Springfield, IL: TLM comeback

From the Springfield Journal Record with my emphases and comments.

Mass trend: Latin making a comeback locally

Posted Apr 26, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

Early on a Saturday morning under the watchful gaze of archangels and the Gospel writers in a darkened church, a voice intones Hail Marys and Our Fathers with measured responses from a smattering across the church.

Worshipers cross themselves with holy water and gather missals while some women pluck mantillas — lace head scarves — from a box sitting on a radiator. Altar servers, dressed in black cassocks and white surplices, ready the altar, pausing to genuflect ramrod-straight each time they pass in front of the tabernacle.   [All these elements would be a marked contrast to most parish across the US…. not all, but most.  I especially like the observation about the care of the altar boys.]

At precisely 7 a.m., the lights burst on at Blessed Sacrament, the bells chime and the Rev. Arnaud Devillers, flanked by the servers, comes out and heads immediately to the back altar near the tabernacle. [There must be also a table altar.]  Kneeling, with his back toward the congregation, [No… he is facing the same direction with the people.] he begins: “In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”

When Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic decree in July 2007 calling for wider implementation of the Traditional Latin Mass — also known as the Tridentine Mass or the Extraordinary Rite — he noted that it isn’t “a museum piece, but a living expression of Catholic worship.”

Largely hidden from Roman Catholics since the late 1960s as a result of Vatican II — a period of sweeping reforms in the Catholic church — the Latin Mass has slowly crept back onto the scene.

Not your everyday Mass [Well… it was and it is.]

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Springfield has been the setting for weekly Latin Mass since Jan. 31; the Church of St. Rose of Lima Chapel in Quincy, where Devillers is chaplain, has offered Latin Masses since November.

Latin Masses in Springfield and Quincy have attracted moderately sized but fervent followings, ranging from those who preferred the pre-Vatican II rituals to those simply curious about the Mass. A 7 a.m. Saturday Mass recently drew about 50 people, [Not bad for that day and time.] where attendance has leveled off.

Like Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox rites, the priest mostly has his back to the congregation [Noooo…]  during the Latin Mass. Masses are punctuated with long silences and — unlike the Masses in English familiar to most area Catholics — an absence of congregational participation. [WRONG!  They are participating actively, alright.  But their participation is more along of the lines of interior active receptivity, than mere outward expression.]  Springfield’s Latin Mass has no music, while a full choir performs at Quincy’s weekly Mass.

Rosanne Wiatroliak, 48, of Springfield says she went to the Latin Mass at Blessed Sacrament “to see what I remembered (from my childhood.)

I don’t remember being as separated from the Eucharistic celebration (as I did before),” [she isn’t] she says. “I felt like a spectator this time around. [Many do feel that way, at first.  Then they learn what is really going on.] It was harder to follow. I’ve gotten closer to understanding (the Latin) and following along. You really have to stay on your toes unless you’re fluent in it.”  [Yes… people should focus and pay attention… at Mass!]

“It’s a lot more contemplative,” says Jim Dodge, like Wiatroliak a Blessed Sacrament parishioner who lives in Springfield. The 41-year-old took some Latin in high school, but says he leans on a Latin-English missal to follow along.

An eye on the past

Under Pope Benedict’s personal decree, Summorum Pontificum, groups requesting the Latin Mass may approach a pastor who knows how to say one directly, bypassing the bishop. [Well… that is a negative way to put it.  It is better to see this as not burdening the bishop with extra duties.]

While the rite has the enthusiastic support of Springfield Bishop George Lucas, it has created some controversy nationally, with some experts citing Pope Benedict’s aversion to modernism. [I think the Catholic Church has an aversion to modernism (at least on paper!).  But I think the writer doesn’t intend Modernism.  I think he is implying that Pope Benedict has an aversion to anything "modern".  Which isn’t the case.]  There is speculation that it may pave the way for other conservative advances.  [Notice how "conservative" and "modernism" are juxtaposed.]

Devillers is a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society founded with the endorsement of then-Pope John Paul II with the purpose of celebrating Mass “according to the traditional Roman Rite.”

Before that, Devillers was allied with excommunicated French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in the Society of St. Pius X. Lefebvre founded the society that opposes some of the modernizing reforms of Vatican II. But Devillers left that society in 1989, citing Lefebvre’s increasingly extremist views.

Lefebrve, who ordained Devillers, broke with the Vatican in 1988 when he illicitly consecrated four bishops, including Bishop Richard Williamson. Williamson has said the numbers of Jewish casualties in World War II were inflated. (Earlier this year, the Vatican lifted the ex-communications on all four bishops, though they are not in full communion with Rome.)

There is also the matter of practicality.

Few Springfield priests feel comfortable with the rite’s arcane rituals, or rubrics, with few having been trained in them[A couple things.  The writer uses "arcane" here.  In a sense that rite is good, in that the rites of Mass are about mystery.  However, they are not arcane if he means they are very hard to learn. Any puzzle is easy once you know the answer.  It is simply a matter of learning.  Through the centuries very many priests who weren’t very bright managed to say Mass with the older form.  If they could do it, priests can do it today. ]

The demand of other pastoral services, including Spanish-speaking Masses, may prevent already overworked priests from widely implementing the Latin Mass.  [Not to mention the lack of will.]

Bishop Lucas has periodically granted permission for Latin Masses. But they have been celebrated infrequently over the past decade in the Springfield diocese, which stretches from the Mississippi River towns of Quincy and Alton east to the Indiana border.

Devillers says Pope Benedict’s motivation in part was to reach out to conservative elements, [That is certainly one motive.  But the far more important motive doesn’t have anything to do with them.] such as the late Archbishop Lefebvre’s group, which still does not have normalized relations with Rome.

The misperception is that there is only “one rite,” or Mass in the local language, when there are in fact 22 “main rites,” Devillers says. More importantly, he adds, Vatican II never abolished the Latin Rite.

“What Pope Benedict is saying is if people are still interested in the Extraordinary Form, why not keep it?” Devillers says. 

Liturgy expert Dennis Martin of Loyola University Chicago says the familiar Ordinary Rite, or Novus Ordo, was crafted by a liturgical commission [Liturgy cobbled together by committee.] after Vatican II. The idea, Martin says, was “a limited call for (liturgical) reform,” and Vatican II made no mention about totally eliminating the Latin Mass and replacing it with the locally spoken language. [Exactly.]

A rare skill

Wearing his preferred long black cassock, Devillers says he has a two-pronged mission during his one-year trial run at Quincy: build the community at St. Rose of Lima Chapel and serve as a resource for priests from around the diocese who also might be interested in learning the Extraordinary Rite.

Devillers says a handful of priests — mostly younger ones [No surprise.] — have approached him for instruction.

“The main difficulty is not the rubrics, it’s the Latin,” says Devillers, the former superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

But adding Latin Masses — against the backdrop of overextended priests and other initiatives — is “always a concern,” Lucas admits, adding that it has to be judged “in terms of personnel and time.”

Even the Rev. David Hoefler, parochial administrator at Blessed Sacrament, says time hasn’t allowed him to follow through on Latin Mass instructions[A couple of generations of priests have been cheated.]

Blessed Sacrament did not add any Masses to accommodate the Latin Mass. The parish was already offering the Saturday morning service in English, so Devillers says Mass at a time when Catholics already were gathering to worship. Hoefler says for now the parish can’t add any more Masses, in Latin or English.

Diocesan personnel and others deny that the Latin Mass is dividing congregations or that groups are using their muscle to advance further causes[And what would those causes be?]

“I hope that’s not the case (here),” says Rosanne Wiatroliak. “I don’t know and I can’t judge. It would be sad if someone used it that way.”

Devillers further denies that a sort of “ghetto Catholicism” is being built at St. Rose of Lima, [The second time we see "denies".]  which offers a wider range of Latin Masses and pre-Vatican II church. He points out that many people who come to the refurbished chapel — it is a former diocesan church but doesn’t have standing as a parish — belong to other parishes around Quincy, a largely Catholic town 115 miles west of Springfield.

“It’s the same faith, the same sacraments and the same sacrifice of the Mass,” Devillers says.

Jim Dodge says he doesn’t see any problem with the two forms of the Masses co-existing.

“To me, it’s the genius of the Catholic Church,” Dodge says. “It’s a ‘both and.’ It’s like the church’s view of celibacy and marriage. Both are positive goods.”

Steven Spearie can be reached at spearie@hotmail.com or 622-1788.


Not a bad article.  The writer took the time to speak with and quote people who were informed.

Good news.

Brick by brick.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Thanks for posting this, Father. Spearie actually underestimated the attendees: we’ve been getting closer to 100 people, which is excellent for that time and day. And more will be coming: one of the other parishes here recently ended its Saturday morning Mass due to a priest retiring, and refugees from there have already started coming.

  2. irishgirl says:

    I wish the MSM would stop being so snarky-and ignorant-when it comes to reporting about the Church.

  3. JC says:

    A relatively good article, overall.
    Can anyone tell me if there’s someone out there trying to bulid a Catholic ghetto? My wife and I would sure like to live in one. It would be great to have Catholic neighbors to help each other out, and to live in the same neighborhood as the parish church. . . .

    As for “overextended” priests, I have found that priests who really are “overextended” don’t complain about it. I’ve known some pretty cool priests who manage, somehow, to do full time parish ministry, and write books or articles, and teach college classes, and get involved in various aspostolates and devotions.

    Bl. Teresa of Calcutta always said that a daily Holy Hour was necessary for preserving a vocation. A priest once complained, “I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time for a holy hour every day.”
    Mother Teresa replied, “Then you need to do two hours.”

  4. MargoB says:

    “[…They are participating actively, alright. But their participation is more along of the lines of interior active receptivity, than mere outward expression.]”

    Your comment caught me. I do wonder what happened, that ‘active participation’ is so misunderstood…by so many — and not just layfolk, apparently. It reminds me of a line I used in my grad thesis on the Mass: “Nos colimus Deus, et Deus colit not.” If that were better understood, I think ‘active participation’ would be better understood, as well — as in: “interior active receptivity,” as you put it.

    Thanks for ‘blogging, Fr. Z!

  5. Mitchell NY says:

    It always strikes me as strange with the collapse in Mass attendance how the Churches are so full for their Sunday Mass schedule that they simply could not squeeze in a Latin Mass even if they wanted to. What would the parish do if the Pope mandated one such Mass every Sunday?…I bet it would be accomadated.

  6. MargoB says:

    Whoops! That Latin phrase should end “…et Deus colit noS.” :)

  7. Authentic liturgical praxis is increasingly drawing young people to the Church. Mass, when reverently celebrated in either form, has the ability to convert hearts. We young people are not opposed to the Extraordinary Form, and we’re certainly not opposed to traditional liturgy. We don’t carry the same baggage that those who lived before and during the Second Vatican Council carry. Vatican II is as remote to us as Nicaea.

    I’m happy to hear the Extraordinary Form is spreading. If you celebrate it, we will come.

  8. Aaron says:

    Fr. Devillers said there were about 150 for the first one in Springfield, so that’s great that so many are coming back for it, especially that early on a Saturday.

    Fr. D. is great. One week, we had a different Mass at 8:00 than at 11:00. He said the instructions from Rome about whether the feast for that day could be used more than once weren’t completely clear in the English translation, so he went to the original Latin and saw that it was much clearer. That’s dedication!

    The word “arcane” always carries a sense of furtiveness, to me. I don’t think that’s part of the official definition, but it seems like people usually use it to mean things that are secret because they’re a little scary or suspect.

  9. GOR says:

    \”Few Springfield priests feel comfortable with the rite’s arcane rituals, or rubrics, with few having been trained in them.\”

    Given the recent history of the Springfield diocese, that\’s hardly surprising. The same can be said for other places – like the Archdiocese of Milwaukee – and for similar reasons.

    “The main difficulty is not the rubrics, it’s the Latin,” Yes, thank to decades of US – and other – seminaries dropping Latin in contravention of what Vat II and successive Popes had mandated.

  10. paul says:

    I rather liked the article, only one issue is of concern to me- the implicit statement that there was a table in front of the main altar. I am not sure if many priests are aware how much this affects the congregation to see- not the priests back but a table which ends up blocking “full conscious participation” for the faithful. It is such a turn off for me to see a table in front of the main altar- sad to see that affect such a beautiful rite of the church. I am really for getting rid of tables- both the ordinary and extra-ordinary form can be said at the main altar.

  11. Clement says:

    I and my family also would love to be part of a Traditional Catholic Ghetto.

    It sounds so very appealing and supportive.

    Thank you, Reverend Zuhlsdorf.

    I hope you become a bishop, one day.

  12. TJM says:

    I think having a TLM on a Saturday morning at 7:00 am has been designed to depress attendence. This parish should do a little “experiment.” Have the
    only English novus ordo at this time and then have the TLM on Sunday let’s say at 10 or ll am and then let’s compare notes. Tom

  13. I am not Spartacus says:

    Rev. Arnaud Devillers is a very kind solicitous Priest who has a good sense of humor. I was among a group he addressed in Portland, Maine and he was asked about the pronunciation of his name.

    He said he used to tell folks the correct pronunciation but he had resigned himself to the reality Americans just could not pronounce his name correctly so “I just told them to call me FR. Da- Villers.”

    BTW, I was at the FSSP’s Christ the King Chapel in Sarasota, Fl for High Mass yesterday and it was fantastic.

    Fr. Nolan has an excellent voice, the six altar servers were excellent, the Schola’s singing was so ethereal it made me shed tears and I got to use a Communion Rail Cloth for the first time.

    Prior to that action, Fr. Nolan, from the handsome Ambo, had explained how the Acolytes in the nascent Church used a similar cloth in case the Host dropped while Communion was being distributed.

    I LOVE the reintroduction of such pious practices once so solidly enmeshed in Orthopraxis. I think it only strengthens the reverence that ought be shown to Holy Eucharist.

    Kneeling at the Altar Rail, using the Communion Cloth, and receiving on the tongue from the hands of the Consecrated, elevates one right out of time and one can experience a foretaste of eternity.

    At the end of Mass (90 minutes) I had not even noticed that time had passed.

  14. I still have a hard time with the notion held
    by some certain persons that there is no active
    participation at the Gregorian Mass.

    People are actively participating, but it comes off differently than it would if one was attending an OF Mass. I personally
    do not participate “actively” at the OF Mass, but
    I do follow along in the missal with the prayers
    and readings. I guess I still have the EF Mass notion
    of active participation in mind.

  15. “I think having a TLM on a Saturday morning at 7:00 am has been designed to depress attendence.”

    Not at all. Seven a.m. was the time for the weekly Saturday NO Mass prior to implementing the TLM Mass at the end of January. The pastor simply switched from one form to the other, keeping the same time.

    Scheduling the Mass later would create numerous logistical problems, one of which is that after saying Mass and hearing confessions, Fr. D has to motor back to Quincy in time for his Saturday Mass there at midday. Also, our pastor is going solo. He is the lone priest at a huge parish and Saturdays are by far his busiest day. Even when he said the Saturday NO Mass, he had to have it at 7 in order to have time for all the other things he regularly does on a Saturday.

  16. David Ccloyd says:

    Anyone who is interested to see more of the church’s interior may wish to visit:

  17. joy says:

    “Seven a.m. was the time for the weekly Saturday NO Mass prior to implementing the TLM Mass at the end of January. The pastor simply switched from one form to the other, keeping the same time.”
    Just wondering how the TLM attendance compares to the NO Mass that was replaced.
    I belong to St Rose in Quincy & am very happy with Fr “D” as he tells us to call him! I guess we must really butcher his name! I’ll keep trying though.

  18. LCB says:

    The Saturday mass is at 7am b/c Fr. drives 115 miles to offer mass, turns around, and drives 115 miles back home and then offers mass again. Logistically, it’s the best option for him… on what is normally a bit of an easier day for many priests.

    There is indeed a free-standing altar in Blessed Sacrament, however it is a gorgeous free standing altar. Bp. Kevin Vann was formerly the pastor at Blessed Sacrament, and is certainly a friend of the Latin Mass.

    Bp. Lucas is a great friend of the Latin Mass and Tradition. However, rebuilding Tradition in the Diocese of Springfield will be a decades long process. He is the former rector of St. Louis’ seminary, and is currently remodeling the Cathedral in Springfield (Immaculate Conception, which has very famous stained glass windows). The renovation will include retaining (and refurbishing) the altar rails, and positioning the pews so that the Church has a cruciform layout with a baptismal font in the center of the cross.

  19. LCB says:

    Clemet writes, “Thank you, Reverend Zuhlsdorf. I hope you become a bishop, one day.”

    Eggads, don’t curse the man! We don’t want him to have an early death!

  20. Clement says:


    Some bishops are good.

  21. Aaron says:

    Before Fr. Devillers came, someone told me his name was pronounced “devil-ears.” I don’t remember much from high-school French, but I knew that wasn’t right. When he got here, he suggested we just call him Fr. D., (hey, like Fr. Z!), since there wasn’t much chance we could get both the French sounds in his name right.

    When my 85-year-old Irish-Catholic grandma came to one of our dinners, she went up and spoke to Fr. D. for a few minutes. Between his accent and her poor hearing, I wondered whether I should go translate, but they managed somehow.

    One minor error in the article: St. Rose of Lima in Quincy is a chaplaincy, not a chapel. Originally the local Latin Mass Society was calling it a shrine, but Fr. D. explained that a shrine has to be destination for pilgrimages, or something like that. It couldn’t be a chapel or restored to full parish status either for technical reasons, so Bishop Lucas made it a chaplaincy, at least for now.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone to refer to the priest as facing the altar, or facing the same direction as the people, instead of “turning his back on them”? It’s just semantics, but conveys a completely different attitude.

  22. chironomo says:

    Fr. Z;

    When I hear the word “arcane” used to describe something, it implies (to me) a sense of “unfamiliar” or “curious” because of it’s outdatedness, and that seems to be what the author wanted to imply…that the Latin Mass is “arcane”…interesting, but in the same way that steam locomotives are interesting…

  23. Henry Edwards says:

    Brother Juniper: I personally do not participate “actively” at the OF Mass, but I do follow along in the missal with the prayers and readings.

    I wonder whether you follow along in your missal as the celebrant at an OF Mass reads the Eucharistic Prayer aloud. If so, is your participation different than if you were watching and listening to a telecast Mass?

  24. Nick says:

    I wonder if, in Heaven, those who celebrated the Latin Mass enjoy the Latin Mass for eternity?

  25. LCB says:


    I’m making a joke, because being a Bishop is a thankless job that sends men to early graves from stress and grief.

    On finding out that Abp. Jadot had passed away just shy of his 100th birthday, a friend of mine remarked, “The man had to suffer as a Bishop for over 40 years. That ought to get him a pass out of purgatory for all the bad appointments he oversaw.”

  26. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Nick, how unfair that would be on those who celebrated the OF, and now face it for eternity. ;-)

  27. Clinton says:

    A couple of years ago my Bishop invited the local Latin Mass Society to move into the cathedral and set up a new
    Sunday Mass time for them. There are already six well-attended Sunday Novus Ordo Masses, so it is fortunate that
    a magnificent Jesuit of the old school is able to help by celebrating the EF Mass. As someone who is too young to
    have any memories of the time when the Extraordinary Form was the ordinary, I must say that having the EF Mass
    available has been a wonderful opportunity for me — there is absolutely no doubt that active participation in an
    EF Mass has improved my active participation in the Ordinary Form.

    The article above mentioned that there were concerns about the addition of an EF Mass to a NO parish being
    divisive. Not in my parish. After all, we’re all going to the same bake sales and fish frys, worried about the state
    of the same boiler and roof, saving to restore the same stained glass, and sending kids to the same Scout Troop. Lots
    of us attend both Forms — I usually go to the EF unless I’m on deck to serve at that early morning Novus Ordo Mass
    (it can be hard to ‘staff’). The priests of the cathedral assist at the EF by hearing Confessions prior, helping to distribute
    Communion during, and offering Benediction after the Extraordinary Form Mass. It’s my parish, I love it, and I’m thrilled
    that the Latin Mass Society made their home here. If there are ‘divisions’ because of it I sure haven’t heard of them!

    Several months ago, I arrived at the sacristy to help set up for that early morning Novus Ordo Mass. A priest I’d never
    met before was there, and it turned out that all of our parish priests were committed elsewhere and he’d been asked
    in from the local Catholic University to ‘cover’ for them. He asked me a few questions about the standard operating
    procedure in the parish. At one point I explained that the entrance procession usually came down the aisle from the
    vestibule and that the only time one came into the sanctuary directly from the sacristy was for the Traditional Latin Mass.
    His response was to roll his eyes and say “Oh great. Just what we need, the Traditional Latin Mass!” . I was so astonished
    at the time that I didn’t reply. However, I’ve been thinking about it since then and I must say that I agree with him
    (just not in the way he would expect) — it is great, and it is just what we need.

  28. TJM says:

    Clinton, that priest from the university – another broadminded, liberal academic, “just what we need!” Tom

  29. Jayna says:

    Margo: I don’t know if this is even right, but my reading of the situation is that those of the “spirit of Vatican II” type took active participation to mean what it commonly – and erroneously – means today because they wished to de-emphasize the line between the roles of the clergy and the laity. By stressing the common priesthood of all the baptized and giving the laity ‘stuff to do’ at Mass, they succeeded in turning the priest into a mere presider (no better than a ringmaster), rather than celebrant. It’s why they can’t stand altar railings or priests actually, you know, dressing like priests (a fellow parishioner couldn’t even look at my pastor without scoffing and rolling her eyes when he wore his cassock for Easter – she claims he was doing nothing more than playing dress up, though he told me different). The entire hierarchy is complete anathema to their dying cause, so they fight it with everything they’ve got.

  30. Rancher says:

    At yesterday’s Mass in our very small rural parish the Pastor announced that he was bringing in a Priest who has taught many others the correct way of saying the TLM. The Pastor further announced that others in the Parish besides himself (choir, altar servers, etc.) will be properly trained in that form of the liturgy. Once all are proficient the TLM will be offered on a regular (though not exclusive) basis.

    There were only a handful (if that) in attendance old enough to recall when the TLM WAS the Mass. You could have heard a pin drop at the announcement and the looks on parishoners’ faces ranged from surprise to shock to disbelief.

    Our Paster is courageous and patient…but persistent. He educates continually and methodically. I suspect he is in for some opposition but in the end I predict success.

  31. Actually, if there were one thing I would point to that inhibited “active worship” in Orthodox services, it would be pews. We do a great deal more moving around than you do, and pews inhibit that. For example, in every Orthodox service (liturgies of the hours, Divine Liturgy, etc.) the priest or deacon censes every icon in the church, as well as the worshippers. He begins with the iconostasis, then censes the icons in front of it, then the choir (or chanters) at the kliros, then proceedes down the north side of the chuch, censing the icons on the walls, all the way to the narthex, where he censes the icons, then back into the nave and up the other side, finally to stand on the ambo and cense the worshippers. We turn so that we are always facing him, which entails a gradual 360 degrees, and that’s very difficult if you’re standing in pews. Metanias, which we do all the time, are a pain with pews, and prostrations? Everybody has to move out of the pews into the aisles. My original parish had pews; it wasn’t until I left and became part of a church without them that I realized how inhibiting they were, or came to dislike them. I utterly fail to see how whether the priest is facing toward us or with us (our priests do both, depending on what’s going on, although most of the time, the priest is behind the iconostasis and the deacon is in the nave) has to do with participation.

    But pews? Just say no.

  32. Alan F. says:

    They would have to link the TLM with Bishop +Williamson’s holocaust denial, wouldn’t they!

  33. Dennis Martin says:

    For the record, I talked to Mr. Spearie over the phone for about 35 minutes. I spoke only positively about the Extraordinary Form, gave objective evidence that it is intuitively attractive to the students I require to experience it. I spoke of the Ordinary Form as having been written by a committee and I said that one cannot write liturgies by committee. If “crafted by a commmission” was intended by Mr. Spearie to be neutral or positive, as Fr. Z. has apparently interpreted it, then it does not represent what I intended or said. I spoke pejoratively of liturgies written by committees, along the lines of Fr. Z’s gloss. I did not and would not use the word “crafted.” Indeed, I explicitly told Mr. Spearie that the Bugnini commission had exceeded its mandate and that Bugnini’s later accounts of the comission’s work showed that he was aware that it was exceeding its mandate. I did not have much positive to say about the Bugnini commission.

    When people read newspaper articles that quote “experts” from universities, please keep in mind that journalists’ code seems to be that one may attribute words to one’s source that do not accurately reflect the source’s express statement so long as they are not put inside quotation marks. In this case, I am sure that Mr. Spearie thought that “crafted” = “written.” But absent the pejorative context in which I spoke, “crafted” puts a positive spin on what I meant as a negative. (We do use “crafty” pejoratively, but “crafted” is almost always intended as a positive.)

    Even when journalists use quotation marks, my experience is that they rarely take much care to ensure that the attribued quotation accurately reflects what their source said.

    That said, I will charitably conclude that the author did not intentionally employ “crafted” as a way of trying to make the Bugnini Commission look good. I do think that that’s what the word ends up doing, but perhaps it was not done intentionally.

  34. Precentrix says:


    As a Latin… I heartily agree about the pews! But then, I am a bit of a Sarumist, deep down in my heart…

    (I will admit that during my periods of mental prayer, I sit. But then, I sit on the floor in the way you do when you’re in primary school listening attentively to your teacher. I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing…. and the pews get in the way then, too!).

  35. Aaron says:

    Unfortunately, Mr. Martin is correct. To a journalist, quotation marks seem to mean, “the interviewee uttered something to this effect, as I interpreted it.” That’s true even when the subject is completely uncontroversial and the reporter has no particular bias.

  36. Prof. Martin, thanks for the clarification. I’ve met Spearie once or twice and he is a good person. I have no idea what his religious beliefs are but he, a freelancer for the SJ-R, often does the Sunday religion stories. So whether he is a secularist or a believer he is at least interested.

    As a former newspaper writer myself I know that journalists often hunt for the right “just so” verb when writing a story. “Crafted” may have sounded perfect to Spearie at the time he was writing. I don’t know exactly, however, having not spoken to him about this story. But I myself have fallen into the trap of finding that perfect sounding verb that, nonetheless, I discovered later did not accurately reflect what a source meant.

    Still, I wish Spearie had interviewed more people from the parish, such as some of us who worked with Fr. Hoefler (who, btw, IS our pastor, not parochial administrator) on getting the EF here. Not me, necessarily. There are others who are just as informed. But the last thing we need is misinformed people implying that the TLM may encourage factionalism in the parish or diocese.

  37. ssoldie says:

    I would very much, love to be able to go to the TLM on Saturday mornings, then once again, I would be able to pray the ‘five’ first Saturdays. But then again I would love to go to the TLM everyday of the week, and why not.

  38. mike conlon says:

    Looks like M. l’abbé Devillers is undergoing rehabilitation. For those of you who are not conversant with intramural politics in the FSSP, be advised that Fr. Devil’s-ears” was the catalyst for Protocol 1499/99, which essentially says that FSSP priests while ordained to offer TrueMass, according to their original constitution, may at the insistence of the local ordinary be compelled to celebrate the Novus Ordo. Their genral chapter the following year was suppressed by certain individuals in the PCED. This is above the level of knowledge of these good people in Illinois, but they need to know more on Devillers background. Yes, he is funny and can even be charming, but that mind is always churning, ask Fr. Bisig, the founder of FSSP, who deposed Devillers as North American supervisor and then he himself was deposed by the Curialistas due to Devillers machinations. IMHO

  39. Bookworm says:

    Sean, I too used to be a journalist, and a Catholic journalist to boot. Also, I currently live in Springfield and attend Blessed Sacrament semi-regularly (I formally belong to Cathedral but we are temporarily displaced by the renovation).

    I have not yet been to this Latin Mass, but would certainly like to go if I get the chance. I have attended Tridentine Rite Masses before in another diocese, and I enjoyed them, because it gave me a feel for what Mass “used” to be like. I like both rites (Tridentine and Novus Ordo) as long as they are done properly and reverently.

    Steven Spearie used to work for Catholic Times, the Springfield diocesan newspaper, about 15-20 years ago, so I presume he is or was Catholic, or at least has some knowledge of Catholic belief and practice. I think his articles are pretty good, maybe some minor quibbles here and there, but the same could probably have been said of my articles too :)

    I must also add that Blessed Sacrament is not only a physically beautiful church but spiritually strong as well — they have 24-hour perpetual adoration (I like being able to “sneak” over there for a visit during lunch or before or after work). The only reason I don’t actually belong to this parish is because my husband prefers Cathedral, which is also a good parish, IMHO. Kudos to Bishop Lucas for making this possible. I am also aware that this diocese used to have a less than stellar reputation in many respects, but I think Bishop Lucas has helped turn things around quite a bit.

  40. Bookworm says:

    Also, the local newspaper is called the State Journal-Register. (Website: http://www.sj-r.com)

  41. George says:

    No, it is not your everyday mass. Remember: It is still the “extraordinary form”, so it is the exception, not the rule. Extraordinary means: Outside the ordinary. And even after Summorum Pontificium, you can’t have it during the Easter Triduum. That’s important to note! So it is not, and should not be, your everyday mass. [You make some mistakes here. I can be done during the Triduum and it can be the everyday Mass. It all depends on the circumstances.]

  42. MAJ Tony says:

    George: Religious institutes such as the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, etc. hold ALL services with the 62 Roman Missal, including the Triduum. SP didn’t abrogate that. Someone please correct me if I’m mistaken, but the only reason the Triduum was excepted is that a parish normally is only allowed one celebration on each day of the Triduum. TLM apostolates are exempted from this by their charter.

  43. Phil says:


    Summorum Pontificum stated that there were to be no EF private Masses during the Triduum–which is the case even for the OF. Secondly, why did B16 bother re-formulating the Good Friday Intercessions for the 1962 Missal if they weren’t to be used?

  44. Henry Edwards says:


    Summorum Pontificum contains no prohibition against the extraordinary form during the Sacred Triduum, the only reference to which in SP is in Article 2:

    “Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum.”

    This article makes no distinction between EF (1962) and OF (1970) Masses. It simply says that no private (“without the people”) Masses of either form can be celebrated within the Triduum.

    It says nothing regarding public scheduled Masses. Celebration of a public EF Mass during the Triduum requires no exception. It therefore appears that not only an EF parish, but an ordinary parish could decide that its Holy Thursday Mass (for instance) would be an EF Mass. I believe some parishes did so this year. Perhaps it will become more common in the future that the extraordinary form is chosen for “extraordinary” occasions such as Christmas and Easter.

  45. George says:

    Let’s not get into an argument regarding the Triduum – there’s too much to it to argue about it. But – my friends – we cannot ignore that the EF is “extraordinary”, and it remains an exception (at least for the time being) regardless of whether a special permission is required or not. We’d all be getting along much better if we could acknowledge this. [I think you have a mistaken understanding of what “extraordinary” means. Perhaps you are overly conditioned by the connotation of the word in English.]
    Don’t get me wrong: The reference point is the OF if it is well-celebrated (i.e. according to the relevant liturgical norms. I am sure – and I know – that the OF can be very well done.

    By the way: While Easter and Christmas are definitely extraordinary sollemnities, they are not extraordinary in the sense in which the EF (as opposed to the OF) is extraordinary. There is no need whatsoever to use the EF on any of these sollemnities. [You are speaking in a very authoritative way. How extraordinary.]

  46. “We’d all be getting along much better if we could acknowledge this.”


  47. wsxyz says:

    George, there’s absolutely nothing to argue about regarding the Triduum. I was at church all three days and it was all Extraordinary all the time, thanks be to God.

  48. Peter says:

    I wish to comment on Mike Conlon’s post.

    It raises a number of important issues. I submit that it also verges very near to, if not into, detraction and scandal.

    The reference to ‘ordained to offer TrueMass’ seems to imply a view that the only efficacious Mass is one offered in the extraordinary form, and further that the ordinary form might not be efficacious, and other elements of the post imply by extension that celebration of (and attendance at?) Mass according to the ordinary form is somehow positively dangerous. On the contrary, I would think that it is these implications that are positively dangerous.

    My own observation/cogitation is that this type of IST and ISM attached to tradition points to a danger of a type of donatism. Indeed the tenor of the post also implies that attendance at the Masses of this particular priest should be avoided because of his association with the ordinary form. It would seem to me that this verges dangerously close to detraction.

    I note that Fr Devillers is quoted in the article regarding ‘ghetto catholicism’. Sadly, Mr Conlon’s post, and (in my opinion) the approach of some (some) clergy and faithful attached to the EF lead precisely to that end – a ghetto mentality, as if the only true repository of the Catholic faith is to be found in the liturgical books of 1962. Isn’t this part of the genius of Summorum Pontificum? – to say that the EF is part of the whole Church, to be shared and nourished by. You don’t win converts by building walls, but by talking to them. However the response of some attached to the EF seems akin to “don’t mix with those OF people, you might catch their contagion”.

    I do not know the details of the internal FSSP debates Mr Conlon refers to. However I think I can put a view on another implication his comment makes – that being a priest of the FSSP (or one of the other EF associations) precludes that priest from using the liturgical books of the ordinary form. As I understood it the FSSP has the PRIVILEGE to use exclusivley the 1962 books. I am no canonist but I doubt that this can be construed to equate membership of this clerical society of apostolic life with a positive requirement at law to exclusively use those books or to forbid the use of the OF books. After all the OF books have been approved by the Holy See. And the counter argument has been used to defend the right of clergy to use the EF books.

    I can see practical arguments that if the charism and raison d’etre of the FSSP is the celebration of the EF that is in fact what they should concentrate on doing. However priests are ordained to the service of the church and I can certainly see how even very orthodox bishops could view a point blank refusal to consider offering the OF under any circumstances with some considerable suspicion.

    Mr Conlon’s post also has a very dim view of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Well, I would submit that it is not good idea to bite the hand that feeds or protects you. And as Fr Z has pointed out in another recent post, the PCED is in fact the competent authority for many of these matters.

    As the article shows, and some of the comments from his parishoners, Fr Devillers is striving to do a good job in this particular apostolate and travelling significant distances to do so. He deserves our support and prayers not raking over of decade old debates in which men, which we must presume to have been of good faith on both sides, apparently took the best prudential decisions on matters as they saw them.

    For myself, I wish Fr Devillers all the very best.

    Peter Thygesen
    Canberra, Australia

  49. quiet beginning says:

    I fail to see how those attached to the EF could be in any way considered involved in a “type of donatism.” The donatists rebelled against traditional Church teaching in various ways, not the least among them the refusal to acknowledge the possibility of sacramental absolution for those who apostatized from the Faith. The advocates of the TLM are, on the contrary, ALL about traditional Church teaching, viz. ALL of the Church’s councils going all the way back to the beginning.
    Your allusion to a supposed EF mindset that would say “don’t mix with those OF people, you might catch their contagion” is, in my view, a gratuitous volley that casts aspersions on the charity of EF communicants.
    As far as your statement that the “…FSSP has the PRIVILEGE to use exclusively the 1962 books,” the fact is that they are indeed permitted “in perpetuity” by the Council of Trent to say the Tridentine Mass.
    There are many things which could be brought to bear on this topic. Most important, perhaps, is the Magisterial fact that there can be no validity to any decree on faith or morals—by any prelate or council—which contradicts previous conciliar decrees of Holy Mother Church (such as Trent).

  50. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    It may turn out that Summorum Pontificum is the best and the worst thing to happen to the so-called Tridentine Mass.

    On the one hand, it’s great that people are now getting the chance to experience the old form of the Mass; on the other, they’re also getting the chance to experience firsthand the warts of the old form.

    I’m sure many “New Massers” have been fed the old chestnut from Fr. Faber that the EF is “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” The EF — as, I suppose, these newbies are finding out — is frequently tedious and rigid.

    The lack of participation in the EF is true: No matter what smoke Fr. Z blows about “interior active receptivity.” Participation in the EF comes in 2 forms: You sit and watch what the priest is doing or you kneel and watch what the priest is doing.

  51. MAJ Tony says:

    Mr Dunn,

    I’m 36, so I wasn’t even born when the OF was introduced. I feel like you have a very weak understanding of the power of adding your prayer to that of the priest to say that the EF participation only amounts to “watching.” Don’t sell yourself, or the EF short.

  52. Peter says:

    Matthew Dunn

    If your model is the low Mass, then your metric of physical activity is pretty right. However I would note that even for secular gatherings one may at the time and afterwards believe, feel, consider that one was a participant in a real and sometimes profound way.

    However if the model is the sung or solemn Mass, then the participation in voice and posture may be very conisderable – singing all the parts of the Mass (I recall hearing that Fr Adrian Fortescue’s parish was able to sing many of the propers, not only the ordinary). Similarly, when I have attended the Ukrainian rite the people have heartily lended their voices in their sung liturgy.

  53. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    To MAJ Tony and Peter:

    I’m 36 as well. I “discovered” (literally) the EF when I was a teenager when I happened to pull my mom’s handmissal out from a drawer in her dresser. My reaction then — as now — was: “This is so cool! Why don’t we do this anymore?” I still remember my first Latin Mass at St. Agnes in New York City . . . and, meeting with Fr. John Emerson as part of my application to the newly-formed “Society of St. Peter.” Etc. and so forth. So, yes, I have given the EF a chance: low form; high form; solemn high form; solemn high with a bishop on top ;-) . . . even the “Dominican Use”!

    The EF can be a beautiful experience. But, we also need to admit — which Fr. Z does not want to do — those places where the EF is neither beautiful nor pastorally effective, e.g. in the lack of participation by the congregants.

    People attending an EF are more often than not spectators. Fr. Z comes up with quasi-Gnostic explanations: “Many do feel that way [viz., like spectators], at first. Then they learn what is really going on.”

    Come on, . . . please. This typical Fr. Z: He doesn’t dare admit that there might be a valid criticism of the EF; you just don’t know as much as he does about the matter. When you do, you’ll obviously agree with him. [piffle…. now you are just being nasty]

  54. Tim Capps says:

    I have the very good fortune of being a co-worker of Steve at his day job, and we frequently have very cordial discussions about religion. I can assure you that he is very sincere, thoughtful and decent. I gigged him good-naturedly about a couple of things in the article, but I think he did a better than average job, and Fr. Z was kind enough to say so. Steve has mentioned this Mass to me before, since we sometimes wind up in Springfield due to work. We would all be very fortunate if every religion writer was as sincere and curious as Steve is.

    There are always going to be two sides to this story, because ironically this is now the innovation, and there are going to be people who are entrenched in their ways, ill-prepared, hostile, etc. A good journalist is going to report both sides.

  55. Peter says:

    Matthew, I think I agree with you in part. I don’t agree with your comments @ FrZ. I think he is a vociferous proponent of the EF being implemented in precisely such a way that it is beautiful and pastorally effective and I will leave that there…

    However I agree with you that there are EF celebrations, sometimes of very long standing, that imho as an observer fit your metric – neither beautiful nor pastorally effective (though that is really beyond my competence to judge). Perhaps my experience and perspective colour my judgement but these seem virtually predestined not to attract anyone to the EF except those already very philosophically committed to that form.

    I see myself as an adherent to the liturgical movement, which as I understand it sought to facilitate the fullest proper participation of the faithful in the liturgy. For this to deliver fruit I think this necessarily requires support and catechesis from the clergy, not only the efforts of choirs, layfolk etc (see the New Liturgical Movement blog for lots of info on the latter, and some of the former). This view, however, I do not think is universally shared, either by clergy or faithful. Dare I say it, and perhaps this would be a parody, but sometimes I think the old view that the role of the laity is limited to ‘pay, pray and obey’ is subscribed to subconsciously or consciously (esp if the model is ‘1950s recreationist’).

    I almost exclusively attend the EF and I aspire to its wider use and appreciation. In many places this can only be by attracting those who have hitherto always attended the OF.

    Historically many of those ‘joining’ the EF have been refugees from excesses visited on them at the OF or from unorthodox preaching. This pool is finite, and in Australia I think we past the ‘peak oil’ point a long time ago.

    So I think there is much that can be done to inculcate the newcomer whose only experience is the OF. (and of course everyone involved has only finite resources and time. And nothing will ever be perfect this side of the grave).

    I think the principles of the liturgical movement can assist here – perhaps that would be the genuine application of Sacrosanctum concilium to the EF ?

    I’ve thought about what the enrichment of the EF by the OF, suggested in SP, might be. (And I have cringed at the possible innovations that some might attemp to foist on the EF under that banner …). Perhaps it is in those proper principles of appreciation and participation in the gift of the liturgy (not the tsunami of innovation that actually occured).

    Starting to rave so will stop now …

  56. MAJ Tony says:

    I attended our FSSP EF dialog low mass at Holy Rosary, Indianapolis today (Mon 4 May, Feast of St. Monica). First EF low mass I’ve been to in a few years, due to deployment. Small crowd, 10-15 which is average for a weekday mass. Need to brush up on my Latin, but I got thru it okay. It certainly wasn’t a “mumble mass” as most of the small crowd knows their latin and know that it’s a dialog mass. I’ve been to at least one parish where the people didn’t do much, and I’ve been to Sunday EF mass in at least 5 other churches across the country since 2005: Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX, Albuquerque, NM, Savannah, GA, Ave Maria, FL; Best schola would’ve had to gone to the Ave Maria guys (sounded like monastics) and best overall congregation and schola/choir singing certainly in that group goes right here to my (current) home parish Holy Rosary, Indy. I’d like to get down to Louisville, KY once, and up to St. John Cantius in Chicago. Been there visiting, but on a weekday to see the church, and it’s beautiful. Got the grand tour by an old Czech gentleman named Charlie.

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