Doing things right at St. Aloysius Church in Sauk City, WI

Please go check out the website of St. Aloysius Church in Sauk City, WI.

The perspicacious pastor, Fr. Miguel Galvez, has posted the following item (my emphases and comments):

Written by Fr. Miguel Galvez   

Wednesday, 05 December 2007

latin_mass.jpgBeginning on December 17, we will offer at St. Norbert’s church in Roxbury an additional Mass each weekday at 6:30 AM  and an additional Mass every Sunday at 10:30 AM, [What a nice change of pace from "I don’t want to add a Mass.  We have enough to do already".] using the traditional Latin form of the Roman Rite. On July 7 of this year His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu propio that allows each priest who so desires to celebrate Mass using the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962. This is the Missal that is used to celebrate what is normally known as the “traditional Latin Mass” or “Tridentine Rite”. A motu propio is a special type of papal document which is the publication of a new law for the Church. The phrase means “on my own initiative” or something similar. This means it comes directly from the Pope who is the Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Jesus Christ.  [That’s right!  And what he says, goes.]

In this document the Pope introduces two forms of the Roman Rite, the ordinary and the extraordinary. He points out that it is not appropriate to speak of “two rites,” but that it is rather a twofold use of one and the same Roman Rite – there is one rite, with two equal forms. [At least juridically speaking.] The ordinary form would be the Mass in English you find in all Catholic parishes and the extraordinary form would be the “traditional Latin Mass.”

The Pope emphasizes that the ancient rite was never abrogated, or suspended. In 1970, we were made to think that it was gone, [Exactly!] and that only retired priests who had obtained special permission to say the Mass in private could say the traditional Latin Mass. That was a misinterpretation of the law of the Church that the Pope clarifies in this document.  [This fellow understands the situation well.]

After making these points, the Pope goes into the deformations [liturgical abuses] in the Mass that have occurred over the recent years. He talks about the fact that many Catholics have wanted to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them because it conveyed a more sacred celebration of the Mass. “This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the Faith of the Church.”

The traditional Latin Mass is different in the way it is celebrated with respect to the ordinary form of the Mass. It is, of course, said in Latin, as it has been for 1500 years. [Of course the Novus Ordo is also to be celebrated in Latin.  That is a point which has been mostly ignored since the Novus Ordo was promulgated.] But there are more differences than that. The way it is celebrated conveys a sense of awe and mystery in worship. It also provides ample room for recollection and private prayer and expresses beauty, dignity, silence, and reverence in the Mass. [A priest who doesn’t think "private" prayer at Mass is bad!  Thank you!] The traditional Latin Mass has as a primary focus to transmit a sense of worship to God that is expressed in many ways, the most obvious one being the priest facing the tabernacle or crucifix oriented to the east (the rising sun). Some people say that in this kind of Mass the priest gives his "back to the people". But that is not the purpose of his position any more than the people who sit in the first pew do so because they want to give their back to the people. [Well said!] The priest, shepherd of his flock, is leading his flock as the Good Shepherd does. When he addresses the congregation he turns to face the people and says “Dominus vobiscum” or “Orate fratres”. It also is centered on the fact that the Mass is a making present of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This is expressed with the manifold crosses seen on the vestments, ornamentations and gestures of the priest.

We invite all those interested in experiencing again the “old Mass” to attend this form of the liturgy. Those who have never experienced it, I truly encourage to attend. I advise those new to the form to read about it first ( is one possibility) and prepare themselves for an awe-inspiring experience!

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 December 2007 )

I congratulate Father for his fine presentation of the issues and his warm invitation.   It would be nice to hear in the future how things are going there.

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  1. Jeremy says:

    Thank you for your generosity, Father Galvez!

  2. Michael says:

    “The way it is celebrated conveys a sense of awe and mystery in worship. It also provides ample room for recollection and private prayer and expresses beauty, dignity, silence, and reverence in the Mass.”

    The Ordinary Form can’t do this?? No, seriously. The ordinary form can’t express beauty, dignity, silence, and reverence”?

    Don’t speak to me of abuses. I’ve had to endure them all my life also. If you want to list differences, then make sure those differences are more scientific and based on the rites themselves, not how those rites were celebrated with abuses.

    I’m not commenting so as to be difficult or to be a squeaky wheel. In all Christian charity I’m just trying to keep us all honest about this. Is there a way to place lauds upon the extraordinary form without implying disparaging remarks on the ordinary form? I ask that for our collective reflection.

    Peace to you all.

  3. David says:

    On Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I attended The Toronto Oratory Church of the Holy Family. The Mass was the Ordinary Form celebrated in Latin (the Readings, Gradual Response, Gospel, Homily and Prayers of the Faithful were in English). The Mass was celebrated “ad orientem” with incense, Gregorian Chant, Polyphony of Byrd, Victoria and Grieg and everyone knelt for Communion and the majority received on the tongue. The sanctuary was filled with the other Oratorian priests, brother and over 20 seminarians. Yes, it can be done in the Ordinary Form, no doubt. But two weeks ago, I came out of a Saturday “Anticipated” Mass elsewhere in Toronto and I was shaking at what had transpired. My preference is for the Extraordinary but yes, the Ordinary can be celebrated with dignity and solemnity and mystery. But I don’t believe that it can happen in English because we don’t know WTPRS!!! Thank you Father Z for your translations and your work on the Reform of the Reform. Perhaps with the new translations as per Vox Clara, we will have a new Ordinary Form Missal repairing the whole damage done by the Missal of 1970.

  4. Michael says:

    Are there ways of praising the old Mass without disparaging the new? Only if you don’t reflect on it too much.

    If I praise the old Mass for its silent canon, the posture of the priest, the repititions, beauty of it’s prayers etc., then at some point I’m going to realize that the Novus Ordo doesn’t have those elements that attract me to the old Mass. Unless I think this is a matter of taste and nothing more, then the natural conclusion is that the old Mass is better because of elements it has that the NO doesn’t, which obviously means the NO must be worse because it lacks what makes the old Mass better. This is why the very popular position among conservative Catholics, that both Masses are equal in every single way because both are approved by the Church, is untenable, no matter how convenient a solution it might appear to be. The Church can’t have two forms of the same Rite forever. One will have to prevail.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Are there ways of praising the old Mass without disparaging the new?

    As one who is grateful both for a beautiful Sunday TLM and a daily Novus Ordo Mass that is celebrated reverently with no liturgical abuses whatsoever, I believe that praise of the old Mass need not disparage the new Mass. I am deeply grateful for both.

    But can we say that both forms of our rite offer equal worship to God? No. I do not think so.

    In my experience, a typical everyday celebration the old Mass lifts us up to God in a way that only a rare and exceptional celebration of the new Mass can approach. I recall once again a passage of Martin Mosebach in The Heresy of Formlessness, roughly to the effect that the fact that the new Mass can with sufficient effort be celebrated with beauty and reverence reveals its weakness, while the fact that the old Mass can with sufficient effort be celebrated in an unworthy way reveals its strength.

    In any event, it might be unreasonable to hold the new Mass — which was constructed very rapidly and apparently has not yet reached a stable form as a mature rite — to the same standard as the old Mass whose development was guided by the Holy Spirit over a period of centuries.

  6. Different says:


    As you have written it Mosebach’s point sounds nice but doesn’t really bind to reality. Are we going to say that it requires sufficient effort to say Mass according to the rubrics? Why…are there mysterious “things” that just force a priest to commit liturgical abuse. I know many many priests who say very devout traditional NO Masses and I can assure you that they don’t have to exert significant effort to do so.

    Make no mistake, it is the formation of the priests themselves that cause liturgical abuse. Let’s face it, if Fr. Happy from the abuse-laden NO parish decided tomorrow to say a TLM, just to “check it out”, the result would not be pretty. After all, if he omits genuflections and proper postures from his NO Mass why wouldn’t he do the same with the TLM? I can see it now…hmmm that’s too many genuflections, I’ll just skip this one…and I just made the sign of the cross, I’m not going to do it again! I would think that any priest who makes a habit of omitting rubrics and making up his own, will not cease just because someone sets a Missal of 1962 in front of him and asks him to use it.

    Let’s just drop the idea that the NO Mass exerts this mysterious pull on the celebrant that makes him say Mass incorrectly. It doesn’t.

  7. CPT Tom says:

    I’m glad you get to go to NO masses that are reverently done. That is not typical of NO parishes in my diocese, nor in many places.

    The Holy Father is correct, because the many options that the ordinary form provides it is very prone to abuse that goes beyond merely forgetting to genuflect or do a sign of the cross. There is an inherent mindset that is very open to novelty. While the extraordinary form can be done badly, and why not there are humans involved, that is not the same as the typical shenanigans that happen with the ordinary form. These are a fruit of willful dissent or pride. In the case of where if all the “progressive” options are selected you can end up with a very me centered mass with little or no reverence.

  8. Brian C. says:

    I certainly have no desire to disparage the N.O. (since we also have several priests in our areas who offer it reverently–despite the grumblings of the remnants of the 1970’s crowd who still fondly remember the liturgical-abuse-laden Masses of previous pastors); but I have to agree that the TLM has an innate superiority to it–at least, in its affective effects on us (no pun intended). That phenomenon (of the TLM lending itself to greater reverence and less novelty) has been addressed many times on this blog.

    If I could put it in one sentence, I’d say that the TLM is far more suited to getting the “priest” out of the way, and allowing the worshippers to hear the *Church* speak. The difference is palpable: in many places (all N.O., in my experience, though that’s not logically necessary), the worshippers at Mass see and hear so very much of “Fr. X” and so very little of Christ and His Church. As our Holy Father stresses: the Church speaks through the liturgy, and that speech can be occluded, distorted, or even smothered by the antics of a stage-happy, rubrics-disregarding priest. The very nature of a TLM seems to minimize not only opportunities for such shenanigans but also the “experimental” mindset that evokes such abuses.

    Don’t get me wrong: the N.O., when not invalidated, certainly re-presents the Sacrifice of Christ, which is ultimately the point. But our *reception* of the graces from that Sacrifice can indeed be affected by the manner in which that Mass is offered; and I must agree with Michael, Henry, et al., that the N.O. seems to “show its seams” under the pressure to show forth that pure reverence… which may well be a symptom of the N.O.’s hasty (and possibly poorly planned) structure and paradigm.

  9. The most disconcerting feature of the Pauline Liturgy, IMO, is its lack of continuity with the Roman Liturgy before 1970. As a Catholic who feels strongly that any development in the Church must be done in an organic fashion, which doesn’t exclude past forms of expression, but harmonizes with them, the 1962 Roman Liturgy easily becomes not only my preferred form of liturgical expression, but is also a microcosm of what I believe the Church and her Sacred Tradition are about.

    It is hard for me to divide my Faith (in either doctrine or expression of doctrine) into “pre-Vatican II” and “post-Vatican II” when the liturgical structure I daily experience is that of before the Council, when the Proper of the Season and the Saints is in organic continuity with a Proper in use for centuries and when my entire experience of the “source and summit” of my spiritual life is a testimony to the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council. Experience with this extraordinary form of the Roman Liturgy continually encourages me to re-establish my links with the devotions, theological style, biblical interpretation, religious life, papal encyclicals and other expressions of the Mystical Body of Christ on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.

    IMO, the problem so lamented by the Pope of people seeing the 21st ecumenical Council as a “super-Council” either qualifying all that came before it, or annulling it, in toto, could be ended by imposing a new liturgical reform that gives us an ordinary form of the Liturgy, which is based entirely on the tradition of the 1962 Roman Liturgy while reformed in a minor and prudent fashion through a traditional interpretation of the Liturgy Constitution (Sacrosanctum Concilium) of the Second Vatican Council. In this way, we would all be forced to either re-establish our links with our “pre-Conciliar” past (for how can you worship in the form of your ancestors, yet continually condemn all other aspects of their experience of faith?) or openly exclude ourselves from the Church by our willful, liturgical disobedience.

  10. Cole M says:

    I cannot help but think about comments made on this blog and elsewhere that the derestriction of the Tridentine Rite will only serve to make the Novus Ordo the best it can possibly be, something that I imagine very few have seen given the manner of its development since Vatican II. Even if and when that happens, I think that it will become apparent to more and more people, especially those who grow up with both options readily available to them, that there is something present in the Tridentine Rite that seems to be lacking in the Novus Ordo and the way it is typically practiced. That missing element, IMHO, is very strongly linked with the attitude of the priest and the congregation. Mass is not theater and the priest is not an actor or presenter. There is a priest at my parish who makes a grand theatrical gesture at the start of the Agnus Dei of holding his arms out and breaking the larger host raised during the Eucharistic Prayer (forgive my ignorance as to the proper term) while spreading his arms wide. That does not, to me, seem like the kind of gesture that a presider leading the offering of a sacrifice to God would make; it is more like a bad actor engaging in melodrama. The Novus Ordo did not create this attitude, but it is so strongly linked with it that it will be difficult to separate the two, if it is at all possible. May God help us all to always be at Mass with the proper attitude.

  11. jaykay says:

    What a beautiful statement: how extremely well balanced, gracious and informative. Surely in the spirit of the “rules”! I particularly like his analogy regarding the orientation of the priest – I must add that one to my list of “ad orientem rejoinders” i.e. what I answer when others criticise it with all the usual yadda yadda.

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