A seminarian learns about and is changed by the TLM

Pope Benedict has a vision for the Church.  We must revitalize our Catholic identity.  We must know who we are as Catholics so that we can contribute properly to the public square and shape the world around us according to Christ’s mandate to the Church.

This will impossible without a reinvigorating of the Church’s worship according to a principle of continuity with our tradition and the proper starting points.  Liturgy must be God-centered first and foremost before it can focus on man.

Summorum Pontificum was an important tool in this "Marshall Plan" for the Church.

Young priests will learn more fully about who they are and what Mass is through learning and celebrating also the older form of Holy Mass.  Young people in all walks of life will learn also the older, traditional forms.  They will never be the same thereafter.  They in turn will shape their parishes.

The "Marshall Plan" will be accomplished "brick by brick".

On the site of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception there is an interesting article for the "brick by brick" category.

My emphases and comments.

"A Mass-ive Change: My Experience with the Tridentine Mass"

By Br. Thaddeus Lancton, MIC

Several years ago, in conversations with my father, I remember his voice: "Et cum spiritu tuo we would say to the priests in Latin." Translation: "And with your spirit."  [Immediately this suggests an entirely different theology than what is expressed in "and also with you".]

He would say this in his role as altar server. Today I find myself, like him, an altar server. But unlike my late father, I had never served a Tridentine Mass, the Mass that was codified at the Council of Trent and changed very little in the way it was celebrated until Vatican II, when a new form of the Latin Rite was introduced.

Thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, however, the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite is now available to all!

As my fellow Marians and I were preparing to celebrate the extraordinary form for All Souls’ Day in our chapel in Steubenville, Ohio, I recall perusing the many paintings on our chapel walls. There was Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), the founder of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There was Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz (1871-1927), the Marian Renovator. And there were the Marian Martyrs of Rosica, Belarus, Blessed George Kaszyra (1904-1943) and Blessed Anthony Leszczewicz (1890-1943).

"This is the form of the Mass that they all celebrated," Fr. John Larson, MIC, remarked.

In our Steubenville house, I have been privileged to altar serve some Low Masses. But on Feb. 1, I was gifted to be the "epistle side" altar server for a High Mass. Once a month at the 4 p.m. Mass on Sundays, Franciscan University of Steubenville asks a priest to celebrate the extraordinary form.

As I served the Mass, I became transfixed on the San Damiano crucifix and the Statue of Mary, our Mother. I realized the dignity of the priest: Fr. John, with whom I eat, pray, and play Uno and Scrabble. There he was, offering the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of Jesus! I am struck by the reverence, attention, and devotion of those who attend. They all have the patience to wait as Fr. John singe handedly distributes Holy Communion to some 200 students.

During the Mass, there is an opportunity for silence. While I love the Novus Ordo, or regular Mass, this silence has taught me how to truly pray the Mass. It has taught me how St. Faustina experienced the Mass, and how the Divine Mercy originally began. As I perused our concordance of St. Faustina’s Diary for the word "Mass," I noticed that many of her visions of Jesus were during the Sacred Liturgy, including:

    June 4 [1937]. Today is the Feast if the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. During Holy Mass, I was given the knowledge of the Heart of Jesus and of the nature of the fire of love with which He burns for us and of how He is an Ocean of Mercy.

    [March 22, 1937] During Holy Mass, I saw the Lord Jesus nailed upon the cross amidst great torments. A soft moan issued from His Heart. After some time, He said, "I thirst. I thirst for the salvation of souls. Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners."

The language of this extraordinary form speaks of a mystery, a mystery of mercy. [mystery] While there is less "participation" by the laity, there is much more silence. [I am glad he at least included the ‘ ‘  around ‘participation’.  The fact is that there is in no real sense less participation in the older form of Mass.] In Isaiah 30:15, "For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength."

I am learning that during these quiet moments, I should pray with the Holy Spirit, uniting my prayer to the prayer of the priest. Romans 8:26: "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words …"

Thus, I have learned to truly plead with a loving Savior for the salvation of the world. As I see the Hidden Jesus lifted up by Fr. John, I contemplate what is truly happening: Calvary is being made present. Christ’s love, His Sacred Heart, is being offered by Fr. John to the Father for my own salvation, and the salvation of the entire world.

The shift from the Novus Ordo to this extraordinary form is rather difficult, but I am learning to combine this quiet with the groanings of the Holy Spirit, to truly experience the salvation won for me at Calvary. I am grateful that Fr. John is so interested in learning this form of the Mass, because I am learning to appreciate the Mass in a new way — as a sacrifice. Certainly it is a sacrifice on Christ’s part, but it is a sacrifice of mine, too. When I step into the extraordinary form, I learn to leave my own time and my own concerns. Truly, I learn to rest as the priest says his silent prayers, and I am able to gaze upon Jesus on the Cross. This is not a time to rush, but a time to pray, to beg God for mercy upon us sinners.

"Why?" I ask myself during the Mass. The change is massive on the exterior level, but on an interior level, Christ is the same "yesterday, today, and forever." By experiencing the extraordinary form, I am learning about the ordinary form, and the change from one to the other helps me never to take for granted the wonderful gift of every Mass: the Divine Mercy Himself to us sinners.

Brother Thaddeus Lancton, MIC, is a seminarian living in Steubenville, Ohio.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    God bless this seminarian. I could tell his youth by his use of the term “altar server” rather than “altar boy”. He shall soon learn more. May the Holy Spirit guide him to truth.

  2. inillotempore says:

    What a great post, right to the point and quite apropos. God bless this man.

    I too am learning my responses for the TLM as a long time altar server (altar boy sounds silly at age 42, –the Nouvus Ordo is the only form of Mass I’ve served up to the present). When I do serve my first TLM, I will consider with much gratitude being able to assist at the Mass of all-time the pinnacle of my 36 year career as a Knight of God’s Holy Altar.

    Blessed be God.

  3. Sid says:

    May ever more priests benefit from Brother Thaddeus’ wisdom!

  4. Fr. Charles says:

    I love this, and as someone young in the priesthood, it resonates in my heart. I was in religious life right after college, but left scandalized and in a state of confusion at what I saw. A few years later I interviewed with my diocese. The vocation director remarked that I had said nothing about the desire to “unite myself to the sacrifice of Christ.” That was just not part of how I had been brought up spiritually! I didn’t get it. Now I do, thanks to much Providence, as well as my own experience of learning and desiring to offer the TLM.

  5. shane says:

    I must say that growing up with the Marians at our parish that they are soildly orthodox.

    Father walter and father David lord are going to be in my heart forever and in my prayers forever!!

  6. QMJ says:

    That was absolutely beautiful. God bless Brother Thaddeus.

    As a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, I cannot express how happy I am to hear
    that they are finally celebrating the Old Latin Mass, and on a regular schedule too. When I was
    there they only did the Novus Ordo in Latin.

  7. veritas says:

    Is not “et cum spiritu tuo” one of the oldest responses in the Mass? It is much older than so many of the other prayers.

  8. TJM says:

    Father Z, thanks for posting this. After reading disheartening statements like Cardinal Mahony’s this was the perfect antidote. This young man is
    our future, the Cardinal our past. Deo Gratias! Tom

  9. Brian in Wisconsin says:

    The seminarian gets why I, too, love to serve the Mass. It is so quiet, and it is humbling. Serving the NO, you don’t get the sense that you are unworthy. Serving the EF, your lack of worthiness floods over you. BTW, how does Cardinal Mahony not get that this is the Mass that made saints? As such, how does it not engender Christ in the participant? Indeed, how *can* it not engender Christ in the participant?

  10. RJS says:

    Yes, more fruits of Archbishop Lefebvre the great who saved the Traditional Mass from the rest of the hierarchy who did all they could to suppress it. And let us that our current Holy Father for having the courage to admit the truth – that the old Mass was never abrogated.

  11. Edward C. says:

    brick by brick! God bless him!

  12. Gina D. says:

    Fr. John Larson is a wonderfully humble and sacrificial priest. We are very thankful to have him celebrate the Extraordinary Form here on campus! Br. Thaddeus, thank you for serving the Mass.

    As the former Student Head of Liturgy Committee from 2007 through 2008, it was during my year that we had our first TLM on campus. It has come a long way in just under 12 months. Brick by brick. We are not a hopeless and lost cause as some may feel. Have hope! And pray for us. Again, brick by brick…

  13. Ed Francis says:

    Re: “I am learning that during these quiet moments, I should pray with the Holy Spirit, uniting my prayer to the prayer of the priest.”

    This is the case with the Novus Ordo, as well; what we are supposed to be doing during Mass, OF or EF. That is not a new idea centered in the Extraordinary Form. It’s part of Mass and our part in it.

    It is still astonishing to find that facilitating this recollected reverence was one reason for the changes that led to Novus Ordo. Read Guardini’s “Meditations before Mass,” written prior to Vatican II for a clear exposition of the common state of dereliction prevelant then, as now.

    It may be that, weaned pre-Vatican II, I move toward recollected reverence more easily, whatever the form.

  14. veritas said :
    Is not “et cum spiritu tuo” one of the oldest responses in the Mass?

    My guess would be that the Words of Our Lord that the priest says at the consecration would be the oldest words. As to the rest of the Mass the Kyrie Eleison seems to be the oldest as these words are in Greek, the original language of the Mass.

  15. Ruari McCallion says:

    Ed Francis – excellent post. I’m with you, there. As a child and young man I found the Latin Mass alienating and uninvolving – the initial translations into English at the time of Vatican II was exciting and felt like an opening up, which I could get involved with. After a period ‘in the wilderness’ I returned to the Mass of HH Pope Paul VI. It was a bit of a shock but something I have grown very fond of – not least, because it gives a fighting chance of bringing our children up to understand and revere our faith. Were it continually expressed mainly in a foreign (and dead) language, I’m not sure it could have been achieved.

    I have had my deepst moments of spirituality and unworthiness in the era of the Novus Ordo, not pre-V2. If presented with reverence, it’s a worthy, moving and totally legitimate celebration – in all ways equal to the Tridentine Rite.

    I would not seek suppression of TLM – I recognise that many in the Catholic Church find it a comfort, a remembrance and continuation of the traditions they grew up in. The traditions are still there; they haven’t gone away. But if some feel happier with TLM, then by all means, be comforted. But please don’t be triumphalist, nor seek to present TLM as somehow superior to the Novus Ordo; HH Pope Benedict has made it very clear that is not the case. I suggest we all take that on board.

    While welcoming the opportunity presented to SSPX for reconciliation offered in the form of the lifting of the excommunication, my concern was that it would be seized upon as some kind of capitulation by its supporters. We see that fear made manifest with some of the comments flying round the blogshpere, including this board. Let us not forget what Archbishop Lefebvre did: cause schism by acting in defiance of very clear instructions given to him by HH Pope John Paul II. That was insubordination, disobedience, call it what you will – it wasn’t what he swore to do when he took his vows, became a bishop and was elevated to archbishop. One would have thought someone so strong on obedience would have known (and behaved) better. The Latin Mass may have been the banner that drew others to the cause but that wasn’t what it was all about; the reasons went much, much deeper – and, to be fair, most supporters don’t appreciate the background.

  16. “I recognise that many in the Catholic Church find [the TLM] a comfort, a remembrance and continuation of the traditions they grew up in.”</b

    Yes, but most of the dynamism and energy in TLM communities comes from those who grew up with the newer rite, many of them young couples with big families attending the TLM for its help in “bringing up their children to understanding and revere the faith.”

    And certainly almost all of the younger priests flocking to learn the TLM are ones ordained in the newer rite, many of them young “JP II priests of the restoration” ordained during the latter part of John Paul’s papacy.

    It’s these younger folks — rather than older ones like me to whom the quoted remark might apply — who will carry the TLM into the future.

  17. IS says:

    Epistle side server for High Mass? Huh? Looks like they are in need of some
    liturgical training.

    Anyway, a truely beautiful piece of writing.

  18. Ottaviani says:

    But please don’t be triumphalist, nor seek to present TLM as somehow superior to the Novus Ordo; HH Pope Benedict has made it very clear that is not the case. I suggest we all take that on board.

    I’d like to see how this is actually the case. Just because the Holy Father said that both forms are of the same Roman rite, doesn’t somehow do away with the problems that the newer rite has. Are we to believe now that the Pope has gone back on his criticisms of how hap-hazard the liturgical reform was, in his book Spirit of the Liturgy?

  19. Michael says:

    While respecting your experience with the NO, I suggest: broaden it with the “treasure”, as the pope calls it. It will bring you in a living continuity with the Church of the by-gone ages. You need one year, participating in it in all its variants, to familiarize yourself with it: each will enrich you in its own unique way. And don’t be afraid of the Latin. One can, in due course, get to learn the English equivalent to the Latin words and phrases, and eventually think it in Latin – the universal language, and sacred one, of the whole Western Church.

    And show to His Eminence how narrow-minded he is.

  20. TJM says:

    Ruairi McCallion,

    “I would not seek suppression of the Novus Ordo because I recognize that for many people, the banal, the mundane, the pedestrianess
    of it is comforting.”

    Now perhaps you might understand how your comments might be offensive to folks who have an appreciation for the EF? Because I have a fondness and love for our Church’s rich traditional heritage I generally only attend a Novus Ordo that is in Latin, celebrated ad orientem, enhanced by wonderful gregorian chant and polyphony.
    From time to time, I attend the EF. However, the standard vernacular Novus Ordo, even well celebrated, falls short of either Liturgy I described.


  21. Sandy says:

    Reading this brings tears to my eyes. How often at Mass (NO), my soul cries out to the Lord to give us back the reverence I remember as a child. (The last 2 days I saw a youngish mother in the front pew chewing gum all through Mass and going to Communion doing the same. I don’t feel judgmental, just hurt for Our Lord.)

  22. yeoldeacolyte says:

    Anyone who says the Novus Ordo is an expression basic Calvinist eucharistic theology, and that the idea of the Mass as a sacrifice is to be found ONLY in the Tridentine Mass, let him or her be anathema. This is heresy and contrary to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, pure and simple. Let those who so strenously profess their attachment to “orthodox” Catholicism reflect on what they believe and why they believe it.
    This confusion in the minds of the faithful, as well as in the minds and teachings of liturgists ranging from ultra traddy types to the far left, should convince Pope Benedict another council is now essential to rediscover and define once and for all precisely what the bishops at Vatican II intended for the Novus Ordo. These questions need to be asked: what did Vatican II intend? Did the council’s will change? If so, by whom, and why? Were the decrees of the council undermined by the council itself, or by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Bugnini? Perhaps the first question should be: why did Pope John XXIII think it was necessary to “reform” the liturgy in the first place using an Ecumenical Council as his instrument for change? How did the Vatican lose control over the implementation of the Tridentine liturgy, and how do we get back on track in restoring what the council intended?
    The endless harping between the far right, super “orthodox” Catholics, and the supporters of the new Catholic Calvinism which has mushroomed over the past 40 years has to be addressed soon, or the pope is simply speaking to a deeply divided and shrinking church. The issue a new council has to address is no longer simply a matter of liturgy, but one of faith and spirituality. Is Pope Benedict too old and exhausted to take up the gauntlet? Leaving us to await action from his successor?

  23. Ruari McCallion says:

    Michael – I grew up with the Tridentine Rite. It was the Mass of my childhood and adolescence. I have no need of discovery.
    Ottaviani – if you read the Pope’s Motu Proprio and accompanying letter, you will understand how ‘this is the case’. The Pope lays out, very clearly, in black and white, that neither is ‘superior’ to the other. If I may quote from His Holiness’ letter to the Bishop, which accompanied Summorum Pontificum last year:

    “In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question.

    “This fear [detraction from Vatican Council reform] is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.”

    I think he knows what he meant so there’s no need to second-guess him.

    However, when His Holiness said ‘this fear is unfounded’, he may not have read some of the posts around…

    Tom – I said nothing along those lines. I recognise that many people see beauty in the Tridentine Rite and I have no problem with that. If you wish to take issue with what I actually said, go ahead – I have no problem. But don’t set up your own targets to throw stones at and try to ascribe them to me.

    Yeoldacolyte – harsh, but fair in places!

  24. Brandon says:

    Epistle side server for High Mass? Huh? Looks like they are in need of some
    liturgical training.

    Anyway, a truely beautiful piece of writing. *IS*

    Brother Thaddeus doesn’t mean that he was at the foot of the altar for Mass at the Epistle Side. Brother was, for this particular Mass he’s speaking about, an acolyte, who as he is supposed to, remained at the Sedalia for most of the Mass, assisting of course in the offertory and the Gospel illumination and in the transfer of the Missal and the Veil after the Ablutions.

    I assure you that we’re quite well trained and Brother simply was using a term of convenience. Please remember that he’s not as well versed in technical terminology.

    and Fr. Z… The comments on many of your posts have been quite… Distressing lately. Very uncharitable. You think maybe the father of lies is trying to rouse division amongst your flock?

  25. Alex says:

    As a seminarian the Extraordinary form of the Mass is very appealing because of its nature, however, I do realize that the Ordinary form is the one I will be praying, one day, God willing, as a priest. While I intend to learn how to say both Masses, I can attest that the Ordinary form can be reverent and mystical IF said properly. Moreover, I would dare to say that one’s worthiness, or better put, lack thereof, is dependent upon one’s atttiude. I say this because I have yet been privigled to serve at an Extraordinary Form Mass yet serve the Ordinary Form often and am often humbled by the honor and privlege to serve at the Lord’s Holy Altar.

  26. Magdalene says:


    I am pleased to read that the Marian of the Immaculate Conception are also embracing the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass.

    The Novus Ordo, as I understand it, was taken from the 16th century Book of Common Prayer yet the Anglican Use Mass has prayers that far surpass (sorry) the prayers of the novus ordo. I am not sure why that would be. Yes, both are valid but the need for mercy and the knowledge of sacrifice are essentially missing from the Novus Ordo such that my former pastor explained the Mass as a gathering of the assembly to give thanks. And while that is part of it, the great and ineffable Mysterium Fidei is almost unknown or unrecognized in such an explanation and one can give thanks anywhere. But one can only enter into that One Sacrifice at the Holy Mass and many Catholics nowadays do not know this.

    With the extraordinary form, we will be reminded of what Mass truly is.

  27. TJM says:

    Ruari McCallion,

    I think you need to re-read the condescending comments you made regarding the folks who favor the EF and then re-read mine in which I turned the tables on you. If you come up with a different conclusion, you are being intellectually dishonest. Sorry.


  28. Bacci says:

    Of course Mr Ruari McCallion is being intellectually dishonest. His first post is typical of hypocrisy of the NO zealots who have attacked those who maintained, during the 40 years in the desert, that the Tridentine Mass had never been suppressed.

    Evidently, after SP, it is no longer possible to maintain this posture while claiming obedience to the Pope. Therefore, some more “subtle” condescension is now more in order.

    In any even, the debate is pointless. Suffices to observe the “good” fruits of the NO ecclesiology and theology. Nothing else need be said nor read.

  29. Alex says:

    I also think McCallion is being intellectually dishonest. I also wonder if the average teenager is disposed to having deep spiritual encounters in any fashion through any means. The fact that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass continues to draw people despite not being widely celebrated should cause one to ask why this is so. I remember going because I wanted to see what the “Old Mass” was all about; I continue attending (when I can) because I now know what it is all about.

  30. Alex says:

    I also think McCallion is being intellectually dishonest. I also wonder if the average teenager is disposed to having deep spiritual encounters in any fashion through any means. The fact that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass continues to draw people despite not being widely celebrated should cause one to ask why this is so. I remember going because I wanted to see what the \”Old Mass\” was all about; I continue attending (when I can) because I now know what it is all about.

  31. Ruari McCallion says:

    Some…emmmm….surprising responses to my posts. The initial was written in support of Ed Francis, the only person speaking up for the NO. What would be nice would be if people, who are free to take issue with what I said, took issue with what I actually said, not what they decided I said or meant.
    I never said the Tridentine Rite wasn’t suppressed – If you maintain I did, then please point out where.
    On the other hand, nor did I say it was. There was always the opportunity for indult Mass, which allowed it, but only under special circumstances.
    I think I understand the reasons for the approach.
    It would be interesting to be able to look back to the 16th Century and see what kind of discussion there was about the standardisation of the Roman Rite under HH Pope Pius V. At that time, people were required to abandon practices that may have become embedded, followed with piety and devotion, felt very closely and maybe even loved – but put aside with the standardisation. I wonder if there would have been any parallels with today?
    Intellectual dishonesty is a charge I reject completely. It would be intellectually dishonest of me to say that the EF is more moving, more involving and something that I find spiritually uplifting – because, to be frank, I don’t, and nor do my children (if ‘children’ is the right word for people in their 20s). I have also seen a number of youngsters, brought up with piety and devotion by their parents – supporters of the EF and determined to hold onto what they saw as ‘traditional strengths of the Church – fall away completely. I have seen an enthusiastic priest, committed to the NO, rebuild a parish from the edge of disappearance to something healthy and vibrant – three packed Masses every Sunday and quite healthy attendance during the week – by engaging with the community, going out and involving himself with local schools and sports clubs and taking the time to explain to the older parishioners what was going on. Interestingly, it was the children and teenagers who demanded their families attend Church.
    It would also be dishonest of me to stand aside and allow some (but not all, by any means) to appear to crow triumphantly and fail to challenge attacks on the NO. The Pope has said these are not ‘two rites’, they are the same; one is not ‘superior’ to another; they are the same and should be held in equal veneration.
    It would also be dishonest to allow praise of Msg Lefebvre to pass without a reminder of the damage he did with his actions, over a long period of time.
    But to charge me with hypocrisy, with being an NO ‘fanatic’? I have said I recognise that some people find the EF a comfort. Let me make clear: I also recognise that some people felt uncomfortable with the NO, especially where the local priest had interpreted things (shall we say) loosely. The duty would be to question why particular actions had been taken, give opportunity for response and explanation and, if those were unsatisfactory, to take the matter further – to the bishop, say.
    But many find the EF altogether alienating and exclusive (as in, excluding one). There is a degree of enthusiasm for the NO in the West (Europe, N America – the US in particular, Australia, etc) but let us consider for a moment where the congregations are fastest-growing and where the seminaries are receiving recruits in record numbers: the ‘Third World’, or emerging economies, call them what you will. The EF, the Tridentine form, did not have the widespread, deep history there. It was practiced in the past, yes, but the norm is the NO. There is a different history and I don’t think the EF comes with the same baggage as we have in the West. The NO seems to be a spiritual and inspiring experience for our colleagues in Africa, Asia, etc.
    ‘Fanatic’? No. And hypocrisy is altogether an accusation too far. May I ask those who accuse me and, maybe, others, of either of those to check the mirror, and maybe their heart, first.

  32. Ruari McCallion says:

    Small correction to the above. Penultimate para, “There is a degree of enthusiasm for the NO in the West” should read “There is a degree of enthusiasm for the EF in the West..”

  33. supertradmom says:

    I pray and hope that more seminarians, especially those who are destined to be secular priests, will also fall in love with the TLM. What a beautiful post. Thank you.

  34. Susan Peterson says:

    About the comment regarding the Novus Ordo and the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Use mass. First of all, the Novus Ordo was not “taken from” the 16th century Book of Common Prayer. You can confirm this for yourself. I think you could probably find the text of the 1662 rite online. If not, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer rite is quite similar to it, and that is easily available. The language of that rite was even in its own time quite formal. In my experience it was celebrated ad orientem, but I don’t know the whole history of it. It was deliberately written by Cranmer to exclude the idea of eucharistic sacrifice except that of offering “our selves, our souls and bodies” as a sacrifice to God and that of a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. Neither of these ideas are wrong in what they affirm; they are only wrong in what they deny. The idea of eucharistic sacrifice as in the offering of the Son to the Father was thought by Protestants to deny the completeness and adequacy of the one sacrifice made by Christ on the Cross. For some reason they didn’t understand that the mass was the making present of the one sacrifice of Christ. (Could it be that Catholics at that time popularly did not understand this too well?) What they were opposing was the idea that each mass was a new and separate sacrifice with a virtue or power in and of itself, as if Christ’s sacrifice had been inadequate and had to be added to. So if you listen very carefully to the admittedly beautiful old Book of Common Prayer service you will not hear anything about eucharistic sacrifice. The Novus Ordo may not seem sacrificial enough in its language to lovers of the EF, but had it excluded the idea it could not have been the mass of the church, and this is one of those things which if it happened, the gates of hell would have prevailed against the Church! Twice in my life I have had periods in which I frequently attended both the BCP service and the Novus Ordo on the same day, and the sacrificial language in the Novus Ordo stands out quite clearly in the comparison. The 1979 BCP service is written in language very similar to that of the NO, and it therefore stands out the more that there is no “Pray, brothers, that our sacrifice may be made acceptable ..” or the response “May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands..”

    The Anglican Use mass that I am familiar with uses the language of the old Book of Common Prayer for the earlier parts of the mass, but the canon was apparently considered too infected with Reformation theology to amend. (The Western rite Orthodox amended it in only a few places and used it, which I believe was theologically adequate and much more successful in terms of a liturgy with a consistent style.) So the Anglican Use mass uses the Roman Canon, straight out of the EF, but as translated, quite literally, into Elizabethan English by a contemporary of Cranmer. It is said ad orientem, but out loud. After the canon the AU goes back to using the old BCP words. This creates a jarring discontinuity of style. For some reason, also, the AU was required to have the “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith” -and that is in modern English, and so really adds to the discontinuity. Perhaps someone close to the process could say why this was put there. I have suspected that it was put there (this was some time ago) specifically because this is one of the parts of the NO that traditionalists objected to, to make sure that the AU was a concession to a few converting Anglicans and not a rallying place for discontented traditionally minded Catholics. In any case, the Anglican Use mass (the form I am describing; there is also one which uses the 79 prayer book and the NO Roman canon, but neither AU group I am famiilar with uses that one) is an opportunity to hear the Roman canon prayed out loud if one were so inclined.

    Personally I am quite comfortable with the AU. I am also comfortable with the small changes the Eastern rites have made, translating their rites into the vernacular and keeping the royal doors(the doors in the iconostasis directly in front of the altar) open during the anaphora. I have also attended a very conservative Orthodox church where they kept the royal doors closed and the congregation sang other prayers while the priest prayed the anaphora behind the iconostasis. Closing the doors of the iconostasis during the anaphora serves the same purpose as does the silent canon. And I am faced with two things; one, I personally, don’t like either, and two, this was obviously traditional both East and West, so there had to be a reason for it. I await enlightenment. I doubt if combox explanations will provide it.
    A priest friend of mine gave me an article called “The Glory of the Silent Canon” which I read, and it still hasn’t either made me like not hearing the words, or made it a more prayerful experience for me. My experience of the EF is still mostly of the “Where is he now?” variety. I mostly attend the Eastern rite, but perhaps one of four to six Sundays I attend the EF. (I seldom find myself at a NO anymore. I have no real objection to the NO itself, but there is so much which is often associated with it that I find upsetting. ) I continue to read this blog and read people’s testimonies to how moving they found the EF and I wonder what is the problem with me that I don’t. The only time I came close to feeling what they speak about was the one time my old college friend was the celebrant, in a tiny chapel with only three people present besides the priest and the server. (is acolyte the proper term? ) There was a hushed reverence there which is still a memory of something I feel is beyond my comprehension but that I was privileged to be on the periphery of. Of course whatever form of the mass I attend, I do know what the mass is and whether my feelings are stirred or not, I do make an act of mind and will to unite myself with the priest in making the eucharistic offering. Therefore I no longer think it is so important whether the EF “turns me on,” to use a 60’s phrase. (I am a little less successful in maintaining this attitude when some of the adjunctive things which happen at the NO “turn me off,” to use another 60’s phrase.)
    Susan Peterson

  35. TJM says:

    Ruari McCallion,

    I didn’t accuse you of hypocrisy, but you will not address the central point I made. I took your patronizing sentence about those who prefer the TLM
    and turned it back on you by making an equally patronizing comment about those who prefer the Novus Ordo. You know the old saying, “what’s good for the goose is good
    good for the gander?” Obviously you didn’t like what I did, but you won’t address the substance of it because you were caught, you are probably embarrassed as to how you came across, but you persist in digging your hole deeper. Why not admit that what you said was impolitic and be done with it?


  36. Susan Peterson says:

    Tom and Ruari,

    Please. I think there are ways of discussing this which do not need to involve hostility. Each should be trying to see why the other responds as he does to each form. Each should be trying to see what he might be missing. Each should certainly allow the other to choose which form he wants to attend, as the Church now does. We shouldn’t be separating into parties over this.
    Susan Peterson

  37. TJM says:

    Susan Peterson, I appreciate what you’re saying. However, I do take offense when someone suggests that people who prefer the TLM are seeking “comfort,
    a remembrance.” All I did was use similar language but apply it to the Novus Ordo. If you don’t see the judgmentalism or condescension in his remarks
    that’s a problem. Ruari started this and I was trying to show him how he was coming accross. Not altogether that different from Cardinal Mahony. Tom

  38. Deo Gratias!

    As someone who attends both the TLM and the OF, I’ll say the following.

    1. In the OF, there is constant external participation. This can be rather burdensome at times. This does not mean that external participation is an intrinsic evil or anything like that, but what I mean is that the time to contemplate upon the mystery of God is often interrupted by having to reply to every single thing.

    2. In the EF the external participation flows more naturally, the short time that’s interrupted is spent in contemplation upon the mystery of God. That is to say when external participation comes, it makes more sense at least in my opinion. The contemplation and prayers that have been offered are essential to the Mass. (not that they aren’t in the OF either)

    In turn this is what makes the shift difficult (which fortunately I’ve gotten better at), it’s not a matter of which one’s better, but one is more internal participation and the other is external participation moreless. That can be the challenge, and I’m glad he offers it up to the Holy Spirit.

    I’m a firm believer the youth are coming to the TLM because of that encounter with mystery. (Not to say it’s not present in the OF, but it’s much more difficult to tell with all of the Abuses that happen which are separate from the books themselves)

    May more people come to know the TLM and take that experience and apply it to the OF.

  39. Henry Edwards says:

    Joe of St. Thérèse: May more people come to know the TLM and take that experience and apply it to the OF.

    Both priests and lay people! In the last 6 days I have attended five OF Masses and two EF Masses. Both the priests’ solemnity and my participation were similar in both forms.

    However, this is not usually the case for either priests or people in an OF Mass. Perhaps it is telling in my case that the two youngish celebrants of my EF Masses were also the celebrants of my OF Masses this week. I’m sure that both were reverent OF celebrants before they learned to celebrate the EF, but no doubt they’d also attest that learning the EF changes forever how a priest celebrates the OF.

    And similarly for lay people. I’ve faithfully attended the OF continuously for 40 years, daily in recent years, but only by consciously transferring to the OF the manner of interior prayerful participation that comes naturally in the EF have I been able to elevate my OF participation to a comparable level.

  40. TJM says:

    Henry Edwards, you make an excellent point, that is it “actual participation” that counts, not “active participation.” A mischievous translation of
    “actuosa participatio” in the Counciliar documents as “active participation” caused a lot of problems. Tom

  41. Michael says:

    You evidently had no opportunity to grow with the Tridentine Mass if you did not try to do so during your childhood and adolescence. It was demanding: one had to be actively involved in discovering its full meaning and beauty. Bilingual texts must have been accessible, and it was only a matter of familiarizing with the vernacular text, and reading it while the priest offers the prayers alone. You would have been united with him in silence instead of passively receiving his endless loud monologues, made “interesting” by his DIY attempts to make it “relevant”. Yes, it required an effort and self-discipline, but that is what the active participation is all about.

    Does one really manage to grasp the essence of the Mass if he/she listens it in a vernacular? Just two examples. Isn’t it supposed to be about Transubstantiation, and yet our first, English, acclamation refers to Christ as if He were not on the altar? Isn’t it supposed to be about Sacrifice, and yet the word “sacrifice” is not even mentioned in the EP II, which is the most frequently used text ?

  42. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    From above:

    “A Mass-ive Change: My Experience with the Tridentine Mass”

    By Br. Thaddeus Lancton, MIC

    Several years ago, in conversations with my father, I remember his voice: “Et cum spiritu tuo we would say to the priests in Latin.” Translation: “And with your spirit.” FR. Z REPLIED: [Immediately this suggests an entirely different theology than what is expressed in “and also with you”.]

    No, it doesn’t . . . unless one wants it to.

    In the Divine Liturgy of the East, in most cases when the priest greets the people with “The Lord be with you,” the response is (literally), “And TO your spirit.” Are we now to infer “an entirely different theology” from that? [No. “to your spirit” or “with your spirit”, … that is a very small difference, an adjustment made for the differences of cases in Greek, a preposition, etc. “And also with you.” says something very different.]

    I grew up with “And also with you,” and have absolutely no problem with using it or understanding it. Literally translating the Latin expression (“And with your spirit”) would mean nothing to me. (Fr. Z can barely contain his snort, I’m sure!) [As you dig into it, I am sure you will get the difference.] And, attempts to explain the phrase only seem to lead back to . . . well, it kinda means, “And also with you.” [Not really, no. It doesn’t take into consideration the character of the one who spoke the original greeting and to whom the response is given.]

    So, on this one, I think ICEL got it right. I wish that Vox Clara would have left this one alone. [Nothing to be done, there.]

  43. veritas says:

    inillotempore I said “responses” not “words”. In any case the narrative of the institution of the eucharist is said to have been absent from the Liturgy of Addai and Marai (the Maronite Rite) until inserted in the 1890’s. St Peter, St Paul and the Apostles presumably celebrated the eucharist in what language? Hebrew, Aramaic?

  44. TJM says:

    Matthew W. I. Dunn, you sound like a real, liturgical scholar. So what if you have no problem “and also with you.” I grew up with “et cum spiritu tuo.” I prefer that. What does preference have to do with this at all? Besides, in virtually every language in all of Christendom the response to this salutation contains the word “spirit.” The English speaking world is the odd man out. Tom

  45. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    I am not especially educated on liturgical matters but what I see different is that NO response is more egalitarian and the TLM response suggests a hierarchical difference with the priest having the spiritual privilege as it were, not that it confers infallability etc but as catholics we believe the priest has special privilege and yes special responsibilty as well, in spiritual matters. Alas that too many have not been formed well in seminary, but we laity have also been part of the problem for 40 years. Iron sharpens iron…

    I would be interested to hear any other ideas on TLM vs NO response. I have always wondered why the ICEL chose an obvious mistranslation

  46. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:


    No, I’m not a liturgical scholar; and, I’ve experienced both the “And also with you” and “Et cum spiritu tuo” forms of Holy Mass.

    It’s not about preference, but meaning. The expressions connote the same thing: the wish that God’s presence come and remain with someone. Hey, I’ll say the literalistic “And with your spirit” when it becomes official for the English-speaking Latin Catholic world. Still, I consider “And with your spirit” a stilted, literalistic translation.

    Please, let’s not insult eachother’s intelligence and say (as Fr. Z is trying to do) that someone’s entire theological framework hinges on whether he or she says “And also with you” or “And with your spirit.” [I didn’t say what you suggest, namely, “entire theological framework”.]


    Interesting. What holds me back is that the priest is essentially saying the same thing to the congregation, namely, wishing the Lord’s presence on their spirit. [Not quite. The one making the address and receiving the response greets and receives in a different manner of greeting and receiving.]

  47. Michael says:

    Fr. Z’s remarks in pink are correct; but that apart, the “Also with you” is at odds with what one can quite rightly call a sacrosanct response, whether “to” you, or “with” you (although, I suggest, you better check the renderings in the texts published by the Eastern communities in English speaking world: they know what they are doing, and what I have managed to access shows “with you” almost without exception). It goes back to the time immemorial in all Christian Churches, and it is irresponsible to tamper with it.

    And, consistently – one really cannot expect of the ICEL to be consistent, except in their “meaningful”, tasteless, language – you should have proposed: “And also TO you”.

  48. TJM says:

    Piers the Plowman, ICLE’s highly inaccurate and ideological translations represents the zeitgeist of the times. If the Mass had gone vernacular in the 1950s I am fairly confident the translations would have been accurate and beautiful. But the 1960s was a period of much ugliness, socially, politically, artistically, and liturgically. This was an ideological translation, make no mistake about that. But I generally don’t worry about the English translations since I attend either the EF or OF in Latin. My money went with me by the way. That’s the only thing my lefty pastor misses about me. Tom

  49. Ruari McCallion says:


    You don;t know me so there’s no reason you should be aware that I went to a Catholic boarding school in the UK for several years. I think i had sufficient exposure to grow or not in the Tridentine Mass.


    If you could read what I actually wrote, rather than discussing what you may have thought I said, I think you will find nothing to take issue with.

  50. TJM says:

    Matthew M. I Dunn, I’m glad you’ll say “And with your spirit.” I am a musician by avocation and I always thought “And also with you” sounded ugly, kind of a downer. Just like when Ecce Agnus Dei was translated “this is the Lamb of God” instead of Behold, the Lamb of God. I think behold conveys the notion of the transcendent, the Divine. “This” is so mundane and hardly evokes what is taking place. This
    could just as easily introduce “this is the cat, this is the dog.” Tom

  51. TJM says:

    Ruari McCallion, please just go back and read your words. They suggest that the folks who appreciate the TLM are stodgy old gaffers who can’t adjust to modern times. I will tell the Notre Dame students who have a weekly TLM that they are merely seeking “comfort, a remembrance.” The reality is that these students are more actively engaged and more attuned to the liturgy that most of the folks who attend the Novus Ordo. Tom

  52. Michael says:

    Thanks for further explanation. My comments were based on data you had provided earlier. Now, in view of your exposure to the Tridentine Mass in the Catholic boarding school, I find it difficult to explain to myself how the two examples I provided last time, which everybody who understands the text in a vernacular and is concerned with the current subversion of the doctrine of Transubstantiation and Sacrifice, have remained unnoticed by you. And there are others… Not to mention what one can find in “Cardinal Ratzinger’s” writings.

  53. Ruari McCallion says:


    I don’t see subversion of transubstantiation and sacrifice in teh New Order as it is presented and as it should be celebrated. Anyone who reads Summorum Pontificum will see that the Pope doesn’t, either.

    Not that I disagree that some priests, at various times, have done some things that are not in order. That isn’t the fault of the New Order, the Missal of Pope Paul VI; it’s the error of the individuals.

  54. Michael says:


    TRANSUBSTANTIATION is effected by Consecration. After the Consecration Christ is present on the altar. But in English – you are supposed to understand English – we are asked to proclaim the Mystery of Faith by the acclamation: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again”, AS IF HE WERE NOT ON THE ALTAR. His presence on the altar is ignored; He is not addressed as Thou, present now on the altar, but as somebody who is elsewhere. As people “acclaim” it day after day, the notion of His presence on the altar – He is elsewhere and “will come again” – fades away from consciousness.

    SACRIFICE. Eucharist, taken as a Sacrament in a broader sense, is both Sacrament in a narrow sense (Transubstantiation, Presence) and Sacrifice. Both should be signified, because the Sacraments are signs. But the WORD “SACRIFICE”, which should signify the Sacrifice, IS ABSENT from the EP II. As people listen to this day after day, the notion of Mass as a Sacrifice doesn’t sink in. When this prayer is used, the only place in the Mass where the word “sacrifice” appears is the Orate Fratres, but this “sacrifice” refers to the gifts at the Offertory.

    If you permit me to be sarcastic, it would be far better if it all were in Latin: at least, people wouldn’t understand the language and wouldn’t misconceive what they are likely to misconceive while listening to the text which they “understand”.

    And this is not what “some priests, at various times, have done some things that are not in order”, but exactly “as it is presented and as it should be celebrated”.

    It is beyond me to explain how after the “sufficient exposure to grow or not in the Tridentine Mass”, you do not realize the difference. There are no acclamations in the Tridentine Mass, still less the misleading one referred to above; and the word “sacrifice” appears more than once.

  55. Ruari McCallion says:


    “It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” – HH Pope Benedict XVI

    Do you disagree with the Pope, then, Michael?

  56. Michael says:

    “Do you disagree with the Pope, then, Michael?”
    No, I don’t. I am trying to be a Catholic, and the Catholic is supposed to assent to the Pope’s teaching and ruling.

    I do not dispute that the two forms are legitimate. However, the Extraordinary Form is superior, not exceptional: Cardinal Hoyos has made the latter clear at the press conference in London. The “superior” is a proper meaning of the word “extraordinary”, I suggest. We speak of extraordinary talent, extraordinary intelligence, extraordinary skill, extraordinary beauty, extraordinary – treasure (the word used by the Pope himself) etc. It should be given a proper place in the Church, and in view of the 40 years’ of violent suppression, which amounted to cultural vandalism and a doctrinal disaster evident to all but those who are blind or do not believe the Catholic doctrine, it should now be promoted rather than merely tolerated. The Holy Father wants it promoted.

    But you did nor refer to the two points I have made twice during this exchange of views. If you do not realize the traps, you did not benefit from the vernacular or OF: that is my contention. Were you exposed during your boarding school period to the doctrine of Transubstantiation and Sacrifice, or your education stems from the time when these docrines were already under attack in Catholic schools?

  57. Ruari McCallion says:

    Michael –

    Your understanding of ‘extraordinary’ in this context is mistaken. It means unusual, not the ordinary, not the regular. The Ordinary (regular, normally celebrated) form of the Mass will, as the Pope made clear, continue to be the NO. The EF can be used a maximum of once on Sundays, again as HH made clear.

    You may wish that he said the EF was superior but if you read the Motu Proprio and accompanying letter you will see that he went out of his way to make clear that there is no ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’. If you seek to propose one form as superior to another then you are putting yourself above the Pope. He said what he meant – you may not like it, you may not agree with it but if you maintain you are a Catholic, you accept it.

    As for the rest, don’t be silly. I went to a Catholic boarding school, where we began each day with religious instruction. I was brought up a Catholic and went to Catholic Sunday School. I studied some theology as well as psychology, too. My education in things religious goes back to the 1950s – possibly even longer than yours. In short, please don’t teach your granny to suck eggs.

    BTW Fr Z – thanks for the Internet Prayer I came across. My charitableness may have stumbled without it! And thank you also for your valuable service in ensuring accurate translation. It’s appreciated.

  58. Michael says:

    Each time you are revealing additional information about your background, and the new one suggests that we started our “education in things religious” at the same time. So, to use your phrase, “don’t be silly” but venture a comment on the two specific examples I gave you earlier (which, by the way, are just two of many).

    Re: “Extraordinary”: you will not find in the SP that it “means unusual, not the ordinary, not the regular” or that it can be used “a maximum of once on Sundays”. And you will find in the records of the Westminster press conference Cardinal Hoyos’ answer to the explicit question as to whether it means “exceptional”. As for the rest, it is based on \”Cardinal Ratzinger’s\” writings and papers. The Pope doesn’t “make clear that there is no ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’”: he simply doesn’t use these terms – but they are evident from the context of his writings and from the fact that, on spite the opposition, he wants the Tridentine Mass restored. So, it is you who “are putting yourself above the Pope”.

    Ever since the OF was introduced, there has been no shortage of documents from Rome complaining against this or that abuse. There are in fact so many of these abuses, that it is an abuse of the word to call them “abuses”: they are a normal feature of the OF that make it – inferior. The Mass is not the Missal, but an unique event each time when it is celebrated; and what it is in reality – is a matter of statistics.

    One context, in which your understanding of the word “extraordinary” is envisaged, is the introduction of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion. It was envisaged for exceptional circumstances, but the concession has been largely abused so much so that the name “eucharistic minister” or “special minister” is generally now in use in spite of repeated requests from Rome that these terms be abandoned. In vain, of course, because they reflect a real state of affairs, in reality, as distinct from what is on paper. Both the practice in parishes and the “illegal” terms which reflect that practice, tell us about an aspect of inferiority of the OF.

    I do not dispute that “(i)f presented with reverence, it’s a worthy, moving and totally legitimate celebration”, but from the viewpoint of statistics such a celebration is so exceptional that, in a sense, can be taken as an illegitimate abuse, and only as such it is – “in all ways equal to the Tridentine Rite”. The standard OF, in the sense of what happens most frequently, is in no way equal.

  59. Ruari McCallion says:

    “The Eucharist should never become a point of contrast and a point of separation,” Cardinal Castrillon said at the Sept. 16 conference. “What is more important: the mystery of God who becomes bread or the language by which we celebrate the mystery?”

    – Cardinal Hoyos

  60. Michael says:

    I thought I had posted a brief response earlier this morning, but do not know…It isn’t there.

    I have no issue with the Cardinal. Obviously, if a rite meets a minimum required for validity the Mass is valid (and that is “more important” than “the language”), regardless of the shortcomings in details of the ritual. However, the latter are important with regard to what those present can get out of the Mass, because it affects their subjective disposition. The issue is in the principle: lex orandi – lex credendi. If the former is less adequate than it can or should be, the latter is undermined; or if the latter is false, it is reflected in the former.

    When a priest is turned ad Orientem some complain that he has turned his back to them, while at the same time they are not in the leaset bothered by the fact that, if he faces them and if the Tabernacle happens to be behind him, he has turned his back to Christ. Why they don’t bother? Because they have lost the sense of awareness that Christ in the Tabernacle is more important than themselves.

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