is nice but it’s not enough.

  81. Limbo says:

    Fr. Z: Limbo: the priests of tomorrow WILL be competent Latinists – Cardinal Castrillion said so !

    Ohhhh… I seeee! That takes care of it, then.

    Let’s forget about men actually studying Latin, or there being adequate instructors to get the job done.

    The men studying Latin now WILL be the adequate instructors of the future !!!!!!!!! It only follows. Of course this will not happen overnight, but it will happen.
    Makes pretty clear sense to me. The future looks brighter every day. (since Summorum Pontificum)

  82. Habemus Papam says:

    Antiquarian: I’m baffled by your interpretation. Its no secret that Pope Benedict has long thought that the old liturgical movement which he knew as a young man was hijacked and that this resulted in the banal on-the-spot liturgy after the Council. Instead of which he wants to see the liturgical movement put back on track and develop a liturgy from the 1962 Missal. This is his Reform of the Reform. To hold that he is content with the 1969 Missal is to completely misunderstand him.

  83. Jordanes says:

    Antiquarian said: I repeat that the commonly cited version is badly translated, but even then the “misinterpratation to which you refer is more one of context, which you dismiss.

    As I believe I have now said three times, you are completely ignoring the context in which the sentence is used—again, not Cardinal Ratzinger’s imprecision as he makes a nuanced, reasoned point instead offering a sound bite. In context he is referring to those who make up “on the spot” their own developments of the liturgy—not the reformed liturgy itself.

    Your argument from context has already been address. The context makes clear that Cardinal Ratzinger was talking about what was done to the liturgy as a whole after the Council, not what individual priests and liturgists were doing to the liturgy in their specific locations. He was comparing and contrasting organic development to banal, on-the-spot manufacture of liturgical books. The context makes clear that your interpretation is wrong.

  84. michigancatholic says:

    I agree that that’s not enough, Andreas, but we have been punished until this is the outcome. More punishment will not solve the problem.

    I believe, indeed, that much of the instruction in the seminary should be in Latin, because of its far greater sensitivity to differences and its precision, but we can’t even get current seminarians to use English correctly, let alone Latin. The bishops are no darned help in this either–they butcher meaning and logic on a daily basis. And up to SP, every attempt to use Latin IN ANY WAY was punished severely.

    I think our priests all ought to be Latinists and we shouldn’t accept any into the seminary without the capability to learn it. Bring it on.

  85. michigancatholic says:

    Habemus Papam,

    I think you’re correct. I also think that the N.O. as we know it is going to be engineered out of existence in a way that will not be amenable to its erection as a “martyr use.” By this, I mean that incremental changes in the N.O. are going to occur to make it less politically volatile, more liturgically orthodox and not as different from the TLM as it currently is. The new translations are to be the first step of this, I believe.

    Concurrently, the TLM will be presented (already started) as a parallel use of the Roman Rite and eventually, without the TLM being abrograted, an outgrowth of it, a new missal of that use, will become the most widely used mass in the Roman Rite. The mass will be handed off juridically (which means Rome) to this later missal of the TLM use and this will occur in a span of far less than the 200 years that’s usually mentioned. The TLM of ancient use will be kept as a treasure, and the new missal of that use will be the norm in parishes.

    The N.O., as we currently know it, will in perspective, be a small temporal event on the history of the Mass in total and in the end, because of the laws of the church, it will not be maintained or even kept as a valid/licit way to say mass, having been replaced by successor versions of the same use, usurping its validity. IT will finally fall into disuse far before the required 200 years for a venerable use and be left behind.

    Everything I see leads to this interpretation.

  86. michigancatholic says:

    The relationship between the current missal of 1945 and the missal of 1962 will resemble the relationship between the current missal and this new missal of the same use that I’m speaking of. There will not be a rupture. That’s the point.

  87. michigancatholic says:

    Badly phrased, let me try again:

    The relationship between the missal of 1945 and the missal of 1962 will resemble the relationship between the missal of 1962 and this later missal of which I am speaking.

    There will have been no rupture, particularly since the mass of 1962 has always been said somewhere by someone.

    No rupture. No hermeneutic of discontinuity taken into the future. That’s the point.

  88. Habemus Papam says:

    michigancatholic: I agree thats the plan. It will be interesting to see how this all works out in practice. As far as Pope Ratzinger is concerned he has never beenn happy with the ’69 Missal in the same way that he has never been happy with some of the later documents of Vatican II. We are in for the long haul but I have no doubt that much of what we were told in the ’70s was “here to stay” will in fact be nothing more than a blip in Church history.

  89. michigancatholic says:

    Agreed.