ALERT: calling denizons of NAPA

Look… those who know me will immediately assume I am after some good wine… and I am.  Always.

However, this time… in addition to the wine, I am after information.

I received this from an alert reader GS in MN  o{]:¬)

I’m on the Ignatius Press ( e-mail list, and I just got the blurb below. Fr. Fessio will speak on Monday in Napa "about Pope Benedict, the Old Mass & the Mass of Vatican II." Perhaps he’s planning on a new circuit of talks? If you have any "agents" in that area, you might find some quotables for your blog. 

I am quite interested in this for a couple reasons.  First, I was recently interviewed for a podcast and the topic of the "reform of the reform" came up.  I mentioned Fr. Fessio and tried to clarify the term.  That podcast led to some strange comments about me, and that topic came up, on a somwhat odd site.  Also, I had read and wrote about the book by Mosebach which Fessio pubished although he didn’t agree with all of its points (admirable, really). 

So,… if anyone is out there, we want a report!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Do you have a link to this event? I would like to hear the good father monday

  2. Jim says:

    Sorry, Fr. Z, I can’t give you a report on Fr. Fessio’s activities. But I can tell you that Napa vintages are distinctly inferior to those of Mendocino County to the north.

  3. Jim: Unless you are going to SEND ME the wine, that is entirely off topic.

    Send wine and I will get back to you on this matter.

    (I already have well-informed opinions.)

  4. Malta says:

    I recently ordered a 1974 Chateau Greysac on; not the best and not the worst aged wine, but it was delicious–and very reasonably priced!

  5. Patrick T. says:


    How much if I may ask???

    ’74 was not such a good year, no?

    I bought a ’64 Ch. Fonplegade from winebid a couple years back because it was cheap. I still haven’t found a chance to open it but the color and ullage look promising.

  6. Unless people are sending the wine to ME, all of this is off topic and entirely without any interest.

    This REALLY is about getting someone to NAPA to hear FESSIO… after sending me wine.

  7. Pam says:

    I went to a conference in San Diego County, California with Fr. Fessio and our auxillary, Bishop Cordileone. It was called The Reform of the Reform. Our Bishop said the Novus Ordo mass in Latin.He was very much at home with the Latin

    Before mass we were taught how to read Gregorian Chant and practiced singing chant with a local scola from Our Lady of the Rosary. This conference was sponsored by Adoremus which has a focus on increasing Latin and reverence in the Novus Ordo.

    The SP came up in questions and all were in agreement with it and in favor of it. Fr. Fessio did an excellent job of explaining the mind of our Holy Father. He had done his research and also knows the Pope personally. It was an excellent conference but that one was not about the SP per se.

  8. ACS says:

    “That podcast led to some strange comments about me, and that topic came up, on a somwhat odd site.”

    Is this in reference to Angelqueen?

  9. Athelstane says:

    Fr. Fessio is very much a reform-of-the-reform man. He has stated repeatedly that he has no agenda to bring back or promote the old missal.

    On the other hand, we would be in far better shape if every Novus Ordo were conducted the way he does it: ad orientem. Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Fixed prayers all in Latin. Altar boys only, properly attired. Always the Roman Canon/EP1. Proper polyphany and chant.

    And one must give him credit for publishing Mosebach’s book through Ignatius. In his own way, he is an ally for those trying to rebuild tradition in the liturgy.

  10. Does anything here have anything to do with what he is GOING TO SAY in NAPA, or sending good wine to me?

  11. Tony Castaneda says:

    Fr Z, I have this talk from Fr.Fessio. He did it in Anahiem CA at the Family Conference back in late July. Let me know where I could send it to you on CD. I’ll send you a package that will include a conference he did before the Motu Propio on “Benedict XVI and the Spirit of the Liturgy”

    For the paying customers you can order “Benedict XVI and the Spirit of the Liturgy” talks by Fr Fessio at

  12. andrew says:

    I live not far and am free Monday. All I need is some contact info.

  13. Guy Power says:


    Courtesy of New Liturgical Movement:

    Monday, Nov. 26, 7:30 pm
    Trinity Grammar & Prep
    2055 Redwood Rd., Napa
    For information call: 707-258-9030
    No Charge. Donations gratefully accepted.

  14. Malta says:

    OK, I’ll try to be more on-topic, but wine really gets me salivating, like Pavlov’s dog, so it’s hard to talk about the Eternal Sacrifice when the topic of wine is mixed-in, but I’ll do my best.

    I really admire Fr. Fessio. Early on, he was a big proponent of brining more sanctity to the Novus Ordo, and in likewise promoted praying this rite (yes, it is a different rite) with solemnity, and in Latin.

    Also, though he, like, dare I may say, our moderator, prefers the ideology that we should work feverishly on the “reform of the reform.” Personally, though, I don’t think you can rework a Bugnini Mass to make it comparable, or as holy, as the Tridentine, which naturally “evolved” for nearly two thousand year; from Christ, through the greatest Saints, including St. Francis of Assisi (yes, he WAS an early proponent of the Vetus Ordo mass, and there were several competing rites in his day) to St. Therese of Lisieux. The Tridentine rite was the most highly evolved Liturgy in history–changing slightly through the centuries, but each organically modulated change increasing its holiness–and just when it was at its apex, Pope Paul VI suppressed it, and replaced it with a rite created in a Liturgical Think Tank (a “manufactured” liturgy, as then Cardinal Ratzinger called it.) It was much like replacing a four star Italian restaurant with Mcdonald’s: you can get nourishment at each, but one is far superior to the other.

    So, Fessio has good intentions, and admire him for publishing Mosebach’s incredible book, and he published it BEFORE Summorum Pontificum, when it was much more daring to publish a book such as this. We should admire Fessio for this, and put everything into perspective, include our moderator’s sufferings during the days when the vetus ordo mass was like cyanide, and yet some fought for it, NOTWITHSTANDING the general negative attitude against it. We should praise these folks for their courage, and not forget the attitude that existed JUST A FEW YEARS AGO. It is easy to be a Johnny Come Lately with the new Spirit that has been breathed into our Church. But let’s not forget that very recently you were a strange heretical hands-off person if you advocated for the Vetus Ordo rite: just a couple of years ago, in fact; things are rapidly “evolving.” Remember Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem, “The Grandeur of God”? What is old is new again. Since God is ever old, but ever new, so, too, is the vetus ordo liturgy. Perhaps that isn’t a good name, since many of the people most attracted to the old liturgy, are young people….

  15. Tommaso says:

    I could go attend it. But not if it’s at St. John the Baptist. Bad memories of that place. I was expecting to attend Mass where Hilaire and Elodie Belloc got married. Instead, that quaint chapel was replaced with a “Church in the Round.” Total mayhem with people and toddlers running around the altar.

    Celebrant went up and down each of the aisle splashing people with water from a large glass salad bowl.
    Really got me thinking about the TLM

  16. Guy Power says:

    Tommaso: I could go attend it. But not if it’s at St. John the Baptist.

    It’s at Trinity Grammar & Prep, 2055 Redwood Rd., Napa

  17. Patrick T. says:


    Would you consider writing a “what are you drinking with Thanksgiving this year” post so we can speak of wine?


  18. Matt Q says:

    Jim wrote,

    “Sorry, Fr. Z, I can’t give you a report on Fr. Fessio’s activities. But I can tell you that Napa vintages are distinctly inferior to those of Mendocino County to the north.”

    Yikes. Do we detect a little regional jealousy here? I could throw in the Sonoma factor but don’t want to parlay another episode of Lucy Ricardo’s “Grappolo Pungente.” LOL ;-)

  19. Jim says:

    Fr. Z, please provide shipping instructions. Where should I send it?

  20. John Polhamus says:

    I recently served at a mass with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Diego, where Fr. Fessio was present and concelebrated. The mass was said Ad Orientem, in Latin, with Gregorian Chant, and was wholly reverent and quite beautiful. Later, I asked a rather serious priest friend of mine, a man about 45 years old, what he thought of it. “I didn’t like it” he said, firmly. I was taken aback. The serving corps had worked quite hard to prepare the rite from the Peter Elliot book, “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite.” “You didn’t like it? Why?” I asked in an attempt to be concilliatory. “Because it’s not natural. It’s not the true evolution of this rite, and was never intended to be, and I don’t like appearing to pass something off for what it’s not.” And to an extent, he’s right.

    I, too, admire Fr. Fessio’s determination and desire to improve the general celebration of the New Mass. However, having heard him speak at the Adoremus Conference in Excondido, near San Diego, I was decidedly disappointed with his response to Bishop Cordileone’s question regarding his opinion on structural defects in the New Mass. His answer was that basically the new offertory prayers were weak, and could be replaced, and with a more frequent celebration of the Roman Canon and celebration in Latin ad orientem, it was satisfactory. He failed to address the fact that altering the structure of the mass creates a new theology, which is something that adhaerants to liturgical tradition have known since the beginning. His answer, and his opinion are, I’m afraid, not satisfactory.

    Still, to the extent that he accomplishes the reality of improving the new mass so far as it can be improved, and the Adoremus Conference Mass achieved that end. But it’s not the same, and wasn’t intended to be. One rite, two VERY different forms.

  21. Anon says:

    I find the ‘Reform of the Reform’ crowd hard to understand.

    If you want Latin, Sacred Music, etc etc then why bother with the NO? Why not return to the traditional Mass?

    What is it about the Novus Ordo that they prefer?

    It seems to me that the real reason for people supporting the ‘Reform of the Reform’ is that they just can’t bring themselves to accept that a Pope could make such a terrible mistake.

    Well… he did… and we have to pick up the pieces and put the Church back together.

  22. Please let’s avoid entirely anonymous comments: some handle is needed around here. Use a nom de plume if you wish, but it should be something we can use.

  23. Marsh Fightlin says:


    What I don’t like about the traditional Mass could be fixed with one new rubric: Nothing said or sung by the deacon, sub-deacon, servers, choir or congregation shall be repeated separately by the celebrant


  24. Jim says:

    I can certianly sympathize with Fr. Fessio and the “reform of the reform” crowd because there was a need for some reforms of the liturgy at the time of Vatican II. Obviously what was implemented was quite out of whack with what the documents of the council. If Vatican II were faithfully implemented, we probably would have ended up with a liturgy that was very close to TLM, but with some essentially minor changes like, for example, some limited vernacular in some places on some occasions and perhaps some more responses by the people.

    I think it comes from the notion that Vatican II happened for a reason, and to simply go back to the TLM as it was and then think you are done ignores the reforms called for by Vatican II. Again, the extent of those reforms probably would have amounted to minor changes if faithfully implemented. It may be that Fr. Fessio’s school of thought sees a simple return to TLM, in some way, to be ignoring the actual intent (as opposed to the “spirit”) of Vatican II with regard to the liturgy.

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    Jim: I think it comes from the notion that Vatican II happened for a reason

    I doubt the reason “Vatican II happened” had anything whatsoever to do with the liturgy. It happened so as to open that famous window so a Church that thought everything was hunky-dory within was ready to go out into the world to claim it in accordance with Christ’s mandate. Of course, John XXIII in calling the Council with this mandate did not foresee the climate of the sixties in which, instead, the world would come into the Church.

    Surely no one familiar with John XXIII would think he had any liturgical reform in mind, or that anything like what happened would have occurred if he had lived a decade longer. And Cardinal Ratzinger has written that liturgical reform simply was not a priority among bishops at the Council, because they perceived no particular problems with the liturgy at the time. (Don’t ask me to wade through stacks of his books for this quote; someone who’s not a grandfather can do it.)

  26. joe says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I realize this is not exactly what you are looking for, but perhaps these videos of Fr. Fessio commenting on Summorum Pontificum (I surmise his views have likely not changed materially in the last 3 months) might be of some use:

    My take on Fr. Fessio and the Reform-of-the-reform contingent is that it would appear they are anticipating (and, prior to S.P., endeavoring to bring about) the results of the “gravitational pull” which the T.L.M. ought have on the N.O. Mass. My own opinion is that — since the N.O. is here to stay for the foreseeable future — it ought be fortified as much as is possible.

    Just one man’s opinion,


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