CNS on Pontifical Mass for Pope’s 5th anniversary

From CNS, which is pretty much the news sheet of the USCCB comes this about the Pontifical Mass in Washington, DC.

Read and listen to Bp. Slattery’s sermon if you haven’t heard it yet: Bp. Slattery’s Sermon in Washington DC – unforgettable.

My emphases and comments:

High Mass in extraordinary form honors pope’s fifth anniversary

By Richard Szczepanowski
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — More than 3,500 people crowded [A young man at the Shrine's liturgy office confirmed that number to me.  The place was very full.] into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception April 24 to attend the first traditional Latin Mass in decades to be celebrated at the high altar there.

Sponsored by the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy, the Mass in the extraordinary form was celebrated by Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., in honor of the fifth anniversary of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

Close to 100 priests and seminarians assisted at the nearly two-and-a-half-hour pontifical solemn high Mass that was sung entirely in Latin. Cardinal William W. Baum, a retired archbishop of Washington, also attended the Mass, which was celebrated with ancient chants and with pomp, splendor and majesty.

During the Mass, the faithful prayed that God would "look mercifully upon thy servant, Benedict" and asked that "by his word and example he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life."

Although the Maryland-based Paulus Institute has been planning the Mass for three years [Three years.  This sort of thing takes some work.  But it can be done.] to honor Pope Benedict, it generated negative publicity in the week leading up to the celebration. The originally scheduled celebrant, Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, was criticized for writing a letter in 2001 as the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, praising a French bishop for not reporting an abusive priest to authorities. In response to the controversy, the Vatican emphasized that bishops are expected to comply with all civil laws that mandate reporting of sex abuse allegations and to cooperate in civil investigations.

The Paulus Institute announced April 21 that in consultation with Cardinal Castrillon, it decided to seek another celebrant for the Mass.

Members of the Chicago-based Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests had planned to protest Cardinal Castrillon outside the shrine but did not do so after the choice of Bishop Slattery was announced.

In his homily, delivered in English, Bishop Slattery did not speak directly about the controversy or recent criticism of the pope, but he did not ignore it.

"We have much to discuss, you and I — much to speak of on this glorious occasion when we gather together in the glare of the world’s scrutiny to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ascension of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter," he said.

Noting the "enormous suffering which is all around us and which does so much to determine the culture of our modern age," Bishop Slattery pointed to "the enormous suffering of His Holiness these past months" as well as the suffering of those who face poverty, abuse, neglect, disease and heartache. Such suffering, he said, "defines the culture of our modern secular age."

[Ummmm.... why on earth didn't they quote this?  One of the most important things he said in his sermon?  "... women who have been deceived into believing that abortion was a simple medical procedure and thus have lost part of their soul to the greed of the abortionist, ...."  You can read the sermon at the page I linked.  I will edit some of this out.]

[...]

The April 24 Mass was celebrated following the last version of the Roman Missal used before and during the Second Vatican Council. It is different from the missal published in 1970.

Among the differences between the extraordinary form of the Mass and the Masses commonly celebrated in this country are that the entire liturgy is sung in Latin, the priest faces the altar with his back to the congregation, [Oooo .... FUMBLE... right there at the goal line.] he wears gloves for parts of the liturgy, and a blessing and additional reading of the Gospel are offered after the dismissal.

During the distribution of Communion, the faithful came to the altar rail, where they knelt and received the Eucharist on the tongue. Many women at the Mass wore veils.

And there were a few other good parts too.

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10 Responses to CNS on Pontifical Mass for Pope’s 5th anniversary

  1. maynardus says:

    “the priest… wears gloves for parts of the liturgy”

    Why, because this Mass is too hot to handle? Sorry, I got a chuckle out of that.

    Does anyone else get the feeling that this may have been Mr. Szczepanowski’s first time attending a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or perhaps he just looked at some of the photos? I’m not trying to belittle him or nitpick a piece that is generally positive in tone, but oughtn’t a writer for CNS to know that the gloves are pontifical vesture and not just another “odd” element of the “pomp, splendor and majesty” of the traditional liturgy. And perhaps if he hadn’t felt compelled to point out that Bishop Slattery’s homily was “delivered in English” he might have had room to quote further from it as you’ve noted…

    But I supppose we should be grateful for any positive coverage with all that has been going on lately!

  2. WGS says:

    “pontifical solemn high Mass that was sung entirely in Latin”? I’d be willing to bet that the Kyrie was sung in Greek.

  3. TrueLiturgy says:

    “Do not be dismayed that many in the church have not yet grasped this point, and fewer still in the world will even consider it,” Bishop Slattery said. “You know this to be true — and 10 men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.”

    I think this was a very important point that Bishop Slattery made in his homily and a strong point to make in the article. At least Mr. Szczepanowski seems to have paid attention to the homily! I guess it was at the people’s level of comprehension. Although me and my buddy that attended agree that we can read and listen to the homily 3 times and still not grasp everything in it. It was so deep! :-)

  4. sejoga says:

    Regarding the fact that it took three years to plan the mass, and that it does take time to plan these things, I think it’s worth pointing out that presumably these things would take a much smaller amount of time to plan if they were done with any regularity. I imagine it took three years in part because it took probably a year-and-a-half just to educate the clergy and the lay faithful about what the heck would be going on. The fact that this mass has taken place should make it easier for this type of liturgy to regain some ground, so that it won’t be relegated to dim memories of the past and scholarly research. It will hopefully regain its place as part of the living tradition of the faith.

  5. Julia says:

    The “pomp, majestry and splendor” along with the gloves, need to be identified as parts of truly extraordinary Masses – even back in the day. None of this or the other extraordinary Masses I’ve seen look anything like Sunday (or week-day) Masses I attended until my mid-20s. The only Mass I ever attended that looked anything at all like this one was a dediction of a church by our bishop. [It's my understanding that the white gloves were meant to prevent staining and rusting of the bishop's crosier]

    Last Mother’s Day I took my adult sons to a small local church that has been doing the 1962 Mass every Sunday under the old Indult for many years. It is just like the parish Masses I remember; not the ones done at big churches run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and other groups like it. Those all look like Pontifical High Masses and I wonder if they are patterning them after filmed Masses, which would be special events – the unusually elaborate Masses.

    Young people are getting the wrong idea of what the old Mass was like for the average parishioner.

  6. “Last Mother’s Day I took my adult sons to a small local church that has been doing the 1962 Mass every Sunday under the old Indult for many years. It is just like the parish Masses I remember; not the ones done at big churches run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and other groups like it. Those all look like Pontifical High Masses and I wonder if they are patterning them after filmed Masses, which would be special events – the unusually elaborate Masses.”

    In a certain sense, you are right. The Masses at the “big churches” look like Pontifical High Masses because the Solemn Mass of the bishop is the normative version of the rite. The parish Masses you grew up with were Low Masses of the pre-1960s American Catholicism, heavily influenced by the Irish tradition, right or wrong. It doesn’t have to be that way now. Heavenly music and rich vestments and ornate ceremonies should be more regularly used.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    Julia: Young people are getting the wrong idea of what the old Mass was like for the average parishioner.

    Surely it’s more important that they get the right idea about what the “old Mass” is like now. [Exactly! This is not about "turning the clock back" or recreating the past. We will do things better than they were done before. We have learned a great deal in the last decades.]

    In our small TLM community–which consists largely of young people–each and every Sunday Mass is a Missa Cantata of the more solemn form, with beautiful vestments, both propers and ordinary chanted, incense, torchbearers in procession at the Sanctus, etc. Every Sunday, indeed, probably resembling more the pontifical Mass than the low Mass you likely remember as normative.

    As indeed it was in many places, with so many Catholics attending that Masses had to be packed as closely together on Sunday as the parking lot could could be cleared.

    But the point to be emphasized is that now it’s the glorious high Mass that’s more nearly normative. Perhaps it’s precisely in the TLM that the recommendations of Vatican II have been best fulfilled. Which would not be surprising, since it was at the TLM that they were directed (not at some “new order” of Mass that the Council Fathers never envisioned).

  8. Nathan says:

    Henry and MatthewJoseph, you are spot on. And the great thing is, not only is the glorious High Mass more nearly normative, there are still plenty of opportunities (a growing number of places) to take part in the deep silence of an early morning or late evening Low Mass. That’s one of the great things about the TLM as part of the restoration–because we’ve been deprived, we can better appreciate the rite in its fullness.

    In Christ,

  9. david s says:

    Nice to see the writer got this part right: “…version of the Roman Missal used before and DURING the Second Vatican Council” (emphasis added).

    Julia commented: “Young people are getting the wrong idea of what the old Mass was like for the average parishioner.”

    But the point of using the old Mass is not just to show young people what things were like back in the day. It is to give worship and honor to God now, in 2010 and looking forward. I agree with Matthew Joseph that the more solemn forms of Mass should be regularly used.

  10. I recommend sending the link for the homily at the Diocese of Tulsa to Zenit using this form. It’s a long shot, but perhaps they’ll publish it.

    http://zenit.org/form-1

    here’s the link

    http://www.dioceseoftulsa.org/article.asp?nID=1451