Macon, GA: TLM, ad orientem developments

I received this by e-mail:

Father Z;

I wanted to share with you the words of our Pastor, Father Allan McDonald, Pastor of St. Joseph in Macon, Georgia.  You have mentioned him at least once before on your blog a few months ago and thought you might be pleased with his latest, which appeared in the Parish bulletin dated July 13th, 2008. 

He says a thing or two you may disagree with (like the implication that only the EF can be said in Latin), but by and large I believe you would approve of what is written and consider it another "brick".  I do believe that Father is preparing us for Ad Orientum before the end of the year.  He mentions singing certain parts of the OF in Latin as well, and we have done some of it (the Sanctus, Angus Dei and the Greek Kyrie), not with regularity but some frequency.  I would love to see the other prayers he lists incorporated in their Latin form into our OF Masses. 

I wish that there was more good news from the Diocese of Savannah, but I am at least Blessed to be in the epicenter of what good news there is.  I have transcribed the entire article, feel free to edit as you find necessary.

Dear friends in Christ,
     I’m writing this letter prior to my departure for vacation.  I’ll be back in the office on August 1st.  Today we welcome Fr. Jim McGovern with Food for the Poor.  He will let us know what his organization does and how we can help.
     This past Monday, July 7, was the first anniversary of the papal document Sumorum Pontificum.  In it, Pope Benedict authorized the "recovery" of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.  This Mass is also known as the "pre-Vatican II Mass" of the "Tridentine Mass."  Pope Benedict stated that in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church there is but one Liturgy with two expressions, the Ordinary (normal) Form of the Mass, revised after Vatican II and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass celebrated in Latin.  The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is sometimes called the "Gregorian Mass."  The pope even declared that he hoped that the more frequent celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass would bring more solemnity and dignity to the celebration of the Ordinary Form.  He prayed that assemblies throughout the world would together with their priests orient themselves towards Christ, rather than towards each other.  In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass the priest and congregation face the Liturgical east together, the symbol of the location of Christ’s return at the end of time.  The priest and people do not look at each other in prayer that is directed to God alone.
     Now that I am celebrating both forms of the Mass, I have a renewed appreciation for both forms.
[This is, in my experience, the universal reaction of priests who learn the older form of Mass.] The active participation of the laity in the Ordinary Form of the Mass is truly a gift from God as is the Vernacular.  However, the Second Vatican Council did not mandate the entire removal of Latin, but in fact mandated that Latin be preserved while the vernacular could be allowed.  It would be good for congregations to know how to sing the Greek Kyrie, and the Latin Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei.  We have made strides in that direction. 
     The solemnity of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with its quiet reverence as well as awe and wonder is important to maintain and strengthen in the Ordinary Form.  There is no real reason why the priest and congregation cannot face the same direction, the Liturgical East, even in the Ordinary Form. [Indeed.  There is every reason why they should!] To be honest with you, when I am praying to God through Christ, but in your name, looking at you while I pray can be a distraction.  The priest is not reading prayers to the congregation.  The priest looking at the congregation during prayer could confuse the nature of prayer not only in the mind of the congregation, but also in the mind of the priest.  The priest is not talking to the congregation except in greetings, explanations, scripture and homily.  In prayer, the priest, who represents the people of God, [and who is also alter Christus] is praying to God.
     What does the future hold for the Catholic Mass?  It is safe to assume that we have entered the era of the "reform of the reform."  While Vatican II has been a gift to the Church, we simply must overcome any and all denial about the deleterious effects of some interpretations of Vatican II that were not at all the mind of Vatican II or the Magisterium.  The decline and fall of most orders of nuns is a powerful example of good intentions run amuck.  Yet the elderly religious who remain, cling tenaciously to a belief that they actually went through some sort of legitimate renewal and are examples for the rest of the Church!  Yikes!
     I’m not clairvoyant in predicting the future, but change is and will continue to occur.  We need to be ready and willing to follow the Magisterium in the areas of faith and morals.  This will be the best way to implement the "reform of the reform."  God Bless you.
Your Pastor,
Father Allan J. McDonald

WDTPRS kudos to Fr. McDonald!

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61 Responses to Macon, GA: TLM, ad orientem developments

  1. TJM says:

    Thankyou for posting this Father Z. Another priest who gets it! I’m very happy for the people of St. Joseph Parish. I wish I could import him
    to mine. I still have a pastor “stuck in the 60s” who thinks Benedict is turning the clock back. Regards, Tom

  2. RichR says:

    Our town has 5 parishes, and one is getting a new pastor – a young priest recently ordained. My hope is that he will have the boldness that Fr. McDonald has shown in the above announcement. Would that more parishes try this instead of the folksy bongo Masses – they may find that the naysayers are outnumbered by the yea-sayers – and the yea-PAYers.

  3. Mickey says:

    Thank you, Jesus! Are there more out there? Can we please have more good men like him?

  4. Bob says:

    Fr. Z, I’d love see you interview priests like this one a year or so after they begin “reforming the reform” to talk about their experiences and how the people responded.

  5. Marcin says:

    and the blue type flooded us… It reminds me of italic contamination that we suffered not so long ago. Was there any tag left unmatched, Father?

  6. Joe says:

    a learned but not infallible friend told me that the West had no concept of ‘Liturgical East’, unlike the Greeks. He added that at St Peter’s Basilica, which does not face East, the Priest would face the literal East, which is why historically he faced the congregation. At one point, apparently, at ‘let us greet the Lord’ the congregation would turn and face the door, in a literal application of St Augustine’s words, but he didn’t know if this really happened or was simply legend.

  7. Animadversor says:

    This is only very tangentially on-topic, but did y’all know that there is in Macon, Georgia a street called Pio Nono Avenue? In Macon! In Georgia!

  8. Mark says:

    I sense that this priest is not too far from dissolving his “Liturgical Council”, if he still has one around. The reform of the reform would greatly benefit if such “Councils” went the way of the progressive orders of nuns he mentioned.

  9. Joe R. says:

    Father Z. as you are familiar with Holy Trinity and St. Augustine in Mn. we are blessed with a group of priests that can say both the Tridentine and the Novus Ordo mass. Father Pederson who has been assigned to Sacred Heart will continue to offer both masses as he becomes a Pastor. When will you come and assist Father Echert with the Tridentine, we love your singing voice. I see nothing wrong when our priests face in the direction of the Tabernacle. Correct me if I’m wrong but facing east is the direction of the Holy Land. God Bless you Father Z.

  10. KOM says:

    *I do believe that Father is preparing us for Ad Orientum before the end of the year.*

    This may be true. The late Michael Davies said that our Pope [then Cardinal Ratzinger] is “on our [traditionalists] side.”

    But the Holy Father is giving us a gentle landing from the Spirit of Vatican II, and a “fabricated liturgy…a banal on-the-spot product,”

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

    This begs the question: Why hasn’t the Holy Father publicly celebrated the traditional form yet? Here’s my humble opinion: He would love to celebrate it, and will, but he is moving slowly and deliberately. He’s letting the pieces fall into place. You wipe-away forty years of reforms (however bad they were) immediately without causing rupture with many potentially good people. So, the Holy Father is letting us in for a “gentle landing,” so to speak. But I disagree that his ideal is a “reform of the reform,” or a “gravitational pull,” at least ultimately. Ultimately, I think our Holy Father believes a total return to the Mass of our fathers, the mass created over 1,500 years in the crucible of the Saints and great minds of the Church (unlike the fabricated Bugnini mass, created over two years in a liturgical think-tank with the help of six protestants.) Ultimately, no gravitational pull will do; there must be a return–a total and complete return in the latin rite (excepting all traditional liturgies, such as the Ambrosian, etc.)

  11. Mark G. says:

    “awe and wonder”? That’s the phrase that’s been substituted for “Fear of the Lord” in our parishes confirmation books. As came up in a recent adult Catechism class, “We don’t fear the Lord anymore. Would God be good if he wanted us to fear him?” So yes, I agree with Father that a healthy dose of Fear of the Lord could be injected into the new Mass as it is typically celebrated.

    Mark, I agree completely about councils – even though I’m on one in my parish! I’ve been meaning to bring up to the litugy commission of the parish council that I didn’t think the recently-added drummer drumming on his drums during Mass was conducive to proper worship of God, but the man’s wife was recently appointed chair of the liturgy commission. Yikes indeed.

    I’m delighted that these folks have such a fine pastor. May the Lord appoint many more such stewards for his house!

  12. Deusdonat says:

    With everything Our Blessed Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years) is doing, it really makes one wonder how he felt during the last 30 years. While he wrote on and apparently had much influence over theological and moral issues of the day, it would appear he had precious little influence on liturgy. Was it because he was diametrically opposed to JP II on these issues and chose to remain silent? Or was it that JP II was simply overwhelmed with the other more political/word-facing issues and entrusted such decisions with the ordinary bishops, over whom the vatican had little control?

    Either way, this is such a radical departure from the past 3 decades.

  13. I think this is an opportunity to mention this again after awhile…

    RichR, there are a number of priests who are trying to move in this direction, not toward “bongo Masses” . . . and may I say, I’m one of them.

    That said, I’m still looking for more of the folks who are traditionally minded to show up. And to speak up. Last year, the weekend after Summorum Pontificum came out, I preached at all six Masses for my two parishes, and explained the motu proprio and said I would, indeed, “willingly accede” to requests for the extraordinary form. I received but one request, for a funeral. No other support for the enterprise.

    Folks in my two parishes have seen things change in this direction, and I’ve talked about these issues many times in the last three years. We’ve been using some Latin, more incense, more dignity, we have a schola that’s growing, and more. Shortly I’ll take lessons in the older form of the Mass, and I’ll eventually go be “tested” for my competency. I’ve been practicing my Latin pronunciation. And I’m not complaining, because it’s all worth it anyway.

    But where are the folks who are supposed to come out of the woodwork?

    There’s a reason those “bongo Masses” happen, and stay around–a lot of people like them, and those folks do squawk the moment things change.

  14. Jack Regan says:

    Fr Martin,

    Brilliant post. I admire somebody who has the guts to post a view like that on a site like this and I agree wholeheartedly with the last 2 paragraphs/ sentences.

    I have been saying for a very long time that the reported high demand for the TLM is a result of a massive amount spin and not a real assessment of what’s going on on the ground. The demand is not there. At least nowhere near on the level that is being reported on sites like these.

    As for ‘bongo Masses,’ I was at a charismatic conference this weekend. A conference drawn largely from just two diocees. The result: 500 people. ‘Bongo masses’ aren’t dying out at all.

  15. Mark G. says:

    Deusdonat:

    It must also be true that with everything he’s written over the past several decades (he\’s smokin’ me just trying to keep up with his new writings!) that the cardinals that elected him knew exactly what his views were and therefore what his papal agenda would be.

    I think he was elected by a group who had largely come to see that the liturgy and the Catholic identity have largely come off the rails but didn’t want to speak out too loudly about it, not knowing how much support that position would have.

    Regardless, what an amazing blessing Pope Benedict has been! May God grant him health, safety, and a long & glorious reign!

  16. Antiquarian says:

    “But I disagree that his ideal is a “reform of the reform,” or a “gravitational pull,” at least ultimately. Ultimately, I think our Holy Father believes a total return to the Mass of our fathers, the mass created over 1,500 years in the crucible of the Saints and great minds of the Church (unlike the fabricated Bugnini mass, created over two years in a liturgical think-tank with the help of six protestants.) Ultimately, no gravitational pull will do; there must be a return—a total and complete return in the latin rite (excepting all traditional liturgies, such as the Ambrosian, etc.)”

    Perhaps. But that contradicts virtually everything he has said on the subject, and while I think His Holiness proceeds subtly, I don’t think he practices such obfuscation.

    His much-misinterpreted preface to Msgr. Gamber’s book identifies two extremes as causes of failure in the liturgical reform– those who innovated excessively in terms of “showmanship,” and those who isolated themselves out of attachment to “an older form of the liturgy.” His criticism of both extremes is not expressed in context of opposition to reform itself, and he implies that the desired reform is still a valid goal.

  17. St Joseph’s has a fabulous old church of which a picture can be found at http://www.stjosephmacon.com/cms/pixelpost/index.php and elsewhere on the web site. I had occasion to visit there just once, about 12 years ago. Another fact struck me as even more impressive than the building: at an odd hour on a weekday, not near any mass time, there were five or six people in the church praying.

  18. Deusdonat says:

    There’s a reason those “bongo Masses” happen, and stay around—a lot of people like them, and those folks do squawk the moment things change.

    I think I am getting to know this group closely enough to where I do not take offense at that statement. But I would like to remind people here that drums (i.e. “bongos”) have been a part of the liturgy in various geographies for centuries, even in the Latin Rite. And yes, EVEN before Vatican II. If no one has ever heard it, a good example is the Missa Luba (Lumba). While the music itself is wonderful and uplifting, I hear it I get a bit sad knowing that most of the young children who sang it are now dead from the war. May God bless them all.

    My point is liturgical drums and even dancing have their place and relevance. They, like everything else liturgical, should never be abused. And abuse of the ligurgy is just that, regardless of the medium.

    Mark G – I think you are right about the “silent majority” among the cardinals. I’m glad to see that in this instance the creme rose to the top.

  19. Trad Tom says:

    I try my best not to be uncharitable, but I must say that I find Mr. Regan’s pessimism quite tiresome. WDTPRS is not the only website he haunts, and he is equally annoying on others.

    Yes, I know he was employed by several dioceses in several different positions — intimating that he may have “insider information” — but he has obviously not been a witness to the true “groundswell” of the EF in so,so many places.

    And, please….do NOT bring up a “Charismatic” conference as an example of the way things are now: You know that is not true, but it is a sad aberration.

  20. Pierre Hountet says:

    I would also like to point to Mr Reagan that the reason why so many people like folks masses and the likes, is because they do NOT know any better. What happens when the bulk of the faithful is present with mediocre liturgy and catechism for several decades? The answer is quite obvious.

    Now, regarding the “groundswell”, the “grassroots approach” and so on, I think all of this is entirely phony, as well as the democratic / protestant concepts that underlie such concepts. The Church is NOT a democracy, and never will. As has always been the case, changes must come from above (rorate caeli desuper etc.).

  21. Mark says:

    Dear Deusdonat:

    Thank you very much for this link to the Missa Luba. I enjoyed it very much, this is music with rich potential. I’ve been to many NO Masses that incorporated folk music motifs of the local European and Central American cultures, and my response always was (I’ll probably put my Traditional credentials under a question mark for admitting this) very much in the positive. I find sincere folk music in a liturgical setting rich, and not offensive.

    Such music is also very amenable to refinement, and when it comes to worship it is preferable, in my view, to take this folk material and refine it. May God grant us another Mozart, so that common material may be transmuted into pure gold once again.

  22. Antiquarian says:

    The “they don’t know any better” argument– having been used against those on both ends of the liturgical preference spectrum– is another way of acknowledging that one has no argument to make. To dismiss the opinions of those who disagree with you as ignorance or naivete is rhetorical surrender.

    There are those who know both forms of the Mass and quite simply prefer the OF, in some cases even preferring versions that make my temples throb. I will willingly debate with them but I won’t demean the argument, and my own case, by suggesting that their opinion is a result of “not knowing any better.”

  23. Deusdonat says:

    MARK – your traddie credentials are no more in jeopardy than mine : )

    The Missa Luba is a very special example in that it was created for a people who were 1st genration converts for the most part. I’ll not go into the history of the Congo, but suffice it to say, after a century of colonization under the Belgians, Christianity simply didn’t “take”. It wasn’t until the middle of last century when the church was able to take a sincere look at the culture to find ways to communicate on a spiritual level with them, just as St Paul had done with the gentiles of his day (or the Jesuits when they were still “legit”in Japan if you want a more recent example).

    OK, now on to “folk” masses. Here I have very mixed feelings due to another example I’ll give: mariachi masses. Mexicans as a people for the most part have been as Catholic as any other group for arguably 400 years. The entire culture is for the most part based on a strict Spanish version of Catholicism. Many of the Catholic customs still practiced there have long been lost to other Catholic cultures (ile. celbrating your “saint’s” day, as opposed to a birthday). This also means Mexico had the same benefit of the Tridentine mass for centuries as well. So, the Tridentine liturgy was just as much a part of Mexico’s Catholicism as it was any other country which practiced Catholicism. Yet something in the Latin American church went horribly, HORRIBLY wrong. They were among the first to drop the Tridentine mass entirely for versions of the Novus Ordo which utilized “popular culture”, mixing folk-songs, Mariachi music, Aztec themed vestments, hideous modern art etc. This is such a shame, considering the rich Catholic culture Mexico had prior to these changes.

    The point I’m trying to make is in the case of the Missa Luba and the Congo, this was the way the church had been trying to “speak’ to a newly converted people through the liturgy. In the case of Mexico, the church had been speaking to the people for 400 years, and now they wanted to “sound cooler” to them. Big difference.

  24. Deusdonat says:

    Antiquarian – extremely well said. De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum. You can’t simply dismiss someone’s personal taste saying “if they only knew better, they’d think like me”.

  25. RBrown says:

    With everything Our Blessed Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years) is doing, it really makes one wonder how he felt during the last 30 years. While he wrote on and apparently had much influence over theological and moral issues of the day, it would appear he had precious little influence on liturgy. Was it because he was diametrically opposed to JP II on these issues and chose to remain silent? Or was it that JP II was simply overwhelmed with the other more political/word-facing issues and entrusted such decisions with the ordinary bishops, over whom the vatican had little control?
    Comment by Deusdonat

    1. It is no secret that Cardinal Ratzinger and JPII disagreed on liturgy.

    2. Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t keep quiet. He wrote books, gave talks at conferences gave interviews to magazines.

  26. Geoffrey says:

    “It is no secret that Cardinal Ratzinger and JPII disagreed on liturgy.”

    Is there a reference you can cite for this? Thank you!

    “Or was it that JP II was simply overwhelmed with the other more political/word-facing issues and entrusted such decisions with the ordinary bishops, over whom the vatican had little control?”

    This makes sense to me. Notice also how JPII’s last encyclical was on the Eucharist. He had also begun to speak publicly about the treasure of the “Missal of St. Pius V.” Had he lived longer, I think he would have tackled the liturgy next. Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning, has picked up where his holy predecessor left off.

  27. Deusdonat says:

    Geoffrey – Is there a reference you can cite for this? Thank you!

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I believe it’s in the encycle entitled, “I’m always right and you don’t know anything, so I don’t have to answer to the likes of YOU” by Ira Eit-Auldcoot. Back to your comment, I think I’m somewhere between your opinion and Mark’s. I think theologicall JP II was never off the mark. However, liturgically, and artistically I often disagreed with his tastes.

    I remember cringeing everytime I saw him carring that cross-bow shaped mitre. And I was saddened to see Pope Benedict (may God bless him and grant him 100 years) carry on this artistic travesty. But then someone mentioned to me that he did it for continuity. Meaning, if he went straight for the papal crown and crucifix, the backlash would have been immense and he would have most likely had too much opposition to get anything done. But by carrying the cross-bow cross of JP II (and Paul VI before him) he was showing that he appreciated the work of his predecessor.

    But…er…he doesn’t carry it anymore : )

  28. Matthew Robinson says:

    Jack,

    I would wager that abour 85% of the people at your charismatic “bongo mass” were between the ages of 55-75?

    correct?

    Charismaticism died out here in about 1985…

  29. Geoffrey says:

    Deusdonat,

    Archbishop Marini said in an interview (I will try to find it) that JPII gave him total control over papal liturgies because he was not a liturgist but a mystic, whereas Pope Benedict XVI is very much a liturgist.

    I am probably the only reader/commentor on this blog who misses the pastoral staff of Paul VI & JPII! Granted I like the new (old) one currently used. I am all for continuity. But for many of us, our only pope was JPII, and that pastoral staff was symbolic of him and his life of suffering. Nothing brought me greater joy when I first saw BXVI with it. It showed me continuity. Ah well!

  30. Jack Regan says:

    *Jack,

    I would wager that abour 85% of the people at your charismatic “bongo mass” were between the ages of 55-75?

    correct?*

    Nope. You would lose that wager quite badly! The seating was in 4 sections and the under-18s covered one and a half of those sections. Of the other 65% or so the spread was uniformly far younger than at a regular Mass. There were a great great many young adults present. There were some older people but the were nowhere near dominant.

  31. Jack Regan says:

    The more I think about it the more I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority were under 35.

  32. Jack Regan says:

    Trad Tom…

    I have only just read your post and I find it quite insulting and uncharitable. I am aware that my views are not in line with most people here but I try to express them with charity. I am open to being challenged and on the rare occasions when I overstep the mark I apologise.

    If you disagree with a specific point I make then say so, and say why.

    Implying that I ‘haunt websites’ and that I ‘intimate at having inside information’ is unhelpful at best.

    I am sure you know who I am. I have never tried to hide my identity. There are plenty of people on here who know me and I am happy enough about that. I have no wish to post annonymously. As for websites that I ‘haunt,’ I have only every regularly posted on three Catholic sites, two of which are traditionalist. Aside from the occasional comment elsewhere.

    There is plenty that I like about the traditionalist movement and I have said a great many times that I think traditionalists are entitled to their spirituality and I am happy for them that they now have easier access to it. I do believe though that the reported demand and the reported ages of those who attend TLMs are not accurate and I believe that I have a right to say so.

    I’m sorry if you find that annoying, but people will disagree with one another even in the Church, and that’s that.

    If Fr. Z contacts me and asks me to stop posting on this site, then I will do so. Or he could just ban me. That’s his call. Until he does so, though, I will keep expressing my opinions with charity and you are welcome to disagree :)

  33. Templar says:

    I think it’s pretty sad that a good news story like this one has to have the comm box discussion hijacked into an off topic discussion on the Charismatic Movement. This thread is not about that so it would be polite to stick to the subjct matter of the thread.

  34. Tom II says:

    The debate about demand (or lack of demand) reminds me of a remark overheard in a department store, where
    he was waiting in line:

    “We don’t stock it any more: I keep having to tell people there’s no demand for it”.

  35. Patronus says:

    Unfortunately, from experience, I actually agree with Jack Regan’s points about there being more talk of a groundswell of support for the TLM than there actually is. I hope that will slowly change, but I can definitely confirm it on a broad level.

  36. I am not Spartacus says:

    Was it because he was diametrically opposed to JP II on these issues and chose to remain silent? Or was it that JP II was simply overwhelmed with the other more political/word-facing issues and entrusted such decisions with the ordinary bishops, over whom the vatican had little control?

    Deusdonat. They certainly were different men but both, obviously, were/are amongst the best and brightest and holiest Popes of all times.

    I think Pope John Paul II is rarely given credit for his 1984 Quattuor Abhinc Annos which was the first Indult directed at those who maintained the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority. Quattour Abhince Annos was issued prior to the schism. But, who remembers all of this?

    The polemicists who succor the schism routinely and repeatedly claim credit for being the force for change. C’est la vie.

    A huge institution, like The Church, once it is headed in a certain direction, develops an inertia difficult to overcome. And Pope John Paul II is too seldom credited with being the one who helped halt the inertia, and initiated many of the reforms that reoriented The Barque of Peter towards right reason and safe seas.

    Far from being credited, he continues to have scorn and blame heaped upon him by far too many.

  37. Chironomo says:

    MR Said…

    “I would wager that abour 85% of the people at your charismatic “bongo mass” were between the ages of 55-75?”

    This has been my experience here (FL) as well… I dropped in on the “Life In The Spirit” seminar being given here about 2 months ago. They had picture books of their events from the past 30+ years on a table. The music group was THE SAME PEOPLE THAT WERE THERE IN 1979. The attendees then (1979)were in their late 20′s -40′s with kids. The attendees now are in their late 50′s -70′s. There were NO YOUNG PEOPLE (under 40) at this seminar. This has become a static movement that doesn’t attract younger Catholics.

    My own opinion (of this particular event) is that it is so caught up in the “trappings” of 1960′s political activism (songs like “Blowin in the wind”, “If I had a Hammer” and “Michael Row The Boat Ashore” are still being sung…) that it is of no relevance to anybody who wasn’t around at that time. The “love circles” (holding hands in a big circle and praying for each other) and other such activities are like going back in time to 1973. There may be different things going on elsewhere in the Charismatic Movement, but not here….

  38. Chironomo says:

    And another thing…

    Why is there this insistence that there has to be some kind of democratic “approval” of changes to the liturgy that are fundamentally correct? If the Ordinary of the Mass is supposed to be sung in Latin, and the relevant documents indicate that, then why does there have to be a “popular approval” to actually insist on doing it?

    I still maintain that the “groundswell” of TLM supporters was a bit exaggerated… BUT… given that the availablility of the Mass is still extremely limited, how much of a groundswell can be expected? The Catholic laity are very cautious about “demanding” things from their Pastors, and are not big on pushing petitions and the such. If the Mass was offered at our parish, there would be those who would attend, and that number would probably increase over time. However, the chances of a group of parishioners getting together and petitioning is slim… the level of communication and organization among like-minded parishioners is just not there. Traditionalists are accustomed to being in hiding and don’t feel comfortable making their views known.

  39. RBrown says:

    “It is no secret that Cardinal Ratzinger and JPII disagreed on liturgy.”
    Is there a reference you can cite for this? Thank you!

    Anyone who spends 8 years studying at a Pontifical university hears things.

    But I can mention a specific instance. In early 90′s, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote (and I think also gave a magazine interview) that the reform of the liturgy was a break with liturgical tradition. A few weeks later during a Sunday parochial visit JPII said exactly the opposite (it was in Osservatore Romano).

    “Or was it that JP II was simply overwhelmed with the other more political/word-facing issues and entrusted such decisions with the ordinary bishops, over whom the vatican had little control?”

    This makes sense to me. Notice also how JPII’s last encyclical was on the Eucharist. He had also begun to speak publicly about the treasure of the “Missal of St. Pius V.” Had he lived longer, I think he would have tackled the liturgy next. Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning, has picked up where his holy predecessor left off.
    Comment by Geoffrey

    The last encyclical is typical of JRatzinger’s Eucharistic Ecclesiology (I recommend Aidan Nichols’ book on his theology).

    1. I was told that just after JPII was elected he wanted to give carte blanche for the use of the 1962 Missal. A few Cardinals, one of whom was famously sympathetic to Latin liturgy in general and the 1962 Missal in particular, told him it was a bad idea because it would be spitting in the face of PVI. Well, the consequence was not spittle in the face of PVI but the schismatic consecration of bishops.

    2. From my experience in Rome there were two events that changed the direction of JPII’s papacy.

    The first was the end of the domination of Eastern and Central Europe by Soviet Communion–that was when JPII moved toward Ecumenism, which he thought facilitated his efforts on behalf of European Unity.

    The second was his health, which began worsening in the early 90′s. I first went to Rome in 1986, and he seemed like an energetic athlete. In 1991 I was told by someone in the know that the pope’s health was not good, much, much worse than the public thought (as the Italians say, the pope is in good health until he’s dead). By 1992 he began to look like an old man, usual for a 72 year old cleric who had been so active.

    From about 1993 on, there were four men involved in almost every decision: Ruini, Ratzinger, Sodano, and Dziwisz (the pope’s secretary, who knew his mind). The first two wanted liturgical reform, the last two didn’t. In fact, Msgr Sorrentino, who was the choice of Msgr Dziwisz for Sec at SCDW, was fired about 6 mos after the 2005 conclave.

    In many way Cardinal Ratzinger was a one man gang in favor of serious liturgical reform (incl restoration of the 1962 Missal). He changed the minds of many, including Cardinal Medina Estevez.

  40. RBrown says:

    Geoffrey – Is there a reference you can cite for this? Thank you!

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I believe it’s in the encycle entitled, “I’m always right and you don’t know anything, so I don’t have to answer to the likes of YOU” by Ira Eit-Auldcoot.
    Comment by Deusdonat

    Still feeling sorry for yourself?

  41. TJM says:

    Jack Regan

    I would ask that you view a lot more religious websites to see what I see: that Catholic religious vitality today is found with liturgies celebrated
    in Latin and that it is attracting far more of the committed Catholic youth than the typical Novus Ordo vernacular celebration. Look at the new
    traditional religious orders where they wear habits and utilize Latin. Their average age is very young, while I would challenge you to find “reformed” orders where the average age is less than 70. The more extreme deformations of the Mass are largely the work of “doubleknit dinosaurs” still pining for the “spirit
    of the 60s.” I think we are at the point where we can admit that Vatican Council II was badly implemented in terms of the sacred liturgy. Unfortunately
    many Catholics voted with their feet and no longer attend Sunday Mass. I believe the steep decline in Sunday Mass attendence is a searing indictment of
    how the liturgical reforms were implemented. When you go from around 80% of Catholics attending Sunday Mass prior to the “reforms” to around 23% today
    there needs to be self-examination and introspection. I believe that is why we are seeing with Pope Benedict is a call to revisit the Counciliar
    documents to determine what the Council actually called for with regard to a reform liturgy rather than what many progressives say the Conciliar
    documents “meant” to say. Benedict is for authentic reform in line with the Conciliar documents. I believe with time and patience that will happen.

    Tom

  42. Sam Schmitt says:

    “The “they don’t know any better” argument—having been used against those on both ends of the liturgical preference spectrum—is another way of acknowledging that one has no argument to make.”

    I lost you here.

    “To dismiss the opinions of those who disagree with you as ignorance or naivete is rhetorical surrender.”

    But aren’t you doing this yourself – dismissing the opinion you are supposedly arguing against here?

    A person I know very well was in this very situation. She grew up with Glory and Praise and didn’t know anything about the older form of the mass (except that it was “out-of-date” and attended by a bunch of weirdos). She found out things were different when she actually started attending the EF and deciding for herself. So, yes, in some cases, people don’t know any better.

    True, not everyone who experiences the old mass is drawn towards it (assuming that they give it a fair chance), but she is an example of someone who truly didn’t know any better, who was kept in ignorance of her own heritage as a Catholic – and there are many more like her.

    It might help your argument if you acknowledged the phenomenon I have described (as well as Fr. Z pointing out that many priests who learn the EF have a sort of liturgical awakening) instead of dismissing it.

  43. Trad Tom says:

    Mr. Regan…

    I post rarely, but if you feel that I overstepped the mark with my recent posting mentioning you, then I am sorry.

    Charitably, of course, I will pray for you.

  44. KOM says:

    *In many way Cardinal Ratzinger was a one man gang in favor of serious liturgical reform.*

    RB, interesting commentary. Of course there were others who thought any reform was a bad idea:

    http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/stickler.asp

  45. I am not Spartacus says:

    But I can mention a specific instance. In early 90’s, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote (and I think also gave a magazine interview) that the reform of the liturgy was a break with liturgical tradition. A few weeks later during a Sunday parochial visit JPII said exactly the opposite (it was in Osservatore Romano).

    Mr. Brown. Here is Cardinal Ratzinger: The old Latin Mass was a lonely hierarchy facing a group of laymen each one of whom is shut off in his own missal or devotional book. The Old Latin Mass was archaeological and so encrusted that the original image could hardly be seen..The Old Latin Mass was a closed book to the faithful which was why the liturgy had been marginal to many of the greatest Catholics and why the great mystics, like St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avilla, drew so little spiritual benefit from it.

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118531623/abstract

    And here is Cardinal Ratzinger: (The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy Ignatius Press, San Francisco, Ca, pgs. 86-87 (c. 1986)]

    Those who cling to the “Tridentine Missal” have a faulty view of the historical facts. Yet at the same time, the way in which the renewed Missal was presented is open to much criticism. We must say to the “Tridentines” that the Church’s liturgy is alive, like the Church herself, and is thus always involved in a process of maturing which exhibits greater and lesser changes. Four hundred years is far too young an age for the Catholic liturgy – because in fact it reaches right back to Christ and the apostles and has come down to us from that time in a single, constant process. The Missal can no more be mummified than the Church herself.

    Yet, with all its advantages, the new Missal was published as if it were a book put together by professors, not a phase in a continual grown process. Such a thing has never happened before. It is absolutely contrary to the laws of liturgical growth, and it has resulted in the nonsensical notion that Trent and Pius V had “produced” a Missal four hundred years ago. The Catholic liturgy was
    thus reduced to the level of a mere product of modern times. This loss of perspective is really disturbing.

    Although very few of those who express their uneasiness have a clear picture of these interrelated factors, there is an instinctive grasp of the fact that liturgy cannot be the result of Church regulations, let alone professional erudition, but, to be true to itself, must be the fruit of the Church’s life and vitality.

    Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me add that as far as its contents in concerned (apart from a few criticisms), I am very grateful for the new Missal,for the way it has enriched the treasury of prayers and prefaces, for the new eucharistic prayers and the increased number of texts for use on weekdays, etc.,
    quite apart from the availability of the vernacular. But I do regard it as unfortunate that we have been presented with the idea of a new book rather with that of continuity within a single liturgical history.

    In my view, a new edition will need to make it quite clear that the so-called Missal of Paul VI is nothing other than a renewed form of the same Missal to which Pius X, Urban VIII, Pius V and their predecessors have contributed, right from the Church’s earliest history. It is of the very essence of the Church that
    she should be aware of her unbroken continuity throughout the history of faith,expressed in an ever-present unity of prayer.

    And here is Cardinal Ratzinger: “I mention this strange opposition between the Passover and sacrifice, because it represents the architectonic principle of a book recently published by the Society of St. Pius X, claiming that a dogmatic rupture exists between the new liturgy of Paul VI and the preceding catholic liturgical tradition. This rupture is seen precisely in the fact that everything is interpreted henceforth on the basis of the “paschal mystery,” instead of the redeeming sacrifice of expiation of Christ; the category of the paschal mystery is said to be the heart of the liturgical reform, and it is precisely that which appears to be the proof of the rupture with the classical doctrine of the Church. It is clear that there are authors who lay themselves open to such a misunderstanding; but that it is a misunderstanding is completely evident for those who look more closely. In reality, the term “paschal mystery” clearly refers to the realities which took place in the days following Holy Thursday up until the morning of Easter Sunday: the Last Supper as the anticipation of the Cross, the drama of Golgotha and the Lord’s Resurrection. In the expression “paschal mystery” these happenings are seen synthetically as a single, united event, as “the work of Christ,” as we heard the Council say at the beginning, which took place historically and at the same time transcends that precise point in time. As this event is, inwardly, an act of worship rendered to God, it could become divine worship, and in that way be present to all times. The paschal theology of the New Testament, upon which we have cast a quick glance, gives us to understand precisely this: the seemingly profane episode of the Crucifixion of Christ is a sacrifice of expiation, a saving act of the reconciling love of God made man. The theology of the Passover is a theology of the redemption, a liturgy of expiatory sacrifice. The Shepherd has become a Lamb. The vision of the lamb, which appears in the story of Isaac, the lamb which gets entangled in the undergrowth and ransoms the son, has become a reality; the Lord became a Lamb; He allows Himself to be bound and sacrificed, to deliver us.

    Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict is the man many polemicists wish to claim as their champion but he is not so easily pigeon-holed.

    As he himself testified in “The Ratzinger Report,” about The Second Vatican Council: It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him… That also with regards to its contents, Vatican II is in the strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their texts word for word in decisive points.

    It is impossible for a Catholic to take a position for or against Trent or Vatican I. Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly the two previous councils… It is likewise impossible to decide in favour of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upheld the other councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called “traditionalism”, also in its extreme forms…Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can only exist as an indivisible unity

    All of us tend to favor that which appeals to our own prejudices, proclivities,preferences and pet projects, and sadly, we project onto “tradition” our desires and then congeal into polemically partisan camps demanding all others recognize the beauty of what is, largely, a product of our own particularistic imaginations.

    It is difficult to surrender to The Living Magisterium and accept that it, alone, has authority to decide what is and isn’t Tradition and tradition but it is the only way a Christian Catholic layman ought act.

  46. To Chironomo, and regarding comments from and back to Jack…

    Jack was responding to something I said, so it’s fair to tag me, as much as him, in all this.

    Chironomo asked:

    “Why is there this insistence that there has to be some kind of democratic ‘approval’ of changes to the liturgy that are fundamentally correct? If the Ordinary of the Mass is supposed to be sung in Latin, and the relevant documents indicate that, then why does there have to be a ‘popular approval’ to actually insist on doing it?”

    Well, it’s a practical consideration. I don’t need anyone’s “approval” to get up, this Sunday, and chant the entire Mass all in Latin. But you’d be kidding yourself if you think that’s all there is to it.

    My point was that a pastor who wants to do the things described in the original post — as I do! — then it helps A LOT if people in the pews SPEAK UP requesting, and supporting, said changes.

    Do I really need to explain why a pastor has to pay attention to such things as angry parishioners complaining (less to the pastor, but more to one another), withholding support, changing parishes, etc.? “Gee, Father, the parish is going down the drain, nobody wants this, why are you insisting?” Yes, Father can cite documents; but to most folks, it will all seem “optional”; so when he can say, “look at all these folks who are asking for and responding to this”…yeah, that helps.

    I’m not saying you, Chironomo, but…it floors me that folks can say, on the one hand, “Father, just force it through, quick as possible” and then, on the other hand, complain, now 40 years later, about the bitter, painful suffering caused by priests who “forced through” the changes after Vatican II . . . and not connect the dots.

    I fail to see how it will help the cause of long-term restoration of the liturgy and Catholic identity to “ram it through”; the holy father is not doing that.

    That’s why having the people speak up and give support is very helpful.

  47. Mark says:

    Dear Father Fox:

    You’re absolutely right, those in your parishes that support the Summorum Pontificum should speak up and rally around you. Is it a case of timidity, inertia, or do such people simply don’t know what’s expected of them? Or are they not present in your parishes in any significant numbers?

    It may turn out that you alone will have to implement the necessary changes, and hope enough of your parishioners will support you afterwards. By the way, just to lighten up the mood a little, my favorite western is “High Noon”.

  48. TJM says:

    Dear Father Fox,

    It is my understanding that you have introduced Latin into your parish’s Sunday Mass. I cannot imagine that a Catholic (at least an educated one) objecting to the use of the
    Church’s mother tongue at Mass.

    Tom

  49. Tom:

    The response has been more positive than negative, yet you would be surprised. I’ve had people leave the parish over it. I’ve gotten anxious and angry letters, one accusing me of worshipping the pope, and someone crying about her “right” not to hear Latin, ever.

    I am pastor of all the Catholics in my parishes, regardless of whether they are educated sufficiently to share your view.

  50. Pierre Hountet says:

    I am sorry to reiterate it, but the “they don’t know any better” argument is at odds, even though I will concede that it is at odds with the contemporary, mediocre, decadent, corrupt, toxic, democratic “culture”.

    When most “Catholics” don’t even know the basics of catholicism, and when most of them do need even respect the prescriptions of the Church that they are aware of, it is pure fantasy to expect a “groundswell” towards the restoration of the Tridentine Rite. Restoration will have to come from above.

  51. Pierre Hountet says:

    … sorry, I typed too fast… I meant:
    [...] but the “they don’t know any better” argument is a valid one [...]

  52. Antiquarian says:

    “To dismiss the opinions of those who disagree with you as ignorance or naivete is rhetorical surrender.”

    But aren’t you doing this yourself – dismissing the opinion you are supposedly arguing against here?”

    Read the entire sentence, please. I’m not dismissing it as ignorance or naivete, nor am I saying those who make this argument “don’t know any better”– I pointed out that they are not, in fact, engaging their opponent’s views in any way. Only those with no faith in their own opinions cannot acknowledge that other opinions may legitimately be held.

    ” yes, in some cases, people don’t know any better.”

    I was answering a specific hyperbolic generalization. Yes, some people exist who only knowing the OF, cannot judge the EF– and vice-versa. Those people were not being discussed. The post was in response to the implication that all who prefer the OF know no better.

    “It might help your argument if you acknowledged the phenomenon I have described ”

    Willingly. Do you acknowledge that there are Catholics who, knowing both forms perfectly well, prefer the OF, even as a “folk mass?” I know several. That’s a phenomenon that’s equally germane.

    “I am sorry to reiterate it, but the “they don’t know any better” argument is [valid], even though I will concede that it is at odds with the contemporary, mediocre, decadent, corrupt, toxic, democratic “culture”.”

    And again, this is an admission that it is no argument at all. I am sorry to reiterate it, but there are good, intelligent, undecadent, non-toxic Catholics who prefer the OF. If acknowledging that fact is so threatening to one’s own point of view that one must deride their intelligence, then one must accept the unfair characterizations that have been aimed at Traditionalists over the past decades– “they’re just nostalgic” (which I was called more than once), and yes, “they don’t know any better.” It’s bad argument no matter who is using it.

  53. Jack Regan says:

    Maybe I can attempt to draw some strands together here from my point of vire. In other words, how I see the debate.

    *I am saying this all in charity and it is merely my opinion. No malice, insult or slur is meant by any of it. So if you disagree please bear this in mind and respond charitably :)*

    When SP came out the message from many traditionalists was “Demand is absolutely massive. The EF will probably take over now that it is again freely available.”

    There is no doubt that demand is there, but there is also no doubt that there is significant demand for the OF. There is also no doubt that there is significant resistance to both in certain quarters.

    But I also believe that the levels of demand for the EF has been the subject of a great deal of spin. You can think of this as pessimism or resistance if you like, but I am speaking as someone who has been to see the EF with an open mind. As for the reported demand, I can only comment intelligently on the south of England where I live, but I firmly believe that the reported demand does not match the uptake on the ground. Not by a very long way.

    Of course, others will respond by saying “ahh, but in my area…” and I can’t disagree with what I haven’t seen. Perhaps we will have to resign ourselves to a period of trading stats and reports. Perhaps.

    One thing I have seen recently in the debate is a slight change in the line that traditionalists are taking. They have moved away from “the demand is simply HUGE” to a position of “the demand may not be huge but that doesn’t matter. Demand is not the issue. The EF is the way forward so it will have to be imposed from on high. People will eventually like it.”

    I see this very much as a recent shift in the line being taken. Again, though, that’s just my view.

    Another facet of the debate I have seen is a great deal of nastiness. People are labelled as inferior beings if they have a certain preference and indeed this is present on both sides of the equation. It ranges from merely insulting or dismissive at times, to being actually quite intimidating at other times.

    If nothing else, insulting those who disagree with you shows fear. It also shows that you lack the arguments to rebuff them.

    I firmly believe that if the will of the spirit is for the EF to take off then it will take off. If not, then it won’t. Perhaps when we pray we can all pray that God’s will is done and that we can all discern with charity and love. As far as I am concerned, if we don’t treat eachother in a Christian way and if the liturgy we attend doesn’t lead to an increase of the love of God within us then it matters very little whether the Mass has guitars/ whether we are kneeling for communion/ what language it is in etc etc.

    As I said, this nastiness is present on both sides, and it has to stop.

    I am saying all of this as a way of summarising how I see the debate at present, rather than to enter into a specific aspect of the debate as such.

  54. Jack:

    My message is pretty simple:

    Want to help the cause? Come to Piqua. Make a difference. The pastor is amenable.

    No?

    Well, see, there’s the problem…

  55. TJM says:

    Dear Father Fox,

    “Catholics” who would leave a parish over the use of the Church’s mother tongue, in my view, are not Catholic at all. They sound like petulant, spoiled
    children. Having that kind of a visceral reaction to the use of the Latin would be like an American citizen having a visceral reaction to the US
    Constitution. I’d say you’re probably well rid of them. They really need to grow up.

    Regards,

    Tom

  56. Jack Regan says:

    Tom, can I politely and charitably suggest that calling people “petulant, spolied children” is unneccesary. I am not commenting one way or another on the point itself but I am sure that there are ways to make that point which come across as less insulting, and which might better serve to get your point across.

    As I said in my post above, the current debate is characterised by a great deal of nastiness, which needs to stop. On both sides.

    I pray that whoever we may be we can all deal with one another in love.

  57. TJM says:

    Jack Regan,

    If the shoe fits, wear it. Not to sound callous, but I find it nothing short of stunning that a mature, well educated Catholic would have such a visceral
    reaction to the use of Latin that they would leave their parish. I didn’t stomp out of Church when the change began from Latin to vernacular, a move that was deeply offensive to me. I have not left my parish because my pastor won’t use Latin, although I am considering it. What’s really happening in my view, is now that
    Pope Benedict is quite correctly walking the cat back in terms of liturgy in light of the defining Conciliar document, Sacrosanctum Concilium, a group of
    reactionaries (formerly liturgical progressives in the 1960s) are having a temper tantrum. I think my description is fairly accurate.

    Tom

  58. Tom:

    However you characterize them, such reactions on their part ripples, particularly when they serve on committees and are regular donors.

    It’s very easy to say, “well rid of them,” but that’s not actually true. It’s disruptive. And the vast majority of folks who aren’t involved in all these issues very deeply, wonder, “what’s father doing?”

  59. Mark says:

    Sounds like Father Fox needs a few local Traditionalists to come out of their enclaves, join his parishes, and “make a difference”.

  60. TJM says:

    Dear Father Fox,

    I don’t wish to belabor this, because I support your efforts. I just find it incomprehensible that a Faithful Catholic would disregard the mandate
    of Sacrosanctum Concilium, and in effect, reject its teaching on Latin and Gregorian Chant. I have a hard time reconciling that with being a
    faithful Catholic. I lived through the liturgical wars, and was forced to endure the degradation of the sacred liturgy. What these folks are being
    asked to do is endure the upgrading and uplifting of the sacred liturgy in keeping with Sacrosanctum Concilium. The two cases aren’t even close.

    I know you don’t need any advice from me, because it sounds that you have properly catechized your congregation on these issues. I think these folks
    are a classic case of “non serviam.” They should be in our prayers.

    Regards,

    Tom

  61. Mark:

    They are welcome.