Commonweal: weird hysteria about the Motu Proprio

While scanning my RSS feeds this morning I noticed that Gerald at the Cafeteria found an article in a publication I nearly never pay attention to: Commonweal.   They published something by a Rite Ferrone on the Motu Proprio.

Commonweal will have other articles on the MP available.  As Commonweal puts it:


Editors’ note: This is a preview of our August 17 issue, which will contain four responses to Pope Benedict’s Summorum pontificum, which will make the so-called Tridentine Mass more widely available than it has been since Vatican II. The other respondents will be Peter Jeffery, Joseph Komonchak, and Bernard P. Prusak.

Gosh, I cam barely contain my excitment at what they might say.  Still, if one of you kind readers has access to the online edition, and can provide those other articles, I am sure we will all be grateful.

Let’s take a look at what they put online as a preview.

My emphases and comments. 

July 13, 2007  / Volume CXXXIV, Number 13  

A Step Backward
The Latin Mass Is Back

Rita Ferrone

Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum pontificum gives broad permission for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. [Broad permission is what John Paul II had called for in 1988.  Had it been done, we would have this MP now.] The motu proprio also permits use of preconciliar liturgical rites for all the sacraments, with the exception of ordination[WRONG!  The bishops for years could use the older Pontifical. And they can now also.] It lays the groundwork for the creation of two liturgical establishments within the Latin-rite Catholic Church-one worshiping according to rites mandated by the Council of Trent, the other according to rites mandated by the Second Vatican Council.

It was not the intention of Vatican II, or of the popes who implemented it, to create a situation in which two forms of the Roman rite would exist side by side. [Yah… well… times change, hun.]  The liturgical reform of the council was intended as a true reform, addressing genuine problems of the old liturgy for the good of the church as a whole. [Yes, and the Council also required that no change be made to the liturgy unless the true good of the faithful demanded it.  So, from the very beginning the reform desired by the Council Fathers went astray.]  Now, with the stroke of a pen, Pope Benedict has made that reform optional. [Why can’t we be pro-choice?] Individual priests may use the preconciliar rites at will, and groups of the faithful who ask for celebrations according to the preconciliar norms may not be refused them.  [Not quite.   They could certainly be refused if there were a good reason to do so.]

No one familiar with the liturgical views of the present pope will be greatly surprised by his decision. While still a cardinal, Benedict expressed displeasure with the course of liturgical reform since the council, and in various ways he supported a revival of the Tridentine liturgy. It was the support of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that encouraged Pope John Paul II to give the original indult in 1984 permitting use of Tridentine rites, despite the near-unanimous opposition of the world’s bishops. [This seems overstated.  Even the Commission of Cardinals before the original Indult recommended a wider permission than what we actually got in the Indult.]  The professed aim of the indult was to reconcile traditionalist Catholics who, under the leadership of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X he founded, were headed for schism. It did not work – the schism occurred anyway. Nevertheless, the indult was broadened in 1988-this time without any consultation of bishops [Hmmm… This is the second time "consultation" has been mentioned in such a way as to suggest that the Pope was obliged to consult, but instead violated some unwritten rule.] – and a commission was founded to tend to the needs of those who were committed to the Tridentine liturgy.

At least as important for understanding the origins of Summorum pontificum, however, is a different phenomenon that arose at the same time: A small but vocal group of Catholics began to call for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy for the church across the board. They are not schismatics, like the Lefebvrites, but they are interested in the restoration of Tridentine liturgical forms and the marginalization of the reformed liturgy. They found a champion and supporter in the future Benedict XVI.  [The author is confused.  Those who actually adopted the phrase "reform of the reform" were not in fact advocating a return of the older form of Mass. Rather, they wanted to bring the way Mass is celebrated into conformity with what the Second Vatican Council actually mandated: which were actually very few points.  The older form of Mass had to be a starting point, but the goal was to be what the Council Father’s asked for, not what we got from the Consilium.]

The most visible proponent of this agenda was Msgr. Klaus Gamber of the liturgical institute in Regensburg, Germany. He became known outside scholarly circles when he published a popular [And thus not limited to narrow group of zealots?] book in 1984, which appeared in English in 1993 under the title The Reform of the Roman Liturgy. [Again, the author is confused.  The volume she cites is not a "book", in the sense of a work written as a unit.  This volume present two separate essays.] Gamber did not reject the council. He regarded the liturgical movement leading up to the council as a generally positive phenomenon. Nevertheless, he was highly sympathetic to the restorationist cause. Gamber believed the crusade to reestablish the preconciliar liturgy too important to be left to “a small group of fanatics” who reject the council outright. Yet his horror at the reforms that followed the council was hardly any less dramatic than theirs:

    Great is the confusion! Who can still see clearly in this darkness? Where in our church are the leaders who can show us the right path? Where are the bishops courageous enough to cut out the cancerous growth of modernist theology that has implanted itself and is festering within the celebration of even the most sacred mysteries before the cancer spreads and causes even greater damage?…We can only hope and pray that the Roman Church will return to Tradition and allow once more that liturgy of the Mass which is well over 1,000 years old.  [Gamber was not strictly advocating a complete return to the older form of Mass.  What he was trying to point out were damaging "reforms" imposed on the Roman Rite which constituted a break with the Rite and with tradition.  His Holiness in Summorum Pontificum breaks with Gamber on the point of the continuity between the older form and newer form.  Gamber thought the newer form was legitimate, but the changes made to create it (artificially) were so substantive that it was really a separate Rite.  I think one day we are going to have to have a serious debate about this question.  Benedict XVI solved the problem from the JURIDICAL point of view in Summorum Pontificum.  His elegant solution removed the need for priests to have any permission from authority to use the older form beyond the normal permission simply to say Mass at all.  That was an elegant JURIDICAL solution.  I am not, however, of the mind that that juridical solution resolved the deeper question, perhaps even for the Pope himself.  Remember: a juridical solution doesn’t mean that all historical-theological-ecclesiological questions about the Rite are thereby closed.]

Gamber also expressed a definite view about the current Mass. He wanted it not to be considered the Roman rite, but merely retained as a rite ad experimentum until it dies out. Ratzinger found these extreme [There is nothing extreme about these views.  How could a Rite in use for hundreds of years be swept aside and some new interloper of a few short years suddenly be considered as stable and a success needing no changes?] views congenial, and oddly enough, deemed them moderate.  [This would not be odd to a reasonable person.] He wrote a preface to the French edition of Gamber’s book, calling him “the one scholar who, among the army of pseudo-liturgists, truly represents the liturgical thinking of the center of the church.”  [Here is a truly important point.  Some people, usually toward the progressivist side of things but not on the extreme left, think the "center" is the majority.  ]

Another partisan of the “reform of the reform,” Alcuin Reid, OSB, of Farnborough, England, published The Organic Development of the Liturgy in 2004. In giving a positive review to Reid’s book, Ratzinger voiced some of his own views on liturgical reform. He opined that scholars and experts were heeded too much after the council, and that although pastors should have had more of a voice, pastoral insights are unreliable. “Because…people’s judgments as to what is pastorally effective are widely divergent,” Ratzinger wrote, “the ‘pastoral’ aspect has become the point at which ‘creativity’ breaks in, destroying the unity of the liturgy.” Once you’ve eliminated scholarship, expertise, and pastoral judgment, what basis remains for constructive liturgical reform? Clearly, the deck is stacked against the acceptance of any reform whatsoever. In his letter accompanying the motu proprio, Benedict chides [Does he really "chide"?  I don’t think so.] those bishops who believe that expanding the use of the Tridentine liturgy will detract from the standing of the Second Vatican Council, of which the reformed liturgy was sign and symbol. Yet surely the bishops’ concerns are justified.  [Really?  Is the based on the fabulous renewal parishes have experienced in the last 40 years?]

Indeed, the traditionalists Benedict wants to conciliate [Hang on.  This is not only about the conciliation of traditionalists.  The MP was about far more.] do not simply reject the Mass of Paul VI – they reject the conciliar theology [Not all of them, no.  Most people on that side of things simply want Mass celebrated reverently.  Certainly there are those who have theological concerns, such as questions about the Council’s document on religious liberty but these will not be the majority of the people who frequent the older Mass..] it embodies. The Society of St. Pius X published a defense of their position in 2001, The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, which showed that their opposition to the liturgical reforms of the council is profoundly theological.  [See above.] They argue, for example, that the idea of the paschal mystery is out of keeping with the true meaning of the Mass. The paschal mystery has been consistently proposed in council documents, papal pronouncements, and all the official teachings of the church since the council as the key to the whole liturgical reform. One would have to look hard to find a concept more universally accepted since the council, yet the traditionalists reject it. ["the traditionalists" cannot be painted with such a brush.  I believe this is inaccurate.]  In their view, the Mass is only about the expiation of sin.  [Again, I think this is inaccurate.  For how long have we taught and learned that prayer has many aims, including praise of God?] The Resurrection has nothing to do with it. [B as in B.  S as in S.  This is simply ridiculous.]  Their glad welcome of the pope’s motu proprio should give every Catholic pause.  [Fear monger.]

In addition to the council’s emphasis on the paschal mystery, other core values [bzzzzzz] of the council are called into question by the pope’s move to reestablish the Tridentine rites. The council emphasized the role of Scripture in the life of the church, and this value was richly reflected in the liturgical reform. The old lectionary had a one-year cycle of readings. Almost all of the Gospel passages were taken from St. Matthew. There were no Old Testament readings on Sunday. The sacraments and many of the weekdays had no readings assigned to them at all. [Yes… what a blessing that was.]  When the council fathers decreed that the Catholic faithful should have richer fare at the table of God’s Word, they were making a pastoral move of immense consequence. The three-year lectionary cycle was an outgrowth of the renaissance in Catholic Scripture scholarship in the mid-twentieth century and repeated papal urgings to dwell on the sacred texts with an avid mind and an open heart. [That came somewhat before the Council.] According to the USCCB Web site, the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Missale Romanum (1962) includes 1 percent of the Old Testament and 17 percent of the New Testament, whereas the Ordinary Form (what most Catholics use now) includes 14 percent of the Old Testament, and 71 percent of the New Testament. Benedict XVI’s motu proprio implies that none of this, in the end, is essential or even very important. [This is simply daft.  The Motu Proprio doesn’t imply anything of the kind.  The writer seems to know that the older form is the "Extraordinary Form" not the Ordinary.  This Pope has never implied that Scripture is not important or that the expanded use of Scripture in Mass was not beneficial.  What she wrote is simply mendacious.] Those who celebrate according to Tridentine rites may use the new lectionary or not, as they choose. [Not really.  But even if it were true, doesn’t that militate against what she is claiming about what the MP provides for>]  The biblical-liturgical synthesis of Vatican II is now optional.  [And Choice is bad, if it allows you to choose something I don’t agree with. Is that it?]

Before the council, women were forbidden to serve in liturgical ministries. They were kept outside the sanctuary-a very old taboo perceived by many today as sexist and out of keeping with our sense of the dignity of the baptized. This prohibition was ended after Vatican II. The third directive on the right implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Liturgicae instaurationes, 1970), admitted women to various liturgical ministries which are exercised in the sanctuary-such as that of reader or musician. They now also serve in the sanctuary as extraordinary ministers of Communion, and as altar servers. 

They may not do so in the Tridentine rites. [Big deal.] Thus, each additional celebration according to Tridentine rites increases the number of occasions when women are kept out of the sanctuary. An outdated and harmful exclusion that was done away with for good reason is being encouraged.  [The MP is not anti-woman.  This is dopey.]

It is hard to credit the pope’s claim that his edict is intended for the benefit of the faithful.
  [This strikes me as simply snotty. ] How can it be “for the benefit of the faithful” to return to a ritual of baptism in which the parents of infants say nothing? [How can it be for the benefit of the faithful to eliminate a rite of baptism in use for so long?  How can it benefit the faithful to have eliminated the exorcisms?  Why does talk from the parents make the newer rite better?  Do we no longer believe in mediation?  Does everything today have to be of the "serve it my way" or "I did it my way" self-centered style so characteristic of the post-Christian age? ]  In the spirit of ecumenism, the liturgy that came out of Vatican II eliminated the abjuration of heresy and schism that non-Catholics made before being admitted to Catholic communion.  [AND THAT IS BAD….WHY??  Should the Church admit people who are still heretics?  Who deny Catholic teachings?  Should it admit people who don’t submit to the Church’s authority?] How can we justify reviving such practices today? There was no catechumenate in the Tridentine church, despite a crying need around the world for this liturgical structure of evangelization and formation.  [Okay… this is getting hysterical.  The Church had amazing conversions and missionary work before the Council.] How can we deprive adult converts of the catechumenate-which canon law now requires them to have?  [The writer, again, is being stupid about this.  The Motu Proprio does not DENY a period for formation for converts.] The reform of the liturgy was not a mere matter of aesthetic preferences, of “contemporary relevance” versus “timeless mystery,” of Latin versus the vernacular. The reformed liturgy embodies the values of the council in innumerable ways.  [But I am seriously beginning to doubt that the writer actually understands what the Council meant, or what the older form of Mass (and the the pre-Conciliar period) was about. 

Given the series of concessions that have already been made to Catholic traditionalists, [The Party Line: "We’ve already done enough for these … people!"]  and the radical views [I consider her views, and those of her way of thinking, to be radical.] and program of those to whom this pope has given his approval and endorsement in the past, it is difficult to believe that with Summorum pontificum a definitive compromise has been reached and the matter will end there. A more plausible understanding of the present moment is that it marks another step toward a goal that the vast majority of Catholics would not countenance if it were openly acknowledged-namely, the gradual dismantling of the liturgical reform in its entirety.  [Does this smack of paranoia to you?]

Could such a plan ever succeed? That remains to be seen. I believe that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms were the work of the Spirit. Yet these reforms were also the work of human hands, and in this respect they are vulnerable. We do ourselves no favors by pretending otherwise.


What a weird rant.  

Perfectly consistent with Commonweal.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    What rite of baptism is the author talking about? In the new rite, parents don’t so much at all: “Baptism” and handful of “I do”/”I will”.

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Legion rages on.

  3. Shane O'Toole says:

    I’d like to have the forthcoming baptism of new baby (in September) done according to the extraordinary usage. This is our ninth child and it seems wonderful that this baby will possibly be baptized according to the same usage that his/her mother and father had (among the last before 1970).

    Anyway – can the baptismal rite be carried out in the vernacular? What books beyond an old Maryknoll hand missal do we need?

    Any advice?

  4. Jordan Potter says:

    Commonsqweal, like the National Catholic Distorter and Amerika and U.S. Americanist, er, Catholic, are publications that I don’t usually read, and this opinion piece is further reason for me to continue that policy. It’s interesting how she complains about Catholics who reject “the conciliar theology.” But there is no single approved Catholic theology, though Thomism holds pride of place. Disagreement with and dissent from Church doctrine (of which there are amply manifestations in publications such as Commonsqweal) are not acceptable, but theological disagreements are fine where no point of doctrine is at stake. Therefore, whatever “the conciliar theology” allegedly is, it cannot be forbidden or inappropriate for a Catholic to hold to a different Catholic theology. She needs to cultivate tolerance and appreciation for Catholics who don’t seem eye-to-eye with her on matters where Catholice have liberty to disagree.

  5. Bruce T. says:

    “It was the support of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that encouraged Pope John Paul II to give the original indult in 1984 permitting use of Tridentine rites, despite the near-unanimous opposition of the world’s bishops.”

    It is disturbing that such “spirit of Vatican II” authors and publications want to make the pope a mere figurehead. To be considered orthodox, the bishops need the successor of St. Peter; stictly speaking, he doesn’t need them.

    Anyway, I wonder what her reaction was to the indult which regularized the disobedient abuse of Holy Communion in the hand. When initially questioned about a allowance of the practice, a large majority of the bishops were against that!

  6. dcs says:

    Shane O’Toole asks:
    Any advice?

    I’ve witnessed a couple of baptisms in the old rite. Some of it is in the vernacular (for example, the questions asked of the sponsors). You don’t need any books at all, it is very easy to follow. The priest would need a copy of the Roman Ritual.

  7. Wow, I sometimes wonder if the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” was not only a great catechetical move by the pope regarding the liturgy, but also was a bait by the pope to flush out which bishops (and other Catholics) just don’t “get it.”
    Although I guess that theory really doesn’t fly since all the “usual suspects” are behaving as predicted. And I’m sure the pope knows more about the bishops of the Church than we do.
    It is sad though how ignorant so many are about “Summorum Pontificum.”
    It seems like one of the greatest challenges of the Faith is hearing the Truth instead of only hearing what we want to hear.

  8. David Nelson says:

    Two points:
    Note her heavy handed use of the term ‘schismatics’–the Vatican is now very clearly referring to the situation with the Society as an internal Church issue taking it of the ‘schismatic’ camp.

    Secondly: there is this very bad habit, and for our relativistic age, a very odd one, in which those who are ‘attached’ or ‘adhere’ to the Missal of 1962, are accused of rejecting Vatican II which was a pastoral council and not a dogmatic one. Who has been accused of heresy for opposing anything in Vatican II? What would one be accused of? Why hasn’t anyone been accused? Perhaps because it would be impossible to prove. Even Msgr. Lefebvre signed all 16 documents. The only issue is what do they mean? That is the discussion which the Society wishes to engage the Vatican in and we are starting to see some clarity coming again out of Rome.

  9. Other Paul says:

    Interesting that the author of this piece has a book coming out in November about Rediscovering Vatican II:

  10. Mario Mirarchi says:

    And they wonder why their “movement” is dying out. The article is nothing but the rehashing of tired, worn-out ’60s cliches.

    Father, I’m glad you fisked the Warner article.

  11. pjsandstrom says:

    Fr. Z,

    You should look at this week’s Tablet. There is therein an article on this
    subject from Alain Woodrow. He does trace the ‘backgroud’ to all this in France
    which is after all the ‘home base’ for the Lefebvrists. I do think the concerns
    he expresses as a long time observer of the French Catholic situation and its
    complexities are worth noting and taking seriously. The life of the ‘eldest
    daughter (fille ainee)of the Church’ is still front in center on this — though
    she often more truely acts as ‘the spinster (vielle fille) of the Church which
    I think is what is in action/play in all this latest development.

    Fr. P. Sandstrom

  12. Anon says:

    I believe the reply to this writer is:

    45 days to go

  13. pjsandstrom says:

    Sorry I misspelled the French word for old. It is ‘vieille fille’ which means
    ‘spinster’– an unmarried lady of ‘un age certain’ or even in this case
    ‘un certain age’.

  14. michigancatholic says:

    It’s always amazing to see these displays of ignorance published in the papers, isn’t it? Makes me wonder how these people ever manage how to get home at night and back to work in the morning. Amazing.

  15. Xavier says:

    I have found that most faithful traditionalists understand quite well that Vatican II did not radically change the Mass. It’s the mainstream Catholic who believes this. What’s sad is that they embrace or reject the Council out of hand based on their feelings about the New Mass. I don’t know where to begin when someone says to me, “I don’t agree with Vatican II” (because they’re embarrassed by the way the Mass is celebrated). This myth about the Council is all they know about it! I pray Summorum Pontificum does prove to be “a great catechetical move by the pope”.

  16. TNCath says:

    Get ready for this article to be reprinted in [arch]diocesan newspapers across the country. Get out the Antivert! We are all going to need it now that the spinning has begun. What frustrates me more than the fact that these erroneous articles are being published is the fact that no one in the Vatican seems to want to quickly respond to and squelch these inaccuracies. While I understand that the Holy See tends to move slowly and deliberately about all things, exceptions have been made in the past. And if bishops are inaccurately interpreting the Holy Father’s expressed wishes and even publishing them in the so-called “Catholic media,” then WHY isn’t somebody in Rome saying, “Hey, wait a minute! You are wrong, Bishop. Retract and correct your comments!” But, maybe I’m just naive and idealistic.

  17. An all-too-common squeal

  18. Cardinal Martini isn’t too happy either

  19. afanco says:

    For the necessary info on preconciliar Baptism, just watch the last quarter of the Godfather. You ought not to have hired goons kill dudes at the same time though.

  20. Kronprinz says:

    I suspect the words “schismatic” and “schism” havn’t appeared in a Commonweal article so frequently in quite a long time.

    Do they refer to “Bishop” Fresen and the other Womynpriests as “schismatics” ? or Dignity?

    Typical “Spirit of Vatican 2” henchman er, henchperson

  21. jmgarciaiii says:

    Color me perverse, but I derive no small enjoyment from seeing the progressives — who have, ironically, generated no discernible progress — freely give voice to outlooks unhampered by truth, fact or reality.


  22. Gleb says:

    This article actually makes me love the Holy Father even more. She presents a solid case of his true credentials even as she expects the reader to find them ridiculous.

  23. Monachus says:

    It is true to say that the MP does not give permission for Ordination according to the older books. It does not forbid it, but is the lack of mention significant? The most recent priestly ordination at Fontgombault (a few days ago) was conducted according to the New Order. Is this a compromise?

  24. caine says:

    I hate to say it, but the tone and rhetoric of that piece (especially the ending) are strikingly similar to that of pro-choicers defending partial birth abortion. It seems that the liberalization of the old-rite is just the first nefarious attack on the validity of the new rite. Soon B16 will ban guitars! Then he’ll prohibit priestesses from dancing up to the altar with colored streamers!

    Violent and gnarled is the hand that turns back time…

  25. RBrown says:

    The myopia of the Commonweal, America, NCR crowd never fails to impress me. And once again, here comes the one-size-fits-all invocation of what is pastoral.

    Rita, honey, any open minded examination of the state of the Church will tell you the liturgical changes have been a pastoral flop.

  26. RBrown says:

    I suspect the words “schismatic” and “schism” havn’t appeared in a Commonweal article so frequently in quite a long time.

    Do they refer to “Bishop” Fresen and the other Womynpriests as “schismatics” ? or Dignity?

    Typical “Spirit of Vatican 2” henchman er, henchperson
    Comment by Kronprinz

    The irony is that this is the crowd that objected so loudly for so long to the word “heretic”.

  27. Sid Cundiff says:

    They squeal when their prejudices aren’t endorsed. They squeal louder when stuck with a sharp verbal point. They’ll squeal the loudest just before they (virtually) die. They’re the “old Church” now.

  28. Kathy says:

    I was moved to offer up Mass and Communion the day the MP came out, that people who were heavily invested in a certain interpretation of the Council would not beome discouraged.

  29. Dan O says:


    Despite the use of the “(virtually)’, I find your comment hurtful and hateful.

  30. Kris says:

    A more plausible understanding of the present moment is that it marks another step toward a goal that the vast majority of Catholics would not countenance if it were openly acknowledged-namely, the gradual dismantling of the liturgical reform in its entirety.

    First of all, due to the excellent organization that has kept TLM under a certain lock and key, “the vast majority of Catholics” have not been allowed to discover the beauty of TLM and have been led to believe a lot of hysteria about it. The light is now going to come out from under the bushel basket. So, what are the “people of God” so afraid of other than their own consciences being pricked by greater respect and decency being offered to the Lord?

    And in that is what my limited courses in psychology point to in analyzing these hysterics…. that so many liberal minded folks have gone for years suppressing a guilt factor re: reception of the Eucharist with lots of unconfessed sin; disagreeing with Church teachings on this or that very serious moral matter; turning the mass into a casual meeting time in some “worship space”, etc. THAT re-pricking of the covered over conscience is what this offering of sacred expression of the Church’s beliefs reminds them of or leads them to believe will happen. And I’m wondering if this isn’t all part of our Pope’s motivation to bring people back to the basics overall and into the True Light!

  31. Sean says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Dan; I’m sure it was not intentional. :-(

    In my opinion it is Rita’s snide and perverse propaganda piece that is hurtful and hateful. I hope it is not too long until Bugnini’s sinister fabrication is nothing more than an embarrassing blurb in the history books.


  32. Rose says:

    Very puzzling to me the ideological nature of the negative reaction to Summorum Pontificum. And I am very disappointed with the complete silence of the Canadian bishops to the MP. Long life experience tells me I am seldom far out and alone in any of my positions (very average person, very average Catholic). If I yearn for a form of Mass that would provide more contemplative participation instead of “noise” and “opinions”, I am certain there are many like me. Why are the Canadian bishops not aware of us or care enough to respond to us?

  33. RBrown says:

    I have thought for some time that underneath the people-loving facade of many liberals a caged Monster of Scrupulosity is lurking. And they fear that the slightest mention of doctrine, Church discipline, or Latin will unleash the monster.

  34. Jack says:

    Now I’m curious – I was under the impression that part of the pre Vatican II Rite of Baptism was in the vernacular (like what one sees in the famous Baptism scene from “The Godfather”). What is it actually like?

    Actually, I’ll get to read these articles in Commonweal. Someone I know bought me a year subscritpion to it for a Confirmation present.

  35. E. Mae says:

    A former co-worker (who was an ex-priest) used to pass on to me his copy of the Commonweal. After a cursory look through it, I would throw it in the trash where it belonged. Things haven’t changed for that magazine. What a waste of trees!

  36. Brian Anderson says:

    Rose wrote:

    …………. And I am very disappointed with the complete silence of the Canadian bishops to the MP. ……… Why are the Canadian bishops not aware of us or care enough to respond to us?

    Hi Rose

    I have been visiting the Canadian Bishops’ web site regularly. You are right, nothing yet about Summorum Pontificum. However that should not be surprising. This bishops’ website, defiantly, sings the praises, of the NRSV lectionary, thirteen years after the NRSV was rejected by the CDF for use in our liturgy. Summorum Pontificum must be exceedingly unpleasant for the Canadian hierarchy. Progessivists are in control in the liturgical machinery. Only faitfull celebrations of our Extraordianry Form can overcome this opposition. Shortly after Liturgiam Authenticam was released I sent off an email to the liturgy office of the Canaidan Bishops, recommending going to an RSVCE lectionary to replace the defective NRSV version. Within minutes I received a nasty reply telling me how much I needed to let the Spirit into my life. Our Canadian bishops will eventually respond. But don’t expect a ringing endorsement of Summorum Pontificum. The mindset (The Winnipeg Statement) that stabbed Pope Paul in the back,
    after Humanae Vitae, is alive and well in the Canadian Hierarchy.


  37. Fr R Blake says:

    Being charitable, I think she sums up the pre-election liturgical views of the Pope very well, but then they were well known to most people.
    I think it would be foolish to imagine they were unknown to those who elected him and foolish too for them not to have expected a document such as Summorum Pontificum.

  38. Sean says:

    RBrown: I have thought for some time that underneath the people-loving facade of many liberals a caged Monster of Scrupulosity is lurking

    LOL. Perhaps also some issues held over from potty training.

  39. abbe F.H. says:

    Just a word to say that the ‘catechumenate’ exists in the 1962 Rituale Romanum since the decret of the 16 april 1962: “Ordo Baptismi adultorum in varios gradus distribuitur, per quos catechumeni, progrediente instructione, usque ad baptismum perducantur” (AAS 64(1962)310-338)

  40. Jeff says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

    When I send you an email it comes back to me.

    Here is a link to a story on the old Mass in the Washington Times yesterday:

  41. Kathy says:

    So, how’re we doing with Rules of Engagement 1, 2 and 3?

  42. Vox Borealis says:


    You wrote: “It is true to say that the MP does not give permission for Ordination according to the older books. It does not forbid it, but is the lack of mention significant? The most recent priestly ordination at Fontgombault (a few days ago) was conducted according to the New Order. Is this a compromise?”

    Perhaps Father Z. can expand, but I was under the impression that ordination was not particularly relevant to the jurisdiction of Summorum Pontificum, which mainly concerns itself with the right of the priest to celebrate mass and perform other sacraments without the express permission of his bishop. Since a priest does not ordain, there is no need to grant him permission to use the older form of the sacrament.

  43. Steve P in Bethesda, Md. says:

    Oy gevalt, am I embarrassed… Ms Ferrone is a seminary classmate of mine. I suspect our liturgics professor is rolling in his grave.

  44. Vox Borealis says:


    You wrote: “And I am very disappointed with the complete silence of the Canadian bishops to the MP.”

    I have only recently moved to Canada from the States (three years), and I have to say, the Canadian bishops are excessively frustrating, and their website is almost completely unhelpful. Just try to find anything on the GIRM or Lectionary or new English translation, or the Motu Proprio, or even such mundane things as the readings for daily and weekly mass.

    Anyway, I do try to remain charitable.

  45. Jordan Potter says:

    Ms Ferrone is a seminary classmate of mine.

    Not a Catholic seminary, evidently . . . .

  46. RBrown says:

    RBrown: I have thought for some time that underneath the people-loving facade of many liberals a caged Monster of Scrupulosity is lurking

    LOL. Perhaps also some issues held over from potty training.
    Comment by Sean

    Psychology studies the contents of the mind, not the history of the person. Unfortunately, many are not able to keep the two separate, confusing psychotherapy with diagnosis. And so there are therapists who insist on a patient’s history when in fact it is not true. If the patient resists, the accusation comes back that the State of Denial is present.

  47. Cameron says:

    This sounds alot like the woman who is head of our parish council (maybe not officially, but definitely by means of bullying). The kind of person who claims that this is “her parish,” b/c she has been there her whole life, while the current priest has only been there 3 yrs. When my now wife took RCIA through the parish, she often spoke of the “Dark Ages” when people like her weren’t allowed to participate fully in the sacraments, b/c they wore a skirt. Kinda makes you wonder if they even know what is really going on…..

  48. TJM says:

    Dear Gang, I tried to email a response to the
    authoress of this piece, but just like a typical
    liberal, there is no way to contact her. I guess
    her “feelings” would be hurt, if she received any
    constructive criticism of her little rant. Tom

  49. Henry Edwards says:

    TJM: Of course, we need not be pejorative regarding any particular individual liberal. It’s simply an observed natural phenomenon that communication between liberals and peons travels only one way. This insight first occurred to me explicitly at a meeting in the late 1960’s when an ex-nun RE director, in explaining to a parents meeting that “we don’t teach all that old stuff any more”, emphasized to us that she was just trying to be a “bridge over troubled waters”. I recall thinking immediately that I’d prefer a bridge open to two-way traffic. Some things haven’t changed that much over the decades.

  50. TJM says:

    Henry, amen! Tom

    ps: “being liberal means never having to say you’re

  51. Dana Cole says:

    Monachus, the older ordination rite must be permissible because Archbishop Burke of St. Louis celebrated it when he ordained two priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSP)in June. The 4-hour ceremony in our main basilica was absolutely beautiful with a schola from the Institute’s headquarters in Florence and the Cathedral choir, and about 3 dozen clergy and a couple visiting bishops in the sanctuary. Archbishop Burke has been an outstanding supporter of the classic Roman rite.

  52. Henry Edwards says:

    the older ordination rite must be permissible because Archbishop Burke of St. Louis celebrated it when he ordained two priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSP)in June.

    Beautiful description:

    Some nice pictures:

  53. Dogfoodlover says:

    Gamber was a genius. Given Rita Ferrone’s comments I am forced to wonder how much Gamber she has actually read. It is one thing to skim a text in preparation for a propaganda piece, but to fully read and engage an author is another thing entirely.
    I am no doubt being presumptuous, but I must doubt Ferrone’s credentials in light of such sweeping statements. The intentions of the Council, the mind of the Holy Father, the “agenda” of Gamber, Alcuin Reid’s “partisanship”, et cetera. Someone with so lofty a perspective is wasting their talents writing for Commonweal.

  54. Dogfoodlover says:

    Why is it that the issues are so often framed in terms of radical left, radical right and yummy magic middle? Is this a form of that “golden mean” dogmatism that was debunked over two thousand years ago, or perhaps Hegelian synthesis at its best? My suspicion is that it is on some level an incursion of the tired and false “American” ecclesiology. If we can be duped into approaching the Church as we might approach modern politics then the issue of truth is something now based on the will to power; or at least something immanent and manipulable. Whatever happened to orthodoxy and heterodoxy? Taboo words for archaic folk. If we dare ask the question of orthodoxy with brutal honesty what might be discover?—forbidden fruit perhaps? What would happen if one were to, perhaps, read Bugnini’s texts along side Ratzinger, Gamber, Reid, et al.? My hunch is that the obvious conclusions would not be altogether politically correct.

  55. Jimbo says:

    You know, even at the end, Hitler still believed that all it would take to win was to be even better Nazis. The liberals are down in their bunker, now. After all of the failure and chaos, they still believe that all they really need is to be really donctrinaire liberals, and they can still win.

    No one will ever convince them, nothing will ever convert them. They simply have to be brushed aside, like the Pope is (in a small way) doing. They will kick and scream and make all sorts of noise from down within the bunker.

    Just as in politics, true liberal hysteria is to be welcomed as the good sign it is.

  56. Patricia says:

    • Another point of view
    I was born in 1949, my dad was the organist and I grew up singing latin masses. I am an intercessor and worship leader. My ‘beef’ with the tridentine mass is not so much about the use of latin – although I think to profess in my native tongue that “I. believe. in one. God” has more meaning than reciting credo in unum deum, which I understand but is not the language I use when I speak with my Lord (ie, pray) Actually, I think using latin may help unite the congregation – it bothers me that we have 2 communities in our parish, the spanish and the anglos – when we are called to be ONE body of Christ. But to get back to the issue…

    My big concern is a return to the view of the celebration of the Eucharist as a rite of adoration, with the congregation like an audience in a play. Is this the way Jesus celebrated the 1st Eucharist? with His back to his disciples? No interaction? of course not. the Mass is supposed to be a celebration of Jesus among us, a meal to be shared with joy and love and unity – not a time of private adoration (that’s why we have perpetual adoration and novena of the Blessed Sacrament) I remember using a missal with english-latin, when the choir did all the responses, and invariably there were little old ladies saying their beads; the congregation was silently passive and attending mass was totally a ‘me-God’ private experience. (Notice by the way, that we “celebrate” – oh, sorry in the old days we went to HEAR the priest SAY mass….sarc)

    I take exception to some of the editorial asides (pro-choice? are you saying the Pope should OK abortion because of having an option of rites? a very poorly chosen example! the FORM of our worship is mutable, the sacredness of God is not! neither is life!) and since when is not having the Word of God proclaimed in celebrating sacraments a good thing!!?? We are guided and taught and admonished through the holy scriptures. The WORD of God is Jesus AND the bible. The church has always taught that we are to read and study and pray the scriptures under guidance of the Holy Spirit and mother church.

    But I think you all are missing the biggest issue of form vs substance. My greatest concern about this whole business is that I see a HUGE spirit of religion descending on the church – all the arguing about the form of our worship is dividing the Body and ignoring the substance. I keep saying to myself where is JESUS in all this harangue! Talk about Him, praise Him, love Him! and the position that ‘we did it that way for hundreds of years’ (part of the religious spirit) totally denies the REALITY that our God is ALIVE, and the HOLY SPIRIT can give new revelation in 1962 or even in 2007 (with the state of our society we sure need it!) The spirit of religion is trying to stifle the move of the Spirit of God in our lives today. Some need to let go of their rigidity and some need the Fear of the Lord. Everyone needs to repent of the idolatry of HOW to worship and focus on the GOD we worship!

    I have never been to a ‘clown’ mass, but I have been in many churches that are spiritually dead. If God revealed Himself in the church, we would all of us forget all about the rubrics of the mass and fall to the ground before His awesome presence! I challenge you to read Revelation 4 + 5 and Isaiah 6 + 55 to see how we will worship God in heaven
    My one consolation is that NOTHING can limit the God I worship and love, no one can put Him in a box, or stick a label on Him or His awesome majesty!! Thank you Lord that You are God, not we, and that You have all this under Your control!

  57. dcs says:

    Is this the way Jesus celebrated the 1st Eucharist? with His back to his disciples? No interaction? of course not.

    I am glad that someone brought this up, because the aforementioned Msgr. Gamber, in his book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, totally demolished the myth that Our Lord celebrated the first Mass facing the Apostles. They were all facing the same direction, just as the priest and the faithful should be facing the same direction in the Mass.

  58. Steve P in Bethesda, Md. says:

    _Not a Catholic seminary, evidently . . . ._

    No, a liberal protestant divinity school — but with an orthodox Catholic liturgics professor.

  59. Jeff says:

    Patricia: “and the position that ‘we did it that way for hundreds of years’ (part of the religious spirit) totally denies the REALITY that our God is ALIVE…”

    Sorry Patricia, this is not a denial that God is alive but rather a statement that God is present in the Eucharist and the due reverence which must be given is not always given and that the extraordinary form is worthy of retention to say the least.

    Also, “I am an intercessor and worship leader…” I sincerely don’t know what these functions are in the Catholic Church. I will be ordained very shortly and have never heard of these titles. I was under the impression that Christ was my main intercessor and Our Holy Mother Mary and then the Saints. Someone who reads the precis or petitions is not him or herself the intercessor as far as I know. I am not trying to ridicule you in any way, I simply live in Europe and have never heard of these titles. It would also seem to me that in worship, it would be an ordained minister who leads the worship.

    “and the HOLY SPIRIT can give new revelation in 1962 or even in 2007 (with the state of our society we sure need it!)” And here I thought all along the Christ was the FULLNESS of revelation and that there would be no more until the second coming.

    Patricia, don’t give up hope. I would think that rather the Holy Spirit is indeed working through the Church that God founded, through the structure that God founded to bring about the ends that God desires. Just my opinion… God bless, Jeff

  60. Patricia says:

    dcs wrote “I am glad that someone brought this up, because the aforementioned Msgr. Gamber, in his book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, totally demolished the myth that Our Lord celebrated the first Mass facing the Apostles.”

    I don’t know about the referenced author; I base my statement on eyewitness description, cultural dining practices of 1st cen Jews, and the Passover seder, which Jesus was celebrating. cite Luke22:12; Matt 26: 20-21, 26-28; mark 14: 15, 22-24; John 11:23-26, 28, 55

  61. Patricia: In the ancient world, including ancient Palestine, people reclined to eat. Normally, at gatherings, they would eat in a “U” shaped arrangement of the couches on which they reclined, the open end of the “U” open to admit the servants access to the those reclining. The diners faced the same direction. Also, the Last Supper seems not to have been a traditionally celebrated seder, given the special circumstances.

    Finally, ALL, this is way off topic, so we need to wrap up this digression promptly.

  62. Patricia says:

    Hi Jeff

    First thought was not meant to be 2 separate ideas, delete comma. I was trying to say that Godcan do as He wants, and we are wrong to put limitations on Him. If the ONLY reason for justifying our rituals is “we’ve always done it that way”, then I am not convinced. (sorry for the uppercase, but I don’t see and underline option)

    There is a good article about revelation at Also, if there is no revelation beyond AD90, then we shouldn’t have the doctrine of the Assumption, 19th cen, I think.

    I stand corrected about the jargon! explanation: an intercessor is simply one who dedicates a large portion of time interceding for others. cite Luke 2:26-28 I was sloppy using the term worship leader – merely referencing the (american terminology) of pastoral position of music ministry, ie, leading the congregation into worship through music. Don’t know why I brought it up anyway,I guess just to give some background that I’m no theologian, but do spend a lot of time with God. That reminds me of a fantastic quote I read from St John of the Cross re “scholastic theology” by which divine truths are understood and “mystical theology” which is known through love and by which one not only knows, but at the same time experiences (I love it).

    By the way, a big thank you for answering the Lord’s call to the priesthood! (I could put you on my prayer list…) LOL

  63. Kathy says:

    In college bull sessions you could always tell when people had run out of their capacity for reasoned debate: they would bring up Hitler.

  64. Time to find a new topic to discuss I think.

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