The Tablet reacts to Card. Castrillon’s Mass and remarks in London

You might remember that recently His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos celebrated a Pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral, London, in the Extraordinary Form, or Gregorian Rite, as some call it.

There was a small press conference with His Eminence, and Damian Thompson of The Catholic Herald gave an account on his blog on The Telegraph‘s site.

During that press conference, Mr. Thompson slapped down the writer for The Tablet.  So did Card. Castrillon, but rather gently.

Now The Tablet’s slapped-down Elena Curti has her say:

My emphases and comments.

21 June 2008

Ringing in the old

Elena Curti    

A Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine Rite was said in Westminster Cathedral last weekend for the first time in four decades. Its celebrant, a close ally of the Pope and an ambassador for the old liturgy, promised that further changes will be afoot

Imagine for a moment a vibrant and confident Catholic church, the pews filled every Sunday with parishioners of all ages, eager to celebrate a distinctive liturgy that will impart a sense of reverence and awe and the mystery of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice.

That is the vision of the Church presented last weekend by a senior member of the Curia, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos. And the means of achieving it, he claims, is the revival of the Tridentine Rite. [We know the problems with this term "Tridentine", but let them pass.]

It was last July when Pope Benedict issued an instruction, or motu proprio, encouraging the rite’s much wider celebration if a "stable group" requests it from a parish priest. He designated the Tridentine Mass the "extraordinary form" and the new the "ordinary form" of the one Roman rite. But, Cardinal Castrillón, who is close to the Pope, has now gone much further, suggesting it should be made a far more frequent liturgical experience.   [Indeed, a priest need not wait for a request.  He can celebrate the older form publicly even without requests.]

The cardinal, who in his present role as president of the Pontifical Commission, Ecclesia Dei, has responsibility for ensuring that traditionalists have access to the old Mass as set out in Pope John XXIII’s 1962 missal, was in London last weekend where he celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the old rite at Westminster Cathedral – the first celebrated by a cardinal in England for nearly 40 years. Before the Mass, he gave a group interview to four journalists arranged by the Latin Mass Society at a hotel in Westminster. And during it, he made clear his vision, saying that it was his hope that eventually Catholics in every parish in England and Wales would have the opportunity to attend Sunday Mass in the Tridentine Rite.

Those unfamiliar with the pre-Conciliar Mass will be offered catechesis to help them understand and appreciate it. Men training for the priesthood will be taught not just Latin but the complex ritual and gestures they must learn in order to equip them to meet the expected demand [A touch of sarcasm, perhaps?  Dunno.] for the old Mass. At the moment, bishops are required to facilitate Masses using the rite if appropriately trained priests are available.

Celebration of the Tridentine Rite was discouraged ["Discouraged"?  People who wanted to have the pre-Conciliar form of Mass were actively and diligently PERSECUTED for decades!  "Discouraged"?] after the introduction of Paul VI’s missal in 1970 following the Second Vatican Council. From that time Mass was to be celebrated in a new rite with the priest facing the congregation. [Notice how time and again writers simply slide into the mistake of connecting the Novus Ordo with versus populum celebration of Mass as if the versus populum was required with the Novus Ordo.] The new rite led to the widespread introduction of lay readers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. For the first time women were permitted on to the sanctuary [I don't know, but is "on to the sanctuary" a typically British way of saying "into the sanctuary"?] to fulfil these new roles and girls were also allowed to be altar servers[Actually, this started as an abuse, which went purposely unchecked until the Holy See caved in and extended permission.  So, what the writer is bringing up here was really the result of disobedience.] The biggest change in the new rite was that Mass was celebrated in the vernacular for the first time although Latin was still permitted[Again, note the reversal of reality: "Latin was still permitted"?  On the contrary, Latin was still required and the vernacular was permitted, at least according to the Church's documents.  But, again, disobendience brought about the wide-spread impression that the vernacular is the norm for the Novus Ordo. ]

Small numbers of traditionalists [Now I think we get a better glimpse of the writer's real thoughts.] continued to celebrate Mass in the old rite down the years with some encouragement in the later part of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. But it is under Pope Benedict that the old Mass has acquired new prominence following the motu proprio. There have been loud complaints from traditionalists that some bishops ["some"] in England and Wales have been uncooperative [That's one way to put it.] in implementing the motu proprio but Cardinal Castrillón declared that he and the Pope felt the bishops’ response had been good, given the time needed to prepare for the change.  [Yes, that is because curial Cardinals don't go to dioceses and then beat up the bishops publicly.  It's called Romanità.]

Cardinal Castrillón, now 79, has spent a lifetime as a curial cardinal[I think the implication is that he is not "pastoral".] He is a former prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy and currently heads negotiations to bring the ultra-traditionalist Society of St Pius X with its four excommunicated bishops back into the Catholic fold.

He was eager to explain why he considered the revival of the old rite – which he called the Gregorian Rite – so important. He had a forthright response to those who complain that its reintroduction violates the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, calling such a view "absolute ignorance". ["forthright", nice!] Pope Benedict, he added, was a theologian with deep understanding of Vatican II and was acting exactly in accordance with "the way of the council" that the freedom of different kinds of celebration is to be offered. Similarly, he judged complaints about the priest in the old rite celebrating Mass with his back to the congregation to be "ridiculous"[And he is right!  I would also have added "adlepated", but I defer to the Cardinal.] The priest represented the person of Christ and in facing east – that is, towards God – he was reviving the sacrifice [?] of the Son to the Father.

Asked whether he hoped to see provision for the Tridentine Rite made in "many" parishes in England and Wales, the cardinal said he wanted "all" parishes to experience this "treasure". As for men training for the priesthood, he disclosed that the Vatican is writing to all seminaries, asking them to ensure they will be taught Latin not just for liturgical purposes but also to prepare them for their studies in theology and philosophy[And this would merely repeat what Holy Church already requires.]

But what of the confusion felt by many Catholics who had seen the transition from the Tridentine to the new rite in 1970 and had welcomed it, seeing it as real progress? I suggested that for some this new emphasis on old rite might feel like a step backwards.

"Progress is important, but what does it mean?" said the cardinal. "Today, for me, progress is discovering the meaning of contemplation. This is progress. A person who has no time for silence is a poor person. A person who has no time for contemplation is poor also. The holy Mass is sacrifice. We have to look at Golgotha, at Calvary, the Cross of Christ. When we have sacrifice in Christ we feel free from sin, we are redeemed, then we are happy and when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ we are happy to gather together and to celebrate, but first the sacrifice, second the community aspect of the meal."

Is it not possible to express all this in the new rite?

"Yes, but the experience of these 40 years is not always so good," said Cardinal Castrillón. "Many people abandon the sense of adoration of God. Yes, we are brothers but we are not saved as brothers. We are saved by the sacrifice. We need to be in front of the mystery. We sing because we are brothers. We sing because we are celebrating, but we keep silent because we are in front of the mystery. The new rite can express it but there have been brought out so many abuses all over the Church that many people abandon it [sic]. Many children do not know how to be in the presence of God, how they have to be adoring."

To a conservative journalist who insisted vehemently [Notice that "traditionalists" are those who "complain" and "conservatives" are "vehement"?] that some bishops in England were denying permission for the old Mass to be celebrated in their dioceses, the cardinal said such cases were few and he did not want to make the Eucharist a cause of confrontation for priests, lay people, bishops and the Holy See. He explained that the new rite was a response to a new era of world communication and conceded that it too contained riches. The Pope had decided that the time had come to celebrate the new rite alongside the old.

"It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue, fraternal dialogue, and making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and in the old rite," he said.

But what exactly were the abuses he had alluded to earlier that had crept in with the advent of the new rite? The answer was surprising.

He explained that he had received letters complaining that a priest had celebrated Mass made up as a clown: "The parish priest with the lips painted and the wig and mirrors here," he said, pointing to his temples. "A travesty." Other examples including that of a priest who had allegedly presided at Sunday Mass dressed in a miniskirt, and a priest who had invited his Protestant "brother" to celebrate the Eucharist. Yet another had introduced his wife and sons before celebrating Mass. [Those are extreme examples.  However, I remind you all that for a very long time having altar girls and Communion in the hand were contrary to law and were abuses.  And there are countless others we could all recite.]

"There is an atmosphere that makes possible those abuses [That's the real point.] and that atmosphere must be changed, and in my poor opinion the new presence of the Gregorian Rite will help us to take seriously the identity of our faith, [Does that sound familiar?  This is what WDTPRS has been hammering at all along: this is part of Pope Benedict's Marshall Plan, his project to revitalize Catholic identity.] respecting all the other ways of thinking but keeping strongly our identity with Christ, with Christ in Calvary, with Christ in Golgotha, with Christ offering his blood for our salvation."

With that the cardinal was off to change into his red robes ["robes", it's always "robes"... how tiresome.] in readiness for his address to the Latin Mass Society’s annual general meeting, followed by a private session with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. According to a statement issued by Archbishop’s House, Cardinal Castrillón expressed his gratitude to his fellow cardinal for the generous way which the bishops of England and Wales had responded to an indult from Pope Paul VI allowing traditionalists to celebrate the old rite and for their reception of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio.  [Again, curial Cardinals don't go to dioceses and then beat up the bishops publicly.  It's called Romanità].

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27 Responses to The Tablet reacts to Card. Castrillon’s Mass and remarks in London

  1. dcs says:

    Cardinal Castrillón, now 79, has spent a lifetime as a curial cardinal.

    Not true. His Eminence was the Bishop of Pereira, Colombia, and later the Archbishop of Bucaramanga before being tapped to head the Congregation for the Clergy. He was a diocesan Ordinary for nearly 20 years, has been in the Curia for only 12, and a Cardinal for a little over 10 years. Ten years is not much of a lifetime.

  2. Alessandro says:

    Fr. keep reminding that, even with the N.O., latin is NORMATIVE, and vernacular PERMITTED for pastoral reasons (could we say here also “extraordinary”?)!! The thing is that the FREQUENCY and the familiarity with NO masses in vernacular and versus populum have shaped the perception of “being the normal way of saying mass”.

  3. Chironomo says:

    This is a difficult article to criticize since she is expressing opinion and not fact most of the time. There are some errors of omission, such as the issue of altar girls originating as an abuse, and her confusion over what is actual law and what has merely become normative practice, but overall it is clear that she is seriously in a bad mood about these developments!

    Notice how all of these statements have become Cardinal Hoyos’s opinion now, rather than being the expressed desire of the Pope, as he said repeatedly throughout his address. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to paint this as the musings of the Cardinal rather than as a foreshadowing of things to come.

    And why is she so convinced that there has been real and meaningful progress since the introduction of the Novus Ordo? If there has been any progress, it has only been in terms of a progressive political agenda shaping the liturgy through a series of step-by-step abuses that then have become normative. Perhaps that’s progress in her eyes. As for bringing about the vision of liturgy envisioned by the Council, there has been very little progress in that direction until now.

  4. Mac McLernon says:

    A touch of sour grapes there from the journalist, Father, wouldn’t you say? She really didn’t like being slapped down, even gently!!

  5. Crusader Airman says:

    Diutius exspecto, Pater. Veni Sanctus Spiritus!

  6. Mark S. says:

    Just as a curiousity, Father Zuhlsdorf questions the use of the expression “onto the sanctuary” as a “British phrase”. In my area of the UK, the most common expression for being on the altar-side of the Communion rail is being “on the altar”. So, EMHC’s go “on the altar”, as do servers, lectors, and priests. It gets a bit crowded, when we’re all standing on top of the same altar! (Sorry for being facetious, but I couldn’t resist! I’ll go to Confession on Saturday.)

  7. Father Bartoloma says:

    “The new rite can express it but there have been brought out so many abuses all over the Church that many people abandon it [sic]. Many children do not know how to be in the presence of God, how they have to be adoring.”

    - Very realistic words. It is a breath of fresh air to hear an honest assessment of the situation coming from a Cardinal. All of His Eminence’s answers were on the money.

  8. David O'Rourke says:

    For the record, by about 1967/68 the Gregorian Mass using the 1965 Missal was almost invariably celebrated facing the people with all of the audible parts in the vernacular, at least in Canada (although the English was the interim translation, not the present one). The ceremonial had lost almost any resemblance to the traditional way of celebrating. Even the genuflections at the Elevations had been reduced by half but it was NOT the Novus Ordo. It was still the missal of St. Pius V, albeit much revised ceremonially to the extent that the change over to the Novus Ordo, to the man in the pew who was already accustomed to Mass from loose leaf Missals to accommodate the constant changes, was barely noticeable.

    I cite these points to illustrate how ignorant of the facts are the media and others who constantly refer to the EF as being in Latin ad orientem and the NO as being in the vernacular ad populum.

    Then of course, as has been pointe out so often, it is quite permisssable for the NO to be celebrated ad orientm and in Latin.

  9. Michael says:

    AD John Enright — 19 June, that separate Tridentine jurisdiction would be a “divisiveness the Church must avoid”. But in that case the existence of more than twenty Eastern Catholic Churches, some or many of them on the territory of the Western Church, and vice versa, would be “divisiveness”. The two Roman forms de facto cannot exist under the same jurisdiction as the whole debate which goes on and on evidently shows, and will show even more with time: we will waste our energies on endless polemics instead of evangelising ourselves and the world.

    The three Eastern liturgies listed by John Engirt, are practically indistinguishable to an ordinary faithful; they are like four Canons and variations of the penitential prayers of the NO. And yet, they are celebrated by some 15 separate jurisdictions, based on nationality and historical origin, each using its own liturgical language. They do not interfere with one another’s affairs, and yet do not consider this state of affairs divisive, but canonical. And they are in full communion.

    What, I fear, lies behind the “divisiveness” objection among traditionalists is a resistance to change in matters which are of ecclesiastical origin as if is the latter were of divine origin. Why could not we have two Archbishops of Washington for instance; in full communion but each having his own jurisdiction ?

    And the “progressives” too are afraid, because if a separate Tridentine jurisdictions were established in each country the Novus Ordo Church would soon disintegrate. All polemics would cease, because we would have nothing to argue about.

  10. Shin says:

    Persecution.. yes.. that is the word for it. And it has a source, and that source is not of God.

    Is it any wonder there are conspiracy theorists? Because there is some kind of conspiracy, the full details of it are merely.. but not entirely unknown.

  11. Mark M says:

    “on the sanctuary” – yes, Father; we also say “on the Altar”.

    This piece had a good beginning, though I do not like the claim that Castrillón is not pastoral–who dressed up as a milkman to get a drug-dealer to confession? It then just goes downhill after that!

  12. Jack Regan says:

    I wonder what thoughts people have on the idea that Seminaries are to be instructed to train students in the use of the EF.

    Given that they are meant to have been doing this for years and years and are apparently disobeying, why are we to expect a sudden change because Rome writes a letter?

  13. leutgeb says:

    Unless The Tablet has another article describing the Mass in Westminster Cathedral, it is most surprising that there is no description of it at all in this article.

    You could almost get to think that ‘they’ don’t want us ordinally folks to get a chance to experience the 1962 Mass for ourselves…

  14. big benny says:

    I think the Tablet article was very well balanced.
    Fr Z’s commentary reads too much into the text where I don’t think ill will (sarcasm or slight)was intended. It was never going to be an over-whelming endorsement but it gives a fair discussion of the Cardinal’s visit and interview, as well as raising some of the issues.

    Fr Z,
    Can I ask why you deleted my comment about the spurious liturgical dance mass photo (titled ‘ineffable’)? [Because of your immoderate language and the potential of creating a ridiculously time absorbing rabbit hole... just as this is now becoming. - Fr. Z] I notice you have closed the comment box too. I have not been abusive, but simply pointed out that this pic has been very obviously altered using photoshop. I believe posting such ficticious nonsense is irresponsible and causing scandal to the church. Given the info that this pic is fabricated, I would have expected that you would have removed it without delay (which is what I called for). Cardinal Hoyos said that the mass should not be used as a method of causing conflict and division in the church, yet this is the effect of allowing this nonsense to remain posted. I’m sorry but I enjoy your blog (although I do not always agree with your viewpoint and/or position) and feel so strongly that you are causing un-necessary scandal to the church that I intend to write a letter of complaint to the CDF enclosing print-outs of this article and the comments you have generated. I do believe that some of these blogs are crossing the line between healthy discussion into breeding dissent and disunity – not what Cardinal Hoyos described as fraternal discussion. As a priest, your blog should be exemplary from such criticsm, as the host you are of course responsible to some degree for the comments of others on your blog.

  15. Jordanes says:

    Big Benny said: I have not been abusive, but simply pointed out that this pic has been very obviously altered using photoshop. I believe posting such ficticious nonsense is irresponsible and causing scandal to the church. Given the info that this pic is fabricated, I would have expected that you would have removed it without delay (which is what I called for).

    The reason your comment was deleted, I guess, is because you’re absolutely wrong about the photos being “very obviously altered using photoshop.” Whether you like it or not, the photos are all genuine, and that abomination really happened.

    http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/070619

    http://catholic-caveman.blogspot.com/2007/06/liturgical-go-go-dancers-helmet-tip-to.html

    [RABBIT HOLE. No more on this subject, please. Subsequent comments on this will be deleted.]

  16. London Calling says:

    I must say that this “fisk” borders on the silly. Fr Z, I know you generally dislike the Tablet but in this case your “fisk” reads as though you are searching for a communist under every rock. I have no doubt that Damian Thompson’s intervention was indeed “vehement”. “Expected demand” is hardly sarcastic. And does it really matter if she calls the Cardinal’s vestments “robes”? Surely there are more important issues to worry about.

    The Tablet’s reporting of this story seems far more balanced than Thompson’s screechy blog. Maybe Curti doesn’t appreciate the older form of Mass; but she did quote the Cardinal, without disapproval, saying things that “Tabletistas” presumably disagree with

    Many people abandon the sense of adoration of God. Yes, we are brothers but we are not saved as brothers. We are saved by the sacrifice. We need to be in front of the mystery. We sing because we are brothers. We sing because we are celebrating, but we keep silent because we are in front of the mystery. … progress is discovering the meaning of contemplation. This is progress. A person who has no time for silence is a poor person. A person who has no time for contemplation is poor also.

    Whereas Thompson left out comments like

    [The Cardinal] did not want to make the Eucharist a cause of confrontation for priests, lay people, bishops and the Holy See. He explained that the new rite was a response to a new era of world communication and conceded that it too contained riches. The Pope had decided that the time had come to celebrate the new rite alongside the old.

    And yes, we do say “on to the sanctuary” and “on the altar” over here.

  17. London Calling: we do say “on to the sanctuary” and “on the altar” over here.

    Thanks for that clarification.

  18. Maynardus says:

    “London Calling” commented above:

    “your ‘fisk’ reads as though you are searching for a communist under every rock”

    *I’d say that one cannot help but find communists under every rock when reading Pravda…*

  19. Pete says:

    “Indeed, a priest need not wait for a request. He can celebrate the older form publicly even without requests.”

    Father, does this also hold true under the ff. circumstance:

    We are a community who has a weekly Sunday Mass in our small village Chapel.
    We have requested our Parish Priest to “allow” us to have the Extraordinary
    Form, to be offered by another priest – of good standing – from the diocese.

    The parish priest has remained silent. Can we simply ask the parishto “stop”
    sending us priests every Sunday, and go on with our Mass in the Extraordinary
    Form?

  20. isabella says:

    Whatever you call it, the “Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Latin)” – that’s what the bulletin called it – was so beautiful I cried when I went for the first time as an adult to the full, long, sung version last Sunday.

    I would like to thank whoever it was on this blog who posted something about Holy Rosary Parish in Cedar, MI. I just got home after a visit to my family in MI and it was about a three hour drive from my father’s house.

    I was afraid of doing something awful, so I talked to a woman before Mass who told me about local procedures. When I asked her how they managed to have this Mass said there, she said the celebrant priest (sorry if the words are wrong) was from Rome and they were just blessed to have him. Everybody I talked to after Mass was incredibly pleasant (not negative at all like the stereotypes). When I told a man in the choir that I might have trouble kneeling to receive because of knee surgery complications, he said he’d inform Father and that I should just stand left of the kneeler and wait if I couldn’t kneel. Turned out not to be a problem because the kneeler was high enough for me to lever myself up with my elbows :)

    I dunno, my point? Thank you to Father Z and to everybody on this blog who takes the time to post about new locations to participate in the Extraordinary Form (??? – no offense intended; I’m just learning.)

    If anybody is on vacation in northern Michigan, Cedar is a small town with a beautiful church amid beautiful country about fifteen minutes north of Traverse City. I left singing “Oh, Most Holy Trinity, undivided . . .” in my rental car most of the way back. Then my sisters got irritated because I “wasted” the whole day when I could have just “gotten it over with” locally. Sigh.

    OK – now I’m back home where we only have the NO. I think my original point was that it seems like people get so hung about terminology we end up fighting with people we don’t really disagree with. Didn’t mean to ramble. But anyhow, thank you to everybody here and God bless you.

    isabella

  21. Scott says:

    *For the first time women were permitted on to the sanctuary [I don’t know, but is "on to the sanctuary" a typically British way of saying "into the sanctuary"?] to fulfil these new roles and girls were also allowed to be altar servers. [Actually, this started as an abuse, which went purposely unchecked until the Holy See caved in and extended permission. So, what the writer is bringing up here was really the result of disobedience.]*

    What is the history of allowing female lectors? I ask because I have a printing of the original of the missal, and (IIRC) it forbids female lectors in the sanctuary.

    pax,
    Scott

  22. Limbo says:

    Isabella ! I am so glad you made it !!

    God Bless You and may you soon have the joy of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Latin) every day and twice on Sunday !

    Dear souls like you deserve it.

  23. Paul, south midlands says:

    The tablet gets a lot of stick (and I am no angel here), but that is a pretty good & balanced report and deserves credit as such.

    Its also the first report I’ve seen to mention that the cardinal wants a tridentine mass in every parish on a **Sunday**. That is important

  24. Michael Gormally says:

    “On to the sanctuary” is not typically English usage. One hears it used by those whose spoken English is inelegant and limited. “On the altar” is much more common among the uneducated.

    “London Calling” refers to the Cardinal’s clerical attire as “vestments”. This is incorrect. Vestments are worn liturgically “in” or “on” the sanctuary or even “on the altar”.

  25. David Maurice Edwards says:

    I just wanted to drop a quick note to say how great I thought this post was.
    Thank you.

  26. Mister Harker says:

    A balanced and fair piece by Elena. That you pick holes in it with your red text magically looking into her soul and seeing sour grapes demonstrates that you are a delusional pedantic malcontent with a hefty chip on your shoulder and a superiority complex like all the complainers here.

    Holes can be picked in virtually any text not couched pristinely in legal language, and even then holes can still be picked. Indeed if one had the time or inclination, holes, nay black holes, could be picked in your own commentary and the comments that have followed in this combox.

    And yes, we can read. Who hear needs, “We know the problems with this term “Tridentine”, but let them pass”? We DO know the problems with this term, like so many other terms used for this liturgy. Therefore what we DO NOT need is you telling us this since it is already known. But thank you oh great wise superior teacher for providing us lowly brain-dead creatures with this useless reminder.

  27. I was present at the press conference in a non-participating position. To me it seemed from Ms Curti’s tone that she was wanting to ‘pick a fight’ with her question to the Cardinal. Her tone of voice clearly does not come over in the article.

    There were four journalists at the press conference (2 men and 2 women), Ms Curti was the only one not to kiss the Cardinal’s ring on departing. Whilst all were invited to the Mass, I suspect that Ms Curti did not attend and thus could not have reported on it.

    It is not surprising that she referred to the Cardinal’s red cassock as his ‘robes’ since she clearly is not familiar with clerical wear and vestments. When requesting one of the photos from me she asked if the red vestment the Cardinal was wearing (the Cappa Magna) was a cope. Any Catholic worth their salt would at least know what a cope is, and hence that the Cardinal was not wearing a cope – even if they didn’t know the name of the rarely seen Cappa Magna.