UK: Card. Castrillon Hoyos – TLM in “Not many parishes – all parishes”!

Damian Thompson covers and comments on the Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos in Westminster Cathedral.

My emphases and comments.

Latin Mass to return to England and Wales
By Damian Thompson

The traditional Latin Mass – effectively banned by Rome for 40 years – is to be reintroduced into every Roman Catholic parish in England and Wales, [Get that?]  the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy said at a press conference in London today.  [This was stated by someone who knows what he is talking about.  He wouldn’t have said it if it was according to the Holy Father’s will.  how can we know this?  He made a similar statement before.  Review this.  If the Secretariat of State or the Holy Father had a problem with what Card. Castrillon said back then, he wouldn’t be saying it in public now.]

In addition, all seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass so that they can celebrate it in all parishes.  [Get that?  Will… be… required…. ]

Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services, formerly known as the Tridentine Rite.

Yesterday’s announcement by the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, will horrify Catholic liberals, including many bishops of England and Wales.

The Pope upset the liberals last year when he issued a decree removing their power to block the celebration of the old Mass. Yesterday’s move demonstrates that the Vatican intends to go much further in promoting the ancient liturgy.

Asked whether the Latin Mass would be celebrated in many ordinary parishes in future, Cardinal Castrillon said: “Not many parishes – all parishes[I can see it now: "What part, My Lord… Your Excellency, of "all" was difficult to understand?"] The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist.” [Again, not only for those who ask for it, but all… even if they don’t ask for it.  This is consistent with what he said on the DVD made with EWTN by the FSSP and which I linked about above for your review.]

The Cardinal, who heads the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, made his comments as he was preparing to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, the first time a cardinal has done so there for 40 years.

In the traditional rite, the priest faces in the same direction as the people and reads the main prayer of the Mass in Latin, in a voice so low as to be virtually silent. By contrast, in the new rite the priest faces the people and speaks audibly in the local language.

Cardinal Castrillon said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.   [Silence = Treasure.  Interesting.]

Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” – even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.  ["Gregorian Rite"?  I know this is used by some.  I wonder if it will catch on or if this will be so labeled in a document of the Holy See.]

The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”

However, the new rite will not disappear; the Pope wishes to see the two forms of Mass existing side by side.  [Yep.  And then we shall see what happens!  Can you say tertium quid?]

Such sweeping liturgical changes are certain to cause intense controversy. At a press conference, a journalist from the liberal Tablet magazine, which is close to the English bishops, told the Cardinal that the new liturgical changes amounted to “going backwards”[But The Tablet is simply wrong.  Wrong, wrong wrong.]

Following last year’s papal decree, liberal bishops in England and America have attempted to limit the takeup of the old Mass by arguing that the rules say it should only be reintroduced when a “stable group” of the faithful request it. But Cardinal Castrillon said that a stable group could consist of as few as three people, [This is what WDTPRS argued all along.] and they need not come from the same parish.

The changes will take a few years to implement fully, he added, just as the Second Vatican Council had taken a long time to absorb. He insisted that the widespread reintroduction of the old Mass did not contradict the teachings of the Council.

I repeat:

Not many parishes – all parishes"

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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



  2. Franzjosf says:

    Glorious news. Well, this is one way to get kneeling, maybe altar rails, and ad orientem back into all the parishes of the world. What a great idea.

  3. peretti says:

    I sure hope this trickles down to Denver!

  4. Erin says:

    All Parishes? Really?

    Saying it is one thing, but making it happen is quite another. I long for the day that this happens, I really do. But I know it will be a long way off.
    Cardinal Hoyos’ decree basically amounts to every priest in England & Wales learning the Latin Mass immediately and offering it to their parishioners, who will then accept it willingly. All under the guidance of Bishops who will willingly oversee the process and push it through. Neither of these 4 things is going to happen in England & Wales any time soon, regardless of what we or the Holy Father might want.
    It will take an immediate change in the seminary culture, which the current bishops will have to ensure, combined with an influx if students with traditional inclinations. And even then you will have to deploy these students to every parish in England and then ensure that there is an uptake for the Masses.
    In fact it probably won’t happen until these new priests become bishops.

    It’s a lovely idea, but will it happen any time soon? Sadly there is no chance whatsoever.

  5. a catechist says:

    I think calling it the “Gregorian Mass” is a great idea, most especially if that means a revival of Gregorian chant at Sunday Masses.

  6. Mark says:

    This is simply astonishing! Is it April 2nd? Or am I dreaming? If there is follow-through on these statements with concrete action – hell is about to freeze-over!

    Yet again we must ask: When will the Holy Father celebrate the ‘Gregorian’ form of the Roman Rite?

  7. lmgilbert says:

    Gregorian Mass sounds lovely, but what is the basis for this appellation exactly?

    Um, I can indeed say tertium quid, but understanding what it means is a different story. Am I correct in thinking in Hegelian terms here, with the Novus Ordo equalling the thesis, the Gregorian Mass the anti-thesis, and tertium quid the synthesis- the eventual liturgical outcome of these two forms of the one rite co-existing in the hearts and minds of the entire Church?

  8. Agnes B. Bullock says:

    God Bless you Father!!!!! Your website has made the wait for the motu proprio bearable, and now this glorious news!!!!!! You are a blessing in disguise!!!!!!!

  9. Damian Thompson says:

    There were four journalists at the press conference – Anna Arco of the Herald, a Catholic guy from Reuters, Elena Curti from the Tablet and me from the Telegraph. I was sceptical that the Cardinal really envisaged the arrival of the Gregorian Rite (his term) in “many ordinary Catholic parishes” and my jaw dropped – and heart leapt – when he said: “Not many – all.” Twice. Elena bristled and started talking about going backwards and said something along the lines of “but we [the laity] are now priests, kings and prophets”. At which point I told the Cardinal that I wanted to dissociate myself from her comments, that young people were increasingly delighted by the opportunity to experience the TLM and were very grateful for his efforts.”

    As we left, three out of the four journalists kissed the Cardinal’s ring. Guess which one didn’t – but then I suppose she’s already a priest, king and prophet or whatever.

  10. Brian Anderson says:

    This is great news. However the best way to expedite this is for the
    Holy Father to celebrate our Gregorian Rite,regularly, in public.
    If he does not, then the bishops won’t and if the bishops won’t the priests
    won’t. Remember that most of the bishops will only do what is safe. They are
    very much “monkey see..monkey do”. When our Gregorian Rite becomes
    fashionable (certianly not the best motive) then they will celebrate it.

  11. Three cheers for the Pope and Cardinal Hoyos! Excellent news!

  12. Luke says:

    I can appreciate the TLM and absolutely do, but I would hate to see the NO go away. I have seen both and personally prefer the NO. I don’t want to have to try to translate the Mass on the fly or learn Latin (which I am doing anyway).

  13. Sweetest Blessed Trinity, we praise you, glorify you, and we bless you!

    You show yourself strong to protect your children!
    Thank you for your love and your care!

    Dear Lord, we beseech you to preserve and protect The Holy Father and the brave men and women who fight (on Earth and in Heaven) for the purity of Holy Mother Church.

    Bring the faithful to a deep knowledge of what has been lost, and a DEEPER hunger for the the reverence and riches you intend us to have.


  14. Sweetest Blessed Trinity, we praise you, we glorify you, and we bless you!

    You show yourself strong to protect your children!
    Thank you for your love and your care!

    Dear Lord, we beseech you to preserve and protect The Holy Father and the brave men and women who fight (on Earth and in Heaven) for the purity of Holy Mother Church.

    Bring the faithful to a deep knowledge of what has been lost, and a DEEPER hunger for the the reverence and riches you intend us to have.


  15. vincentius says:

    This comment reminds me of an incident I had as an altar boy in the late sixties. I asked the priest why they couldn’t keep the old Mass as well as have the new. His response: “Because nobody would go to the new Mass.” This comment has always remained with me especially when I read about the silly episcopal roadblocks and other aging hippie paranoia

  16. Tina says:

    How is this going to work in the real world? I think of my current parish priest who has to say Sunday Mass in 2 different locations. I’m thinking of parishes in the neighboring dioceses that share a priest. I’m not seeing how this is going to work in all parishes.

  17. Tina asked: “How is this going to work in the real world? I think of my current parish priest who has to say Sunday Mass in 2 different locations. I’m thinking of parishes in the neighboring dioceses that share a priest. I’m not seeing how this is going to work in all parishes.”

    Our Lord rose from the dead, so he will handle this issue as well. :-)

  18. Fr. J says:

    They also need to require dioceses to train the current priests and require current priest to learn to celebrate the TLM. I want to and will learn, but require more help than currently available.

  19. AlexB says:

    If true, this represents a change in the Holy Father’s thinking versus this same point one year ago. Might the music at the Washington Mass have opened His Holiness’ eyes about what the Sacred Liturgy has become in so many places?

  20. Tina asked: “How is this going to work in the real world? I think of my current parish priest who has to say Sunday Mass in 2 different locations. I’m thinking of parishes in the neighboring dioceses that share a priest. I’m not seeing how this is going to work in all parishes.”

    Have faith! Our Lord rose from the dead, and he will handle these issues as well.

    God bless you!


  21. Vincentius: You are onto something. I remember how at its introduction very few people wanted the new mass, at least in my area they were few.

    Tina, and everyone: People keep making the assumption that providing the extraordinary form means having to say more masses. It does not. All that need be done is designate some of the existing OF masses now to be EF masses.

  22. prof. basto says:

    Is this meant to the whole Catholic World, or just to England & Wales?

    Because here where I live, its the seventh largest metropolis on Earth, in country with the most populous Catholic population (at least, counting nominal Catholics), and only one parish in the distant dangerzone offers the TLM, so that it is easier to go to the nearest city than to try and go to a TLM in Rio.

    I hope Card. Castrillon chats with Card. Scheid soon…

  23. Michael says:

    If we want this to happen here in the U.S. we have to increase our prayers. In my Archdiocese here on the east coast, absolutely nothing has changed since 7/7/07. The news sounds good, but I am afraid to get my hopes up any longer because of the overwhelming liberals in the Church here who seem to ignore directives from Rome. It would help so much if our dear Holy Father said this Mass as an example. I will trust in the Lord. I do indeed like the sound of the “Gregorian Mass”.

  24. JML says:

    I have wondered for a number of years if the NO is directly responsible for the decline in priestly vocations. I grew up with the Hybrid Mass and served it for 3 years. I assisted the priest in celebrating the Mass by praying with him at the beginning of the Mass and then bringing up the water or wine during the offertory, followed by ringing the bells during the consecration.

    Like many altar boys, I felt a calling to the priesthood. I heard the call but did not choose. Instead I am the father to 4 children, and, God, willing a Grandfather this summer.

    I think if more young men get involved with assisting the priest in the celebration of Mass, we will get more vocations, which leads to more priests, which will lead to more TLM Masses, which will lead to more vocations, etc. etc. etc.

    It may take another 40 years for the effects of the Gregorian Rite to filter back into the Catholic Culture. 40 years is a blink when looking over the history of the Church. I am patient and a pray for a good health, many years, and wise leadership for our current Pontiff.

    Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum.

  25. Fr. W says:

    And ironically, as liberal bishops keep blocking efforts to sacralize the language of Mass, it is driving more and more people to the Gregorian Mass. They are accelerating the process!

  26. patrick f says:

    Laus Tibi Domine!

    Its wonderful they are making a real effort. Now in the states we have our own efforts being made. IN St. Louis we have two special oratories set aside for the Traditional or as its being called here “gregorian” rite. In my home diocese alone, we have a group of Atleast 8 people ordained to Holy Priesthood, and 5 of them are schooled in the traditional rite. The oratory I attend when I can is less then 2 years old, and has over 100 parishioners, with MANY MANY children, who are very aware of this form of the mass. So its coming full circle folks “Behold, I make all things new” . I keep that bit of scripture in mind constantly

  27. Tina says:

    I understand your point, but in the parish next to me they have 1 mass for the weekend. One. So which form is it going to be said in?

    I’d also like to take the time to point out that many of you give readers the impression that the reason the Catholic Church is having problems is because the Church has gone to the “new” form. You mention things like lack of vocations the priesthood or irreverance during current Eurcharistic celebrations. You promote the TLM as a “cure” for these problems. I would like to point out that correlation does not mean causation. The classic example is that ice cream sales increase during the summer and so do crime rates. Therefore, ice cream sales must be causing the increase in crime. If the sale of ice cream is stopped, then crime will go down. I mention this example becaue I get the feeling that you blame the “new” Mass for the problems in the Church. Believe me, I can be just as irreverent in a TLM as in the “new” Mass.

  28. Deo volente says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    RORATE CAELI in a post today pointed out that the Apostolic Constitution Pontificalis Romani was signed almost 40 years ago today (June 18th, 1968). I wonder if this has anything to do with the timing of this announcement? It would be as if we had wandered in the desert for 40 years…


  29. Chironomo says:

    If true, we are entering a VERY dangerous period in the “reform of the reform”. As severe as the Cardinals comments sound, they are consistent with what he has said in the past, and with Benedict’s knowledge. I have no doubt that he is speaking the truth. How it would (or will) be worked out juridicially is a very different question. I think this and the mandatory training of seminarians in the TLM are probably related closely, as a new generation of trained Priests would be a requirement for this to work. I apologize if I’m rambling… I had to drive home from Chicago to Florida last night and have not slept yet!

  30. CK says:

    They also need to require dioceses to train the current priests and require current priest to learn to celebrate the TLM.

    This is so true. Please Cardinal Hoyos come and mandate same to USCCB. I know that in our parish just showing them such an article as proof of what the Holy Father is asking is not enough. Unless it is mandated by Rome through the bishops they won’t change.

  31. How wonderful and appropriately named!

    God grant our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, many happy and blessed years!


  32. Mary Rose says:

    Fr. Z,

    I was inspired to create a special something to celebrate this. My husband thinks I’m strange but I was already that before I came back to the Catholic church… :-)

    Here’s the image:

  33. Mary Rose says:

    Okay. That didn’t work the way I had hoped. If this doesn’t work, visit the link.


    Silly Photoshopping

  34. Giusébio Chocolio says:

    Long live the Pope.

    (And God bless the Irish people for saying NO…Maybe they are waking up).

  35. Paule says:

    Great news!
    I think that England needs this. They have totally lost the sense of God and have been acting crazy lately with the passing of crazy laws going against all moral sanity. They need to recapture a sense of God and Truth. I think this can help.

  36. Alexander says:

    I can appreciate the TLM and absolutely do, but I would hate to see the NO go away. I have seen both and personally prefer the NO. I don’t want to have to try to translate the Mass on the fly or learn Latin (which I am doing anyway).

    You do not have to do any of that. After you get used to the TLM you will know where the priest is at and what is being prayed (except for the stuff that changes but all you need is a missal for that). Its actually quite easy. Even though you would not understand most of the Gloria, for example, you will know when its being prayed and what is being said because the prayer is already mostly in your memory from reading it in English. Trust me its not that hard there’s just a learning curve but that comes by just attending and following a missal (I find that I started to use the Missal less and less after a while because I began to become accustomed to the TLM).

  37. schoolman says:

    “Gregorian Mass sounds lovely, but what is the basis for this appellation exactly?”

    The basis is found in the Motu Proprio where the Holy Father gives an overview of the history of the development of the Roman rite.

  38. Larry says:

    I’m not going to get too excited yet. I will wait and see how the Holy Father handles this. As presented it is great news, and I agree that the Sec. of State or ther Pope would have reached out and touched the good Cardinal if he had gone beyond the Holy Father’s will. If it goes as stated then we are in for some very interesting times! One word of caution though. It is not simply “liberal” bishops who are holding off. Many very good Bishops are less than thrilled at the prospect of the TLM being reintroduced in a large scale setting. Hopefully, if this is spelled out for them they will obey. Fr. Z you may want to get the rights to publish the Lewis and Short on the Net. There are going to be more than afew who need a copy! In spite of your love for Latin I do believe the Hebrew is appropriate here: HALLELUJAH

  39. FloridaJohn says:

    The local Orthodox parish here celebrates the “Gregorian” Divine Liturgy so I guess this would help in uniting the East & West Churches.
    I like the sound of it too, better than “Extraordinary Form”!

  40. Mark says:

    Does he mean that the E.F. WILL BE in every parish, or that it CAN BE in every parish, and that the Holy Father ENVISAGES that happening someday (i.e. as a hope not a precept)?

    Will the Holy Father ask that ALL SEMINARIANS learn the ancient form, or that all SEMINARIES teach it (i.e. make it available to those seminarians who request it)?

  41. Anthony Bailey says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    This is totally unrelated, but have French priests given up entirely wearing the amice? I have seen many photographs recently of liturgical celebrations throughout France with priests, and bishops, wearing a type of all-in-one nightshirt arrangements. Your comment would be most welcome.

  42. Roadhouse says:

    I attended the Latin Mass Society A.G.M. and heard the Cardinal’s address there. I think his words need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Firstly, his command of English is not the best, he seems often to say things in a rather exaggerated manner or even to choose the wrong words completely. Secondly, he is sharing his own personal opinions about what the Holy Father supposedly wants, he is not quoting him but seems rather to be indulging in mind-reading. Thirdly, when he spoke about the Holy Father’s supposed desires for the Latin Mass, he was careful to point out that this was a work requiring much patience – from which it was clear he meant these things would [hopefully] transpire at some unknown terminus in the future, not in our life times, and certainly therefore not in the Holy Father’s (which begs a few questions, does it not?). Fourthly, his address has to be taken in context, it seemed his primary goal in accepting the invitation to come to London was to rally his hosts, the Latin lovers, and impart them with hope. I’m sure if his personal tastes had been more in line with the charismatics and he had been invited to London at their expense, he would have addressed their troops in similar terms.

  43. Virgil says:


    I share your surprise at the use of the words Gregorian RITE !!! (i.e. “Rite” not “Use”, as in “the Gregorian Use of the Roman Rite.”

    Do you think that Castrillon simply misspoke? Or does the Holy Father intend to treat the (mass previously known as the “Extraordinary Form” as a new Rite entirely?

    Might this also be a prelude to an ANGLICAN RITE? (Which has been a complaint among many of the Anglicans who seek union with Rome, and who until now had to be considered “Anglican Use” parishes of the Roman Rite.)

    Father Z – I am interested for you to weigh in on both these topics!

  44. Michael says:

    “It’s a lovely idea, but will it happen any time soon? Sadly there is no chance whatsoever.
    Comment by Erin — 14 June 2008.”

    I agree. Elena’s weekly is still on sale at Westminster, and I venture a guess that it was she who refused to kiss the Cardinal’s ring : after all she wants to go forward. The same weekly has reported that Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster regrets having not made his dream a reality: to move forward the present altar. There were some fifty priests in the sanctuary, but he was noted by his absence: somebody else had to read his brief, cool address to Cardinal Hoyos. Bishop Linsday keeps on sending anti-TLM letters to the press. Archbishop Smith’s Canon insisted on a woman in the sanctuary. One can go on and on …

    Within the existing, firmly entrenched structures nothing can be done. A new, parallel structure is necessary. What a pity that the SSPX, which has a great opportunity to help the Church with its own already established structures in which the Holly Sacrifice is celebrated impeccably, is at the same time entrenched in its own pseudo-theology which the Church, obviously, cannot tolerate.

  45. Calleva says:

    Michael is absolutely right.

    In terms of E & W, we have a serious problem and powerful statements from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos won’t mean anything if Benedict does not take a personal stand over the appointment of our bishops. Rome can make all the noises it wants but nothing will have teeth unless it can be implemented.

    Benedict has appointed one liberal bishop already. At the time it was hoped he was merely holding fire before appointing a Cardinal who is more in line with his own thinking. I hope so, but so far the signs aren’t positive.

    As stated by a previous post, so many of our parishes share priests – my own parish recently merged with two others and this newly-merged triple parish doesn’t have daily Mass and I can’t see our PP wanting to add to his workload with a TLM. But nevermind the SSPX, what’s wrong with getting the FSSP to take over churches?

    We are told that dioceses don’t ‘share’ priests, if they did, we could have had a couple from London.

    I note the comments from American readers but really they don’t apply to England and Wales – you do already have some fine bishops (Nebraska, for instance – I won’t try to spell his name!). I urge all readers to pray for our own situation. In the past, Ireland supplied us with many of our priests but now the vocations are not coming (being taken up) and with liberalism still dominant in our hierarchy, I am not optimistic that we’ll have the Benedictine reform of the reform any time soon.

  46. Jack Regan says:

    One thing I wonder about the ‘Benedictine Restoration’ is how long it can last. It is clearly not a short-term plan and so I guess that traditionalists are either hoping that the 81 year old pontiff will live long enough to see it through, or they’re hoping that his successor will be of like mind. Both are far from certain.

  47. EDG says:

    I live in the diocese where our bishop just distinguished himself at the latest national bishops’ huddle by announcing that Catholics were too dumb to understand the new translation (in English!) and then, feeling himself on a roll, went on to say that “with all due respect to the Pope,” he would refuse to celebrate the “old Latin Mass.” This was completely irrelevant to the topic at hand, and nobody was asking or expecting him to celebrate the Gregorian Mass anyway. But of course he was the first bishop in the US to publicly reject and attempt to limit the Motu Proprio last year, so I guess he feels he has a reputation to uphold. I also felt his remarks were arrogant and uncalled for (“with all due respect to the Pope,” indeed!) and I hope somebody reaches out and touches him soon. He has currently decided to deal with the MP by simply ignoring the requests of the people; no explanation, no nothing. Silence works.

    I think, like it or not, the only way for the Pope to achieve the return of the Gregorian Rite is to mandate it. I really hope this is a sign that this is about to happen.

    Love the term “Gregorian Rite,” btw. I think it steps back in time to what would be a good restore point or at any rate place to begin again, and moves us beyond some of the associations and misunderstandings that other terms may have picked up.

  48. Mary Rose says:

    I’d also like to take the time to point out that many of you give readers the impression that the reason the Catholic Church is having problems is because the Church has gone to the “new” form. – Tina

    I believe that. I believe it because I have seen the “fruit” of the new form. I was raised in the era of Vatican II; which meant: little spiritual formation, a push for “progressive” applications toward the Mass, and a loss of understanding that the Mass is a Holy Sacrifice with the Priest being distinctly and uniquely separate from the laity. If there are no distinctions, is it any wonder why young men don’t hear the call to become a priest? I’m sure many thought the laity would soon be celebrating the Mass in time.

    I realize you were making a point, Tina, about being able to be “irreverent” in an Tridentine Mass as a Novus Ordo, but I believe it would be much more difficult for one to do so. The Tridentine Mass doesn’t leave much room to not consider reverence. Even small children pick up on the difference.

    Which leads me to logically conclude that if small children know how to pay proper respect to the Mass, I think adults will get it soon enough.

  49. Similar statements have been made in the past. In the 1980’s,
    in the aftermath of the international visitation of seminaries, it was recommended
    that all seminarians be educated in Latin, and that no one be ordained who does
    not know how to sing Mass in Latin. In 2003, in the lead-up to Redemptionis
    Sacramentum, Cardinal Arinze sounded as if liturgical abuses were about to end.

    Ok, so what happened?

    Not to sound too contrarian, but I think that the excitement which attends so
    many off-the-cuff remarks from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (and, in earlier years,
    from Cardinals Arinze and Medina Estevez) reveals more about our own fears and
    frustration as lovers and defenders of the Traditional Roman liturgy.

  50. Matthew Mattingly says:

    This is wonderful news. Even though I am a young Catholic, I can’t wait. I do NOT think that the Pope or the Cardinal are going to keep us waiting for YEARS before this awesome news becomes a reality. I would not be surprised if it’s already a done deal in Rome, and just needs to be promulgated by the Pope. It will be much, much more powerful than the Motu Proprio, and it will leave no wiggle room for liberal bishops etc. to ignore the directives.
    Granted, it might take 2-3 years to completely integrate the TLM back into the life of every parish. I wasn’t around yet at the time, but it sounds like the re-introduction of the Tridentine Latin Mass will not be as brutally done as were the “reforms/deforms” of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.
    The reaction of the liberals (bishops, priests, and MOST ESPECIALLY all the aged femminist nuns and women who have been the foot-soldiers of the radical deviations and dissenting abuses in the Mass) will be predictable. I can see them all now whining and weeping, screaming at the Pope at and at the TV camera about how “wounded” they are.
    Their day IS over.

  51. Adam says:

    Let’s keep things in context. The high altar at Westminster cathedral is in fact freestanding but there is insufficient space between it and the wall to allow the celebrant to genuflect. All the cardinal was proposing to do, as I understand it, was to move the altar three feet forward, so it would sit on what is now the footpace. There was no question of moving the ciborium (i.e. the canopy) or reducing the size of the altar. The altar could then be used on both sides and resolve the problem of the temporary altar. Personally, the obvious solution to the problem of having two altars would be to get rid of the temporary one, but the folks in charge at Westminster just aren’t ready for it on a pernament basis. As it happens, the cardinal celebrates the modern Good Friday liturgy on the high altar, ad orientem, when the temporary altar is pushed out of sight.

  52. Matthew Mattingly says:

    “I have wondered for a number of years if the NO is directly responsible for the decline in priestly vocations. I grew up with the Hybrid Mass and served it for 3 years. I assisted the priest in celebrating the Mass by praying with him at the beginning of the Mass and then bringing up the water or wine during the offertory, followed by ringing the bells during the consecration.”

    I had to respond to this post by JML.

    The answer is a resounding YES ! I have done research for 3 years into hundreds of Catholic religious Orders (priests, brothers, nuns), and into USA diosecean seminaries with stats for before, during, and after Vatican II. The numbers are amazing, and frightening as well. For the collapse has been so complete starting immediatly after Vatican II, and continuing unabated for 40 years, that it really would shake people’s conviction as to whether Vatican II was really “the work of the Holy Spirit”, as has been claimed….or the work of something else. I’ll let you guess.
    Orders like the Jesuits are down -20,000 since Vatican II, the Franciscans (OFM), down -12,500, and Padre Pio’s beloved Capuchins down -6,000. The Servites , -1,200, Trappists, -3,100, Benedictines, -5,000, and White Fathers (the largest Missionary Order in the Church at one time), -4,000. Among nuns, the declines are far worse. Huge Orders of sisters like the Daughters of Charity of St. Vicent de Paul (famous for their big white starched bonnets and once the largest religious Order in the entire Church) -30,000 since Vatican II, School Sisters of Notre Dame , -9,000+, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, -3,500, Sisters of the Good Shepherd ,-8,000, and the Sisters of Mercy (who educated me), -16,000 in the USA alone!! Some seminaries (diosecean/ religious), have had tremendous loses since Vatican II, and over 200 have closed in the USA. IN Ireland, all the diosecean seminaries in the entire country have been closed except for 1, Maynooth College. IN France, literally hundreds of seminaries and religious houses have been closed over the last 40 years. Same is true in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, England, Australia, USA, Austria, and even India where a creeping liberal dissent in religious Orders is having the same fruits as it has in Western Europe and the USA.
    My own diosecean seminary, in Philadelphia boasted almost 600 seminarians before Vatican II, but the declines were almost immediate after Vatican II. Every year there were huge declines, until the declines slowed to a trickle. But then, when you get down as low as 38 (present number of seminarians for Philadelphia with 3 ordained this year), from a pre-Vatican II high of 543, you really can loose many sems without closing the place. Seminarians from other dioceses have been accepted to keep the place open, but even with them, there are only about 120 seminarians, and 90% of the huge buildings and dorms are empty.
    So to answer your question…..yes. Vatican II, it’s reforms, and the Novus Ordo have been/are the cause of the declines and crisis in the Church. Let us pray for the restoration of the Tridentine (Gregorian) Latin Mass in our Church as willed by Pope Benedict XVI…..before long, we will see these shocking totals begin to reverse.

  53. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Fr. W, you’re absolutely right.

    Tina, in places where one priest travels to more than one parish to say massy, maybe the afrorementioned “tertium quid” will be the welcome outcome of the process. Dum spiro spero.

  54. Brian Sudlow says:

    My report on the Westminster Mass here:

    God bless you, Father Z.

  55. vox borealis says:

    Matthew Mattingly,

    You need to acquaint yourself with the term “post hoc propter hoc.”

  56. RichR says:

    As a member of a Gregorian chant group that does its primary work in Novus Ordo Masses, I have a small concern about using the term “Gregorian rite.” This may create in the minds of the faithful (who haven’t seen Gregorian chant at a mainstream Mass in decades) the idea that Gregorian chant is primarily for the Gregorian Rite. This would be an unfortunate, but understandable, consequence of this title for the TLM. I know that the HF is favorable to chant in the New Mass, so I am curious why he named it this, if it’s true at all.

  57. Habemus Papam says:

    Fr.W, you’re point was made by the Pontifical Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday where I estimate 2000 people were present. Standing room only. As for the rest, we are no longer in the reign of JP2 and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is not Arinze. His English sounded fine to me. Im sure he means what he says and we are looking at a mandate, perhaps in the form of an explanatory document on Pope Benedict’s motu propio.

  58. Orthros says:


    Since I *am* familiar with “post hoc ergo propter hoc”, would you care to posit your theory of the reasons for the decline? One that has more proof backing it than the link between rejection of the TLM and adoption of the NO?

    Correlation doesn’t mean causality… but it also does not reject causality either. In terms of root causes (as opposed to ancillary ones), I haven’t been acquainted with a stronger argument.

  59. Larry says:

    I have for some time been studying all things liturgical and listening to not a few discussions on physics. I have a question for Fr. Z. Would the collision of two atoms and the resultant “new” particle be “organic”? If the answer is yes then this concept fits in with the organic development of liturgy. If the answer is no then there seems to be a problem in the argument for an organic development. However, if the Holy Father issues a new Missal with a revised calendar it is a matter of obedience and that after all is how we got the NO. Pope Paul VI had it his way and there is no reason that Benedict XVI cannot do this and still be in line with Vatican II. The revisions he would make would be in line with what Sacrosanctum Concilium envisaged not Bugnini’s interpretation of it. I know that the word revision or revised is anathema to many here but that is what it means to be alive. Only God Himself is perfect and never in need of change. His creation though is in a constant state of revision and growth. A new Gregorian Missal breathes the fresh air of today not the dusty memories. Benedict can bring new life into the Tradition as he has already demonstrated. A new Missal is a move foreward as some have argued that we are moving backward. It is important that the Tradition find new legs in this 21st century and that those new legs have the authority of Peter to stand on.

    By the way, she is right (and wrong). By our Baptism we are priests prophets and kings (CCC 1268). She just does not understand in what sense this is true. Once again, catechisis is the answer to her dilema. Interesting times; a blessing not a curse.

  60. vox borealis says:


    I neither posit a reason nor reject a reason. I just find it tiresome to read the same old arguments rooted in fallacious cause-effect logic. No one denies the numbers that are always cited, but a much stronger case needs to be made than simply asserting that Vatican II (or the Novus Ordo) *caused* the decline in vocations. Even in terms of simple cause-effect, I have never once seen a poster give statistics showing the trends in vocations leading up to Vatican II–were they increasing an then a sudden drop? Were they stable or already declining? I was under the impression that vocations had peaked in the 1950s, so that by the time of V2 the numbers were dropping, albeit more slowly. If so, then perhaps the causation lies elsewhere than the council itself, which is not to say that the misapplication of the council’s documents did not accelerate trends.

    Likewise, there is a tendency to confuse V2 and the NO mass, which was introduced years after the council concluded, a decade or so later in some countries. Indeed, look at Mattingly’s longer post: he starts out asking the question whether the NO led to the decline in vocations, but quickly shifts to the council: “For the collapse has been so complete starting immediatly after Vatican II…”

    So, the collapse started, according to Mattingly, immediately after the council–a statement that I question somewhat, but let us accept for the moment–that is to say, *before* the adoption of the NO. So, by his own evidence the NO cannot be the cause of the collapse, though it may have accelerated the trend.

    The problem I have with all of this is that it is, in my opinion, intellectually lazy. Few great social or historical movements can be explained so simply, and indeed what some see here as the *cause* (the NO) is likely itself just another symptom of deeper causation, including a two or more generation loss of the sense of sacred, rising public anti-religious/atheistic sentiments on the part of public officials, rising wealth in western countries and a rejection by most families to have many children or to promote vocations within the family, 1960s and post-60s rejections of all authority as suspect and all tradition as repressive, a decline in immigration (in the US) from traditionally sources of the priesthood (Italy, Ireland), etc.

    This is not to say that a turn back to the TLM would not be a very good thing–I myself love the older form and attend whenever I get the chance, which is quite rare in these parts. Nor does it deny that the most egregious problems with the NO *as it is practiced* are both the culmination of problematic secularizing trends AND the cause of further desacralization and the confusion of another generation of young catholics. But this is a very smart blog–let’s move past the oversimplified arguments. Remember Cor. 1.13.11.

  61. Larry says:

    While it may not be proof of why the decline it is most certainly a factor. But there are many factors. The Council met and ended in an ers that can only be called a “perfect storm” if you will. To determine what the Council “caused” is difficult. To discover that the Council did something far beyond what was reported is worthy of scholarly study. The document on religious freedom is just one example of a document that was misinterpretd fromthe very beginning and that too led to many many problems. The wide spread use of psycholgy by religious led to many problems; but the recvision of the liturgy helped in no small part because of the relaxed rules.

    When we find a body with a bullet hole in it. We assume the bullet did the killing. Science may find however that the body died of a heart attack instead. The bullet may not have killed but it may have caused the HA. Like I said a perfect storm.

  62. Matthew Mattingly says:

    VOx borealis-

    Vatican II and the Novus Ordo were/are the cause of the crisis in the Church today. I read of several seminaries, of when the Novus Ordo was being introduced, the seminarians hated it and quit en masse.
    Similarly, I read that many Orders of nuns, when adopting the “reforms” of Vatican II and either opting for a modified habit, or discarding it entirely caused enourmous tensions in their Orders. Many sisters quit because they hated the reforms and having to give up the holy habit. Later on, some of the radicals left because in the end, their Orders didn’t go far enough. Some Orders of sisters, particularly in the USA, lost huge numbers of holy, faithful sisters in the course of implementing the “reforms” and later on the deviations…leaving behind just a core group of radical femminists who proceeded to morph into more and more bizarre expressions of religious life and liturgy until now their down to bare-bones communities of rad nuns all in their early 70’s and older.

    I knew a priest (Augustinian, OSA) who said what happened at and after Vatican II was like pulling the plug on an energy source or shutting down a power plant . The Novus Ordo and the reforms of Vatican II were like a thunderstorm which knocks out the power, but the ill effects soon vanish.. Unfortunatly, we’re still waiting for the thunderstorm to pass so the power (the Gregorian /Tridentine Mass) can be put back into place.

  63. I have spoken with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos on this subject directly, in Italian, as he is the Grand Prior of the Constantinian Order of which I am Vice-Grand Chancellor, following his celebration of the Pontifical Mass for Saint George’s Day at the Basilica of Santa Croce al Flaminio (using the Extraordinary Rite), the Order’s principal Church, on 19 April 2008. This was only the second time a Cardinal had celebrated Mass according to this Rite in a Roman Basilica since the motu proprio (the first being in S. Maria Maggiore). On this occasion he told me directly that he expected that all seminaries would introduce instruction in celebrations of the Extraordinary Rite, but that there was a problem in doing so in that so many of the clergy (and therefore seminary professors) were themselves unfamilair with the rite. Indeed, at our Mass this was quite evident as the majority of the clergy present clearly did not know what to do.

    The period of reintroduction, therefore, will be a long and gradual process and if it is to succeed, the “liberals” (if that is the right word) must be convinced by all the supporters of the universal reintroduction of the rite that this is not a retrogresive step, but an opportunity for the Church to release a wave of spirituality which can re-energise the Church.

    If, however, this is perceived as a battle ground between “conservatives” and “liberals” or “progressives” then the Church will not be renewed and the whole exercise will have been a failure.

    Even though it is self-evident that many Bishops who have stalled this process are hostile to the motu proprio, this is because they have been misled as to what it means for the Church. It is therefore essential that those who wish to see the motu proprio and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ work to succeed, must be neither triumphalist nor antagonistic towards those not yet persuaded as to the benefits of the reintroduction of the Extraordinary Rite. Commentators such as the Tablet journalist be persuaded to see the merits of the Extraordinary Rite and how it is bringing lapsed Catholics back to the Church, encouraging new vocations (see the success of the seminaries of the PFSP and the Society of Christ the King), and inspiring conversions. How can Catholics of whatever complexion consider this anything but a huge boon for the Church?

    Guy Stair Sainty

  64. peretti says:

    Guy Stair Sainty, I am afraid I son’t agree with much of what you have posted. You say that is this is perceived as a battleground between conservatives and liberals, then the whole exercise will have been a failure. The liberals already see this as a battle ground. The most brutal and tyrannical leaders are liberals, not conservatives. Showing the liberals the merits of the TLM in bringing lapsed Catholics back, increased vocations, etc. does not mean a hang to them. The TLM threatens their agenda, and they will have none of it. I have not tried to petition for the TLM in my parish. I have, however, told those in my parish that I sometimes go to a nearby parish that offers the TLM. In mentioning this, I have practically been placed in quarantine. I have seen it in politics for over 40 years. Liberals call for freedom in all matters without consequence. The OF is all about them, while the EF is all about God, and they seem to hate that.

  65. John says:


    The Council destroyed the conviction in the mind of Catholic people concerning the immutability of church practices and dogma. Under the social pressures of the time the post concilliar church had nothing to offer but uncertainity. Hence the collapse of the clergy and religious and the church also.

  66. vox borealis says:

    Matthew M.:

    “Similarly, I read that many Orders of nuns, when adopting the “reforms” of Vatican II and either opting for a modified habit, or discarding it entirely caused enourmous tensions in their Orders. Many sisters quit because they hated the reforms and having to give up the holy habit.”

    Would you please cite where in the Council documents or in the 1970 or 1975 Roman Missal that it calls for nuns to give up their habits? Again, this is the product of the zeitgeist, not the council or the mass (indeed, a cynic would argue that the council and the new mass were shaped by the zeitgeist, not the other way around).

    However, your following claim:

    “I read of several seminaries, of when the Novus Ordo was being introduced, the seminarians hated it and quit en masse.”

    …is good proof of a direct cause-effect relationship. Can you cite any primary documents, such as interviews, etc.? I would be most curious to look at the evidence.

  67. Kathleen says:

    Suggested reading regarding nuns: “Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling
    of Women’s Religious Communities”
    Don’t expect to find it at your public library, but try interlibrary loan or the Internet.

  68. Larry says:

    The Council DID NOT do as you say. The misapplication and less than adequate study of what the Council REALLY said and taught is the problem. I myself thought as you propose and went looking for the Council documents to support the changes I saw in the Church. I found none. No the Council Fathers, though not lacking in verbage did not destroy anything of the Church’s Patrimony. Look at the documents online on the Vatican website and you will discover that what I am saying is true. When the documents first came out we relied on the popular media to bring us the news and today we realize just how inadequate their brand of reporting is. It is true that many bishops and tons of priests also complicated things by teaching what they either thought or wished the Council had said (The spirit of Vatican II; but, they were mistaken and did not do their homework. Dou yours and read the documents, please!

  69. Celibatarian says:

    What part of this article doesn’t make me grin? :) I still haven’t found it. Oh so giddy.

  70. frobuaidhe says:

    To those who correctly observe that not much is happening in their own area I would say, note simply that the tide *has* turned, and to continue with that image there’s not a lot to notice at the turn of the tide if you’re on a rather large strand, nor even for some time afterwards. The change however, has taken place and the positive progress is in one direction only.

    To support that statement I would add, that the contracepted priesthood and family life of liberal ‘Catholicism’ are dying off physically and spiritually; liberalism in the Church has failed to reproduce itself and lives only like a parasite on a healthy body. And while growth in real terms is small in circles (E.F. AND O.F. both) more faithful to Church doctrine and practice, their growth truly represents the future of the Church for the forseeable future. Parishes will continue to close, vocations will continue to fall or stagger on at the same pitiful rate, in dioceses and parishes which reject this opportunity for renewal which is a mercy from God.

    The ‘every parish’ comment is significant, in my view, because by accepting the EF into its life the whole orientation of a liberal parish might be changed in time and that parish saved from extinction, the two forms of the Roman Rite carrying on side by side, celebrated with love and devotion. FrZ often helpfully compares B16’s renewal to the Marshal Plan. I see this aspect of that plan as a combination of ‘Search & Rescue’ and Noah’s Ark, to be executed before the demographic and vocations implosion wipes many parishes and dioceses off the map at tremendous cost to souls.

  71. Celibatarian says:

    Indeed, if the council has any blame to take in the disaster of the last 40 years it would only be that they failed to anticipate the ways in which things would be misconstrued, misapplied and misrepresented. We can forgive them for assuming the best intentions in the implementors. And even if they had spelled it all out word for word, concept for concept. The hijackers would likely still have tried to convince everyone that left was right, up was down and so forth.

  72. RBrown says:


    You raise some interesting points.

    1. My understanding is that in the West before Vat II vocations to the priesthood overall were up, but diocesan vocations were beginning to decline.

    2. Is the NO the VatII liturgical reform? Yes and No.

    In so far as it, as JRatzinger has said, is not an accurate reflection of the totality of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the answer is No.

    But in so far as it was the product of the Vat II Commission to reform the liturgy, the answer is Yes.

  73. Kathleen says:

    Oops! The author of “Sisters in Crisis” is Ann Carey.

  74. Habemus Papam says:

    Guy Stair Sainty, I hope the Cardinal has given up this line of thinkink since April! How can anyone be convinced of the benefits of the EF if there not priests enough who know Latin? The liberals are persuaded of there own rightness and nothing will change that. Without an order from Rome concerning Latin in the seminaries we could all live in the fools paradise which I somehow doubt the Cardinal inhabits.

  75. Tina says:

    I would like to see your statistical analysis (t-tests, ANOVA, etc) of your data. Have you put your numbers into context? Have you looked at the data in terms of population changes? Have the requirements for entering the seminary changed? A tightening of requirements could explain it. Are the same numbers of men attempting to become priests the same but more wash out in the process? How does it compare to baptismal rates? Additionally, what was the trend before Vatican II? Had there already been a decline in place but it became accelerated after that time? Did Humane Vitae have an impact? Is it pope dependent? Meaning does the personality of the pope inspire or prevent?

    What societal and cultural changes could have had an influence? If I wanted to, I could not join a religious order now because of my student loan debt. My dad had the fear of God put into him by the Christian brothers (assisted with rulers) but nowadays instilling that kind of fear of God is unacceptable.

    Now I have no data to back this next statement up, just impressions. I get the feelin from my family that before Vatican II priests tended to be cold and aloof. I remember some of the older priests, who would have been ordained before the changes, when I was younger being very “impersonal.” Now all priests seem to have a personality.

    PS. what does dum spiro spero mean? I can’t find it?

  76. Antonio says:

    The always very well informed “Paco Pepe” at
    has written the the next Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship will be Cardinal Cañizares.
    And this would be GREAT…

  77. Antonio says:

    The always very well informed “Paco Pepe” at
    Congregation of Divine Worship will be Cardinal Cañizares.
    And this would be GREAT…

  78. Mark says:

    Vox Borealis:

    I’ve read with interest your exchanges with Matthew Mattingly, and must side with Matthew. The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of the proposition that the changes precipitated in the name of the Vatican II Council are largely responsible for the lamentable situation we find ourselves in today. What’s been documented in so many books and statistical studies (beginning with “The Rhine flows into the Tiber”) correlates very closely with the more anecdotal data we are presented with on Sundays. I believe we need to cultivate a greater emotional distance from the past interpretations of this Council. BTW, is it Vox (Nova) Borealis per chance?

    In the meantime, I propose three cheers for our Pope, and a literal sto lat!

  79. vox borealis says:

    “BTW, is it Vox (Nova) Borealis per chance?”

    I’m not sure what you mean.

  80. vox borealis says:

    “I believe we need to cultivate a greater emotional distance from the past interpretations of this Council.”

    I agree entirely. In my experience, the most emotional and least rational individuals with whom to discuss the council are the aging hippies for whom it represents a welcomed break from the past and a new springtime, followed by traditionalists for whom it is the root cause for all of the problems in the Church.

  81. Tina,

    A lot of what you hear about what went on before the council is a lie. Priests were not any more cold and aloof than now; nuns were not meaner than now; laypeople were not treated any worse than they are now; garden variety ignorance about religion was not worse than now. In fact, I would go so far as to claim the opposite.

    The lie was motivated by people who wanted change, and they yelled everyone else down to get it. They were in power then and they took what they wanted.

    Huge numbers of people lost their faith over this and left the church. These innovators didn’t care. They called them names like “stupid” and “rigid” and “nostalgic” and stepped over their broken hearts to get to the next change goalpost.

    Well we went where they wanted us to go, and where are we now? Is it any better? No.

    History has a way of finally sorting out the truth. Perhaps we’re far enough away from December 8, 1965 to begin the process of telling the truth about what happened.

  82. Habemus Papam says:

    Damian Thompsons Holy Smoke blog: Traditional Mass ‘in all the parishes’

  83. Tina says:

    Define: “Huge numbers of people lost their faith over this and left the church” What is a huge number?

    I was not saying my statement of relative personalities before and after the Council was generalizable.

    As to is it any better, that would depend on defining better and who you ask.

    Which specific innovators? You come close to the nebulous “they.”

    Are you sure another abrupt rudder change, such as going back to “tradition” will not cause equally “huge” numbers of people to lose their faith?

  84. EDG says:

    Guy Stair Santy:

    Does this mean that you think that Cdl Castrillon actually meant it the way it came across in the Telegraph?

    It’s true that most priests don’t know either Latin or the Gregorian mass. But since all they have to do is learn to read it, that is, parrot it out loud, that should be fairly easy for any normal human being within a few weeks. And while there is, of course, a text in the vernacular right next to it that they can easily learn, if they are as limited in their vocabulary and intelligence as the Bishop of St. Augustine seems to believe, it might be a little hard for them to grasp the meaning. Thus, perhaps the instruction will come after the execution. The important thing is for priests to begin saying it, because otherwise people can’t go to it in any case.

    I’m curious to know what you think about this.

  85. Antiquarian says:

    The truth about what happened is indeed vital, but it must be verifiable, objectively researched and well, true.

    The Gallup Poll indicates that the greatest drop in Mass attendance in the last century was in the years 1957-65. The decline continued, but slowed, in the next five years, and nearly levelled off from 1970-78, the first years after the Novus Ordo was introduced. Does that prove anything? Probably, but it doesn’t fit all agendas, so it is usually ignored. Mass attendance is not the only stat that has lowered, either, but the claim that all decline is due to the Council is not supportable– decline was happening quickly. If anything, a shallow reading of the statistic argues that the Council stemmed the loss temporarily.

    It’s so tempting to embrace a simplistic explanation, and to blame those whose agendas differed from ours– but the facts don’t fit.

  86. vox borealis says:


    Thank you.

  87. Vox, there is an element of truth in what you say. There was no break. Many people just thought there was. We have to take the truths and carry them on.

    The problem is that there were undeniable losses, in terms of catechesis, liturgy, prayer, vocations and so on. There is a controversy around exactly each one of these issues now. We have to sort out what was lost that we cannot go on without. There’s the rub. Until history sorts this out, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the elbow-grease of many regular Catholics, you are going to hear talk about these issues. There is no way to shut it all up. It should not be shut up, in fact.

  88. vox borealis says:


    In no way to I want to “shut up” controversial talk. Rather, I want to hear more sophisticated arguments and analysis about these controversial topics. *Nearly* as much as the archetypal liberals on these issues want to shut up criticism of the council, many traditionalists refuse to consider that there were underlying problems and causes of decline *besides* the council or the new mass. For many of them–and I am not saying you are one–the solution is simple: the Pope needs only to decree from on high a restoration of the 1962 missal (or maybe the 1954) and banish the new mass, and everything will be very fine very quickly. I would hope that they are correct, and that the Pope would heed their advice. But as a student of history I strongly suspect that the “problems” *and* the solutions are much more complicated.

  89. EDG says:

    There was a big bump in seminary attendance after WWII, some of it from men who had been at war and come back with different ideas for their lives. I knew at least two priests who came out of this group. In addition, the popularity of Thomas Merton and others right after WWII translated into a surge in monastic and other vocations among people returning from the war as well as among those who had grown up during it. However, by the late Fifties, these things were declining simply because that group was giving way to the post-war baby boom group, which was subject to other influences.

    I think the seeds of the Vatican II disaster were planted long before. Modernism was never thoroughly overcome in the Church, and VatII simply provided it with an opening, partly because of the collapse of authority and partly, without sounding too paranoid, I hope, because of some people who were simply awaiting their chance to take over. It was like someone opening a door in a room where a smoldering fire had been going for hours and letting that fire get oxygen – immediately, the entire room bursts into flame.

    Was Vatican II entirely responsible? No, because when you look at things that people wrote at that time, you can see that they had no idea of what was about to happen. I lived through it, and I can tell you that good, orthodox people had no idea: they thought this would be a time for great art, great thought, the Church in the US no longer trapped in immigrant politics, etc. But within literally just a couple of years, we all knew that something had gone terribly wrong. Yes, there were different agendas, and they triumphed.

  90. Tina says:

    I have 2 main complaints about your argument.

    First, current educational theories, especially those based on cognitive science and social-cultural theories, are against just parroting out information. As we learn, we make meaning. A proper sequence would be to make the meaning or the have the explaination as you are learning.

    Second, I don’t want my Faith to be something that I have learned by parroting back whatever the priests says. I think it is a poor Faith if that is all I am able to do. I have had to defend Catholicism in my classes. This will be harder to do if we go back to the parroting whatever is said to us.

    I don’t really want to go to a Mass where the priest doesn’t understand what he is saying.

    You also make the point that there is a text with venacular right next to it. The parish I currently attend and the parish I went to last week don’t provide missals. They only had song books.

  91. Mark says:

    Vox Borealis:

    There is a blog, “Vox Nova”, that discusses Church related matters very much along your (and Tina’s) lines of reasoning. So, rather than engage in a protracted back and forth with statistics and causational analysis, allow me to ask you this:

    Based on your proposition that the implementers of the Vatican Two Council documents are not largely responsible for the current situation, what other contributing causes do you see? And to hold the standards high, relevant time-lines, names, numbers, and references will be viewed as helpful.

    The stage is yours.

  92. Dr. Mel-South Carolina says:

    PS. what does dum spiro spero mean? I can’t find it?

    Comment by Tina — 15 June 2008 @ 10:53 am

    “While I breathe, I hope”! Motto of South Carolina.

  93. Every time I read a post like this one, then reflect on the demise of the radicals, I can’t help but think, “The ‘Revolution’ is over, and the revolutionaries lost…they just don’t know it yet.” I also realize how far we’ve fallen and I wonder if we have the will to climb out of the mess we’ve created for ourselves.

    When I grew up, our pastor had the authentic “spirit of Vatican II” rather than some radical agenda-driven version of it…He never introduced novelties in the Holy Mass, and Holy Mass under the 1970 Roman Missal retained it’s character as contact with the Divine.

    As altar boys we vested father, we wore cassocks and surplices, we had chalice veils and incense, we sang the ancient music, and father taught us to respect the Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The architecture of the church was thoroughly modern, but with an eye to tradition (e.g. cruciform shape, a golden Tabernacle, Exposition, etc). In other words, I think our good pastor understood the mind of the Council and implemented Pope John XXIII’s vision authentically.

    After 25 years of seeing the carnage of the “revolution” (never more apparent than here in So. Illinois), there’s a part of me that is homesick for the ancient ways…I just want to go to Mass and not be distracted by someone in the pews or (least of all) by father ad-libbing from the altar.

    I just want to worship Our Lord.

    While I love the joy of the Holy Mass according to the 1970 Roman Missal if it’s celebrated with reverence, that’s so rarely the case these days. My Latin is very rusty, but I’ll happily learn more if I can just worship Jesus without worrying about what father or the crazy feminist behind me in the pews will do next (today a woman near me insisted on exorcising every male pronoun from the prayers…).

    Dear Jesus…how much longer will Your people suffer? Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful; would that the world was already burning!

  94. peretti says:

    Tina, I know you! You’re the priestess who celebrates mass in that old building just behind the chancery in South Denver!

  95. M says:

    About the number of people leaving the church, well maybe my country is a good example: France!

    Just came back to see my folks over there. There were 2 families, no teenagers, 60 years old being the average number, not even a full church…. it included 3 or 4 parishes, my parish church is closed, opened once a month!!! for Mass on Saturday night only.

    15 years ago we had a priest for 2 parishes. If it is not a sign of the times…

    Oh by the way, the bishop there allowes only one church in the city near by to have The Tridentine Mass. From what I have heard, it is full and “vibrant” with young families. Facts speaks for themselves.

  96. wmeyer says:

    While it is true that correlation is not causality, it is equally true that the complexity of the era in which Vatican II occurred is more than likely to make any determination of causality questionable, at best.

    Having lived through that period, in fact having been of college age at its peak (1968), I can say with confidence that among my own Catholic family members, there was unanimous dissatisfaction with John XXIII and with the workings of the Council. And that came well before the US Bishops had their way with Sacrosamctum Concilium, using article 40 as a general loophole to invoke their own preferences.

    I wonder, frankly, how many of the commentators above have read Sacrosamctum Concilium. And of those, how many have also read the GIRM. The contrast between those documents is stark, indeed. To find a path from SC to GIRM takes a quite vivid imagination, as they have so little in common.

    Someone here noted that we have been wandering in the desert for 40 years. Just so. A catechist in my own parish commented (quite wrongly) that the Latin Mass was never taken away. In Michigan, where I was raised, it most certainly was. My uncle in Detroit found it by the expedient of attending the parish reputed to be favored by the Mafia. Apart from that one parish, you would have been hard-pressed, in 1969, to find a Latin Mass in Michigan.

    I must also wonder, in passing, how many of those who doubt the relation between the reforms post-V2 and the decline in vocations are younger than 45? To be of that age or less would make the stuff of V2 and its aftermath something to be rooted out of books, with difficulty.

    Finally, for those who cry for objectivity, let me point out that if we are Catholic, we are all partisan, inasmuch as these matters affect our one and only Church.

  97. Tina says:

    In an earlier comment I suggest some lines of thought. I repost them in case you missed them Mark.
    I do not have references but bring to the table the kind of questioning that occurs in Ph.D. level classes.


    Additionally, have the number of possible religious orders increased thereby meaning some orders get the short end of the stick?

    These are some possible lines of questioning that I would like to see answered.

  98. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Apparently, the Pope said today during Mass at a site in Italy:

    “I am convinced of the importance of giving the host once again to the faithful directly in the mouth without them touching it” and “the return of kneeling during Communion as a sign of respect”


  99. Tina says:

    Here’s what got cut:

    Have you looked at the data in terms of population changes? Have the requirements for entering the seminary changed? A tightening of requirements could explain it. Are the same numbers of men attempting to become priests the same but more wash out in the process? How does it compare to baptismal rates? Additionally, what was the trend before Vatican II? Had there already been a decline in place but it became accelerated after that time? Did Humane Vitae have an impact? Is it pope dependent? Meaning does the personality of the pope inspire or prevent?

    What societal and cultural changes could have had an influence? If I wanted to, I could not join a religious order now because of my student loan debt.

  100. Except, Antiquarian, those were precisely the years within which the controversy over birth control really took root, bringing with it doubt about Rome’s authority, everything was being called into question, and the Council occurred.

    *Razing the Bastions*, that strange book of public worry by von Balthazar in which he proposed tearing down the edifice of the church, was written in 1952 and taken as authority for years. {People still read it–I have–although for somewhat different reasons than someone in 1955, I suspect. Hindsight.} Similar doubts were raised by other theologians & various other loudmouths writing in that period.

    Here in the US, John Rock, a prominent Catholic medical researcher from Boston, was one of the original researchers on the birth control pill in the 1950s and he campaigned for it fervently & in public, teaching his students about contraception in contravention of Massachusetts state law and Church teaching. No one stopped him. Enovid, the first commercial pill was released in 1960-right in the middle of your polling period. Many Catholics (including clergy) approved of its use and it was widely used by Catholics (and a controversial topic) for at least 8 years before Humanae Vitae finally (and belatedly) appeared. By then the cat was out of the bag.

    The resourcement of scripture was a big topic in the 50s, along with the modernization of liturgy, which was already going on, to the confusion of many laypeople. There were new missals in 1945, 1960, 1962, 1965. The liturgical abuses began–in a small way at first, but they picked up speed during the council and afterwards. The Church was not in the mood to correct anyone about anything, frankly. We were already in experimentation mode and we were also in the middle of a giant corporate crisis of faith.

    Pope John XXIII talked about his intention to open a council for the first time in 1959, even though it didn’t commence til October of 1962. For that whole 3 years, people debated about modernizing the Church and what the council would contain, and many people were hurt.

    So, even though things appeared quiet in many sleepy American parishes, the runup to VII had already begun by the late 50s. However, once the council really heated up and there were daily reports on what was changing and what was being demolished and who had been told what, thanks to the armies of news correspondents in attendance, controversy had an enormous effect. The spectre of the church hashing out what had already been taught as fact was corrosive at the least, and explosive at the most. The damage didn’t all occur at once afterward. Much of it occurred during the council itself. So I don’t doubt that many people left from 1957-1965. I suspect, however, the act of leaving was precipitated by different things as time went on.

    After the council, I can tell you firsthand (I’m old enough to remember), much of the desertion was caused by despair, doubt, and political crudity on the part of the Spirit of Vatican II contingent. People were told to conform or get out. Many Catholics don’t remember this, but it happened. It still happens on occasion although no-one would like to admit that, of course. If we haven’t become a more holy people, we have become a more politically correct one. But that was one of the goals of VII. Read “Razing the Bastions” sometime. You’ll enjoy it.

  101. Jayna says:

    Man, I wish I were still in England. I also really wish articles like these had any effect on those who control the liturgy in my parish. It seems the more sources I offer as to my right to be given the opportunity for this, the more stubborn they get about it. I’ve been told that the old mass is really not what my heart wants, but what my head wants and that’s not how I should form my opinion about it. I was also told that it’s impossible to go out and evangelize and to spread the Word after going to a Latin mass. I’m not even entirely sure what that means.

    At any rate, cheers to Card. Castrillon on taking a stand and actually acting on the Holy Father’s wishes. Would that we in the United States had more (or any, really) clergymen like him.

  102. vox borealis says:


    Aha–nope, not my blog!

    “Based on your proposition that the implementers of the Vatican Two Council documents are not largely responsible for the current situation, what other contributing causes do you see?”

    First of all, I did not say that the documents were not largely responsible, I merely challenged the standard arguments promoted to that effect. Second, I think that I listed a number of what I considered to be contributing causes, including the implementation of the council and the introduction of the new mass.

    According to the (how valid this site is, you got me), the total number of priests in the United States *increased*, albeit slightly, between 1965 and 1975 (, though the number of seminarians began to decline steeply. At the same time, the number of permanent deacons went from 0 in 1965 to more than 14,000 in 2005. Meanwhile, according to a different page on the same site ( the number priests worldwide declined by about 5% from 1970 to 1990, yet since then the number has increased slightly and the number of seminarians have increased.

    Why do cite these–the numbers clearly show a more complicated picture than V2 + NO = decline. The crises that the church faces, from mass attendance to vocations to a host of other problems clearly varies from time to time and place to place. That is, in effect, what I argued from the beginning, what I continue to maintain, and what the empirical evidence shows–no more, no less.

    Since I never made an affirmative argument about what I thought the main causes were, I don’t feel much compelled to offer one. That was never my intent from the beginning. However, if I had to hazard a guess, I would argue that growing wealth in western countries combined with both right- and left-wing ideologies made the position of priest less attractive. At the same time, the state increasingly usurped roles that the church traditionally occupied, from sanctioning marriages to handing out welfare. Twentieth century ideologies and philosophies, at least since WWI, emphasized relativism and questioned traditional truths. Finally, the 1960s anti-establishment and anti-tradition attitude, which manifest itself somewhat differently in Europe and North America, culminated in an entire generation of young people who actively rejected the religious authority; in turn, they have raised the first generation of completely unchurched children in the history of the western world since the Roman Empire.

    Can I prove this here? Probably not, but as I said, that was never my intent.

  103. Tina says:

    Ha Ha Ha Ha. Thank you for being insulting.
    I’m not a “priestess” of any sort and I don’t live in Denver.

  104. EDG, your post of 12:42. YOu nailed it.

  105. vox borealis says:

    And as a follow-up, Michigancatholic’s last, very interesting post more or less proves my point for me. Things were afoot before the council; church authority was under assault–by professed Catholics in the public sphere–before the council. It was, as I wrote in one of my earlier posts, the zeitgeist.

  106. Tina, when you say we learn when we “make meaning.” That’s a particular school of educational theory called CONSTRUCTIONISM. You may favor that theory of learning, but it is still only a educational THEORY. Please keep that in mind. Think of it this way: The Revelation of Scripture is “parroted” from one generation to the next. That is, unless you think God is going to come down and burn bushes and part the Red Sea for every single generation so we won’t have to read the book. Having read it from Scripture and taken it to heart because I believe does not make it any Less Real.

    You can also think of it this way: Did your teachers let you invent an alphabet of your own so that you would understand it better? Of course not! Mine neither. I “parrotted” the English one just like you did. But it opened up an entire new world of books and EVERYTHING. I cannot imagine what it would have been like had I not “PARROTTED” that alphabet at the ripe old age of 4. All growth starts like that. YOu have to start somewhere. Learning to hear the mass is the same way, in Latin AND in English.

  107. Yes, Vox, but VII was the centerpiece and it was used as the battering ram for that whole movement. We’ve all had it crammed down our throat on a weekly basis by people who haven’t even read it–to this day. I cannot tell you how many times people have proof-texted VII to me; heck, I can’t even tell you how many people have quoted me things attributed to VII that AREN’T EVEN IN THE DOCUMENTS! Happens all the time.

    I think you are telling me that there were underlying problems that fomented the problems and VII was incidental. I am telling you that there were underlying problems, and some of them were particular to that time which we have outgrown. I am also telling you craving the approval of non-Catholics is the stupidest thing that a CAtholic can do. The world doesn’t like the Church and never will and Catholics have got to get over it. I also know that the council was used as a battering ram and that can’t be denied. IN that sense, the Council was a cause of much disruption and desertion, both while it was going on and afterward.

  108. EDG says:


    All that is required right now is that the priest be able to say the Latin (and know what it means, but that can be done with the translation right next to it). He does not have to learn to converse with Caesar or even an early pope before he can say the Latin Mass. In addition, priests may read the Gospel and Epistle in English, either at the same time or later.

    How many of the foreign priests who pass through here actually understand every word of the English they are saying? They say mass by knowing what the words mean in their language and having learned to parrot the English (not very well, in many cases). And everybody else knows what the priests are saying, regardless of how unintelligible they are, because they know what the priest is supposed to be saying at that point. “We” do not “make” the meaning. It’s there. We participate in the Mass the way the entire Heavenly Host and the Cloud of Witnesses do, by participating in the worship, not by giving it our approval or thinking our participation is somehow necessary for it to proceed. You’re talking about modern self-referential group participation, which has nothing to do with worship. And the Mass is not therapy, it’s not teaching, it’s not apologetics, it’s not even theology, it’s worship.

    Why don’t you go out and invest in a Latin/English missal if you’re worried about not understanding? That’s what people used after the rise of large-scale literacy until VatII. Your parish can actually buy permanent liturgical handbooks for the pews that are in both Latin and English, and you should ask them to do this. Furthermore, one of the big claims of the vernacular mass was that it would make missals unnecessary, but from what I can see, this hasn’t happened: even with the whole thing in the vernacular, people still sit there and read it. And of course with the large number of priests who improvise, who knows what’s going on at a particular Mass? It could be anything. That’s probably why people want something to read.

    All the priest has to be able to do is pronounce the written words in a way that is reasonably correct and be able to reproduce the gestures as instructed. Do you think that the 2,000 years of Catholics who came before Vatican II had no idea of what was going on at Mass? Or that the generations of people who were illiterate had no idea what they believed? Or that an illiterate person couldn’t be a Christian? Personally, I think that thousands of years of saints show otherwise…I think those folks could defend their faith probably a heck of a lot better than almost any of us now.

  109. The EF of the Mass has to be learned and understood, not parroted; each action, prayer and gesture has an important and significant liturgical basis – as do those of the Ordinary form. Not only will the priests have to learn Latin but also to understand the full meaning and spirituality of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Obviously Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and the officials of Ecclesia Dei would like this to be achieved as soon as possible, but equally obviously one must recognise that the vast majority of the 400,000 priests ordained since the introduction of Mass in the vernacular do not have this training and have a poor to non-existent knowledge of Latin. If this end is going to be achieved, those who oppose the motu proprio need to be persuaded – not by challenges but by pragmatism; if the Bishops see that the use of the Extraordinary form can inspire new religious vocations, increased attendance at Mass, greater solemnity in the use of the liturgy and the return of lapsed Catholics to the Church, they will come round to supporting its revival. I know priests (and have heard of many more) who are keen to learn the EF and bring its benefits to their parishes – but they would like to do this without bringing divisivenes and discord. In some cases, where the Bishops are obdurate in their resistance a public challenge may be inevitable, but if the movement for the revival of the EF is going to succeed and not be confined to the occasional or to a handful of parishes, it must be welcomed by the whole Church. It is going to be a long time before the majoirty of dioceses are occupied by Bishops whose natural sympathies lie with this revival, so those who wish to see the extraordinary form being introduced more widely must persuade, rather than challenge its opponents. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was previously Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and as such saw many examples of what he describes as priests trying to be “original” and unintentionally misleading the faithful in their abuses of the liturgy. He preferred to persuade and guide and this is surtely the way to proceed in the broader introduction of the EF in seminaries. Those charged with instructing the priests must have a full understanding or they will be unable to carry out this responsibility.

  110. vox borealis says:


    “I am also telling you craving the approval of non-Catholics is the stupidest thing that a CAtholic can do.”

    On this we agree.

  111. Tina, about vocations:

    RE the priestly vocation, the training changed completely for diocesan priests, and was changed significantly for religious order ones. The classical knowledge of theology, history, mystical theology, scripture and languages all took a gigantic hit, in favor of the pastoral “arts.” This continues to this day. At the same time, it became far more socially acceptable for a young Catholic man to enter one of the secular professions (engineering, medicine, law, etc) because of the decreased distance socially between Catholics and the non-churched. Many men who might have tried the seminary went straight to the university instead, including most of our finest minds. The two phenomena (shift in seminary training + different population of men) led to a general dumbing-down of seminary candidates, which you can see represented today in the priesthood. Now, I’m saying this was a trend, not something that you will always find in every concrete case, okay? It is a fact that there was a time in the US, when a bright boy was destined for the priesthood because the other professions were closed to him because he was CAtholic. Our priests were the cream of the crop intellectually then. Now, although there are exceptions, not so much. There are a lot of mediocre ones…

    Also, in the US and I don’t know about Europe, there was a general “gaying” of men in the seminary in the 60-80s. This has been well-documented. We have many men who tried the seminary and left because of (ahem) social issues. Some of them were decreed “rigid” for being orthodox. Some dioceses, like the one I’m in, had screening devices to hand-pick the ones who wouldn’t point fingers at certain kinds of behavior, also well-documented. Many men, including some high-profile priests who got through the system have related as much, so we no longer need to be cute about it. Sad history, but true.

    In the convent, an entirely different phenomenon but with some of the same root causes…….

  112. Sid Cundiff says:

    On this one I’m from Missouri. And yet … I’ve seen so much positive happen in the last twelve months that …

  113. Tina says:

    Actually, my parish can’t afford new missals. We don’t actually have the current ones. We have a couple of photocopies of the general Mass outline for those who don’t speak English very well.

    I can’t afford a missal either.

    I’m not convinced that everyone jumping on the TLM will fix what “ails” Catholicism.

  114. Tina, honestly, I don’t think just changing the missal is going to fix what “ails” the church either. I do think it’s a place to start.

    One of the reasons the missal is the place to start is that being able to use the Latin missal again breaks one of the strangleholds on the rest of Catholic life that was suppressed. Many, many lies have been told about the Latin mass. Those lies supported the idea that somehow the church had completely changed and become another church with another way of life. This is what “ails” the Catholic church. She doesn’t deal with her problems because she is afraid to act like herself. She’s been told over and over again she must be someone else, starting immediately after Vatican II. BANG, just like that.

    When the Vatican said explicitly last year that the Latin Mass was okay to use (the Motu Proprio), it repealed all those lies and called into question all those lies about the Catholic life that depended on the lies about the mass.

    I believe that the pope did it to underscore his point that the Church has not changed–there was not a big rupture at VII that killed the old Catholic Church outright and brought a new Catholic Church into being. I believe he is right.

    I also believe that the pope did it because he is a truth-teller. He does not lie. Truth is important to Pope Benedict and for that I especially love him. He was willing to tell the truth about the church and the mass, no matter what–a fitting thing to say about the pope of the Catholic Church.

  115. Mary Rose says:

    For Tina and any others who may wonder about the effects of Vatican II, here is a very interesting story told by someone on the front lines. Her blog is now gone but her story has been saved by another:

    I Was Robbed

    Here’s another interesting symposium from InsideCatholic which tackled the question: Why are Catholics leaving?

    In the United States, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize people have left the Catholic church. They don’t need polling data. The proof is right there by the sight of empty pews and within my own hometown, closed parishes and parishes merging with one another.

    When I first attended a popular non-denominational church in town, I was stunned by how many “ex-Catholics” I kept meeting.

    Now I wonder if the whole experiment with “experiential” church services have come full-circle. Many (myself included) are weary of the self-absorbed practices that transforms the priest from icon to entertainer. I am weary of never-ending personalization of liturgy, tiresome attempts to stay “hip and trendy” and “relate to the culture.”

    I am tired of old 70’s hymns that to me represent a generation of selfish, spoiled brats. I am finally tired of liberal seminaries holding good holy men hostage while they openly promote sin and rebellion toward the Magisterium. And I am very weary of hearing “informed conscience” as an excuse to disobey and cause dissension within the ranks.

    What thrills me to no end is that many youth won’t have it. They also are tired, they feel as though they’ve been robbed of the treasures of their faith, and they’re making a difference in many parishes. Our local Tridentine Mass has grown in just the short time I’ve been attending. (two months) Young people know who Cardinal Hoyos is and they applaud his actions. The young are becoming more orthodox than their parents – the same ones who watered down the CCD classes back in the 70’s.

    I don’t need polls or percentages to tell me that something precious has been lost these past 40 years. The proof, as my grandmother would say, is in the pudding.

    But thank God we have some new cooks making the pudding! God bless you, Cardinal Hoyos, Father Zuhlsdorf, and all the others out there!

    Brick by brick…

  116. Sid,
    I know, just 2 years ago in this very combox, I was telling Fr. Z. tht the Motu Proprio could never happen. LOL. I hope I’m wrong again.

  117. Tina says:

    I was born long after Vatican II. I was born after the 1970 missal was adapted.
    Mary Rose, I read the first link you provided. All I can say is that I’m glad I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I know or was taught everything on the first page of the post. When I was in school, we were still singing the older hymms like Immaculate Mary. I remember it being a shock when I went to Catholic high school and we didn’t pray 4 times a day for upwards of 10 minutes.

    The link you have provided makes it clearer to me that I need to ensure that my godchildren do go to Catholic school and that if the school fails to teach them, then I must teach them myself.

    I just don’t agree that going back to the 1962 missal is going to fix things and is the way to start.

  118. Tina,
    How would you propose starting?

  119. Habemus Papam says:

    Guy Stair Sainty: Do you think this Pope is going to sit and wait for this persuasion to happen?

  120. A very wide selection of photos of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’s visit are now on the usual web site at

    A colleague and I were the LMS’s official photographers and thus had access to places that the general pubic do not – hence some very different views of the ceremonies.

  121. Tina says:

    I would go with education in informal settings like Thoelogy on Tap and hold seminars/discussions about Our Faith. As an adult I have noticed that adults are left out of the teaching aspect. Every moment needs to become a teaching moment. One thing my parish does is every other year or when the need arises, the pastor holds a teaching Mass. Basically as he says the Mass he says this is what we are doing, why and where it comes from and opens it up for questions at appropriate parts. This Mass is incredibly popular.

    Most people at my parish manage to come to Mass 5 or so minute early. Why not take 5 minutes before the Mass to explain something? You\’ve got a captive audience.

    One thing my parish is doing is a Church tour to experience the different \”styles\” of liturgy in our diocese. I will tell you that after visiting one parish where the Mass started 20 minutes late and various other horrors (Let the Church say AMEN!!!) I was much more appreciative of my parish.

    I would find out from people why they really don\’t go to Church and try and come up with ways to reach those that aren\’t going. Is it the time? I know when I was in grade school the priest changed the times a few different times to try and find the best time. My canonical parish in the winter moves the Saturday vigil up an hour so that the elderly don\’t have to drive in the dark. My Mom got into the Church again after some program called Renew hit our diocese.

    Many of the people I know are angry at the Church. Why? What\’s being done to listen to their anger? I was angry at the Church too but then my current priest apologized, explained the canon and all is mostly well.

    I think informal discussions or seminars on Church topics would be the way to go.

  122. Mark says:


    It seems you agree that all is not well with our Church. Perhaps you’ll also agree that viruses of all kinds were always present within the body of Church Militant, but as long as Her immune system was healthy, they remained latent. Can we also agree that somehow (statistics and causal analysis aside), in a short period of time suspiciously close to the Vatican Two Council, the Church’s immune system faltered, and the viruses multiplied causing an acute and serious illness? It seems that you also agree as to the symptoms of the disease, the “various other horrors” you mentioned.

    If so, then what we’re really discussing is the medicine that’s needed. I agree with you that “informal discussions or seminars on Church topics” will be of help. But what our Pope is prescribing for us is the strong medicine of the “Gregorian rite”. Judging from the reaction his medicine received in the progressive circles, he prescribed correctly. At the same time, I don’t see any problems with taking both medicines concurrently, do you?

  123. Mark Pilon says:

    This is good news. I hope this happens not just in England and Wales but also
    in Canada. It’s been almost a year since the Pope issued his letter and
    I don’t know of a single traditional latin mass being held anywhere near where
    I live in Nova Scotia.

  124. Stephen says:

    Our parish has had the TLM for nearly a year, celebrated by the book and with music to die for. Some people travel significant distances to attend this Mass, which attracts a large number of folks who don’t live within the parish boundaries.
    However, it is the least well-attended Mass at our parish. Even the 7:30 am Sunday Mass draws more worshipers. I’m extremely skeptical of those who claim that this Mass will heal whatever it is they claim is ailing the Church — the vast majority of our well-educated and orthodox parish has voted with their feet. If you can’t attract the orthodox and devout, and you’re certainly not going to attract those who strongly prefer the happy-clappy Mass in Georgetown, how is this Mass going to grow and expand?

  125. Mary Rose says:

    Tina, it sounds like you attend a wonderful parish. I don’t know many who do a “teaching Mass.” That is pretty awesome in my book. Kudos to your priest!

    I also admire you for your commitment to your godchildren. I recently wrote a letter of apology to my godson (my brother’s son) for not speaking to him more often about faith, even if I wasn’t attending a Catholic church at the time. He is going to a Catholic all-boys high school but who knows what they’re teaching.

    I do have a thought regarding your response. You say you don’t think going back to the 1962 Missal is the answer. I will say I don’t think it is the full answer but it’s an excellent start in beginning to answer the liturgical abuses that have happened during the past 40 years. It can certainly be coupled with a “Theology on Tap” type of discussion. My own parish has a weekly Bible study, led by the parish priest. I know other parishes have classes and seminars on specific topics. (By the way, TOT is over 20 years old. I discovered this when I investigated whether they were in my city.)

    Another thought: what happens when someone breaks a bone? Is it set with something flexible and comfortable? No. A very firm cast is applied to make sure the bone is protected as it heals itself.

    I look at the Tridentine Mass similarly. Something was broken over the past 40 years. I believe it needs something strong to reset it. I don’t expect everyone to go to the Tridentine Mass or fall in love with it completely the way I did from the very start.

    However, I do believe that as Fr. Z pointed out, a tertium quid will emerge. (Otherwise known as a “third thing” – a renewed Novus Ordo that will reflect more accurately the Holy Sacrifice of Mass.) It will be in English, there won’t be a need to learn Latin – but it will be unmistakably Catholic and true to its beliefs. I also believe there will be a trickle down (trickle up?) effect where we’ll see more vocations.

    I’m all for informal discussions, by the way. I hope to start a few of them myself in my own city. (MeetUps, etc.)

  126. Tina says:

    I reflected on your comments while running for ice cream and waiting in an incredibly long line.

    It is hard if not impossible for me to speak of the Church before Vatican II. I wasn’t alive at that point.

    I reflected on the Mass that I went to last summer where I was floored to see people coming into Mass 20 minutes late, on top of the Mass starting 20 minutes late. Meaning had the Mass started on time, they would have been 40 minutes late. It was also First Communion and some of the children showed up at Communion time, which was like an hour into the Mass. My parents would have screamed at me if I had done such a thing. The Mass was African-centric, which would be fine if we were in Africa and not in the U.S. Midwest. I’m not a big fan of the Call and Response mode which I’m pretty sure is not in the GIRM. Some people like it, just not me.

    I will admit, that at one time, in my radicaler youth, I thought that the Church was wrong on certain points like female ordination. I felt that it was the MAN trying to keep the woman down. However, now that I’m older and slightly more prudent, I realize that the problem wasn’t the Church, it was me. Once the reasons for the decisions were given to me and I was able to process them and have them make meaning for me, I was all cool. I’m not a big fan of “because I said so” as a reason.

    My point is that I didn’t need radical “chemotherapy” for my “cold.” I needed to have the reasons explained and I needed to mature a little. In fact, radical chemotherapy probably would have pushed me farther away faster and i probably wouldn’t have meandered back.

    If people want the TLM of the extraordinary form fine. I don’t think I should be forced to go to it. I don’t see the pull, but others do. Our diocese has 2 personal parishes that do the Latin mass and our seminarians have exposure to the Latin Mass on a regular basis. I think that isplenty.

  127. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Rather than seeinf a tertio quid (reformed Novus Ordo) emerge, I’d rather see the Novus Ordo disappear, never to see the light of day again…..replaced by the Tridentine Latin Mass (or as it is now known, the Gregorian Rite) Thank God no more, “Rite of John XXIII”. That was a bit of an insult to the Council of Trent. My friends and I always called it “The Tridentine Mass”.

  128. Mark says:


    Many of us will benefit from the strong medicine of the Gregorian rite, on many levels. At the very least, when experienced, it will accentuate the present differences in the two Roman forms of worship. Hopefully, over time, conclusions will be drawn, and then this exposure will cure many of the abuses, eccentricities, and the plain weirdness that afflict this form today. The seminars and discussions you mentioned could act as catalysts for this medicine.

    I think that even those who plan to remain exclusively attached to the ordinary form (but criticize its abuses), should support the widespread return of the Gregorian rite. It’s the best friend the abused form has.

  129. Tina,

    Those are good ideas, but the people who have been “doing the teaching” in many parishes are exactly those who are responsible for the “horrors.” The whole thing has been politically and ideologically loaded for years.

    I’m sorry, but the person who’s insisted to me that the church is all about community and we are the church, so I shouldn’t waste my time saying the rosary, for instance, isn’t the person who’d ought to be charged with teaching me to pray the rosary. See my point?

    What you’re suggesting is easy to say but really, really difficult to do. For instance, how exactly do you jump over a person who has worked for the diocese for 25 years and is responsible for a bit of what “ails” the church, in order to hire someone else to get the job done right? Do you just dump that person out of their job now and take away their retirement or what? What do you do with a rebellious priest no one can do anything with? What if the bishop is rebellious? (Yes, some are.) That’s just scratching the surface. There are lots of practical problems.

    On the other hand, I think maybe you’ve seen less than I have so you trust people more. Things have calmed down in the last 10 years or so. Most of the older posters here have probably seen major sacrileges, like I have, which we don’t talk about they were so shocking. And nothing was done.

  130. Matt Q says:

    Calleva wrote:

    “In terms of E & W, we have a serious problem and powerful statements from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos won’t mean anything if Benedict does not take a personal stand over the appointment of our bishops. Rome can make all the noises it wants but nothing will have teeth unless it can be implemented.”


    True. All talk, no walk.

  131. Karen Russell says:

    Mark Pilon wrote “This is good news. I hope this happens not just in England and Wales but also in Canada. It’s been almost a year since the Pope issued his letter and I don’t know of a single traditional latin mass being held anywhere near where
    I live in Nova Scotia.”

    That makes two of us. One more and we would have a proper “stable group.” :) And I know there are others. Is anyone working towards it?

  132. Tina says:

    You fire those people, after giving them sufficient instruction in the correct procedures and warnings. If they are not following the rules, then they should be fired. That is the way of the world. The Catholic in me screams that it is mean and cruel, but it is reality.

    For priests and bishops who are feeling rebellious, is there really punishment? I look to Chicago and see what happened to their rebellious priest. Not much.

    If I were in charge, I would keep all my little trouble makers near me so as to watch them. Hard to step out of line while being watched. In this case “out of sight and out of mind” doesn’t really work.

    I will agree I have seen less. I’ve never seen liturgical dance in person. I’ve never seen banners in my Church on the altar. I’ve seen them hanging from the choir loft, but it was a big parish quilt and was for the 125th anniversary. I’ve never seen a sock puppet or any other kind of puppet mass. I’ve never seen a priest dress in a costume for Mass. I did see a magic trick but I was in fourth grade and it was a third and fourth grade Mass.

    As for being charged with teaching the Catholic faith, never in a million years did I imagine that I would be called to defend Catholicism in graduate school. Never did I imagine I would have to explain the principles of our Faith to others. If you would have told me this when I was 20 I would have laughed hysterically. I think some of my teachers would have laughed as well. Yet here I am having to defend and explain the Faith to others.

    As I have discussed in my grad school classes, it is a great deal easier to have discussions when everyone has the same basic knowledge. So for your rosary example, I’m not a big fan of saying the rosary, however, as a Catholic, I understand the rosary’s place and use in my Faith. I know the proper way to say the rosary. I understand that many people like saying it and it brings them great comfort. I remember in grade school praying the rosary for the conversion of Russia. If I were called upon to discuss the rosary with others I would emphasize these points. If I were called upon to teach the rosary, I would toe the party line all the way. As a teacher my personal opinions don’t really need to be expressed to those who need to be taught the Church’s view first and foremost. Perhaps it is just me that can do this.

  133. Tina,

    I’m telling you nothing has been done. Outside the church, you fire people who undermine the company, but in the church there have been no consequences for insubordination. None. There still are not.

    Did anyone actually stop Abp Weakland from destroying the Milwaukee cathedral? Nope. He got “requests” which he flatly ignored. Did anyone do anything at all to him for his $450,000 gay boyfriend problem? Nope. He retired with everything intact and is still the guest at confirmations of school children last I heard. That’s the rule, not the exception.

    Does anyone do anything about Cdl Mahoney and his “liturgy festivals” every year? Nope. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the pictures of liturgical dance and every sort of weirdness.

    It goes on and on. THere are no consequences. It’s a joke. The will to correct these awful situations does not exist–and will not exist until it becomes painfully plain that the Vatican calls these things, and everything associated with them, wrong. And then that is backed up by people like you and me so that there are consequences. And it all starts by correcting the lies about the central act of the faith–the mass.

    From your description of the rosary, I honestly think you’d be fine teaching the rosary. It’s the person who thinks the rosary is foolish or an old fashioned waste of time for everyone that I’d have trouble with. Or the person who thinks the faith is all about peace, justice and politics and saying the rosary is a downright sin–that would be a problem. And yet there are people like this. And some of them work for Catholic parishes, more of them than you might think.

  134. John Polhamus says:

    “It’s a joke. The will to correct these awful situations does not exist…”

    This is truly rectal conversation at it’s finest (in other words, talking out your a##!). In honesty Michigan, I don’t really believe that you mean what you say. But we all need to vent sometime. Would your really expect to cure the ills of the Church in the world overnight with the flick of a pen? How childish and impatient that would be. And do you really think that what Card. Castrillon just did in London was a joke, or a mirage? How ungrateful and faithless that would be. Could it be that traditionalist’s belief in the miraculous somehow congenitally predisposes them to expect miracles on a silver platter, or to eschew the hard and life-consuming process of rebuilding the church in every age (which is not without its imperfections, sometimes overwhealmingly so!) pebble by pebble and stone by stone? Actually I do think that in some cases this is true. However, in your case, I think you’ve simply had the thorn in your paw for quite a while, and are reluctant to believe that it’s being pulled out. Personally I think you can believe it’s coming out, even if only by degrees. Have faith; we’re in the hands of a truly generous doctor. :-)

  135. John Polhamus is right. The Holy Father has already written to the US Bishop’s Conference giving instructions regarding purification of the Sacred Vessels after Communion, but in how many parishes have the Priests taken back this task from the hoards of Extraordinary Ministers? Rome may instruct – but many parish Priests (and even Bishops) think the instructions don’t apply to them!

    If all the unruly Bishops were to be sacked tomorrow, where would their replacements come from? There are far too few orthodox Priests to be able to be promoted at present.

    It has taken 40 years for the Church to sink to its present low. It will take at least that time again to bring it back to full obedience to the Magisterium – new Seminarians have to be trained in proper Theology as well as Liturgy so as to become good and faithful Priests. These Priests have to gain pastoral experience and then eventually they will be ready to take on the Episcopate. Only then will we be able to see a full return to what the Church should be – a truly worshipping community rather than a social gathering as it so often is now.

    The Liturgy is important, but not the only aspect that needs attention. If the clergy don’t have the right theological and spiritual formation then they cannot celebrate the Sacraments as they should be celebrated (whether Novus Ordo or TLM) and they cannot instruct the faithful in the Faith as is their duty as pastors.

    The Holy Father has made a start, but these things take time. God willing he will have many years in which to gently guide the Church back onto the right path. Let us pray also that the Holy Spirit will guide the next Conclave, in due course, to choose a worthy successor to our great Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

  136. Chironomo says:

    This has strayed SO far from the article discussion, but I would like to add to the discussion going on here. The following was said above:

    “I’m extremely skeptical of those who claim that this Mass will heal whatever it is they claim is ailing the Church—the vast majority of our well-educated and orthodox parish has voted with their feet. If you can’t attract the orthodox and devout, and you’re certainly not going to attract those who strongly prefer the happy-clappy Mass in Georgetown, how is this Mass going to grow and expand?”

    Attract? If you accept that the point of liturgy is to “attract” the faithful, you have fallen into the trap that got us where we are. How much destruction has been done by seeking to shape the liturgy to “attract” the faithful? We have Teen Masses to try and “attract” the youth of our faith, we have “Family” Masses to try and “atract” our families with young children. All to no avail. The project has been a failure on a large scale. At one point in his writings, Cardinal Ratzinger predicted that the future of the Catholic Church may consist in a much smaller but more devout following. There will eventually have to be a point where compromises can no longer be accepted, and the “Church” will have to give her faithful the choice to stay or go. That will be a sad and dark time, and may be nearer than we think. Some Catholics, such as the SSPX, feel that this time already came a while ago.

  137. Tom says:

    I really REALLY want to cheer and throw sugar at the Cardinal for this but when is he going to stop grabbing headlines at media events and start putting this IN WRITING TO PASTORS AND BISHOPS.

    I don’t even want a general letter. Maybe just write to MY pastor and MY Bishop. These are the guys, and others like them, who have ignored and thwarted genuine interest from the faithful.

    Before you start grandstanding for the ears of the SSPX, maybe his Eminence could start doing the job he was appointed for – instead of writing letters of sympathy and calling for patience from the faithful, in the way the PCED does…

  138. Matt says:

    I think that this is great news but I have to agree with some other comments in wondering how this will work “in the real world.” For good or for ill, many observations about liturgy come completely detached from real, run-of-the-mill, “in the trenches” parish life and realities. Ideas are wonderful and words are great, but I don’t think it cynical to realize the harsh realities faced by many, many hard-working parish priests who are trying their best to both serve and edify their parishioners. I hope that a workable and realistic solution for improving access to this beautiful treasure (the Extraordinary Form) presents itself… and soon. Prayers up for our Holy Father and for our parish priests!

  139. Guy Stair Sainty: The period of reintroduction, therefore, will be a long and gradual process and if it is to succeed, the “liberals” (if that is the right word) must be convinced by all the supporters of the universal reintroduction of the rite that this is not a retrogressive step, but an opportunity for the Church to release a wave of spirituality which can re-energise the Church.

    These may be the most portentious sentences that have yet appeared in this lengthy thread. Though perhaps the label “liberal” may misdirect its main thrust.

    Unlike many, apparently, I believe the majority of bishops (in the U.S., at least) are faithful and well-intentioned. Certainly, a great many are not “progressive” in a pejorative sense.

    However, in many cases, their exposure to traditionalists in the past has left them with an understandable impression that devotion to the TLM is frequently based on a desire to “turn back the clock” in some less than fully wholesome sense.

    These good bishops, many of them personally devoted to correct and reverent liturgy, are still largely unaware that TLM communities nowadays tend to consist predominately of dynamic young folks who plainly represent the past rather than the future of the Church. They are the “best and brightest” of their new generation of Catholics, the ones who are most energetic and fervent in their spirituality.

    These bishops also are largely unaware of the way the TLM seen today differs from that which they may remember–that at it they may well see both the most devotion and reverence and the most active “participation” to be found anywhere in their dioceses, on the part of folks they would recognize as among the “best” Catholics they’ll find anywhere.

    It won’t come immediately — we ourselves have a lot of work to do to help bring our Holy Father’s intentions to fruition. But why not assume the realization — that the TLM can indeed inspire a long-awaited new springtime — may well change some of these sincere episcopal minds? Some of us know of ones that have already been changed.

  140. Trey says:

    I think it is imp. that the TLM be celebrated in the local parish…
    so that we can be part of a parish community and not always driving to various

    However, I have asked a number of priests in my diocese to offer the TLM,
    pointing to the Cardinal’s statements about the Holy Father’s intention to
    very cold reception. They simply say “too busy” or “no interest.” I like that
    the Cardinal points out that many Catholics have never even been to a TLM so
    how would they know to ask for it. All they have been told is that the TLM is
    awful and frightening and if you like it, then you must be a wacko…

    The line from the Bishop and the priests here is that there are too many different
    masses to say now, English, Spanish, etc. (not to mention “Life Teen” or whatever)
    so no one has time. I can’t u/stand why one of the many English or Spanish masses can’t be in
    Latin… then everyone could come! Makes no sense to me. But the Bishops explanation
    of his policy in the diocese from what I could tell was that if he found that you
    were saying the traditional mass, then it meant you had too much time on your hands
    and should be learning to say the mass in Urdu or something…

    As to the proper translation of “stable group” … it means people who are told
    there is no room at the inn.

  141. Trey says:

    I think we are seeing Benedict’s style of “leadership” or pastoring… Seems like
    he announced his vision of where he wanted to go, and gave an opportunity for
    people to embrace this willingly and work with him… but he said there would be
    an examination of implementation.

    Now, he is saying, “Ok, you didn’t want to do this on your own initiative, so now
    I will lead you in the right direction.” So now, he will be more involved than he
    otherwise would. I think he prefers that this happen freely, but he is showing that
    he is willing to push things along if he needs to.

  142. Stephen says:

    “Attract? If you accept that the point of liturgy is to “attract” the faithful, you have fallen into the trap that got us where we are. How much destruction has been done by seeking to shape the liturgy to “attract” the faithful? We have Teen Masses to try and “attract” the youth of our faith, we have “Family” Masses to try and “atract” our families with young children. All to no avail.”

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. Our particular parish has never had Teen Masses or kid masses or clown masses or puppet masses. We have extremely reverent masses celebrated with great devotion by priests who quite clearly adore our Lord. Many people come at least 15 minutes early to pray. Both daily masses are well attended. We have plenty of young men (and no girls) serving at the altar, and several sons of the parish have recently been ordained to the priesthood. There is usually a line for confession. All of this has been accomplished without the TLM. And adding the TLM has done virtually nothing for the spiritual life of the vast majority of our parishioners. Are they missing something???

  143. Rose says:

    Trey: “stable group- people who are told there is no room at the inn” Brilliant.

    I favour the vernacular but my husband and I are desperately looking for silence at a manifestly Holy Sacrifice, not a community meal, so we’re taking the big step and going to the Philip Neri Oratory for Sunday Mass (without officially leaving our parish where my husband does a great deal of volunteer work).

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