Card. Braz de Aviz moves on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, curtails use of Usus Antiquior. Fr. Z rants, offers tough love.

It has been a tough week, friends.

Now there is news which will make a lot of the traditionally inclined go bonkers.  My email is filling up with panicky bile.

Before any of you readers have a spittle-flecked nutty, in a spittle-flecked nutshell, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFIs) underwent an Apostolic Visitation which finished 3 July. There was division among the FFIs about Summorum Pontificum, their use of the older form of Mass, and criticisms made by some of Vatican II. As a result of the Apostolic Visitation, a decree dated of 11 July, signed by the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, João Card. Braz de Aviz (remember him?) and the Secretary Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo (a Franciscan and one of the first appointments Pope Francis made). It was approved by Pope Francis before its publication.

The decree appoints “Commissario Apostolico” ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, a Capuchin named Fidenzio Volpi, over the all the FFIs. It also requires – and this is the point some will freak out over and some liberals will crow over - all FFIs must celebrate the Novus Ordo and that they can celebrate the Usus Antiquior only with permission from competent authorities. This goes into effect on 12 August.

At a first glance, this move seems to contradict dramatically the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  We shall have to see how it plays out for private Masses, etc.

I’ll bet most, if not all, of the Friars will obey. They won’t do an SSPX sort of move or go postal.  Their obedience will edify us all.

That being the case, let’s think about this for a bit.

First, and I don’t think the Prefect of the Congregation, or the FFIs that sparked this take-over by the Holy See, should get a pass: this decree will hurt a lot of lay people.  It will also stimulate the bitter element among those inclined to a traditional expression of the Faith. I had sensed over the last years that some people were finally starting to unclench.  This is a set back for their morale.  In short, a small group of people ruined something great for a lot of people.

What we need to keep in mind is that this decree is more about a division in a religious community than it is about Summorum Pontificum.  

The FFIs were not founded as an Extraordinary Form community, as some others were (e.g., the Institute of Christ the King). After Summorum Pontificum, a faction within the FFIs were making the Extraordinary Form the only form. As I understand the situation, other FFIs were unhappy about this, for various reasons. Division ensued.  A Visitation resulted.  The Holy See executed a take-over with regard to Summorum Pontificum.  The FFIs will now have supervision, because they couldn’t get along over this matter.

All this was set in motion long before Benedict XVI announced his abdication.  Remember also that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“, now a part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wouldn’t have competence in this matter because the FFIs were not founded under their auspices.

Take-overs happen when something is not working.  Think about the LCWR. (No, I am not drawing a moral equivalence.)

I suspect that faults in charity and prudence on the part of the more traditionally inclined among the FFIs (and the fact that liberals are always ready to shove traddies to the back of the bus) set the stage for this.  Others were caught in the middle.  The result, however, is that the harder-core traditional types and those who lean in that direction are the ones who lost ground.  The FFIs who wanted only or mostly the Novus Ordo won the day.  Let’s let that sink in for a bit.

I think… think… Pope Francis is not against the Usus Antiquior. Francis, however, was a Jesuit, a religious. He was a provincial. In his day, Fr. Bergoglio dealt with huge divisions in his community.  He has insight into problems in religious communities. I think… think… Francis thought that the FFIs needed a way to heal their internal divisions as religious.  He hit the “reboot” button for them.  Moreover, the somewhat draconian restriction of the older Mass could have more to do with Card. Braz de Aviz than Pope Francis.  We shall see.

At the same time, I suspect that neither Francis nor the Prefect (nor the problem elements in the FFIs) gave much consideration to how this will affect the lay people in parishes that the FFIs staff who are attached to the Usus Antiquior.  If that is the case, then this move could be a manifestation of the sort of clericalism that Pope Francis seems to want to diminish.  We shall see what happens when FFIs start asking for permissions from competent authorities for pastoral reasons.  I hope people monitor this closely and let everyone know what happens one way or another.

In any event, this decree probably has more to do with a matter internal to a religious community than it does with the older form of Mass, though the older form was an issue of the division.

It probably also concerns the manner in which some of the FFIs approached or spoke of Vatican II.  Everything “Vatican II” is even more of a third rail now than it was four months ago!  Under this Pontificate, even more voltage is going to that rail.

At this point, I remind everyone that the provisions of Summorum Pontificum are still in effect… but they can be lost.

Therefore, I urge all of you who are interested in the older form, who want to obtain celebrations of the older form of Mass in your parishes or communities, to push ahead with energy and a cheerful attitude. Do not relax. Do not slow down. Do not flag in your resolve. Get to work. Now. And be smart about it.  Get whatever chips there may be off your shoulders and get to work.

Traditional, hard-identity Catholics, need to press forward and be prudent.  Leave aside harsh polemics or comments about Vatican II.  Stow them, at least for now. Be smart. There will be time in the future for people to sort what Vatican II means and what it doesn’t mean.  But, mark my words, if you gripe about Vatican II right now, in this present environment, you could lose what you have attained.

I have some suggestions.

Make some holy “lío”, as Francis would call it.  Stir things up in your dioceses.  But make it a smart and a positive ruckus.

First, work to get Masses established and work to get as many young priests and seminarians trained up as quickly as possible and as well as you can. Stick a crowbar in your wallets and spend money if you have to. Set aside the smaller differences you have over certain hotly-debated issues and band together.  Encourage and persuade with good cheer and without sticking your thumb in the eyes of those who can help you.

Second, get involved in your parishes or in the place where you attend the older form of Mass. Get involved especially in what the parish might have going in regard to spiritual and corporal works of mercy. If that means getting involved in a less-than-perfect RCIA program as a group leader, do it. If that means volunteering to visit the sick, do it. If that means offering to wash altar linens, do it. If that means helping with a food or clothing drive, or even starting them, do it. Do these things, firstly, because they are the right things to do. Do them also because traditional, hard identity Catholics are treated like second-class citizens in the Church. You need to give the lie to the impression which the controlling liberal class has about you.  Don’t just go to your Mass and then go home without thinking about the parish again for another 6 days.

Libs have been energized in the last few months.  They think that the momentum is in the favor right now.  I don’t buy that, but they do.  Thus,  in parishes and schools they will rise up against you more vigorously than of late. They are still mostly in control, too!  When they shove you to the back of the bus, again, be better than they are. Stay cheerful and remain energized, and keep pressing forward.

This next part is going to sting a little.

You more conservative or traditional Catholics out there and in here…. clean up your act and be smarter.

Liberals and progressivists seem to be able to set aside some of their differences to band together to create a larger force and lobby.  Together with the effects of Original Sin and the help of the Devil, their ability to work together is one of the reasons why they usually win.  They still control most of the structures and entities in the Church.  The Biological Solution is working on them, but slowly.  It works on all of us, by the way.

On the other hand, traddies, conservatives, call them what you will – self-righteous debating about these imperfect labels is tedious and you know what I mean by them – seem to want to defend every wrinkle of turf they think they own. They don’t want anyone who doesn’t agree with them perfectly in the sandbox with them.  They bite at those with whom they have far more in common than they have differences.  That has got to stop now.  The terrain is shifting quickly and we need a new approach lest we screw up and lose the good ground we have gained.

Be smart about this.  I’ve watched the combox here and on other more traditional blogs which have some focus on the Extraordinary Form and blogs which would surely identify as being “moderate” but which manifest a kind of no-risk conservatism.  All of us still over here on the ‘C’atholic side of things have to do better.

Nevertheless, I’ve also been watching the growing division between hard-identity Catholics and those who are a little squishy around the edges.  We have to do better!  We can’t afford mud fights with those who are for the most part fellow travelers.

I call on both traddies and – I don’t know what word to use – neo-cons? You probably know the range of people and bloggers, etc., I am talking about – to find more common ground.

To those on the trad side of things, you are going to have to stop biting in such a nasty way at those with whom you mostly agree. Moreover, bitchy moaning about Pope Francis in the comboxs of blogs is going to bring about the realization of your fears.  Cui bono?  You are going to spoil everything gained in the last years through your petulance.

To those on the – I dunno – neo-con side, it is time to rethink your no-risk conservatism and toughen up your Catholic identity a bit. You have your nasty moments too, especially toward those who have more traditional inclinations than you.

Goodness gracious!  It’s like something from a fable by Aesop!

The time has come for hard-identity Catholicism, but hard-identity in a smarter tone.

This is going to cost something on both sides.

Let us all start with an examination of our consciences.  We have to root out our personal faults, especially through the sacrament of penance.

We have to be smarter about what we are doing.

UPDATE:

Some links from FFIs which you should look at.

HERE

HERE

UPDATE 30 July:

From the blog Maria Victrix, run by an FFI:

Update:

Many of the comments in the blogosphere about Pope Francis concerning his decision in regard to our Institute are simply disgraceful, and “justified” by the most tenuous rationalizations.  He is the Vicar of Christ.  It is less than twenty-four hours since this hit the Internet and so many think they have got it all figured out.  I have also seen sheer fabrications about the situation in our Institute within some of these comments.  May God have mercy on us.  Thank God for all the holy popes we have had for the past fifty years, who all have had much to suffer.

UPDATE:

See this statement from the FFIs.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, Priests and Priesthood, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty, What are they REALLY saying?, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to Card. Braz de Aviz moves on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, curtails use of Usus Antiquior. Fr. Z rants, offers tough love.

  1. nmoerbeek says:

    Therefore the prudent shall keep silence at that time, for it is an evil time. Amos 5:13

  2. tjg says:

    Good post Fr Z….

  3. goodone121 says:

    I would, personally, see what we could do with the current Mass revision, and demanding the Extraordinary Form only if the Priests are unyielding in monkeying with the Rubrics.

  4. Tradster says:

    Very well said, Father, as usual. It is easy to understand the angst that traditionalists, myself included, are feeling right now. I for one would not be surprised if Pope Francis comes out with an Oath Against Traditionalism.

    So, as you point out, we must cease with the circular firing squad mentality, band together, and struggle – but with charity and without bitterness. Leave the anger to the liberals. Above all, pray, even if it means counting lots of Rosaries.

  5. onosurf says:

    I’ve read that the changing of holy week was a test shot (successfully) before the real bomb, the massive changes of VII.

    This smells the same, only with the goal of reducing Summorum Pontificum to an after thought. I hope I’m wrong.

    This begs the question, did BXVI see this coming and scuttle the negotiations with the SSPX on purpose?

  6. Scott Woltze says:

    The late Fr. Thwaites–a holy priest– is a good model to follow. Despite living in a time where the great British Jesuits of the 40s gave way to the madness of the 70s, he kept his childlike sense of humor, patience and joy. He never gave in to bitterness, and so won many converts–especially among the young. He loved the old mass, and even though his order denied his request for an EF requiem, this was just one more glory in his crown of thorns. If you haven’t heard of him or his talks, then go to google and hear how to spread the faith of the ages. He can be a heavenly patron for those of us who share his love for the ancient rite and faith.

  7. Robbie says:

    The first line said it all. It’s been a tough week.

  8. Choirmaster says:

    [E]vil labours with vast power and perpetual success—in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in. -J.R.R. Tolkien

    I respectfully disagree with so much of what is said here. The losses and persecution visited upon traditionally-minded Catholics by the bishops and the Legislator should not be blamed on those being persecuted, much less on a lack of coordination or a failure in polite letter-writing of the same. The right of the faithful to demand clarity and consistency from the Church, especially in matters of sacramental discipline and doctrinal exposition, are in no way dependent upon the good behavior, coordinated efforts, or visible acts of charity of us laymen and women.

    It is arrogant folly to think that, with just a little more effort and just a little less disagreement, we would not be facing a Pope and an Episcopate hell-bent on dissolving any vestige of traditional devotion or any newly-flowered manifestation of “hard-identity” Catholicism. Should we really delude ourselves into thinking that the Pope or Bishop Whomever would speak clearer or support devotion to the Extraordinary Form if we would just be less pissed that they keep persecuting us or less discouraged because the prize is given and then taken away, or threatened? [I think you need to breathe slowly and re-read what I wrote.]

    There is only one way to abate this mess and move forward into whatever new messes are in store for us: prayer; prayer that God will grant us success in our endeavors and confusion for our enemies. Maybe we are not praying enough. I will accept that, and only that charge. [It takes both prayer and elbow grease.]

  9. JamesA says:

    Excellent post, Father. I saw the news item this morning and was waiting for you to address it, as I knew you would. Sometimes I think we should call you “Generalissimo” because you have a such a gift for calming and rallying the troops. [Okay, since I am a benevolent dictator here. But make it "Father Generalissimo", okay?]
    I think you are spot on, as always. This is not a time to panic, but rather a time to take a deep breath, avoid being reactionary in our thinking, and pray and work all the harder and smarter. This is about the Usus Antiquior in a particular circumstance, not about undoing what has been done so well by the Pontifex Emeritus. Francis is the pope, and the Holy Spirit is guiding him. And the gates of Hell will not prevail.

  10. goodone121 says:

    @onosurf
    “…[T]he massive changes of VII….”
    What “massive changes”? It was the “Magisterium of the Media” that created the “Spirit of VII”, not the ecumenical council itself; if you read, say, the “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum“, you’ll see it is actually pretty theologically conservative.

  11. gracie says:

    Yeah, . . . well . . .

  12. Bev says:

    “It will also stimulate the bitter element among those inclined to a traditional expression of the Faith. I had sensed over the last years that some people were finally starting to unclench.” This is me. The last few month have been tough. And I’m getting bitter. Fortunate that we have a supportive diocese. I cannot imagine how those in less supportive regions feel.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Smile-lio!

    2. I know that EF parishes, clubs, etc. do a lot of good works for the poor and others in need, but maybe they need to start cataloguing them for the archbishop.

    3. Pope Benedict XVI never scuttled anything for anybody. He isn’t a game-playing kind of guy. If he didn’t mean something to happen, he didn’t offer it. If he wanted something to happen, he talked about it. This is not hard. The man is German. And yes, I’m pretty darned sure that the SSPX coming back was his desperate hope, because it was the mission he FAILED to get done. He was right there and pleading when the SSPX made their final break. Nobody who has a Faberge Easter egg crumble in his hands is going to be blase about it not getting fixed. He probably stayed Pope as long as he did, because he was hoping to give them more time to get off the pot. But the poor man practically crawled to ask the SSPX to come back, and they refused to come before time ran out. So now all he can do is pray for everybody, and hope that God has mercy on us all.

    4. Nobody has mentioned this, but obviously this will have an effect on EWTN. But probably there won’t be anything much they can say about it on the friars’ EWTN Sunday night show. Hopefully this will not depress morale, and things will come out all right.

  14. DisturbedMary says:

    It is good that you remind us to take a deep breath but I’m inclined to think that I might have to get a scuba tank. On the other hand, there is a peace in the fight for beautiful liturgy. I’m just a lay person who’s always advocating for the traditional ways and mostly getting a nice turn down from my pastor. But that is my Godly assignment. Keep squeaking. And taking deep breaths.

  15. Ichabod says:

    Well said, Fr. Z.

    One of the most thoughtful pieces on this blog in quite awhile. “My Father’s house has many rooms….”

    I can summarize into two words all of your very good suggestions about bringing the traddies and neocons together within each parish to allow the Holy Spirit to continue to breath life into the Summorum Pontificum, — SHOW UP :) It’s amazing the influence when you leave the combox and become integrated within the life of the parish.

    [SHOW UP! o{]:¬) ]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    5. Admittedly it’s no fun to be obedient when superiors order stuff that one doesn’t like. However. The current Pope is a JESUIT, and that means obedience. St. Ignatius Loyola said that obedience to superiors, especially done cheerfully and without a lot of complaint and questioning, is a lot like obedience to God and the love of God. If they aren’t asking you to do something that’s against God’s law (and this isn’t), obedience to superiors gets God on your side.

    Now, mind you, something this means that you have more exciting opportunities for “white martyrdom” and paying off Purgatory in this life. But. There’s a lot to be said for obedience and offering things up, especially when paired with fervent prayer. Historically, it has gotten things done for a lot of great saints!

  17. Sword40 says:

    I can sympathize with those who “have a nutty” about this latest news. I’m just a little tired of being kicked around for the last 40 years. But I remind myself that Christ suffered far more than any of us. who am I to snivel about this. I will continue to fight and pray for the Traditional Mass.

    Read St. Francis DeSales on Anger.

  18. mamajen says:

    If you’re always looking for the negative, you will surely find it. It seems that certain people are dedicated to that cause. What a way to live!

    I have never had to fight for the EF, but I have worked hard for other things in my life. I would not be where I am if not for the help of God, often in response to my specific prayers. Still, I often forget that, and I am prone to anxiety and defensiveness at times. What kind of message does it send to God if I am constantly looking over my shoulder, constantly trying to anticipate every threat to my happiness, and constantly wanting for more instead of appreciating what He has already enabled me to do, and having faith that He won’t pull the rug out from under me? It’s something I need to constantly remind myself of, and I think others should do the same. I need to remind myself to be thankful for what he has enabled me to do, and to enjoy where I am instead of fretting that He will take it all away. If I truly believe that God loves me, then why would I be so suspicious all the time?

    My priest is a very good example, and really lives what Father Z is talking about here. He has every reason to feel distrust, defensiveness and bitterness, but instead he always seems friendly, happy and approachable. He encourages involvement with the community and the diocese because he knows that will help ensure the future of his traditional parish. It’s hard for me to swallow my pride at times, but I hope I can become more like him.

  19. onosurf says:

    goodone121 says:
    @onosurf
    “…[T]he massive changes of VII….”
    What “massive changes”?

    Well, where to start? Shall I list:

    The Novus Ordo Missae, the “luminous” mysteries added to the rosary, protestant music, lay “experts”, change of Friday abstinence regulations, communion in the hand, Eucharistic Ministers, etc. Google it.

    Have you been asleep?

  20. onosurf says:

    “Pray, hope, and don’t worry” – Padre Pio

    “It takes both prayer and elbow grease.” Fr. Z

    “The devil likes to fish in troubled waters.” Fr. Wolfe

  21. Susanna says:

    Good post Fr. Z…

    In case any one is interested here are two posts by FFI priests.

    http://absoluteprimacyofchrist.org/pope-francis-franciscans-of-the-immaculate-vetus-ordo/

    http://maryvictrix.com/2013/07/29/the-fis-and-pope-francis/

    I propose that we pray for the FFIs.

  22. NBW says:

    Thank you for putting things in perspective Fr. Z.

  23. eulogos says:

    The EF mass here in Binghamton NY is celebrated by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. It is well attended, and there is a schola. So this comes as rather a shock to me.
    The Fathers also have a Novus Ordo mass earlier on Sunday in their small chapel at the Friary, celebrated ad orientem, with some parts in Latin, kneeling for communion. So I don’t think they were among those creating a problem.

    I hope they are able to obtain permission from the appropriate authorities to continue the EF here in Binghamton. A lot of people will be very upset if they cannot. Perhaps they will substitute a Latin Novus Ordo until they receive permission. OK with me, but I think there are some who will drive to the FSSP in Scranton.
    Susan Peterson

  24. Cantor says:

    Very well written, Father, and appropriate for the reality in which we find ourselves.

    But with that in mind, I think it’s time to retire the “Reading Francis through Benedict” banner and acknowledge that Francis is Pope. For better or for worse, it is the truth.

    “Reading Christ through Francis” might just work. [On your blog you can have the banner you want. o{]:¬) ]

  25. Mike says:

    I have thought this, and posted about it, for a long time. Fr. Z is correct. His comments are in tune with Benedict’s letter to the bishops of the world after lifting the SSPX excommunications.

    I do kind of quake in my boots about asking for a TLM in my parish. Our “minister of music” thinks chant is against Vatican II, for our parish, of course.

  26. acardnal says:

    I am not pleased with this action because I love the FFI. But this paragraph from Summorum Pontificum was brought to my attention and it may have some role in this unfortunate situation:

    From S.P.: “Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.”

  27. jacobi says:

    “the provisions of Summorum Pontificum are still in effect… but they can be lost.”

    I disagree, Father. They cannot be lost. Once a reigning Pope has said that the ancient Catholic Mass has not, is not, and could not have been forbidden, and that it is one of two co-equal forms of the Roman Rite, that is it. End of story.

    That decision by Benedict XVI cannot be overturned by a future Pope any more than such a Pope could declare that he has changed his mind on the Assumption and we don’t have to believe in it after all. [Wow... just... wow.]
    Any priest can say the ancient Catholic Mass without permission, and any group of the Faithful can ask for and must be provided with that form of the Roman Rite.

    Once again, you priests who wish to say the Catholic Mass in Continuity with two thousand years of Catholicism, get on with it!

  28. Hilleyb says:

    In one sense, it was not stated that the FFIs are “required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary form… EVERY SINGLE TIME they say Mass.” Only that they are required. So what did Francis really say? It even gives conditions for them to use the EF, which basically match what Summorum Pontificum said. The wording is annoying, but I think the issue is that Summorum itself is tough on religious communities that are not exclusive to the EF from the top down. The conditions for using the EF in religious communities in Summorum are not the same as they are for parishes. Nothing has changed.

    I don’t mean to sound hopelessly naive, but the wording could be re-interpreted as a (misstated) restatement of what Benedict said:
    Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books.

    While I think going from “cannot exclude” to “required” does make a world of difference, I think it’s merely in the hands of this new superior whether anything is in actuality going to change and we don’t even know his position. I just don’t read it as Pope Francis requiring every single Mass in the ordinary form.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    I haven’t been following this story. I thought under SP that for religious it was up to those in charge to determine if the EF could be celebrated. If that is the case, than this is simply intramural squabbling within an Order. It says more about the practice of obedience among some members than it does about the EF.

    The Chicken

  30. LeighAnna says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, Fr. Z.

    Also, I found this worth reading: http://maryvictrix.com/2013/07/29/the-fis-and-pope-francis/

  31. Back pew sitter says:

    Thank you Fr Z. This news has troubled me all day and still does – and it is helpful to heed your wise advice and not to indulge in the negative thoughts that come to the surface at times like this. I respected and loved John Paul II and Benedict XVI primarily because they are the Successors of Peter. I expected to have the same attitude towards whoever would follow Pope Benedict – but the past few months have been a trial. Things just don’t seem right in Rome and I find myself wanting to hear and know less and less about what is happening there. It’s a sad way for a Catholic to be.

    I can imagine that these are not easy times for you too. Thank you for the encouragement you are giving – and please continue to be the good priest God wants you to be.

  32. Gemma says:

    I know from someone who was in the FI’s that the founder, Fr Stephano Manelli,(who is still alive) spiritual director was Padre Pio. He received first holy communion from him and served for him as a boy. Fr Manelli would have made the FI’s a traditional order if the Summorum Pontificum was in effect when he founded the order. If you enter the order you have a certain understanding of the founder’s wishes…

  33. Mike wrote: “I do kind of quake in my boots about asking for a TLM in my parish. Our “minister of music” thinks chant is against Vatican II, for our parish, of course.”

    Well, he’s wrong, and arm yourself with the documentation to show him why–respectfully, of course. But don’t be AFRAID, for goodness’ sake. (What is there to be afraid of, after all? His opinion? Losing his friendship? Being insulted? Who cares?) And get other people together to join you; show a united front, and let him know that others in the parish (not just you) desire liturgical worship more in keeping with Sacrosanctum Concilium.

  34. Captain Peabody says:

    The Extraordinary Form is not the Gospel; and it is not the Church. It proclaims the Gospel, and has many riches to offer to the Church, but it does not constitute either of them. The question of whether the EF is succeeding and progressing, and the question of whether the Gospel is succeeding and progressing, are not the same question.

    Likewise, the Extraordinary Form is not Tradition; it communicates it, and is a part of it, but it is not the same thing. The question of whether the EF is being preserved, and the question of whether Tradition is being preserved, are not the same question.

    In many ways, all throughout the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is succeeding and flourishing. There are many signs of springtime. There are so many faithful, passionate Catholics, young and old, who believe in the Gospel and in the Faith, and are finding their voices. The Gospel is being proclaimed, and the work of the Church is advancing.

    At the same time, as in every time, the Tradition of the Church is necessary to guide the Church and to help her. This Tradition is manifested in the Saints, in the Liturgy, in the history of the Church, and in a thousand other places. And this Tradition is being discovered, and embraced, and lived out. Faithful Catholics young and old are not looking to Hans Kung or Karl Rahner for guidance, but to Theresa of Avila, to Thomas Aquinas, to Francis de Sales, and to Benedict XVI. They seek reverence and encounter in the Liturgy. Tradition is advancing.

    It is no longer 1968. There is no longer any question whether Faith, as Pope Paul VI said, is about to perish from the Earth. Even if persecutions come, even if schisms come, the Church, the Gospel, and the Faith are no longer imperiled as they were then, in that brief moment of greatest danger for the Church, when she was enough in the world to want to become part of it completely, and enough out of the world to have to abandon, destroy, and impoverish the Faith to do it. Then, there was war in the Church. Then, perhaps, it made sense for those attached to certain traditional forms to adapt a siege mentality, to identify their cause with the cause of Faith, to distrust all outsiders, to expect enemies everywhere, even in the hierarchy, to assume deceit and subterfuge from their enemies and friends alike. These attitudes are all attitudes that were created by realities, and I do not mean to dismiss these realities.

    But it is not 1968 anymore. That mindset, the mindset of siege, is not and never has been the Gospel; nor is it the mindset of the Catholic Church, or of her Tradition. It has far more to do with the mindset of radical Eastern Orthodox committed to the Schism, both during the time of the Great Schism and now, than it has to do with the Catholic Faith as articulated by Popes from the first century to the twenty-first.

    As a matter of a fact, as the Schism is currently my area of study, I can tell you that some of what I have seen from certain elements in the Traditionalist movement online reminds me inescapably of Michael Caerularius and his associates, whose letters I have been reading in Greek this summer. It is Caerularius who expected conspiracies and lies at every turn from his Western brothers, who considered every single difference in liturgical or disciplinary custom between East and West– from the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist to the Sign of Peace to the shaving of beards by clerics to the wearing of rings by Western Bishops– to be an act of violence against Orthodoxy and Tradition, signs that the true Faith had perished from the West. It was he who made all depend upon tribe and upon faction. It was he who actively derided and mocked the Faith of his Western brothers, simply because they practiced what he believed to be strange and nontraditional customs.

    As he put it: “Living in this way, then, and being raised with such customs and daring these clearly lawless and forbidden and ill-omened things, do they seem to those thinking well to be numbered with the wholly Orthodox? I think not. And the men arguing that they, acting in this way, think equally Orthodoxly happen to be of their tribe. But knowing those defects of theirs, number them with those of whom they are worthy.”

    In this, he believed he was defending the Tradition of the Church against devious assault and dangerous divergence, divergence that threatened the very existence of the Church and the Empire. He believed that the mentality of siege and of suspicion should be the mentality of the Church.

    In this scenario, it was Pope St. Leo IX who wrote that “diverse customs of believers for place and time are no obstacle to salvation, when one Faith working through love whatever good things are possible commends all to the one God.” It was he who admonished Greek monasteries in Rome to follow their own traditions rather than those of the Church of Rome, even when the Church of Constantinople had shut down every Western Church in Constantinople. His letter to Michael Caerularius is practically a hymn to peace, mercy, and unity, against every kind of division founded on human argument or human nature.

    It is a dangerous thing to become too focused on any one intellectual or liturgical form or custom, and to act as if the presence or absence of that one thing is the presence or absence of the Faith, the Church, or Tradition. This is precisely what Caerularius and his associates did; and it is precisely what Pope Leo objected to.

    Those Catholics who are in a special way attached to the Traditions of the Church that are manifested in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are and should be an asset to the Church. They have so much to offer to Catholics of all stripes, so much with which to enrich their fellow believers. Nevertheless, they must be, just like Pope Leo IX and just like Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, always and in every time and place promoters of peace and unity, rather than of division, distrust, suspicion, and pride. They must not be, as Pope Francis has said, a self-referential club, interested in advancing their own organization, structures, and priorities above all else; they must go out to the “existential peripheries” of the Church, bringing their riches to their fellow faithful and enriching them with it, always being ready to be enriched in turn by what they discover. They must be at the service of the Church; the Church cannot be at their service.

    This is how those “liberals” who triumphed for a time in the ’60s and ’70s acted; promoting human arguments founded on pride against the faith and tradition of their fellow believers, dividing the Church into political factions based on self-interest and the opinions of men, considering themselves the only enlightened ones and all others “men of clay,” deriding the customs and faith of their brothers as simple-minded, unintellectual, and misguided, condemning and destroying and mocking and marginalizing. It is not how those who claim to follow Tradition should act. The Tradition of the Church is peace, unity, and mercy in Truth. It is not discord, division, and hatred for the sake of any one form, structure, or idea.

    I beg the indulgence of Father Z for these very long remarks, and I really hope I haven’t offended anyone. I have a great deal of respect for the believers who call themselves Traditionalists, and for what they endured in times past. I will end with what I found to be one of the most beautiful passages from my research this summer, part of a very long, poetic paean by Pope St. Leo IX to unity in the Church (translated from the Latin by yours truly):

    “Truly let impious heresy be put to shame and confounded, shamelessly longing for the separation and division of the inseparable and indivisible unity of the Church; since not only is nature crying and fighting against that unity, but also the conjecture of human wisdom.

    Therefore let the perfidious ravens, kites, vultures, and whatever birds feed off of the injury or death of others depart. Let the Dove alone return to the Ark, and, remaining upon the head of the Lord Jesus, let her unify his body, which is the Church, pour out herself upon it, and fill it, and let her make one Dove out of men of diverse professions and nations, and out of all tongues–like diverse members–to whom let her speak with the voice of the Head, which is Christ himself: “One is my Dove, my perfect one, my immaculate one.” (Song of Solomon 5). For she who is always called one, and is, never is divided or severed; she who is always called perfect (that is, full), never is diminished or made empty; she who is always called immaculate, never is corrupted or stained. Because, although sometimes many indeed go out from her so as not to return, nevertheless her unity is not torn by this, or her perfection diminished, or her virginity violated.

    Yet how often they go out about to return, not entirely plucked away or cut off! And if they seem for a time plucked away or cut off, those who are thought to be out of doors, and to wander, [yet] because “God knows who are his” (2 Timothy 2), through his predestination they are within without error. Nor does anyone snatch out of his hand those whom we were then thinking utterly snatched away.”

  35. Tim Capps says:

    I’m not reflexively against labels when they’re useful, but if “traddies” have as their distinguishing feature an attachment to the Latin Mass, I guess I would be a… “Neo-Con?” Given the negative associations of that label in political circles, I don’t know if I would ever call myself that. I do have a blog, and I am as rigorous as I can be, but and come at the problems in the Church from the “Catholic Identity” angle, which is broader than the Liturgy issue. I don’t enjoy the Novus Ordo Mass, but that is what I have available, and I do not pin my hopes on the Latin Mass making a big comeback. I think we are going to stand or fall with the new liturgy.

    If I could label myself, I would call myself a “Conservative.” I realize that if we could all just get the Liturgy right, some (not all) of the Church’s serious problems might take care of themselves. But putting the Latin Mass in front of your average Novus Ordo pewsitters is not going to solve the problems of (1) contraception; and resulting one-or-two-child Catholic families with (2) far fewer total number of boys. Likewise, it is not going to solve the problem of (3) spotty faith; (4) homosexual priests; (5) ecumenism and interfaith scandals; (6) high strangeness in the USCCB; (7) pusillanimous bishops; (8) failure of New Evangelization concept, (8) painting over the realities of sin and Hell; (9) the slow death of confession (see 8); (10) lack of vocations to the priesthood (see 2); (11) “Catholic-in-name-only” institutions; (12) dearth of private devotions; and (13) utter, devastating loss of Catholic identity.

    My guess is most Catholics don’t want the Latin Mass now, but I’m happy to be corrected. Note that I have said nothing against the Latin Mass. But as a conservative Catholic, I am less sanguine about it being a panacea.

    I would rather see all these other problems addressed and the NO parishes fortified with decent liturgy and music, sound catechism, the revival of parish life, the return of big Catholic families, and a recovery of Catholic identity. If I am representative of conservative Catholics, we have more respect for the NO liturgy, and less hope that the Latin Mass will solve as many problems as traddies think.

    When you get down to it, traditional (Latin Mass) Catholics are ALSO conservative, and conservative Catholics probably would like to see more Latin Masses, or am I wrong?

    I don’t think anyone has ever accused my blog of being mushy around the edges, although I don’t think I have written a single article on the Latin Mass. The only problem I’ve ever had with any traditionalist blog is over the occasional misdirected outburst of energy, a concern this very blog has shared.

    This is an Interesting topic, but until now I had not thought of any sort of division between Traditionalist and Conservative bloggers. I thought it was the Traditionalist and Conservative blogs sometimes differing from the mainstream “name” Catholic blogs. If anything, non-progressive Catholics have the blogosphere pretty much to themselves, don’t they, or are their hundreds of popular progressive Catholic blogs out there I just don’t get around to reading?

  36. lucy says:

    Those priests in the FFI can always discern whether or not to switch orders. Our family know a very holy priest who was an Oblate of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After Pope Benedict came out with SP, he began saying the EF. In time, his superiors refused to allow him to continue. After much prayer about the issue, he decided that he would ask to have a leave of absence to discern if he needed to leave his order after 25 years. It did, indeed, come to that. He spent two years with the FSSP at a parish. After the second year was over, he asked to be released from his order. He’s now in the process of becoming FSSP. He’s not an inflammatory man in the least. He’s very thoughtful and gentle. He just truly knew that he couldn’t go back to saying the OF.

  37. Tim Capps says:

    Usual apologies for inept editing and typos — sorry, but my daughter has blessed me with a visit and I was distracted.

  38. Mike says:

    Captain:

    An interesting, articulate, heart-felt comment. I enjoyed reading it. Overall, I agree with your major points. However: just to give an ancedote that I think is fairly representative: my pastor, ordained in ’70, has a “folksy” manner in liturgy. He won’t go head to head with his director of music, so we get zero chant, zero Latin hymns. We get “Rain Down”. We also get, and I truly believe this is deeply, deeply, connected, just yesterday, a fine homily on prayer, but not one word about Sodom, not one word about the attacks on traditional marriage, not one word about Confession. Nada.

    The liturgical meltdown, and the moral meltdown, are connected. It’s not about legitimate pluralism in the Church. It’s about the very message of Revelation itself.

  39. Mike says:

    Christine: I was exaggerating my feelings to make a point.

    But: you are right.

  40. Jackie L says:

    I’ve know of Priests that have never celebrated an EF mass, have ridiculous numbers of EMHC, and have far more female altar servers then male, be called “anti-Vatican II” because they oppose same-sex marriage, support Humane Vitae, or some other Church teaching they don’t like. I don’t think it is a good idea to try to please these people because our presence alone is hated if we prefer the EF mass, no matter how “smart” we are about it. This will energize the CTA/NcR types who have been wanting to point the finger in our direction and label us as the problem. I predict that they will be leaning on sympathetic bishops here in the US and Pope Francis will be tested further.

    I do not believe that we are to blame for this.

  41. Jason Keener says:

    Great post, Father Z. I also think we are playing into the hands of the Devil when we let the Sacred Liturgy become a constant point of division. Both Traditionalist and Neo-Con Catholics need to chill out and start looking for the good in each other.

    Moreover, when it is time for our personal judgment, I think Christ will be looking to see how one’s heart is transformed in love for Christ and others. Though important, I don’t think Christ will care too much if one battled for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass or the Ordinary Form of the Mass but rather how one was, in the end, transformed or not transformed into a reflection of Christ. Dear friends, do not let bitterness over the Council, over Pope Francis, over Pope Benedict, over the Liturgy, over this or that, etc., foolishly distract you from the main goal in life: growing in personal holiness.

  42. Bob B. says:

    This is not the Church of my youth, where the Mass was always in Latin and there was no Kumbaya being sung, etc. I am ever so thankful that all the changes that I’ve seen hadn’t occurred while I was in Vietnam, for it was this Faith that saw my through. As a teacher of our youth, I have tried to relate this strength to my many students.
    I share with many the angst that resides in the pit of my stomach and pray for better days.

  43. Ralph says:

    Let us all start with an examination of our consciences. We have to root out our personal faults, especially through the sacrament of penance.

    Father, this is extremely wise advice.

    I will admit openly that I have often found myself angry or fearful since our wonderful BXVI decided to step down. Some of the things that Pope Francis has done have given me heart burn to say the least.

    But, often, when I have taken the time to examine my own conscience, I have found that the real trouble is with me.

    Some wise words taken from a good priest’s recent homily, “If you are tired of corruption in the Church, first get rid of the corruption in your life. If you are tired of sin in the Church, first get rid of the sin in your heart. If the people of God will embrace the gospel, the Church will follow!”

    If we conservative, traditional minded Christians want the Church to show us mercy and charity, perhaps we ought to start showing some mercy and charity of our own – especially to our own!

  44. Mike says:

    There is a need for proper catechesis. The Church can’t just drop the TLM on people, and walk away, and expect all will be well.

    That being said: I heartedly endorse Benedict XVI’s view of the POWER of sacral beauty to win souls.

    The ugliness, the sentimentalism of most Catholic litguries hides the Face of Christ.

  45. Traductora says:

    Very, very good words, Fr. Z – thank you!

    I simply don’t like the Novus Ordo and I don’t think it’s an effective liturgical form. I would love to go to a good Old Rite (that’s how I think of it) mass and just be a Catholic there, the way I was when I was a kid and they still celebrated it.

    But (a) we have gotten exactly one new Old Rite Mass in my diocese since SP, now making it 2 masses; and (b) the people in charge of them are so nutty that I don’t go to either of them. It’s a closed club, they don’t consider themselves Catholics but think they’re something better, and the music is, if anything, worse than the Novus Ordo music. And that’s the reason we haven’t gotten any more Old Rite masses. I think our current bishop would be sympathetic, but they are not a group that it’s easy for anybody to be sympathetic to, and that’s why the traditional rite is being stifled.

    Maybe this will shake up the Old Rite crowd and make them realize they’ve got to get back to being Catholics. I couldn’t stand about 75% of the stuff that occurred at World Youth Day, but I thought they were Catholics, believed in something, and weren’t sitting around congratulating themselves for being so special they didn’t participate in anything.

  46. Some thoughts:

    a. The fact that the order didn’t start offering the TLM at first, concerns me even more than if they did. It was a lawful switch by the superior of the order. If there were some that didn’t like the changes, they could have left….The un-intended consequences will be far worse than the intended.

  47. Mike says:

    Mundabor is having a real fire-work display these last two days. Wow.

  48. JKnott says:

    Father is so right in everything. And the FFI will indeed edify us by their obedience. They are a wonderful wonderful group.
    There are actually more changes than just the EF here.
    The Order is very family oriented and once a month (in my area anyway) they have a Mass with the Tertiaries and their families. It includes a huge potluck lunch with children and parents everywhere having the greatest time. There is a talk for adults and things for the children.
    In June, one of the Tertiaries told me that the above practice was completely halted by the Church (I thought it was the bishop) and the only place children are allowed is at the Mass. Having attended a couple of these events in the past, and witnessed the joy and fruitfulness of this apostolate, I was shocked to see such a marvelous custom halted.
    I do know of one friar who just left for another order.
    So sad. The obedient and devout get singled out for persecution …..as Jesus said would happen.

  49. MarrakeshEspresso says:

    I am totally to blame; I have been guilty of all of the above in my time.

    And I love the FFIs and they have done me such a lot of good.

    Some people need to read Job more closely. The moment Job stops blaming everyone but himself, and actually repents for his arrogance, is the moment things turn around.

  50. Unwilling says:

    Dne, ad quem ibimus?

  51. frjim4321 says:

    That was a thoughtful and careful analysis. Thank you.

    On the other hand, when SP came out I predicted that it would be a source of division. I am pretty sure I said that here.

    I think I am seeing some validation in this account. [Keep thinking. As if the Novus Ordo isn't cause for division? From parish to parish its different. The effects of Original Sin and the work of the Devil are causes of division.]

  52. Robbie says:

    I appreciate the opportunity this blog provides for readers to share their opinions and I appreciate the thoughts of Father Z on this issue. Respectfully though, I think this issue is in doubt. Maybe Father is correct and the left will turn on Francis, but the press coverage he’s received today suggests otherwise. [They will. Eventually, they will.]

    I probably committed a sin by doing this, but I watched some of MSNBC’s nightly programming and their hosts were simply over the moon about Francis’ comments on gays. Michelle Harris Perry, who wore tampon ear rings, swooned over the comments. And Chris Hayes, maybe the most liberal person on the network, shared the same joy.

    Again, it seems the very people who shouldn’t be happy about what a Pope says are the ones who are the happiest right now. In my book, that’s concerning. Still, I will hope and pray that things settle down and improve.

  53. Ralph says:

    the people in charge of them are so nutty that I don’t go to either of them. It’s a closed club

    Traductora, I think you make Father’s point very well. Sadly, I’ve seen the same attitude here. We must be better if we want to be effective.

  54. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I am delighted that, a little over a month since the 960th anniversary of the Battle of Civitella del Fortore (18 June 1053), Fr Z seems happy to have accommodated Captain Peabody’s very interesting “very long remarks” and their historical comparison, here.

    My little heap of scraps of information convinces me that it would be good to see it filled out even further. Pope St. Leo IX raised an army and cooperated with the Byzantine Catepan of Italy, Argyrus, against the Normans, who had, among other things, been forcing the Greeks in their power to conform to Latin usage (to which Patriarch Michael Cerularius responded in 1052, with complete, if ungenerous, Patriarchal right, by demandng the Latin churches in Constantinople conform to Greek practices – and closing them when they refused). The Greek and Papal forces were defeated at Civitella. From his Norman ‘protective custody’, “Leo addressed a strong letter to Michael (Sept., 1053), and began to study Greek in order the better to understand the matters in dispute” – to quote Horace Mann in his 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article, where he goes on to refer to “the conciliatory letters which Constantine and Cærularius now dispatched to Rome ” in response.

    Unfortunately, among the three legates St. Leo sent, was Cardinal Humbert, Bishop of Silvia Candida, who presented in Constantinople an unfriendly letter drafted by himself, though signed by St. Leo (is this the letter referred to, when Johann Peter Kirsch writes in his 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia article about the bogus ‘Donation of Constantine’, “The first pope who used it in an official act and relied upon [it], was Leo IX; in a letter of 1054 to Michael Cærularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, he cites the ‘Donatio’ to show that the Holy See possessed both an earthly and a heavenly imperium, the royal priesthood” ?). When Patriarch Michael refused to treat further with the legates in response, Humbert (presumably in ignorance that St. Leo had died three months earlier) laid a Bull of Excommunication (including the bizarre charge of omitting the Filioque from the Creed) against Patriarch Michael (among others) on the altar of Hagia Sophia, before departing two days later without further explanation.

    Fr Z writes, ” the somewhat draconian restriction of the older Mass could have more to do with Card. Braz de Aviz than Pope Francis.”

    Would it be inaccurate or unjust to wonder if there might be some analogy between Cardinals Humbert and Braz de Aviz ?

  55. pannw says:

    frjim4321 says:
    29 July 2013 at 9:07 pm

    That was a thoughtful and careful analysis. Thank you.

    On the other hand, when SP came out I predicted that it would be a source of division. I am pretty sure I said that here.

    I think I am seeing some validation in this account. [Keep thinking. As if the Novus Ordo isn't cause for division? From parish to parish its different. The effects of Original Sin and the work of the Devil are causes of division.]

    Amen, Fr. Z. I am not someone who is attached to the EF, since I was not raised in it, but if anything was divisive, it was the instantaneous radical change and forced introduction of the NO. [Indeed, it was.] One of the saddest things I have ever heard was told to me by my father, who of course was attached to the EF. He was a young doctor when the Mass was stripped away from them and replaced with the NO and one of his patients was a very old woman. When she was in his office he said she looked at him, terribly upset and said, “what have they done to us?” “What have they done to us?”… This was an old Catholic woman, faithfully attending Mass all her life and what would you have said to her, frjim? Would you have commiserated with her that the NO was going to bring division? Would you have cared that this old woman was being robbed of the liturgy of her entire life? Or that she was completely heartbroken over it, at her very advanced age? She was robbed of it. It was not an organic gradual shift, it was violent and instant. She did not have the option as you do, to attend the form of her preference. Division…none of you anti-traditional types seem to care about the division and damage caused to the Catholic faithful who loved their Church as it had been for centuries, but so many were all up in arms over a few changed words with the new translation. Shameful.

    My father is an old man now, and the last few years he has been blessed with the opportunity to attend the Tridentine Rite again. He is happy to have it back. I could not bear it if he was robbed of it again at his age. I don’t think that is going to happen, though.

    As for me, I am very happy at my NO parish, where Fr. alone distributes the Eucharist, at the communion rail on our knees, only altar boys, with many of the prayers in Latin, and the Kyrie Eleison, pipe organ… He is offering a Latin NO Mass, ad orientem at the High Altar, too, at least during the summer, which is wonderful, and I would bet he’s planning on working on the parish to ready us for taking out the front altar and going ad orientem all the time, (they took it out for a new priest’s Mass of Thanksgiving this Sunday) but he doesn’t want to thrust it on us out of the blue, though many like myself would be thrilled. He’s kind and thoughtful that way. I am so blessed. Deo Gratias!

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  57. Anabela says:

    Initially I felt very discouraged by all this and I know it will be very difficult for the Franciscans of the Immaculate. But on reflection this could also be a blessing in disguise also in some way. The Franciscans will bring to the Novus Ordo more reverence and show the way forward as to how the Holy Mass (Novus Ordo) should be celebrated. Surely they can also include Latin in the Prayers especially the Eucharistic Prayers as they sometimes do on EWTN. The Novus Ordo Mass is the one I attend on a daily basis but I attend it in a Cistercian Monastery where it is celebrated with reverence and respect. I don’t like going to my local Parish but I have to on Sundays as I have no choice. The Mass is sometimes barely 15 minutes without a homily, with the exception of one Priest who takes his time to celebrate the Holy Mass properly. I pray that the Franciscans will see this an opportunity to bring back the reverence and respect that is owed to Jesus in the Holy Mass in the Novus Ordo. The Mass is still the Holy Mass and Jesus is still the centre, no matter what. God bless you.

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  59. Mike says:

    Yesterday I had to get to another parish for Mass on account of schedule changes, and went to a 9:00 am at St. Catherine of Sienna’s in Virginia. What a delightful surprise: NO Mass ad orientem, no EMHC, two altar servers (young men), excellent homily, piety pretty obvious in the pews, St. Michael prayer recited as the two priests left the sanctuary. Benedict XVI did plant seeds, and with the grace of God, they will continue to grow, despite some stormy weather along the way.

  60. frjim4321 says:

    [Keep thinking. As if the Novus Ordo isn't cause for division? From parish to parish its different. The effects of Original Sin and the work of the Devil are causes of division.]

    I will grant that but I’m old enough to remember that there were also differences in the unreformed mass from priest to priest and parish to parish. I remember, for instance, how the priest would literally throw the finger towel in my older brothers face when he was serving mass. This same priest was able to rattle off the entire mass in about 14 minutes. So the good old days weren’t really all that good. By the time I started serving (after begging sister to serve as a 5th grader when typically you had to be 6th) the altar had been turned around and the prayers at the foot of the altar had just become vernacular.

    It’s definitely true that there are differences of style in with the reformed mass. The place to the north has inflicted “Stupidville” style praise music on every mass (video monitor with bouncing ball), the place to the southeast has a great pipe organ and someone who can play it, and Latin for the recurring parts of the mass.

    So, yes, I definitely grant that the many styles in which the reformed mass is celebrated are very different from place to place.

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  62. acardnal says:

    Mike wrote, “The liturgical meltdown, and the moral meltdown, are connected.”

    You made an interesting comment because H.E. Cardinal Raymond Burke said something similar in a recent interview:

    “There’s no question in my mind that the abuses in the sacred liturgy, reduction of the sacred liturgy to some kind of human activity, is strictly correlated with a lot of moral corruption and with a levity in catechesis that has been shocking and has left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with the challenges of our time by addressing the Catholic faith to those challenges. You can see it in the whole gamut of Church life.”

    The entire interview is well worth reading.

    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/bringing-the-liturgy-back-to-the-real-vatican-ii

  63. mamajen says:

    Those posts by actual FFIs were wonderful. I loved this in Fr. Maximilian’s post:

    “There is nothing more traditional than obedience and reverence to the Pope…”

    AMEN!

    Also, call me naive, but having read the translation of Pope Francis’ decree, it does not sound likely that a request for the EF would be denied. In fact, I would go so far as to say it sounds as though a proper request for the EF must be approved. Maybe the translation was off. It sounded to me as though they are simply enforcing SP as it was written (particularly with regard to orders), and seeking to end bickering by ensuring those who want the EF can point to the fact that they’ve followed the proper procedures.

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  65. Fr Jackson says:

    I notice a number of comments in this thread that seem to frame the discussion about New Mass vs. Old Mass in simple terms of preference. If this were the only issue, then comments about the nastiness (etc.) of the people who go to one or the other might indeed be of first importance. But that’s not the only issue: we’re looking at a “lex orandi, lex credendi” issue. As Cardinal Ottaviani wrote: “…a striking departure from the theology of the Mass as formulated at the Council of Trent…” Relevant discussion of the issue must at some point tie in with this.

  66. BakerStreetRider says:

    I just want to know why whenever there is is a problem, it is automatically the fault of those who want the EF. In this situation, the founder and superior of the order, along with many in the order, were the ones moving the order toward a preference for the EF. A few of the friars, after stirring the waters against their superiors online (on at least one of the friar’s blogs), then went to Rome to appeal a move that, according to Summorum Pontificum, the founder and superior had every right to make. This has caused the elderly founder to be removed from his post and an outsider take over this successful order.

    I am sure that if the situation was switched around, and a small group of religious who wanted the order to have a preference for the EF had acted in this way, the small group of people who want the EF would be called divisive and would have been dismissed out of hand. Why is it “heads I win tails you lose”, and those who want the EF considered at fault here? Why not instead point out the obvious problem that a few of the friars were disobeying the legitimate action of a superior?

    I don’t know what the priest is like who has taken over the order, but based on the odds, it would not surprise me if those who asked for intervention regret it before long.

  67. wmeyer says:

    Oh, frjim…. Yes, there were differences in the way priests celebrated the EF when it was the only form. But those variations were as nothing to the quite substantial differences from parish to parish in the OF. My wife being new to the faith is more easily confused by the variations. In at least one case, she was quite disoriented, and unsure of the order of the Mass.

    It was ironic, to say the least, that the bishops found it wise to provide a year of gentle preparation for the introduction of the new translation. Where was this episcopal concern when the wreckovation was done, so many years ago? It put me in mind of Shakespeare: “…Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d.”

  68. RJHighland says:

    Thank you Father, point taken. I have been trying to work on this very thing. Not always successful and with recent events I have failed in areas but we must give up petty differences and fight for the greater cause. I think if Paul had penned a letter to the Traditionalists and Neo Cons he couldn’t have said it better. We are One Holy Catholic Church in belief of one Lord and Savior there is a whole world out their that needs to hear the whole of the Gospil of Christ let us take it to them and quit fighting among ourselves. St. Ignatius of Antioch pray for us.

  69. dominic1955 says:

    A couple quick points. As a Traditionalist myself, I get really tired of my fellows who just cannot get it through their heads that the 1962 Missale Romanum didn’t fall from heaven before the Last Supper and that plaster statues, wearing fedoras and other schlock is not the epitomy of “tradition”. The “ancient Mass”? There are/have been a bunch of “ancient Masses” out there. I go to the “ancient” Latin Mass, and I also go to the ancient Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The circular firing squad analogy is apt, who cares is someone is wearing the right color of mantilla or the other TLM parish does/doesn’t do the 2nd Confiteor or freak out if they see a “gothic” chasuble? Too much ignorance out there. I am intellectually convinced of the vast superiority of properly traditional liturgy over the Novus Ordo, I don’t think the 62 is its best incarnation nor am I willing to die on the hill of polyester gauze lace surplices. One of the greatest injuries to “the cause” are foolish zealots whose concept of tradition is seriously misinformed.

    Secondly, I also get tired of when these things get reported on then some internet-Trads get all shook up. Violently shook up in some cases and more hysterical than some shrieking old woman. Gee…thank God we didn’t have the internet during most of the Church’s history or we probably would have a Society of St. Pius I because none of them after that point could probably withstand all the self-appointed Grand Inquisitors parsing every little word they ever said.

    Lastly, the charity angle is of utmost importance. There is no better way to “convert” folks to thinking more traditionally than to present your self as a good example of easy going charity. I’ve gone through the seminary and now through lay life with narry a problem as a Latin Mass going, cassock wearing Trad and I really think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was blessed with the ability to roll with the punches. Be all things to all men, everyone can go to a diocesean Mass with less than stellar liturgics for some good cause (i.e pro-life) without going into apopleptic shutdown mode.

  70. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321,

    From what I’ve seen, the Novus Ordo as ordinarily celebrated (versus populum, vernacular) has seriously harmed parish life. There are 5 parishes in my hometown, and it is well known that people jump from parish to parish depending on the priest and the way he says mass. I’ve personally known families that have attended the same parish through generations who now attend another parish. In fact, some years ago an older priest who was filling in said in his homily that Catholics in this town were known for parish hopping.

  71. Supertradmum says:

    My concern is not so much with the order itself, but how the bishops who do not want the TLM in their dioceses will interpret this, as all orders must get permission from the bishops were they are located for such. I can understand problems within an order having to be sorted out, but if this leads to suppression of the EF in some areas, that would be a sad consequence.

  72. Gaetano says:

    What if the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were to use this opportunity to cross-fertilize the EF and OF. The OF celebrated ad orientam and in Latin. Holy Communion received kneeling. The timeless treasury of Catholic music utilized in its fullness.
    To paraphrase the song: “What a wonderful Mass that would be.”

  73. robtbrown says:

    NB: It is ad orientEm–not orientum or orientam.

  74. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Two questions – for which I would like intelligent, thoughtful replies.

    1) Does celebrating the Missal of Paul VI necessarily assume also girl altar boys, un-necessary ministers of Holy Communion, cheesy sacro-pop and the rest of the laundry list?

    2) What would happen if a contingent (even a large one) of the religious affected by this decree asked for permission? (Would that be considered disobedient, for exampl;e?; would each priest therefore have one-time permission or blanket permission? Would it be unthinkable for the religious to “make some noise”, as His Holiness requested in Rio, and thus be obedient?)

  75. Joseph-Mary says:

    If permissions from new superiors are granted for the EF to continue to be in the ‘mix’ of the Masses offered, things may work out yet. If permissions are denied and all priests must offer only the NO, then there will be fallout. And it will be not just a slap against the FI but against those who have desired the beauty and reverence of the EF.

    Having just returned from a trip to a diocese where ugly churches with no kneelers or confessionals and where ‘general absolution’ and ‘crumbly bread’ are still going on–with impunity–or hearing from a friend who moved to a diocese where blatant homosexual priests are obvious, I long for the availability of a stable, reverent Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which can be found such as with the EF.

    The shepherd of the FI has been struck–and so what happens to this growing and flourishing Order? What happens to the missions and vocations? What about those who have caused this: are they happy with this result?

  76. Gratias says:

    Reading Francis through Benedict is increasingly difficult.

    An important sign to look for will be the 7am daily EF mass offered at the church of the Annunziatina, very close to the Vatican (Lungotevere Vaticano 1). It is attended by Vatican members and offered by the Franciscans of the Immaculate. If we have readers in Rome it would be interesting to learn if it is closed down.

  77. Captain Peabody says:

    Venerator,

    Just so as to close off this rabbit hole, I will say that, as I’ve been reading most of the documents you’ve cited, yes, Humbert acted like an ass. But the point is not so much the specifics of the incident (which reads more like a farce than a drama, and is much more complicated on all sides than the typical historical presentations; your presentation, for instance, leaves out a lot of very important stuff on all sides), but rather the general positions of Caerularius and the Pope in this controversy, as well as the general positions of the two sides over many centuries.

    Generally speaking, the Papacy supported unity in charity while disregarding differences of custom, liturgy, and theology as much as possible, while the Greeks were more focused on theological and liturgical uniformity based on strict adherence to traditional customs and forms; they regarded many typical Latin customs, not without reason, as later corruptions of a purer liturgy and tradition. This even extended to their preferred names: the Papacy referred to the “Catholic” or “universal” Church, while the Greeks referred to “Orthodoxy,” or correct teaching and customs, as the mark of the true Church.

    In the actual incident of 1054, Cardinal Humbert was not a particularly good representative of this attitude; and Peter of Antioch exemplified the best of Eastern Christianity a lot better than Humbert did the best of Western Christianity.

    The point is simply that those who would appeal to antiquity or propriety of form, liturgy, and customs above all else, and use it to divide Christians into exclusive factions while attacking the faith of others do not sit well with the historical attitudes of the Papacy. This is not to vilify the attitudes of the Eastern Orthodox through these controversies, whose concerns were indeed real and substantial–nor is it to vilify the concerns of Traditionalists now, which are also real and substantial. It is merely to say that their attitude is not the attitude of the Popes, then and now. Which, for a Catholic, at least, should mean something.

    But, yes, Popes, and Papal representatives, can indeed make fools out of themselves and do things that are very inadvisable. But who didn’t know that? In any event, we are no longer in a time or place where a few Cardinals can operate with total independence for weeks in a foreign capitol and lay down excommunications written by themselves without Papal authorization after the Pope is dead against the head of a sister Church while not speaking a word of Greek. I am sure Pope Francis saw this decree and approved it. The story of the Schism is often the story of miscommunication and misunderstanding; I don’t think this is what’s going on here. And I am sure we will all be edified by the obedience shown by the good Friars.

    Historical comparison rabbit hole ends here, I swear.

  78. Cathy says:

    Thanks Father Z, brick by brick restores, crushing boulder by crushing boulder destroys.

  79. rbbadger says:

    I was initially quite alarmed when I read this. I certainly will be keeping the good friars in my prayers in the time ahead.

    I was also thinking about the trials that various religious institutes went through upon their foundings. The Devil is not fond of those who try to live out the evangelical counsels as professed religious. He is even less fond of those who try to start new religious communities. St. Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, was removed from her position. The priest who succeeded her as superior claimed to be the founder. As time went on and the Little Sisters went on to build more homes for the elderly poor, St. Jeanne’s position was forgotten. She was content to live out her life as a religious. It was not until 27 years later, near the end of her own life, that her real role as foundress and first superior of the Little Sisters came to light.

    Similarly, I believe that St. Alphonsus Liguori was actually forced out of the community he founded, the Redemptorists and had to endure all sorts of terrible calumnies while at the same time coping with numerous periods of ill health.

    These friars promote consecration and devotion to Our Lady. If there’s one thing the Evil One can’t stand, it’s that.

  80. Stumbler but trying says:

    I am not going to worry about anything that is currently being reported since I am of the opinion that what is being reported can be biased, distorted, or twisted around to suit one’s needs. Instead, I will continue to pray, to hope, and to help my neighbor as myself. I will listen, pray for the grace of discernment and charity and for the grace to give those in authority, the benefit of doubt.

    This article I found quite helpful:
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/franciscans-of-the-immaculate-decree-worries-traditionalists/

    I especially found this comment revealing:
    “Fr. Bruno pointed to a “small group in power” within the religious congregation that is being influenced by Mother Francesca Perillo, who is “very close” with Lefebvrist groups. He is worried that Mother Perillo, who is in charge of those sisters who live in hermitages, and her followers could fall into “heresy and disobedience.”

    Mother Perillo could not be reached for comment before publication time.”

    May God’s holy will be done so that all may be one.

  81. mysticalrose says:

    Many of my friends and I have been fearful, anxious, and frankly, a little depressed since Pope Benedict resigned. This post was like the slap to the face and smelling salts that we all needed to wake up! Bravo!

  82. Unwilling says:

    This move “against” conservatives and their (black doctrinal / red liturgical) preferences should (ha ha) forefend claims of anti-liberalism when it is time to take on such groups.

  83. Gathering from the various news articles and blogs the gist seems to be this: the FFIs were celebrating the EF along with the N.O. and everyone was happy. Then some of them decided to push the EF onto everyone, even those who did not want it. (Every article I’ve read on this up to now says the same: some FFI priests did not want the EF and it was pushed upon them.) I would like to quote Fr. Z. in the original post: The FFIs were not founded as an Extraordinary Form community, as some others were. This situation incurred an Apostolic Visitation and a solution. Given that the order was not founded as an EF community, their unity can only exist in the Novus Ordo (which is why it seems logical to me that FFI priests are now forbidden to celebrate in the EF even in private – they need to get sorted as a community).

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  85. Supertradmum says:

    Ok. some readers, dear Fr. Z., just do not get what we are up against in Europe. Maybe some churchmen do not either. The Guardian ?@guardian 4m
    Holy smoke! Take the Catholic church gay art tour http://t.gu.com/nt1hd

  86. Supertradmum says:

    A same sex marriage group made this poster today and sent it over tweet. https://twitter.com/BVeteran2264/status/362316050097901569/photo/1

  87. phlogiston says:

    Thanks for that link Stumbler. So let’s see. The entire FFI order is subjected to extreme measures in part because Mother Perillo is (horrors!) “very close” (notice the scare quotes) to Lefebvrist groups and “could” lead her sisters into “heresy and disobedience.” Meanwhile members of the LCWR actually DO espouse “heresy and disobedience,” openly and notoriously, with no such action taken against them or their orders. And somehow we are supposed to believe that this is not an attack on the TLM?

  88. Shonkin says:

    (sigh.) It must be nice to live in a place where the Extraordinary Form is available.
    I live in the Diocese of Helena (Western Montana). The Extraordinary form is offered once a month, on a Sunday afternoon, in Frenchtown, which happens to be 150 miles from where I live. In the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings it is not offered at all!
    I cannot blame anyone in particular for this. There is a severe priest shortage here. Great Falls used to have seven parishes besides the Cathedral; now it has three, because by merging them the Diocese gets by with three pastors instead of seven. No parish has an Assistant Pastor, because we don’t have enough priests. Helena and East Helena have three parishes plus the Cathedral, plus two Missions in outlying towns within fifty miles, which are served by those same three priests.
    Pray for vocations!

  89. lauermar says:

    “Briefly, the motu proprio, entitled Summorum pontificorum, created divisions within our Religious Family (exaggerated resistance and exaggerated zeal and a lot of confusion). ” Okay, I get it. For unity’s sake, the EF must go and the NO becomes the preferred method. Now, how about those charismatics and their exaggerated zeal? Falling on the floor, barking, babel, laying on hands, Zen prayer, rock music liturgy, channeling spirit, looking for signs and wonders, etc. Confusion much? If traditionalists complain, we’re told to swallow it; for the sake of unity, we can’t discourage their faith. Too bad the unity card can never be played in favor of time-tested faith practices rather than modern liturgical innovations. If it were, the church wouldn’t be in its catastrophic state.

  90. SimonDodd says:

    lauermar says: “If traditionalists complain, we’re told to swallow it; for the sake of unity, we can’t discourage their faith. Too bad the unity card can never be played in favor of time-tested faith practices rather than modern liturgical innovations.” It’s because there’s no prospect of us leaving. We have a theology and ecclesiology that locks us into the Church, no matter what, and so we’re taken for granted. Consequently, when the question comes to this junction as “unity,” it leaves it as “how do we stop the others from leaving.”

  91. lauermar says:

    I just remembered 3 years ago the same thing happened at my small Chicago archdiocese parish as it did with the FFI order–well before HH Francis. It is an old “destination parish, not a territorial parish” as our archbishop calls it. It has a N.O. mixed English-Latin mass, a Spanish mass, and a TLM. A small but vocal group of malcontents lead a drive to banish the TLM by accusing us of bigotry, closed mindedness and snobbery. Both sides bandied insults and there was disunity. They complained to the archdiocese. The bishop rounded up the parish and scolded us. Then he told us he’d bought property intending to tear us down and re-build us into a new faith community. He said he wanted to remove our priests and substitute a progressive order. The only impediment, he said, was insufficient money. He left us with a warning that changes were coming in 30 days. Immediately the TLM group began rosaries and adoration, praying for peace and preservation of the TLM. After a month, the bishop got sick and couldn’t carry it out. He cut the number of priests though, so confession lines are long and not everybody gets heard. But we held on to the TLM for now. Prayer alone did the trick. It wasn’t joining yet another social cause, soup kitchen or poor collection. The church has enough of those. The poor you will always have with you. Traditional Catholics work hard at raising and homeschooling their kids and others’. Women who work outside the home have no time for it (I should know, I am one.) They already run the pro-life rallies, teen youth groups, clean altar linens, answer phones. etc.

  92. cl00bie says:

    Fr. Z,

    When I heard that the new pope was a Jesuit, my butt reflexively clenched, but I promised myself to give him time to settle into his new role, and see how things shook out. However, it seems that weekly, this pope says something (or is covered as saying something) that disturbs me. This latest escapade is making it very difficult for me to like him.

    I am one of the laity you discussed that this might directoy affect. For the past few years, my wife and I have been attending First Fridays at the local FFI Hermitage. We are not crazy traditionalists. We attend the NO at our local parish every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. But we are spiritually nourished by the occasional attendance at the EF mass. I feel this pope has personally reached out and pulled my dish away from me while I was eating, and my first (and worst) impulse is to react like my dog and bite him.

    However, our local FFIs are a faithful bunch. Their Masses appear to be split evenly between NO and EF. They have NEVER in my recollection preached against Vatican II since my wife and I have been attending.

    However, they will most likely obey, as I will. Our church, founded by Jesus the Christ has survived bad popes in the past, and whatever happens will survive this one. I’m not feeling peaceful which makes me believe I’m not following God’s will. I need to discern what that is.

    Please pray for me.

  93. Alan Aversa says:

    Can anyone force a Catholic priest to say a Protestant “service”? It’s not obedience to the papacy for a Catholic priest to do a Protestant “service.”

  94. voiceinthewilderness says:

    Thank you Fr. Z! A sane point of view from the heart of our one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.

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  96. lelnet says:

    May God help and protect all those working toward true unity in the Church.

    Having seen first-hand how badly out of control things can get just from basically-honorable people talking past each other (instead of to each other) for long enough, I choose not to assume that either side is seeking evil.

    None of us — not even Pope Francis — is incapable of error in our prudential choices. Nor are any of us free of sin. Too often we are tempted to impute exclusively the very worst of motives to those with whom we disagree, and exclusively the very best to ourselves, despite the fact that in truth we can reliably assume that neither of these is actually the case.

    Thank you, Father Z, for your clarion call to both unity and charity.

  97. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Captain Peabody,
    Thanks for your lucid, detailed response!

    You note that the incident “is much more complicated on all sides than the typical historical presentations” adding “your presentation, for instance, leaves out a lot of very important stuff on all sides”. I was not intending to attempt a presentation so much as to suggest my own (very meagrely-informed) sense of how complicated it was on the basis of the “little heap of scraps of information” or indeed ‘presentations of information’ I have encountered here and there, and thinking it would be good to know if I had met with facts, or good interpretations, and to learn more of their context.

    Thank you for all you have now added, to that end!

    You write, ” yes, Popes, and Papal representatives, can indeed make fools out of themselves and do things that are very inadvisable” adding, “But who didn’t know that?” But surely it is well to be reminded, even when not instructed, of that, and aided to attempt justly to weigh its gravity in various cases. In the complicated matter of the Schism, for instance, I have been given to understand (without yet following it up) that Abbot Daniel of Tchernigov when on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1106-07 reports having found Greek and Latin Christians worshipping together in harmony at the Holy Places. Despite Patriarch Michael and Cardinal Hubert, all was not ill. But all was not well, either.

    On a specific point of comparison, if Cardinal Humbert did draft a certain letter, and St.Leo sign it, and there was something problematical about the letter, is there not something distinctly problematical about St. Leo then signing it? And if what Fr Z calls “the somewhat draconian restriction of the older Mass” does have something problematical about it, and did indeed “have more to do with Card. Braz de Aviz than Pope Francis”, and yet as you say with confidence, “Pope Francis saw this decree and approved it”, is there not then something distinctly problematical in that? I am not saying I am strongly persuaded that there is in fact anything problematical about this decree, or, in any way distinctly, about the Holy Father’s presumed well-informed approval, nor that we will be anything but “edified by the obedience shown by the good Friars.” Yet, it is presumably not inappropriate in a given instance to attempt to be justly open to the possibility that “Popes, and Papal representatives”may be doing “things that are very inadvisable”.

    Surely this makes ‘historical comparison rabbit holes’, if such they be, quite relevant to the current discussion.

    Your saying, on the basis of your examination of the evidence, “Generally speaking, the Papacy supported unity in charity while disregarding differences of custom, liturgy, and theology as much as possible” – that, “over many centuries”, this characterizes “the historical attitudes of the Papacy”, is good to hear. I am not in any position to evaluate it. When I encounter something like a ‘presentation of information’ about Giovanni Battista Eliano, S.J., as Papal representative visiting numerous Maronite Churches in the Lebanon and Aleppo, buying up old liturgical manuscripts – and then burning them, and having a distinctly ‘Latinizing’ influence on the Synod of Qannubin in 1580, I do not know if this, if true, is unusual, or quite contrary to the intentions of Gregory XIII, or not.

    Any recommended further reading on both the Schism and the characteristic “historical attitudes of the Papacy”, online or off, would be welcome.

  98. maryh says:

    This is the first action during Pope Francis’ papacy that has actually disturbed me. It does seem unfair, and has for the first time shaken my assurance that while the Pope himself might not be attached to the EF, at least he wouldn’t work against it. I suppose I’m getting an idea of how some others of you have felt with some of his other actions. This time, I really felt lost until I read Father Z’s explanations.

    I still don’t like it, but I followed the links to FFI site Father Z gave us. Their love for their Church and the Pope are just so palpable! That’s the way true sons of the Church act, not the way the LCWR do. Just reading their reactions was inspiring.

    I pray for a speedy resolution to the FFI’s problems, with as little impact as possible on the use of the EF.

  99. robtbrown says:

    If the EF has become as divisive in the FFI as the Vat response seems to indicate, then perhaps the best outcome would be splitting off an EF branch of the FFI’s that would be under the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

    It is silly to assume that such a situation can be remedied by trying to paper over it with a suspension of the right to celebrate using the 1962 Missal.

  100. cheerios in my pocket says:

    My computer has trouble with this site, so I may rarely visit. A “light” from Vericast sent me to check this out because of concerns about the EF Mass being taken away, again. I’m 56 and don’t recall much about the Latin Mass…just it being radically changed, altars ripped from the wall by the Tabernacle, Priests facing us, altar rails removed carpeting put in, they even threatened at one point to take away our kneelers because they were just too expensive to keep up with.

    My homeschooled children were blessed to attend a magnificent school for their 10th, 11th and 12th grades called The Lyceum School in So. Euclid, OH. They were taught Latin, Greek, Theology, Philosophy, performed Shakespeare annually…and the community of parents and students, are serious about holiness, Faith, evangelization. As i key this in, about 15 of their friends are sitting in our pavilion. They laugh, talk, sing (the whole school is the Schola Cantorum) sacred music, and play wholesome/fun games…they are over for the annual summer get together now that many are in college (my son is a junior in college and daughter is a beginning her second year of college.) They have received a real education vs. the one that we have been cheated out of because real educations no longer matter. Ah, 10:15 p.m. and all are saying goodnight. They love God, love each other, and love to learn. We never watched tv (rented movies that we thought worthwhile, though). They love sacred music, polyphony, chant, classical music, and my son enjoys the Beatles. They love life! They take turns entertaining (Who’s On First, and so many other classics). They love the Tridentine Mass or EF. They have opened our hearts to it, and there’s no going back.

    I don’t all that those commenting here know, especially not what Fr. Z knows. I couldn’t even totally follow his blog…I became lost. However, the reverence given to our Lord from entering the Church to leaving it speaks highly to adults and children…this place is really special. The prayers are magnificent …here is my little Sunday Missal prayer BEFORE Mass:
    Eternal Father, I unite myself with the intentions and affections of our Lady of Sorrows on Calvary and I offer Thee the Sacrifice which Thy Beloved Son Jesus made of Himself on the Cross, and now renews on this holy altar. First, To adore Thee and give Thee the honor which is due to Thee, confessing Thy supremedominion over all things, and the absolute dependence of everything upon Thee, Thou Who are our one and last end. Second, To thank Thee for countless benefits received. Third, To appease Thy Justice provoked by so many sins, and to make satisfaction for them. Fourth, To implore grace and mercy for myself, for (name), for all afflicted and sorrowing, for all poor sinners, and for the holy souls in Purgatory.
    That is just a personal prayer. It certainly puts one in the mindset of where we are and why we are there. I have been blessed to witness the N.O. at their college as reverant as possible, facing east, with a teaching homily on the gospel and reading(s). Quite beautiful and I’ve not seen the like of it in any Church within 40 miles of my home (only at their profoundly Catholic college). However, anyone who attends an EF Mass, and follows along in the missal (Latin left page, English right page) must conclude that the NO Mass has been gutted! The Missal also places “teachings” at every part of the Mass as to why the prayers say or why the Priest does…it is a catechism lesson just going to Mass and following along attentively. The Rich Gift of our Faith must be brought to the Mass. One Roman Canon, one Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the strength of our Faith and our Unity. Not a circus, nor a dance by Bishops, nor 8 zillion other distractions (altar girls with earrings, heels, or boys with tennis shoes, no marching up with the “gifts”, no 1-21 Eucharistic Ministers all dressed from shorts (men) to clinging minis (women) to standing and receiving in our HANDS…this now is so totally abhorrent. Funny, but I begged our Pastor (wonderful Priest) for many years if I could kneel to receive…no, if he would place one of those kneelers beside where they stand to receive, no…..on, and on, and on.)
    So, now a different Church, that on Sunday mornings, hears confessions for 20 minutes (always need longer for those lines) before and after Mass. For those who cannot understand why anyone would want a Latin Mass, come to St. Stephens in Cleveland, OH (westside, an historic Church shown on the Vortex commercial ever so briefly). Come 3 times, follow along, and you will experience heaven. The Sacred Liturgy is life giving!

  101. Fool_for_Christ says:

    robtbrown wrote:

    “If the EF has become as divisive in the FFI as the Vat response seems to indicate, then perhaps the best outcome would be splitting off an EF branch of the FFI’s that would be under the Ecclesia Dei Commission.”

    According to this recent entry Before the Decree… the division looks to be pretty sharp and actually a 2 community solution was requested at the outset. It remains to be seen how removing the Founder will solve anything and, practically, what the restriction is going to mean (will permissions be readily granted or refused when requested? If no, strike the shepherd, strike their Mass, strike their sheep – the faithful – and what will remain?). At any rate, unlike many groups on the right and left, they are making an heroic act of obedience (certainly different then the LCWR or SSPX reactions).