Card. Castrillon’s intro to new edition of Fortescue/O’Connell

A new edition of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described edited by Alcuin Reid is being produced.

A kind soul sent me the text of the introduction to the edition by the President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos.

Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.

It is a pleasure for me to present this fifteenth edition of Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, the first edition to appear since the Motu Proprio of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, dated 7th July 2007, definitively clarified that the rites according to the liturgical books in use in 1962 were never abrogated [Just in case it wasn’t clear to those who continue to claim that the older rites were abrogated.]  and that they truly constitute a treasure that belongs to the entire Catholic Church and should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful.  [NB: widely available because they belong to the "entire" Church.  The consequence of this is that priests should bring these treasures to people even when they haven’t asked for them.] It is now clear that Catholics have a juridical right to the more ancient liturgical rites, ["juridical right"] and that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it. ["must"  What this doesn’t clarify is the rights of priests not to use the Extraordinary Use.  Do priests have the right to refuse to celebrate the Extraordinary Use?  If that is the case what right do they have to refuse to use the Ordinary Use?  Can they refuse one and not be permitted to refuse the other?] This is the express will of the Supreme Pontiff, legally established in Summorum Pontificum in a manner that must be respected by ecclesiastical superiors and local ordinaries alike.  [I remember that John Paul II in Ecclesia Dei adflicta said this in stronger terms.  He was nearly entirely ignored.]

The Holy Father is pleased at the generous response of many priests to his initiative in learning once again the rites and ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the other sacraments according to the usus antiquior so that they may serve those people who desire them. I encourage priests to do so in a spirit of pastoral generosity and love for the liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite. Seminarians, as part of their formation in the liturgy of the Church, should also become familiar with this usage of the Roman Rite not only in order to serve the People of God who request this form of Catholic worship but also in order to have a deeper appreciation of the background of the liturgical books presently in force. Hence it follows that all seminaries should provide such training as a matter of course.   [I wonder how that is going this year.]

This book, a classic guide to the celebration of the Church’s ancient Gregorian Rite in the English-speaking world, will serve priests and seminarians of the twenty-first century – just as it served so many priests of the twentieth – in their pastoral mission, which now necessarily includes familiarity with and openness to the use of the older form of the sacred liturgy. I happily commend it to the clergy, seminarians and laity as a reliable tool for the preparation and celebration of the liturgical rites authoritatively granted by the Holy Father in Summorum Pontificum.

I congratulate the distinguished liturgical scholar, Dr. Alcuin Reid, for his care and precision in ensuring that this revised edition conforms to the latest authoritative decisions with regard to these liturgical rites. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his letter which accompanied Summorum Pontificum: “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.” The Gregorian Rite [There is that term again.] is today a living liturgical rite which will continue its progress without losing any of its riches handed on in tradition. [That’ll freak a few people out.] For as the Holy Father continued, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” May this book assist the Church of today and of tomorrow in realising Pope Benedict’s vision.

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”
25 September 2008


This introduction is very strong but it raises questions.

We really need some clarifications from the Holy See about a range of issues.

But it is not necessary to make clear that Card. Castrillon continues to make strong statements about the will of the Holy Father in this regard.  If it weren’t true, he wouldn’t be repeating the same things.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Willebrord says:


    What I’m wondering is, who prints this? A link to the publisher perhaps?

  2. Frank H says:

    This book is listed on with “This title has not yet been released.”

  3. Mark says:

    While this is indeed very welcome, I just wonder if the Cardinal will have written this himself, or will he have put his name to someone else’s draft. In a sense, it doesn’t matter, since his name is there and, therefore, he could be assumed to have taken ownership. I just worry that some liberals, who might know something of the inner-workings of the Curia, could claim that this is not the official stance of the Church and only selectively quote the Cardinal when it suits them – as an English bishop did in the Catholic press recently – referring to the Cardinal’s concerns about some people making unreasonable demands of the PCED, yet not reporting his views that the Holy Father wants the Old Mass more widely available – as he did in London a few months back.

    Fr Z – you know about these things. Is there any need for concern?

  4. TNCath says:

    Fr Z: “The consequence of this is that priests should bring these treasures to people even when they haven’t asked for them.”

    Indeed. Many priests and a few bishops have concluded (either by observation or desire) that because the vast majority of the faithful have not asked for the Extraordinary Form, there is no reason to introduce it. This goes equally for the use traditional vestments, appointments, use of Gregorian chant and Latin into the Novus Ordo as well. A major reason for this is because the vast majority of the faithful haven’t even made aware of the fact that it is available in the first place because their bishops and priests simply don’t want it. But, yes, I know, brick by brick!! It is still a very positive development.

    Finally, do you think Cardinal Castrillon’s comments are his oblique way of revealing the long awaited “clarification” currently sitting on the Holy Father’s desk?

  5. Mark: The blogosphere will take care of that.

  6. TNCath: I assume that his remarks are along the lines of what the Commission prepared for His Holiness. The Pope can do anything he wishes with the draft.

    At the same time, since he has made some of these comments more than once, I cannot fathom that they do not reflect also Pope Benedict’s mind on the issue.

    Otherwise, he would have been ask to refrain from making them again.

  7. musicus says:

    In the process of learning the EF, I entirely affirm His Eminence’s, observation that one gains “a deeper appreciation of the background of the liturgical books presently in force.” When I became a Catholic in 1987 and entered the seminary, it was as if the Church had begun 20 years previously. Our sense of the Church and its liturgy was ahistorical (!).

  8. isabella says:

    At the risk of sounding more adversial than I intend to, I wish Rome would just make up its *mind* about the EF so I can decide what to do with what is becoming a train wreck of a spiritual life. And the answer might end up being to move. This ambiguity is losing souls.

    I live in Alaska, and the one priest who knew the EF recently left. I was able to occasionally attend the latin Mass at an undisclosed location (I feel like I’m living back in Cromwell’s time) while he was here. When I can afford it, there is Portland or wherever the airlines are having a sale to. There has been only one EF Mass said up here officially open to the public since Summorum Pontificum. When I travel, I google before I even pack to see if there is a Latin Mass within half a day’s drive.

    Since Father has been gone, I have been attending the NO for several weeks now, and have tried two different parishes. It takes more faith than I have to feel the presence of God, especially when priests make up parts of this mass as they go along – an opportunity to be creative, perhaps? One used a black glassy “chalice”, which gave me the creeps. Funny, I didn’t notice this as much until after I had the opportunity to experience the traditional Mass; now that it’s gone from the Anchorage area, the abuses stick out like sore thumbs.

    Why can’t Rome simply instruct bishops,under their vows of obedience, that the bishops will in turn order priests to learn the EF whether they want to or not? Ours has publicly said he will not do this.

    I tried to talk about this in confession yesterday, because I am beginning to lose my faith. First, he made a joke about it – something about losing a parcel and I don’t remember the rest because that’s when I realized he was being hostile. He asked why I cared about Latin and I tried to explain that it wasn’t merely the Latin, incense, and rubrics that I believe made the Mass more sacred, but all the prayers that were gutted from the NO. The two I miss the most are the Introit and the one after Communion where we beg Jesus to cling to every molecule of our body now that we have received Him and make us more like Him and less like us (I’m paraphrasing, not quoting).

    Things went from bad to worse in the confessional. After the priest was kind enough to point out that I was no longer young (this is important why? gratuitous insult? ridicule/belittling me?), I realized that I wasn’t going to get the advice I was seeking, we were on the verge of an argument, and I just shut up and left feeling bereft. It felt like an empty and sterile ritual and when I asked if I wasn’t supposed to say an Act of Contrition, the priest told me to just say it later. Is that even valid? He also told me that the late John Paul II and the current Holy Father were active at Vatican II in creating the new mass. Is this true? I truly do. not. know. and sincerely hope he was mistaken.

    Our archbishop, who has been discussed here before, has publicly said he will not require priests to learn the EF unless they want to. Yet, in the Archdiocese, we have a Hispanic Mass (new priests are required to learn Spanish in a hurry if they don’t already know it) with loud guitar music that sounds like a restaurant. No offense intended, only my opinion. The diocese just had a Polka Mass as well. I have no desire to take this away from them if those who find it their own way to praise God, but in return, why can’t I (and the approximately 400 people who expressed an interest to the priest who recently left) be allowed a traditional Latin Mass in the EF?

    Today, I just went to the travesty of a mass, read my Missal, and abstained from Communion. I’ll probably continue to do this until I can find a more traditional priest. We have a SSPX chapel up here and I am seriously beginning to consider attending. Despite their lack of communion with Rome, there have been times in history when there was a pope in Avignon & a pope in Rome. If God really does love all of us, may He have mercy on what is left of my soul, because I can’t force myself to sit through very many more services like those of the last few weeks.

  9. Jon K says:

    Father seems ever pleased at the idea of people “freaking out” over the issue of the old rite “being alive” and,as a proof, soon (?) to go through changes again (i.e. changes Father would like, one fancies). Given the liturgical disaster of the last 50 years, I do not understand that insensitivity to the anxiety of pious Catholics. Obviously, horrendous mistakes have been made, and a fear of change is quite understandable – and at times utterly praiseworthy. Nor do I find it very appropriate in a priest, whose heart should be that of a father.

    I side with Paul Laurence Hemming (“Worship as a Revelation”): there are times for growth and times for stability. The idea that anything, in order to somehow prove that it is still alive, has to change all the time, is not de fide. Actually, it is a silly analogy. Cancer is growth and change too.

    (Obviously, I am not talkig about the possibility of adding new saints.)

  10. Jon K:  Father seems ever pleased at the idea of people “freaking out” over the issue of the old rite “being alive” and,as a proof, soon (?) to go through changes again (i.e. changes Father would like, one fancies).

    A prime example of rash judgment.   I am never pleased when people “freak out”.  I think “freaking out” is wrong.

    Also, while I have my ideas about what changes to the older form would be good, I subscribe to Pope Benedict’s view… as should be abundantly clear from everything I have read… that changes should develop properly and under the direction of proper authority.  Pope Benedict has written clearly that liturgy must develop organically, not artificially.  That is my position as well.

    Nor do I find it very appropriate in a priest, whose heart should be that of a father.

    That is nothing but a cheap shot.  It is far too easy to criticize a priest with this sort of rubbish: “I don’t agree with him, therefore he is not being a good priest.”  Ridiculous and cheap.

    My fatherly heart is directing me to tell you to avoid this sort of tactic in the future.

    I side with Paul Laurence Hemming (“Worship as a Revelation”): there are times for growth and times for stability.

    Of course.  And I don’t think anyone around here is saying otherwise.

  11. Brian Mershon says:

    Father Z, I would be particularly interested in your pastoral guidance to Isabella. Having been in a similar situation for years until recently, what would you suggest to her?

  12. Brian: First, I make the observation that this is straying pretty far off the topic of the entry.

    Second, it is hard to know what to say when some of this concerns what happened in a confessional. The priest can’t say one way or another what happened. My experience is that people can be pretty sensitive, understandably, in a confessional and that they can misunderstand what is happening. This is not to cast doubt on the veracity of what “isabella” said, but merely to observe that that experience, which so colored her view, is hard to work with in this sort of medium.

    I am left feeling very sad and sympathetic toward “isabella” after reading what she wrote. I too have had very bad experiences in confessions with dissident priests, or with men who were extremely harsh. There is no place on earth where you are so vulnerable: confessors must be very careful. At the same time, sometimes penitents make it rather hard on priests as well. So…

    Third, if a person can persevere and even offer up sufferings in parishes that are sub-optimal, I think God will reward them. In those few occasions when people have a truly legitimate reason to seek to fulfill their obligation and find spiritual nourishment elsewhere… I think that requires the help of a solid spiritual director or confessor with whom a person can meet face to face. But we cannot recommend positively that people leave their churches or chapels which are in union with the Church in favor of those that clearly are not. That is a sometimes legitimate thing to do, but it always remains a sad solution we would prefer to avoid.

    What “isabella” describes is a bad situation. I wonder if she shouldn’t write to the Pontifical Commission for advice about what to do, or have a confessor write to the Commission on her behalf asking for advice.

    It sounds to me that this is one of those situations where the long term solutions should be sought, not the quick fix. Frankly, given what was described, it sounds like they are not going to have celebrations of the TLM anytime soon: they don’t have a priest to do it, if I understand correctly. So… the group who wants the TLM should plan and work a) to help promote the right sort of vocations and b) seek with the bishop some sort of temporary solution. What would that solution look like? I sincerely don’t know. I almost wish we could return to a situation of previous centuries when benefices could provide for a priest for a community.

    Stories like this leave me irritated and impatient on behalf of “isabella” and others in her situation. But we have to be realistic and embrace the fact that building somethings takes a lot of time, treasure and talent.

  13. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Z, Good advice. As one who attempted to “build” for more than 10 years and 3 different bishoprics in the deep South when very few priests, clerics cared to assist us, I can vouch for the fact that the desert is experience is difficult and sometimes can lead to despair.

    On the other hand, we now have a weekly TLM at our diocesan parish at 11 a.m., with is 2 min. from my house, so things couldn’t be much better (except for having the daily TLM). I must say though, that it takes people with strong stomachs and fortitude to persevere in the Church politics. I doubt that it is something that is truly many laymen’s vocations and it takes an enormous amount of time, energy, effort, prayer, communication with others and organizing.

    In the end, perhaps those of us are spiritually better off after these years–perhaps.

    All I’m saying is that the vast majority of Catholics do not want to fight the battles with the Romanitas of Church officials, clerics, priest and others. They just want to be able to attend Mass and the sacraments and pray in peace.

    I think that is our primary vocation–not to be activists. This coming from someone who was an activist for more than 10 years.

  14. Jon K says:

    I am not surprised at your answer, Father. I find nothing in it to change my judgement, which isn´t any rusher than many of those found on WDTPR.

    Ridiculous? Yes, I must be if you say so, Father

  15. Brian: the vast majority of Catholics do not want to fight the battles with the Romanitas of Church officials, clerics, priest and others. They just want to be able to attend Mass and the sacraments and pray in peace.

    Well said. I wish I could go say Mass for all of them.

  16. Jon K: I am not surprised at your answer, Father. I find nothing in it to change my judgement, which isn´t any rusher than many of those found on WDTPR.

    If you are not surprised, that is good. I try to be consistent.

    But I don’t think you have perhaps read very carefully what has been written here.

    Ridiculous? Yes, I must be if you say so, Father

    I didn’t say you were ridiculous. I think your cheap shot is a ridiculous tactic, and unfair. And your reaction suggests that you didn’t, in fact, read and weigh what I said.

    This is now, however, a rabbit hole and it ends here.

  17. Jon K says:

    Just happy to keep you busy, Father.

  18. Phil Steinacker says:

    Hey, Jon K:

    I can be sympathetic to some of the concerns you raise about people having normal human fears about change, etc.

    However, I find most objectionable your snide, sarcastic, and hyper-critical tone and choice of words towards Father Z. It is unnecessary, and disrespectful. Moreover, it’s underserved.

    Gee, are you REALLY some kind of trad or conservative, or do you just play one on WDTPRS?

  19. Phil: Don’t worry about this.

  20. isabella says:

    Thank you to Father Z & to Brian Mershon. I will not post anymore about this because when I reread it, I really drifted off topic and apologize. I just wish Rome would do something definitive.

    But that said, I agree with Brian about just wanting to be able to go to Mass, pray in peace, and not try to fight with people. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing to Rome, but I suspect they already know about our situation from the AB’s perspective. Would you (and Brian) object to his posting how he resolved his own problem? I won’t respond or get into an off-topic dialog.

    Sorry for the outburst and thank you again. My Christmas present to myself this year is going to be a trip to the least expensive place I can go to attend High Mass in the EF and to stay for maybe a week. Don’t even care where it is. I probably could use a good spiritual director; I’d have to find one somewhere else and perhaps we could continue over the internet by private e-mail. Flying is getting much more expensive from up here.

  21. Matt says:

    I had the pull towards SSPX too before we had priests to offer daily TLM. When I was married we had the wedding out of state several hours away at an Institute of Christ the King parish. It is something I will never forget the rest of my life.

    I too could not longer stand the abuses in the NO. There was not one parish where the music had not become mostly protestant, words were made up or changed on the fly (man to human, etc.), girl alter servers, the EM parade. I went to a Mass where there were the same number of EM as there were people in the pews. I guess extraordinary means something different in these parishes. The final straw that broke my back was watching the monsignor at the parish help lead kids OUT of church to go draw in the shool (He was not the celebrant). The children did not return until after communion. He then did NOT distribute communion, but encouraged parishoners to go to the EM. I no longer felt that this was respectful to Christ.

    I have read AA1025 and other texts and truely felt this priest was among these men who were working to destroy the church. The SSPX priests were and are holy men. I never had to worry that the sacrements and mass would be treated with anything but the utmost respect and devotion that they are due. My grade school pastor would be horrified at the abuses today by so many priests.

    When my grandmother died she had a very specific request that a certain traditional prayer be read at her grave site if the priest did not. This payer was not read by the priest and I was very disappointed as I felt that it was this prayer that would have the most effect for her soul:

    Saints of God, come to his/her aid!
    Come to meet him/her, angels of the Lord!
    [Response] Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

    May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
    may angels lead you to Abraham’s side. [Response] Receive . . .

    Give him/her eternal rest, O Lord,
    and may your light shine on him/her for ever. [Response] Receive . . .

    Let us Pray.

    All-powerful and merciful God,
    we commend to you, N., your servant.
    In your mercy and love,
    blot out all the sins he/she has committed through human weakness.
    In this world he/ she has died: let him/her live with you for ever.

    We ask this through Christ our Lord.


    How beautiful an intercession for a priest to offer on behalf of one who can no longer speak. To ask angels and saints to accompany her soul to our creater. Why would a prayer like this be supressed?

    In speaking with our priest who says the TLM he informed me of the practice that priests visiting a hospital or home used to perform for the dying. The rite was very similar to what is described here: The NO rite is radically different. I have asked him if he is still allowed to say this rite and use this ritual. He said that it must be requested by the family or the person receiving the sacrament.

    Please read the prayers and the rite and then please explain to me why such a beautiful process would be denied to someone at the end of their life? My grandmother was not able to receive this rite as the priest did not know it. He was also dressed in street clothes (which did not seem edifying to me). I know the last thing I would want to see on this earth is my children, my family and my priest surrounding me and praying this rite with me.

    I really feel that many of the church’s most beautiful treasures need to be restored. I will say a prayer for you Isabella that a priest somewhere will be filled with the holy spirit and may be lead to your parish.

  22. Sharon Stockard says:

    Dear Fr. Z there is a little town in Minn, Flensburg, that has been having the Traditional Latin Mass since 2000. The priest name is Fr. Art Hoppe(87yrs). We have High Mass every other Sun, we have Benediction after Mass every 4 th Sunday. We meet(winter time) in the basement of the church hall & have coffee cake,cookies etc. Father hears confession before & after Mass.There are 22 alter boys and the older ones help train the young ones.They have a small Latin Mass Community directory so all can be in contact with each other. We come from all areas around some drive 40 miles to be there every Sun some much farther. My prayer is that we can get a younger priest to help Fr Hoppe, he drives a considerable amount of miles and our Minn winters can be a little rough at times.When it gets real bad we have a wonderful and very large family called the McCoys who have been instramental for starting this wonderful community, take care to see that Fr. is picked up and returned to his home, so the Mass will be prayed. We have a town about 10 miles away that has a store, Neumann press, where we can get Missal,adults and childrens,books for teaching, stories of Saints. We have been so blessed. Would you and your readers please pray with us that we can get a priest to help Fr. Hoppe. Thank you Sincerely, Sharon Stockard

  23. isabella: My Christmas present to myself this year is going to be a trip to the least expensive place I can go to attend High Mass in the EF and to stay for maybe a week. Don’t even care where it is.

    I admire you for that. God bless you. I hope the situation up there will change soon and hearts will open. Perhaps you can help that happen.

    To that end, I will ask everyone who reads this to STOP

      right now – and say – right now – a prayer to the guardian angels of the bishop where you are and the priests of the place, to help their hearts soften and their minds open about this.

  24. Robert Beck says:

    Fr. Z, does this imply that the New Rite clergy will stop
    subverting the confidence of those catholics in the True
    Religion by manipulating them into being ” weak ” owing to
    the fact that the 1969 missal went too fast in its formation
    of the ” new ” liturgy? Since the Vatican doesn’t want the
    Anglicans to defect, how about having the latter being sent
    a peace offering from the Catholics in the Roman Rite?
    Deo Gratis !

  25. Jon K says:

    Mr Phil Steinacker,

    How charitable of you… (Yes, this is sarcasm on my part.) If you need to know, I am 36 and have been a traditionalist since the age of 16. I do not, however, believe, in kneeling to every priest I see whatever he says or does. Nor should you. I am rather surprised I should have to say this here of all places. (Or am I?)

    Father Z is a staunch supporter of 62. I am not. And I am very much entitled to say so, for I have good reasons. Anyway, as far as I know, Father Z holds no authority in the Church except that of an ordinary priest. I would receive Holy communion from him (and absolution, should the utter need arise) any given day. That is all and should be enough to anyone.

    I shall be quite clear, since you are pushing it. If I regularly read this blog, it has nothing to do with father Z´s priestly character (I know far too many priests whose blogs I ´d never look at – don´t you?). Rather, Father Z often knows what he is talking about in certain matters, and he is usually writing on topics which are of interest to me.

    Good day to you.

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