Delighted by your reactions and I thank you

I am delighted by the reaction of those who posted comments on the entry about the good news I have gathered.  Most everyone was happy to refer the matter to prayer of praise of God and thanksgiving even before hearing any more details.

Many of us of the more conservative or traditional stripe are starving for good news.  Our hunger will sometimes provoke too much enthusiasm about small events on the one hand, and on the other a surliness about the paucity of things we perceive we can rejoice over. 

As I said in my other entry, I simply don’t want to talk too much about what I have heard about a few issues.  I think you all know the old phrase from wartime: Loose lips sink ships.   Making a big splash about something could stir the opposition and lead to our hopes being delayed or derailed.  Also, there are confidences to respect.  Still, we need to hope for good things in a way that is not expectation macerated in bitterness.  I am not trying to tease, just encourage. 

So, may I kindly ask you to join again today your petitions to a prayer of thanksgiving in advance?
  Years ago, I had the opportunity on a couple occasions to say Mass for Mother Theresa’s sisters, who have a center of their activity in Rome next to the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio where I was working.  Mother was there occasionally.  I remember her saying that when we pray to God for something we should always thank Him together with the petition.  This is what I think we ought to do right now.

You readers will have various hopes pinned to my statement that I have good news.  For some people it will be A, for others it will be B or C.  What really charges some people up, might leave others a little less than impressed.  Suffice to say that I am delighted by what I heard and I will be even more delighted when it is a matter of public record.

In the last couple months I believe we are seeing His Holiness shifting into a higher gear.  You might want to go back and put together a list of things that have caught your attention in his speeches and actions in the last couple months, and then sit down and stare at it for a while, absorb it. 

This is a very active and thoughtful Pope.  He thinks deeply before he speaks and writes.  Once he has thought something through, he acts with determination.  This gives many of us reason to be very hopeful for all sorts of changes and/affirmations. 

Case in point: Think about his Regensburg Address: the Pope has thought for many years about the state of academia in Europe, the necessity of reason in dialogue, the participation of Muslims in Europe and European identity.  He thought, he spoke boldly, he did not retract anything.  His subsequent clarifications were not retractions, though you can bet that many people around him were wringing their hands and, Wormtongue-like, cooing that perhaps the Holy Father might say he was sorry and didn’t mean what he said.  Benedict did not apologize.  In contrast, on the question of Limbo, a matter that needs more study and time, Pope Benedict remained entirely silent.  He has not come to any decisions and so he did not muddy the waters with something premature.

If you are hopeful about certain pet issues, go back and look at the Pope’s writings over the years to see if he seemed determined and resolved on the basis of sound reasoning.  I think you will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, let’s offer another prayer of thanksgiving to God in advance of hearing whatever it is you consider to be good news!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. David says:


    Would it be misplaced if all those cared deeply about the state of the Church and who hunger for greater reverence in worship and an end to the ingrained denigration of the church’s own tradition
    to have a day of fasting and offer it for the renewal of the Bride of Christ?


  2. David: Great idea! A little joyful mortification could be in order. Perhaps we can fix tomorrow, Friday, as a day for this. I will do this and I will use the Mass Pro gratis Deo reddendis in the 2002 Missale Romanum tomorrow.

  3. Diane says:

    Friday it is.

    You bring many good points up Father.

    I subscribed to a particular monthly Catholic magazine that will remain nameless, and within minutes of the subscription, I entered the online area, only to find a deep jab at Pope Benedict for not moving fast enough. I smarted after reading it – so strong was the language. I canceled the subscription a few minutes later and told them why. The pope was only in the throne one year at the time.

    You say to check back over his writings of the last few months, or years. I have been given much reason for hope in his writings, and was just thinking to myself, prior to finding your post, that for me: It’s a great time to be Catholic! I have been excited for some time knowing deep inside that this pope will move on issues – on God’s time. My gut feeling is that now is the time, but I’ve promised God not to be disappointed with anything which does not happen.

    Faith, in the absence of understanding – especially when we can’t have things the way we want, when we want, is authentic faith.

    God Bless Pope Benedict!

  4. David says:

    Then I will be fasting with you tomorrow, Father! I’ll also pray the Rosary for this intention.

  5. Brian Anderson says:

    Fr. Z

    Shortly after his election, the Pontiff asked us to “…pray for him that he
    not run for fear of the wolves..”. Would this good news be evidence that
    Pope Benedict has, indeed, not run? Also,would it be safe to say that
    a “Benedictine Reform” has begun?


  6. Papabile says:

    I think we may have heard the same thing.

  7. Pingback: Vigilate et Orate :: Es kommt (sehr) bald… :: October :: 2006

  8. You know… I haven’t anywhere said what it was that I heard or what it concerns.

  9. David says:

    I agree with Diane – I was only recieved into the Church this Easter and it truly is a great time to be Catholic!

  10. Gregory Mercer says:

    You know, father, I find this “I know something you don’t know” attitude childish, narcissistic and unbecoming of a priest.

    We that hope for the Traditional Mass have organized our whole lives — professional and otherwise — around that hope. For us, father, the Mass is everything. Please, don’t play with people’s feelings.

    Maybe you really know something, maybe you don’t, but if all you wanted were prayers of thanksgiving for a future grace, all you had to do was ask, and not try to make it seem as though you are the consummate insider. It only works on the truly immature.

  11. Bede says:


    Like David above I am a relatively new Catholic and I couldn’t agree more – it’s a great time to be Catholic! I shall also join the fast on Friday. Bless you for your words of hope and consolation.

    Gregory Mercer,

    I completely disagree with your characterization of Fr. Z’s posts in this matter. He offers us consolation and encourages us to thanksgiving. He is, I believe, constrained by promises of confidence to say no more than he has – and I rather suspect that he’s pushing the envelope on what he’s said as it is.

  12. ROFL!! Gregory, spoken in the manner of the sort of traditionalist who has by his attitude literally added years to all our waiting. And, once again, I haven’t said anything about this being about the “indult”. Relax, friend.

  13. Joseph says:

    Remember, there are always wolves among sheep. While we’re at the Te Deum, we may want to read John’s passage on the Good Sheperd, in whichever tongue you prefer.

  14. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Well I am certainly thankful to the Lord for giving us Pope Benedict. Aside from the guidance He receives from the Holy Spirit, I truly believe he is the most intelligent and wisest man on Earth. He also knows how to lead the flock. I can’t say I know for sure of the entire plan he has for the Church, but I am confident it is the right thing. I love Papa. Thank you God for giving him to us.


    (I’m in on the Friday fasting.)

  15. Gregory Mercer says:

    Keep playing, father, keep playing. Fool the fools.

  16. Diane says:

    The indult issue has been discussed so much that I have been, and will continue, to be thinking along other lines. But, nonetheless – of all the things I am thinking – they are all exciting. It’s like waiting for daddy to bring home that surprise!

    Patience people…..and prayers!

    With the many things that will be happening in this pontificate, we need to pray for the many who just won’t get it – no matter what “it” is. Much catechesis will be needed, yet in some parishes and seminaries, they will spend more time confusing more people about reality with their hopes, dreams, and feelings.

    While I am excited to be Catholic, I am also empathetic to the many who are poorly catechized and will likely rebel at whatever it is. Hence, my prayers are for thanksgiving – and acceptance.

  17. Gregory Mercer says:

    By the way, of course it is not about the “indult”, because I KNOW you are in absolutely NO position to know anything. And that’s what is infuriating.

  18. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Mr. Mercer,

    You might want to loosen your grip a bit. Exercise helps too.


  19. Al says:

    Father, you have my prayers.

  20. Al says:

    Stu –

    Exercise does wonders…LOL, to help loosen that grip…;-)

  21. Joseph: You linked to that CWN article about the group of French clerics organizing against any possible “freeing up” of the older form of Mass. Surely that is a good example of the stinginess on the part of some of the progressivist element. They always seem to me to be trying to make God and His gifts seem smaller.

    On the other hand, and on the other side of the spectrum, there are those of the traditional stripe who have something more restricting than “tunnel vision”… call it “funnel vision”: take something broad and make it as narrow as possible.

    What is so sad that is both sides seem to miss the point that when one dimension of the Church thrives, everyone benefits. This is not a zero sum game.

    There is no reason to fear fidelity to rubrics as placing limits on our freedom, accuracy in translation as placing limits on our understanding, or flexibility in our rite as placing limits on our identity.


  22. Jon says:

    To hazard a guess, because it’s fun, and because, no doubt, I enjoy being played the fool, I’d say it’s one of the following:

    1) The indult.

    2) A decision by the Holy Father to render “pro multis” in the new Mass translation as “for the many.”

    3) A command, not merely a strong suggestion, that the Novus Ordo be celebrated ad orientem.

    4) (a bonus) All three!

    5) Hmm…and since Father’s encouraged us to look back on what the Holy Father’s written on during the last few months, I seem to recall he’s said a little bit regarding music. Dare I hope? Could we see an anathemaed Haugen, Haas, Joncas and Schutte?

    Okay, let’s vote. Mr. Mercer, you go first.

  23. Jon: Why stop there? How about

    6) the goal of the St. Jude Liturgical Arts Society (to which I dedicated myself long ago): the abolition of polyester vestments in our day. Or… perhaps,

    7) really authentic interpretations of canons 225 and 249??

    >>anathemaed Haugen, Haas, Joncas and Schutte?<< LOL! That would call for an immediate process for the authentication of a miracle!

  24. Gregory Mercer says:

    Postquam autem crucifixerunt eum diviserunt vestimenta eius sortem mittentes.

  25. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    ”Okay, let’s vote. Mr. Mercer, you go first.”

    Nothing like kicking an angry dog’s cage. :)

    Father, I would like to extend the abolition of polyester to the military as well. I’m not sure where we got the notion that polyester uniforms and shiny plastic shoes looks professional.

  26. Jeffrey: I guess they are considered suitable for inspection purposes.

  27. Al says:

    Matthew 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

  28. OK, I am saying Te Deum’s, and will see about offering up penance tomorrow for this.

    While we’re throwing out ideas, I would go with a pronouncement about the reception of Communion going back to only on the tounge and received (when possible) kneeling. I remember this was a suggestion back in the Eucharistic Synod, and the results of that Synod are supposed to be released soon.

    I am still very skeptical of a universal indult due to the nightmare of implementing it properly, however, I won’t dispair of it, I just find it less probable than most think it is Although I have never wished to be more wrong :)

  29. Wanda says:

    I’m a new Catholic convert too – just received into the Church this Easter. I’d like to join in on the Friday fast – what do I do? This isn’t just the meatless Friday thing, I’m sure, since I do that already – is it a water-only fast until sundown? Muslims do that every year; I’m sure I could do it too, especially for such a good cause. I’m in a liturgically barren modern parish, so ANY news is bound to be good – I just wonder if it will ever trickle down to us among our bare, sterile walls.

    Oh, and I don’t think Fr. was trying to be a tease; this seems more like the pink vestments of Gaudete Sunday, giving us a little lightening of the darkness before the big celebration that’s sure to come.

  30. Diane says:

    I know! I know!!! Lemme throw my guess out into the pile….

    A new assignment is coming for Cardinal Mahoney – in a remote part of the Galapagos Islands, and they are transporting his new Cathedral with him.

    Rumor has it the penguins are already protesting :D :P

  31. Diane says:

    Welcome Home Wanda.

    By fasting, we mean 3 meals in one day. Father can correct me, but we can have one reasonably portioned meal, with the other two not being an bigger than the main meal. And, typically, we abstain from meat. Fish and eggs are an option, as are milk products. However, I think it may vary by country. When I lived abroad, we did not take broths made with chiken or beef base, nor did we use milk products.

    Of course, when it is not mandatory, then any sacrifice in this regard is pleasing to the Lord.

  32. Indeed, welcome to the happy ranks of “Tiber crossers,” Wanda!

    My understanding of a fast is one meal a day and two smaller snacks/meals which, if added together, don’t exceed the main meal in quantity. You can do a more severe fast if you are so moved, but the official Church definition does not require it.

  33. Wanda says:

    Thanks for all the information! I will try my very best tomorrow to do my first proper fast. And I’m sure that praying will remind me what I’m doing when I feel inclined to snack. I sure hope we get to “open our presents” soon, though; this little hint of something big coming has me all excited!

  34. Brian says:

    Diane, you owe me a new keyboard. The part about the penguins was just too much :).

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    really authentic interpretations of canons 225 and 249

    Father Z: Canon 249 is clear enough – requiring seminarians to gain proficiency in Latin – but I wonder if you could provide brief illustrations of what might be an authentic versus inauthentic interpretations of canon 25 (which can be read as just “same old, same old stuff” about how lay people are important to, blah blah blah).

  36. Romulus says:

    Mr. Mercer, I don’t know about you, but even if nothing at all “happens”, I already have more than enough on my plate to say grace (in the sense of “gratias ago tibi”) over. Gratitude to God is never out of season — and a little Friday fast never hurt anyone.

  37. Jon says:

    Good grief. Your passion?

    Gregory, I drive with my young family 40 miles one way each Sunday to attend an indult Mass. My wife has had her heart broken by being banned as a catechist in our home parish for being “too pre-Vatican II.” I’ve been dropped from my liturgy committee when all I did was urge more traditional music and compliance with the GIRM. Believe me, neither of us are fire-breathing fanatics. I drive my oldest son, willingly on his part, to altar boy practice those 80 miles every Saturday morning so he can learn to serve the Mass he’s come to love.

    It matters less to me personally, but because of this 40-year tragedy my wife and boys are being deprived of the parish life they so deeply need and crave. I have a dog in this fight, and I do not take as a laughing matter the machinations of Bugninist apparatchiks bent on subverting the papal will (is that what you wanted to hear?). I, like so many here, have wept and prayed, prayed and wept over this thing. But to turn bitter and mistrustful, to allow joy to be driven from your soul, is to lend victory to the Enemy. Trads weighted down by disappointment and betrayal are exactly what he desires. He doesn’t fear them. He fears those who can forgive. He fears those who go to the cross with a smile on their lips. He fears those who will happily stoop to build again what has been broken without rancor and resentment toward those responsible for the destruction.

    This is a wonderful time to be alive. If God has granted us the grace to be part of the restoration of His Church, how blessed we are. If, on the other hand, we’re to see disappointment, betrayal, and martyrdom, well, how blessed we are.

    Father Z, despite his affection for the Twins, is a good man. In a perfect world he’d be a bishop himself by now. Would we had more priests like him. I say that with conviction, not sycophancy. If all of this turns out the way we pray, from the reform of the reform to the indult, my guess is we’ll owe more to his dogged work than we’ll ever know.

    In the meantime, cheer-up, pray hard, have a beer, and stop letting the ******** get you down.

  38. AM says:

    Well, as long as we’ll all speculating, I’ll add (9) a date is set for the offering of a Papal High Mass according to the classical rite. Fiat illud quod tam sitimus.

  39. Henry Edwards says:

    Jon: Well said and true, my good and faithful friend. You and Father Z — lay and clerical sides of a coin. Both in the trenches fighting the good fight.

    I missed the preceding excitement here because away from computer and desk for a morning, during which I attended a Latin Novus Ordo Mass, HC only on tongue by intinction, no EMHC in sight (despite a good double line of communicants), propers chanted, no music by Haugen-Haas or anyone else (except for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei sung by the folks). As for my vote … Hmm, what’s missing in the preceding list? Anyone?

  40. AM: >>Well, as long as we’ll all speculating, I’ll add (9) a date is set for the offering of a Papal High Mass according to the classical rite. Fiat illud quod tam sitimus.<< GREAT idea! I have mentioned that myself in the pages of this blog. My joy would be complete to see H.E. Piero Marini as MC for such an event.

  41. Greg Hessel says:

    I agree with G Mercer. It would be a lot better if you said that you have some private intentions you would like us to pray for
    rather than throwing out these “hints”.

  42. Greg: I am sure that on your blog you will do what you think is agreeable. In the meantime, perhaps you will be good enough to say some prayers.

  43. Tim Ferguson says:

    Oh some of my speculations would be:

    – the naming of a Papal Legate to the United States

    – the erection of the new Archdiocese of Mecca, with suffragans at Medina and Riyadh to handle all the recent Moslem converts.

    – the pending coronation of Otto von Hapsburg as the new Holy Roman Emperor (or, considering his age, his son Karl)

    – the reception of the Patriarch of Constantinople into full and unimpaired communion with the Holy See

    – the canonization of Cardinal Merry del Val

    – the rehabilitation of the papal tiara, the sedia gestatoria and the flabellae

    – Midnight Madness: half-off sale at Gamarelli’s

  44. David says:


    Have you any idea how soon we shall find out?

    Personally, I hope it will be the longed-for Indult. I almost don’t want to allow myself this hope for fear of bitter disappointment.

  45. Tim: Fantastic!! Each and everyone would be great!

  46. Henry Edwards says:

    We have a local pool on the date of the indult announcement. I selected Halloween, the better to scare the willies out of the bad guys. A more serious-minded friend selected Nov. 9 as the most appropriate day in November – the dedication of St. John Lateran, seat of Peter. Another, evidently taking Fr. Z post yesterday as a pre-announcement, chose this coming Saturday, commemoration of St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes. A clerical friend says The Big Announcement will come at a Solemn Papal TLM at St. Peter’s on All Saints Day. All of these selections are wildly over-optimistic, of course.

    But seriously, Father Z, how long do you think it would take H.E. Marini’s office and liturgical crew to prepare adequately for a papal TLM? Assuming he moved with all deliberate speed and due diligence. (Are we talking days, weeks, months, or years?)

  47. David: I don’t have a time table for you. Frankly, it is my GUESS that the news about the Post-Synodal Exhortation will come this November as will news about the “freeing up” of the older form of Mass, which I think is pretty much a done deal. The text seems to be fixed. As you can see the French prelates, et al., are freaking out a little. As they say: in finem citius.

    I think this time of waiting, for this and for many other excellent developments, is best spent with prayers of thanksgiving in advance. We need humble confidence, and confident humility. Take it all onto another plain of spiritual warfare.

    Don’t forget to say a prayer to the Holy Father’s guardian angels to shore him up and keep him focused and clear.

  48. RBrown says:

    “By the way, of course it is not about the “indult”, because I KNOW you are in absolutely NO position to know anything. And that’s what is infuriating.”

    Having spent eight years in Rome myself, I know that anyone who has been there as long as Fr Z has (not to mention helping out at Ecclesia Dei) would know people who know things.

  49. Henry: I believe H.E. really likes his job and would therefore have any Mass H.H. requests ready at any day or place indicated.

  50. David says:

    Deo gratias!

    It’s a wonderful time to be a Catholic!

    I’ll offer up my fast tomorrow for the renewal of reverence and loving obedience in the Church. And I will pray that our Pope remains strong and prayerful in the face of so much opposition and fear.

  51. Greg Hessel says:

    Father, I do say prayers for priests (incl yourself) everyday.
    Angelus Press sells a wonderful little booklet full
    of prayers for priests that are traditional and
    quite beautiful. It is absolutely indispensable that
    we pray for our priests everyday. The little booklet
    of prayers is a great reminder to pray everyday
    specifically for priests.

  52. Paul Murnane says:

    Happy to join in the “joyful mortification” and prayers of thanksgiving. I’d be happy to see any of the numbered guesses actually happen, even though my archdiocese would probably be the last place of earth anything would be implemented (unless, of course, Diane’s fanciful guess came true :) ). Even if nothing happens in the near term, I am grateful for the Holy Father and all he has done to help deepen my faith.

    well said. Thank you.

    Fr. Z,
    Great point about the guardian angels – my four year-old will be especially excited to say that prayer with me.

  53. MJ says:

    How about this for speculation? Fr. Z being elevated to bishop or, better yet, cardninal by his HH Benedict XVI.
    I, too, will join the fast and offer the Divine Mercy Chaplet this afternoon at 3PM for this thanksgiving.

    Gloria in excelsis Deo!!

  54. Brian Murphy says:

    I offer up my fast and holy hour tomorrow for these intentions while offering up Thanksgiving to God for all of his wonderful blessings. I will also pray that the Holy Father’s Guardian Angels kick it into overdrive.

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

  55. The Ladies are still waiting at the Tomb.

    Tomorrow, I will join the gentlemen in a fast.

    Wanda: Welcome Home. God Bless You.

  56. Greg: Say what you want about Angelus Press, their prayer books are spectacular. I have a couple, as a matter of fact.

  57. Paul: Children seem to grasp the concept of angels so easily. It is not for nothing that the Lord said about children that their angels see the face of God.

  58. MJ: Kindly never hope for that. For the Church’s sake as well as mine! Thanks for the vote of confidence, however.

  59. Greg Hessel says:

    Father Z,

    Can you direct me to what you believe is the best
    book on Latin Grammar?

  60. Ken says:

    Well, if its something based upon Pope’s writings. They’re so extensive,
    that could be anything.

    Its too soon for any sort of Orthodox Church reconciliation.


    1) The Creed in Latin
    2) ad orientum
    3) A rejection of the ITC report on Limbo
    4) Putting the end to girl altar boys
    5) Mandatory Gregorian chant
    6) He’s going to where his “Santa hat” again this Christmas

  61. Fr Jerome says:

    Calm down everybody – as Fr Z has said, he has NOT said what the news might be! But let us hope…
    HH Benedict XVI is working to \’our benefit and that of all His holy Church\’ – that IS obvious. While we may yet hope for great things we traditionalists can be assured that in HH we have an aid and an advocate for more conservative expressions of the Faith.

    I will gladly fast tomorrow for these intentions (breakfast of about 2oz. a full midday meal and an even-collation of 8oz approx) and will add this intention again to my TLM tomorrow morning.

    \”To be a priest! A great thing indeed! The priest will never understand fully what he is except in heaven. If he understood on earth, he would die, not of fear but of love.
    The priest is like a mother, like a nursing mother to an infant a few months old: she gives it its nourishment, it has only to open its mouth. The mother says to her infant: \”Come, my little one, feed.\” The priest says: \”Take and eat, this is the Body of Jesus Christ. May it keep you and bring you to life everlasting.\” Wonderful words!
    (St John Vianney)

    I am sure, for all your wonderful comments about Fr Z (and I blush for you Father) and I concur; though, I am sure that like me, Father is content with his lot (St Jerome) and does not seek other than to that which He bids him to do and is open to do His will.

    This is a wonderful apostolate Father, keep it up, you bring strnegth and consolation to so many by your insight and Faith.

  62. Fr. Jerome: I thank you for your words, sincerely, but just as sincerely people deserve far better than me. Let’s keep all this twaddle to a minimum. Nothing about these issues of great moment in the world are about us.

  63. Ken: //1) The Creed in Latin
    2) ad orientum
    3) A rejection of the ITC report on Limbo
    4) Putting the end to girl altar boys
    5) Mandatory Gregorian chant
    6) He’s going to where his “Santa hat” again this Christmas//

    Remember that H.H. wrote some time ago that although ad orientem is superior in many ways, it would not be right to impose a sudden change even in regard to the placement of the altar. \\\”Girl altar boys\\\”? This is possible. \\\”Santa hat\\\”? Count on it. Rejection of ITC on Limbo? We need more time to relect and deepen the argument. Mandatory chant? Well… let\\\’s make room for polyphony, okay?

  64. Seamas O Dalaigh says:


    Prayers of thanks.

    James Daly

  65. Iacobus says:

    Well, I have my ideas…

    1. Banning Eucharistic Prayer II
    2. Suppressing the Jesuit Order
    3. Putting Socialist Spain under interdict


  66. Brian Day says:

    My flight of fancy: Vatican III.

    While Vatican II was primarily pastoral, previous councils were convened to combat a crisis/heresy. H H has spoken and written often about how the council’s (V II)wishes were never properly implemented, we need a new council to fight the heresy of “Spirit of Vatican II”. 8^)

  67. Brian Day says:

    italics off.

  68. Brian Day says:


  69. john m says:

    O.K. I’ll bite:

    1. Suppression of the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children
    2. Oregon Catholic Press to announce its Going-Out-Of-Business Sale
    3. A mandate that tabernacles be returned to the center of the sanctuary.

  70. Janet says:

    Fr.Z, and folks,
    I’m a convert and have no idea what this older latin mass is like. I like the
    amount of latin that EWTN puts into their masses, however. I also like being
    able to participate in the liturgy as we do now. I’ve never known anything other
    than that in my years of being Catholic (since 1981).
    I’ve heard that the old latin mass was done totally in latin and that the people
    in the pews had nothing to say themselves. HOpefully that is a false rumor. I
    don’t think I’d like mass if all I could do was sit there and wonder what in the
    heck is being said, since I know very very little latin.

    Can someone fill me in on what actually takes place in this older mass (is it
    called Tridentine?). What are the really good things about it that are missing
    in the current day masses? (and for what it’s worth, my parish is pretty orthodox,
    and I live close enough to EWTN’s chapel/studio and sometimes attend their mass).
    So I’m basically an “EWTN-style” Catholic now, and don’t see much need for any drastic
    changes in something that to me is wonderful as it is.

    Many thanks for some explanations.


  71. john m: Don’t be too hard on Oregon Press. Think about this strategically. Some folks are worried that the aging hippies will resist or refuse to use the new translation which is around the corner. On the other hand, their pews will be full of missalettes from companies like Oregon Press which are necessarily going to have to publish the new translation. Also, I hear from people that “market forces” are driving OP to publish rather more traditional hymns. I hope that is true.

  72. Robert says:

    As the Holy Father has spoken about the problem of Vatican II not yet being properly implemented, perhaps we shall see a new P.Benedict Missal with clear rubrics on what things should be like for the Mass..?..

  73. Robert: I have always thought that the elimination from the “instructions” in the front of the Missal of any reference to sin for violating rubrics was a real mistake. The argument was that discussion of sin for violation of rubrics was properly a moral theological issue, rather than a liturgical issue, and therefore such a thing should not be mentioned in the Missal, which is a liturgical book. On the other hand, look what happened to the way Mass was celebrated. There was no longer a sense that making illicit changes was wrong.

  74. RBrown says:

    My impression is that BXVI thinks that there are two great issues now that need to be resolved.

    The first is the return of the SSPX to union with Rome. To a great extent Abp Lefebvre and his followers were pushed into a corner by the liberal French bishops, who were accusing Lefebvre of undermining the Church in France–somehow they thought that with no Econe SSPX seminarians would have attended the French pig styes and become liberal French priests. The SSPX has made it clear that the sine qua non of reunion with Rome is universal permission to use the 1962 Missal.

    The second is the current state of the liturgy. Although, as Fr Z notes, JRatzinger has said that there has been too much change already, he added (if I remember correctly) that we have to see what the Holy Spirit wants. I would include his election in what the Holy Spirit wants.

    He seems to think that ad orientem is very important, by which, it seems to me, he has placed himself under a certain moral obligation to implement it. On the other hand, there would be the problem of a smooth transition toward it, in some way preparing the Church before any actual implementation by re-direction the liturgical direction of the Church.

  75. Robert says:

    I just have to ask… Garabandal speaks of a schism to occur in the Church in a timeframe that appears to be under this papacy. Do you believe that the things you have heard could be strong enough for opposition to head in that direction?

  76. RBrown: I think there is a deeper dimension to the discourse. First, as someone steeped in the Augustinian tradition, the Holy Father has a horror of schism, especially over the issues at the heart of the SSPX separation. Also, H.H. is deeply concerned about the soul of the West, and in particular Europe. Thus, Catholic identity must be brought back to reality and reinforced. Part of that correction involves greater unity (“united we stand”) and also the reclamation of our tradition and its integration with the benefits of what the Council texts include. I perceive all of these things to be a matter of a deeper vision for the Church. Issues such as the unity of the SSPX, use of the older Mass, proper translations, ad orientem celebrations, a new style of serious dialogue with non-Catholics, are all important components in his tool box.

  77. Robert: While I have nothing against the content of the alleged messages at Garabandal, I put my stock in messages from apparitions that have the full approval of the Church’s highest authorities.

  78. RBrown says:

    “RBrown: I think there is a deeper dimension to the discourse. First, as someone steeped in the Augustinian tradition, the Holy Father has a horror of schism, especially over the issues at the heart of the SSPX separation. Also, H.H. is deeply concerned about the soul of the West, and in particular Europe. Thus, Catholic identity must be brought back to reality and reinforced. Part of that correction involves greater unity (“united we stand”) and also the reclamation of our tradition and its integration with the benefits of what the Council texts include. I perceive all of these things to be a matter of a deeper vision for the Church. Issues such as the unity of the SSPX, use of the older Mass, proper translations, ad orientem celebrations, a new style of serious dialogue with non-Catholics, are all important components in his tool box.”

    I agree. When the Roman Rite leaves the catacombs created by the liberals, it will influence the entire Church and begin the reclamation of Catholic tradition.

    When the Novus Ordo vernacular was imposed and the persecution of Lefebrve began, a split personality emerged in the Church: Romanitas was separated from Latinitas.

  79. RBrown says:

    ” . . . a new style of serious dialogue with non-Catholics”

    In one of my Licentiate courses at the Angelicum, we dealt with Apostolicae Curae. During the oral exam, the prof, a consultor to the SCDF and a bit of a friend who knew that I had once been an Anglican, said to me: “If this is true, we are sending priests and bishops to ecumenical meetings with laymen who think they are priests and bishops . . . This is a problem.”

  80. Henry Edwards says:


    You ask a great question that deserves a better answer than I can give in a brief post. I too, in much of my worship, could probably be called an “EWTN-style Catholic”. At least in that I attend a new (Novus Ordo) Mass daily, and greatly envy your opportunity to actually attend the kind of daily Mass that EWTN broadcasts. But I would like even more to be able attend a TLM daily, and need to try to say why.

    I’m ordinarily able to attend just a couple of old (TLM) Masses each month, and sometimes feel that I may experience more active and conscious participation in those two than in the two dozen or so new Masses that month. It’s not simply a matter of chanting the ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.) and responses pretty much the same as done at an EWTN Mass. It’s that the TLM far more fully draws me into interior and truly prayerful participation. Recently I ran across the blog post

    that describes this pretty well. Ignore the preliminary remarks about Bishop Tod Brown, skip down to where the writer says “Here’s the thing. The Tridentine is an acquired taste …”, and read the next few paragraphs.

    In the way he describes, following my missal, I myself actually pray the traditional Mass rather than merely watch it. I have never been able to really pray any Mass while merely watching it on TV. And when attending even the “best” new Mass, I still have the feeling that I’m listening and watching as some kind of spectator, and have to work really hard for any sense of actual interior participation in the sense of praying the Mass myself. Father Z said a lot more about this in his recent Assumption sermon transcribed at

    Finally, let me try this analogy (which likely not all would accept): Perhaps you have been up the road from Mass at Irondale to Mass at Mother Angelica’s Shrine in Hanceville, and would agree that this is also a step up the road liturgically. Well, in one sense the TLM seems several steps beyond, but in the same direction.

  81. Janet says:

    Thanks for the helful reply. I’ve not yet seen one of the masses at Hanceville (the Shrine), but will make an effort to do so. From your description, it sounds like I would grow to appreciate the old style mass. I’ll also read those articles later that you linked to.
    The thing is, about mass as I experience it today, I do indeed feel very caught up into it like I’m participating. Especially on Sundays, when we have so much more music, and it seems like we’re all right up there with the angels worshipping and singing. Maybe as a convert I’m easily impressed, but I think Catholic Mass is beautiful just as it is. Without trying to be too nasty towards our brothers in Protestant churches, it’s just the difference in night and day, and I wish I could convey to them what they are missing.
    Thanks for the help.

  82. Henry Edwards says:

    Janet: I want to emphasize that I don’t disagree with anything you say. You are blessed to be among the tiny handful able to attend personally one the most beautiful, reverent, and faithful “new Masses” offered anywhere in the world. That’s why tens of millions of the most orthodox Catholics around the world watch it regularly on EWTN. And I don’t mean to argue that I participate more actively and prayerfully in the Mass than you do; I meant merely to say how I myself participate best.

    Finally, it’s certainly more important for us to “convey to them what they are missing” than for me to convey anything to you about the old Mass. Though I’d still encourage you to check it out for yourself when — with the blessings of our good Holy Father and your new bishop — it comes to a church near you.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Janet, it would be helpful to read some books on the Tridentine Mass and better yet attend one if you get the chance. Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote an excellent essay on why the Tridentine Mass is preferable. Another person to read is Bl. Adrian Fortescue. Adrian Fortescue: Priest and Scholar by MICHAEL DAVIES contains a comprehensive selection of his writings on the history and beauty of the Tridentine Mass. Don’t be misled by detractors who say the old Mass was too quiet and that the active participation called for by Vatican II meant the busy activity found in most of today’s Masses. As the spiritual masters will consistently agree, interior or mental prayer is very active, much more difficult, and far more beneficial than vocal prayer. Consider the intense suffering of Jesus in the Garden when he was intimately united to his father in prayer. “And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” There are also distinct theological differences between the two Masses, it is not merely a question of the use of latin. You are fortunate to attend an orthodox Novus Ordo, most are not so lucky. I would say a good, orthodox NO Mass is almost as rare as finding an Indult Mass.

  84. Jon says:


    Because, as you say, “loose lips sink ships,” I’m not sure this is the kind of birthday present you’d prefer. But I’m afraid the word’s out. In my evening surfing I think I’ve stumbled over the “Great News.”

    A consolation indeed.

  85. John says:

    Jon, if that turns out to be the “big news” even though nice, I guess I would be a little disappointed. While most “traditionalists” are opposed to the mis-translation of pro multis that really isn’t going to be much incentive to them to start attending a Novus Ordo Mass. Having the proper translation doesn’t do much if you are opposed to the full vernacular anyway and are working for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass. For that matter the Anglican communion service translates it as “for many.” Second, I believe in other languages such as French, the translation of pro multis is the French equivalent of for many. So this would not be something of major impact on the universal Church. Additionally this isn’t the kind of thing that would get the French priests and Bishops all wound up like they are. I still think there is something bigger out there. In the meantime we will continue what we have been doing; prayer, mortification and almsgiving.
    On another note, it was nice to see Cardinal Arinze chastising the liturgical abuses in France. I think it was more than coincidence that his comments were as sharp as they were coming within a few days of the letter from the French hierarchy.

  86. Diane says:

    I wouldn’t be disappointed, especially if rolled into it were a many tweaks more aligned to the Latin.

    I’ll take “consubstantial” with my Credo, please – not the dummed-down version. That would be a very fine Christmas present from His Holiness.

    Of course, it’s just my personal speculation.

  87. Mina says:

    I would like to see the whole world’s Churches use the Latin Rite rather than Novus Ordo nor Tridentine. Its a pleasant blend of vernacular and Latin rather than entirely one or the other.

    Latin Rite tends to have Gregorian Chant, which is more respectful than acting like a small band with a guitar or two, the band wearing heavy makeup and showy clothes.

  88. J. Cassani says:

    “I would like to see the whole world’s Churches use the Latin Rite rather than Novus Ordo nor Tridentine. Its a pleasant blend of vernacular and Latin rather than entirely one or the other.”

    To what do you refer? I assume that you advocate the Novus Ordo with a Latin ordinary and vernacular propers. The NO and Tridentine Rites are both forms of the Roman Rite. This, along with several others including the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites are amongst the several “Latin” Rites.

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