Mr Hoopes replys to Mr Zmirak’s reply to Mr. Hoopes’s reply to Mr. Zmirak

Literature is full of re

Mr. John Zmirak started this here.  Tom Hoopes responded. Zmirak responded to Hoopes

My role?  just think of me as "Fr. Tom Servo" commenting on the whole thing.

I posted on first pieces and in fairness I should give equal time to the valiant Mr. Hoopes.  My emphases and comments.

My Extraordinary Friends

by Tom Hoopes

I’m going to do my best to defend the Extraordinary Form after the onslaught by John Zmirak, but he’s made it hard. I think introducing the world to two of my Extraordinary Form friends will help.

Yes, that’s right, for those who have followed this (for those who haven’t, you might want to check out some of the other fine posts on this site instead). I’m not going to defend the Novus Ordo against him. I’m going to defend the Extraordinary Form to my aghast Novus Ordo friends who have read John Zmirak’s two columns and wonder at the vitriol of it all[Well!  A new tactic!]

My friend John Zmirak wrote an interesting column Feb. 17 that compared the form of a Mass to a flag and defended his attachment to the old Mass. His conclusion:

“And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.”

I responded in an article and I e-mailed him the link saying:

“I feel like the scrawny guy kicking sand in the face of the muscle man, but here:

“Now he has replied, and yikes.

John starts: “Tom Hoopes has done me a courtesy rarely afforded tradition-minded Catholics: He has stooped to address my arguments, instead of airily dismissing them as the sad obsessions of half-wits, bag ladies, and yellow-eyed anti-Semites with dirty fingernails.”

… and then continues by airily dismissing my arguments as the sad obsession of a half-witted hopelessly lost Novus Ordo flunky he calls “Bridey” (he literally calls me only that throughout his post). Then he contradicts the fundamental points of his first column[I hope he will spell that out.]

This set his com-box supporters shivering with delight at his incredible debating prowess[The ad hominem approach has now been fully engaged in this exchage.]

Well, as the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. It would be truly foolish to expect at this point to pretend to engage John Zmirak in a discussion. [Sooo…..]

As another blog wrote: “He’s defending against arguments Hoopes nor made nor intended, but it’s a wonderful, artful polemic and persuades me never to make an argument against John Zmirak in public.”

Exactly so. It’s fun stuff. It’s just self-contradictory, unfair and insulting. [Huh?  Why is it "unfair"?] So I will do my duty and answer, but then I’m done.

One germane item does emerge from Zmirak’s column: He discloses that he once waxed poetic about the very analogy I’m making, so I have cut and pasted that into my original post to shore it up.

Otherwise, John’s second article is a classic bait and switch[Which is the bait Zmirak offers, and where was the switch?]

What he promised to do in the original column [The Bait] was explain to the orthodox, Church-loving faithful “the apparent fixation [and we need to wonder about accepting that description] traditionalists have on restoring former elements of the liturgy and other Catholic practices that are not essential, and resisting innovations that are not inherently evil.”

He elaborated:  “Why insist on external things, like kneeling for communion on the tongue, male altar servers, and the priest facing the altar? None of these, I’ll admit for the 5,000th time, is essential for sacramental validity or credal orthodoxy; isn’t being a stickler on such issues a wee bit pharisaical, even prissy?”

Then he elaborated even more, by taking specific issues off the table.

I took him at his word; all that was off the table, and we were looking with purity at the question:  “Why do you people care so much about externals?”

I responded to the argument he left on the table by saying: “Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but the form of the Mass is not at all a flag.”

I proposed a different analogy, comparing our communion at Mass with the spousal union of husband and wife:

“As important as [the conjugal act] is as the ‘source and summit’ of their marital relationship, their behavior and relationship will start to look warped if they make sex the ‘center and preoccupation’ of their relationship. Their marital relationship will start to be tense and unhappy and the very unity the act is supposed to affirm will become tenuous and fragile.

“It’s the same with the Mass. . . .”

My point was clear: “Obsession with inessentials distorts.” I hastened to say that most Extraordinary Form folks I know don’t obsess about externals, but that John’s column “comes perilously close.”  [Well… that was an odd thing to say, no? In effect, that sounded like Hoopes was saying that Zmirak did actually go over the edge into obsession about externals.]

I faced the great John Zmirak himself, on the ground he laid out.

Then he cheated. [The Switch] He shifted the ground in several important ways. Let’s count them:

1) The importance of the Eucharis

In Column No. 1, John says he understands how communion in the Novus Ordo is itself valuable:

“Having come from churches that didn’t have the Eucharist, and remaining through God’s grace flush with gratitude for the sacraments, many converts really don’t understand what the rest of us are nattering on about. … We owe these good people an explanation.”

I agree with that John. The Eucharist is a blessing, even in the Novus Ordo. So there was nothing to argue.

Well, in Column 2 John crushes me … by reversing himself and now decrying the “destructive options” in the Novus Ordo Mass such as: “ambiguous Eucharistic prayers” and “handing out Communion like a movie ticket.”

He promised to respect Novus Ordo Communion in Column 1, and sneered at it [?] in Column 2.  [ummm…. Mr. Hoopes… I think that Mr. Zmirak’s point is that "handling out Communion like a movie ticket" is an example of not showing respect to the Eucharist.  And this concerns not to whom it is being given, but rather how.  And if it can be shown that the Eucharistic Prayers to which he refers are indeed "ambiguous", that would be yet another way of not showing respect to the Eucharist.  Am I wrong?  I think this may a case of Mr. Hoopes’ misreading Mr. Zmirak.]

2)      The validity of Vatican II and the Norvus Ordo.

In Column 1, John concedes: “Adopting Lutheran or Anglican language in the Mass probably didn’t cause the current crisis of belief in the Real Presence, and cutting such language by eliminating all but the First Eucharistic Prayer might not do much to resolve it.”

Yep. Do a search. He really did say that. And I agree.

But Column-2 John doesn’t agree.

He waxes poetic about the martyrs who opposed the sacrilegious Anglicans: “It’s not for nothing that Catholics during the Counter-Reformation marched (heavily armed, to prevent sacrilegious attacks) in Corpus Christi processions through hostile Calvinist towns. The Eucharist itself was those brave Catholics’ banner, and I for one am not ashamed of them. Is Bridey?”

This is bait and switch and sucker punch all wrapped up in one. [How, pray tell, do you conclude that?]

His first column calls the form of the Mass a flag, and is careful not to malign the Novus Ordo Mass or communion. Now he asserts that the flag is the Eucharist itself. And he impugns my Eucharistic devotion, with no evidence. [Mr. Hoopes, a couple things need to be made clear.  We ought not separate the Eucharist, the Sacrament Itself, from its celebration, which is Holy Mass.  The Anglicans of the English Reformation had their "eucharist".  The target of their wrath was Holy Mass as offered by Catholics and therefore the Catholic Eucharist, which are inseparable.]

I thought I was arguing about inessentials with Column-1 John. The John from Opposite World showed up in Column 2, swapping essentials for inessentials[The line of thought is a bit confused here.  What I think Mr. Hoopes is saying is that the form of celebration of the Eucharist is an inessential, while the Eucharist Itself, the Eucharistic species is essential.  Am I wrong?  This is where the great divide would be.  I would respond that the Eucharist and Its celebration must not be separated in the way that Mr. Hoopes is suggesting.]

3)      Aesthetics

In Column 1, John promised aesthetics isn’t the reason he cares about inessentials: “One visit to a Sunday Latin Low Mass without music, recited soundlessly into a marble altar, should put that idea to flight.”

So I took him at his word. We weren’t arguing aesthetics. That was off the table.

But in column 2, aesthetics and female altar servers (which Column-1 John called a non-essential) is the first place he goes: “At least we Trads aren’t scarfing down lame Catholic knock-offs of already-pitiful Christian ‘rock,’ or training our daughters to be altar servers for the next World Urban Youth Day . . . bless their hearts.”  [Which, in Zmirak’s view would be irreverent toward the Eucharistic because they are wrong to do in Its celebration.]

Yes, I was foolish … for believing Column-1 John was really taking that off the table.  [But they are not off the table when they are wrong.  It isn’t a matter of preferring one form of good sacred music to another, for example, a Mozart Mass versus de Victoria.  It is a matter, if I read Zmirak right, of not accepting music which has no place at Mass at all.  At least I think that is how you sort out the aesthetics distinction here.  Am I wrong?]

4)      Latin

In column one, John claims he’s keeping Latin off the table: “While the universal language of the Church is still to be revered for all the reasons that Vatican II prescribed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, it isn’t Why We Fight.”

In column 2, the Latin — the right Latin — is one of the essentials:

“As Michael Davies noted long-ago, the Anglican and Lutheran-inspired changes in the Novus Ordo Missae in the original Latin were intended by the committee that crafted them to fudge the differences among the churches — in the hope that an ecumenical liturgy would promote Christian unity.”

Boy, I walked right into that one. By believing John.  [No no, Mr. Hoopes.  What you don’t understand here is that Zmirak is saying that Anglicans and Lutheran concerns influenced the LATIN texts, the content of the Novus Ordo orations in the original Latin.  He in that case isn’t talking about the Latin language, but rather what was done to change the content of the Latin.  That is why, if I understood Zmirak, he said that Latin "isn’t why we fight".  Had the theology of the prayers not changed, and had the translation of the Latin not been so horrible, the language wouldn’t be problem.  The alterations to content of the prayers revealed in the changes to the Latin and in the bad translation… those are the problems.  Am I reading this wrong?]

5)      Even the Ordinary Form itself.

Column-1 John says the Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form isn’t the point: “The liturgy is miraculous, but it doesn’t work like magic: Rev. Teilhard de Chardin had said the Tridentine Mass for decades even as he invented Catholic Scientology; conversely, his sometime housemate at New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola, the holy Rev. John Hardon, obediently switched missals with every tinkering that came to him from the bishops.”

But Column-2 John helpfully clarifies what he’s talking about when he says “And by changing back the flag, by taking back our Mass, we are saying: Go back to Hell. Our Church belongs to Christ.” The Hell Mass here is: “the Ordinary Form as ordinarily celebrated, in some 99.9 percent of parishes outside Vatican City.

Yikes. Column-2 John sends “back to Hell” probably every Mass you’ve ever been to[Well.  That is his position.  But I think he explained himself along the way, agree with him or not.  It may be that Mr. Hoopes was shocked to consider (for the first time, perhaps) that maybe all this time… he has been cheated out of something he ought to have been able to have all along?  A Mass that evinces something other than muddled Catholic identity?  Is that what is going on?  In my personal experience, I recall the outrage expressed to me when they read my first WDTPRS columns in The Wanderer and learned, for the first time, that the ICEL translation we are still sadly using is dreadfully inaccurate and often distorts beyond recognition the content of the original Latin prayer.  They shot at me, the messenger.  How dare I suggest that the prayers were… were… were…. How dare I!  It may be that something of this is perhaps behind Mr. Hoopes reaction to Mr. Zmirak.  But in respect for Mr. Hoopes, whom I don’t know, I will happily stand corrected.]

The silly way John branded me “Bridey” then swept back onto the table everything (except nostalgia) that he had taken off of it has caused friends to tell me it was stupid to start the discussion at all[I don’t think it was stupid at all!  Faith, friends, seeks understanding.  Pope Benedict gave us Summorum Pontificum for the purposes of "mutual enrichment", among other things.  Pope Benedict’s style has always been to engage, to bring it on, as it were, respectfully but with your best shot.  I grant that Pope Benedict would not in his present role have chosen the tone of this exchange, but he did from time to time blast certain theologians in no uncertain terms in his books and articles.]

Yes, yes, yes! It was stupid. I was stupid. I wish I never had. [Don’t be.]

But worse, it has caused one to tell me: “Now you know to avoid that nasty little tribe.” [Well… piffle to that.]

That I can’t abide. Because I know too many Extraordinary Form guys who are, well, extraordinary.

I meant what I said in my column:

The Extraordinary Form Mass is a giant blessing for the Church after the Council. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?  But that leaves the question open for Mr. Hoopes: Why?]

—I believe my traditional Mass friend who wants to write an article about her experience called “Surprised by Beauty.”

—I believe that “Most of us — in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary camps — know the externals should be right, but don’t obsess too too much about them”.  [But there are some "externals" that are essential.  So, we need to clarify that.]

[At this point Mr. Hoopes ceases to engage directly and heads in another direction.]

But I didn’t mention two of the most impressive Extraordinary Form guys I know.

I’m sure they don’t want to be named here, given the reaction I’m getting from the com-boxers in their community. I’ll make them as anonymous as possible. I’ll just say one is a guy who through an apostolate has given my family and many others a gift that will bear fruit in 1,000 ways throughout our lives. He has one of the finest families I’m personally aware of.

He is a man fed by the Extraordinary Form — deeply, truly appreciative of it — but, like most, not obsessed by it. [It would be good to know just what "obsessed" means.] So is the other man I’m thinking of who is making an incredible, large scale contribution promoting character formation.

These aren’t weirdoes hanging out at the “muttered Mass” at the “insane asylum” John Zmirak describes; they are robust Catholic men putting the faith to work in the world.

Which, to my mind, means they are Catholic men of our times — and men of the Church of all times.

They know what I know: The Church is our mother. She can be trusted. She understands the problem with the liturgy, and she has made it a major priority.

The Church is heading in the right direction. My extraordinary friends know this; I suspect John Zmirak knows it too.

Together, as a Church, we have much to be proud of. [There is a flip-side to that.]

Catholics have founded seven new universities in the past decade faithful to the magisterium, and have renewed many more along canon-law-mandatum lines. We are the Church of World Youth Day, which is changing the trajectory of countless lives. And not just that; we are the Church of the National Catholic Youth Conference, whose 20,000 teens marched in Eucharistic procession through Kansas City in November.

Because of those colleges, and because of our youth movement, the most recent generation of young men formed by the post-Council Church are increasingly choosing the seminary. The Major Superiors of Women Religious, an organization formed by Pope John Paul II, is rapidly growing, and is populated by habited orders of nuns (ordinary and extraordinary formers) whose members’ average age is 35. Their vocation crisis, as they remind us on their fundraising letters, is that they don’t have enough space.

Our Church’s ordinary and extraordinary formers are at the heart of the pro-life movement that has dramatically turned around the numbers such that a majority of Americans now call themselves pro-life. We are a Church of a revitalized body of bishops who are coming up with practical ways to promote life … and the sacraments and Catholic truth. Even Time magazine noticed “Confession’s Comback” in our Church.  Extraordinary formers and ordinary formers keep the perpetual adoration chapel going in my parish and in more than 800 others, a number that continues to grow.

We’re one Church together. And we’re not “going back to hell” [Ouch.  I think that misreads what Zmirak was saying in the initial piece.  Which leads me back to the supposition, which I will happily adjust, that something Mr. Zmirak wrote perhaps unsettled Mr. Hoopes’ foundation a little.] – we’re headed, we pray, to the Heavenly Form liturgy where Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Cardinal John O’Connor await us, in the Father’s house.

I want to stress to Mr. Hoopes that this was not an exchange to regret.

People of good will don’t regret something which sought understanding in the way this exchange has sought it. 

Tough knocks?  Sure!  But there is rough and tumble in the seeking of understanding.

Kudos for getting into the ring.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. sejoga says:

    I think these types of liturgical quarrels are extremely healthy, especially for those Catholics who are sincerely and devoutly attached to the NO. I actually tend to like the OF myself, but unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to hear an EF mass, so I don’t have a lot to compare the NO to I’m afraid, though I’ve been to some real humdingers of masses in the ordinary form so I know how bad it can be.

    But I think I’m one of relatively few Catholics who’s been fed entirely on the Novus Ordo who has also had the good sense to question its reverence and spiritual effectiveness. Most simply accept it as “the way things are, should be, and always will be”… and the fact that now people are being forced to examine exactly why and how the mass accomplishes God’s plan for his people can only be a good thing.

    When Catholics who are faithfully attached to the NO feel their preference challenged, they’ll have no choice but to respond, and I don’t see how any Catholic in true good faith can avoid supporting the reforms that need to be made and probably will be. Ad orientem masses, communion on the tongue, musical reforms, greater reverence overall… anyone who really wants to preserve the NO will see the necessity for these types of reforms.

    And back-and-forth exchanges like this one between Zmirak and Hoopes can only bring about good, I should hope, as Catholics come to a deeper understanding of the importance of the mass in ANY form.

  2. meunke says:

    I usually go to the Extraordinary Form on Sundays, and the Ordinary Form when I have time during the week.

    They are both valid, I agree. I prefer the beauty and solemnity of one over the other, but they ARE both valid.

    One observation: In my years of going to Mass in both forms at various parishes, I have seen two major abuses. 1 in Iowa City, Iowa where during the Gospel, several people dressed up as characters from the referenced passages rushed up to the altar and had a roleplaying ‘debate’ with the priest, and then in Liberty Missouri when clowns (yes, ACTUAL clowns. I have pictures from by cell phone camera) had a tea party by the altar before the Offertory.

    Both of these took place in the Ordinary Form.

    Just sayin…

  3. wchoag says:

    It looks to me that Zmirak has the high ground all over this discussion.

    Hoopes should probably stick to writing on concern about which he has knowledge and not venture into territory where he himself admits that he has little experience.

    The future liturgy of the Roman Rite will either look, sound, and smell like Mass at St. Nicolas du Chardonnet in Paris or the Roman Rite will become an interesting chapter studied in the historical liturgy text books of future Ukrainian seminarians.

  4. Aaron says:

    Mr. Hoopes seems to have taken the criticisms of the Novus Ordo very personally, which isn’t unusual. I noticed in the discussion of Mr. Zmirak’s first piece at IC, that the more I and others criticized the form of the Novus Ordo, the more some people complained that we were attacking them personally. Finally, I wrote:

    “As I said before, while I’m very critical of the form and those who created it, I bear no ill towards those who attend the Novus Ordo. I do think of them with kindness — but also with sadness and concern, because I know so many who have gone astray, either to Protestantism or to cafeteria Catholicism.”

    To which a couple people thanked me for the unusually kind words. But the thing is, all the criticisms had been for the form, and not the people, and everything I’d written had had that attitude — but I had to make it explicit before they could see it. It was a real eye-opener in how people can identify with something so closely that they see all criticisms of it as criticisms of themselves, and sometimes you have to say outright what you think you’ve made clear by omission.

    What I don’t understand is why some people identify with the new form so much. To me, it’s always seemed so malleable that practically any change would be acceptable anyway, so why not a change back to something that we used to do? Altar girls used to be wrong, now they’re not. The Precious Blood used to be for special occasions, now it’s for every week. At 11:00 people join hands for the Our Father; at 6:30 they don’t. How can you get attached to something that’s so changeable? And how can something that’s no older than me be considered a permanent institution that we can’t possibly give up on?

  5. teevor says:

    This comment is very revealing.
    On one level, I am amused by Zmirak’s total defeat of Hoopes’ argument. However, on another level I’m a little bit disturbed by how Hoopes really doesn’t seem to get it.

    I should say that I really don’t intend to attack Hoopes (who I’m sure is devout and faithful)… but the idea that by criticizing the N.O. we are somehow a) criticizing the Church and b) criticizing the people who attend it, besides being completely ridiculous, seems at this point rather outdated.

    As I’m sure you all know, the Pope himself has made mention of destructive changes in the N.O., including those which were incorporated in its very fabric. That people might be driven to do more that just settle for something that ‘works,’ when what we’re talking about is not a pickup truck or a stereo, but the pinnacle of our earthly existence, doesn’t make any sense. What Zmirak and the rest of us point out is that we’re human beings, not robots, and the inessentials of the liturgy shape our perceptions and aid (or defeat) our piety. Zmirak also is simply acknowledging the reality that apart from whether or not the N.O. can be celebrated reverently, because of faults in the way the N.O. was created and implemented it so seldom is that the E.F. becomes the natural choice.

  6. Gail F says:

    I think by “obsessed” he means people who come across as saying that the EF is the be-all and end-all of Catholicism, and in the process seem to insult everyone else (the vast majority of Catholics) by ignoring everything they do or feel or say, seeming to sneer that they are “not real Catholics.” Some people do this on purpose, and others unwittingly — like the many home-schooling families I know who will blithely talk about how terrible the schools are and how they couldn’t possibly bear to put their children in school — to a crowd of people whose children are at public school. While they are only trying to explain their decision, they can make others think they are criticizing THEM and not the school, and saying that they are bad parents and their kids are bad kids.

    All of the EF criticism may well be valid. But if the EF folks seem to discount all the wonderful people and movements and apostolates coming out of people from NO parishes (and no, I am not talking about the “social justice crowd,” but the thousands of pro-life protestors, the orthodox speakers and writers, the Catholic radio and television folks, etc.) they will not be heeded. The NO does not produce only bad fruit. And I say this as a NO person who LOVED Zmirak’s original column.

  7. Ceile De says:

    My take: OF = Over the Counter version; EF = Prescription strength. Both valid but, depending on your need, you may want the one that works or the one that really works. (I’m glad BXVI realised too many episcopal HMO’s would prescribe condoms before they’d prescribe the EF so he moved the decision back to the family primary care giver).

  8. robtbrown says:

    Does Mr Hoopes, a great surname during March Madness, ever say what he means by essentials?

  9. Re: attachment to the OF, to the exclusion of the EF

    Probably most Catholics are more or less okay with any decently celebrated Mass in any Rite for any single Sunday. They probably don’t want to deal with learning something new on a permanent basis; but they’ll probably put up with it, because they love the Church and believe Her teachings to be of God.

    However, the following conditions would make it harder to accept the EF:

    1. Having received large amounts of anti-EF, anti-preconciliar catechesis from parents or church, or other sources. If you honestly think the EF is evil and wrong and imperialist and boring, or at least, not very good and fitting for worshipping God, you’re going to fight the EF like the SSPX fights the OF. If you used to love the EF, were taught to consider it wrong, and struggled hard to accept the Church’s apparent teaching obediently, you might well fight twice as hard not to learn that you were fooled by erroneous teaching.

    2. Having a substantial academic, liturgical, theological, or monetary stake in catechizing other people to become members of group #1. Many of these people are honestly members of group #1 themselves.

    3. Very bad memories of the EF. Usually coupled with a “progressive” view of the Church, but not always. Some of these folks were abused or mistreated by people who loudly trumpeted how Catholic they were; they can be easily scared or offended by stories they’ve heard.

    4. Totally uncatechized about the EF and its connections to the Mass they know. Often very devoted to the Latin Rite, but spooked by the apparent alienness of the EF. Sometimes converts, often lifelong Catholics. They didn’t sign up for the EF — or the Anglican Use, for that matter.

  10. Scott W. says:

    To whomever made the Age of Hoopes comment–stroke of genius.

  11. kab63 says:

    Being referred to as “Bridey” seemed to offend Hoopes more than anything else Zmirak said. Wasn’t Bridey just an ordinary, boring bloke? Many of us see ourselves as free-spirit Sebastians and become quite surprised to learn that the rest of the world considers us a Bridey. I think Hoopes was stung by the comparison.

  12. It seems to me that Hoopes is reacting to perceived arrogance of EF devotee’s. Of course, this arrogance exists on both sides, and really should go away. I’ve encountered horribly uncharitable people on both sides.

    To me it is striking that much of the EF vs. OF debate usually goes toward outlandish examples of abuses. It becomes Drunk Priest Who Skips The Consecration vs. Clown Mass. Neither of these is helpful for the discussion.

    One point Hoopes gets right is that the Church, episcopacy, liturgy, catechesis, schools, religious orders, seminaries, and seminarians are FAR FAR better than they were 30 years ago. Those who believe otherwise are really in the dark.

    Either way, this whole situation fixes itself because the whackjobs on both sides are dying out. The young priests of today are men of both/and, men like the Holy Father who embrace the whole of the Church (pre Vat. II and post Vat. II). Hermeneutic of continuity wins.

  13. chironomo says:

    I tried and tried…re-reading the complete thing over and over three times. It is, for the most part, incoherent. It is like someone who had a very vivid dream and upon waking up tries to recall it as it slips away into nothing. It sounds like he had a good argument in mind, but couldn’t ever quite get it into a form that made sense. In the end, I’m still trying to figure out the sexual-union analogy, and the only flag that comes to mind is the white one that I felt like waiving by the end of the article….

  14. chironomo says:

    To me it is striking that much of the EF vs. OF debate usually goes toward outlandish examples of abuses. It becomes Drunk Priest Who Skips The Consecration vs. Clown Mass. Neither of these is helpful for the discussion

    The difference is that the abuses in the OF are present now and continue to this day, while the stories of abuses in the EF are mostly from the long-ago past. I have to imagine that an EF Mass said today is far different from one said in 1954 simply because it is an exceptional thing now rather than the “ordinary” thing that it was then. Just as there were certainly people who went to Mass in the “EF” in 1954 simply because they were required to do so….that behavior is now on display in the OF, whereas I have to assume that very few EF attendees today go there simply to fulfill their Sunday obligation.

    To summarize…most critics of the EF have to point to PAST abuses while critics of the OF are able to point to CURRENT ones.

  15. Peggy R says:

    I felt sad for Mr. Hoopes reading this. I didn’t understand why he jumped in to reply to Mr Z in the first instance. I didn’t think that NC Register was a defender of the NO or stood in opposition to the EF. I thought that “conservative” Catholics respected one another on this point. I thought that only liturgical progressives would defend the OF vociferously.

    I do think, as another commenter noted, that the “Bridey” label probably offended the most–and seemed unnecessary to me.

    I do primarily attend the NO/OF. I attend EF occasionally. I think the OF should be scrapped. As long as we have 2 forms, and one that’s subject to so much variation–some permitted some not–most people will choose to worship based on taste and familiarity. We should choose what is most “right.” The EF seems to be the most “right” form of the Roman Mass.

  16. Andy F. says:

    I don’t mean to sound full of scorn, but is Mr. Hoopes batting out of his league? I can’t hardly follow his conclusion that Dr. Zmirak calls the Mass a flag. What I concluded of Zmirak’s statement of flag changing was a sort of attitude that plagued the clergy and laity, a symbolic flag that represented what was going on inside the bare stucco walls in the round. Perhaps they have different sets of humor.

  17. Denis says:

    Protestants changed the externals of their liturgy because they disagreed with the Catholic Church about the theology of the Eucharist–i.e. because they disagreed about the “internals” or “essentials”. They did not make the mistake of thinking that symbolism and externals are unimportant. The Calvinisation of the externals of Catholic liturgical life after V2 fundamentally changed the culture of that life.

    We have no trouble seeing the connection between the internal and the external in everyday life. You don’t show up for a job interview unshaven, with dirty hair and clothes, slouching in your chair and greeting the interviewer with a “yo waz’up?” That’s because you know that those externals express what is on the inside–beliefs, values, virtues and vices. Why is it so hard to admit the importance of the internal/external connection in the liturgy?

    Sometimes I think that the “externals don’t really matter” crowd have forgotten that we are not angels, that we are flesh and blood creatures. It’s impossible for us to shut out sights, sounds, smells. We interpret and think about the world through this physical dimension just as much as we do through the intellect, probably more so. I find it nearly impossible to attend a Protestant-looking liturgy and to affirm, with conviction “this is still a valid, Catholic litrugy.” Don’t get me wrong–I do believe it. I don’t deny the validity even of sloppy, happy-clappy Novus Ordo Masses. But I affirm it in a purely speculative, lifeless, cold way. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is. I’m a feeble human being. The more inclined I am to sin, the more I need a full-blooded traditional liturgy to keep me on the narrow path.

  18. New Sister says:

    Father – I appreciate the emphasis you added upon Hoopes’ reference to our Eucharistic Lord as “it” – I was recently at a 200-year old convent in Georgetown, in which the chapel had been wreck-o-vated to a deplorable state from its former beauty. I had to ask a sister, “where is the Blessed Sacrament?”, to which she replied, “**it** is over here… **it** has **its** own place” (His Tabernacle was hidden nearly out of view – very awkward…no one has professed vows in this convent since 1988, btw.) [I wouldn’t get overly excited about “it” versus “It” or “he, him, his” versus “He, Him, His”. These orthographical conventions don’t mean so much as one might think today.]

  19. Joseph says:

    Mr. Hoopes does not not get it. He does not want to get it. [That’s probably unfair.] That is why he wants to limit the discussion strictly on “essentials”. Of course both forms are valid, but the external form is more often an image of the interior disposition. The always surfacing kneeling issue is a case in point, as there are numerous others.
    How about an exposition and adoration with an upside down styroform coffee cup and the host stuck in cut in a slot? I suppose we do not need to worry about the form, no??

  20. Bornacatholic says:

    It may be just me but I think the use of “obsessive” might refer to being “too serious” about the war over the Mass. I suspect that Mr. Hoopes thinks Dr Z takes this whole war over the Mass a bit too seriously.

    Anybody who reads Dr Z, knows he writes on a wide range of issues.

    In fact, he writes far more often about subjects other than the EF vs the Normative Mass and so there can be no question that he is not obsessed about The EF Mass.

    It is just that when he trains his rhetorical guns on the EF vs the Normative Mass, he engages with nearly every arrow in his rhetorical quiver.

    I find his writing witty, bracing, and exciting and his rhetorical incandescence is flat out masculine.

    Look, we are all the same in that we are all unique. I wouldn’t advise De Z to temper, change, or moderate, one thing in his rhetorical style.

    His style is his autobiography; it reveals to us who he is.

    Who doesn’t want 10k more Catholics like him?

    I pray Dr Z inspires a million imitators, just like I hope Fr Z inspires a million Priest imitators.

    Dr. Z. is a unique and valuable man and Holy Mother Church needs more males who act masculine. We Catholics in America have been feminised and modernised to the point where a couple of great Dr Z columns can cause such hurt personal feelings.

    Good Lord. Man-up.

  21. chironomo,

    That’s a good observation that when speaking of abuses in the EF one needs to speak of the past. The reason for this of course is that liturgy’s do not cause abuse, poorly formed priests do. These days, the priests who choose to say the EF Mass have good formation. Some of those saying the OF do not. The need to reach into the past for examples highlights the fact that abuses have little to do with the OF. It comes down to the celebrant. If he has his head on straight, the Mass will be as it should be, as Christ wants it to be.

    I wonder if there is some misunderstanding as to what each author means by externals?

  22. Aaron says:

    My impression is that Mr. Hoopes thought he’d caught Mr. Zmirak taking an analogy too far (the ‘flag’ bit), and thought he’d write a witty little article pointing it out, and everyone would nod and chuckle along with him. “You know those crazy trads.” But he misunderstood or distorted Zmirak’s point in the first place; and when Zmirak straightened that out and went on to point out the weirdness of Hoopes’s first piece, Hoopes really should have quit while he was behind.

    “If you used to love the EF, were taught to consider it wrong, and struggled hard to accept the Church’s apparent teaching obediently, you might well fight twice as hard not to learn that you were fooled by erroneous teaching.” — Suburbanbanshee

    This is what I see in my friends and relatives who are old enough to remember the liturgical revolution. You’d think they’d welcome back the Mass of their childhood with open arms, or at least nostalgia, but many don’t. I think it took an incredible amount of faith and obedience for them to stay in the Church through all of that (millions didn’t, after all) — to watch their churches being wreckovated, their devotions scorned as outdated, their penances abandoned as unnecessary, and to keep coming back to those pews and putting money in the basket every week. But they did it, because they loved and trusted the Church. Now, to think that all that pain was unnecessary, a momentary wrong turn on the Church’s path through history that should be corrected….well, that’d have to be pretty depressing.

  23. quovadis7 says:


    BINGO! Thanks for the GREAT post! I couldn’t have said it as well and as succinctly as you did if I had tried.

    While part of me was quite glad to see an attempt at this dialogue taking place (more efforts are direly needed!), I also wasn’t surprised to see it devolve into what bordered on becoming ad hominem attacks and overly emotional responses. Like Fr. Z and many of these commenters here at WDTPRS, I had a REALLY tough time following the logic and direction of Mr. Hoopes’ 2nd response. Thanks for the assist, Fr. Z, in helping to make more sense of this Zmirak/Hoopes dialogue/debate!

    Sadly though, every time I’ve tried to have a conversation with a Novus Ordo enthusiast wrt the inherent liabilities of the OF vs. the clear advantages of the EF (I’m a strong advocate of the EF now), it always devolves into emotionalism. Why is it that we Catholics who take our faith and Liturgy so seriously can’t restrain ourselves better and honestly, objectively, and calmly discuss our different perspectives wrt the Roman Liturgy?

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  24. Bornacatholic says:

    And he impugns my Eucharistic devotion, with no evidence

    I think Mr. Hoopes is anxious to portray himself as a victim.

    I have read Dr Z’s column three times and I have yet to see the evidence for Mr. Hoopes accusation that Dr. Zmirak impugned his Eucharistic devotion.

    For the life of my I can’t understand why he called-out Dr. Z. and, instead of taking his lumps like a man when Dr. Z responded, he begins to make, what appear to me at least, false accusations.

    He clearly intends to have the last word but if he thinks that Dr. Z. will have his reputation tainted by these tactics, I think he is mistaken.

    I do not think that John Zmirak has a malign bone in his body nor do I think he baited Mr Hoopes so he could whip him like Ali beat Floyd Robinson

  25. Ceile De says:

    But doesn’t the fact remain, that if not the Church itself, those within it with the power to effect change (or to prevent it) made a mistake of such catastrophic proportions that to admit such a mistake now might further undermine faith…I have no idea how the Church gets itself out of this completely utterly unnecessary mess but it seems that Pope Benedict has. Like my grandparents in the 1970’s, I’ll put my faith in what comes out of the Vatican and hope for the best.

  26. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Teevor: On the issue of criticizing the OF Mass, and OF attendees taking it personally, I think it appropriate to acknowledge that this happens too often on both sides. How many comments have we seen in this blog where the slightest criticism of the EF Mass brings out the trad version of Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street?

    Suburbanbanshee: Your points are very well stated above, as to what would make it harder to accept the EF Mass. I would have added another point, which was that some who attended EF Masses ran into really nasty people whose lack of charity did no favors for the EF cause.

    kab63: I believe you are on to something. That Bridey thing was humorous at first glance. But to then address your oppenent as Bridey for the rest of the article got old really fast. Hoopes had reason to be mift.

  27. Mary Kay says:

    (inserting placeholder comment)

    There is so much to respond to that I hardly know where to begin. So much of this discussion seems to be off the wall. But a family medical emergency with unknown weekend depending on this afternoon’s results on top of already feeling miserable from a nasty cold will means I’ll have to make do with a placeholder.

    A smattering a comments for now. One is that sometimes I wonder if the Church isn’t headed into a three way schism: dissidents, orthodox OF, orthodox EF.

    Although I disagreed with nearly the entire original Zmirak article, how the word “flag” was used was not a concern (for me). “Go back to Hell” was and is a concern though.

    Also, I find it absolutely bizarre that people who I imagine would have the screaming meemies when “progressives” refer to the Eucharist solely as “table” without mentioning “the sacrifce of the Mass,” just bizarre that they casually banter comparing the Mass to the marital act. That’s not the main point I’ll eventually respond to but it was the one after which I had the hardest time picking up my jaw.

  28. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Steve from Plano:

    The arguments about the liturgy have a quality not seen in conflicts about philosophy, dogma, canon law, or Scripture.

    That quality is the lampooning, ridiculing and derision directed at your opponents desired form of liturgical prayer. I think after Vatican II, many liturgists derided the Tridentine Mass, setting a very dangerous precedent for future discussions on the liturgy (in an age when “out with the old, in with the new” was the mantra on everyone’s lips).

    Unfortunately, EF Mass adherents have learned and improved upon those techniques. It is also sad that too many celebrants of the Novus Ordo have given them too much ammunition for the parodies.

  29. lacrossecath says:

    I wonder if someone else of Novus Ordo thought would engage Zmirak. Some great discussion could be made here. What would be nice to see is questions like what IS essential to the Mass(not necessarily just what is valid or even licit) answered. I think Zmirak does show what he thinks is essential to a sacrificial offering(eg. ad orientem). Hoopes seems to be saying that any worship saying “this is My Body, this is My Blood” is essential and that any discussion beyond that is “pharisaical, even prissy.” I mean, who are we to judge clowns and balloons? ….

    The first argument almost seemed like he hoped to show how beautiful he found the Novus Ordo Mass, but failed to enter into the discussion about the differences in the flag.

    At any rate, someone to exchange ideas who thinks that externals DO matter. We can’t have a discussion by saying discussion brings us “perilously close” to obsession with prissyness.

    Dare to be prissy Mr. Hoopes.

  30. Maltese says:

    *My point was clear: “Obsession with inessentials distorts.” I hastened to say that most Extraordinary Form folks I know don’t obsess about externals, but that John’s column “comes perilously close.*

    Mr. Hoopes, kudos for getting into the fray, but I must say, with all due respect, that the Ordinary Form folks I know don’t fret or “obsess” about the externals ENOUGH!

    I guess the folks who spent, sometimes, hundreds of years fretting over the building of one Cathedral were, perhaps, “obsessing” over the “external,” but, sorry to say, the Catholic faith is Sacramental (as opposed to the austere Calvinistic model) and does, indeed, fret over externals! Lex orandi, lex credendi!

    We are born into this life with bodies (fallible but also Holy Spirit indwelled), with sound-bites and images circumnavigating our fallible bodily senses every second of every day. The Church, in Her wisdom (in God’s wisdom) has made the eternal invisible slightly visible, though through a “glass darkly,” in matter, and otherwise mundane mediums. For instance, She uses paint and metal to create, say, an icon, duly blessed by a priest, whereby we can better contemplate the divine.

    Iconoclasts fought wars over such notions, but Catholics should not shy from these externals, lest me become Calvinists. Christ Himself is the best example of the necessity of externals. God actually became flesh–man, in external form! To lead us from sin, and give us a path to everlasting life. Why was it necessary for God to take on flesh, unless it was necessary to give us a visage, a corporal form, and his visible Sacrifice to lead us from sin? Yes, His Sacrifice was a prayer, but it was a prayer-Redemption in physical form!

    Christ’s Sacrifice was, by definition, an external sign, not of pure mind, but was physical, corporeal, real, and present for eyes to behold, and Gospels to be written of, by physical pens and physical parchment paper!

    As Cardinal Alfons Stickler wrote of Pope Paul VI, he did indeed try to assuage protestants with his Bugnini-led “liturgy by commission” (in the words of Pope Benedict XVI,) but in doing so, he has gained nothing for the Church, and has given away much of her patrimony….

  31. Ceile De says:

    “Get me a coffee” is a valid English sentence. “May I have a coffee, please” is too and basically says the same thing. The different wording may be seen as inessential but there is a difference, no?
    That said, while these differences need to be discussed, I think, given Fr Z’s posting on the attacks on the church, we need first to present a united front – the secular world that seems intent on destroying the Church does not care whether the Church is more towards the immanent OF or the transcendental EF. It wants to destory the Church period. Now is a time to unite.

  32. Dr. Eric says:

    First of all, externals do matter because they reflect what is going on internally. A person has to lust after another before fornicating or committing adultery. A person must covet something before he steals it.

    As far was what is essential in the Mass, I have read from orthodox sources that the essential parts of the Liturgy are the Offertory, the Consecration, and Communion of the priest. The rest is “window dressing” as it were. BUT, I can be a husband and not commit adultery, not lust after another woman, not look at internet porn, sleep on the couch, and other things that are the bare bones minimum of being a husband. My beautiful wife deserves much better. She deserves a husband who will sacrifice himself for her, snuggle close to her at night while she sleeps, give her flowers for no reason, take her out to dinner for a surprise, leave love notes around the house, etc…

    Yes, we could strip the Mass even down further. We could all show up about 9-ish, bring up the bread and wine in the offertory, the priest could just say the words of Consecration, and he could have Communion, it could take 5 minutes. Is that offering the best to The Lord?

    Another example, couples spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings. They get the church just how they like it with ribbons and flowers. They pick a nice hall and pay for a band (or *gag* a DJ) They deliberate over and over where they will spend the night as man and wife in which foreign country. Doesn’t the Wedding Feast of the Lamb of God deserve as much? How can you call the Liturgy “just externals”?

  33. Kate says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thank you very much for your comments and analysis.

  34. ssoldie says:

    Just plain opinions, and like ‘nose’s’ everybody’s got one. I am so very blessed that I can attened the “Immemorial Traditional Latin Mass”,instead of as in a manufacturing process–with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.

  35. Scott W. says:

    *waits for the card of “uncharitable” to be thrown against Zmirak, arrogant didacticism telling him to go read x Scripture passage, a pile of paragraphs that don’t establish that Zmirak is uncharitable, but only establish the they don’t like what he says. *yawn*

  36. pilgrimom says:

    Years later, when Mr. Hoopes recalls this fateful day,he will think of the lyrics to a different song — not Journey this time, but The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Over a bottle of Night Train, he’ll hear the strains, “I don’t ever want to feel like I did that day, take me to the place I love. Take me far away…” Maybe when he awakes to a pounding headache the next morning, he will have succeeded in obliterating the horrible memory of the day when he was ‘body slammed’ by the flag waiving trads.

  37. RC2 says:

    Zmirak wrote two bang-up columns–what a wit!– and I don’t disagree with anything he said about the problems with liturgy in the post conciliar period. However, I think he and Hoopes sort of talked past each other. There was no need to defend the EF, since Hoopes began by stipulating it was the mass of the ages and beautiful and a gift. That was not his point.

    Zmirak wrote a zingy column which explains very well the attitudes of many people who love the EF. It was a great piece of writing, but in my view it didn’t do what it promised it would: explain to faithful Catholics who aren’t attracted by the EF why so many Traditionalists they encounter wig out about small details –“inessentials.” What I had in mind, and I think Hoopes did too, was an explanation of why, at the EF parish we attend, the parishioners don’t only dump on liturgical abuses, they are also always dunning the pastor for this or that minor practice of the EF, too. The lace wasn’t right! The priest didn’t wear maniples! Someone dared to say the altar boy responses! Where was the 2nd confiteor? I have personally never attended an EF that wasn’t criticized bitterly afterwards.

    That in the end Zmirak didn’t explain, so Hoopes took a shot. When the Holy Father is insisting so hard on the hermeneutic of continuity and is offering the EF as a gift, perhaps it’s a bit distorted — a bit fighting the previous generation’s battle– to think of the EF as a flag you fly in defiance rather than a source of beauty and union?

    Zmirak’s response was a delightful-to-read polemic in defense of the EF, but that was utterly unnecessary as Hoopes stipulated the importance and beauty of the EF in the first place. Zmirak utterly ignores Hoopes’ actual argument and instead publicly calls his devotion to the Eucharist into question! Which attitude perhaps comes from thinking of the EF as a flag, and not as a source of union.

    Perhaps this excerpt from Fr. Faber is germane. . I don’t accuse Zmirak of being uncharitable; public arguments are rough and tumble. But effective apologetics requires making the effort to understand what the critic’s concern is and trying to answer it –not just indulging yourself by unleashing your same old rant about all your hobby-horses.

    Zmirak is right to love the EF, but he missed the boat in this argument.

  38. RC2 wins for best post.

    They were definitely talking past each other. To be honest I had great difficulty understanding each’s articles in relation to the other. They simply did not address each others arguments. It’s a shame because it could have been a great exchange, but it wasn’t.

  39. dcs says:

    teevor writes:
    the idea that by criticizing the N.O. we are somehow a) criticizing the Church and b) criticizing the people who attend it, besides being completely ridiculous, seems at this point rather outdated.

    I have noticed that, at times, those who will criticize the traditional Latin Mass are also critical of those who assist at it. Obviously it is difficult to criticize the TLM as it stands, since it was the chief Rite of Mass in the Church for centuries, so instead the critics will attack those who are attached to the TLM, accusing them of disobedience, of schism, or of simply being cranks.

    So maybe that it why those who are attached to the Novus ordo take criticism of it so personally. They see the personal attacks on devotees of the TLM by critics of the TLM and assume that critics of the NOM are doing similarly.

    All this is speculation, of course, and I would be remiss if I did not note that sometimes trads do stoop to attacks on those who attend the NOM. But simply looking at the NOM critically does not at all mean that one is attacking those who attend it, still less that one is attacking Holy Church.

  40. Joseph says:

    Dear Father, you consider my inference Mr. Hoopes does not want to see the fact, he is sitting in a indefensible swamp, unfair. Here is a man in a rear guard action, he knows he lost. You can see that in his confused and disjionted reply. He sets out, or so he says, to defend EF vis a vis his NO buddies, but never gets there. Instead he twists and turns between name calling and hyperbole. He is obviously not as good a word smith as Zmirak, but he is intelligent (I am sure he is smarter than I) enough, to see where it all goes. Instead of graciously admitting defeat, he ends up saying … the church is heading in the right direction…together there is much to be proud of… The latter is a particularly inane remark and would fit nicly into those sermonettes I am exposed to on a weekly basis (if i cannot find an alternate to my home parish) . Proud of what? I surely would love an answer to that.

  41. This whole debate kind of left me disappointed with Mr. Hoopes. At the beginning of this school year, Benedictine College, my school, hired him as a Mass Communications Professor, a very welcome change. Our school newspaper was spewing hatred at the Catholic Church quite regularly, and he came in and changed it. His family is very devout: I saw them at Mass yesterday. But, while I’m very disappointed with Mr. Hoopes, I’m also not surprised.

    Benedictine College has a tendency TO ATTACK the Traditionalists at Benedictine. An example of this was a petition to get the Tridentine Mass at Benedictine back in 2007, led by myself. I turned it into the Director of Campus Ministry who rejected the proposal. Mr. Hoopes fools himself by identifying his position with the Church of the youth. Benedictine College’s students would go to Tridentine Liturgies in droves instead of the Novus Ordo Mass with “themes” and a choir that is front and center while the Eucharist is relegated to a side chapel. Several of them have said themselves, about this Campus Minister’s drive to make this school more charismatic, “I came to Benedictine, I didn’t go to Steubenville. If I wanted to go to Steubenville I would go to Steubenville.” Mr. Hoopes, if this is not the case, then why does the Abbey which support the school, and is heavily engulfed in the “Spirit of Vatican II” have nearly no vocations from the school. 6 new recruits in the past four years I have been there pales in comparison to the new seminarians in the Kansas City-St. Joe diocese across the river which two years ago consecrated The Oratory for the Extraordinary Form.

    This is very disappointing to me. How can a school who hires faculty such as Mr. Hoopes, say “Pope Benedict took his name from Benedictine College” but attack what the Pope is doing? How can they scoff at every single one of his writings? Please, Fr. Z, ask your readers to pray for Benedictine College. We need it.

  42. robtbrown says:


    How about Fr Meinrad? Was he not open to saying it?

    I came to Benedictine when Cardinal Schonborn was there. After mass I was talking with some of the monks, and then the abbot came up. A nice man. I told him that I had just told one of the monks that I met Sch when I was studying in Rome at the Angelicum, living at the Convitto, etc. The abbot then asked me what I was doing. I said that I had taught block courses of theology for 4 years at the FSSP seminary.

    When he heard that, his eyes opened wide as if seeing a ghost, then he actually took a step back from me. I am not exaggerating. Then I laughed and told him what he had done. Then I began to talk about Clear Creek. The expression on his face was like that of a member of a losing sports team who is being told about the team that won the championship.

  43. I’m not sure why Fr. Meinrad has not said it. I’m sure that he wants too, I just assumed that either he doesn’t have the experience, or that he doesn’t want to make waves. My first petition was met with the response: “We don’t have anyone who would be able to celebrate the Mass…” and when I asked them if we could bring in someone from the Fraternity or from St. Joe to say the Mass JUST ONE TIME the Abbot and Campus Minister’s response was, “We don’t think that there will be any interest in it…” Two years later, and I still am hearing about people asking about why Benedictine doesn’t have a Tridentine Mass or at least Latin in its liturgy.

  44. Maltese says:

    robtbrown: Lol!

  45. Zmirak says:

    Dear RC2:
    Sorry if I was unclear, but I wasn’t trying to explain or defend behavior such as this:
    “at the EF parish we attend, the parishioners don’t only dump on liturgical abuses, they are also always dunning the pastor for this or that minor practice of the EF, too. The lace wasn’t right! The priest didn’t wear maniples! Someone dared to say the altar boy responses! Where was the 2nd confiteor? I have personally never attended an EF that wasn’t criticized bitterly afterwards.”

    I think it is indefensible, pharasaical, and pathetic, and when I’ve encountered it myself, I’ve responded with what I call “ridicule therapy.” Happily, in my personal experience, such behavior was confined to… what’s the polite way to say this… “daughters of Trent.” So they were worth steering clear of anyway. Antoine Blanche in a surplice, drifting from parish to parish in search of a Solemn Mass where he can serve as the M.C. Dear Lord, was I happy to get away from such circles.

  46. Aaron says:

    “I have personally never attended an EF that wasn’t criticized bitterly afterwards.
    That in the end Zmirak didn’t explain, so Hoopes took a shot.” — RC2

    That’s not what I got the impression Hoopes was doing, and it doesn’t make sense for the guy who was defending the OF to suddenly take over both sides of the argument and start defending the EF from his own accusations. Maybe that’s where he lost me.

    But I don’t know why Zmirak should have to explain something he hasn’t granted as true. I’ve never attended an EF that was “criticized bitterly afterwards.” If that happens every time you go, maybe you should hang out with different people after Mass.

    Sure, sometimes a few of us discuss whether the people should say the responses during Low Mass, or how we wish people would dress nicer, because we do care about the details. That’s one reason we’re there. But it’s always in the positive context of wanting to make sure we’re doing it right, not as criticism. And it’s also always in the context of, “I may have a couple small quibbles, but it’s still a thousand times better than the alternative, and thank God we have it here.”

    Maybe I just lucked into the nicest EF congregation around, but I don’t think they’re all as bitter and nitpicking as you and Hoopes seem to think either.

  47. Denis says:

    There are two fundamentally different kinds of people. There are those to whom it is obvious that the external, visible, audible, tactile expressions and signs of the theology and spirit of the Latin Rite Mass imparted to us by tradition (Gregorian Chant, Polyphony, traditional vestments, vessels, decorations, architecture and statuary, an ad orientem orientation, incense, consecration bells, stained glass, chanted mass, etc.) are more appropriate to that Mass than the externals crafted in the two post-V2 decades (banjoes, guitars, drums, “low-church” protestant-style hymns, polyester vestments, bare sanctuaries and altars that would have been too Calvinist even for Calvin, hand-holding during the Our Father, plus signs instead of crucifixes, cloth banners instead of statuary, improvised prayers, etc.). And then there are those to whom it’s obvious that none of these external, visible signs matter.

    There‘s something that I, as a traditionalist, have never been able to understand about members of the latter group (call them “non-traditionalists“). Why, if externals don’t matter, are they so attached to the externals crafted in the last 30 years of Church history? Why are they so hostile to those who are attached to the externals imparted to us by tradition? Why do they misconstrue their preference for the traditional externals as an unhealthy obsession?

    Indeed, a lot has been said about the way some traditionalists talk about the Novus Ordo. Like many traditionalists, I cringe when I hear these zealots. But we rarely hear anything about the way that MOST non-traditionalists talk about traditionalists. Why is it acceptable to make sweeping generalizations about traditionalists because of the misbehavior of extremists? Is that not uncharitable?

    I think that the fundamental, irreconcilable divide between the traditionalists and the non-traditionalists illustrates why the Motu Proprio was so necessary. Only if the Extraordinary Form of the Latin rite becomes broadly accessible will there be an equitable treatment of traditionalists. The Novus Ordo is not going away. It would be cruel and evil to do to non-traditionalists what was done to traditionalists after V2. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. But the Novus Ordo will not become more traditional in its externals either. The reform of the reform is not going to happen, because there will be people in every parish who will claim not to care about externals, but who will fight vigorously any proposed change in them.

    The only way to re-introduce tradition into the liturgical life of the Latin Rite Church is to have at least one EF Mass in every parish. Traditionally celebrated Novus Ordo Masses are beautiful–I’ve attended them in Toronto and St. Paul, MN–but they are very unlikely to become

  48. An American Mother says:

    I have to disagree, Denis.

    As long as the parish priests have the right attitude, positive changes will come. We have the usual complement of grumblers (mostly bossy women of a certain age – I should know, I am one, but at least I’m a bossy woman of a certain age in favor of Tradition!)

    Our parish is straight NO, but has always been fairly traditional and the rector has taken to heart the wishes of the Holy Father. The “externals” are becoming more and more traditional – Latin is being used more and more – the new chapel has the Tabernacle front and center, with an altar that can be moved (by 4-8 strong men!) against the east wall for ad orientem – the music has always been very strong but chant is being used more and more. And the ecclesiastical grapevine is carrying rumors that the Exsultet may be chanted for the Easter Vigil . . . . which will be throwing everyone (including the priest) into the deep end of the pool, but what better time?

  49. Aaron says:

    The thing about ‘reform of the reform’ is that, if it succeeds, most people will figure they might as well have just gone back to the EF. When people say the OF can be fine if you say it ad orientem with plenty of Latin, Communion on the tongue, no EMCH’s, etc. — to most Catholics, that wouldn’t be the OF anymore; they’d think they walked into an EF. The average Catholic in the pews who wants nothing to do with the EF isn’t objecting to the difference in theological focus (though that’s important); he’s not even aware of that. He just doesn’t want to take Communion on the tongue or doesn’t want to tell his daughters they won’t be allowed to serve anymore.

    It’s precisely the EF-like externals which the reform of the reform would bring back that he objects to; so reforming the OF to the extent necessary won’t make that average Joe Catholic any happier than just abrogating the OF and going back to the EF everywhere would. But maybe that’s the plan: reform the OF enough that the EF doesn’t seem completely foreign to people anymore, so eventually discarding the new form won’t be as much of a shock.

  50. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear RC2. Dr Zmirak missed not a thing.

    The real problem here is that in his rhetoric, John Zmirak, is The Basilica of San Marcos of Catholic Letters.

    And I think that in his rhetoric, Mr. Hoopes, is the embodiment of a sound,orthodox, Catholic Church.

    Whenever I read about my hero being criticised, I immediately bristle.

    What is Zmirak to do? Ought he smash the Domes of his well-rounded arguments so, by comparison, other Churches will not seem so plain?

    Ought he tear down the Spires of his pointed arguments; perhaps cover in concrete the lovely cornices of a tangential aside; would it gladden the heart of all if he eliminated every decorative frieze so his argument would melt into a puddle of piffle?

    Look, Dr. Zmirak is an absolute treasure and his character is revealed in his rhetoric. He is what he writes and, to me at least, any suggestion he in any way disfigure the beauty of his compositions is akin to asking Venice to, “Tear down that Basilica.”

    Worse, to my ears, it is a request equivalent to, “Die, Zmirak.”

    I think one has to stand in admiration of a great talent and the idea that the good Dr “impugned” Mr. Hoopes Eucharistic devotion is simply asserted, not proved. (The Normative Mass is not Eucharistic Devotion).

    I really do think Mr. Hoopes response is unfair, unjust,petulant and unmanly. Dr. Z. did not cheat, lie, or bait and switch.

    As far as I am concerned, Mr. Hoopes ought be content with being who he is while retaining the ability to admire the San Marcos of New Hampster, Dr. Z.

    It is important to remember that Grace builds upon but does not destroy nature. The nature of Dr. Zmirak must be preserved. His is a singular talent; a treasure to be admired and encouraged.

    Never change, Dr. Z. Never.

  51. robtbrown says:

    Sorry if I was unclear, but I wasn’t trying to explain or defend behavior such as this: “at the EF parish we attend, the parishioners don’t only dump on liturgical abuses, they are also always dunning the pastor for this or that minor practice of the EF, too. The lace wasn’t right! The priest didn’t wear maniples! Someone dared to say the altar boy responses! Where was the 2nd confiteor? I have personally never attended an EF that wasn’t criticized bitterly afterwards.”

    I’ll take the occasion to refer once again to Maritain, who said the those of the Right don’t think there is such a thing as accidents, and those of the Left don’t think there is such a thing as substance.

    I think it is indefensible, pharasaical, and pathetic, and when I’ve encountered it myself, I’ve responded with what I call “ridicule therapy.” Happily, in my personal experience, such behavior was confined to… what’s the polite way to say this… “daughters of Trent.” So they were worth steering clear of anyway. Antoine Blanche in a surplice, drifting from parish to parish in search of a Solemn Mass where he can serve as the M.C. Dear Lord, was I happy to get away from such circles.
    Comment by Zmirak

    Agree. The reason such problems exist is that under the Pastoral Genius of Paul VI, those wanting mass in Latin were marginalized. Then Abp Lefebvre was suspended. The obvious consequence was that a lot of the more moderate people left.

    And so the best thing to do now would be for every parish to have at least one mass using the 1962 Missal.

Comments are closed.