Again, priest teaches his flock about liturgy – this guy gets it! (Part II)

At St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT, Fr. Greg J. Markey is instructing his flock on liturgical matters.

I have written about this fellow before.  He "gets it".

We saw Part I the other day.

Let’s have a look at Part I (of two) with my emphases and comments.

January 25, 2009           

             Part II: Yet beyond the lack of fidelity to the Vatican II liturgical norms there is still a deeper question which has only now begun to be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI: whether the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council that we have today was what the Fathers of the Council intended. [This is a good point.  And it is nearly a forbidden question in many circles.  The answer is, of course, "NO! What we got is nothing like what they asked for."]  Addressing the discontinuity between the Council’s idea of liturgical renewal and the final form of the Vatican II Mass, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “(I)n the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy.  We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it –as in a manufacturing process- with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

            For example, today much of what Catholics think is the Second Vatican Council liturgical reform did not in fact come from the Council: “To the ordinary churchgoer,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and [even more damaging] the turning of the altars towards the people.  Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council.”   There is a long list of other changes as well that are simply not in the Vatican II documents either: removing altar rails, Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.  

             For this reason Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to liberalize the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) is essential to reconnecting us with our lost tradition, and understanding what authentic worship of God is all about.  This Mass was the Mass of our forefathers, of countless saints, and which in its essence dates back to the earliest Church.  [YES!]

            Inspired by the Holy Father, I began the Extraordinary Form at the parish every Sunday over a year ago.  As your Pastor I wish more people in the parish would understand that we have been given a treasure here at St. Mary’s with this Extraordinary Form, and while the Mass is definitely growing, it is still a disappointment that more people do not recognize what this is all about.   [Sadly the case in so many places.  It is hard to draw people upwards into something more challenging.]

            If we look at the full array of Masses here at St. Mary’s, we see that there is a progressive solemnity to each of the liturgies on Sunday, with the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form representing the fullness of our liturgical patrimony.  [That is a good idea.  It is like… dare I say it… growing up in their Sunday worship.] The Ordinary Form at 4:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and the 8:00 am are done reverently, and has the fixed parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei…) sung in Latin during Advent and Lent.  The Spanish 1:15 Mass has a beautiful choir which sings the Latin Mass parts all year round.  The 11:30 am Ordinary Form of the Mass has the largest volunteer choir, with the Gloria, Credo, and Pater chanted in Latin every Sunday, and at least once a month the entire Mass is done in Latin, ad orientem (facing East).  Finally, once again as the fullness of our liturgical patrimony, we have the Solemn High Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with a professional schola singing the Mass parts in Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony, and a full set of servers.  [If Fr. Markey needs another assistant….]

            I encourage people to come and attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form so that they will experience what is in my opinion is the fullness of Catholic worship, and which communicates the Sacred to a higher degree than the other forms.  The Ordinary Mass is a simpler version of this more ancient form, yet points to this fuller expression of worship.  [I have written many times about the TLM being the "grown-up" Mass.  More and more I think this is true.]

            I ask you to attend a few times because it sometimes takes a little while to appreciate its subtly, beauty and order.  Even if you prefer the Ordinary Form of the Mass, your attendance at the Extraordinary Form will at least help you understand our history and the Ordinary Form better.

            With all of the liturgical growth here at the parish over the past five years I hope that these two Pastor’s columns would help people to understand the big picture of why I am making these decisionsIt is not my own personal whim which motivates me, but my desire to have our parish think and worship with the mind and heart of the Church.

            Furthermore I think it more than a coincidence that the crisis in the liturgy over the past forty years coincided with so many other ecclesial crises[as our worship goes… so goes the rest of our Catholic lives.  Change our prayer, you change our belief and who we think we are before God.] the radical decline in priestly and religious vocations, the shrinking and closing of Catholic schools, the breakdown of the family and the growth of the culture of death, the painful clergy scandals, etc.   The Mass is the heart and source of our faith.  If is the Mass is deformed and weak, then so is the rest of the body. [yes] As Pope Benedict XVI has written, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” [Tell it, Reverend!]

            In conclusion, nothing will affect a renewal in the Church and in the culture more than a renewal in the liturgy.   The Mass not only expresses what we believe, it shapes what we believe.  Come, open yourself to what the Holy Spirit is doing at this point in history, and worship our Lord in the coming year in spirit and truth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey
Pastor

Again, WDTPRS praises Fr. Markey for his sound insights and bold work.

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69 Responses to Again, priest teaches his flock about liturgy – this guy gets it! (Part II)

  1. LCB says:

    Forget moving there, I’m going to start investing in real-estate around any parish this man leads!

  2. Bryan says:

    Can we clone, oh, about 20,000 copies of this holy priest and leaven the Church in the US a bit?

    (Just joking)

    May the LORD grant him many many years of saving souls through his spiritual leadership and courage in conforming those in his care to a right understanding of the mind of the Church against the pressures of the world!

  3. chironomo says:

    This is so exciting and a wonderful sign of what may be coming to us in years ahead throughout the church. Not being critical… but with the OF Masses being said Ad Orientem with the Ordinary chanted in Latin, all male altar servers and communion on the tongue…even the very liturgical minded in this parish should be more than satisfied and then have to ask… “Why attend the EF Mass… our OF Masses are beautiful!” Just wondering if that may have something to do with the lower attendance at the EF Mass.

  4. Central Valley Catholic says:

    I think I will print both articles and mail to the bishop of Fresno, Ca. and to many priests here. With few exceptions, I know of very little change in any parish since Sumorum Pontificum. Felt banners and altar girls about in the Fresno diocese.

  5. Teresa Maria says:

    May God bless this priest abundantly!!! May Our Blessed Mother always protect you Fr. Markey! I loved your posting!

    Now, as to the changes in the New Mass, even
    considering that what we see nowadays do not
    correspond exactly to the intention of some Fathers
    of the Council and finally provided for in the official documents,
    many of these changes were in fact suggested during
    the conciliar sessions. At least, it is what one
    infers by reading “The Rhine flows into the Tiber”, by Fr. Wiltgen, 1966, which is a painstanking coverage of the Counciliar sessions. Changes such as the use of vernacular and Mass towards people were suggested by some bishops at that time. One even suggested an “ecumenical form of Mass more adjusted to our moderns times”.

  6. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    This wonderful priest has a brilliant Q&A section on liturgy on his parish website which is well-worth reading.

    He also cares deeply about the cura animarum and has something quite interesting to say about EMHC:
    “A practical benefit of having the clergy give out Holy Communion is that it allows the priests to minister to his people “one on one”. For most of the parishioners, Sunday Mass will be the only time that I will see them during the week, so this gives me the opportunity to have some contact with them and to provide them with their spiritual nourishment.”

    Ad multos annos!

  7. Diane says:

    Again, this is so encouraging to see and I hope we can flood the Nuncio’s office with mail on this priest.

    A few points that often get missed in these discussions….something below the surface.

    INTERIOR SILENCE AT THE ROOT
    We have become attached to nearly constant stimulii in the Mass because it is what we have been fed. The mind has been constantly active at Mass in the following ways:

    – Eye-to-eye contact of priest to faithful (not found in ad orientem celebrated Masses, and TLM)

    – Constant sound be it talking or singing. In some liturgies you cannot find 30 seconds of silence.

    – Movement and contact with others (sign of peace, dancing movements, arm waving, jittery/non-prayerful stances and gestures, cantors lifting arms, band or choir in sight, poorly trained altar servers with casual or unorthodox poses and gestures etc.)

    So, what are people really struggling with in this parish, but the loss of those stimulii and having to deal with…….interior silence!

    This aversion to participating in interior worship is manifested in constant chatter before, during and after Mass. Rather than talk to God His own language – a language of silence, they waste precious time chatting with each other. They don’t want to be rude to their neighbor by not occupying that silent time with them, yet have no problem being rude to God in his own house.

    It is manifested in the mass exodus (people tripping over each other and the priest) before the vessels are even purified (and they should be staying for a few moments of thanksgiving in the silence of their hearts after the priest leaves!). They were never interiorly silent during Mass so they can’t wait for it to be over so they can get to the local diner, shopping mall or game on TV.

    That is at the heart of the problem and it is why the removal of all stimulii countering interior silence is resisted and needs to be rooted out like any attachment we have in life.

    It is also why there must be a parallel with this change in worship and the homilies which should emphasize interior silence, taming the will, and detaching ourselves from all that is worldly.

    Interior silence is needed for interior worship which is where worship begins ahead of any kind of exterior worship.

    When interior silence is enabled and acted upon, it is then that we will see the confession lines grow in a manner consistent with the Communion lines.

    People will also then learn, through personal experience, why this liturgical changes Fr. Markey is doing, are so pure and right.

    He has my prayers.

  8. Ioannes Andreades says:

    St. Mary’s has EF low mass on Wed. evenings, and I think I’ll be getting down to Norwalk today; my grandmother’s name was Agnes.

  9. Dan says:

    We are supposed to believe that Popes Paul VI and John Paul and and bishops all over the world were wrong for the last 40 years as they taught that the liturgical reform was 100 % loyal to that which the council desired? Oh, ok.

    And we’re supposed to believe that the tens of millions of Catholics who no longer attend Mass regularly, and the tens of millions have left for Protestant communities simply hunger for so-called “traditional” liturgy? Oh, ok.

    Who determined that the majority of Catholics are disgruntled with the liturgical reform? Even where Latin Masses are offered, bishops and priests admit that relatively few Catholics are interested in attending said Masses.

    Even conservative Cardinals and bishops (I could list names) have acknowledged that relatively scant desire to attend Latin Masses exists.

    Take any poll among Catholics and the overwhelming majority will state that they are perfectly happy with the liturgical reforms.

  10. DavidJ says:

    The majority of Catholics are happy with the reforms because they don’t even know an alternative exists. The majority of Catholics don’t know their faith. Find me people that know the differences and poll them.

  11. Franzjosf says:

    What the ordinary Catholic thinks he is happy with matters not a whit. It is the Church’s job to help form the conscience, which includes a true definition of happiness, i.e., not satisfaction, and to lead in the right path. (Neither of the Popes mentioned above taught that the reforms were loyal to in intentions of the Council, and both said so in various ways. Paul VI, “Smoke of Satan…”; John Paul II issued many corrections.

  12. Vincent says:

    Here’s what amazed me:

    “The Spanish 1:15 Mass has a beautiful choir which sings the Latin Mass parts all year round.”

    In my experience, in the US, Masses said in Spanish with the ordinary in Latin are even more rare than the TLM. This is an incredible witness to the fact that liturgy for Hispanics should not consist of more patronizing mariachi bands.

  13. Jenny says:

    This is where I go when I travel to CT several times per year. It\’s a bit divisive for the nominal Catholics that I\’m visiting, but I\’m hoping my commitment to driving an hour plus each way will be a witness to what I believe is paramount to our faith. They\’ve gone with me a few times, but still prefer their wonderful cantor (performer) and altar girls. Guess how old they are? Yep, baby boomers….and all of their children have fallen away from the faith – shocking! So very sad.
    I\’m lucky enough to live in the diocese of Arlington where we have at least adherence to the liturgical norms in most parishes and more than a few Priests who share the same vision as Fr. Markey does. God Bless these holy and wonderful Priests. Definitely lots of bricks here…..

  14. Argent says:

    Take any poll among Catholics and the overwhelming majority will state that they are perfectly happy with the liturgical reforms.

    Dan, the Church is not run by polls, does not pander nor should it to popular opinion. Have you stopped to think that because of the chaos of the New Mass that this has contributed to the attrition of Mass attendance and the diminution of Catholic Culture? Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    The point of this article is the authentic liturgical reforms have yet to be realized.

  15. Gravitas says:

    This actually gives me hope.

    Keep it coming Father.

  16. Magdalene says:

    I just hope all this publicity does not bring punishment down upon him. I would hope he can continue to give to his flock their heritage.

  17. irishgirl says:

    Preach it, Fr. Markey!

    I’m with you, Argent-the Church is not run by polls.

    Can Fr. Markey be sent to the Syracuse Diocese?

  18. TJM says:

    This priest is FABULOUS. I would like to steal him for my parish. I find it stunning that a young priest, like Father Markey, who did not experience
    the pre-Vatican II liturgy himself nor participate in the liturgical wars, is so aware of how far we strayed from the Council’s decrees and is trying
    to move his parish to an ideal of what good liturgy should be. Tom

  19. Momcilo says:

    Thank you Father. Stories like this give me hope that there is a genuine reform happening within the Church. Dan and his ilk who wish to destroy the Faith by turning us all into liberal protestants know they are losing this war.

    Should we all just keep celebrating ourselves and abandoning orthidox doctrine? oh OK

  20. No one of consequence says:

    Regarding that quotation from then-Card. Ratzinger in the first paragraph, we have here yet another example of the fairly widespread misinterpretation of what he was saying and misrepresentation of his position. When you read that in the context of other things he wrote, it’s abundantly clear that he isn’t talking about the newer form per se, but rather about (1) the process by which it came to be, and (2) the liturgical abuses that take place on the local level. He very clearly indicates elsewhere (and not only in pre-papal writings, but also in his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist) that the newer form is a development of the older form, and that that this reality needs to be better communicated.

    (This correction doesn’t affect most of what the article says – although, in the part posted earlier, he does also misrepresent Ratzinger/Benedict on the topic of Communion on the tongue and in the hand, as can be seen by looking at his pre-papal writings on the topic.)

  21. Nick P says:

    I am 19 year old college and students and i used to think that the novus ordo was the “only mass”. and then my trad friend told me to atend and TLM and i was shocked that something so beautiful existed. i literally had no idea, and i think alot of people dont know and if they did they would come in great number.
    “if you show them, they will come” :)

    there is my 2 cents

    ad deum all day, every day

    nick

  22. Momcilo says:

    Let’s take a poll:

    “Should I crucify your king?” The high priests responded, “We have no king but Caesar!”

    Let’s ignore polls.

  23. Nick P says:

    Amen, since when does the Church take polls

    John 6

    who thinks that Jesus is really the manna come down from heaven?

    nick

  24. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    A previous comment: “I just hope all this publicity does not bring punishment down upon him. I would hope he can continue to give to his flock their heritage.”

    It sounds like Fr Markey is not doing anything prohibited by norms or rubrics but simply abiding by them. He cannot, therefore, be punished. Pressured and subjected to ridicule, perhaps, but Deo gratias there’s no power in Canon Law to stop him or any other priest from doing this great work.

  25. Patrick says:

    Solution:

    Suppress the New Mass.

    Until that happens, there is going to be a rather large contingent of Catholics that worship God in their own man-centered way.

  26. Veritas says:

    “I just hope all this publicity does not bring punishment down upon him. I would hope he can continue to give to his flock their heritage.”

    Sadly, publicity could. Envy and hostility to what he is doing will lead others to resent him and his leadership. They will try to bring him down. So as the priest leads in the person of Christ, the priest suffers in the person of Christ. We must pray even harder when we see our priest give such a courageous, genuine witness. God, bless Fr. Markey.

  27. May God bless this holy priest and may God’s Holy Mother and the Angels and Saints surround and protect him throughout his life. That is my prayer for Father Markey

  28. BD says:

    The director of music at St. Mary’s in Norwalk CT is David Hughes, who is with the CMAA and is one of the most talented organists, singers, and musicians I have ever encountered. He chants Gregorian chant with perfection, his organ postludes are heavenly. He is also a very kind and humble man.

  29. Kudos to Fr Markey for such wonderful and concise thoughts. I met him once – genuine and easy-going. May God bless and protect him, and Fr Z too.

    Diane good comment! I’d add that the appeal of silence for me is the ability to HEAR that quiet voice, that soft rustle in the wind that speaks to my soul. This conversation goes unnoticed with all the distractions of other activities. I cannot hear It without extended silence.

    As for ‘what the people want at Mass’ – I typically pray for myself asking God to grant my NEEDs, not always my wants. We don’t always want the right thing. Let’s pray to God that He grant us what we NEED in line with His Divine Wisdom and Love, not our self-interest.

    Boy oh boy, if all else were suppressed except the Latin OF or even the TLM, then some Catholics might encounter the real Faith! [as opposed to the loosey-goosey all-about-us celebrations that some only know]

  30. chironomo says:

    To Dan;

    In the spirit of actual discussion, I think you bring up some interesting points. There are some problems, however.

    Q: “We are supposed to believe that Popes Paul VI and John Paul and and bishops all over the world were wrong for the last 40 years as they taught that the liturgical reform was 100 % loyal to that which the council desired?”

    A: Where are you finding that either of these two Popes taught any such thing? It can be easily discerned from his writings that Pope Pual VI was greatly saddened by the path of the reforms, and took some quick, although ineffective, actions to correct them. His lament was that the reforms were not following the desires of the council, not that they were 100% loyal to them. JPII issued corrective after corrective, again usually ineffective, but certainly an indication that he too saw the path of reform as greatly divergent from the council.

    Q: And we’re supposed to believe that the tens of millions of Catholics who no longer attend Mass regularly, and the tens of millions have left for Protestant communities simply hunger for so-called “traditional” liturgy?

    A: Nobody, at least not here, is suggesting any such thing. The truth is, we don’t know why these Catholics left the faith. Some were perhaps under the impression that if the Catholic Church was now identical to the Protestant faiths, then what’s the difference?

    Q: Who determined that the majority of Catholics are disgruntled with the liturgical reform? Even where Latin Masses are offered, bishops and priests admit that relatively few Catholics are interested in attending said Masses.

    A: Since it is well known that a majority of Catholics don’t believe in the real Presence, does that mean that it is no longer a dogma of our faith? This is a red-herring… what the faithful “want” or “feel” is not really pertinent. As has been pointed out above, the church is not a democracy. If all of these changes were made at every parish in the US, over time would a great many people be dissatisfied with them? We have no way of knowing. The point is that it really doesn’t matter.

    Q: Take any poll among Catholics and the overwhelming majority will state that they are perfectly happy with the liturgical reforms.

    A: It would be interesting to see the results of an actual poll along these lines. You will never see such a poll taken for fear of what it would show…

  31. sullibe says:

    I am still very much confused. Is it wrong to have liturgy in the native tongue of those attending mass? What is the true purpose of desiring the altar to be returned to the back of the sanctuary in front of the Tabernacle? Wouldn’t it be hard to see what is going on? Or is that not important? I am reminded of mass at my parish which does the thrice ringing bells when the host and then the chalice are raised. It does capture the attention of my young daughter who is usually not paying attention up to that point. Which, coincidentally, wasn\’t that the reason why the bells were rung at those moments during the mass, because everything was being said in a language most did not understand, so the congregation was all separately saying their own prayers and when the bells went off they knew that Christ was now present in the Eucharist.

    Since I only became Catholic not quite 10 years ago I’ve never had experience with anything other than the Novus Ordo Mass. While I recognize that the current liturgy is not where Vatican II wanted to go, in what direction did Vatican II want to take the liturgy? And how would that have differed from the original Pre-Vatican II Mass? I guess I need help.

  32. TJM says:

    Dan, where I go, the EF and the OF in Latin are very well attended, particularly by young people. I think the old guard won’t admit that they are
    not following the wishes of the Council. Take a gander at Sacrosanctum Concilium and I think you will readily see what most Catholics experience at a
    typical Sunday Mass isn’t remotely close to what the Council Fathers intended. Tom

  33. And he is young

    Once again proving the point that the people who got it wrong, arent going to be around much longer

    Yes they got it wrong. In that they didnt teach it properly enough to the lay people, or other priests/bishops. So you have people who have something that they think is correct and true, but isnt.

    People for the most part , rely on their priests and bishops. Secondly, you also have several incidents of individuals who WERE ACTUALLY at the council (Papa Ratzinger ring clear with anyone?) . I would think that if a person were at the council, and said there were aspects of it that got implied wrongly, well that should be a pretty good piece of evidence.

    Also from my own experience, you are dealing with asserting liturgy against the whims of the culture. The Culture likes to be entertained, they like to feel good about themselves. In reality many people fail at the first commandment constantly, as they have almost made gods of themselves, putting their needs and wants above all others. The “Typical” novus ordo mass plays into that, in that it lets people relax, they get a rock band, they get to applaud and visit with people and have a good old time. But mass isnt supposed to be that is it? Seems that the “spirit of vatican II” discredits the laity greatly, in that it deny’s them the Presence of a Sacrifice, or anything sacred

    But you know what? those things are hard to deal with in our culture. People dont want to think of our Lord beat to a bloody pulp, bleeding, sorrowful, dying, for their sake. The thought of “Easter” is good enough for them. But you know what? You cant have an Easter without a Good Friday (something our old pastor used to always say).

    The Sacred I think is like that. The sacred makes us realize that we are inferior to the superior presence of Almighty God. What it really comes down to is ego for probably 70 percent the people. The “spirit of Vatican II” eroded the two points I mentioned from their prespective. Why should they change? They are comfortable. They go to mass, They see a crucicifix, but its never mentioned. they Get communion, but they arent challenged to approach it with faith.

    I am in no way saying that the Novus Ordo causes this. But , the understanding of it , and how it is applied does. What the old Mass teaches us, is who we are, and most importantly, what is sacred. The interpretations of the new mass (and they are interpretations, not implementations), are what stand in our way. To me , the “old mass” serves as a guide, of what the new mass should be, and what it can be with the “Reform of the Reform”

    Responding to polls – Ever hear the phrase “authoratative teaching” ? Really, the laity should have no “two cents” if Rome changes things around a bit. The laity are called to spread the gospel through their life. The Magisterium was called to run the Church on earth. We all have our jobs. Imagine if an infantry had everyone as a general. You would never advance in the field, everyone would contribute their own perspective.

  34. Ed says:

    Diane – “This aversion to participating in interior worship”

    This is strongly corroborated by Msgr. Romano Guardini, in his “Meditations Before Mass,” c.1955, a series of pre-mass talks he gave to help overcome such aversions as you mention.

    http://www.cin.org/mbm.html

    “We cannot take stillness too seriously. Not for nothing do these reflections on the liturgy open with it. If someone were to ask me what the liturgical life begins with, I should answer: with learning stillness. Without it, everything remains superficial, vain. Our understanding of stillness is nothing strange or aesthetic. Were we to approach stillness on the level of aesthetics of mere withdrawal into the ego we should spoil everything. What we are striving for is something very grave, very important, and unfortunately sorely neglected; the prerequisite of the liturgical holy act.”

    Guardini’s teaching reminds of Fr.Markey’s purpose in the above. However, it also points, in favor of your point, to a more general cause of trouble, as it was published a decade before Vatican II.

    In this day, after half a century of media bombardment/indocrination/saturation, it’s ever easier to scapegoat Vatican II, (inaccurately, in my view), for problems that have, at least as early as the fifties, been common enough to merit serious catechesis by a well known and respected clergyman and teacher.

    The requisite stillness may, for many, arise now, in our reexperience of the traditional Latin Mass. But, prior to Vatican II, prior to the changes, people still had trouble “being there,” being still before God. The change in form seems unlikely to “fix” all that. As Guardini notes, stillness is a learned behavior, one that our clergy should lead and guide.

  35. Ottaviani says:

    Why has this man not been made a Monsignor?!

  36. Jayna says:

    “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”

    Can I get an Amen? Would that more parishes had a pastor as astute and dedicated as Fr. Markey (and who actually think the Holy Father knows what he’s talking about!).

  37. Rellis says:

    Chironomo has a good point: if you\’re a reform of the reform type, why not sleep in and go to the awesome 11:30AM O.F. with ad orientem, Latin, communion rail, etc.? I certainly would.

    As an added point, maybe the problem with attendance is that the 9:30AM E.F. is a solemn high mass EVERY WEEK. It takes a hearty soul to do a 2 hour Mass week-in and week-out.

    People forget that before the council, the overwhelming number of Masses were low. People used to view the 11AM Sunday solemn high mass as the price you paid for sleeping in. People still alive–some of them tradition-friendly priests–have confirmed this to me again and again.

    Bring back the low mass! It\’s the only way to get widespread buy-in to the E.F. The Church had it right back then–a steady dose of low masses is good for the soul.

  38. That’s a good point too. Having been to a solemn pontifical mass, they are quite long, but it is all a manefestation of our love for God is it not? If catechism were properly taught either pre v2 or after, then it wouldnt be an issue for people.

    Though to the point, Low Mass is very good. But you cant have a low mass every single day. If the mass as a whole is properly taught then people will view it as a priviledge, not a chore. Those who view a solemn mass as punishment for sleeping in, are viewing mass as a chore. God didnt have to give us the Eucharist, he chose to, to help us and be with us. It is therefore always a priviledge.

  39. Matt says:

    Is it wrong to have liturgy in the native tongue of those attending mass?

    No it is not necessarily wrong, however, as Vatican II suggests, in the LATIN rite of the Church, LATIN is to be maintained. Their are many reasons for this continuity, universality, and a sense of the sacred associated with a sacred language (ie. one set apart for sacred purposes).

    What is the true purpose of desiring the altar to be returned to the back of the sanctuary in front of the Tabernacle? Wouldn’t it be hard to see what is going on? Or is that not important?

    Because the nature of the mass has the priest principally leading us in prayers to God, “ad orientum” lends itself to this both symbollicly and physically. With the priest facing us as in a performer on a stage there is a natural tendancy for him to behave as a performer on a stage.

    I am reminded of mass at my parish which does the thrice ringing bells when the host and then the chalice are raised. It does capture the attention of my young daughter who is usually not paying attention up to that point. Which, coincidentally, wasn’t that the reason why the bells were rung at those moments during the mass, because everything was being said in a language most did not understand, so the congregation was all separately saying their own prayers and when the bells went off they knew that Christ was now present in the Eucharist.

    THis is not true either. Regardless of the language, the consecration was silent, so the people are together uniting their prayers with the priest acting in “persona Christi”, the bells are an indication that the consecration has occurred.

    Since I only became Catholic not quite 10 years ago I’ve never had experience with anything other than the Novus Ordo Mass. While I recognize that the current liturgy is not where Vatican II wanted to go, in what direction did Vatican II want to take the liturgy? And how would that have differed from the original Pre-Vatican II Mass? I guess I need help.

    For this you should read the Vatican II document on the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concillium). A simple reading of that document would suggest that the mass of Vatican II would, well, be the Extraordinary Form, with perhaps the addition of an Old Testament reading, the readings and propers PERIODICALLY in the vernacular, but never the ordinary. A few changes to the calendar, perhaps. None of the changes to the prayers of the mass were called for by Vatican II, nor has there EVER been a magisterial document calling for a whole mass in the vernacular, or that any part of the mass would be always celebrated in the vernacular. Nothing in Vatican II called for a reduction in the reverence of the mass.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  40. tradone says:

    This is an example of how the Holy Ghost works. Fr Markey is a heaven send.
    Simple as that.
    Prayers of thanksgiving in order.

  41. TJM says:

    Rellis, actually my pre-Vatican II parish had a Missa Cantata for all Sunday Masses other than the 6:00 am. Tom

  42. I think people also need to know that there is a BIG different between a Solemn Pontifical High mass, and a Solemn High Mass/Missa Cantata. What the novus ordo does weekly could be considered a “Missa Contata”, in a very vague sense.

  43. TJM says:

    What the Novus Ordo does weekly could be considered a Missa Cantata? That is a stretch, since there is very little of the Ordinary which is sung. Tom

  44. Trevor says:

    He made the EF the principal Mass on Sundays! I’ve never seen that before…usually those blessed priests who implement the EF into their parishes still have the OF as the “main event” so to speak.

    This is a good development!

  45. Ygnacia says:

    “a banal on-the-spot product”

    As someone raised with only the Novus Ordo, and that is now attending both the NO and the EF, I can say from personal experience how true this statement is. For me, the EF is a truer form of worship. A two hour High Mass as a ‘punishment’ for sleeping in late??…for some of us it is the joy of our lives.

  46. Patricia K says:

    I have a question about the liturgical reforms that the Fathers of the Council intended. The following quote comes from a book I am now reading:“The Offertory prayers of the “old Mass” were beautiful but a bit too sacrificial for this point in the liturgy. They intended to blur the fact that our real act of offering occurs during the Eucharistic Prayer, when we offer not bread and wine but Christ Himself.”
    Msgr. Knox refers to time in the Mass as all of one piece so to refer to the Host already as the Unspotted Oblation is to recognize what is about to happen. The Missal itself gives added insight into the importance of the Offertory Prayers (1962 Missal). Also, I have read Sacrosanctum Concilium and do not recall anywhere that the Offertory Prayers were regarded as ‘too sacrificial’ and that they should be removed from the Mass. I understand that there are those who believe that the Mass is primarily a ‘meal’ and secondarily a Sacrifice, but this comes from a book that is by a ‘reform of the reform’ priest. So I’m confused as to the justification for this view of the Offertory in the Extraordinary Form. Anyone with insight into this matter?
    Patricia K

  47. sullibe says:

    I appreciate your explanations, Matt, as I’m still learning. However, I still have questions…

    You said that during the Eucharist the consecration is silent and the people are uniting in prayers silently, is this the assumption of what God-fearing Catholic’s should be doing, or is there a guide of sorts for the congregation to follow along with specific prayers?

    Which brings me to my next series of questions… I had always learned, that the readings at Mass were meant to be proclaimed, in particular the Gospel, that is- to be heard not read. If everything is in a language the congregation doesn’t understand how do they hear the Gospel and understand it? Or is reading the Gospel from a guide okay? I’m also a little confused on the idea of the sacred Latin. I mean I get that the Church for hundreds of years used Latin in their masses, but if the desire is to, simplistically, imitate the Last Supper, would it not be more sacred to use Aramaic or even Greek? One could even take it step further and say that the OT readings should be done in Hebrew and NT readings done in Greek…(I don’t really think this is the case, but it would seem a natural step from what you are saying about sacred purpose) Or to ask it a different way (and I don’t mean this accusingly, I’m trying to find out why this is important because I think it is) Why is the Latin(language) more sacred than the common language of the congregation gathered, why does it offer more authority to a mass’s sacred purpose?

    You also specify quite intentionally the Latin Rite, could you define this or rather are there other rites and what are they, do they differ in language only, from the Latin Rite?

    As far as the Presider facing the congregation akin to performing as an entertainer… While I have seen this, unfortunately in several masses, to me (and again, no reference to how it was done before) it seems less a product of the mass style and more the product of certain priests. That is to say, I have seen very many priests reverently leading the congregation through the Eucharist, in the masses I attend. So my question is this, if the priest is acting in “persona Christi” recalling the Last Supper shouldn’t he be facing the congregation simulating the congregation surrounding the table of the Lord celebrating the Passover?

    I appreciate any clarification anyone can give me. I’ve seen many bad liturgies but since I’ve never experienced a TLM, I just assumed it was the individual parish and priest that were misinterpreting the liturgical recommendations. It has never occurred to me that it could be the mass style itself that is the problem.

  48. “What is the true purpose of desiring the altar to be returned to the back of the sanctuary in front of the Tabernacle?”

    In the Ottaviani Intervention [concise description of what this Archbishop saw as deep differences between the old Mass and the New Mass back in the 60s], Ottaviani stated that it is a theological lie to separate the altar of repose [where the Tabernacle resides] and the altar of Sacrifice [at which the Mass is said]. These two should not be separated because of the Timeless essence of Christ being with us and at the same time being Sacrificed. These are to be visually inseparable as these two exist together for all time.

    What we see also teaches us the Church’s doctrine.

    [how ironic that my anti-spam word is ‘continuity’]

  49. sullibe says:

    Another quick question for those of you who have young children. With all the references to more reverence, truer worship and the importance of silence in the non-Novus Ordo masses, how do you handle your children at mass?

  50. sullibe – don’t forget that if the congregation doesn’t understand anything or hear anything, the Mass is still acceptable to God.

    Although it is good to hear Mass and to understand it, and to pray it along with the priest, the TRUE purpose of the Mass is prayer between the priest [in the person of Jesus Christ] and God the Father. The Mass is offered for our benefit, among other purposes, which only Jesus can do effectively. Thus the need for the office and power of the priest, who acts in the person of Christ.

    We are lucky bystanders, in a way, privileged to attend and unite ourselves with the intention of the priest.

    This is pre-figured even in the Old Testament when the high priest would go behind the curtain in the temple, away from the eyes of the people, because this “conversation” was so sacred. In the fulfillment of the New Testament, we are privileged to hear Mass the way we do.

    I don’t mean to derail this thread from the subject of Fr Markey and his message. Perhaps the explanation of the Mass would be better treated elsewhere. I don’t mean to contribute to an off-the-subject rabbit-hole.

  51. sullibe says:

    Tina- It’s interesting that you say that “the Mass is still acceptable to God.” But below you say that “The Mass is offered for our benefit”. I was always taught that God didn’t need the Mass, I mean God is, well, God. But we as sinful human beings, need the ritual, the sacredness, the sacrament that is the Eucharist, we need that connection with Christ. I don’t mean to be antagonizing, but I’m trying to desparately to understand why there is an obvious desire to return to the Latin Mass and why many, in particular here, see it as the only true mass. Again, I don’t mean to sound antagonistic, but wouldn’t the reverse be true too? if the congregation does understand anything, hear anything, and for that matter understand and hear everything, isn’t the Massstill is acceptable to God as well?

  52. sullibe – my two statements are not in opposition. You can hear and pray the Mass, that is acceptable. If the congregation doesn’t hear it or understand it, the Mass is still acceptable.

    My point is that the Mass is a prayer to God the Father, not to us. That’s all. So it is not important FOR THE Mass TO BE EFFECTIVE that we hear it. Get it? I’m not saying that hearing the Mass is wrong.

    We are getting side-tracked. I wonder if there is another site or reference that would be better suited to this discussion?

  53. wsxyz says:

    Sullibe – To say that “The Mass is offered for our benefit” and that it “is acceptable to God”, is to say that the Mass is for us Humans. The Mass is to God for us. The Mass is a sacrifice to God for the purposes of adoration, thanksgiving, atonement, and supplication. It is, in fact, the very same sacrifice as Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the Cross. Holy Mass makes that very same sacrifice present on the altar. So to assist at Holy Mass is not to be present at the Last Supper, but instead it is to be present at Calvary.

    Now I am not an expert, but in my opinion and in my knowledge, Latin is preferred for several reasons: One, it is a “dead” language, and the meaning of Latin does not change with time. So we know that when we pray in Latin we are praying the same thing as all those who have gone before and those who will come after. Two, it has been the language of the Latin rite for at least 15 centuries, and for most of that time it was not the spoken language of the faithful at Mass. If illiterate medieval peasants could be sanctified through the Latin Mass, then why can’t we? Three, stability is important for the Church. As recent decade have proved, one you start changing small things, everything seems to be up for grabs. God does not change. The Faith does not change. Continuity with the past is a good thing to help us remember these facts.

    You mentioned the readings – most traditional Masses read the readings twice – once in Latin, once in the vernacular. Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with them just being in the vernacular except for the fact that the Latin chant is very beautiful and I would miss hearing it, even though I don’t understand much without following in my missal.

    Lastly since I have two small children I can at least give you my observations about children in a Traditional Latin Mass. We attend a Missa Cantata every Sunday at our parish that lasts about 90 minutes. My Children (4 & 5 years) are very quiet and still at Mass, but they do tend to look around at other people and flip through their prayer books at random some of the time, especially when the priest is praying silently.

    As for other children, mostly well behaved. Occasionally a toddler will let out a scream, but not that often. We have a cry room for the very young babies.

  54. Nan says:

    sullibe, there are over 20 Eastern Catholic churches. They use their own rites and follow their own traditions while being in Communion with Rome. So no, Latin Rite isn’t the only option.

  55. R says:

    Rellis wrote (1:55pm):

    \”As an added point, maybe the problem with attendance is that the 9:30AM E.F. is a solemn high mass EVERY WEEK. It takes a hearty soul to do a 2 hour Mass week-in and week-out.\”

    I go there every week. The Mass is never longer than 1.5 hours (with obvious exceptions for Palm Sunday, Corpus Christi, Christ the King, etc.). And the music and preaching are generally very good, so no one would notice the passing of time anyway. Nor is there a problem with attendance. In fact, the TLM is better attended than all other Masses in the parish except the Spanish Mass (not surprising considering this is an inner city parish with a large Hispanic population). Many of Fr. Markey\’s parishioners who began with the 11:30am sung OF Mass a few years ago have started to come regularly to the EF; some of these do double duty now, since they sing in the parish choir at the OF Mass. Fr. Markey\’s comments about wishing to share this treasure with more of his parishioners, and indeed with all Catholics in the area, should not be interpreted as contradicting the above.

    God bless Fr. Markey!!!

  56. Ed – thanks for sharing that quote from Msgr. Romano Guardini on stillness.

  57. Mark G. says:

    Wow.

    Simply Wow.

  58. Clare says:

    Yes — the organist at St. Mary’s in Norwalk, David Hughes, is great.

  59. matt says:

    sullibe,

    when i say the Latin is sacred, it is (in addition to the reasons mentioned by wsxyz) not inherent to Latin but in contradiction to the profane. Profane means every day use, or in language we would call it “vernacular”. As a language reserved for prayer, Latin is sacred. The same was true of Hebrew (before Israel reinvented it as vernacular). Even at Christ’s times Hebrew was reserved for the Synagogue, Aramaic being the “vernacular” he spoke. For the same reason Eastern Christians often maintain their historic language in their masses.

    While some may sound like it, and even some may actually feel that way, it is the belief of virtually all traditional Catholics that the OF is a true mass regardless of how well or poorly it is celebrated, the discussion is about the accidental attributes which can contribute or be deleterious to worship.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  60. meg says:

    Sullibe – you will begin to understand once you go to a TLM a few times, so please do try to get to one for your own sake, to answer some of your questions by seeing for yourself. Don’t be put off if you have trouble following initially – it will come. The TLM Mass is so deep and beautiful and satisfying.

    I am a cradle Catholic and I can say honestly that until I saw a priest saying a Mass facing the tabernacle, I didn’t fully realize that we were there to witness a consecration, that the priest was worshipping, too, not just leading us in worship like a teacher or conductor. For me it was like a light went on. The priest kneels in front of the tabernacle, deeply bows, and says the Confiteor privately, then the servers follow – I don’t know why but that part always gets to me. The whole thing is gorgeous.

    My parish is loaded with kids, if they make a ruckus they are taken out by their parents, just like at any other church. But for some reason, my children are more content here then they were at my old OF parish, can’t really ezplain it.

  61. “What the Novus Ordo does weekly could be considered a Missa Cantata? That is a stretch, since there is very little of the Ordinary which is sung. Tom”

    I was referring to it in a stretch sense, to illustrate “time”. The Missa Cantata takes longer because more of the parts are sung. Was speaking purely in strict function. Most weeks you have a sung Sanctus, Acclamation, Doxology, and Amen. A good priest will usually chant the canon , save the consecration. When one goes to a daily mass without the whole “band” or whatever the case may be, its much shorter, just like the difference between a True Missa Cantata and a Low Mass

    Also you have the gloria, and psalms and a Gospel Acclaimation, which most times are both sung on the sunday mass. True, things like the propers usually arent chanted, which in a Missa Cantata they would be. However, just showing the comparisons

  62. Mark Ma says:

    Sullibe, you ask whether Latin is to have a special place in the Church’s liturgy. I answer with a quote from Bl. Pope John XXIII in Veterum Sapientia:

    “But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.

    And since in God’s special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire — and that for so many centuries — it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See. Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.”

    “Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.

    Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin for mal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity “makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.”

    I hope you find this helpful.

  63. JGKester says:

    As vibrant a place of spiritual and liturgical life as St. Mary’s is, the church itself did not withstand the 1970’s interior wreckovations. Fr. Markey is at the moment involved in a campaign of massive restoration of the church to its original glory, but the renovators did their work well, and the economy is what it is. Anyone who supports Fr. Markey’s bold initiatives and courage might want to consider making a donation to him for this worthy but daunting task.

  64. oops.sorry I meant CARDINAL Ottaviani, above.

  65. sullibe says:

    I thank everyone for their help. I hope to attend a TLM some day, though one is not offered anywhere in a two hour radius of us and it is hard to travel (and difficult to afford to travel) great distances with young children. It helps me in understanding why we do what we do. One could say God called me to the Church and now is calling for understanding and knowledge about it. I do have issues with the liturgy in many places, (if I hear drums one more time, I’m going to start hiding the drumsticks) Many times it does seem like a performance, and it’s always so sad. But I have found some places where the new mass is celebrated so beautifully and reverently. I belong to our Cathedral parish and the mass there is, usually, just beautiful. (Though the congregation did clap for us in the choir after Midnight Mass, but that’s a whole other long story.) Again thanks for all your help.

  66. Peter Palladio says:

    SEMINARIANS IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY AND WESTCHESTER COUNTY: Superbowl Sunday at St. Mary’s you should skip the game and
    go to Fr. Cipolla’s 25th anniversary Mass, at 3:00 p.m. YES, IN LATIN.

  67. Joe says:

    The good Father Markey and his service to the Lord lead me to believe that there is indeed hope for the Church in the Americas.

    As Father Z so rightly points out, the TLM is the true “grown-up” Mass. This will not be understood quickly by many Catholics.

    I have noticed that the English speaking people of the world have a general hostility to other languages and a dislike for learning them. Never having been to the European Continent, it’s my understanding that many (not all) Western Europeans do speak English as a second language. I don’t believe this is the case in England and I know it isn’t the case in the US.
    When Latin was taught in schools – it was eliminated before I entered primary school in 1970 – we understood English better and Latin in the Liturgy was not a problem.

    I wish I knew Latin better, but with a one year old at home there just isn’t time to study it. However, I can understand many prayers, and I pray the Ave Maria and Gloria Patri in Latin – my meager Spanish knowledge does help.

    The other sui juris Churches in the Catholic Church use languages reserved for the sacred. The Ukrainian Catholic Church does use some Slavonic. The Maronites use some Arabic and some Aramaic. The Syro-Malabar Church uses their native tounge of India. It is not unreasonable for Latin Catholics to learn and understand the ordinary of the Mass in Latin and to respond properly. Those that complain about “not understanding” a “dead language” are in need of increasing their knowledge about the Catholic faith and in need of understanding that the whole world isn’t obligated to speak English just because we speak English in the US.

  68. my kidz mom says:

    Here are more guys who get it!! http://www.whynotpriest.org/index.phtml is “an initiative of a group of Catholic seminarians of the Legionaries of Christ. One day they heard the words of John Paul II, “Today is a wonderful time to be a priest!” They want to share the happiness of their vocation with other young men by means of this video. From all around the world they send their testimonies of enthusiasm and generosity of a life dedicated to following Christ in the priesthood. And you, why not?”

    It takes about three minutes to view…click and be inspired!

  69. TerryC says:

    I’m quite tired of hearing the “Latin is a dead language” tripe. Latin is still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. All business of the Holy See is official published in Latin. Latin is still uses widely in both law and medicine.
    Just do a search on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel for Latin books. Besides Latin grammar and dictionaries, and classics you will find Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis and Winnie Ille Pu. Not bad for a “dead language.”