One reaction to the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC: “offensive… silly… undecorous”

A reader sent me a link to a reaction from a priest of the Archdiocese of Seattle to the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC for the anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.

The writer in question is one… well… here is his blurb from his blog:

Jan Larson, a senior priest of the Archdiocese of Seattle, was ordained in 1968. He received a M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a D.Min. in pastoral liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He has served as director of the Archbishop’s Office of Worship and as liturgical consultant for the building and renovation of churches in western Washington. For eighteen years he wrote a weekly column on various liturgical issues in The Catholic Northwest Progress, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Seattle. He currently assists the liturgical ministry of Our Lady of Sorrows church in Snoqualmie, Washington, and St. Anthony church in Carnation, Washington. He teaches for the Archdiocese’s Liturgical Ministry Institute, and presents various workshops.

I note from the onset he does not use the title "Father".

With that snapsnot in mind, let’s look at what "Jan" wrote, with my emphases and comments.

I watched the first part of the old Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form) celebrated recently at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Lots of old fashioned vestments, the bishop wearing gloves, men with all sorts of capes and veils. [Here is an old liberal tactic.  Liberals usually get around to suggesting that men who are liturgically traditional are effeminate.] But vesture is only one of the negatives so apparent [is it?  Is it "apparently negative", as in "obviously bad"?] in the old Latin Mass.  I am familiar with this form of the Mass from seminary days in the sixties, but now the rite does appear to be a museum liturgy, a ritual of mystification rather than mystery[It certainly seemed to be alive in the Shrine on Saturday.  These were people who were praying.  The writer uses a nice little play on words with "mystification" and "mystery", but I am left wondering what that means... I am mystified, I suppose.  I think he means that nobody could possible understand what is going on.  Perhaps the writer doesn't understand the older form of Mass as well as he tries to suggest above.  It's been a loooong time for him, after all, and he is getting older.]

I must be honest in saying that I find this rite offensive by todays’s liturgical standards. [Are these the same liturgical standards which were founded on the violation of liturgical laws and which involve such dignified elements as big puppets?] It isn’t just the endless bows, nods and genuflections, [Apparently the writer doesn't like physical expressions of reverence to God or signs of respect to the other people who are involved.] nor even the silly dancing birettas. Nor is it the bishop preaching, surrounded by vested ministers sitting undecorously on the steps, [Why is sitting where you are supposed to sit "undecorous"?  It strikes me that were that posture, that sitting on the steps, undecorous, it would have been phased out perhaps even before the 16th century.   But in those days perhaps people were less concerned about themselves in the liturgical action and more concerned with fulfilling a proper role.] as if the basilica has run short of seating for ministers of the Mass.  [Actually, the basilica did run out of seating....] And to whom, exactly, are the readers proclaiming the scriptures? [Here is an indication of the low opinion with which he holds the congregation: If something is not read directly into their faces, they won't be able to participate.  He also ignores the fact that the places for singing the readings have reasons.  Perhaps he doesn't know the older form as well as he thinks he does.] If it’s to the people, then this critical proclamation is in an unintelligible language. If to God, well, God already knows the readings.

I find it offensive that anyone would foster the return of a rite that is immune from the fundamental principles of good liturgy annunciated by the formal teaching of Vatican II. [So, the liturgy before the Council was bad.  And the liturgical directives of the Council Fathers were "formal teachings".  In that case, we might ask the writer how much effort he has put into obeying the formal teachings (what does that mean, btw?  dogmas?  definitions?) about how pastors of souls are obliged to teach their flocks to respond both singing and speaking in both Latin and their mother tongue?  He has made sure that Gregorian Chant and polyphony has pride of place?  Has he made sure that Latin is being used?  After all, the Council formally mandated those things.  I think the writer is simply superimposing his liberal fantasy about what the Council was about and suppressing what it really mandated.] Why would anyone return to a rite that virtually ignores the Hebrew Bible on Sundays and feasts, that requires no homily on the scriptures, that strictly exculdes any lay ministers?  [What on earth is he talking about?  The vast majority of those serving at the Pontifical Mass in Washington were lay people.] The Church teaches that full participation is required by all, [No.  The Church does not teach that it is "required".  This is a goal identified by the Council.  Furthermore, what the writer is saying is that everyone should be carrying things, or singing ever word.  In his view, we would have to force people to do things externally, to require them to move and sing, etc.  Tell that to the old women who is mostly deaf and blind but who knows in her heart what is taking place and longs to unite herself with the Lord's Sacrifice renewed as she sits in her pew or wheelchair.  The writer has a shallow understanding of what "active participation" means.  His is the old, cliche view which has so harmed the Church's worship for decades.] that our rites should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repitions[Tell that to the Byzantines.  I didn't think any of the repetitions in the Mass on Saturday were "useless".  Did you?  They were all gestures or words of praise of God, which I think are never useless.  You can debate whether they are necessary, but they are not useless. But here comes the big one.  This is the part that shows his colors:] Our rites should  be within the people’s power of comprehension, [Because liberals think you are stupid.] and not require much explanation. The old Latin rite ignores all these fundamental principles. It is a rite that cries out for reform, just as it was crying out the day before Vatican II began.  [The Council Fathers thought the rite required reform as well.]

The Council Fathers thought that some reform was necessary.  They gave some mandates and the mandates were not obeyed.   Even the reforms which we got – which were not actually mandated by the Council – were disobeyed by men such as the writer of the piece above.   And now they want people to obey the Council.  The irony is rich.

Furthermore, the writer pits the Council against John Paul II (Ecclesia Dei adflicta) and Benedict XVI (Summorum Pontificum).  I will just toss this out as a suggestion, but I suspect that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have at least as clear a grasp of what the Council involved as the writer.  Am I off base?   I suspect that Benedict XVI may know as much about the liturgical vision of the Council as the writer, even though the writer did go to Notre Dame for liturgy!

I particularly liked that "required to participate".  Think about that.  Surely this explains why liberals are endlessly prodding and haranguing people during "liturgy".

There is a great deal more to say, but this is old stuff…. very old and getting older by the minute.

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176 Responses to One reaction to the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC: “offensive… silly… undecorous”

  1. TJerome says:

    He reinforces the old adage: there is no one more illiberal than a liberal. He’s scared that his little 1960s world is collapsing and that egads, the young may actually love what he hates! The good news is that he will not be around in active “ministry” too much longer. He’s rigid, inflexible, and hopelessly mired in the past. Kumbaya!

  2. james says:

    “He received a M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a D.Min. in pastoral liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley”

    The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley… That says it all.

  3. irishgirl says:

    Thanks for giving this guy ‘the business’ with your ‘emphases’ and ‘comments’, Father Z!

  4. haleype says:

    He received a M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a D.Min. in pastoral liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

    Nuff said. His “theology” differs markedly from the Catholic Theology of the Mass as proclaimed in Session 22 of the Council of Trent (to coin a phrase).

  5. Ordained in 1968. This would make Jan… I mean… Father, what, in his late 60′s or so? While his comments are exasperating, they are also pathetic to the point of engendering a tinge of pity. He’s just another of that dying breed of aging progressives scratching and clawing at the illusion of relevancy even as they realize the jig is nearly up.

    “Required to participate.” This seems to be a trend among these guys. Remember Bishop Trautman’s protests to the new translation of the Roman Missal: “The Council ‘stipulated’ the vernacular!”

    Like I said, pathetic.

  6. TonyC says:

    What is going on in my Church! Can it get any worse than this? When will this end? Please, dear Lord, help us.

  7. TNCath says:

    I find his diatribe terribly condescending and offensive. If he does not wish to think with the Church, then why does he bother staying in? I think it’s time we start telling these folks who have a gripe about the way this Pope is leading the Church that the door is always open for them to leave.

    Which reminds me of the idea I had this morning while driving to work: a music video of Archbishop Rowan Williams and Sister Joan Chittister singing the “Indian Love Call” a la Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald. “When I’m calling youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,” a fitting advertisement for all those dissenters who are disenchanted with the Church that could find solace in Anglicanism. Perhaps Father Larson might consider heeding that same call.

  8. HighMass says:

    Jan Larson, who yes, the person who ALWAYS has a VERY VERY LIBERAL view on where the Church should be today…….he is in the Inland Register the catholic newspaper for our diocese, I don’t even bother to read any of his LIBERAL views….Yes as TJerome said maybe the Kumbayas are slowly retiring!

    The TLM is the most beautful “This side of Heaven” as it has been said, why these LIBERALS hate it so much is hard to Understand!

    THANK GOD FOR POPE BENEDICT! May GOD grant Him many more YEARS!

  9. HighMass says:

    Sorry meant to say Jan Larson oh yes, not who yes

  10. PghCath says:

    As offensive as these comments are, Fr. Jan makes one point in spite of himself: the Extraordinary Form is growing in popularity. If it truly were a “museum liturgy,” people like him would not see it as a threat and would have no reason to ridicule it. You don’t see such venom spewed over the Gallican Rite, after all.

  11. wanda says:

    I’d love to see Jan relay his thoughts to Bishop Slattery face to face. O wait, that would take courage of your convictions.

    Thank you Father Z. for this wonderful bolg, it has helped me get more un-stooopid.

    p.s. I’m glad you ‘took him to the woodshed, Father.’

  12. Nathan says:

    “Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension…”

    I am so weary of this canard. Not only does it assume that today’s laity are stupid, but it denegrates the Christian life and worship of our ancestors.

    Our ancestors knew the Holy Mass. They knew its prayers and understood them because they were passed down and taught. They knew them because they didn’t change based on a priest’s or liturgical consultant’s whim. They knew the Sunday Masses by their Latin names, “Quasimodo” Sunday and the rest. They knew the Holy Mass because it was central to their lives. The TLM was within the power of comprehension better than anything that modern liturgical consultants have devised.

    And you know what? Our ancestors knew the Mass, in Latin, even though many were illiterate and uneducated. Because when it doesn’t change, you learn it.

    We had a guest celebrant yesterday at the daily Novus Ordo. God bless him, he’s of the same generation as this priest and has been working the “student Masses” too long. At the distribution of Holy Communion, he felt compelled to make up something different for each communicant: “The Church gives you the Body Of Christ,” “This is really and truly the Body of Christ,” “Faith makes you believe that this is the Body of Christ,” and on.

    They honestly do not realize that making up the prayers of Holy Mass as they go along is far more jarring and incomprehensible than the most complicated ceremonies associated with a Solemn Pontifical Mass or even the Solemn Papal Mass in the TLM.

    In Christ,

  13. Phil_NL says:

    I suppose Bp. Trautman would be proud with this letter of his faithful follower. The rest of the world will more likely count the days till these die-hard wreck-o-vators retire.

    One final thing: “If to God, well, God already knows the readings. “ By this logic Mass would not be necessary either – perhaps we should tell Fr. Jan, then he has even more time for community outreach?

  14. janek3615 says:

    “As offensive as these comments are, Fr. Jan makes one point in spite of himself: the Extraordinary Form is growing in popularity. If it truly were a “museum liturgy,” people like him would not see it as a threat and would have no reason to ridicule it. You don’t see such venom spewed over the Gallican Rite, after all.”

    Very apt analysis and one that affects most of the critics of the Extraordinary Form. They are frightened of becoming even more moribund than they already are and that causes a true sense of terror.

  15. They want us to “participate” alright, to the point that interior worship of God is replaced with things that hinder that worship. That was my experience before I was blessed to find a parish where interior participation is placed first.

    Quoting Pope John Paul II in his ad limina address (point 4) in the western US back in 1998:

    “…But full participation does not mean that everyone does everything, since this would lead to a clericalizing of the laity and a laicizing of the priesthood; and this was not what the Council had in mind. The liturgy, like the Church, is intended to be hierarchical and polyphonic, respecting the different roles assigned by Christ and allowing all the different voices to blend in one great hymn of praise.

    Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural….

  16. TravelerWithChrist says:

    “our rites should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repitions.”

    once again, they think the lay people are too stuuuupid to understand all of the depth and language of the Mass…Our ancestors of the past Church – they didn’t understand a thing huh? And who’s standing behind him backing him???

    And oh, his concern that us lay people be ‘involved’… we are involved much more in this Mass than in his preferred way. We are able to pray and be involved w/o feeling the need to be cantors or singers or ‘extraordinary’ ministers, and ushers and readers and and and… (then who’s left to sit in the pews?)

    And as for the awesome dress – this is Christ our King, greater than any earthly king; they’d have everyone dress like we’re going to dinner with the next door neighbor. (As an example, look at the picture of this ‘Father’ Jan – he’s not even proud to be a priest, dressing to blend in with the crowd and not using his title in print.)

    I love all the ways of the old Mass, even my young children sit better and can recite more from a longer traditional mass than the new 55 min song and dance version.

    I pray for more young and very orthodox priests, they are a-comin you know, soon to a church near you.

  17. mparrot says:

    “But good liturgy cannot be determined by practical matters, but by the symbolism that is to be found in liturgical persons, actions and objects. After all, if practicality was the determining factor, we would not use candles, vestments, or a number of other ritual components that Catholics cherish in their rich liturgical tradition.”
    -Fr Jan

    Wait! What!!!

    That seems to go against some of his points on the EF!

  18. iudicame says:

    Speaking of repitition and rubric – Wasn’t the Confiteor repeated a second time right before Communion at the Shrine Mass?

    m

  19. EnoughRope says:

    Anger +100. Desire for solemn liturgy +30. Holding hands during the Our Father -29. Desire for felt banners -200.

  20. THREEHEARTS says:

    I am not sure since I read it so long ago J. Larson wrote that we did not need to pray the Memorare as it was a prayer for the poor and no one was poor in North America. Around the same time the liturgical experts in the Seattle Chancery dissed the Rosary. Was he also the designer responsible for the re making of the Seattle Catholic Cathedral? His roots in the Seattle
    Diocese seem to reach back to the glory days of Archbishop Hunthausen. Need I say more? Do we need to be reminded of that dreadful era in the life of Seattle Catholics.

  21. mark1970 says:

    Two points spring to mind about this. As I think Father Z. pointed out in his commentary during the Mass, the highest degree of active participation in the Mass is the reception of Holy Communion. Nowadays, this option is always available in the EF. (I express it in this way as some people will correctly remind me that, before 1953, the pre-Communion fast was from midnight and so the laity often didn’t receive Communion at Masses celebrated later in the morning.) So in that respect, the OF doesn’t have any perceived advantage over the EF when it comes to participation. Also, the liturgy is directed towards God, not towards man – as well as being a re-presentation of Calvary it is a participation in the heavenly liturgy which is always directed towards God. Our participation in the liturgy runs much deeper than the external activity of e.g. speaking, singing and so on, which some seem to think is the only form of “active” participation.

  22. TMA says:

    Thanks, johapin, for the link to his website:

    “I have read the pope’s letter to priests beginning the special Year of the Priest, and his audience talks around the topic. He is clearly excited about St. John Vianney, whose piety and approach to pastoral ministry I won’t be adopting any time soon. The saint’s “hear confessions till you drop” spirituality is incompatible with anything we believe today about healthy ministry, and his famous dialogues with the Devil excludes him from my personal list of inspirational priests. Give me Oscar Romero any day.”

    What a poor, sad soul. And how sad for the souls who have been cheated because of his teaching.

    I must give thanks for our good priests who do follow St. John Vianney’s example. We are so blessed!

  23. Jim of Bowie says:

    Who could a man who has been a priest for 42 years be so ill informed. How could he denigrate Holy Mass this way. He obviously hates the Church. Thank God he is a vanishing breed.

  24. teevor says:

    The thing I can’t stand about these liberals is that they lie.
    40 years of the Novus Ordo and the western church neared collapse, yet traditional orders are bursting with vocations. Why does he think people go to the Latin mass? because they like dressing up? Even the idea that we’re all just small minded ignorami blinded by dogmatism isn’t capable of rational consideration, because by now, our eyes would all be open to the wonder of simplistic modern vernacular liturgy (that we’ve been subjected to, against our will, for decades).

    I may not agree with ‘progressive’ liturgical styles, or the mindset they foster etc, but at least I can understand that some people occasionally get some spiritual benefit out of them and that legitimate critique, with a view to promoting tradition, must be nuanced and careful.

    But this guy is a liar, a classic Marxist for whom all truth not conforming to his idea of ‘progress’ is invalid.

  25. Titus says:

    “dancing birettas”?

    I didn’t watch, but I somehow doubt that there was a Merry Melodies routine involving clerical headgear.

    “sitting undecorously”

    Were they splayed all over the place? Were there women with their slips showing? I don’t think he knows what undecorous means.

    As for Notre Dame, he was here at ND during the height of the silly season: that was when they whitewashed the basilica of the Sacred Heart and vandalized all the side altars. The paintings were actually restored (furtively) in the 80s by the rector (now bishop of Peoria Daniel Jenky). The present rector, Peter Rocca, has his head on right too (although still no EF in the basilica, sadly).

  26. edwardo3 says:

    Did I just have a flashback to my seminary days? Sounds almost verbatim to the diatribes against the EF I had to sit through cir. 1993-1997. I do have to admit to being somewhat amazed at the efficiency with which these ideas were inculturated into the clergy and laity of a certain era. And they thought I was rigid…

  27. Andy Milam says:

    Geez, after reading that slimy piece, I feel as though I am back at UST in a liturgical minsitries meeting. You would not believe what it took for me to get the Creed back into the Mass in 1997.

    I believe that Father Larson has missed the point, unless the point is to undermine the whole of the 2000 year history of the Liturgical Action?

    Bravo on an honest critique, Don John…Bravo!

  28. edwardo3 says:

    Iudicame;

    Yes, not only was the Confietor repeated, it was sung by the Deacon and Subdeacon. It was beautiful.

  29. Flambeaux says:

    As sad and petty as I find Father Larson’s remarks, they serve as a reminder to pray for him and those like him. One day, and perhaps sooner than most, he too will stand before the Dread Judge and be asked to render an account of the priestly dignity he was given in 1968.

  30. kristiny says:

    Want to hear something extra scary? The Archdiocese of Seattle has a “school” called the Liturgical Ministries Institute and they have Larsen go around and teach Liturgy classes to anyone who works closely with Liturgy, musicians, sacristans, lectors, etc. I sat through two of the classes he “taught” and I was certainly not the favorite as I spoke up against several crazy things that were said. I am done jumping through those ridiculous hoops and my evaluation sheets from the class will certainly reflect that! Oh, please pray for us!

  31. Athelstan says:

    “Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension…”

    Say it with me: Mass is not a didactic exercise.

    I agree with Flambeaux: Pray for Fr. Larson.

  32. Mitchell NY says:

    All I would say to this Father is stay on the west coast, leave us alone on the east coast who are very happy for the MP from our Holy Father and enjoy following his directives and those of the ACTUAL documents of Vat II, which called for the retention of Latin and Gregorian Chant. Have you enabled your parishoners in learning the parts of Mass called for by the Council to be retained in Latin, in particular the Ordinary?

  33. edwardo3 says:

    TNCath:

    Watch the movie “Mars Attacks”, it will make your idea about the song so much sweeter.

  34. Daniel Latinus says:

    “Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension, and not require much explanation.”

    A liturgy matching this description would be so bland and lacking in depth that it would hold nobody’s attention for very long. Children would outgrow it, and the mature would feel their time is being wasted.

  35. Charivari Rob says:

    Does this mean the Cathedral in Seattle won’t be on the short list of candidate sites for a west coast Pontifical TLM?

  36. Jerry says:

    Johapin — thanks for the pointer. I just posted my comments there — though I suspect they may not last long…

  37. Dr. K says:

    Wasn’t it also a priest from Seattle who gave us the “What if we just said wait?” petition?

    Is there some kind of allergy to tradition in Seattle?

  38. I was actually there, among the servers in choir, and can attest to the absurdity of the commentary described here. Personally, I was surprised by the use of the cappa magna, inasmuch as I am told that many bishops are rather embarrassed by it, even those identified as “traditional.” I am also to understand that it is normally (though not exclusively) used by a higher prelate — a cardinal, patriarch, metropolitan archbishop, etc. Be that as it may …

    “There are those who would say that the Latin language is incomprehensible, therefore unsuited to the prayer of ordinary people, In cultures throughout the world, from time immemorial, the use of an arcane and uncommon language when addressing the Divine has been the norm. Even Christ on earth with His apostles prayed in Hebrew according to the Law, as they otherwise spoke Aramaic on the streets. There are those who would say that the traditional form of the Mass does not facilitate the participation of the faithful. They should have heard thousands of voices raising the roof, while singing the Gregorian chant of Credo III …”

  39. Re: the readings

    Now that we’re all modern and have microphones and wireless access, wouldn’t it be more modern to have all the readings silent? I mean, if you were really concerned, you’d take out your ultra-modern binoculars and directional microphone listening device, but why, when you can read the entire Mass off your iPhone?

    If didactic presentation and understanding by the congregation is all, then clearly what’s happening on the altar just isn’t enough of an audio-visual learning experience. People who want aural readings or music can program their own on their iPods, and if you wanted visuals, you could have headsup display goggles. So clearly, the wave of the future is Low Mass with totally wired congregation, eh, Fr. Larson?

    JUST KIDDING!! Don’t have a heart attack, anybody! :)

  40. Cath says:

    “Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension”

    Dumb anything down too much and people wont even try to comprehend it. I know people who have gone to a NO Mass all their life and are basically clueless about the Mass or what their Faith teaches.

  41. A reader sent the following, a quote from the writer of the piece at the top.

    Just to give you a fuller view if who wrote this:

    Dear Fr. Z., After reading your piece on this chap, I googled him and found the following reflexion on the year for priests.  It’s a stunning attack on the sanctity of St. John Vianney and such a risible conglomeration of tired and retrograde post-Conciliar errors that it’s almost a parody of itself.  My favourite quotation: “(Speaking of St. John) His “hear confessions till you drop” spirituality
    is an insult to anything we believe today about healthy ministry, and his
    famous dialogues with the Devil excludes him from my personal list of
    inspirational priests. Give me Oscar Romero any day.”

    The one who sent this is a seminarian who uses Google. It us nice to know how seminarians view thus sort of writer. No?

  42. Re: the cappa magna

    If there’s ever a place for a giant processional cape, it’s a giant basilica absolutely coated with art. The length and plain bright color make the person wearing it _very visible_ among the crowd of priests and deacons and all. It’s a match to all the bigness, so he doesn’t get swallowed up in the distance.

    I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to wear one, but providing the people in back with a giant red pointer to the guy they might not otherwise see is definitely a good reason.

  43. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Father Z, I appreciate your specific comments on an article that I would respond to by throwing up my hands and saying “where do ya start…?” This kind of aberrant logic needs addressing, and its so complex.

    After reviewing some of the comments here, to be charitable, this priest doesn’t seem to have had much actual Catholic influence. Do we forget the how viciously the clergy, seminarians, and religious have been targeted and brainwashed with Alinsky-style methods? Some overcame it, many did not. I wonder if any in authority over him have corrected Fr Jan?

    Some of us lived through the horror of the 60s and 70s as our churches were trashed and priests became “strange”. That there remains detritus today is no surprise.

    Wandering the internet, I found that Fr Jan also wrote this as a problem to be addressed:
    “… many priests do not perceive themselves to be the closest collaborators with their bishops that they are supposed to be. The last time a bishop sincerely asked my opinion about anything was in 1997.” I laughed at first, pondering his personality and logic as contributors to the situation. But it also describes a certain loneliness that can’t be good for any priest.

    Another quote in the same article: “…challenges that necessarily accompany the increasingly disproportionate gay priesthood. In particular the heterosexual candidates who feel dislocated in largely gay seminary structures, and who consequently leave.”

    I wonder where Fr Jan’s apparent irreverent hatred of orthodox Catholicism came from and who nurtured it?

    Fr Jan’s kookiness illustrates further the desperate need we have for a Mass that, in the deepest manner, represents Church teaching.

  44. Re: the old days not having enough Old Testament readings (oh, wait, he has to call that “the Hebrew Bible”)

    I’m sure Fr. Larson takes care to celebrate and preach hard at Masses of all the good old feasts of the Biblical patriarch and matriarch saints, as well as all the OT prophet saints. People with dedication like his are why nobody _ever_ posts online about how the Church doesn’t regard anybody from the OT as a saint.

    Oh, wait. They do. Because the OT saints don’t show up openly in the calendar of saints that most people know today.

    And I bet he does all the OT readings at Easter Vigil, because he’s really anxious to include all of salvation history….

    What, priests of his generation usually don’t? What can you mean?

    Sigh. Selective outrage is what it sounds like.

  45. Frank H says:

    If you want to get your blood pressure even more elevated, take a look at some of Fr., er, I mean, Jan’s other blog posts. The one on “What is reverence for the Eucharist?” is particularly irritating. He more than implies that someone who concerns himself with kneeling or reception on the tongue is unlikely to care about his neighbor or the poor.

  46. AMDeiG says:

    — Is there some kind of allergy to tradition in Seattle? —

    Dr. K — Yes.

    However this is the current innoculation and antidote also in play here in Seattle.

    View them and weep “..Unto God who gives joy to my youth..”

    http://michaelcurtis.zenfolio.com/p325152610 Holy Thursday

    http://michaelcurtis.zenfolio.com/p418884349 Good Friday

    http://michaelcurtis.zenfolio.com/p370303046 Holy Saturday

    The local FSSP parish established 18 months ago in Seattle is north of 150 families registered, approaching 600 souls AND a dozen or so and counting other additional families regularly at Holy Mass attracted to and considering making the migration to the EF.

  47. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: He has made sure that Gregorian Chant and polyphony has pride of place?

    May I digress to ask where the oft-mentioned “pride of place” might come from? No. 116 of Sacrosanctum Concilium (in the original Latin) reads:

    116. Ecclesia cantum gregorianum agnoscit ut liturgiae romanae proprium: qui ideo in actionibus liturgicis, ceteris paribus, principem locum obtineat.

    Does principem locum have a connotation more like “first place” or “principal place”?

    If so, would the usual translation “pride of place” be a kind of poetic gloss that obscures what the text really says?

    Also, I wonder whether there’s a better rendering of ceteris paribus than the usual “other things being equal”?

  48. Oh, one more thing. Sometimes when priests old enough to remember the old days rip on things like sitting on the altar steps as looking bad, it really it boils down to one of these:

    A) That’s not how Fr. X trained me to do it as an altarboy.
    B) I could sit better than that when I was an altarboy.

    But they can’t admit to themselves that they’re itching to walk up and straighten things to Fr. X’s specifications, so they complain instead.

  49. Geoffrey says:

    “…nor even the silly dancing birettas.”

    No, let’s just bring on the dancing “ministers of liturgical movement” instead! :O

  50. JosephMary says:

    Very sad. But many of us have had to endure the innovations and wreckovations that folks of that past era have foisted on us. How many souls were lost? HOw many Catholics do not know their history, patrimony, sacred music, or even the treu teachings of the Church.

    Stuff and nonsense that those who appreciate beautiful and sacred liturgical practices do not care for the poor. Who built the hospital system in this country? How opened countless schools? Who opened many soup kitchens and ran charities? WOW~! It was those Catholics who attended the Tridentine rite. Go figure.

  51. revs96 says:

    “‘Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension, and not require much explanation.’

    A liturgy matching this description would be so bland and lacking in depth that it would hold nobody’s attention for very long. Children would outgrow it, and the mature would feel their time is being wasted.
    ” -Comment by Daniel Latinus

    Isn’t that exactly why the Church’s are empty nowadays?

  52. patrick_f says:

    Obviously, he doesnt wear his Clerical Garb as a service to other priests, less they might mistake him for being well read and informed…

    I take issue with him saying “The Hebrew Bible is completely ignored” . There might not be a specific “Reading” (once upon a time God stepped out and said….) but the Priest’s Prayers are overflowing with Psalms and other old testament verse and reference. In fact there are more Psalms then New Testament Readings in the so called “Old Mass”

    If anything – We got MORE old testament readings simply by following along in our missal. I say, the so called “New Mass” robs us of that to some degree.

    FURTHERMORE – V2 DIDNT CHANGE THE LITURGY – The Liturgists and Bugnini Changed the liturgy. In Fact the Institutor of the Council himself, published a new missal shortly before the Council , which the Extraordinary form uses – So obviously it wasnt the Pope’s intent

    Perhaps if this priest would do something simple like actually dress like a priest, he might remember his place in the hierarchy. Really his article smacks of arrogance rather then any sound arguement. I know that’s harsh, but I, the poor stupid lay person (as he would have me) feel that way

  53. timelord says:

    “Father” Jan sounds a lot like Ted Rosean

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/100414

    He TRIUMPHALLY presumes the current Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) is superior to everything that came before it. No pope or council has ever claimed or declared that. In fact, Pope B16 clarified that BOTH the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms are EQUALLY valid and licit. One must conclude that these liturgical-nazis have equal disdain for the ancient Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom used by the Byzantine and Eastern Catholics as well as by Orthodox Christians (Greek, Russian, etc.) Vatican II opposed such ethnocentric xenophobia, but “Father” Jan must not have read those documents. IN FACT, it sounds as if none of the actual documents were properly read. Perhaps commentaries from the liberal liturgists union were read instead.

    Fr Trigilio

  54. Tradster says:

    Oh, the sweet irony of this Spirit of V2 liberal insinuating the pre-V2 priest are effeminate, especially right in the middle of the (dare I speak the truth?) homosexual abuse by mostly post-V2 priests.

    This tirade proves we must have more and more such TLM events on EWTN until the libs’ heads finally explode.

  55. pelerin says:

    Having had a look at Fr Larson’s blog I see that there have been eleven comments so far on this posting. All without exception are critical of his comments! I wonder why he has no supporters? I see he encouraged people to sign the ‘Why can’t we wait’ poll for the new translation and says that some of the words there are ‘unreadable.’ Perhaps he has a problem with the English language as his name does sound Scandinavian? But I have a feeling this is not the reason.

  56. tzard says:

    Matthew 26:44
    “44 And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word.”

  57. ikseret says:

    timelord, I’d suggest that Fr. Jan has a high opinion of himself rather than the Novus Ordo!
    I have my suspicions that he does not offer the NO according to the black and the red.

    He’s just an angry bald old man with a beard and desperately wants someone to listen to him before he sinks into obscurity.
    Too bad he did not comment about the more than 3000 people present and the numerous others who tuned in on EWTN. They seemed to have none of his hang-ups.

    In any case, his point is that he doesn’t like the traditional Mass, therefore no one else can.

    Fr. Jan is another stellar example of liberal tolerance and inclusivity!

  58. Wow…we really need a renewal of the priesthood. This was the worst post I have read in a long time. Fr. Larson needs many prayers. Where he received his education speaks volumes, so we also need to pray for a renewal of seminaries and Catholic schools. This is ridiculous.

    And active participation is somewhat required…if you look at it in proper terms of active participation. The interior participation is definitely necessary. Pope St. Pius X was big on it, so was Ven. Pius XII and Bl. John XXIII…they all loved the Mass and wanted people to pray the Mass, not just pray at the Mass.

    Good Lord…his article offends me.

  59. Nathan says:

    Tina in Ashburn and Athelstan: I’ll have what you’re drinking. Oh, I did. At the blognic.

    In Christ,

  60. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Fr. Jan is ticked off because his left arm went numb when Bishop Slattery walked down the aisle in the cappa magna. He’s lucky he didn’t suffer a brain aneurysm.

    As a Catholic layman, I am indignant that he would dare claim that the Mass “strictly excludes any lay ministers.” Any layman with the proper training could have been in the Sanctuary.

    The editorial reveals more of Fr. Jan’s prejudices and very little of his education.

    One could set up a computer program to write one of these editorials – just plug in the stock phrases and let the computer pick the order.

  61. MichaelJ says:

    Sadly, in my limited experience, Father Larson’s attitude seems to be quite common among both the Priesthood and laity. There is no room, in many “tolerant” people’s opinions for Traditional Catholicism. And yet, it is the Traditional Catholic who is accused of intolerance. Go figure.

  62. John Murray says:

    “the silly dancing birettas”–He’s confusing this Mass with the L.A. religious ed conference Mass.

    “our rites should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repitions” — Calvin couldn’t have said it better.

  63. Bede says:

    Pray for us here in the Seattle archdiocese.

    Like kristiny, above, I participated in a class taught by Fr. Larson for the Liturgical Ministries Institute. There was such an outcry from the participants afterwards, that the second session was taught by somebody else who was forced to start over from the beginning.

    Add to this that Seattle is the center of the “go slow” movement on the new Missal translation, and you will rapidly see what a liturgical wasteland Seattle really is.

  64. Ferde Rombola says:

    Plugging AMDeiG’s comment and links to the offending article, we get 2+2=4. Jan and his buddies in Seattle are terrified they will have no one in the pews if the trend to the EF Mass continues.

    As noted, all the comments to the fossil’s article were critical. I took the liberty of informing him “the liberal revolution in the Catholic Church is over. You lost.”

  65. DetJohn says:

    “that our rites should be simple, short, clear and unencumbered by usless repitions”

    Yesterday, I attended the Liturgy according to the “Russian-Byzantine Catholic Rite” at St. Andrew’s Parish in El Segundo, Ca., Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

    Never mind a Nutty, Senior Priest Jan would have had a stroke.

    Where is my Pepto Bismol?

  66. Martial Artist says:

    TNCath,

    In reply to your comment about Jan‘s “not wish(ing) to think with the Church” I would simply quote (or at least closely paraphrase) the late and much-missed Fr. R. J. Neuhaus: “If one is going to think with the Church, one must first think.” I suspect that such is a part of Jan‘s difficulty in the first place, to with that he is a “Feeling” type (in the Jungian sense) rather than a “Thinking” type.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  67. Martial Artist says:

    Sorry for the typo, that should have read “to wit”

    Keith Töpfer
    _______________________

    Spell Czech is hear two stay!

  68. Boanerges says:

    Why do these self-important academicians seem to have pictures of themselves in street clothes (ala Richard McBrien)?

    It’s patently offensive for a “soldier of Christ” to be out of uniform. He should be judged AWOL and drummed out of the corps.

  69. This puts me in mind of a story I once heard about a guy who went to the Louvre and looked at the Mona Lisa. His friend asked him what he thought of it and he said he thought it was ugly. The friend said, “When you look at that painting, it is not the painting that is on trial, but you.”

    Meaning that the Mona Lisa has stood the test of time for a reason; if somebody looks at it and sees ugliness, it is not the painting, but he who has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

    Same goes for a guy who looks at the Mass of the Ages and sees ugliness and stupidity. What he’s really seeing is what he himself brought to it and won’t let go of.

  70. Boanerges: I don’t really think the writer is an “academician”.

  71. ipadre says:

    I would dare to say that people “actively participated” much more frequently and at greater depth before the changes, than most people do today. Too many people equate “active participation” with doing something. A few years ago, a mother called me after our 1st Communion and scolded me because her daughter didn’t do anything, “every child should have something to do”. I did point out that all of the children “did” one of the most important things in their life – receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. That priest and his like are to blame for the superficial attitudes of so many of our people!

  72. Martial Artist says:

    Father Z.,

    My (somewhat discouraged and hence reluctant) thanks to you for making me aware of this person’s presence in the Archdiocese in which I reside. However, it is thanks you deserve because it is good to know who the source(s) of the problem are that are located in one’s theater of operations. Fortunately, the Dominican parish in which my wife and I enrolled, and in which we will be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church on Pentecost Sunday next, has a full-time Director of Liturgy and Music of her own and he is an energetic enthusiast for Gregorian chant, as well as the more transcendent sacred music that we find so helpful in opening ourselves to the mystery of the Mass. He is, as well, an active participant in the New Liturgical Movement. Were a parish with such a musically rich offering not present in the Seattle Archdiocese, we would be seeking to help gather a critical mass of fellow former Anglicans in the hopes of having an ordinariate established in Seattle under Anglicanorum coetibus, a somewhat daunting task in this agnostic and leftist region.

    So, I give thanks to God and to you. And if you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, I will be delighted to attend a blognic just to have the opportunity to express my gratitude for your work to benefit my soul through your blog.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  73. Magpie says:

    >> Sadly, in my limited experience, Father Larson’s attitude seems to be quite common among both the Priesthood and laity. There is no room, in many “tolerant” people’s opinions for Traditional Catholicism. And yet, it is the Traditional Catholic who is accused of intolerance. Go figure.

    Comment by MichaelJ <<

    Many, if not most, Catholics have been disconnected from Tradition and when presented with it may react by mocking, for example smart comments about taking hats off and putting them on again in the EF Mass. It’s very sad that they have so little respect for what they don’t understand. It smacks of self-righteous, ignorant pride.

  74. Dave N. says:

    M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame

    Actually, for any liturgist it’s THIS that says everything!

    He has served as director of the Archbishop’s Office of Worship

    Recall that St. Jame’s Cathedral in Seattle is ground zero for big-puppet Masses. I think this makes Fr. Jan head puppeteer.

  75. Dr. Eric says:

    I will honor “Jan”‘s take on the Extraordinary Form by attending a Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory next week end. As one priest told me, “We are waiting for these guys to die, so we can repair The Church.”

  76. Dr. Eric says:

    By the way, it was a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Louis who said that, not one of the Canons from St. Francis de Sales. I want to make that clear.

  77. Andreapkn says:

    My heart is seriously saddened for the souls who were deceived by this priest.
    Yes, I too will pray for Fr. Larson and for all those who believed his corruptions of our Church
    teaching Magisterium.

  78. asperges says:

    Nor is it the bishop preaching, surrounded by vested ministers sitting undecorously on the steps

    One really can’t take any of this seriously. I am put in mind of Lady Bracknell’s remark to Mr Worthing in “The Importance of Being Ernest:”

    “Rise, sir, from that semi-recumbent posture. It is most indecorous.”

    At least that was amusing, witty and relevant.

  79. trespinos says:

    “He has served … as liturgical consultant for the building and renovation of churches in western Washington.”

    The sad legacy of Fr. Larsen’s wreckovating choices will remain long after he has passed from the scene. But in recent years, pastors and people became wise and began to push back against the dictatorship of liturgism. As a result, the very newest churches, such as Holy Redeemer in Vancouver (2009), show welcome promise of some return to sacred beauty.

  80. chironomo says:

    The TLM is the most beautful “This side of Heaven” as it has been said, why these LIBERALS hate it so much is hard to Understand!

    Really?? It’s rather easy to understand. Their (liberals) point all along has been to deconstruct the institutional Church and replace it with a progressive faith community that shifts the emphasis from worship of Almighty God to social justice activism. Just when it seemed they had firmly replaced all of the “old ways” with their new ways of “being church”, a whole new generation comes along that is once again interested in “being The Church”. They hate the beauty and majesty because it reminds them that the Mass is about worshiping God and not about following them.

  81. doanli says:

    Berkeley?

    Say no more, good Fr. Z.

    Sigh.

  82. chironomo says:

    …that our rites should be simple, short, clear and unencumbered by usless repitions

    Everything after the first 4 chords of Mass of Creation is useless repetition…also consider that it also repeats the “Christ Has Died” refrain…so much for eliminating useless repetition.

  83. JCCMADD says:

    These types, cool hand JAN don’t call me father, have caused more harm to the church they are dying off slowly. They live in a 1968-72 world.Its like whatching a movie from that era. Man they are so out of touch.

  84. Mike says:

    “He is clearly excited about St. John Vianney, whose piety and approach to pastoral ministry I won’t be adopting any time soon.”

    Dude: You aren’t worthy to hold his biretta…

  85. Kevin B. says:

    But Father, but Father! On the one hand we are endlessly told that the laity are no longer the ignorant, docile peasants of the Middle Ages whose job is to pray, pay, and obey. They are the People of God who are often just as well educated, if not more so, than their pastors and so must be consulted and collaborated with in the governance of the Catholic community.

    And then on the other hand, men like Fr. Larson tell us that these same well-educated People of God are just too stooopid to understand the Mass of the Ages. It’s tooo haaaard!

  86. Dave N. says:

    As a result, the very newest churches…show welcome promise of some return to sacred beauty.

    Someone hasn’t yet been to Oakland, CA (ded. 2008): http://www.ctlcathedral.org/learn/learn.shtml. This is not over.

  87. Consilio et Impetu says:

    If you ask me this senior priest is more of a sophomoric priest who leans towards secularism. I would rather see “dancing birettas” than a “dancing deacon” anyday. Bad Catachesis at the time immediately following Vatican II, especially in the USA, is much to blame. All priests should be sent back to the Seminary for continuing education concerning the Liturgy, Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form. Latin should be a requirement for all Seminaries, Monastaries and Convents. I want to be able to one day go into a Roman Catholic Church of the Latin Rite in the USA and be able to participate in either rite comfortably, knowing that I am there to worship God through the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary. Why is it that some supposed liberals feel that the Extraordinary Rite is too difficult for those who are in the pews. Those days are done; for the most part the ones in the pews have more degrees than the Celebrant/Presider. If Jan Larson doesn’t want to be called “Father” or accept the fact that what is going on with the Church’s Liturgical Life than please remember this; just like the reforms of Vatican II this renewal of the renewal is also being led by the Holy Spirit.

  88. Fr_Sotelo says:

    We have a lot of work to do, that is for sure. I think this priest’s article sums up the thinking of at least 50% of U.S. Catholic priests. By extension, this is the thinking they also propagate to at least 50% of the laity. Even though many of the young priests have a greater respect for the EF Mass, they are not immune to these views and some of the young priests will certainly carry on the Jan School of Liturgy.

    Some of the culprit is our culture, as well. Those things which seem too medieval, or too European (e.g. cappa magna, baroque Mass parts) cause a lot of Americans to roll their eyes, and not because they went to Notre Dame school of liturgy, but because they have a hard core aversion to that which appears old world, formal, and foreign (“excuse me, you’re in America, so why the Latin? Please speak English or shut your yap”).

    One thing that both a modern liturgist and a Son or Daughter of Trent can relate to is: “Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension.” Jan may not comprehend the love we have for the EF Mass, but what he can understand is the concept that people (Americans especially) want what they want. If folks are flocking to this Mass and leaving his style of liturgy, it is because the New Mass is also at times incomprehensible without a lot of liturgical commentary; the New Mass is also perceived as offensive, silly, and indecorous; the New Mass can also become a museum piece of a past culture.

    So, when he takes aim and lampoons the EF Mass, he should also be prepared for the possibility that, for some folks, his own Sunday liturgy is no less intelligible, for all its gimmicks and attempted relevance.

  89. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The “shut your yap” comment is not my opinion, as I love to hear Latin. I’m just saying that when Americans hear Latin, for many, their dislike is no different than if they walk in to Mass and hear Spanish, or a different European or Asian language. Being the traditional Catholic language makes it no less “foreign.”

  90. Scott W. says:

    I don’t think Fr. Jan is a liar. I’m sure he believes every word he wrote. But it has long been readily evident that for progressives it’s all about process, not content. As such, as long as everyone is progressive-minded, all is well and they are incapable of seeing the chaos and destruction their worldview brings. But again, he provides a negative witness to the truth. The shriller he gets, the more you know he and his ilk are circling the drain. Tick tock.

  91. robtbrown says:

    I am familiar with this form of the Mass from seminary days in the sixties, but now the rite does appear to be a museum liturgy, a ritual of mystification rather than mystery. [It certainly seemed to be alive in the Shrine on Saturday. These were people who were praying. The writer uses a nice little play on words with "mystification" and "mystery", but I am left wondering what that means… I am mystified, I suppose.

    Obviously, anyone who is confronted with a mystery is mystified--and the process of becoming mystified is mystification. So he's yet another poorly educated priest who thinks he knows something.

    His remarks seem typical of someone who hasn't a clue about the relationship between the Church as Mystical Body of Christ and the Eucharistic liturgy. The non stop liturgical chatter and performance by the celebrant obviously only includes those who happen to be concretely present. On the other hand, the silence of the mass represents all the members of the Mystical Body, alive and dead, who are not at that physical location.

  92. Gail F says:

    Best comment: “I would rather see “dancing birettas” than a “dancing deacon” any day.” HA HA. What I would say to this priest is that the Orthodox don’t even let people SEE the consecration — right? It’s behind a door in what amounts to a different room. Yet they do not seem to find this “offensive” in any way. It’s DIFFERENT. Nobody says you have to like it! But apparently he thinks he DOES have to like something in order for it to have any merit. And that is just silly.

  93. Henry Edwards says:

    Wasn’t the Confiteor repeated a second time right before Communion at the Shrine Mass?

    Yes, as I understand is prescribed by the rubrics for a pontifical Mass.

    And immediately thereafter, Fr. Calvin Goodwin made the interesting remark that “All of the ancient rites of the Church, both Eastern and Western, had that moment of special preparation for communion by the confession of sins on behalf of the congregation.”

  94. irishgirl says:

    Mike @ 2:38-’Dude: you aren’t worthy to hold his [St. John Vianney's] biretta.”

    Brilliant! Absolutely love it!

  95. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Sotelo: I’m just saying that when Americans hear Latin, for many, their dislike is no different than if they walk in to Mass and hear Spanish, or a different European or Asian language.

    Of course you know there are others–of whom I’d guess Fr. Larson is one–who are have no problem with the Mass in Spanish or Vietnamese (for instance), whether or not they understand it, but have a particular aversion to the Mass in Latin.

    For instance, I have known English-only speaking people who object emphatically to just the Sanctus or Agnus Dei in Latin, but will without objection satisfy their Sunday obligation with a Spanish Mass if it better fits their schedule that weekend.

  96. robtbrown says:

    If it’s to the people, then this critical proclamation is in an unintelligible language.

    1. Latin is very intelligible.

    2. He’s assuming that people listen in English. I attend Novus Ordo vernacular masses, with the Gospel in English. A conservative estimate is that 95% of everyone there reads it in the Missalette as the celebrant reads it.

    So what we have is another out of touch liberal.

  97. Bressani56 says:

    Give the guy a break. Maybe he’s not wearing a priestly collar because he can’t afford one (?)

  98. robtbrown says:

    The fact that someone like Fr Larson is still flourishing makes me wonder whether it is appropriate to add “the Great” to JPII.

  99. joan ellen says:

    Comment by TonyC — 27 April 2010 @ 10:17 am”
    “What is going on in my Church! Can it get any worse than this? When will this end? Please, dear Lord, help us.”

    Fr_Sotelo — 27 April 2010 @ 3:50 pm “…School of Liturgy.”

    Scott W. — 27 April 2010 @ 3:54 pm “…he and his ilk are circling the drain. Tick tock.”

    School is getting close to being out for some of the teachers, ie,ilk. What about the new crop of young students who continue to try us? Some learned well.

    Lord, help us in this trial. May our Church sufferings go towards our own crimes and punishment debt. Please help us to pray and trust more. And we need more graces also for strength and protection.

  100. isabella says:

    Oh good grief. People like Fr (?) Larson are why people like me spent most of my life dabbling with new age spirituality, paganism, etc — looking for something that was “authentic” for lack of a better word.

    The so-called Mass my parents made me go to was sterile, the churches nearly empty, there was no sense of God and I stopped in my teens. Then I accidentally discovered the traditional and true MASS, and returned to the Church in 2003.

    I would like to read more about the concepts in the sermon that Bishop Slattery gave because almost everything he said is completely foreign to me – am tempted to email the diocese for a reading list once the flood of emails subsides, because I don’t even know where to start.

    Didn’t Jesus say that those who deliberately lead His children astray would be better off if they put a millstone around their neck and jumped into the sea?

  101. Bede says:

    robtbrown -

    Unfortunately what we have here is another out of touch teacher.

  102. gambletrainman says:

    I’m sorry, but 97 comments is too much for me to read (no offense), so, I just skimmed thru them, but there’s a possibility someone may have touched on this in one of the comments. I ran into a former member of the church I was baptized in, and he asked me where I went to church. When I told him I went to a church that strictly does the TLM, his remark was “That’s nice. I kinda miss the Latin Mass.” When I made the suggestion to come to my church, he sort of shied away, and said that the Catholic Church started in Rome, and the people spoke Latin. That’s why the Mass was in Latin”,and when I started to object to it, he said “Well, it was nice seeing you after “x” years. Good bye”.

    The other observation follows along what “Father” Larson said. Even though the last church I attended was a TLM church, the pastor there also was of the opinion that, unless the congregation actually took part in singing the Propers of the Mass, there was no participation, therefore you were not fulfilling your duty on Sundays. Even in the summer, when choirs usually “go on summer leave”, he would not permit this. In fact, the choir would not gather around the organ, but was dispersed throughout the congregation to try to force the congregation to sing the High Mass.

  103. introibo says:

    The responses posted to the original article (see link above) are priceless!

  104. jgq says:

    …nor even the silly dancing birettas. Nor is it the bishop preaching, surrounded by vested ministers sitting undecorously on the steps…

    Just an FYI, I do belive it is indecorous. See the entry below from Merriam Webster.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indecorous

    Main Entry: in·de·co·rous
    Pronunciation: \(?)in-?de-k(?-)r?s; ?in-di-?ko?r-?s\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin indecorus, from in- + decorus decorous
    Date: 1668
    : not decorous : conflicting with accepted standards of good conduct or good taste

    — in·de·co·rous·ly adverb

    — in·de·co·rous·ness noun

  105. This is the typical liberal liturgist who finds his life’s work going down the drain because his DIY liturgy has run its course. His theology and type of liturgy has no place in a solemn rite like the EF Mass.

    By the way, I prefer the “the endless bows, nods and genuflections, and the silly dancing birettas” rather than the silly Mahony girls and clown priests.

    With a liturgist like him who parades his academic credentials, you wonder if he really worships God in his liturgies or is he after “Hey look! This liturgy was the fruit of my dissertation!”

  106. You know, I just figured out where he got his “dancing birettas” comment. It was from EWTN, when Father Z and Father Goodwin said that the procession and the biretta-moving was “the real liturgical dancing”. (I think it was about the time when the servers sat down.)

    Man, he must have turned the television off in high dudgeon, eager to burn Fr. Z with his column, and none of us even got his rhetorical reference! Poor guy!

  107. JonM says:

    Indecorous? Really??

    Hmm…giant Easter Island paper mache puppets that have menacing expressions I know, as has been posted on this blog, appeared in the Seattle Cathedral.

    Decorous? Perhaps if Father Jan shared his opinions on the celebrated ‘artist’ Marchel Duchamp, we might better understand his metric for taste.

  108. Maltese says:

    the rite does appear to be a museum liturgy, a ritual of mystification rather than mystery.

    I guess the banners balloons and humdrum everyday liturgy by commission that he celebrates inspires!

    Think Mozart, Palestrina and the Mass which inspired the greatest Saints, and then compare that to these sorry words from a lost-in-the-woods post-Vatican II prelate, who thinks of the mass as a great happy meal, and not the transendental mystery it is….

  109. Mike says:

    Irishgirl–thanks :)

    I am reading Trochu’s bio of the Cure…wow!

  110. Jakub says:

    Fr. Jan should be subject to 40 Divine Liturgies in the Eastern Tradition, alot of incense, prostrations and bows…

    Call it Liturgical Therapy…

  111. Mitchell NY says:

    All things being said about Latin should be taught in Seminaries, how is it that an Apostolic Constitution can be ignored? Veterum Sapientia is a vaild, fairly recent, in Church years, Constitution. How do Seminaries go about being erected, set up, and attended without this document? Sorry Father, if this is a rabbit hole, but it would make a good topic for a post. The more we know about Latin and what is required the more we can inform our Priests WE do know about its’ existence and question. Father Larson should be sent a copy and reflect on his own formation, as well as the damage he does to others with his negative, unsupportive remarks. As the Mass in Washington proves, the Tridentine, Extraordinary Form of Mass is alive and doing well acoording to the THOUSANDS that attended and who knows how many viewed on EWTN. Perhaps it is raining so much in Seattle that Father Larson is a bit waterlogged. People love this Form of Mass and we are part of the Church. That is the bottom line. I wish the Holy Father would celebrate next, and pull us out of the trenches. We need him.

  112. TJerome says:

    This man is a glorified social worker.

  113. edwardo3 says:

    Mitchell NY:

    It would be wonderful if the Holy Father would celebrate the Solemn Papal Mass in the EF, but if it took three years of planning and training to pull off a well done Solemn Pontifical Mass, can you imagine the planning and training necessary for the Papal Mass? Are there many people who have any first hand knowledge of how to do the Papal Mass, and do you think the Sistine Choir could pull it off in their present state?

  114. jt83 says:

    TJerome: Don’t bash all social workers I’m an MSW who, unlike another famous MSW, Cardinal Mahoney, I consider myself a traditionally oriented Catholic.

    “He has served … as liturgical consultant for the building and renovation of churches in western Washington.”

    -As a member of the Church in western Washington, I now know who is responsible for all the ugly churches I see everywhere I go in my beloved Archdiocese.

  115. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    This line is PERFECT!

    With a liturgist like him who parades his academic credentials, you wonder if he really worships God in his liturgies or is he after “Hey look! This liturgy was the fruit of my dissertation!”

    Pretty much sums him up, may his heart of stone and mind of mush yet be redeemed. When we pray for priests, we pray for all of them, even way-ward ones, that they will return to the true church and true flock.

  116. eiggam says:

    The difference between the TLM of the early 60′s and the current EF is that people at the EF Mass Want to be there and have taken the effort to appreciate. I grew up with priests like Fr. Larsen who liked all the progressive things, but the depth wasn’t there. I had the Pontifical Mass on TV in the middle of the night, yet knew that something very special was going on-even more than in church.

    I’ve been to the rock band masses and the kids still sit in the pews not paying attention. People need to be taught. The TLM can be followed even with the small red book from Ecclesia Dei. One needs to take the time to learn.

  117. Maltese says:

    eiggam: very true! That’s what I’ve been arguing all along! The Great Saints, the Native Americans in the fields, as well as princes in their palaces, have all been informed by the Traditional Latin Mass. Pretty cool when you think that prince at pauper both prayed this mass!

  118. Rob Cartusciello says:

    This item has been bugging me since I read it this morning.

    Then I remembered Fr. Z’s rule: Do not feed the troll.

    This guy is simply trolling from his own blog. Shame on him.

  119. Sam Schmitt says:

    Perhaps no one noticed that Fr. Larson is citing the Constitution on the Liturgy of Vatican II when he writes that the rites “should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions” and should be “within the people’s power of comprehension, and not require much explanation” (no. 34).

  120. robtbrown says:

    Mitchell,

    I was told that when Veterum Sapientia was promulgated, Americans just chuckled, shook their heads, and ignored it. If memory serves, Iota Unum says that the Germans thumbed their noses at Rome.

    VS was promulgated in 1962, about 6 mos before the Council opened. And so those who maintain that JXXIII was unaware of that rebellion was brewing are incorrect. He was well aware of the reaction before the Council opened.

    Keep in mind that the 60′s were drenched in progressive optimism, that insisted that the Church needed only to remove those “obstacles” like Latin that kept men from becoming fully human.

    Forty years later, and look at the mess.

  121. robtbrown says:

    Perhaps no one noticed that Fr. Larson is citing the Constitution on the Liturgy of Vatican II when he writes that the rites “should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions” and should be “within the people’s power of comprehension, and not require much explanation” (no. 34).
    Comment by Sam Schmitt

    That same Constitution also says that clerics should say their office in Latin. Do you think Fr Schmitt does?

    I have been saying for years that I am certain my liturgical views are found in Sacrosanctum Concilium simply because everyone’s views are in it. There are texts in SC that can be used to justify every liturgical position–from balloons on the altar and celebrants in clown suits to the SSPX position.

  122. TonyLayne says:

    “So, the liturgy before the Council was bad. And the liturgical directives of the Council Fathers were ‘formal teachings’. In that case, we might ask the writer how much effort he has put into obeying the formal teachings (what does that mean, btw? dogmas? definitions?) about how pastors of souls are obliged to teach their flocks to respond both singing and speaking in both Latin and their mother tongue? He has made sure that Gregorian Chant and polyphony has pride of place? Has he made sure that Latin is being used? After all, the Council formally mandated those things. I think the writer is simply superimposing his liberal fantasy about what the Council was about and suppressing what it really mandated.”

    Truly, Father Z., the best deconstruction of a knee-jerk criticism that I have ever read.

  123. The Pontifical Mass was no longer than it had to be. It was exactly as long as a Pontifical Mass. Therefore, it was short and not unnecessarily repetitious.

    It seemed like it was a Mass, filled with Mass-related things. Therefore, it was clear.

    Fr. Z and Fr. Goodwin spent most of their time explaining the Extraordinary Form, not the special stuff about the Pontifical Mass. The only reason they had to explain that is because even many Catholics haven’t gotten to attend the EF. But it wasn’t nearly as hard to explain as curling was for the Olympic commentators. So it must be simple, compared to sports or other everyday human activities.

    I’m not Ye Bigge EF Fanne, but I have no complaints about the clarity of the EF Mass under the Vatican II regs. What I don’t get is all these guys who got better Catholic educations than me, always claiming that the EF Mass is haaaaarrrrrrd. The more they whine, the more they undermine their own case.

  124. Jerry says:

    re: Sam Schmitt – “Perhaps no one noticed that Fr. Larson is citing the Constitution on the Liturgy of Vatican II when he writes that the rites “should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions” and should be “within the people’s power of comprehension, and not require much explanation” (no. 34).”

    While I can’t speak for the others, my objection is to Fr. Larson’s insinuation that the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy fails these tests (i.e., that it contains useless repetitions or that it is beyond people’s comprehension).

  125. Patrick J. says:

    I went to Father Jan’s site and was taken aback by some of the disrespectful and “accusatory” tone by some traditionalists – (of course, none from here!! -ahhemm). Traditionalists, some of us really need to watch our ‘tone’ It was so bad that I was prompted to write the following:

    Fellow Catholics with a traditionalist bent ( I count myself among you):

    Please let not your disdain for what Father Jan believes and promotes (with all sincerity, let us assume) keep you from addressing a priest of God and a fellow Catholic with due deference. Traditionalist take note, your “righteous indignation” fused with a certitude about everything YOU profess and hold dear, coupled with just enough disrespectful “aha, I gotcha” tone will not win converts to your cause and is a counter witness to what you might like to think of as the “fruits” or “grace” poured out upon you by virtue of this venerable liturgy. IOW walk the walk, and don’t trash talk. Exchange is good, stand up for what you believe, of course, but don’t be condescending or rude yourselves. I don’t think Fr. Jan was being so much ruder – as some accuse him of being – than you yourselves with your finger wagging.

    !!This is not aimed at all pro-tradition posters here, but if the shoe fits… !!

    You don’t appreciate it when a voice at variance with yours/ours comes on to a traditionalist site with that kind of tone and rhetoric and lack of decorum and just plain old class.

    Fr. Jan, in the name of many who do think the Church is missing the mark by artificially separating from her glorious, though sometimes imperfect past, I ask you to overlook and forgive some of the tone and remarks made here on YOUR blog. Thank you for your years of service to OUR Church. I honestly think your positions are off kilter, but I have been there (though not quite to the same degree) and we do need to engage each other and challenge each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, as Catholics, and as plain old people of good will.

    God bless you Father, and keep you in His love, and let us all pray for God’s plan (not our own) for the Church to be made manifest.

    Blessings,

    Joseph

    WE need to be ‘Wise as serpents and guileless as doves’ – Capice? Agree?

  126. Mike says:

    Capice! Excellent points!!

  127. ckdexterhaven says:

    @Patrick J,
    Thank you for writing your(true!!) words in charity.

    Poor Father Jan needs our prayers. I wonder if he feels that he even belongs to the One True, Apostolic church. Sad.

  128. Ellen says:

    I’m 59, my mother and father are 89 and 90. I try to go to a TLM whenever I can, and my parents sometimes give me grief about it. They think it’s just “too much ceremony” and other words to that effect. Well, they watched the Pontifical Mass on EWTN and said they really enjoyed it, particularly because the commentator was so interesting and really explained things well. I just smiled and told them the commentator was the famous Father Z I am always talking about.

  129. poohbear says:

    …nor even the silly dancing birettas. Nor is it the bishop preaching, surrounded by vested ministers sitting undecorously on the steps,

    If by ‘dancing birettas’ he means the hat tip at the Holy Name, I think this is just one more proof that the name of Jesus is not respected by many. Seeing the tip of the biretta, along with the bows, nods and genuflections was awesome! It reminds all of us that the name of Jesus is not just another name, but is very special. Is it not written in scripture that ‘every knee must bend’?

    As for the young men seated in front of the Bishop, I have to say this was a favorite part for me. It made me think of children seated around their grandfather hearing stories of the family history, or even how I imagine people sat around Jesus as he preached. They were listening so intently.

    I would, however, ask Fr Jan if he has the children in his modern OF liturgy run up to the sanctuary and sit in front of the altar as Fr or deacon performs a Q&A homily while the children giggle and squirm and the adults take pictures and chat in the pews? At least in the Pontifical Mass, those servers were supposed to be there, unlike so many modern ‘participatory’ OF Masses.

  130. M.D. says:

    Fr. Jan Larson has other writings that the faithful may find quite ‘bothersome’.

    REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR OF THE PRIESTS By Fr. Jan Larson, North Bend, WA

  131. Mitchell NY says:

    Even if Veterum Sapientia was laughed at and shrugged off here in the US, for the most part so was Humane Vitae. VS was and still is an Apostolic COnstitution and is the first place to start in the re-training of Priests like Father Larson. Let people laugh at it, roll on the floor when seeing it and when it is all over your hand should be in front of them with the Constitution saying “Are you done ?, now implement this”…This is the firmness that is lacking..I bet Pius X would not let people shuk it off..

  132. Cath says:

    M.D.,
    I went to the link and am still trying to figure out his contempt for St. John Vianney. Does he really see purity as a bad thing?

    from that link

    “9. Confidence in bishops. Under the last two popes the bishops have
    assumed the pre-Vatican II role as puppets of the Vatican.”

    I thought they liked puppets?

  133. Irish says:

    When I read these screeds against the EF, the tone to me always sounds like the lament of exorcized demons described in Hostage to the Devil:

    “The possessing spirit’s anguish can be traced in the thumping, screeching, discordant wail that so often holds the exorcist’s mind in thrall, as spirit after spirit is forced painfully to leave the human ‘home.’ This must truly be an echo of the eternal agony once and for all time experienced by Lucifer: the irremediable pain of sorrow undergone by that brightest of all created intelligences howling again in the voice of Smiler, Mister Natch, Ponto, Multus: “Where shall we go? Where shall we hide from God avenging?” JMHO

  134. robtbrown says:

    Mitchell NY,

    So how would you implement it when 90% of the clergy knows no Latin? In formation the study of Latin is tied to Latin liturgy.

    BXVI is going about things the right way by liberating the Latin mass.

  135. Joshua08 says:

    “The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley… That says it all.”

    I hate to defend the JSTB, but I will say this. There has been some improvement there in recent years. They used to, in place of Mass, have a communion service where laity, including women, gave communion and the priests received it like any other communicant. So the priests were there, but giving up their role. But things have changed. They don’t do that anymore, they have Mass and they even have daily adoration most nights. Oh granted that I am highly unlikely to take classes there anytime soon, since they are still a bit loopy, if you really want loopiness the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley is the place to go…they even have “ecological liturgy”. The Dominican School in Berkeley on the other hand already has a lot of St. Thomas, traditional theology, a few priests that do the Dominican rite, and is introducing a theology degree focused on St. Thomas, though he already is present in most theology classes….so Berkeley does not = whackjob

  136. I received the following from a priest reader:

    As a priest of the archdiocese of Seattle, I don’t post responses to your critiques relating to our priests in order to avoid the conflicts and blackballing that would inevitably come.  But it has occurred to me that perhaps there are some rays of hope waiting behind these grumbling naysayers.  Certainly Pope Benedict remembers the troubles from Archbishop Hunthausen’s era.  The national publication of a call to disobedience by our cathedral rector and now this lesser but similarly toned opinion piece are sure to inform the decision of who replaces our outgoing ordinary.  In a way,  we owe them our gratitude for making sure the Pope doesn’t forget the faithful clergy & laity of the Pacific Northwest.

    He makes a good point.  When liberals the a public nutty, they often hurt their own causes.

  137. Fr_Sotelo says:

    robtbrown said:

    “The fact that someone like Fr Larson is still flourishing makes me wonder whether it is appropriate to add “the Great” to JPII.” I am in agreement with you.

    In the John Allen article which Fr. Z also cited, he states that Ratzinger’s reforms are not always appreciated because if the truth be told bluntly, Ratzinger’s stock going up means John Paul’s stock going down. That may sound harsh for some, but I agree with the assessment. For what is Ratzinger reforming, if not structures and processes that John Paul was comfortable to leave in place, to the detriment of the Church????

    There is no getting around the fact that part of Pope Benedict’s greatness is that he is cleaning up the messes left by his predeccesor, who perhaps was a saint, but not necessarily “the Great.”

    Most of us would like our cake and to eat it too. We would like to say that Benedict is making “wonderful changes” but we do not want to say, or are indignant if others say at the same time, “wonderful changes that John Paul should have made, could have made, and did not make.” Ratzinger is taking the vicious beating in the world press, in fact, precisely because what he is doing is rattling cages within the Church that John Paul did not want to rattle.

    I have no doubt that John Paul is a saint. But like you, I no longer support the appendage of “the Great” to his name.

  138. Frank H says:

    At the risk of contributing to the start of a “rabbit hole”, I will add to the comments re: JPII that the waiving of the usual waiting period to initiate his (or anyone’s) cause for canonization was clearly ill-advised. Consideration for sainthood certainly is worth exercising the virtue of patience, and such patience can help put things in perspective.

  139. JohnW says:

    I feel sick reading this article. When I attend a Missa cantata I feel in my heart that I am at the cross with Mary our blessed Mother. The Mass is beutiful and cannot be describe in words. Why or how couls this Priest say these things about the Mass. I know my family attended this Mass for over a thousand years when Poland was converted. I know they all could not have been wrong.

  140. Jerry says:

    re: Patrick J – “I went to Father Jan’s site and was taken aback by some of the disrespectful and “accusatory” tone by some traditionalists – (of course, none from here!! -ahhemm). Traditionalists, some of us really need to watch our ‘tone’ ”

    As one of those who responded on Fr. Larson’s blog with a disrespectful, if not uncharitable, tone, I thank you for the admonition.

    Just today I read the following in the most recent FSSP newsletter, where Fr. Eric Flood writes of St Catherine of Sienna:

    [She] was even more insistent that he [Pope Gregory IX] end the corruption among the clergy, for this was the deadliest of all the wounds lacerating society.

    She said that the Church herself did not need to be reformed, but that the ministers and pastors needed such. Yet, she gave the admonition that it was not the role of the faithful to chastise the clergy, for she said: “The devil will persuade you that you may and ought to punish the faults of wicked pastors. Believe him not, and lay not your hands on those who are the Lord’s anointed. He reserves that right to Himself, and has confided it to His vicar; that is, the pope.” She further counseled that any ill word against the pope is like saying the same against Christ.

  141. Malachy says:

    I found the following exchange on an another blog (blog.adw.org/2010/04/why-pray-in-latin/) with reference to Saturday’s mass.

    BEGINNING OF EXCERPT

    Ken says:
    April 25, 2010 at 10:06 pm
    One notable thing from yesterday’s beautiful traditional Latin Solemn High Pontifical Mass is that just about every saint, if he were to have walked in the shrine’s doors, would have been completely at home with that Mass. The same cannot be said with the post-Vatican II liturgy…

    Reply
    Archangel says:
    April 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Just about every saint?

    Every Western saint who lived at a time when Latin when understood by all (and every Eastern saint) would have said: I’ve never seen a liturgy celebrated in a language that the assembled people of God didn’t understand.

    Every Western saint who lived before some point or other — it varied from place to place — between the 7th and 10th centuries (and every Eastern saint) would have said:
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy where the assembly did not receive communion from the cup.
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy with this funny looking wafer instead of real loaves of bread.
    - I’ve never seen people receive communion on their knees.
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy where all the priests present did not concelebrate instead of some of them play-acting at being deacons and subdeacons.
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy where the presider said all the prayers and texts that should have been said or sung by other people (readers, choir, congregation).
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy where the presider did not speak throughout in a voice that could be heard by all.
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy with all of those prayers during the offertory, some of which use language (such as “the cup of salvation”) that suggest the bread and wine have already been consecrated.
    - I’ve never seen a liturgy without general intercessions.

    Every Western saint before the 11th century (and every Eastern saint) would have said: I’ve never seen a crucifix on the altar.

    Every Western saint before the 13th century (and every Eastern saint) would have said: I’ve never seen the presider raise the sacred species over his head.

    And many of them would have said a number of other things because before the Council of Trent, there was considerable liturgical diversity even in the Western Church.

    That a lot of saints. It includes all the martyrs of the early centuries and all the Fathers of the Church, and many others.

    And all of them would have shouted: What in God’s name have they done to the liturgy?

    END OF EXCERPT

    I think this is right. If the martyrs of the early Church and the Fathers of the Church of the 4th and 5th centuries could see both kinds of liturgies found today, they would be “completely at home” with the mass of Paul VI and not with Saturday’s extravaganza.

  142. Patrick J. says:

    @Jerry,

    You are welcome, but for some odd reason, my posting there was removed, twice. I have no understanding as to why, except that all comments after 4pm two days ago ceased. Mine was there and then not there. Strange.

    So anyway, it is easy to get angry at our priests who indeed get it wrong from time to time, and sometimes egregiously so. Your research provides me and others I am sure with some new insights as to why we dare not, and need not, “go there” with God’s priests, for after all, He called them, and He will deal with them. Beautiful, and thanks for the elucidating example.

  143. Dauphin says:

    Malachy,

    What you say doesn’t make any sense. If there has been considerable liturgical diversity throughout the church’s history (that’s true), then no single liturgy can be said to make every saint in the church’s history feel “completely at home”, whether it be the extraordinary or ordinary form or any of the Eastern liturgies. Gladly, that isn’t the point.

    At any liturgy, there will be elements which differ from certain historical practices. What’s wrong with that? There is such a thing as legitimate liturgical progress and development. Certain practices changed over time. The liturgy we have today has been sifted by time, and perfected by the praying church throughout the centuries.

    I think what the initial comment was saying is that all the saints would be at home with the spirit of reverence and prayer. They would have the greatest respect for the tradition we have received, just as they had respect for that same tradition in the form they received it in their own time.

    The idea that we have to go back to previous forms and abandon the organic development of centuries is what lead us into our current liturgical mess.

  144. Malachy says:

    Two points in response to Dauphin (who, by the way, writes in a much more respectful way than most others above).

    1. You do not really speak to the point I was addressing. The comment I quoted was saying that “just about every saint” would have found himself “completely at home” with last Saturday’s mass but NOT with the post-conciliar mass. I was agreeing with the claim that the opposite was true: all the saints of the early centuries would find that the post-conciliar mass looked at lot more like the Eucharist they knew that last Saturday’s mass did. Do you really believe that in the days of the Fathers of the Church the congregation spent a good part of the mass on their knees “reverently” watching the bishop or priest pray in a foreign language?

    2. You raise a different point: that last Saturday’s mass was the product of “legitimate liturgical progress and development”. Unfortunately, Vatican II said otherwise. It said that some aspects of this development had been unfortunate. A key passage of the Constitution on the Liturgy is article 50: “The rites [of the mass] are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.” In other words, some aspects of the development of the mass have to be reversed: some things that were added need to be eliminated and some things that were lost need to be restored. Iasmuch as Saturday’s mass remains unreformed, it stands as a rejection of the teaching of Vatican II. [So, you refuse to respect Pope Benedict and his understanding of how to interpret the Second Vatican Council. You know better. OK.]

  145. Henry Edwards says:

    Malachy: Iasmuch as Saturday’s mass remains unreformed, it stands as a rejection of the teaching of Vatican II.

    Surely no one would knowledgeably argue that either the Mass of 1962 as it had developed up to Vatican II, or the Mass of 1970 as it has in practice developed since, would look entirely familiar to the Fathers of the earliest centuries. To set one versus the other in this context is therefore a false dichotomy.

    But I would suggest that, as we find it celebrated in parish churches throughout the world, it is instead the Mass of 1970 that “stands as a rejection of the teaching of Vatican II”. After all, the Council called for a revitalization rather than a disintegration of the liturgy (to use a phrase of Card. Ratzinger’s). But surely the salutary objectives of the twentieth century liturgical reform movement (of Guardini, Parsch, etc.) were rejected just as fully in the decades immediately following the Council as if its recommendations had been ignored altogether.

    In any event, is it not clear that Pope Benedict XVI intends the traditional Latin Mass as a foundation or model for a “reform of the reform” that now, after a 40-year detour, will finally implement faithfully the recommendations of the Council? (The alternative being a wider restoration of the 1962 Mass than most think he intends.) While at the same time admitting the possibility of “organic development” of the older form under the influence of the newer form.

    Why not, then, view Saturday’s Mass as a step toward rather than a rejection of Vatican II.

  146. evener says:

    I’m actively praying that the new missal will tell our priests & congregations EVERY move to make, and when to breathe in and breathe out! These are the types that tore out our alter rails, ( nowhere in V2 was that authorized ) ETC. All who read this, PLEASE say one HAIL MARY, that our new missal stop the abuses of our liturgy.

  147. kjmacarthur says:

    In re Malachy’s comments:

    When I was young and liturgists were trying to get us to stop kneeling, we were told that kneeling was not a feature of the early Church, that it was borrowed from Byzantine court ritual, etc. When I was older, I went to an academic conference (a professional conference at a state university) and I attended a lecture by a forensic archeologist whose team had been examining the human remains of an early Christian community near Jerusalem (I think it was 2nd century). He told us that examination of the knee bones showed that the members of this community knelt or genuflected a very large number (150?) times each day.

    So, yeah, I think the majority of saints would understand the kneeling. One of the dangers of the “liturgical archeologism” against which Popes have warned us is that new information is coming out all the time about the past. Do those who want the church to restore the worship of the early Church want us to change that worship every time a scholar establishes a new fact about the early Church? Will all of the Novus Ordo liturgists tell us now to start kneeling again? I won’t hold my breath.

  148. robtbrown says:

    1. You do not really speak to the point I was addressing. The comment I quoted was saying that “just about every saint” would have found himself “completely at home” with last Saturday’s mass but NOT with the post-conciliar mass. I was agreeing with the claim that the opposite was true: all the saints of the early centuries would find that the post-conciliar mass looked at lot more like the Eucharist they knew that last Saturday’s mass did. Do you really believe that in the days of the Fathers of the Church the congregation spent a good part of the mass on their knees “reverently” watching the bishop or priest pray in a foreign language?

    Your comment is based on historical error.

    1. We know that until the change to Latin c.200 the Eucharist was celebrated in Greek across the Western Empire. Only the upper classes (and a few Greek settlements, e.g., Lyons) spoke Greek. All others would have have considered the liturgy to be in “a foreign language”.

    2. That having been said, the switch from Greek to Latin was hardly a move to the vernacular, i.e., away from “a foreign language”. Latin was the language of Empire–it was not the vernacular.

    If the Church had done after Vat II what it did c. 200, it would have imposed English (the language of Empire) as the liturgical language for all Latin rite Catholic–French, German, and Spanish speaking.

    2. You raise a different point: that last Saturday’s mass was the product of “legitimate liturgical progress and development”. Unfortunately, Vatican II said otherwise. It said that some aspects of this development had been unfortunate. A key passage of the Constitution on the Liturgy is article 50: “The rites [of the mass] are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.” In other words, some aspects of the development of the mass have to be reversed: some things that were added need to be eliminated and some things that were lost need to be restored. Iasmuch as Saturday’s mass remains unreformed, it stands as a rejection of the teaching of Vatican II.
    Comment by Malachy

    As long as you want to invoke Vat II for returning to ancient practices, I encourage you to consider the following from SC (89, 91):

    89. Therefore, when the Office is revised, these norms are to be observed:

    The hour of Prime is to be suppressed.

    We know that Prime originated at the end of the 4th century.

    91. So that it may really be possible in practice to observe the course of the hours proposed in Art. 89, the Psalms are no longer to be distributed throughout one week, but through some longer period of time.

    NB: The one week cycle of psalms is not only traced back in monasticism to the time of St Benedict, but it we know that it was being used when Prime was inserted into the Office at the end of the 4th century.

  149. robtbrown says:

    Malachy,

    Although there is something very Baroque about the lengthy cappa worn by the the Bishop, I hope you aren’t naive enough to think that the customary way of saying mass (versus populum in the vernacular) has anything to do with ancient practices.

  150. Malachy says:

    With reference to kjmacarthur’s comments about keeling:

    I don’t doubt that early Christians often knelt at various times to pray, but the question is whether they knelt during the Eucharist. The answer is that, in honour of the resurrection, they did not kneel during prayers or the liturgy on Sundays or during the the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. Tertullian (155-230) says: [At what point in his interesting career?] “We consider it unlawful to…pray kneeling upon the Lord’s Day; we enjoy the same liberty from Easter-day to that of Pentecost”. The Council of Nicaea (325) repeated the prohibition in its 20th canon. See: http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/Canon%20Law/Nicea/CanonsCouncilNiceae.htm#CANON XX.

  151. Dauphin says:

    Malachy,

    If you want to play the game of “which Mass is closer to the practice of the fathers?”, you have to consider quite a few other things. The Church fathers would be positively aghast at Holy Communion being received in the left, unwashed, hand. They would be horrified by laity touching the sacred vessels and distributing Holy Communion. They would have no experience of female altar servers. They would have no tolerance for the use of “street language” in the Mass. Even when local languages have been employed in the liturgy, they have always been in a more ancient and elevated form.

    The list goes on. In the end, the Traditional Latin Mass derives organically from these earlier forms, with some significant organic enrichment, while the New Mass simply constitutes a total breach assembled by a committee.

    The council did call for a moderate reform with some simplification of the rites (on the model of the Council of Trent). Instead of this respectful pruning of tradition (which in no way implies a rejection of what came before), what it got was a liturgical revolution. By the council’s own standard, the unreformed Mass is closer to its liturgical vision than what we have today.

  152. kjmacarthur says:

    Malachy,

    That Nicea prohibited it is a pretty good indication that people were doing it. Your original comment had to do with what the saints might have seen at Mass, not what was permitted.

  153. Malachy says:

    robtbrown disputes the suggestion that the liturgy was in the vernacular during the first centuries. Specifically he claims that until 200 “the Eucharist was celebrated in Greek across the Western Empire”, and that when the switch was made to Latin, it was not “a move to the vernacular”.

    He does not mention the Eastern Roman Empire. That’s because in the East the liturgy was always in the vernacular: Greek in most places, and where Greek was not the local language, then Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, etc.

    As for the West, I don’t believe we have much evidence about the liturgical language “across the Western Empire”. We do have evidence about the liturgical language at Rome: we know that in the first centuries Greek was the liturgical language in the city of Rome, and that Greek gave way to Latin during the 3rd and 4th centuries. To explain why this is so, I will have to quote from a liturgical authority, Adolf Adam, whose German work “Grundriss Liturgie” was translated into English as “Fundamentals of Liturgy” (Collegeville, 1992). As I don’t have the English translation at hand, I’ll try to provide my own translation. (The passage is from section 2 of chapter 4.)

    “In Rome, the Greek language, in its koine form, was the dominant language well into the 3rd century, both among cultivated people as among broad segments of the urban proletariat. It is therefore not surprising that the Roman liturgy was celebrated in Greek until late in the 3rd century, as we can see from the Church Orders of Hippolytus of Rome (c. 215). The restoration of Latin that occurs at the time of emperor Decius (249-51) creates at Rome the problem of the difference between the liturgical language and the people’s language. Faced with this situation, the Church of Rome opted, at the end of a long process, for the principle that the liturgy should be celebrated in the people’s language. This process of Latinization was completed under pope Damasus around 380. Ambrosiaster, the anonymous author of a commentary of the epistles of St. Paul and a contemporary of pope Damasus, tells us, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, chapter 14, that it was thought to be against nature for Latins to sing Greek hymns they could not understand. The pleasure experienced at hearing harmonious words could not compensate for the inconvenience of a sterile exercise. Like St. Paul who says that he preferred speaking five intelligible words to 10,000 incomprehensible ones (v. 19), Ambrosiaster concludes with this exhortation: ‘Therefore, when you assemble for the edification of the Church, you must say things that the listeners understand’.”

    In other words, Greek was the liturgical language of the city of Rome as long as Greek was the language of the majority of the people. (Yes, I know, it seems counter-intuitive that most people at Rome spoke Greek.) Then, when emperor Decius required all Romans to speak Latin, the Church slowly — over the course of one century — switched to Latin. And the guiding principle was always that the liturgy should be in the language people understood.

  154. BTW… long-time readers and participants here know that I don’t like it at all when one or two people dominant the combox.

  155. Malachy says:

    Dauphin:

    In your comment about “which Mass is closer to the practice of the fathers?” there are some hits and some misses.

    - “The Church fathers would be positively aghast at Holy Communion being received in the left, unwashed, hand.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his catechesis to the newly baptized (c. 350), says: “Approaching [to receive communion], do not come with your palms stretched flat nor with fingers separated. But making your left hand a seat for your right, and hollowing your palm, receive the Body of Christ, responding Amen.”

    - “They would be horrified by laity touching the sacred vessels and distributing Holy Communion.” Do you have any evidence for their being horrified by laity touching sacred vessels? It’s easy to project more recent attitudes into the past. Given that in the first centuries, chalices and large plates for the Eucharist could be made of wood or glass or clay, the people of that time may not have had the same attitude to “sacred vessels” as some people today. As far as I know, the laity did not distribute communion, but there was no objection to the laity touching the consecrated elements, since, as we see from Cyril of Jerusalem, they received in the hand.

    - “They would have no experience of female altar servers.” That’s for sure. But there were deaconesses who assisted in the baptism of women.

    - “They would have no tolerance for the use of “street language” in the Mass.” Well, the Sacrmentary and Lectionary of the post-conciliar liturgy do not use street language either.

    We all have things to learn about the past practices of the Church. It’s very easy to project more recent practices into the past and assume that things were always the way they are now (or were in the recent past).

  156. Malachy says:

    OK, Fr. Zuhlsdorf, enough from me for one day.

  157. This priest is advocating “another religion”.
    That’s all I have to say; its sad and unfortunate. God knows all of you who have to put up with this. My prayers for you all. And for this priest. He needs prayers and penance. And all the rest of our beloved clergy brethren who take this “attitude”.
    It’s not in the heart of the Church, our Mother.
    St. Therese, as you prayed for the apostate priest, pray for all those priests who do not love the Sacred Liturgy given to us by our Holy Mother Church. Amen.

  158. robtbrown says:

    robtbrown disputes the suggestion that the liturgy was in the vernacular during the first centuries. Specifically he claims that until 200 “the Eucharist was celebrated in Greek across the Western Empire”, and that when the switch was made to Latin, it was not “a move to the vernacular”.

    Not only do I claim it, it is historically true.

    He does not mention the Eastern Roman Empire. That’s because in the East the liturgy was always in the vernacular: Greek in most places, and where Greek was not the local language, then Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, etc.

    I didn’t know you were an Eastern Catholic. If you are, then I applaud your Greek, Coptic, or Syriac liturgies.

    Those Churches, however, are culture bound. In the West, however, there are various cultures, and not all the languages are Romantic. That’s why JXXIII wrote in Veterum Sapientia of the importance of Latin–that it favors no culture.

    “In Rome, the Greek language, in its koine form, was the dominant language well into the 3rd century, both among cultivated people as among broad segments of the urban proletariat.

    I said earlier that Greek was spoken among the upper classes. Greek, however, was never spoken among broad segments of the proletariat. That’s why the inscriptions on 1st century structures like the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus are in Latin. As a matter of fact, during my eight years in Rome I can only remember two Greek inscriptions, both on churches–one on St Peter’s, the other on San Nilo, a Greek monastery in Grottaferrata, near Frascati.

    It is therefore not surprising that the Roman liturgy was celebrated in Greek until late in the 3rd century, as we can see from the Church Orders of Hippolytus of Rome (c. 215).

    The liturgy was celebrated in Greek because it is the language of the NT.

    The restoration of Latin that occurs at the time of emperor Decius (249-51) creates at Rome the problem of the difference between the liturgical language and the people’s language.

    That merely proves my point–that Latin was the language of empire, not the vernacular.

    It is a mistake to assume that there was uniformity in language in the empire. In fact, because of so many immigrants in Rome, we cannot even assume uniformity among the Romans.

    Faced with this situation, the Church of Rome opted, at the end of a long process, for the principle that the liturgy should be celebrated in the people’s language. This process of Latinization was completed under pope Damasus around 380. Ambrosiaster, the anonymous author of a commentary of the epistles of St. Paul and a contemporary of pope Damasus, tells us, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, chapter 14, that it was thought to be against nature for Latins to sing Greek hymns they could not understand. The pleasure experienced at hearing harmonious words could not compensate for the inconvenience of a sterile exercise. Like St. Paul who says that he preferred speaking five intelligible words to 10,000 incomprehensible ones (v. 19), Ambrosiaster concludes with this exhortation: ‘Therefore, when you assemble for the edification of the Church, you must say things that the listeners understand’.”

    I agree about needing to understand. That’s why Catholic school children studied Latin.

    In other words, Greek was the liturgical language of the city of Rome as long as Greek was the language of the majority of the people. (Yes, I know, it seems counter-intuitive that most people at Rome spoke Greek.)

    Not only counter intuitive, it is wrong. Greek was spoken by the upper classes, an architectonic language. As I noted above, Greek was the liturgical language simply because it is the language of the NT.

    Then, when emperor Decius required all Romans to speak Latin, the Church slowly—over the course of one century—switched to Latin.

    You again make same mistake by assuming that there was uniformity of vernacular language throughout the empire. There was not, thus the need to impose Latin.

    And the guiding principle was always that the liturgy should be in the language people understood.

    My responses have already refused that comment.

    Once again, it was the language of empire. Do you honestly think that peasants in 3rd century France spoke Latin?

  159. Malachy says:

    OK. One last comment, prompted by the long post by robtbrown.

    The issue is the language of the liturgy at Rome in the first centuries. I provided a quotation from an eminent liturgist on the subject. Your only response is to deny what he says. You provide no evidence, no argument, no references, no quotations to support your position. That is no way to conduct a fruitful debate.

  160. Dauphin says:

    Malachy,

    On Communion in the hands, I was thinking precisely of the quote you gave, which simply demonstrates my point. St. Cyril instructed that the Holy Eucharist should be received in the right hand, and and then taken directly into the mouth. The modern practice of receiving in the left hand and touching the Holy Eucharist with one’s fingers to place it in the mouth would have been completely alien and offensive to him. Also, many church fathers, popes and synods prohibited reception in the hand altogether.

    On the question of the laity touching the sacred vessels, this was absolutely forbidden in the early Roman Church. St. Sixtus I prohibited it explicitly.

    On the language of the Mass, you may have a point. I frequently hear more beautiful language in casual conversation than in the current translation of the Mass.

  161. Henry Edwards says:

    Malachy,

    It seems revealing that, whereas you have felt able able to address some other arguments, you apparently have not felt able to attempt an answer to my argument @ 3:14 pm yesterday that (in essence) the Mass this past Saturday was a significant step in support of Pope Benedict’s effort to finally implement authentically the liturgical recommendations of Vatican II. It being evident that the primary intent of Summorum Pontificum is to provide in the traditional Latin Mass a model and anchor in continuity for the reform of the reform to rescue the Mass of 1970 from the “deformations” that have plagued it and blocked to date any attainment of the real goals of Vatican II.

  162. robtbrown says:

    The issue is the language of the liturgy at Rome in the first centuries. I provided a quotation from an eminent liturgist on the subject. Your only response is to deny what he says. You provide no evidence, no argument, no references, no quotations to support your position. That is no way to conduct a fruitful debate.
    Comment by Malachy

    Huh?

    I already acknowledged that the liturgy of Rome in the first centuries was Greek–everyone knows that. The switch from Greek to Latin is common knowledge.

    You, however, were contending that the spoken language in Rome among the proletariat was Greek. I said that was wildly wrong–Greek was spoken by the upper classes, not the masses. And then you insisted that was the reason the liturgy was in Greek. I said that the liturgy was in Greek because the NT is in Greek.

  163. robtbrown says:

    BTW, Adolph Adam, the eminent liturgist, does not understand why the Gospels use polloi.

  164. Malachy says:

    Henry Edwards:

    I suspect I really don’t understand your point.

    Vatican II stated it was imperative that the existing mass be reformed, and it laid down some of the parameters for this reformation.

    Last Saturday’s mass had undergone no reformation in according with the directives of Vatican II.

    You suggest that last Saturday’s unreformed mass was a step towards implementing the goal of Vatican II of reforming the mass.

    I don’t get it. What am I missing?

  165. Malachy says:

    robtbrown:

    I made a very clear and reasonable point: When you reject what an acknowledged expert has said, you need to do more than make bald assertions; you need to provide some evidence or reference or authority that backs up what you say.

    Your reply is “Huh?”

    There really is no point in continuing the discussion unless you provide this support.

  166. Malachy- Fr. U. Michael Lang has addressed this issue of the Latin used in the Sacred Liturgy.
    It was not the “common usage” but a “sacralized language” in order to distinguish it from the everyday usage.
    http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=262712

    And, as a suggestion, read Pope Benedict’s ‘Summorum Pontificem’…the answers to your questions are there, presented in very clear language.

  167. Malachy says:

    Concerning nazareth priest’s suggestion to read the article by Lang:

    Lang’s article confirms everything Adam said.

    Lang says: in the first centuries, most people living in Rome — including the “urban proletariat” (his own words) — spoke Greek, and consequently the language of the liturgy was Greek; later, beginning in the 3rd century, Rome became a city of mostly Latin speakers, and the liturgical language then shifted to Latin.

    This, of course, is exactly what Adam says.

    The only new piece of information Lang presents is that when Latin was adopted as the language of the Roman liturgy (in the 3rd-4th centuries), it was a literary form of Latin, not the colloquial Latin of the streets.

  168. Jordanes says:

    Dauphin said: On the question of the laity touching the sacred vessels, this was absolutely forbidden in the early Roman Church. St. Sixtus I prohibited it explicitly.

    The first time we hear of St. Xystus I issuing that prohibition is in the Liber Pontificalis, which has no historical value when it comes to its stories of which ancient pope allegedly instituted what custom or law. All we can tell is that by the time the LP was compiled, the law had been long established that the laity could not touch the sacred vessels — it was so old a prohibition that we can’t say who instituted it. Maybe the legend in LP is correct, maybe not.

    As for the debate regarding liturgical language, Dr. Robert Brown has been correct in his statements regarding the use of Greek and Latin and other languages in the liturgy: the liturgy was never prayed in a vernacular or vulgar tongue until after Vatican II. The ancient liturgical languages of Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Latin, etc., were sacral languages, shaped by their use in the pre-Christian and early Christian liturgies, and honored for their antiquity in holyuse — they were not common tongues. This is why the Church never developed any Gaulish or German or Gaelic rites.

  169. robtbrown says:

    I made a very clear and reasonable point:

    But incorrect. For some reason you seem to think that the masses in 1st century Rome were speaking Greek.

    When you reject what an acknowledged expert has said, you need to do more than make bald assertions; you need to provide some evidence or reference or authority that backs up what you say.

    Adam might be a liturgist of some note, but, as I noted above, he doesn’t have a clue about the use of polloi (and thus multis) in the Eucharistic institutional narratives in the NT. One of the reasons he gives for the use of polloi is that he maintains that there is no word for “all” in Greek. Anyone who has ever read the NT in Greek would shudder at such incompetence.

    Further, a German friend told me that Adoph Adam wanted a feast day for the conservation of nature and toward the end of his life had serious PETA inclinations.

    IMHO, that disqualifies him as an “acknowledged expert”

    Your reply is “Huh?”

    Incorrect. My reply was “huh” because I already produced specific responses to your assertions.

    I’ll reproduce what followed the “huh”:

    I already acknowledged that the liturgy of Rome in the first centuries was Greek—everyone knows that. The switch from Greek to Latin is common knowledge.

    You, however, were contending that the spoken language in Rome among the proletariat was Greek. I said that was wildly wrong—Greek was spoken by the upper classes, not the masses. And then you insisted that was the reason the liturgy was in Greek. I said that the liturgy was in Greek because the NT is in Greek.

    Adam’s mistake is based on his false assumption that the liturgy was always in the vernacular. In order to maintain that fantasy he distorts history, insisting that Greek was the vernacular in Rome when the liturgy was in Greek.

    Further, I noted earlier the 1st century inscriptions in Rome like the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus are in Latin. I also noted that I cannot remember ever seeing any Greek inscriptions in Rome except in churches. That means that your assertion that Greek was spoken not only by the upper classes but also by the masses is wrong.

    There really is no point in continuing the discussion unless you provide this support.
    Comment by Malachy

    I already provide the support. See my comments in this thread.

  170. Henry Edwards says:

    Malachy: I don’t get it. What am I missing?

    I believe you’ve made a true statement here. And that what you’re missing is our Supreme Pontiff’s intent in restoring the Extraordinary Form to the liturgical life of the Western Church.

    Which apparently is to reestablish continuity with the historical development of the liturgy, and thereby provide a model and anchor for the renewal that Sacrosanctum Concilium called for, but which after more than forty years has still not been carried out.

    Although the TLM was the Mass of Vatican II, neither it nor the Novus Ordo is the Mass reformed as the Council recommended. On the assumption that those modest recommendations are still pertinent, Pope Benedict XVI is now initiating that reform. I take it that the traditional Latin Mass provides a stable target, but that the eventual stable form of the Roman rite will be somewhere between the present ordinary and extraordinary forms–though undoubtedly much closer to the latter.

    So what appears to me to be missing in your repetitive posts is some understanding of the implementation of Vatican II that is now, finally, underway.

  171. Henry Edwards: Yes, absolutely. Yes!

  172. mfranks says:

    Fr. Larson posted a response to all the comments on his blog. You should go and visit. Here’s a nice snipit:

    “I’m offended when people don’t take these teachings of the Council seriously. For example, some people attempt to convince others that the requirements for “full and active participation” are met when people follow along closely in their missals and contemplate deeply during periods of silence. If this is all that is required of full participation, then why didn’t the world’s bishops know this? Why did they provide all the changes in the rite, and almost unanimously approve the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy?”

    Here’s a link to his blog: http://liturgy.blogs.com/liturgy_reflections/

    Please take the time to read his response and respond as appropriate.

  173. Malachy says:

    Indeed, let’s get back to discussing Fr. Larson’s position, and do so respectfully, something many of the earlier posters obviously found very difficult.

    But before I sign off, I must make one last response.

    Jordanes:

    You said: “The liturgy was never prayed in a vernacular or vulgar tongue until after Vatican II. The ancient liturgical languages of Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Latin, etc., were sacral languages, shaped by their use in the pre-Christian and early Christian liturgies, and honored for their antiquity in holy use —they were not common tongues.”

    If I understand you correctly, your thesis is that at the point in time when each of the languages in question was adopted by the Church as a language of its liturgy, these languages (A) were not the language commonly spoken or understood by the people of the country or region in question, but (B) were sacral languages. (By a “sacral language”, I assume you mean a language whose current use derives from its having being used for sacred purposes in the past and not from its being currently spoken or understood.)

    You’ll have a tough row to hoe proving part A of the thesis. It is common knowledge that in the 1st century Greek was the common language of communication throughout the Roman Empire and was also the language of the early Christian communities outside of Palestine. Paul wrote to these communities in Greek because that was the language they spoke and understood, even the Christians who lived in Rome (as Adam and Lang both confirm). Adam and Lang also agree that Latin became the liturgical language at Rome in the 3rd century once Latin had become the predominant language in the city. As for Coptic and Syriac, they most definitely were the mother tongues of most of the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria in the first Christian centuries.

    As for part B of the thesis, I have two problems with it.

    Since, by stipulation, we are talking about the moment in time when the languages in question became Christian liturgical languages, their sacral character must have come from their pre-Christian use. But it strains credulity to think the early Christians would have chosen the sacred language of a pagan religion to be the language of their worship. You might always counter that Syriac derived its sacral character from its close connection to Aramaic (which was the language of Jesus) and Greek from its being the language of the New Testament, but that does explain Latin or Coptic.

    The second problem is that I think you have things backwards. These languages of the Christian liturgy did acquire a sacral character but only after centuries of use by Christians (and not beforehand, as you seem to claim). Thus, when the Germanic peoples were converted to Christianity beginning in the 5th century, the Church refused to translate the liturgy into their own languages: by then Latin had acquired a sacral character and was to be used whether or not people understood it. Likewise, when the Syriac-speaking Nestorian Christians of Mesopotamia brought the Gospel to India and distant parts of Asia, they insisted that Syriac remain the liturgical language even though it was unintelligible to the new converts: Syriac had become a sacral language.

    If I’ve misunderstood you, please set me straight.

  174. Henry Edwards says:

    Malachy: Indeed, let’s get back to discussing Fr. Larson’s position

    Well, ok:

    “The vast majority of parish liturgies are done reverently and devoutly (see, for example, the daily Mass on EWTN).” (Fr. Larson’s latest)

    But if you or he equates the “vast majority of parish liturgies” in reverence with the daily Mass on EWTN, but no one else does, what remains to be said?