Card. Mahony on Tridentine Mass

His Eminence Roger Card. Mahony had an online chat session recently from the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, Calif (which some call "The Three Days of Darkness").  

His Eminence responded to a question about the "Tridentine" Mass:

    James: I’ve read that Pope Benedict is concerned about the liturgy and is about to issue a decree that encourages a more generous use of Latin in the liturgy including the use of the Tridentine rite. Do you support this and will you encourage the use of more traditional forms of worship in the archdiocese if he issues the decree?

    CardinalMahony: James: of our 5 million Catholics, only a handful are interested in the Latin Mass. I must focus upon the 99% who need a vibrant Mass that includes them in its celebration.

I don’t even want to get too far into the weird concept of "vibrant" Mass and why the "Tridentine" Mass isn’t considered "vibrant".  I guess there aren’t enough liturgical dancers.  And apparently His Eminence thinks the Mass doesn’t include people who need a vibrant Mass.  On my planet people choose to include and be included, choose to participate in a way that is interiorly vibrant or not.  Let’s move on. 

You all know how many big shots often dodge questions?  I am not sure, but I think His Eminence in fact answered the question put to him.  The answer sounded to me very much like "No, I won’t pay any attention to what Rome does because I consider these people to be a minority not worthy of my time.  The only people who deserve full status in Los Angeles are those who want a the sort of Mass which I think is ‘vibrant’.  In Los Angeles we give attention only to those who like what I like."

I don’t know.  Am I misreading His Eminence?  Maybe I am being to hard on him. 

I find his use of the number "99" rather interesting.   I think maybe it was used once in the Bible.  Yah… I am sure I remember something about that now.  Wasn’t there a guy who had to leave the 99 and go look for the minority? 
But in the case of Los Angeles, you apparently leave the minority and run after the 99.  Thus, the minority group is even more deeply marginalized than before.

I am getting some bad vibes from this.  I need a hug.

Perhaps the Social Justice Office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles should start defending this little minority.

This is a Social Justice issue! 

The "Tridentine" Mass. 
It’s not just vibrant. 
It’s a justice issue.

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  1. Fr. John P says:

    Fr. Z
    When I read the Archbishop’s comment about the 99% I immediately thought of the parable that you mentioned above. It unmistakably reveals what is in the heart of the man, how sad. You are correct that this is an issue of justice, but since the “latin Mass crowd” is viewed by the Cardinal as anachronistic misfits, out of line with current thinking. Perhaps we are viewed not as human beings with souls but rather troublesome rabble. Why should it surprise us that he not go after the “lost sheep” since he probably doesn’t see them as sheep but rather wolves who undermine what he sees as the “proper vision” of the Church. He needs prayer.

  2. Jordan Potter says:

    Fr. Z. said: “I don’t know. Am I misreading His Eminence? Maybe I am being to hard on him.”

    No, you’re not misreading him — that’s exactly how I interpreted his words too. I don’t see how his words could have any other meaning.

    I also don’t think you’re being too hard on him. You couldn’t be more hard on him than Our Lord was on “shepherds” like him, in John 10:11-13.

  3. No, I don’t think you’re misreading him either. What you, I and Jordan (& many others) hear is a good part of what makes Cardinal Mahoney sound outrageous to so many people. He’s a bit of a joke, you know.

  4. Kenjiro Shoda says:

    I hate to say anything negative about a deceased Pope whom many people loved (while many others….more than you would think…considered His papacy a disaster especially with regards to the liturgy), but this picture of Cardinal Mahoney surronded by dancing girls reminds me of the same kind of bizarre “liturgies” that John Paul II reveled in. I remember seeing His face watching these antics. He loved this stuff!!!.
    Much to the detriment of the Catholic Church, and to the Holy Mass.

  5. Londiniensis says:

    Unfortunately, this “bit of a joke” has entrusted to him the care of souls. Many I am sure would forgive him his anti-Tridentine prejudice if the Novus Ordo masses in his archdiocese were celebrated with due devotion and reverence.

  6. John Polhamus says:

    Why be surprised. If we can’t count on Roger Mahoney to foment a schism, what can we count on? It’s exactly what he’s been doing all along. But you see, if one were to rely on the mainstream media, news of the Moto Proprio would never reach the public in Southern California. It hasn’t been discussed in a major newspaper, and the forces that be will keep it that way. The San Diego Union is a known anti-Catholic rag, and the LA Times is the LA Times. Of course we haven’t exactly been helping the Catholic cause out here, declaring bankruptcy and all, but the Traidtionalist faithful and the internet are going to have to shout the news from the rooftops and make the media report it. The episcopate, apart from Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (who just said Solemn High Pontifical Mass in the tridentine rite in Stamford Connecticut two Sundays ago), can be counted on for exactly nothing.

  7. Andrew says:

    In each case: whether it be some liturgy as this, or the Tridentine Mass, the first question is (in my mind): what does it represent? What does it promote? And I think it is a valid inquiry even as far as this sort of a ‘liturgy’ goes.

    I hope at some point we will have a Motu Proprio that will establish, on the basis of some very serious arguments, the rationality and the necessity of the traditional Latin Mass. And I hope it will mandate with an iron fist so that no “fictor somniorum” (forger of dreams Deut 13:5) can hijack the Mass any more.

  8. Lee Foster says:

    As a Protestant who has been looking more into Catholic teachings I find myself puzzled by Cardinal Mahoney. He seems to have strayed intentionally far from Catholic teachings on many issues and what I read of his liturgical celebrations smacks of nothing more than ‘entertainmnet’. He seems to me to be a Protestant of the sort that thinks that a Sunday ‘show’ is necessary to get people into the church.

  9. Brian Anderson says:

    His Eminence, like so many bishops, went, and continue to be, liturgically AWOL.
    In the 4th Century, were not leaders of this sort the first to hop
    on the “safe” Arian bandwagon?

    Please Your Holiness, be Athanasius, be Borromeo. Act now.

  10. THE MOTU PROPRIO will have no effect on the Cardinal.He will say “let the 1% have it”.What will have an a effect is the Exhortation on the liturgy ifit is as strong as hoped,if it is as pointed as the remarks of the Prefect and Secretary of CDW have been.EWTN had some brief remarks from Cardinal Arinze criticizing communion in the hand. I saw a copy of a letter written some years ago from the Cardinal to Archbishop Pilarcyk (who was the Anerican rep to ICEL at the time),complaining about the translation of the mass.He also wrote a letter to the editor of St.Anthony’s Messenger in which he took issue with an article by a priest criticizing the catholic priesthood.In it Mahoney said that the priest never once referred to the Eucharist ar the Divine Office.He urged the priest to be faithful to daily mass and tothe breviary.He also encouraged chapels in rectories.Then something happened and we get his pastoral on the eucharist (critiqued by Mother Angelica) and odd liturgies.

  11. TJM says:

    Mahony is another angry, liturgical left-winger who knows his little 1960s world is cratering. He is so out of touch from where faithful Catholics are at these days he wouldn’t know one if he fell over one. He should resign and become the full-time chaplain for ACT. Tom

  12. PMcGrath says:

    What I noticed is H.E.’s remark, “…that includes them in its celebration.” Is he saying that someone who attends the TLM is not part of the Mass? Frankly, I think someone who attends a TLM is more part of the celebration. Am I making sense here?

  13. Warren says:

    Those liturgical dancers are kind of flaunting their young beautiful bodies at mass. I find even liturgical dancers in loose flowing clothing to be tasteless and vulgar, but at mass, to have dancers wearing tight tops like that, it’s kind of over the edge, and down into madness. I will pray for His Eminence, for an awakening of conscience, this is pretty awful. To say nothing about the dog.


  14. whosebob says:

    Fr. Franklyn Mcafee wrote: I saw a copy of a letter written some years ago from the Cardinal [Mahoney] to Archbishop Pilarcyk … complaining about the translation of the Mass. He also wrote a letter to the editor of St. Anthony’s Messenger … He urged the priest to be faithful to daily mass and to the breviary … Then something happened and we get his pastoral on the eucharist (critiqued by Mother Angelica) and odd liturgies.

    Hmmmmm … I’m beginning to suspect a plot by the Bene Gesserit and the Tleilaxu. Years ago, they probably replaced Cardinal Mahoney with a face dancer, similar to the way they took over the Rakian priesthood by replacing High Priest Tuek with a face dancer (as recounted in Heretics of Dune) …

    Any Dune fans here?

  15. Arieh says:

    The hippy revolution is dead, Mahoney just won’t acknowledge it.

  16. Stu says:

    All very sad as I too interpreted his remarks to be defiant. I am reminded of “Baghdad Bob” and his press conferences denying the American invasion. The winds have shifted in the Church, yet some refuse to change their tack. Pity.

  17. PMcGrath, you are making complete sense. I noticed the same thing.
    I find it interesting that when I look in older books, it talks about how the faithful used to “hear” Mass (you had to actually concetrate on what was going on), whereas nowadays people just “go to” Mass (all you have to do is show up, which seems like what many people do).
    It so disheartens me that someone like His Eminence is allowed to be shepherd of such a large archdiocese.
    I mean, when it boils down to it, should not the ultimate question be: “is this (arch)bishop guiding the souls of his flock to Heaven?”
    I certainly don’t see much emphasis on eternity in His Eminence’s actions and words, just this world.
    I know Mahoney probably meant to strike a nerve, and he certainly was successful in this statement.

  18. Contrast the picture of a cardinal with his tacky dancers with the picture of a bishop – as sovereign high priest in the presence of the whole heavenly court – painted as follows by Msgr. Schmitz of the ICKSP:

    “I do not know how many of you have ever seen a Pontifical High Mass, but if so, and if it was celebrated according to the full rubrics, you will have seen, at the beginning, that the pontiff is vested at the throne. It is a little lengthy procedure, but I am always astonished how fascinated everyone is to see that the human being who comes into the chapel or church is slowly changed by Holy Mother Church into the sovereign high priest and the representative of Christ … If you assist at a beautifully celebrated Solemn High Mass you will come out a changed person because you will have seen the reality of the Church. You will have seen that she is still the beautiful queen. You will have seen that she is still the powerful queen of angels and saints. And you understand why the Church teaches that at these Masses, and at every Mass, the whole heavenly court is present, in gradations, in hierarchies, in the hierarchies of the angels and of the saints that lead to the culminating point – to the revelation of the Holy Trinity in the presence of Christ. … And we cannot be astonished if lay people do not approach a bishop with a notion of his hierarchical station if he is not presented to them as the sovereign high priest during the liturgy.”

    The Classical Roman Rite and the Renewal of the Liturgy

    Hmm … When will we see our reigning Supreme Pontiff himself at the center of Msgr. Schmidt’s glorious picture? Would not this sight say more than any words in a motu proprio?

  19. Henry, I have often thought that were the Pope to celebrate Holy Mass with the older Rite in the Basilica even one time, that might go a long way to changing attitudes and directions.

    And how I would love to see it all flawlessly executed by H.E. Piero Marini, Master of Ceremonies.

  20. Joe says:

    Maybe, just maybe, in time the Holy Father will do to LA what his predecessor did to a South Amercian mega-archdiocese (Sao Paulo, I tink, but may be wrong) and divide it up.

    That way, he could appoint new bishops (a la Cordileone, but none of the other existing local bishops) to new Sees, even if he does have to leave Rog Mahal in LA until his retirement. It’s hard to see how else his influence can be reduced without doing something radical.

  21. Diane says:

    Fr. Z says, “And how I would love to see it all flawlessly executed by H.E. Piero Marini, Master of Ceremonies.”

    I truly believe this is somewhat why Pope Benedict was in no hurry to bench Abp Marini. I actually have some thought that it is better to keep him in place through all of these transitions. While it may be penance for him, it keeps him visibly “involved” in liturgical improvements.

  22. Karen Russell says:

    Whosebob, you could be onto something! That would explain a lot.

    More seriously, speaking as another convert (originally Baptist), Lee Foster makes a very good point.

    Most seriously, this is just so sad. The Cardinal and his parishoners need all the prayers we can muster–and a few more.

    And I have never been able to understand why those of his mindset are so adamant that those of us who love the old liturgy must be denied it.

  23. Geoffrey says:

    Does anyone happen to know off-hand when His Eminence turns 75? I could look it up, but I try not to pay too much attention to the metropolitan of my province… I rather pay more attention to our new bishop who has expressed an interest in inviting the FSSP into the diocese! Oremus! :-)

  24. PMcGrath says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Roman Sacristan.

    My late grandmother used to say, “Did you answer Mass today?” Good verb there.

  25. Siobhan says:

    The Holy Father could summon Mahony to Rome. Then the Holy Father could have Mahony arrested by the Swiss Guard. Then the Swiss Guard could seal him into a certain closet in the Vatican Archives.

    To dream perchance to ….

  26. Thomas says:

    You definitely are not misreading him. Look at his answer in the context of his plentiful history. It fits right in line. What’s in a man’s heart comes out of his mouth.


  27. Paul Haley says:

    No, Father, you’re not being too hard on him. What outrages me is that this man was elevated to the episcopacy and cardinaliate with such views. It doesn’t speak well for those involved. I would sentence him to the Mohavi desert to repeat continuously during his daylight hours the gospel of the Good Shepherd. And during the night I would invoke the spirits of St. Pius V, St. Paul and St. Pius X to constantly give him lessons on Tradition. Think I’m being to hard on him? I hope not.

  28. Does anyone happen to know off-hand when His Eminence turns 75?

    February 27, 2011

    Only 3 years and 354 days from today.

  29. Geoffrey says:

    It’s going to be a long 3 years and 354 days…

  30. RBrown says:

    Cardinal Mahoney is known for speaking out of both sides of his mouth. When he’s in the States, he says one thing. When he sees the pope, he has another line.

    BTW, I want to point out that he didn’t appoint himself to Los Angeles.

  31. RBrown says:

    And Cardinal Mahoney’s not alone. There’s also the pastoral leadership of the bishop of St Pete.

  32. Janet says:

    Was Card. Mahoney the one that Mother Angelica ticked off several years ago? (Of course there were probably more than one Cardinal that Mother has ticked off over the years, so maybe it’s a moot question.) (grins)

  33. Ex-NCCB Staff says:

    H.E. Mahoney…..

    Father McAffee noted that he had a somewhat more traditional slant several years ago.

    In Mahoney’s case, it was a simple political decision. His ‘conservative’ slant was dictated by the fact that JP II was only promoting certain Bishops, and orthodoxy (and orthopraxis less so) was valued as indicators of good people to appoint.

    When Mahoney got LA, he had topped out with where he would go under John Paul II.

    After the death of H.E. Bernadin, the transition was almost immediate. He moved decisively, and in a political manner to claim the support of Bernadin’s supporters. He did this through getting involved primarily in the liturgical wars. There was a big political vacuum there after Bernadin’s death. Go back and look at the timeline of what he was writing and doing, and it couldn’t be more evident.

    Mahoney really thought that Martini would be the next Pope, and was putting himself in a position where he thought he would benefit when that happened.

    That’s the ugly, but true, story. There’s a lot more backstory to it though.

  34. John says:

    Cardinal Mahoney, the Al Gore of the Roman Church? An incovenient fact it is.

  35. CarpeNoctem says:

    You know, let’s put this all in perspective. I once read that the US postal service has a 95% on-time rate (for first class). Considering that the USPS delivers 200 billion pieces of mail a year, that means that they deliver 10,000,000,000 (10 billion) pieces of mail LATE.

    In the same vein, the Archdiocese of LA boasts 5 million Catholics. If only 1% are interested in the Latin Mass as the Cardinal proposes, then that means that there will be a mere 50,000 attendees at Latin Masses every weekend. I would be happy to see the Cardinal benignly accomodate such crowds each weekend by providing the Churches and priests and resources while he focueses his efforts into the ‘vibrant’ 99% (especially the 70+% of that 99% (3,465,000+) who don’t bother to attend church anyway).

    As a wild guess, I doubt that the ‘wide and generous’ application of the current ‘Latin Mass indult’ hardly provides enough opportunity for 50,000 people to attend a Latin Mass each Sunday. How many other cultural groups or special interests with less than 50,000 Catholics in the archdiocese already have an episcopal vicar or some other arch-diocesan-level protector/procurator? Dare we ask how many of those who actually attend Mass on the weekend and put funds in the collection place and cathedraticum, how many of them are from the poor, un-vibrant 1%? (I don’t know any people who take the Latin Mass seriously as those who just don’t care to show up on the weekend or support their Church as a precept!)

    Theological arguments aside, I think the Cardinal has opened a huge can of worms with his response to this question… 1% is 1%, and they are still Catholics worthy of the attention and care of their archbishop.

  36. RBrown says:

    Cardinal Mahoney is yet another bishop for whom the word “pastoral” is a euphemism for “Protestant”. If the content of the MP is as expected, Latin masses will be taken out of the his hands.

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