The Tablet reports on Fr. Wadsworth going to ICEL

This is how The Tablet reports the appointment of Fr. Wadsworth to ICEL.

My emphases and comments.

Tridentine cleric to head English liturgy commission  [Isn’t it wonderful how they get the terminology right?  Everyone’s up-to-date at The Tablet!  And… come to think of it… shouldn’t all clerics be Tridentine?  It was an Ecumenical Council, after all.]

A WESTMINSTER priest closely associated with the Tridentine Rite [I don’t think anyone really calls it this anymore… not anyone who has read anything in the last few years.] since his ordination in 1990, has been chosen to serve as executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (Icel).

Fr Andrew Wadsworth had been talked of as the next leading executive of Icel – a
mixed commission of 11 English-speaking episcopal conferences – earlier this year
(The Tablet, 31 January), but it was not until this week that the Washington-based body announced the appointment of one of the leading figures of the Latin Mass Society, who teaches other priests to celebrate Mass in the old rite.

This Easter Fr Wadsworth has been asked by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, to celebrate the Triduum in the old rite in a central London church. [Which?  Maiden Lane?]  With a licence in biblical theology from the University of Maynooth in Ireland, Fr Wadsworth is currently the Catholic chaplain and head of Italian at Harrow, the prestigious public school [Is this a dig?  People who want the older Mass are "elitist" after all.] for boys in northwest London, and also teaches Greek and Latin to seminarians at Allen Hall, the Westminster diocesan seminary.

He will succeed Mgr Bruce Harbert, who has been in post for seven years, in

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Translation: “You people have your Latin ghetto, and you’re STILL not satisfied. Now you want to interfere in our affairs. You have nothing to say that could be relevant to us.”

  2. The Tablet should not describe Fr. Andrew Wadsworth as a “Tridentine cleric”. He is a Catholic priest.

  3. Jane Teresa says:

    A friend of mine once wrote a song about the SSPX to the tune of Wild Rover, which began “I’ve been a schismatic for many a year, and I’ve spent all my money on Tridentine gear”.

    It is riotously funny, but I learned to mortify my desire in this regard when I knew that “schismatic” and “Tridentine” were old school.

    You are correct, Father. No Catholic journalist worth his salt would use such ignorant vocabulary; this is a case of wilful manipulation of language. It is low. Tabula delenda est.

  4. Tzard says:

    I think it’s a bit hard for wailing and gnashing of teeth to be translated into print.

    Maybe they should order some of these for their staff:

  5. Maynardus says:

    Ah, I knew this was a good thing when I first heard about it – but now after reading the bitter, clenched-teeth “reporting” of The Pill I think it must be even more significant than I’d first thought. Anything that makes those harpies and moonbats wail is likely to be good! I’m a subscriber to “by his enemies thou shalt know him”!

  6. James says:


    What do you think the prospects are for doing a new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours? Is this something ICEL would handle?

  7. Vincent says:

    I think it’s obvious that these people are scared. They have good reason, after all.

  8. Michael says:

    Fr.Z, why do you object the term “Tridentine Mass” ? [Why do you think? What reason might I have?] (“I don’t think anyone really calls it this anymore… not anyone who has read anything in the last few years”, you say.) It is most frequently used name, and its rationale is the codification by Pius V at the request of the Council of Trent. The term “Gregorian” is a novelty, “Latin” isn’t adequate for two reasons (the NO is supposed to be celebrated predominantly in Latin, and the Tridentine Mass in at least one place, the coastal Croatia, had been celebrated in vernacular since 10th cent. at the latest), and “Traditional” is also a novelty.

    The latter, i.e. the “Latin Mass” is particularly awkward, because it suggest that the issue EF v. OF is a matter of language, while the real issue is the doctrine, not the language.

  9. Andreas says:

    Oh my! Should I start worrying? A translator from Latin who knows Latin? I’m concerned.

  10. Maureen says:

    Player: Ooh! Ooh! Can I play a Vaticanian cleric in this game?

    DM: 1st or 2nd edition Vaticanian?

    Player: 1st edition.

    DM: Too powerful.

    Player: I could just be an assistant….

    DM: Oh, all right.

    Player 2: Oh, man! No fair. Can I play a Jerusalemian, then?

    DM: Only if I get to pick what charismatic gifts you get.

    Player 2: Last time I did that, you made me a deacon with the gift of accounting.

  11. Sacerdos says:

    Fr Wadsworth is certainly not “one of the leading figures of the Latin Mass Society” after the way most of their Committee have been behaving in recent months! He resigned from organising training sessions for them in December.

  12. veritas says:

    How appropriate! A gifted linguist with a command of Greek, Latin, Italian, and presumably other languages is just the man for the job. Presumably his English will not be the dreadful prosaic American argot which infects the modern rite.

  13. Chris says:

    Msgr. Harbert will be a real loss to this effort. He’s with us in D.C. and just said the Traditional Mass last Sunday for us at St. Mary’s.

    His Latin is excellent and he knows the traditional liturgy inside and out.

  14. Mark says:

    “Tridentine” is bad for many reasons. One, because it implies the rite was created at Trent when really it goes back to long before that, obviously. Yet you see secular news articles, apparently because of the term “Tridentine,” saying stuff like, “Mel Gibson supports a strict 16th century form of Catholicism”…when there is nothing inherently 16th-century about it. More like…4th century and even older.

    Also, the rite as currently approved is NOT the version codified at Trent, but several editions later. And yet the term also inherently links it to the very notion of “codification” itself, with all the legalism and rubricism and ossification it implies. Something it must be freed from if it is going to survive and thrive. Lots of trads like that. Lots of trads are indeed very much enamored with Counter-Reformation Catholicism and romanticize Trent, and the Victorian, and the 1950’s. As a more medieval trad, I support the traditional Roman Rite. But I most definitely do NOT support the “Tridentine” contextualization of it.

    I agree with you that “Latin” is a misnomer (given that the NO can be said in Latin too), and a red herring, as the traditional text and structure is what really matters, the language is honestly accidental. But calling it the “Traditional Rite” is not a novelty, I dont see what you mean by that, and the term “Traditional Rite” or “Old Rite” (or, if you’re really affected “usus antiquior”) are best. “EF” vs “OF” I am uncomfortable with just because they enshrine a canonical situation I believe should be the opposite (if the NO is going to continue to exist IT should be the extraordinary…the old should be default).

    But “Tridentine” is, to me, tantamount to a slur against the Traditional Roman Rite much like the term “Roman Catholic” is when used to refer to Catholics in general (as opposed to the very specific context of specifying Latin Rite Catholics in particular, which is never what the people who use that term intend).

  15. Matt says:

    The simple fact is most people know the EF by the name of the Tridentine Mass. The NO is a completly new mass. Most people I know refer to it as the Mass of Paul VI. I have heard priests refer to the NO as the nervous disorder referring to the hacked up brevery not meshing with the Mass or the calendar, etc.

    Even young priests I personally know, and I mean in their early thirties prefer the old calendar, mass, etc. They repeat the same things that are noted here. That the whole office is nicely tied together while the new calendar does not make a lot of sense.

    Brick by brick the innovations will disappear. I vote for a 21st century counter-reformation.

  16. Tom says:

    Anyone know what’s happening to Mgr Harbert? I believe he’s a priest of the Birmingham Archdiocese – where a vacancy has just been announced (Arch. Nichols having been appointed to Westminster).

  17. RichR says:

    Fr. Peter Stravinskas made a big furor when he said, “There are only two problems with ICEL: Half of them know no Latin and the other half know no English.”

    This appointment gives me hope. I really love this Pope. The news media’s attempt to portray him as incompetent and out-of-touch is soooooooo laughable. He is precisely what the Church needs right now.

  18. veritas says:

    What indeed is the traditional liturgy? Is it that of St Gregory the Great with no preparation, no medieval offertory prayers, no elevation of either the host or the chalice, and certainly no last Gospel? The term traditional is highly subjective and most of those who use it seem to be imprisoned in a Counter-Reformation mindset interpreted by 19th Century Ultramontanism. When it is used one should ask which tradition and dating from when. In matters of liturgy only the Great Prayer dates from the earliest years, all else are novelties added at various times.

  19. ssoldie says:

    “The Organic Development of the Liturgy” another book i believe to be essential from high school to seventy years of age. Years 590-1073: The Liturgy of the Roman Church had,inits new latin form,been gradually developedby the labors of the popes in writing prayers, in particular by St. Leo the Great and Gelasius I(492-496).Under Gregory theGreatand his immediate successors, it recieved it’s final form,which foundits concrete embodiment in the so-called Gregorian Sacramentry,the so-called Gregorian Antiphonary, the Capitulare evangelorium,andthe Ordines.The Gregorian Sacramentry containsthe prayers to be recited by the celebrant at Massthroughout the liturgical year, and those to be said at the administration of the sacraments…The Ordines give directions to the clergy containing the ritual procedure to be observed at each liturgical function.
    In the Liturgy we have a most ‘sacred’expression and realisation of the divine truth. These limits were articulated by Joseph Cardinal Ratzenger; Pope Benedict XVI; The pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of the faith,and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not “manufactured” by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble serventof its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity. The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition.’ Spirit of the Liturgy, pg 166

  20. veritas says:

    ssoldie – You have adumbrated what appears to be a very Protestant or Orthodox position with Tradition alone rather than Scripture alone as its basis. How is the tradition to be indentified? By scholars, or by the living voice, the Pope?

  21. Henry Edwards says:

    Matt: But “Tridentine” is, to me, tantamount to a slur against the Traditional Roman Rite

    As I recall from the times I first heard it, the term “Tridentine” was coined precisely as a slur. Prior to Vatican II, we never heard it called the “Tridentine Mass”; it was simply The Mass.

    But in the years after Vatican II, certain types wanted to argue that it was ok for Paul VI to create a new Mass, just as (they claimed) Pius V had done after Trent. [Good observation. As a matter of fact, I found this very implication in the new “Clarification” from the Archd. of Manila on Summorum Pontificum.]

    To bolster their (false) claim that the traditional rite was indeed a new creation at the time of Trent, they gave it an appropriate new name connoting that claim.

    Now it may be that the term “Tridentine Mass” has a scholarly prehistory, but I’m unaware that it was previously familiar to the the ordinary pew Catholic.

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