At the conference

The conference continues in its second day.

I am having internet problems, as usual in Rome. 

Quickly, for the next session starts soon, I just wrote this for my weekly column in The Wanderer:

As I write, I am in Rome, attending a conference sponsored by a group called “Youth and Tradition”, but under the aegis also of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (PCED).  The meeting marks 1st anniversary of Pope Benedict’s derestriction of traditional forms of Holy Mass, liturgy and the sacraments with his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.  There are three days of meetings and many speakers about sundry topics, mostly having to do with the character of the Extraordinary Form and how it responds in a particularly apposite way to some of the challenges Holy Church is facing in this modern age.  One of the interesting points I have picked up might also be of use to you readers.  The Vice-President of the PCED, Msgr. Camille Perl, remarked that with the anniversary of the Motu Proprio the “atmosphere” regarding traditional liturgy has changed, even though perhaps the “climate” has not.  His point is that a “climate” is a much longer term issue.  There is still a long way to go.  It has only been one year, very short in the life in the Church, and we must have great patience.  The Church has her cycles and her seasons.  I think that the silly season, and the period of distorted reform, is passing.  The atmosphere is changing.  The climate is changing too, but more slowly.  Slowly, but discernibly.  The seeds we sow now, or the roots we revive, will bear fruit in the future.  We can have the occasional hot October day in the part of the world where I grew up, and frosty nights in May.  But the seasons do change as the world turns, slides around the sun, and our lives are spun along with them.

 

In any event, I have taken lots of photos and made some audio recordings of talks.  There is a lot of "speech making" during the Q&A period, so those moments have been rather a disappointment.  Lot’s of hurt and frustration coming, especially from the Italians.

I think people in the US and UK should thank their lucky starts that the situation in their countries is what it is.  More about that down the line, perhaps.

BTW… I know that a Roman daily rather trashed what Msgr. Perl said yesterday.  His talk was good and realistic.  I noted with attention that he went after not only bishops who resist Summorum Pontificum but also religious superiors.

Ad ramos!

Back to the oars!

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32 Responses to At the conference

  1. While I certainly see the pope’s modus operandi as trying to get people to “come around” on their own in regards to liturgical things, I have to wonder if that is realistic in our current ecclesial climate.
    Will there need to be some legal mandates regarding using Latin or having the Extraordinary Form for these things to really get some foundation or take root?
    I’m not necessarily saying the pope should take that route, but I think it is a consideration. Much like sheep need to be coerced, or children need to be forced to do that which they don’t like, in order for them to do the right thing for their greater benefit.

  2. Fr. William says:

    I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll begin here: What a breath of fresh air the Old Rite brings to the Novus Ordo! As one who was practically non-educated in my seminary concerning Latin (a major error, especially in light of Summorum Pontificum) I never really had occasion to spend time with the TLM. However, as I spend time with the TLM I become ever more convinced that there are many aspects of it that were never meant to have been forgotten in the implementation of the Novus Ordo. For instance, orientation, in a broad sense, may be accomplished in many ways. Perhaps the most valuable class periods in homiletics had little to do with homilies. They were, rather, watching video tapes of Dr. Bill Graham of the Catholic University of America. In their entirety, I don’t know how valuable they were, but one of his “bottom-line” points was to always remember whom one is addressing (this is, in my opinion, a major point of “orientation” in a broader sense). If one is addressing the people, look at them, address them. However, if one is praying to God, to be making eye contact with the people becomes misplaced. I don’t know how far Dr. Graham would have taken this part of his presentation, but as I have started to undertake the labor of love that is to learn to celebrate the TLM, I have become ever more aware that there is actually, even in the Novus Ordo, very little of the Mass in which the priest is actually addressing the people. Rather, almost all of the Mass is oriented to God, and therefore, to “interact” through eye contact or posture with the people is leading them in the wrong direction, or “mis-orienting” them (to the priest) instead of orienting them to God. I have started celebrating Novus Ordo Masses facing the people and then at the penitential rite, turning and facing towards the altar, thus orienting (posture), to the extent I can in the Novus Ordo, to God. (To celebrate ad orientem here would produce a firestorm and as parochial vicar, this is not something I can do.) What a difference this makes, even in the Novus Ordo! I have always maintained that, within the Mass, everything means something; I just did not realize until recently how much more there is to my belief than when I first started to make this statement. Thanks be to God for the TLM and what it should bring, not only to those who find it the only appropriate way to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but also to those who attend the Novus Ordo! In a way, this brings about a challenge to priesthood. Not in questioning if I should be a priest, for it is more joyful today than when I was first ordained, but the challenge in how to worthily and properly celebrate the Mass, growing deeper in the spirituality of the Mass, while the music and other parts that are an integral part of the Mass are growing ever farther away from the orientation to God (at least in this parish). I am sure that what I have written does not encompass all of what is happening in my own priestly life, for it is just a beginning of a much larger experience. It is also very difficult to put into words (even for one who is often told he has such a gift) what life this is bringing to me and hopefully to those who are at the Masses I celebrate. It is my prayer and hope that more priests may find the orientation of heart (and posture) and the gift it brings to the Mass. This also brings freedom, finding that the priest is not the focal point, nor does he have to try to be that focal point, but if he is properly oriented (in posture as well) this will be communicated to the people and they too, may be properly oriented, taking away the need for more “entertainment” to help them “enter into” the Mass.

  3. Dan says:

    Rev Father

    Thank you so much for all that you have said.

    May Almihy God bless you in your ministry. You are now leading souls to heaven. Your calling is the greatest calling a man can be called to and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I hope and pray that you will soon be able to offer the Holy Sacrifice of Mass in the new order, ad-orientem.

    Deo Gratias!

  4. Larry says:

    Fr. William is one of those priests who gets it. The TLM as a means of clarifying the NO as well as rectifying the culture that has misused or at least misunderstood what the Council said. If I may I would suggest that it is also very valuable to visit the Liturgies of the Eastern Catholic Church. Study what they are saying and doing in the Liturgy. It is startling to see how many wonderful ways we are saying the same things in different words and settings. This in turn humbles us as we approach God to give Him the worship He is due. We have a rich treasury from which to draw. Take advantage of it and explore the organic growth of Liturgy throughout the Church. In addition plesase read Pope Benedicts address to scholars at Lourdes. It is simply wonderful!

  5. Torquemada says:

    There are two very disturbing quotes from Hoyos’ remarks which I highlight:

    (1) “Cardinal Castrillon, whose commission works with communities using the old rite, said his office continues to receive letters requesting the Tridentine rite be used not just at one Mass a week but at every Mass, and that such Masses be available not just at one church in a town but at every church.”

    To which a sane Catholic should reply: wait a minute! Didn’t the Pope just recently call for the old Mass to be available IN EVERY PARISH??

    (2) “The Eucharist should never become a point of contrast and a point of separation,” Cardinal Castrillon said at the Sept. 16 conference. “What is more important: the mystery of God who becomes bread or the language by which we celebrate the mystery?”

    To which same said sane Catholic should reply: wait another minute! How can one celebrate the Mystery with language in which all the Mystery has been removed?

  6. RichR says:

    Fr.,

    Thank you for that inspiring post. I hope when you get your first parish assignment you go where the Spirit seems to be leading you. As a PV, it sounds like you are respecting the right of your Pastor to lead the flock. Nothing like having dueling shepherds. It can mess with a parish.

    That having been said, may I ask you how you know going ad orientem would produce a firestorm? I’m not being pushy, I’m simply curious what priests with convictions like yours “tests the water” on these issues. It’s a fascinating subject that dovetails with the apostolate I am in: a men’s Gregorian chant schola cantorum. Oftentimes, the Masses we assist at could easily be done AO, but there is a hesistancy with the priest if we politely suggest it. I want to better understand their reservations.

    Thank you, again, for your post!

  7. Dan says:

    “Cardinal Castrillon, whose commission works with communities using the old rite, said his office continues to receive letters requesting the Tridentine rite be used not just at one Mass a week but at every Mass, and that such Masses be available not just at one church in a town but at every church.”

    Didn’t Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos recently state that the Holy Father wants the Gregorian Mass to be offered not in some churches but in every parish?

    Whats going on here?

  8. schoolman says:

    The Cardinal’s comments are referring to those demanding EXCLUSIVITY for the EF — demanding the EF for ALL masses in ALL parishes. He calls this insatiable and incredible.

  9. Torquemada: How can one celebrate the Mystery with language in which all the Mystery has been removed?

    Pope Paul VI gave a response to this in his general audience on November 26, 1969:
    11. Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more—particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.

    12. If the divine Latin language kept us apart from the children, from youth, from the world of labor and of affairs, if it were a dark screen, not a clear window, would it be right for us fishers of souls to maintain it as the exclusive language of prayer and religious intercourse? What did St. Paul have to say about that? Read chapter 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians: “In Church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (I Corinthians 14:19).

    There is a balance between mystery and understanding. The EF lays the stress on the former while the OF prioritizes the latter. That’s why we need both.

  10. Torquemada says:

    To respond to Fr. William, may I suggest that everyone read an analysis by Daniel Graham comparing the 1945 and 1973 Missals. As Grahams’s article will make inescapably clear, the ancient Mass cannot be said to bring a “breath of fresh air” to the Novus Ordo, since, in fact, the basis of the Novus Ordo is to remove Catholic theology from the liturgy in order to please Protestants (allegedly, though this was a ruse). The old Mass is a beautiful and timeless expression of Catholic theology; the Novus Ordo is embarrassed by Catholic theology and seeks to hide and/or disguise it as an offense to “unity.”

    Grahams’ article may be found here:

    http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/September08Newsletter.pdf

    (go to Page 2)

  11. fatherz says:

    Fr. William said: “What a breath of fresh air the Old Rite brings to the Novus Ordo!”

    Exactly! You get it.

    Now others you influence will get it too!

    This is a positive fruit of the Motu Proprio.

  12. Stephen says:

    Fr. William said: “What a breath of fresh air the Old Rite brings to the Novus Ordo!”

    I totally agree with this. I attend the NO every day, except Sunday when I attend the EF. I have so recatechised myself by using the EF as the basis (books, on-line teaching, videos, )that I see and experience the same thing at the NO and the EF. Yes some are shadows but with catechesis, the faintest shadow receives new focus. Even something as simple as the water in the wine, re-taught by means of the EF, holds its significance in the NO.

    There are a couple of exceptions. The first is that I find the Sunday NO far too difficult to bear normally – the hymns are pointless, distracting and detracting; the weekday NO has no singing, but uses the antiphons which have meaning. I actually prefer the NO with spoken antiphons rather than a EF low mass. Above all I prefer the EF sung mass, which is just perfection (apart from the readings solely in Latin in my church – priest won’t budge on this).

    The second exception is I don’t like praying to the priest and so I close my eyes for the entire NO Mass; I am able to do this since I arrive at Mass 30 minutes early and am already in a prayerful mood by the time Mass starts. The priest probably thinks I am being overly pious, but it is not about that – I simply want to pray to God, and if the priest is looking at me and I at the priest, I don’t really feel like I’m praying at all. It works the same as when the priest faces east.

  13. Torquemada says:

    I should have added above, the Old Rite should do a whole lot more than bring a breath of fresh air to the Novus Ordo. It should make everyone realize how completely un-Catholic it is. Breath of fresh air? How about, “Horror at the realization of what was almost extinguished”?

  14. mcitl says:

    Thank you, Fr William, for your suggestions for priests who are not able at this time to celebrate versus Deum as the Church does. I am interested in your idea of turning toward the altar, crucifix and tabernacle when/if possible during the penitential Rite.

    For many years, 16 as a priest, I have begun to incorporate the versus Deum posture into my liturgies at the beginning and end of Mass, singing a verse or two of the opening and closing hymns facing God together at the foot of the altar with the people and enabling them to become more comfortable and familiar being re-oriented “toward the Lord”. I also walk between the altar and the people to make reverence toward the Lord on my way to the ambo for proclamation of the Gospel, prolonging the profound bow “ad orientem” for the same purpose. I return to the presider’s chair in the same manner, bowing “ad orientem” as I pause again before the altar.

    Peace,
    Fr +mcitl

  15. Bob K. says:

    Fr. William said: “What a breath of fresh air the Old Rite brings to the Novus Ordo!”

    I don’t know what fresh air he is breathing, but the parishes in my local area could care less about the Pope’s Motu Prorio, Tridentine Mass, or anything else traditional. Mass is the same Novus Ordo Mass as it was before the Motu Proprio and will remain the same. Quote from local priest in regards to learning Extra Ordinary Form a year ago. “Not my cup of tea!”. And it still isn’t his cup of tea. Still have altar girls, extraordinary eucharistic ministers, guitars, etc. Seems like that “fresh air” has a way to travel or has discipated when it got to Eastern PA.

  16. Sieber says:

    If you think the fresh air has dissipated by the time it reaches East PA, I can assure that by the time it reaches Southern California there is total dissipation.

  17. mrteachersir says:

    Bob, what part of Eastern PA do you live in? I live in an area in which several clergy have have regarded as a “spiritually dead” area. Thank God for our younger priests assigned by Bishop Martino. This is the same Bishop who sings portions of his (private?) masses and incorporates Latin chant in them as well. What an awesome experience. He also was less than pleased at what he called “battle of the guitars” that was paraded before him at our parish.

    Many of these younger priests are returning Christ to the center of the sanctuary, and returning Mary and Joseph to their proper place. Many like to sing portions of Mass as well. In addition, some of the churches in Scranton are being revamped to be more prayerful (I was just at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel last Tuesday…not as traditional as say St.Patrick’s in NYC, but beautiful and prayerful nonetheless).

    Don’t lose hope!

    Don’t abandon all hope!!

  18. Frank H says:

    Fr +mcitl said:
    “I also walk between the altar and the people to make reverence toward the Lord on my way to the ambo for proclamation of the Gospel, prolonging the profound bow “ad orientem” for the same purpose.”

    Excellent! It has always troubled me, at our church, that when the priest bows to the altar on his way to the ambo, his back is to the tabernacle. This seems irreverent, which I know is not his intent. A retired Jesuit who occasionally says Mass will bow to the tabernacle. I like Fr. mcitl’s approach!

  19. Joshua says:

    “Cardinal Castrillon, whose commission works with communities using the old rite, said his office continues to receive letters requesting the Tridentine rite be used not just at one Mass a week but at every Mass, and that such Masses be available not just at one church in a town but at every church.”

    Didn’t Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos recently state that the Holy Father wants the Gregorian Mass to be offered not in some churches but in every parish?

    Whats going on here?
    Comment by Dan

    Not quite. He said the Holy Father offered it to all, not just to traditionalists, as a gift. But he also said that the Holy Father wasn´t forcing it. If every parish in a whole diocese had an EF on the schedule that would be great, but the MP doesn´t require that. If there is/are EF(s) in reasonable distance and circumstances, I don´t think one can argue that a priest must say it. And I don´t think Cardinal Castrillion-Hoyos could force them even if he were inclined that way.

    Whatever we think should be the status of the EF, the fact is the PCED has limited authority and one should not demand that they act with authority that they don´t have, or even rashly with authority they do. This may mean having to wait and pray longer than we would like, but His Eminence made a point of the damage done by such demands, I suspect damage to the “traditionalist cause” .

  20. Jordanes says:

    Torquemada said: I should have added above, the Old Rite should do a whole lot more than bring a breath of fresh air to the Novus Ordo. It should make everyone realize how completely un-Catholic it is.

    “Completely un-Catholic”? That’s a bit of a hyperbole, I’d say. For all its deficiencies and areas where it ought to be patched up, it’s nonsense to call the reformed Roman Missal “completely un-Catholic.”

  21. dustiam says:

    You’ve reported the conference is “Youth and Tradition” sponsored under PCED. Tell us more. How many young people are attending? What is their relationship to the extraordinary form of the Mass? How might the young people attending this conference view the proceedings twenty or thirty years from now? Can you put this conference in (historical) perspective? Thanks….

  22. michigancatholic says:

    It comes soon enough. The doors are now open for practicing Catholics to have what they need in the years to come. Western culture is changing so fast now that who knows what the future brings. The Church now has what she needs to get through it.

  23. TMG says:

    Torquemada,
    Wow! Thanks for posting the link to Daniel Graham’s in-depth yet concise analysis of the Tridentine Mass vs. the Novus Ordo Missae. After my reading it, the charge that the changes made by Bugnini are Protestant-inspired is the truth. It boggles the mind to think that all of this was approved.

  24. Jordanes says:

    TMG said: After my reading it, the charge that the changes made by Bugnini are Protestant-inspired is the truth.

    It’s hardly a revelation that many of the liturgical changes were made with ecumenism in mind, and that Protestant advisors contributed to the revision/reconstruction of the Missal.

    But that doesn’t mean Daniel Graham’s essay isn’t rubbish.

  25. Bob K. says:

    Quote: “Don’t lose hope! Don’t abandon all hope!!”. I am now slowly losing allot of hope especially regarding the comments of the Pope on his trip to France (tolerate) we should be tolerated!, and Cardinal Hoyas’s remarks yesterday (we should be grateful). Grateful for what?. Why should we be “grateful” for something we do not need “permission” to have (traditional Mass)?. However there is also the very real possibility that the MP was just a ploy to swallow up the SSPX and because of their refusal to submit we traditionalists will be tossed a bone and told to shut up by the Vatican. Look at the situation in the UK!. The Bishop of Leeds tells a traditional priest you can no longer do anything in public. Why, because he was a traditionalist, and wasn’t part of the NO magic circle. Read the articles by Damian Thompson in the “Telegraph” from the UK. And you will see what I mean. And why does it take a whole year to come up with a document regarding the specifics of the MP. were they waiting to see the outcome of the SSPX. Or were threatened by those who have the REAL power in Rome. Not the Pope, but the “Liberal Clergy and Laity”. I bet their are way more “Protestant style Charismatic Masses” than Traditional Masses. But their ok to the liberals!. Are these Charismatic Masses under the Ordinary Form?. They can be the Ordinary. But a Mass with Gregorian Chant, and reverence can’t be. I should just swim the Tiber to the Orthodox Church!. They don’t have these liberal problems in their Church!.

  26. Larry says:

    Torquemada,
    I’m not sure of your definition of sane or Catholic; but, it is not sane to think that the Church is going to dump the NO for the TLM at least not for some time. Talk to some of those who are attending the NO. Meet some of the converts who are coming from the Anglican communion. Talk to those in the charismatic movement. My friend they are all Catholic and they may not be happy with the translation we have but they do like Englisha as opposed to Latin, and they do like to hear what is said as well. I realize this is shocking; but, it is also fact. There are some 27 different expressions of the Catholic Liturgy and most are quite old or have ancient roots. The TLM is one of these; but, certainly not the only one. While there are some thngs I do not like about the NO there are many things I find appealing. That is personal taste. There are many things I like about the TLM as well and I had nearly 20 years of exposure to it. To be honest I find it quite nice that I can choose which form I prefer on a daily basis. I realize that is a luxury many do not have and for that I’m sorry. The one thing that really bugs me is to hear or read people judging the liturgy as though it is for them. I would be thrilled if God would lean down from heaven and tell which HE prefers. Somehow I get the impression that some people think that the Mass is entertainment for them and I’m sorry but that discribes people at the TLM as well as the NO and that is sad because that is wrong. The sane Catholic understands that no matter what the Pope or the good Cardinal want it is the free will of bishops and priests that determines what happens here and now.

  27. I don’t mean to put down Larry, but this, I think, demonstrates the confused thinking so prevalent in today’s Church:

    “To be honest I find it quite nice that I can choose which form I prefer on a daily basis. I realize that is a luxury many do not have and for that I’m sorry. The one thing that really bugs me is to hear or read people judging the liturgy as though it is for them.”

    We start with: “To be honest I find it quite nice that I can choose which form I prefer on a daily basis.”

    = Choosing the liturgy is good.

    Then: “The one thing that really bugs me is to hear or read people judging the liturgy as though it is for them.”

    = Judging the liturgy is not good.

    To borrow from Merriam-Webster:
    Choose – to select freely and after consideration; to have a preference for
    Judge – to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises

    To choose and to judge are two different things, but in order to choose, one must make a judgment.

    = In order to choose one liturgy over the other, one must judge the liturgies in question.

    The two statements, above then, contradict each other. One can not think that choosing whichever liturgy they would like today is good while at the same time thinking that they should not judge the liturgy. That judgment may fluctuate from one day to the other based on circumstances, but it is a judgment, nonetheless.

    Larry, I could have taken any number of comments, even my own on a number of occasions, so I apologize that I singled out your comment. I’m simply pointing out that it is these kinds of invalid arguments that one can find just about everywhere on the internet these days, admittedly from both sides of the fence. However, I think it is certainly indicative of one main problem: post-VCII abandonment of reason for ideology.

    Take another example from this thread. Jordanes states boldly that Daniel Graham’s essay is rubbish, but without explanation. I don’t know if its true or false. I haven’t even finished reading Graham’s essay. But the fact of the matter, Jordanes, for whom, it should be noted, I do have much respect, states nothing but his judgment without pointing out for what reason he judges Graham’s essay as rubbish. Is it that Graham’s arguments are invalid? Is it that Graham’s terms are false? Is it that his arguments are unsound?

    Without those elements we are simply left with an ideology, not reasoning.

    The 20th century was fraught with invalid arguments, false facts, and unsound logic concerning not just discipline, but more so, doctrine. It’s root cause, historically speaking, was in the adoption of alien theological methodologies concerning dogma and Scripture. It should be obvious, from an historical perspective, to see to what this boils down, the triumph of modernism. Modernism can not stand on reason, so it depends on rhetoric and ideology. This is the reason why so many voices today are clanging gongs of ideology without much rational meat.

  28. Frank H says:

    “But that doesn’t mean Daniel Graham’s essay isn’t rubbish.” Comment by Jordanes

    One of the problems with the Graham article is that he uses the English translations to compare the TLM with the NO. The problems of the current English translation are widely known, as is the current effort underway to improve it. So when Graham cites, for instance, the removal of the word “consubstantial” in the NO version of the Nicene Creed, the fault is not with the NO Missal, since the Latin includes the word, but with the English translation, which really cannot be laid at Abp. Bugnini’s feet.

  29. Jordanes says:

    Frank H said: One of the problems with the Graham article is that he uses the English translations to compare the TLM with the NO.

    Yeah, that’s a big one. What he should have doen is do a comparison of Latin to Latin, not unofficial English to official English. His piece is unscholarly and not a little tendentious. I especially noted where he says the word “unworthy” is not found in the NO. Well, apart from the obvious objection that there aren’t ANY English words in the NO, there is still the <i.Non sum dignus. So the concept of our unworthiness is not entirely absent from the NO.

  30. Jordanes says:

    Well that’s what I get for typing in a hurry this morning. A faulty html tag blanked out the rest of my comment. Here it is:

    . . . there is still the Domine non sum dignus. So the concept of our unworthiness is not entirely absent from the NO.

    Another flaw in Graham’s essay is that he hasn’t explain his comparative methodology very well, nor laid out why he opted for the methodology he chose. Is he comparing just the Ordo but not the Propers and Scripture Lessons? If so, why? After all, it was the entire Missal that Bugnini’s Consilium revised and rewrote, not just the Ordo, so if we want an accurate picture of what Bugnini did and what his motives were, wouldn’t we have to look at the total product of his work? If that’s not feasible, care would have to be taken to compare a representative sample of the Consilium’s work with the Roman Missal of 1962.

    Now, if you want some genuinely scholarly and eye-opening critical analysis of the NO and the process by which it was crafted, I would have to recommend Pristas, as others have. Graham’s piece, however, just doesn’t cut it.

  31. TMG says:

    Jordanes,
    I am more than willing to be enlightened. Has Dr. Pristas analyzed the Novus Ordo in its entirety vs. the TLM in its entirety, and if so, can you provide a link?

  32. Jordanes says:

    Dr. Pristas has posted three of her excellent studies at her Caldwell faculty webpage:

    http://faculty.caldwell.edu/lpristas/

    Just scroll down to Articles and Translations and clink on the links there.