Bishop of El Paso reacts to the Motu Proprio

His Excellency Most Rev. Armando Ochoa of El Paso has issued a statement on the Motu Proprio

My emphases and comments

Bishop Armando Ochoa’s Message

August, 2007
El Paso Diocese Bishop

Decision on Tridentine Mass not a burden [!] for diocese

Dear Friends in Christ, Recently, Our Holy Father Benedict XVI, issued an Apostolic Letter, a ‘Motu Proprio’ entitled Summorum Pontificum.  A ‘Motu Proprio’ is a document issued by the Pope “on his own initiative” concerning serious matters and is addressed to the Universal Church .  In this particular document, the Pope seeks an “interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church” with a very small, but active, minority insisting that they want only the Tridentine Rite of the Mass.  [I don’t think so.  First, the number may not be "very small".  Second, some people might not want "only" the older form of Mass.  They may want it "sometimes".] This extraordinary form of the Mass is a concession making “it possible for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.”  The ordinary form of the Mass, is the Mass that the vast majority of Roman Catholics, loyal to Our Holy Father Benedict XVI and to the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, attend on any given day here in El Paso and worldwide.  Unlike the extraordinary form which is celebrated only in Latin, the ordinary form is celebrated on any given day in English, Spanish, Korean, or in Arabic, [But not Latin?] here in the Diocese of El Paso

The Second Vatican Council [and Pope’s before the Second Vatican Council] has called all Catholics to full, active participation in the liturgy, that is the Mass and in the mission of the Church.  In the Mass which was celebrated before the Council, the extraordinary form about which the Pope writes, the priest did almost everything by himself.  He was assisted by the altar boys, but the people were present in a passive role.  [ARGH!] The celebrant said all the prayers in Latin, proclaimed all the Scriptures in English, [sometimes] offered the canon or Eucharistic Prayer in silence, and distributed Holy Communion by himself or with the help of another priest. It was only the altar boys who responded to the prayers of the priest; the assembly remained silent. [Except when they didn’t.] On the other hand, the choir sang some of the parts of the Mass in Latin, Gregorian Chant.  The laity was not allowed to read the Scriptures or to say any of the prayers or even to assist with Holy Communion[You mean except to receive it, which is the supreme expression of full, conscious and active participation] What may surprise many people, who are not familiar with the previous missal, is the fact that only the priest alone said the “Our Father.”  [Except for the fact that Pope’s before the Council even urged that people could recite it with the priest.  I will admit that that was not often done.]

For us, in the Diocese of El Paso , as in the vast majority of the roughly 189 dioceses in the United States , and I might add, worldwide, this will not be considered burdensome.  [Would it really be a burden to follow the Motu Proprio’s provisions otherwise?]  As the Pope says clearly, “the new Mass rite undoubtedly would remain the church’s predominant form of worship.”  In other words, the Mass that is celebrated daily in English, Spanish, Korean, or in Arabic, in El Paso , will continue to be the norm.  We are not being asked to revert back to the Latin Mass.   In reality, I can foresee that this might only affect one out of the 55 parishes in our Diocese.  In that parish, only one Mass will continue to be celebrated in Latin if the conditions set forth in the Motu Proprio are fulfilled. The remainder of the scheduled Masses, will continue to be offered in English and Spanish.  The Apostolic Letter will go into effect for those concerned, on September 14, 2007, the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross.

Sincerely in Christ,
Armando X. Ochoa,  D.D.
Bishop of El Paso 

This is a nearly textbook example of The Party Line

First, there is a very tenuous idea of what "active participation" is and there is no integration of the fact that the Novus Ordo is also in Latin. 

The elements of The Party Line are present: "Only a tiny group of people want this stuff!   We are already doing enough for these people!  this document doesn’t really affect us!"    

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jenny Z says:

    Still no word from Dallas :(

    And I haven’t gotten a response from Monsignor about the mass at our parish…

  2. dcs says:

    Fr. Z., I think you mean that the Scriptures were “sometimes” proclaimed in English, not that the Canon was “sometimes” prayed silently. That is, “sometimes” should be before the comma following the phrase “proclaimed all the Scriptures in English” and not after it.

    Along with being a textbook example of The Party Line, this letter is also a textbook example of why Summorum Pontificum was (and is) necessary.

    The elements of The Party Line are present: “Only a tiny group of people want this stuff! We are already doing enough for these people! this document doesn’t really affect us!”

    There two further elements of The Party Line present, namely that (a) the extraordinary use pales in comparison to the ordinary use, and (b) whether the extraordinary use can be offered is still at the discretion of the diocesan Ordinary.

    There is one element of The Party Line that’s not here, though — that the New Lectionary with its three-year cycle is vastly superior to the Scriptural pericopes of the older Missal.

  3. Tony says:

    “In other words, the Mass that is celebrated daily in English, Spanish, Korean, or in Arabic, in El Paso, will continue to be the norm.” You mean the Mass of the Latin Rite, for which Latin is the norm? Were seminarians forbidden to read the Council documents in the 1970s?

  4. Timothy James says:

    I agree Fr. Z, the “active participation” misunderstanding which is behind so many of the abuses that take place in the Novus Ordo Mass is now being used to downplay the Pope’s Motu Proprio. One of the best treatments of this misunderstanding can be found in The Ratzinger Report. I wish a copy could be sent to every Bishop in the country!

  5. Kris says:

    On the other hand, the choir sang some of the parts of the Mass in Latin, Gregorian Chant.

    If my memory serves me correctly and is not that dotty yet, every child in the gradeschool who attended daily morning mass sang the Latin hymns as well as the Gregorian Chant. The littlest ones, maybe not yet, but we were all trained very easily to do so. Today, his former “choir” would probably include all of the faithful who desire to do so.

    In reality, I can foresee that this might only affect one out of the 55 parishes in our Diocese.

    How can anyone speak of the future reception of TLM if it’s graciously offered? This foresight can only come if one plans on making it hard for those interested to find out more.

  6. Jeremy says:

    The bishop forgot this:

    El Paso San Juan Bautista Catholic Church 1st & 3rd Sundays: 2:00 PM

    Will this bi-weekly schedule be expanded?

  7. jaykay says:

    Timothy James said in regard to The Ratzinger Report”: “I wish a copy could be sent to every Bishop in the country!

    Even if it were – and I don’t mean only the US here – in about 75% of cases it would probably be filed away in the deepest recesses of the archives, alongside Liturgiam Authenticam, Eccelsia de Eucharistia et al. Oh yes… and the Cathecism too

  8. jaykay says:

    I am an idiot – forgive the triple post :(

  9. Dogfoodlover says:

    Is the “shocking” statement about the Our Father supposed to be some killer criticism of the Roman Rite? This is a venerable feature of the historical Liturgy and not some defect from the missal of the Roman Curia that we need to be ashamed of all of a sudden. When the heavens are opened and the Lord of All descends escorted by the heavenly hosts, I for one prefer to remain silent and in awe. It is quite enough for me to be joined interiorly to the priest’s solemn prayer to the Father.

  10. Romulus says:

    there is a very tenuous idea of what “active participation”

    Of which their model is the class play in grade school: in which everyone gets a part so no one will feel left out. Infantile, superficial, condescending.

  11. Tim Ferguson says:

    “This doesn’t really affect us” seems to have been the party line for the US Bishops for many years now, with each successive statement from the Vatican:

    The common theme when Ex corde ecclesiae came out was “our colleges and universities will see little change because of this document, we’re already doing what we’re asked to do.”

    This theme is further echoed in responses to Ad tuendam fidem, Misericordia Dei, and dicasterial documents like the statement on lay collaboration with the clergy, the statement on the participation of Catholics in the political sphere, and on an on.

    Of course, the most prominent examples of this tack have been in the area of liturgy. One need only think of Cardinal Mahony’s response to Redemptionis sacramentum, “…most of the liturgical abuses mentioned in Redemptionis Sacramentum do not pertain to the celebration of the Eucharist in our Archdiocese.”

    I think bishops regain a good deal of lost respect when they humbly and honestly say, “We welcome these corrective measures (whatever they may be) by the Holy Father, and will use this opportunity to re-examine our practices to ensure that we remain always faithful to Gospel and the Church founded on Peter,” instead of the dissembling type of blather that seems more at home in the lobbies of Washington than the sanctuaries of the Lord.

  12. Janet says:

    So if this ‘party line’ being repeated by too many Bishops is extrapolated a bit further to its logical endpoint, here is what we get for the Diocese of Birmingham, AL:

    “Ok folks, there is not in existence ANY ‘stable group’ because for many years now there has been a total ban on the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Hence you can all go home and just forget about this trivial Motu Proprio document the Holy Father has sent out. It doesn’t pertain to you at all.”

    That is, assuming we ever get any official word out of the Diocese of Birmingham. So far there has been only total silence on this topic. In fairness, though, perhaps that is because our Bishop is retired and is only acting as administrator of the diocese at this point. I don’t know.

    But this “party line” being used so frequently in response to the MP is very problematic to those of us in Birmingham who hope for the TLM, because we are basically unable to identify each other. And yes, I put my name and zipcode into that database someone linked to here, and I found nothing but myself in return.

  13. Dogfoodlover says:

    As painful and disturbing as it may be, I am relentlessly pushed toward the view that the fabricated rites of the 60’s and 70’s, and the new Catholicism that they express, is altogether heterodox.
    Dipping into the apologia of the contemporary mainstream liturgists has only served to reinforce this perception. Bugnini, Cranmer and Luther would be very proud.
    Actually I doubt Cranmer or Luther would ever have gone as far as Cardinal Mahony and others. They would likely consider them pagan reprobates for what they have done to the Sacred Mysteries.
    And who would have dreamed that a day would come when someone (namely myself) would be expelled from a Catholic church for genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament? Considering that I know other people who have been abused, publicly humiliated and cast out for such things I am reticent to write it off as a complete anomaly.
    Years ago I read my way into the Church, but the more I read, the less I recognize the Catholic Faith in the milieu around me which calls itself the Catholic Church.
    I can only thank God that the Roman Rite still exists and that I am able to be fed therein at only the cost of a one hour drive.

  14. Tom S. says:

    I cannot figure out if the “party line” is the result of pretentious disdain, of abject fear, or of being completely out-of-touch. Either way it is terribly sad to see Bishops behave in this fashion. So much for being good shepherds. Or maybe their concept of shepherding is different than mine. Maybe their personal Bibles say something like “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t stay with the ninety-nine, and leave the other for dead, as he was disliked by you and unworthy of your precious time?”

    The treasure that is the Extraordinary Use has been entrusted to them by their master, Jesus Christ. Would not the more appropriate response would be that of the wise servant who took his master’s five talents, and turned them in to ten? Yet the “party line” seems more like the actions of the lazy servant – burying the master’s treasure in a hole, rather than putting it where it can grow and multiply.

  15. CDB says:

    Okay, I give up. What’s with the handle “Dogfoodlover”?

  16. Berolinensis says:

    No, this unedifying response is worse than the party line, because not only does it say “doesn’t concern our diocese”, it denigrates the usus antiquior, which is the exact opposite of what the Holy Father states in the accompanying letter to Summorum Pontificum: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” It will really be interisting to research, in a time to come with greater distance, how this unhealthy self-loathing came about, not only in the Church but also in the secular society, considering our own past and all the traditions of our ancestors something embarassing, without any worth.

  17. Charles Robertson says:

    The thought crossed my mind the other day — is it possible to disparage the older form of Mass without having lost something essential of one’s Catholicity? How can we think that we are so much better than the better part of history?

  18. Dogfoodlover says:

    The handle is inspired by that scene in the Gospel where the samaritan lady asks Christ for some dog food.

  19. Xavier says:

    “Is the ‘shocking’ statement about the Our Father supposed to be some killer criticism of the Roman Rite? … It is quite enough for me to be joined interiorly to the priest’s solemn prayer to the Father.”

    We’ve gone from Christ alone (in the priest) praying the Our Father – the perfectly efficacious prayer, to what I recently saw at a funeral; the priest telling the people to pray the Our Father with the choir without his participation, – the perfectly self-centered non efficacious prayer.

    How can there be “OUR” Father without Christ? Aren’t we illegitimate without His Sonship.

    There is also the issue that the “Amen” was removed in the New Order, so the people have not been confirming The Lord’s Prayer with a positive assent in the Mass (despite the Catechism’s teaching on the importance of the “Amen”) for over 40 years. And it shows in our culture.

  20. Father et al:

    There are a few assumptions made that are common to most of these letters, and they are less a matter of hostility towards tradition, than what one might call militant naivete.

    One is the assumption that “this is only for a minority.” It’s probably true in the short run, but it’s beside the point. The Holy Father is concerned about the state of the Roman Rite as a whole, regardless of which set of books is used — or which language — in its celebration. It is most assuredly, then, NOT simply for a minority with a specific preference. The other assumption is the one that follows; namely, that because it is only for a minority, “we don’t expect anything to change.” Well, between this decree, the recent post-synodal exhortation, and the intervention in vernacular translations, it is becoming very clear that the Holy Father DOES expect things to change.

    How does one reach these conclusions? Simply by actually breaking down and READING the motu proprio itself. It was accompanied by a letter written personally to the bishops of the world, by someone who, in all likelihood, expected them to READ it. And while it may seem well-intentioned to calm the faithful by assuring them that all is well, the reality is that this decree was issued precisely because all is NOT well.

    Sometimes, you just have to give people the bad news.

  21. Dogfoodlover says:

    Excuse my poor writing for I must rant…
    At this point in my study of the issues my prevailing view is that the artificially constructed Mass of the 60’s and 70’s expresses certain strands of Protestant Theology better than it expresses historical Catholic Theology.
    The Mass that is “the fruit of development”, to borrow Jungmann’s words, is our sacred apostolic Tradition in a living and historical form. To reject the Canon for example, in favor of the many Eucharistic prayers composed by “experts” and often inspired by traditions that are not our own (Greek anaphoras, Syriac Liturgies, etc) and typically given that “modern” flair, is to reject the very soul of our worship. The Popes since the Patristic era have attributed the canon to Saint Peter and I have little doubt that the fact that this prayer has been relegated to the grab bag of optionalism and is even rarely used would be seen as a betrayal of the Church by our fathers in the faith generally speaking. This is just one of a plethora of examples of course.
    Based on what I understand the word orthodoxy to mean, the wholesale rejection and suppression of our tradition in favor of a dubious academic fabrication is quite simply heterodox.
    When the Church’s most sacred possession, her highest form of worship and the embodiment of her tradition, is suddenly considered to be a laughing stock, something serious wrong has happened.

  22. David: You point is good. Benedict’s vision pertains to far more than just the books used for Mass.

  23. jmgarciaiii says:

    Is it just me or…?

    Every time I hear/read The Party Line regarding Summorum Pontificum I am reminded of Kevin Bacon’s line in Animal House:

    “Remain calm! ALL IS WELL!”


  24. EVERYONE: Kindly pay attention.

    I provide these entries from bishops and dioceses, the positive and the negative statements, for your opportune knowledge.

    I know many of you have been deeply hurt and frustrated over the years, and it is cathartic to vent a little. That is why I give some leeway here. Besides, bishops are big boys and, if they are checking in here (and I believe more than a few are), they can take a hit or two.

    But let me be clear about something:

    I am not inviting you to run down or bitch about bishops.

    I really appreciate your good and thoughtful observations and comments. They benefit many people.

    But if these entries turn into attack sessions, I will leave the com box off, or turn on the moderation/approval features.

    Kindly think before hitting that Submit button.

  25. jmgarciaiii: Animal House: “Remain calm! ALL IS WELL!”


  26. Dogfoodlover says:

    Yes, we confirm the Our Father with “for the kingdom the power.. etc”, which was explicitly introduced in order to emulate Protestant worship. I have seen scholarly documentation of this fact. Another example of that hatred toward our own tradition perhaps?
    Apparently the Liturgy is no longer that sacred gift entrusted to the Church who acts as steward; it is no longer the embodiment of our sacred history in which we dwell with Christ in the Communion of Saints and are taught to pray — rather, the Liturgy is something created according to the pet ideas of liturgical “experts” in the 1960’s. We are the enlightened creators of our own life giving spirit.

  27. Dogfoodlover says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    Please delete my posts on this thread. I don’t want to give your blog a bad name with my unbridled perspective which is by nature limited and most probably disedifying to many people.

    Thank you.

  28. “Yes, we confirm the Our Father with ‘for the kingdom the power.. etc,’ which was explicitly introduced in order to emulate Protestant worship…”

    …which would not explain its inclusion in the Byzantine Rite for centuries, the second-guessing of various scholars notwithstanding.

  29. Charles Robertson says:

    It may also be significant to note that “for the kingdom, etc” is also present in Byznatine liturgy. However, it is one of those elements of the missal of Paul tVI that makes it less Roman…I really is an eclectic liturgy that does not seem to have any underlying unity (except of course the Presence!)

  30. dogfoodlover: (unfortunate handle, regardless of the background): I don’t think I have to delete them. I was seeing a trend building, as it has in other entries. This was simply a needed reminder.

    I hope people will participate well and enjoy this blog, at the same time as they recall that it is like coming into my living room.

  31. Dogfoodlover says:

    David & Charles,
    I am quite well aware of that fact, it could actually be said to be inspired by the Didache, or one could go back further and say it was inspired from the Old Testament. What I was referring to was a text that I once read which indicating something of the actual Consilium discussion on this innovation (it is not a part of our tradition) which was apparently directly intended to emulate the Protestant practice of “the people” saying this prayer following the Our Father. My memory could be hazy but if I can find the reference I’ll post it. ;-)
    It was a minor jab in any case.

  32. David Nelson says:

    Gee, I thought Cardinal Bernadin had passed away.

  33. dcs says:

    The Popes since the Patristic era have attributed the canon to Saint Peter

    St. Gregory the Great seems to attribute it to one “scholasticus.”

  34. Timothy James says:

    Fr. Z, Thank you for the directives! I am all for reform within the Church, but so often people feel that the solution is to complain and bash and talk about abuses for hours on end without ever doing something positive or getting on their knees and praying for the Church, which is the only way that reform will ever take place.

  35. dcs says:

    My memory could be hazy but if I can find the reference I’ll post it.

    Msgr. Gamber discusses the question of the Our Father in his book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy. He was of the impression that it was inserted into the Roman Rite to bring it more into line with Protestant practice.

    As far as the Didache is concerned, I’m not sure one should view that as particularly authoritative for Christian practice. Fortescue writes that it is most probably a Christian redaction of a Jewish document (I don’t have the reference off-hand but I believe it is in his book The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy).

  36. woodyjones says:

    As I recall the old joke in France:

    Q: What will the language of the Church be if Archbishop Lefebvre wins?
    A; Latin.
    Q: What will it be if he loses?
    A: Arabic.

    Please remind me to brush up on my Arabic before going to deepest El Paso.

  37. Dogfoodlover says:

    I am not of the view that the Roman Canon was composed in the form we have today by Saint Peter. I take the traditional attribution to Saint Peter in much the same way that I take the Eastern attribution of the Cherubic Hymn to Saint James.
    If my memory and instincts are correct your statement about Pope Gregory is not the whole story and perhaps reflects antiquated scholarship. Pope Innocent I attributed the canon to Saint Peter a couple centuries before Pope Saint Gregory and this idea of Peter being the originator of the canon is not uncommon in our history. Some have seen support for this in the Liturgy of the Church at Antioch which was traditionally founded by Saint Peter and has a similar prayer (I’m not suggesting this would stand up the critical scrutiny).
    My point was not to debate the merits of traditional statements of this kind but simply to indicate the supreme reverence that the Church has had for the canon which accounts for why it was so treasured as to go unchanged for 1500 years.
    The Orthodox probably have us beat when they take ten minutes to intone a two sentence prayer. ;-)

  38. Marcus says:

    Regarding the “Amen” at the end of the “Pater Noster”: In the Norvus Ordo, isn’t the Lord’s Prayer inserted into a larger prayer, beginning with “Praeceptis salutaribus moniti…” and ending with Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum”?

    Populus respondet: Amen.

  39. Tom S. says:

    Father, et al,
    I apologize if my comment seemed offensive to anyone, most of all those Bishops who read it. I meant to reflect my astonishment at the situation, and to put it the context of certain biblical writings – to make people stop and think. It was not meant to be not abusive or offensive in any way. I just didn’t and don’t understand how some Bishops could respond as they have to such a clear initiative by the Holy Father, and that frustration did indeed come through.

  40. Tim Ferguson says:

    While I certainly agree that our Bishops need, and deserve the respect due to Successors of the Apostles, and hope that my comments above were not taken as demeaning to them in any way, I am also of the deeply-deeply held conviction that, just as I need to be upbraided by my pastor, and bishop, and fellow-Christian, the bishops also need that fraternal and filial correction called for by the Gospel.

    It’s a fine line sometimes, with the pit of impertinence on one side and the chasm of willful ignorance on the other.

    I appreciate the great effort shown by our esteemed host here to present us with the clear – and full – words of many of the bishops on this matter. Where praise is due, praise is given. Where fisking is needed, fisking prevails. I do think that, through this project, the clear lines of what has become known as “the party line” are becoming apparent, and I think that party line can legitimately be criticized by faithful sons of Mother Church, without disrepect to our Shepherds.

  41. Marcus says:

    Tim: I agree with your spirit. We have the right and, perhaps more importantly, the duty to address concerns respectfully to our superiors. But it certainly is a fine line about how to proceed.

    Your last comment is poignant regarding many things – love the sinner, hate the sin; love the Mass, hate the abuses, etc. It breaks my heart to hear people revile Holy Mass, whether ordinary or extraordinary. Perhaps they didn’t think to make this distinction.

    I realize I wrote “Norvus” instead of “Novus” above. It wasn’t intentional, just clumsy fingers.

  42. John says:

    Vatican II was not the first time we heard the call for active participation by the laity in the Mass, rather it was called for by St. Pope Pius X soon after his election. ”

    It’s in the fifth paragraph of Tra le sollicitudini that we first encounter the expression “active participation”:

    “Being moved with the most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish again in every way among all the faithful, the first thing to which We must turn our attention is the holiness and dignity of the temple. There Our people assemble for the purpose of acquiring the Christian spirit from its first and indispensable source, namely the active participation [attiva partecipazione] in the most sacred mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. It is vain to hope for such copious blessings from Heaven if our worship of the Most High, rather than ascending with an odor of sweetness, again puts into our Lord’s hands the scourges with which the unworthy profaners were once driven out of the temple by the Divine Redeemer.”

  43. Richard says:

    “Active Participation” as its promoted today in the Novus Ordo is like kids responding to the teacher’s prompts in preschool. If you’d like to read it, I wrote a whole post on this here

  44. DCS, only one section of the Didache, the “Two Ways” section (1.1-6.2) is considered to be derived from an older Jewish moral instruction. The rest of the 16 chapters are a church order, and entirely Christian.

    I recommend the Hermeneia commentary volume on The Didache by Kurt Niederwimmer (Fortress Press, 1999), and The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity, by Huub van de Sandt and David Flusser, a volume in the Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum series (Royal Van Gorcum/Fortress Press, 2002).

  45. John says:

    Richard, nice analogy.

  46. Janet says:

    Fr. Z,
    If I stepped out of line in my comments about our bishops and the ‘party line’, my apologies. I do try to avoid saying anything negative about any priest or bishop, but will try harder. Sorry.

  47. Xavier says:

    “Regarding the ‘Amen’ at the end of the ‘Pater Noster’: In the Norvus Ordo, isn’t the Lord’s Prayer inserted into a larger prayer, beginning with ‘Praeceptis salutaribus moniti…’ and ending with ‘Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum’?

    Populus respondet: Amen.”

    Interesting… Occasionally I have noticed a visiting priest add, “Amen” after “for the kingdom…” Is this the way it was meant to be? But I have never heard the people say “Amen,” or heard it sung by the choir. It’s not in any missalettes I know of.

  48. Marcus says:

    Xavier – The “Amen” I refered to comes just before the priest says “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum”, followed by “Offerte vobis pacem,” and the inevitable eruption of handshaking, hugging, and kissing begins.

    My source is the Adoremus Hymnal (Ignatius Press, San Francisco,1997), which contains the entire Novus Ordo Mass with all optional prayers and responses in “old missal style”, with Latin on the left, English on the right, rubrics in red, spoken parts in bold black. It’s not the GIRM, but I consider it a credible source. It also has the chant Ordinaries and all kids of classic hymns, chant and otherwise, in Latin and English. It’s hardbound in red with quality print & paper. It’s fantastic!

    It starts with a preface on the role of music in liturgy and “active participation” . It quotes Sacrosanctum concilium: “Gregorian chant is ‘specifically suited to the Roman liturgy’, and ‘should be given pride of place in liturgical services.’ Sadly, this counsel has been honored only in the breech.”

    Regarding this, I’m also curious to see how the new “Bishop’s Hymnal” will be promulgated and received. Anyone know the status of this initiative?

  49. Matt Robinson says:

    The paramount example of the failure of Vatican II and the New Mass are the
    attituded and philosophies expressed the majority of our Bishops.

    No group of Catholics has a more consistently banal view of the liturgy then
    what they advocate.

    From the Novus Ordo to the Novus Bordo.

    Much of the party line is that we are already so bored to
    death with the liturgy, not to mention “faith” (definite article absent)
    ,that we simply can’t be troubled to change a losing formula.

    Because Bishop X has no latin training or appreciation of Church culture
    prior to 1972, this means no mere layman should bother with them.

    Face it, we are stuck with the Age of Aquarius liturgy until a new generation
    enters the episcopate.

  50. Marcus says:

    Fr. John: It seems you deleted my (& St. Ignatius’) comments on being respectful of the bishop. Did I say something I shouldn’t have, or was it just too long? Anyway, thanks for your excellent blog.

  51. Mark P. says:

    Bishop Ochoa was the celebrant at a Mass in Los Angeles on the Solemnity of Christ the King. The magnificent choir and orchestra performed the “St. Cecilia Mass” of Charles Gounod under the direction of the late Roger Wagner. And what did his Excellency preach on for this event, which was filled with non-Catholics? The Kennedys and their contribution to American society.

  52. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    One of the most amusing aspects of the coming years will be watching these half-baked bishops being entirely passed by while the Extraordinary Form flourishes. Similar to how Our Lord entirely circumvented the Temple society while He was with us.

    And with regard to this guy. I saw his picture and I’ve gotta ask…was he in “Napoleon Dynamite”?

  53. CPKS says:

    I’m astonished by what His Excellency the Bishop of El Paso says about the laity being forbidden to make responses, or even say the Pater Noster. As a child I attended Mass at a number of parishes in southern England and everywhere I went, the congregation made all the responses and said (or sang) the Pater Noster. Was England special? (Are there any other old crocks out there, from England or elsewhere, who can substantiate the Bishop’s allegation?)

  54. RBrown says:

    Bp Ochoa, who was ordained in 1970, was one of Cardinal Mahoney’s auxiliaries.

    ‘Nuff said.

  55. Bob says:

    Hi Father,

    If His Excellency is reading your blog, I will try not to come across too crass and offensive. His response to the MP saddens me but it doesn’t surprise me at all. I grew up in El Paso. I have quite a few Hispanic Catholic friends. Most of they have fallen away because they have been so poorly catechized. One of my friends is living in sin and when I told him he needs to talk to a priest to get some guidance he couldn’t believe or understand what I was saying. Many otherwise good Hispanic Catholics have left the faith in El Paso because they felt it has nothing to offer and some because there exists an adversity to orthodoxy. The numbers don’t lie. How many ordinations, confirmations, baptisms, and weddings have there been in El Paso in the last couple of years? This is the gateway to Mexico! Most of the Mexicans are Catholic when the arrive and become Pentecostal or some other form of Protestant within a couple of years!

    Anyhow, my wife and I were visiting El Paso this past May. We attended Mass at two parishes. The first was a contemporary Mass at St. Raphael’s in the East Side. It was a licit Mass, but it was very “modern”. The priest was waving to the audience during the entrance procession, the contemporary choir was practicing up until Mass began, etc. It wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t take someone there if they were expecting reverence and vertical worship.

    The next week we attended Mass at San Antonio de Padua in the Lower Valley. There were Catholic school girls dressed in really short shorts collecting donations outside the parish doors, a woman carried up the gospels at the procession and introduced herself as the parish “vicar”, the live band (drumset and all) jammed out while the lead singer sang the responsorial psalm literally imitating Elvis, visitors were asked to stand and shout where they were visiting from followed by applause for each and every one of them (my wife and I stayed quiet), before the final blessing, the priest asked all people who had birthdays, anniversaries, who were recently graduating, or bought new shoes (well, the last one was an exaggeration, but the others weren’t) to stand up, one category at a time, for a round of applause, the whole “audience” stood during the consecration, etc.

    But worst of all, the priest gave the most horrible homily I’ve ever heard… well, almost. The Scripture readings were all about the oneness and importance of the Church. They even related to the four marks of the One, True, Church of Christ. However, somehow the priest managed to twist it into a message of false ecumenism. He actually stated that the Church encompasses ALL Christian denominations, that there was no difference between us and the Pentecostals and all other Protestant faiths, that we were all on equal ground! Is it any wonder that so many Hispanics are fleeing the Church in droves? After all, why deal with the “Catholic guilt” when you can get a divorce and dance around aimlessly in the aisles of your nearest ecclessial community while mumbling nonsense like a person possessed with an evil spirit? Once saved always saved, right Father? The priests homily actually received a round of applause! My wife and I were shocked! We thought that Charlotte has some pretty feel-good liturgies, but this took the cake. There is NO WAY my Protestant friends and family members in El Paso will believe in the Catholic Church over there. It’s more irreverent than the Protestant services!

    So, I’m very sad, but I’m not surprised. One more thing, sorry about the length, I checked out the diocesan web site before we went there to visit and could not find a single reference to Jesus Christ in the Mission Statement at that time. I was hoping that wasn’t foreshadowing, but, unfortunately, it was. I hope and pray that things change in El Paso, if anything for the souls of those confused Hispanics that are leaving their Catholic heritage because their local Church is not providing them with proper catechesis.

  56. mouzarabe23 says:

    The peace of Christ be with us all: Bishop Ochoa has a sizeable contingent of faithful who desire, actually demand the extraordinary mass (Tridentine) and who have been pestering him for years. I know, I used to live in that diocese before moving to another state. Not the least of the problems facing him is the fact that the Society of St. Pius X has a priory and a brother’s novitiate there where those who are unafraid of the various risks attend, a rather large community of I must say. This priory is only a few blocks away from St, Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso. Most of the anglophone masses in El Paso are filled with the trite, vapid musical and liturgical style we have all become familiar with. For reverent masses the Franciscans have a good parish at Our Lady of Guadalupe, these are in Spanish as are most of the decent masses in El Paso. The arabic masses the Bishop refers to are those of the Maronite Mission, St. Anthony of the Desert, but these are the Maronite liturgy and not the ordinary Roman liturgical form. That is unless there is an arabic speaking parish, but last I knew these were all Maronites.

    One great consolation is the cloister of the Adoratristas at Christo Rey where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration in the most beautiful setting befitting the Eucharistic Lord, a far cry from the small cramped chapels i have seen elsewhere in the United States. The Tridentine Mass was said there before transferring to San Juan Bautista parish.

    Nevertheless, Bishop Ochoa has seriously underestimated the demand in his diocese for the extraordinary rite. It is unfortunate he still continues to resist being generous with the Tridentine Mass in favor of the mawkish ceremonies crafted from the Novus Ordo liturgical form and which are performed widely in the city – mostly in English. The parish of San Juan Bautista provides the Tridentine Mass for the faithful who desire it by the holy priest, Father Rodriguez, a gentle saint who is greatly loved. Let us pray for him in his apostolate.

  57. As a shamelessly personal and off-topic question: Tim Ferguson, would you happen to be the fellow I knew at seminary? (Is there any way to contact people person-to-person on this blog, Father?)

  58. brian says:

    this echos what was put out in the diocese of savannahs official newspaper:

    Southern Cross, Page 4 COMMENTARY Thursday, July 19, 2007
    On two documents
    The Apostolic Letter relaxes the restrictions on
    the “extraordinary” celebration of the Mass, in the
    Latin Church, according to the last Missal issued
    before the liturgical renewal decreed by the
    Second Vatican Council. The Responses reiterate
    and clarify the teachings of the Council with
    regard to the Catholic Church’s understanding of
    herself in relations to other Christians. Both can be
    seen as efforts on the part of the Holy See to win
    back support, especially in Europe, from those
    “traditionalist Catholics” who have felt alienated
    from the Church in recent decades. It remains to
    be seen how successful these documents will be in
    achieving their goals.
    It must be said that an Apostolic Letter on the
    so-called “Tridentine Mass” (that is, the Mass
    promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V following the
    Council of Trent in the 16th Century) has long
    been expected. Indeed, a few years ago, Pope John
    Paul II was being urged to require the celebration
    of the “old Mass,” at least in larger churches, on a
    regular basis. Pope Benedict’s motu proprio contains
    no such requirement. There was some talk
    that the “Tridentine” Mass would be recognized as
    an ordinary form of celebrating the liturgy, along
    side the “Vatican II” Mass, but Pope Benedict
    clearly recognizes the latter form as ordinary and
    the former as merely extraordinary.
    As Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley noted (see
    page 1), “the issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent
    for our country”; it is not likely to “result in a
    great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S.”
    Not only was the Latin culture in which the
    “Tridentine” Mass emerged always far more vigorous
    in Europe than it ever was on these shores,
    but the decline in Latin studies in general and in
    seminaries in particular has resulted in two generations
    of priests whose knowledge of the Latin
    language is generally rudimentary at best. And the
    liturgical renewal decreed by Vatican II has been
    well accepted, even if not always well implemented,
    in this country.
    It should be pointed out that the papal document
    intends for the “old Mass” to be celebrated where
    “a group of [the] faithful to the previous liturgical
    tradition exists stably,” and not for individuals or
    transient groups who are simply curious to experience
    a different form of Mass.
    At a time when many of our priests are already
    stretched to celebrate multiple weekend Masses
    for their parishes and missions, often in Spanish as
    well as English, let us hope that the faithful will
    not burden them unduly with requests for additional
    Masses, in Latin, with the complicated
    rubrics of 1962.
    Let us hope above all that the faithful will not
    forget that the revised Missal of Paul VI (1970) is
    incalculably richer than the Missal of Saint Pius X
    (1570) , especially in its Lectionary of Biblical
    readings but also in its prayers (nine Eucharistic
    Prayers, as opposed to one; 88 prefaces, as
    opposed to 14, etc.). Some close to the pope have
    suggested that he hopes that by allowing a bit
    more “competition” from the older, extraordinary
    Mass, priests will take more seriously the proper
    celebration of the ordinary form Mass, so that its
    comparative richness can be more clearly seen.
    As for the document on the Church, some
    offense has been taken by Protestants at the distinctions
    made between “churches” (ecclesiae) and
    “ecclesial communions” (communiones ecclesiales).
    In fact, since Vatican II first dealt systematically
    with ecclesiology (the study of the Church), the
    Roman Catholic Church has fairly consistently
    restricted the use of the word ecclesia to those
    Christian communities possessing the apostolic
    succession (apostolicity being one of the four
    “marks” of the Church, along with unity, catholicity
    and sanctity); thus we speak of the Orthodox
    Churches of the East, because they have valid
    bishops, priests and deacons, but only of “ecclesial
    communions” with regard to Protestant communities,
    most of whose ministers, by Catholic standards,
    lack apostolic succession. But reminding
    them of this distinction, without at the same time
    reiterating the context in which it makes sense, has
    been criticized as insensitive. That context is the
    comprehensive vision of membership in the
    Church “in concentric circles” proposed by Pope
    Paul VI and adopted by the Second Vatican
    Council. In that vision, the Catholic Church recognizes
    God’s gift to her of the fullness of the means
    of salvation (and they our gifts from God and not
    our achievement) and the corresponding duty to
    employ them for our salvation, while at the same
    time rejoicing at the presence of many of these
    same gifts, in varying degrees, among other
    Christians, among other believers in the same
    God, and among those still searching for him.
    As Cardinal Walter Kaspar has noted, “we
    should not miss reading the positive statements of
    the declaration about the Protestant churches,
    namely, that Jesus Christ is effectively present
    within them for the salvation of their members.”

  59. I find it interesting to note the venerable bishop’s emphasis on minority status of the folks who will be interested in the EM.

    I have been trying to compile the numbers, but I think it is a little more than telling what vast number of vocations these minority are achieving.

    When you consider how very small the number of Indult Masses were (many diocese allowing none, most of the ones that allowed it allowed two locations at most) and than contrast it with how many seminarians are in formation for orders that celebrate this litrugy as thge norm or exclusively…

    Also “only a handful want it” it many places because only a handful know about it! Let them actually see for themselves the TLM, and then we will see if that handful grows at all.

  60. Brian Coughlin says:

    Dogfoodlover writes:

    When the heavens are opened and the Lord of All descends escorted by the heavenly hosts, I for one prefer to remain silent and in awe. It is quite enough for me to be joined interiorly to the priest’s solemn prayer to the Father.

    That’s a beautiful image… and, as a rather recent “revert” to openness to the extraordinary rite, I hadn’t thought of that, before!

    (BTW: never mind about Tim; he and I established contact, via media alter… pun somewhat intended. :) )

  61. Dogfoodlover says:


    I claim no originality since the image is perennial. Inspired first by John 1 in which Christ says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Of course these words allude to Jacob’s dream in Genesis: “And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

    The other inspiration was the liturgical tradition itself in which we find prayers such as these:

    We, who mystically represent the Cherubim, And chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity, Let us set aside the cares of life, That we may receive the King of all, Who comes invisibly escorted by the Heavenly Hosts.


    Let all mortal flesh be silent, and stand with fear and trembling, and meditate nothing earthly within itself. For the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God, comes forward to be sacrificed, and to be given for food to the faithful. And the bands of angels go before Him with every power and dominion, the many-eyed cherubim, and the six-winged seraphim, covering their faces, and crying aloud the hymn, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

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