A little debate about the Extraordinary Form in the blogs

A while ago, I posted on John Zmirak’s get punchline at the end of an article:

And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.

Now a certain Tom Hoopes writing for National Catholic Register is trying to duke it out bloggishly wiht Zmirak over the issue of the Extraordinary Form.  And Zmirak responded.

Their entries are quite long.

You probably know who John Zmirak is, but who is Tom Hoopes? 

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., where he teaches in the Journalism and Mass Communications department. Etc.

So, what does Mr. Hoopes have to say to Mr. Zmirak?  My emphases and comments:

Answering Zmirak on the Mass
Wave Your Freak Flag High?

by Tom Hoopes  Friday, March 05, 2010

My friend and former colleague, John Zmirak — the guy who friends of mine call their favorite writer, even now that I’m eligible for the honor — has written an an explosive article (at the excellent Inside Catholic) about the Mass.

He’s [Zmirak's] an Extraordinary Form guy — a 1962 Missal guy, a Tridentine Mass guy. He sets out to address the question he has heard: “Why do you people care so much about externals?” His piece is hilarious, copiously linked to supporting material, clever, and wrong. [An echo of Archbp. Chaput's speech in Houston.]

Well, ultimately wrong. Three things I know:

1. I know that the Extraordinary Form Mass has been a giant blessing for the Church before the Council and continues to be for many people afterwards.

2. One of my best friends is a new devotee; his wife, also a dear friend, said if she were to write about her experience (moving from turned off by to definitely a fan of the Extraordinary Form) she would call her article “Surprised by Beauty.”

3. My own exposure to the Extraordinary Form has been very limited, so I am not speaking from a personal preference point of view.

Zmirak goes through a list of possible reasons he might care about externals (aesthetics, love for Latin, nostalgia) and eliminates them. He scores by comparing the Catholic Church and the U.S. Navy: “It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots.” I’d answer (with help from Benedictine College’s theology department) that it’s a machine built by God, not saints. In the end, though, John avoids the theological debate in order to pin his argument on an analogy instead. So will I.

So, why does he insist that the externals are important?

Because he says the Mass form is like a flag: An inessential, but vitally important thing. Imagine a new administration changed the flag. “If people accepted the change,” writes Zmirak, “what else would they be likely to accept?”

Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but the form of the Mass is not at all a flag[Ummm... Zmirak used that as an analogy.]

Furthermore, it seems to me that to think of the form of the Mass as a flag points to a, er, major problem. It in fact forces us, the Novus Ordo friends of John, to restate our question. “Okay, forget my question about why you care about externals. Let me ask you this: Why do you wave your Mass around and wear it like a badge?”  [Didn't he give several reasons?]

Let’s think about this for a second. The Church doesn’t have or need a flag, because it isn’t a nation. Its members are tied to each other by bonds far deeper than political ones.  [But the Church does have markers for the identity of her members.  Mo?]

What is the Church? It’s a communio. It isn’t just like a family, it is a family (we share a Father and mother), but it’s more expansive than that. Christ calls himself the bridegroom and us the bride. Corporately, we’re the bride of Christ, we are so united to him that we are his body — just as “a man is united to his wife and they become not two but one flesh.”  [So, the writer has reduced what the Church is to this model.]

Where does this happen in the Church? At Mass. We receive his body and blood, as a community — in communion — and we are one. As the Council taught, the Eucharist is both the sign and the reality of the unity of the Church, a unity that starts in baptism.

Where does this happen in marriage? In the consummative act and in its conjugal reaffirmation. In other words, through marital intimacy: On night one and on subsequent nights. This conjugal act is the “source and summit” of the unitive and procreative dimensions of a couple’s marriage.

But of course spousal unity is about a lot more than sexual union. To have a proper relationship, a husband and wife have to, well, do stuff with their clothes on. In fact, their highest priorities will consist almost entirely of stuff that happens outside the bedroom.

As important as sex is as the “source and summit” of their marital relationship, their behavior and relationship will start to look warped if they make sex the “center and preoccupation” of their relationship. Their marital relationship will start to be tense and unhappy and the very unity the act is supposed to affirm will become tenuous and fragile.

It’s the same with the Mass.  [So far.. is his analogy that participating at Mass is like having sex?]

Now, don’t get me wrong: Not only do I know it’s possible to prefer the Extraordinary Form without obsessing about it, but the two most faithful devotees of the old Mass I know don’t obsess about it.

But I know some people do, and I know Zmirak in this piece comes perilously close. [What does "close" mean here.  Does he? Doesn't he?  I guess he doesn't.]

Mass is public; sex is private. [Well... not if you see what is going on in the world today.] But just as I wouldn’t wave my Mass like a flag, I wouldn’t go winking at my wife and pointing to the bed too much, either. Doing either, it seems, would tend to alienate and irritate.  [I wonder if this is anything like the liberal Catholic argument that our faith should be a private matter.]

To complete the analogy: the conjugal act ought to have a certain order of events and should be respectful and true to the nature of the relationship. If you’re going to play music, it ought to be appropriate to the occasion, and not disrespect or distract. And the same goes for Mass.  [But the various "rites" leading up to a couple having sex are going to vary.  But the issue at hand is a Rite of Mass, which is by nature ritual.  No... this isn't working.]

But if a husband got too focused on the externals of the conjugal act, about the kind of scented candle and the lighting, and started insisting that the details should match Sept. 17, 1987’s details, and that only the one Journey tape was appropriate, and furthermore started talking about little else but the importance of the act, and the perfection of that 1987 experience …  [Then he would be an idiot.]

His good wife would probably want to reorder his priorities a little bit.

Ultimately, we want Mass to be our expression of a relationship of which it is a very small (but very important) part. [Can we accept this premise?  That Mass is a "very small part" of our "relationship" with... God/neighbor/Church/world? ] That’s why most of us — in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary camps — know the externals should be right, but don’t obsess too too much about them.  [Perhaps he might reflect on the fact that we Catholics come into contact with mystery through signs.]

So, John, put down your flag, stop pointing to the bed, and let’s talk about us for a change.

UPDATE: Contra at least one blog’s inference, this post should in no way be taken to suggest that I have a predeliction for Journey at intimate moments or at any other time.

This didn’t convince.  So far, advantage Zmirak.

The writer’s analogy was, how to put this delicately… a little limp?

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66 Responses to A little debate about the Extraordinary Form in the blogs

  1. deborah-anne says:

    ROFL…Amen Amen, Father!!!

  2. EnoughRope says:

    I am a Latin NO guy, and externals mean a lot to me! Externals should mean a lot regardless of which form you attend!! With that said, externals do matter, but some people do place too much emphasis on them. I don’t think Zmirak has done that. So far, I’d score this Zmirak win.

  3. I could be wrong, here, and please anyone, correct me if I am wrong, but my somewhat fleeting memory attaches Tom Hoopes to promoting Medjuroje…is there a connection? (This is no way an attempt to divert the discussion; my query is, is there a connection between his attitude toward the EF and his (alleged) promotion of M.?)

  4. DisturbedMary says:

    I did not renew my subscription to National Catholic Register because of Tom Hoopes Nov. 5, 2008 editorial on the election of President Obama. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/our_president1/
    I never looked could read the REgister after that day without feeling “moderate” breath down my neck.
    So this is my completely biased vote for Fr.

  5. DisturbedMary says:

    I meant to cast “my completely biased vote” for Zmirak.

  6. An American Mother says:

    This piece just doesn’t work. Even without the interlinear translation (thanks, Fr. Z!) it makes you go, “Huh?”

    Advantage Zmirak. Hoopes, don’t quit your day job.

  7. THREEHEARTS says:

    This another of my pet peeves. Does no one in the Church ever call to mind the Virtue of religion? Either Aquinas or Augustine, great and sainted writers, wrote eloquently about this virtue as did Cardinal Mazzella. Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict both write about the beauty in the Church. Beauty is not just in the eye of the catholic beholder. The exterior for us is the positive example of the interior. The lack of both knowledge of this virtue and its acceptance accompanied by a corporeal,visual demonstration tells anyone with moxie why we wear work denims to Mass. Christ is rapidly becoming not the object of our worship and adoration at the rituals, liturgies and sacramental rites of the Church. Novus ordo or Tridentine, the real argument is simple is the beauty of the liturgies expressed by one or the other of us at any sacrifice today. I urge you all think before you write. Think about what does the Mass do for you. Does it express internally and thus outwardly “sacrificium latreuticum” the glorifying of the Divine Majesty? Does it return thanks for for benefits received “sacrificium eucharisticum? Does it petition for new benefits “sacrificium impetratorium”? Does it make satisfaction for sins that is yours, your family and the parish, “sacraficium propitiatorum”? Unless you have made the commitment as such personally while attending, are you really there at the Cross and Resurrection? Do you rise glorified with Him at the end. Unless you are i true state of the grace that sanctified, probably you are not. Any of us for that matter

  8. lofstrr says:

    For a while now I have been thinking about this very analogy regarding the Church, the mass and our Lord. I have never shared it with anyone because comparing mass to conjugal love is a bit unnerving but I definitely see parallels in terms of self-giving intimacy and a type of transmission of spiritual life. I am sure I am not the first to come up with this.

    However…

    He seems to have two problems in making this analogy. First he goes too far into details to draw inferences and that is always a danger of analogy. They can only be taken so far. You cannot create new theology or generate justifications for such using analogies, rather their purpose is nothing more than to create an illustration. The analogy is not the thing itself so where it fails to match up you simply ignore. It is only an illustration after all.

    Second, in marriage we keep from focusing to much on sex because of our failings, not because of sex is some how like a necessary evil that we don’t want to much of. If we focus too much on it, it is because we are approaching it selfishly. Some how I don’t think Christ approaches His bride with selfish motive, ever. If human married love was as perfectly selfless has Christ’s love for the Church then every day and forever would not be too much.

    Now, if we are to use this analogy we might ask…

    If the Bridegroom is perfect, pure and selfless, will the Bride ever tell Him “No”?

    What Bride doesn’t want to look beautiful for her Bridegroom?

    Where do the spiritual children come from? The union of the bride and groom of course. So to limit their union is to limit the family and to eliminate the union is to destroy the family.

    I hope this didn’t go too far. But I do think it is actually a very good analogy even if it makes one a bit uncomfortable.

  9. revs96 says:

    The marital analogy is nonsensical as Hoopes presents it. If the church is the Bride of Christ (which she is) and the Eucharist is the intimacy between them, then that means that details ARE important (as Zmirak is arguing) since they add to the atmosphere and make the experience more enjoyable for both bridegroom and for bride. Which is why many prefer the EF: bells & smells. It almost seems as though Hoopes is talking and trying to figure out his analogy at the same time.

  10. revs96 says:

    lofstrr:
    You’re right, the Eucharist is intimacy between Christ & the Church, but it works in different way than the intimacy between husband and wife (duh). Hoopes is stretching the analogy to lengths it can’t reach.

  11. The Astronomer says:

    Hoopes sounds condescending. His argument is weak and VERY ‘Spirit of Vatican Two.’

    A cup full of MEH.

  12. lofstrr says:

    We might also consider, that if we approach the mass only for what we get out of it, then it is no longer a reflection of love. If we approach it purely out of self-giving love and worship, then we will walk away with life.

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    I’ve tried to steer clear of “theology of the body” stuff, and I don’t know whether this is Mr. Hoopes’ problem, but in his preoccupation with forcing a clumsy conjugal analogy he comes perilously close to an obsession with …, well, something.

  14. Choirmaster says:

    lofstrr said:

    If the Bridegroom is perfect, pure and selfless, will the Bride ever tell Him “No”?

    Answer: Yes, because the Bride is not perfect, pure and selfless; and we (individually and collectively), as the Bride, say “no” almost every time!

    The weak implementation of this analogy notwithstanding, I like it. The Mass is a consummation–of a kind–of the union between Christ and the Church, and I think the analogy is very well presented by lofstrr.

  15. lofstrr says:

    @revs96

    I think you are right or at least Zmirak failed in the analogy in that he spends too much time bending it to his use rather than learning from it.

  16. revs96 says:

    “We might also consider, that if we approach the mass only for what we get out of it, then it is no longer a reflection of love. If we approach it purely out of self-giving love and worship, then we will walk away with life.”

    This is a great description of interior reverence, something we all must have or the bells & smells won’t mean much. We must all give the complete gift of self to Christ.

  17. Jordanes says:

    Zmirak definitely wins this round.

    The Church doesn’t have or need a flag, because it isn’t a nation. Its members are tied to each other by bonds far deeper than political ones. [But the Church does have markers for the identity of her members. Mo?]

    What is the Church? It’s a communio. It isn’t just like a family, it is a family (we share a Father and mother), but it’s more expansive than that.

    Actually the Church IS a nation, that is, a people, a family — it’s the People of God. A nation, an ethnos, is only an ancient family grown into a tribe, and a group of tribes/families grown great.

    What Hoopes meant, I suppose, is that the Church isn’t a “state.” But she is a nation, and she does have a flag and a banner.

  18. “So, John, put down your flag, stop pointing to the bed, and let’s talk about us for a change.”

    Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?

    Us. Me. You. We. Community. Blah, blah, blah.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT US!

  19. Gabriel Austin says:

    Ah the days when us Trads could sing a few Latin hymns such as:

    Vexilla regis prodeunt,
    Fulget crucis mysterium,
    Qua vita mortem pertulit
    Et morta vitam protulit.

    So much for not liking the Church’s flags.

  20. Mark Windsor says:

    I’m not really a Trad, but Zmirak wins this one hands down. Hoopes problem is what defines the Mass right now. The communion line looks like people lined up at an ATM machine. There’s little reverence, and by the time you leave it’s often very hard to tell if you’ve worshipped something or not.

    From someone who’s not a Trad – Hoopes’ response is really quite depressing.

  21. Cavaliere says:

    My own exposure to the Extraordinary Form has been very limited

    He should have stopped right there because any further analysis was meaningless.

  22. How can anybody ask how “externals” can be so important when messing with the “externals” led to so many people walking away from the Church?

  23. John F. Kennedy says:

    “…the guy who friends of mine call their favorite writer” Now we know why.

  24. moon1234 says:

    His whole analogy seems like it could be printed in Playboy, much less the NCR. This guys needs some spiritual help.

  25. Dr. Eric says:

    “But if a husband got too focused on the externals of the conjugal act, about the kind of scented candle and the lighting, and started insisting that the details should match Sept. 17, 1987’s details, and that only the one Journey tape was appropriate, and furthermore started talking about little else but the importance of the act, and the perfection of that 1987 experience …”

    The above is a bad analogy- the “externals” of the EF have been added to and subtracted from for over 1600 years. The EF is tantamount to a husband on his 30th Anniversary being able to use the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes to woo his wife that he has built up over the years. The OF which has been put together practically over night is like a guy who tries something new that he doesn’t know whether or not his wife will like.

    And this: “The writer’s analogy was, how to put this delicately… a little limp?” almost made me spit out my tea!

  26. Fr Martin Fox says:

    While not going along with how it was applied here, I also think the analogy between the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist, and the conjugal act, has merit.

    As many will recall, the Douay Rheims (sp?) translated our Lord’s words on the cross, “it is consummated.” The Cross consummates the marriage in a way that is meaningful for understanding the idea of dying to self.

    And, after all, this is an analogy St. Paul points us toward in his letter to the Ephesians, when he exhorts both spouses, but particularly husbands, to see the cross as the model for how to approach one another. As I tell couples in marital preparation, it’s not about power over each other, but mutual subordination as Paul says.

    The analogy serves, I think, to enrich the understanding both of the Mass and the Eucharist, and also the dignity and meaning of marriage, including marital acts. That, in turn, helps explain why the Church calls us to wait for marriage, and be open to life in marriage.

  27. Nathan says:

    Other commenters have done a fine job discussing the analogy. I have a bit of concern, though, with Mr. Hoopes’ argument that Mr. Zmirak comes periously close to obsessing about the form of Holy Mass.

    What, exactly, does Mr. Hoopes mean by obsessing about Holy Mass, especially in the context of his analogy? Does the desire to please God by offering and attending Holy Mass in the most reverent way and in the way most clearly expressive of the Church’s teaching qualify as obsessing? Does being concerned about the fruits of the postconcilar liturgical changes qualify as obsessing? Does the worry about the loss of Catholic identity and culture associated with the TLM qualify as obsessing? Does having to constantly be alert and on guard to “options” that clearly diminish belief in the Real Presence and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass–in order to protect your children’s Faith–qualify as an obsession?

    I’d prefer to see Mr. Hoopes put some conceptual parameters around what that means. Of course, since a lot of us were told for years just to “shut up and color” and told “don’t obsess, just go along with the flow” when we worried about what was happening liturgically in our parishes, I might be just a bit too sensitive about such things.

    In Christ,

  28. introibo says:

    FYI, Hoopes and his wife used to edit Catholic Faith and Family. It and the National Catholic Register, good as they are, are owned by the Legion of Christ. Hoopes did recently leave Faith and Family – not sure if he still writes for the Register. Perhaps he left after the big revelations about Fr. Marciel and the Legion? [That's a rabbit hole. If I were to write something for National Catholic Register no one could legitimately infer that I was benign in anyway toward Maciel.]

  29. Hugh says:

    I’d invite Mr Hoopes to say whether or not in his eyes the Almighty Himself was a bit obsessed about the externals of the liturgy, the construction and furnishing of the Ark and Temple, the vesture of the priests, and so on, in the books of the Pentateuch.

  30. Papabile says:

    Tom Hoopes left NCR after the Maciel revelations, and he wrote the following on Amy Welborn’s blog:

    http://amywelborn.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/way-truth-and-life/#comment-11484

  31. nmoerbeek says:

    I want to run with this analogy. I’ll stretch for the sake of arguement.

    Sex produces childern which is one of the reasons we have marriage.

    The Mass brings Gods infinite grace into the world.

    Rape produces childern as well, so love is not necessary for the act to be completed. Fitting enough you can have sex with no love and you can hear mass with no love.

    But if a married couple cannot even love one another in an act designed by God to be pleasurable then how are they going to love their childern?

    If man cannot show God using material things (when man is a material creature) how can he love god with his whole mind body and soul?

    If a husband loves a wife he will not cheapen her, he will treat her with reverence and respect (which pointing to the bed he would not do) and the joy that results from this (childern and greater charity) it produces will be visible to all. Would it be wrong for them to encourage other people to marry and have a family?

    However if a husband insists on vulgar cheapening acts, puts no reverence into it, has no respect for his wife, insists on cheesy music being played and refuses to use poetry but sticks to banal effortless expression how do you think his wife would feel? To boot he got these ideas from his protestant friend and they are not a genuine part of him (this was not the man the wife thought she had married). But I guess they can still have childern this way so it is the same as the above right?

  32. Dr. Eric says:

    There is nothing wrong with comparing the Holy Mass to the conjugal act- why do you think there are canopies that one would have over one’s bed over the altar? [Baldachins are little more complicated that that. And I have no problem with the analogy, but it is a deeply complicated and profound analogy.]

    http://images.google.com/images?q=baldacchino&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

    But the author keeps pounding out his thin arguments:
    “Ultimately, we want Mass to be our expression of a relationship of which it is a very small (but very important) part.”

    No! The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of Catholicism!

    I. THE EUCHARIST – SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF ECCLESIAL LIFE

    The Catechism reads: “Paragraph 1324: The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’136 ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’137″

  33. Tom Hoopes says:

    Well. Lots of good comment here. When a prominent Catholic (he’ll thank me for not naming him!) sent me e-mail kudos and said he liked the piece, I wrote back saying:

    “Thanks! Good to hear something positive,since the Latin Mass folks will probably body slam me at any moment, and starting a blog fight with Zmirak is like starting a fist fight with Chuck Norris.”

    I’ll respond tomorrow. Or later. Stuff to do.

  34. Nathan says:

    Let’s build on noerbeek (obviously, a problem with the analogy is that the husband is Christ’s represenatives on earth, not Our Lord Himself):

    We have a couple who have been married for a long time. One day:

    He: Hey, let’s do our conjugal relationship a new way!

    She: Why, what’s wrong with what we’re doing?

    He: All the experts say this is a way we can both more actively participate.

    She: We haven’t?

    He: Of course not, you are way too passive. Anyway, the experts say it will bring back the romance we had a long time ago, because we’ll be just like we were first dating.

    She: How?

    He: That’s what the experts say–and those who have been practicing this out of matrimony will find this approach more welcoming. Look at this picture from the Kama Sutra–that’s what we need to be doing.

    She: That looks uncomfortable.

    He: You’ll get over that soon enough. And, instead of saying “I love you,” we should tell each other “You’re groovy.” That way we’ll be up to date and with the times. Anyway, you CAN interpret “You’re groovy” as “I love you,” you know.

    She: I’m not sure about this.

    He: Just wait, the experts say it will be much more participatory if I pretend to be you and you pretend to be me!

    She: That’s icky. Can’t we just have our conjugal relationship be more stable.

    He: Oh, you’re just obsessing about sex.

    In Christ,

    [ROFL!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star for the Day!

  35. Tom Hoopes: Good luck!

    BTW… “Latin Mass” is not a very good term, since the Novus Ordo is really to be in Latin as well, right?

    This blog is not about “the Latin Mass”, as many call it. It is featured prominently for a while now because it is very important in the life of the Church.

    I also won’t stand by and watch good people shoved to the back of the bus… again… and treated with great injustice for their legitimate aspirations. That is one of the reason why I took up my keyboard on their behalf.

    So, welcome to the fray and I repeat… good luck!

  36. randomcatholic says:

    Mr. Hoopes,

    Good show!

    Impressed you commented and looking forward to your reply.

  37. Rachel Pineda says:

    “So, John, put down your flag, stop pointing to the bed, and let’s talk about us for a change.”
    Okay, to put it quite simply, this is just a strange analogy. You seriously cannot come at us from the side proposing some sort of half-asked analogy posing as logic and expect not to be “body slammed” as you say?
    “Well. Lots of good comment here. When a prominent Catholic (he’ll thank me for not naming him!) sent me e-mail kudos and said he liked the piece, I wrote back saying:

    “Thanks! Good to hear something positive, since the Latin Mass folks will probably body slam me at any moment, and starting a blog fight with Zmirak is like starting a fist fight with Chuck Norris.”
    Well heck, I’d thank you too for not mentioning my name because your article is poorly written and an embarrassment. By the way, if it was a strong argument and if it was good and well, right, it would really speak for itself. It’s just sort of sloppy. Good for you and your little act of charity by not mentioning your “prominent Catholic’s” name.

    I don’t know who you or Zmirak are, which I’m sure made it easier for me to see the superiority of Zmirak’s article over yours. I’m so sorry but if you think this is “body slamming” then Lord have mercy, you need a thicker skin.
    Oh, one more thing, you don’t have to be a Latin Mass-er to know how to body slam properly.

  38. I re-read the article.
    I’m sorry, this is not a serious treatment of the Holy Mass, no matter the form.
    I’m no Puritan; talking about sex is not a problem for me, as long as it’s appropriate and in context.
    But this is just embarrassing.
    The analogy fails…big time…esp. with that comment on the scented candle on September whatever 1987.
    This is not at all what we are considering with the Holy Sacrifice.
    Saint Augustine called the Cross our Lord’s Marriage bed…but that is not what he meant by this stuff.
    Yuck.

  39. Ceile De says:

    Dear NO
    It’s not you, it’s me.
    My faith just isn’t strong enough to offer up all the abuses you seem to attract; nor is it strong enough to survive the zen-like emptiness of your modern “worship drop-in community centers”. In my weakness, I need externals like sanctus bells, genuflection, and holy water to strengthen my faith. I admire those who don’t. But let’s still be friends.
    Sincerely,

  40. jorgepreble says:

    Zmirak wins easily. It’s also clear that he spent more time and thought into his argument than Hoopes. Keep us updated on Hoopes next statement! I’m interested to hear how small a part the mass actually plays in our salvation.

  41. randomcatholic says:

    Zmirak’s response is BRILLIANT. Hysterical… and brilliant.

    I am an unrepentant “traditionalist” in many respects, so perhaps Zmirak is preaching to the “choir” but I cannot fathom how Hoopes responds to this. Haven’t the traditionalists won every argument on the liturgy? Hasn’t history spoken? Isn’t it obvious?

    Good luck Mr. Hoopes!

  42. btb says:

    Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

    Thus I have become a “Trad” even though I, like Hoopes, was a parishioner at St. Mary’s, New Haven, where the Novus Ordo was celebrated as well as I have ever seen, and where it was precisely the “externals,” the beauty, of its Masses, in fact, that gave to the parish its wonderful reputation. And the parishioners were truly proud of those externals since the only reason they were parishioners was because of its liturgy for the parish has no real neighborhood being surrounded by Yale. Yet for all the beauty of the Novus Ordo at St. Mary’s, I have perhaps found only a handful of other Novus Ordo parishes in which the celebration of Mass could be similarly lauded, and even when accounting for my experience at St. Mary’s, after having been blessed for the past several years with the opportunity to take part in the Traditional Latin Mass daily, I can only agree with Zmirak that the externals of the Vetus Ordo lead me most fully to understand the Church Triumphant and Church Militant, and to recognize my small role in her.

  43. johapin says:

    Careful about all those externals. Someone out there might suggest: “Let us all hurry down from whatever high and isolated sycamore we may be occupying…”

  44. ipadre says:

    OF / EF Camps. Is this guy trying to divide the Church! I don’t like his use of camps for people who prefer one form of the Mass over the other. Pope Benedict made it clear that both forms are equally holy. His whole analogy is lacking. His article just struck me the wrong way. In fact, we need to fuss about the details of the Mass. We Catholic call the rubrics – say the black, do the red. None out incidental, all have a proper place to show our unity of faith and this ritual we call the Mass is not something I make up as I go along. Yes, I fuss over the details whether I am saying the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form. Love is in the details. If I offer a sloppy Mass, the disregards the rubrics, I really can’t love the Mass or the Church, because it is not mine to change! Uggg!

  45. Just another random thought (and hopefully not a rabbit hole!)…is this linking of marital intimacy with the Holy Mass/Holy Eucharist in this somehow sensualist manner a kind of distortion of the Theology of the Body obsession (not JP II’s teaching, which stands on its own)?…thinking of C West’s version which is quite controversial, and as Alice von Hildebrand has written, concentrates on things that lead to impurity, rather than respect, dignity and authentic love for the “other”…this whole analogy between marital sex and the Eucharist is something we need to be careful about; it’s venturing into something that can become rather strange.

  46. I have stopped reading Insidecatholic.com because they no longer follow WDTPRS.com in their blog section and have drifted left. Many of their contributors seem anti-TLM too.

  47. Maltese says:

    *Where does this happen in the Church? At Mass. We receive his body and blood, as a community — in communion — and we are one. As the Council taught, the Eucharist is both the sign and the reality of the unity of the Church, a unity that starts in baptism.*

    The Spirit of Vatican II crowd (SVIIC) and every Novus Ordo parish I’ve been to is absolutely obsessed with the communal, conjugal, upper room, pass the “bread” by unconsecrated Eucharist ministers, pass the wine, hold hands, shake each others’ hands, stare at each other, stare at the priest, become involved in the band playing guitar, etc. mentality. What is almost entirely missing, and what is unshakably important, is that at Holy Mass we experience the unbloody Sacrifice of Jesus. Great Saints have been made and have died for that reality. The SVIIC has almost entirely lost sight of the central mystery, the central meaning of Mass; and that is why only 30% of weekly mass attendees believe in the Real Presence…

  48. bdchatfi says:

    I for one like the analogy of equating sex with the Mass. But I think that Hoopes misses the mark when it comes to the externals. Properly prepare for the act with flowers, kisses, foreplay, etc. builds upon the total experience of the actual act. Your senses are hieghtened and you are more ready and willing to recieve. This is what the EF (when done properly) and OF (done properly) can be with all the smells and bells. Otherwise, to be frank, it can just be ‘getting some’ which maybe licit but not a real act of love.

  49. I’m sorry; but using marital intimacy as an analogy of the Sacrifice of the Mass in “common parlance” is just wrong.
    There is intimacy, union, and the giving of self to Self here; but come on, let’s be real about this…as sacred as the marital union is, and I don’t deny it at all, it’s really inappropriate and maybe an occasion of sin to use all this very suggestive and provocative language. Alice von Hildebrand has correctly stated that there is secrecy, privacy and intimacy in the marital act; and it should remain so.

  50. Bornacatholic says:

    Actually the Church IS a nation

    Amen. We are the New Israel. A recent Immigrant to the nation of Israel has a nice summary of the facts here;

    http://www.northforest.org/CatholicApologetics/ChurchLikeIsrael.html

  51. Re: above

    Somebody said that the Bride is not spotless and sinless. I know you didn’t mean it that way; but that’s heretical talk. The Bride of Christ, the Church, is indeed spotless and sinless; Christ is spotless and sinless, too. Certain members of the Cjurch, certain members of the Body of Christ, are not spotless and sinless, but the eternal whole is. This is a mystery.

    Re: the point

    Christ and His Bride’s spousal union in eternity happens throughout eternity. Part of it (us humans) extrude outward into time. Those parts are necessarily diverse; but whenever we enter back into the eternal things, like the Mass, it’s fitting to make the externals look more like the eternal matter they really are. So the participants may change, and the externals might change slowly, but the continuity of the whole of these external parts is supposed to be as much like eternity as temporal stuff can get.

    So on one level, of course we can never really sound like the angels who are really singing at Mass all around us, unseen and unheard by us. But it shows no respect to give up any attempt to do so, and sing something non-liturgical on purpose. Either you sing your best or you are silent, because either of those are a better fit with the eternal reality than “If I Were a Butterfly”, or “Hammer Time”, or the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor.

    Following the rubrics is also a matter of being obedient and teachable by the Church. In the eternal reality we can’t see, our internal dispositions are very visible; so we want to be well-dressed and well-behaved inside us, too. (Although even if we’re grumpy about it, just having the will to show up is probably a decent clothing for the soul.)

    I better stop waxing ‘eloquent’ and ‘meditative’ now, before I get any more !? from Fr. Z. :)

  52. ssoldie says:

    DUMB, typical of the fruits of Vatican II thinking.

  53. chironomo says:

    I’m a bit mystified by the analogy. The beauty of an analogy is that you take a complex issue and compare it to a simple and obvious one so as to illustrate the fundamentals of the original issue distinct from it’s peripheral concerns. What Mr. Hoopes has done is take a fairly complex issue (Devotion to the Extraordinary Form) and compared it to a far more complex one (Marital/Sexual Union), and thereby, as is evidenced by many of the comments, has dragged the aspects of the Marital/Sexual union into the issue of devotion to the Extraordinary Form. At the bare minimum, it is a bad analogy.

    Then there is the other problem he creates:

    3. My own exposure to the Extraordinary Form has been very limited, so I am not speaking from a personal preference point of view.

    But he then goes on to make a considerable number of “observations” about the Extraordinary Form. From where do these observations come if not from experience? It almost seems that he is saying “I am not an Extraordinary Form devotee, so you can be assured that my observations are not biased”. And he then goes on to display a bias against the argument that externals are important.

    In the end, he fails to see the forest for the trees. Simply because externals are not important FOR HIM (a personal view) doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not important for the liturgy. The idea that liturgy should be reduced to a minimum of personal preferences has been rampant for a long time. It is a bad interpretation of the “Noble Simplicity” idea put forward in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

  54. Henry Edwards says:

    I suspect most of those commenting here missed Father Z’s passing mention of Zmirak’s response to Hoopes yesterday:

    You May Kiss the Bridey
    http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7787&Itemid=48

    Devotees of Evelyn Waugh will recognize the brother of Sebastian Flyte, whose role is now taken by poor Mr. Hoopes in Smirak’s devastating riposte.

    Mr. Hoopes has graciously promised us more, but I wonder whether he really ought not quit the field while he’s no further behind. But if he can rise to the new level that Dr. Smirak has now set, it will most be impressive indeed, and something for us all to look forward to.

  55. Cathy Dawson says:

    Fr. Z wrote:

    “I also won’t stand by and watch good people shoved to the back of the bus… again… and treated with great injustice for their legitimate aspirations. That is one of the reason why I took up my keyboard on their behalf.”

    Thank you, Father. This is deeply appreciated.

  56. robtbrown says:

    While not going along with how it was applied here, I also think the analogy between the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist, and the conjugal act, has merit.
    Comment by Fr Martin Fox

    I agree. Unfortunately, Mr Hoopes never mentions sacrifice, which is, pardon the pun, the crux of the matter.

    1. He is of course correct in mentioning the Communion. On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to understand it. The Communio refers not merely to those physical present but to all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, most of whom are dead. The externals, e.g., the catholic (universal) nature of Latin, remind us of that.

    2. There is also the grave question of whether at mass we are to consider ourselves present at the Last Supper or at Calvary.

  57. Cathy: Thank you, Father.

    I worked in the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei for a long time. During those years I saw groups and individuals suffer terribly at the hands of hostile bishops and priests. I was shocked by narrow-mindedness and lack of simple charity, and that shock has never left me.

    All this in spite of the fact that the VICAR OF CHRIST had DECREED by his apostolic authority that respect be shown these people for their legitimate aspirations.

    But when Summorum Pontificum was released I saw it happening all over again.

    It was the same treatment Ecclesia Dei adflicta received.

    I decided that, regardless of how I was going to be attacked from both sides and the trouble it would cause me personally (and it has), I was going to fight both for the Holy Father’s vision inherent in the provisions of the MP (deeper than just the “old Mass”), and also for the rights of those who wanted to avail themselves of those provisions.

    This is about more than who can have the old Mass in this place or that.

    This blog was never intended to be what it has become.

    And it is interesting that when I veer back to looking at translations, very few people comment. I can get scores of comments about a recipe, however, or this or that liturgical abuse.

    If you want to find out if God is interested in your life, just make a plan.

  58. avecrux says:

    I think Hoopes article is just very silly.
    I do not believe with Hoopes that “conjugal union” is the “source and summit” of the unitive and procreative elements of a couples marriage. Laying down your life for your spouse: in other words, SACRIFICE, is the essence of love, union and procreation – we must be able to see that from the fact that the most perfect human marriage that existed was between the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. One cannot have a true marriage without its “source and summit” – yet their marriage was the truest – and virginal. I think this is so because both of their wills were united in a total self-gift of which marital intimacy is only an expression. This expression occurs in most marriages, but certainly not in theirs. It cannot be an essential expression of sacrificial love or the Church would not permit Josephite marriages. So, it can’t be the “source and summit”. Perhaps I would say that communion is a potential fruit of the sacrifice – and perhaps the same would apply in the Mass? BTW – I am in agreement with nazareth priest and I too greatly valued what Alice von Hildebrand had to say in response to Christopher West.

  59. lacrossecath says:

    LOL, Fr Z

    Nathan, that is possibly the funniest comment I have ever read.

  60. robtbrown says:

    It was the same treatment Ecclesia Dei adflicta received.
    Comment by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf —

    Maybe it should have been named Ecclesia Dei adflicta adflicturaque.

  61. robtbrown says:

    Maybe it should have been named Ecclesia Dei adflicta adflicturaque.

    Oops. Adflictura is not passive.

  62. chonak says:

    The new form of Mass was treated as a symbol of revolution by people who wanted to impose one on Catholics.

    The older form was suppressed in practice in most of the Catholic world for 30 years or more.

    Should we be surprised that the older form of Mass is treated by some faithful as a symbol of traditional identity?

  63. robtbrown says:

    Mr Hoopes also says incorrectly:

    Ultimately, we want Mass to be our expression of a relationship of which it is a very small (but very important) part.

  64. avecrux says:

    “Can we accept this premise? That Mass is a “very small part” of our “relationship” with… God/neighbor/Church/world? ” – Fr. Z
    No, Father – we can’t. To use Mr. Hoope’s language, Mass is my “center and preoccupation” as well as “source and summit”.
    Every day, in my morning offering, every single thing I ever do, say, think, etc. is offered through the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  65. isabella says:

    re Fr Z’s comment above about people not being interested in translations & the liturgy:

    *This blog was never intended to be what it has become.

    And it is interesting that when I veer back to looking at translations, very few people comment. I can get scores of comments about a recipe, however*

    JMHO, but I originally started reading this blog because I took a Latin class and tried to translate the Gloria without looking at a Missal. Couldn’t figure out where they got “and peace to His people on earth” from what I thought should have been “and peace on earth to men of good will”, so I just lurked for a long time and still only rarely post.

    Yes, I know this is trivial to people who really know their Latin. But I wish we had more of that — it might get fewer comments, but that might just be because of ignorance (in my case, anyway). That’s why sometimes, I go a day or two between reading it (no offense), but I’m personally more interested in liturgical news, the EF, what’s going on in Rome, etc. than recipes (except maybe for Lent and Easter). I’ve noticed a difference too.

  66. mvhcpa says:

    To follow up on comments 63 and 64, how can the “summit” of anything also be a “small part” of that thing? We can see by the way other posters here have used the conjugal analogy well that the marriage analogy works to illlustrate certain other aspects of the Mass as relationship between God and His Church. However, as the crux of Hoopes’ argument was to show that the externals of Mass do not matter, the analogy does not hold for his particular illustration, for physical intimacy is NOT the summit of marriage, whereas the Mass IS the summit of our worship.

    Michael Val
    (who found out that one doesn’t climb the “summit” as often as one, before marriage, thinks one might when married, which just goes to show that THAT isn’t the real summit of marriage after all!)