NCR “analysis” of the Pontifical Mass in Washington, DC. Wrong again.

The dissenters of National Catholic Reporter have an analysis piece about the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC on 24 Saturday.

Included in the body of their piece are some splendid photos.  A redeeming point.

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

DC liturgy: cappa magna, glorious music, Latin glitches

Apr. 26, 2010
By Jerry Filteau


Die 24 Aprile, [Aprilis] A.D. MMX, Eduardus Jacobus Slattery, episcopus dioeceseos [diocesanus] Tulsensis in Oklahoma, Missam sacram in lingua Latina secundum formam extraordinariam – id est, secundum ordinem Ritus Romani Tridentinam [well… not really, but let that pass, and ordo is masculine, therefore Tridentinum…] – in Basilica Sanctuarii Nationalis Conceptionis Immaculatae celebravit. Sermonem suam in lingua Anglica praedicavit. Plus quam tres milia in liturgia sacra participavunt. [participaverunt… Also, I prefer Iacobus to Jacobus. And I think we should include the many people who watched on TV and over the internet.]

For the (I’m sure very few) NCR readers who have a little trouble with Latin – and with apologies to Latin experts who may find a minor error or two in the above [apology accepted] – “On April 24, 2010, Edward James Slattery, bishop of Tulsa, Okla., celebrated the Mass in Latin in the extraordinary form – that is, in the Tridentine Rite – in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He delivered his homily in English. More than 3,000 people attended the liturgy.”

More relevant to me in the April 24 event in Washington were several elements:

First, there were no demonstrations outside or inside the shrine by clergy sex abuse victims after retired Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos withdrew as principal celebrant of the Mass.

Castrillon, former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy and former president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which oversees and promotes use of the Latin Tridentine rite [I think we need to move Mr. Filteau beyond this terminology, but let’s go on…] in the Roman Church, made major news just a week before the shrine Mass when a French newspaper revealed that in 2001 he had praised a French bishop for breaking the law [Is that really the best way to phrase that?] and refusing to turn over to civil authorities a priest engaged in sexual abuse of minors. Castrillon not only did not apologize for his letter; he reaffirmed it and said John Paul II had urged him to send it to bishops around the world.

Second, for the first time in my life – although as an altar boy in the 1950s into the late ’60s and as a seminarian for nearly 12 years I participated in numerous pontifical liturgies the Upper Midwest and in Washington – on April 24 this year I finally saw the grandiose display of the “cappa magna,” the 20-yard-long [actually close to 30 feet, 10 yards] brilliant red [actually closer to magenta, or techincally paonazza] train behind a bishop or cardinal that has come to be one of the symbols of the revival of the Tridentine Mass. [Is it?]

Fifteen minutes before the Mass, Slattery processed up the shrine’s main aisle wearing the extravagant cloak, held up in back by a young altar server; before the main altar, there was a magnificent turn to exit stage left, at which point the cappa magna stretched almost the entire width of the sanctuary in front of the main altar. [Yep.  That was pretty flashy.]

In the actual liturgical procession starting the Mass 15 minutes later, Slattery was dressed not in the cappa magna but in normal liturgical robes, [normal for the older, traditional form of Mass, that is.  What Mr. Filteau could not see while in the basilica was the bishop vesting.  That was, however, seen on the telecast.] walking up the aisle in an alb and chasuble [and buskins, and dalmatic, and tunic, and gloves, etc.] and carrying a crosier.

Third, and to me most important, throughout more than half an hour of pre-Mass entertainment [?!?  A little dismissive, no?] with beautiful Latin music by an a capella choir (including Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina’s Tu Es Petrus and Thomas Tallis’s O Sacrum Convivium) and into the full first half-hour of the Mass, the entire basilica congregation of more than 3,000 sat passively [NO! TOTAL FAIL!] as an audience to a musical concert, with nary a word to say in the liturgy. [This shows something of the writer’s lack of understanding what what authentic "active participation" is.  I think were you to talk to the people he is describing, you would find that they were carefully following and praying during the entirely of the Mass.  They were no "passive".  They were actively engaging their minds and hearts to unite themselves with the sacred action.  The writer’s analysis fails here.  Big time.]

The shrine’s magnificent pipe organ played instrumental accompaniment to the nearly 20-minute processional as altar servers of all ages (but only males), knights of various Catholic organizations, deacons, priests and a variety of other ministers processed to the altar. [So, Mass hadn’t yet commenced.] Many of the priests and deacons bore pomped [Is that a word?] birettas, the stiff square black caps once [and still] worn by all priests and seminarians in choir.

As the procession ended, the choir began to sing the Introit as the ministers accompanying Slattery engaged in a slow, silent pageant [First, "entertainment" and now "pageant.] around the altar that included the old “Introibo ad altare Dei” antiphon from Psalm 42 (now 43) and extended to the Introit, Kyrie Eleison and Gloria, with some incense thrown in between. ["thrown in"?  A little dismissive, no?]

It wasn’t until the Collect that any of the 3,000-plus Catholics filling the shrine’s pews and aisles actually heard a voice from somewhere near the altar.

By that point I had come to realize that this Tridentine liturgy was an elaborate ritual manifestation of ecclesiastical rank, not a Mass in conformity with the fundamental Vatican II mandate for full, active participation by the faithful[TOTAL FAIL.  He is simply poorly formed on this point.  Too bad.  Maybe someday he will get it.]

A minor complaint, but certainly relevant for the Paulus Institute, which is devoted to promoting the Tridentine Rite [That really isn’t what anyone who knows much about this calls this form of liturgy.] and sponsored the Shrine Mass: The pamphlet for the Mass had several egregious typos in the Latin versions of the Mass’s prayers and Scripture passages.  [Given the egregious errors in the Latin at the top, I think the writer shouldn’t be tossing rocks, but… his comment is fair enough.  My favorite glitch was the the greeting the writer of 1 Peter sent to "Galactic".]

In a quick reading before the Mass, I noticed that it had, in the prayer following the Confiteor, “Et plebs tea laetabitur in te” (obviously, “tua” was intended); [That looks like one of those spell-checker problems.] and in the Introit, “et omnis mansuetudinus eius” – obviously should have been “mansuetudinis” – and in Peter’s epistle “Galatic” instead of “Galatiae” and “varlis” instead of “variis.” Also obvious in the Alleluia before the Gospel was the misprint “flilis” instead of filiis for reference to “the children of men.”  [Okay… is this really what he wanted to focus on?]

The Mass marked the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s formal inauguration into his ministry as pope.

Jerry Filteau is NCR Washington correspondent.


So, the writer doesn’t really understand what he attended.  He is dwells on cliches (a false notion of "active participation") and is dismissive of the externals ("entertainment").  He doesn’t have a firm grasp of what the rite is called, and uses out-dated and inaccurate terms to describe it ("Tridentine").   Then he focuses on the errors in the program as if they somehow detracted from the Mass.  That said, the program should have been proof-read ahead of time by someone who knew Latin.

He liked the music.  What he didn’t understand is that the sacred music was prayer, not diversion or entertainment.

I suspect that he is so mired in the rubbish he – and he is not alone – has heard nearly exclusively for decades that he was nearly impervious to what was going on.  Either that or he realized that this is going to catch on.  Such a fear would lead to his approach in this "analysis".

We have to be patient with these folks and help them along.

The walls in their minds and hearts need to be dismantled… brick by brick, even as we slowly rebuild.

I think his "analysis" was very useful.

I am wondering if his description coincides with the experience of others who attended.  That I why I asked for feedback, posted here.

Your reactions to the Pontifical Mass in Washington

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Brick by Brick, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Father Flores says:

    Maybe next time Mass is celebrated in Extraordinary Form we can give everyone cameras and laser pointers so that we can show our “participation” by snapping photos and fervently pointing to everything that grasps our attention.

  2. Here, Fr. Z. I’ll fix the quote:

    “….throughout more than half an hour of pre-Mass [meditation] with beautiful Latin music by an a capella choir… and into the full first half-hour of the Mass, the entire basilica congregation of more than 3,000 [soared peacefully in soul and mind] as [one great body, together with the choir and clergy], with [an awed silence of expectation and eager loving prayer, enjoying a foretaste of eternal life with God].”

    There. Done.

  3. LarryD says:

    Fr Z – your assistance please. In the comments section of this piece at the NCR, one of the commenters made specific claims that Pope Paul VI ‘eliminated’ the Tridentine Mass, in response to my question for exact citations from the Second Vatican Council, by quoting passages from the following sources (for the sake of brevity, I’m not including the actual text the commenter cites – but they’re at the NCR site):

    Address to a general audience on November 19, 1969
    Address to a general audience on November 26, 1969
    Decree “Celebrationes Eucharisticae”, promulgating the first ‘editio typica’ of the Missale Romanum, dated March 26, 1970
    Notification “Conferentiarum Episcopalium”, on the obligatory nature of the Roman Missal of Paul VI, October 28, 1974, states in relevant part

    Of course, these are not VII documents, so it fails to answer my original question. Besides that, how would you respond to the commenter?

  4. Father Flores says:

    P.S. In the present calendar we celebrate St. Catherine of Siena, a beautiful contrast to the destructive “accountability-so-called” of the MSM and greedy lawyers.

  5. wolfeken says:

    The good news is the liturgically liberal Mr. Filteau is not writing for Catholic News Service (aka USCCB wire), but an explicitly biased publication.

    (He was at CNS for 37 years and retired right around the time of Summorum Pontificum.)

  6. Dear Mr. Filteau,

    Please read Pope John Paul II on “active participation” (From section 4):

    Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.

    The point of hearing the choir, the schola, and even the silence is to enable the soul to seek the face of God, in union not only with those physically present, but with the angels and saints, and all other souls present.

    Interior participation is required for true, active participation.

  7. Rellis says:

    In defense of the pamphlet’s compiler (whom I know well), it was a work in progress up until practically the last minute. The shenanigans that were pulled (not by the Paulus Institute, btw–discretion prevents me from revealing who “fired” the Cardinal) to expel Cardinal Castrillon from the Mass led to a hasty re-setting and printing. I’m sure they would have preferred a week or so for Latinists to review the text.

  8. irishgirl says:

    People like this ‘journalist’ are just plain clueless-they ought to ‘get with the program’!


    Glad you ‘skewered’ him with your emphases, Fr. Z!

  9. Frank H says:

    LarryD – one sure indication that Paul VI did not “eliminate” the older form of Mass is that he himself, in 1971, granted the so-called “Agatha Christie” indult for England and Wales, permitting the use of the older form. Of course, John Paul II added further accessibility, and our beloved Benedict XVI really emancipated it in 2007.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    I am stupefied. The NCR actually had a whole sentence in Latin?! :O [I don’t think the writer meant it as a compliment.]

  11. medievalist says:

    Liturgy always sends NCR and most of its readers into fits of raging hysteria. This story has already generated four pages of commentary, in which those who attended the Mass (so presumably the good bishop himself) are labelled as sexual perverts, misogynists, racists, and a whole host of unfortunate labels. Commentators doubt than young or non-white people attended, while the photos clearly prove them wrong. Are many of the commentators on NCR so incensed (that would be the incense thrown about at the Mass) that their very senses are blinded?

    Will someone please explain why the sight of 3000+ fellow Catholics voluntarily going to Mass drives these people completely over the edge?

  12. TNCath says:

    I find it quite sad that, except for John Allen, the frequent contributors of the NCR embarrassingly show their shallow background in Catholic matters week after week.

  13. LarryPGH says:

    Wow… “more relevent to” him than a Mass celebrating Benedict’s papacy is that (1) no one protested, (2) he saw a cappa magna, and (3) he noticed that the congregation was quiet? If this represents the way in which his “full and active participation” exhibits itself at NO Masses, then I think we can help him a bit in his formation defects…

    Moreover, it was pretty telling that he views music played before the Mass not as a means to prepare oneself for the Mass, but rather, as simple “entertainment”! And, of course, that he views a procession as mere “pageantry”!

    And that review of each and every typo — c’mon, now: if you want to stand up and say “I know Latin better than ya’ll”, just do it, so we can be spared the embarrassment of pointing out that your pedantic rant is not only peevish but reeks of agenda. Really, now — haven’t you seen as many error (if not more!) in worship aids written in the vernacular? Again, “full and active participation” probably doesn’t include whipping out the red pen to correct spelling and grammar errors in the worship aid!

  14. PghCath says:

    An opportunity to analyze one of the most important American masses in memory, and Mr. Filteau chooses to dwell on the program. How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln, indeed.

    The view of active participation expressed in this article is incredibly sad. Maybe the problem is that modern Catholics are afraid of spending time alone with God – either because they’re afraid of having having to look deeply into themselves or because they don’t know how to act in His presence. If so, an EF Mass will be disconcerting – there’s just so much time to think when you’re sitting “passively”.

  15. Scott W. says:

    In the comments there, I present the Bad Catechisis on Display Award for this:

    I thought the Eucharist was to be a community sharing of food as in the N.T. and early Church. What is the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”? Does Jesus die over and over? Is the Mass about Good Friday or Holy Thursday?

  16. Having not been in DC, nor having seen the broadcast, can anyone tell me if the congregation made the properly congregational responses: the Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo, Deo gratias, Habemus ad Dominum, etc?

  17. Andrew says:


    “I am stupefied. The NCR actually had a whole sentence in Latin?! ”

    Well! Yes, in a way. If you can ignore, to my count, eight errors. (… sermonem suum … plus quam tria milia, etc.)

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    Third, and to me most important, throughout more than half an hour of pre-Mass entertainment with beautiful Latin music by an a capella choir …

    I thought it not only “most important” but a stroke of genius in planning—probably more visible to the TV audience than to those in attendance–that this a capella choir singing (exclusively) “beautiful Latin music” before Mass was a children’s choir consisting of quite young boys and girls from churches throughout the Washington area. They sang in Latin not only beautifully but strongly and confidently.

    Obviously, no one had told them that these Latin classics of sacred music were just too haard for them to try to sing. As I watched and listened, more impressed by the minute, I couldn’t help thinking how ineffable this must have seemed to some of our famous (if thankfully former) USCCB liturgy potentates.

  19. Marcin says:

    …more than half an hour of pre-Mass entertainment with beautiful Latin music by an a capella choir (including Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina’s Tu Es Petrus and Thomas Tallis’s O Sacrum Convivium)…

    He certainly forgot about children scholae singing before Mass. That’s of course a shameless plug on my part (my son was one of the chanters!). And they sung from neumatic notation.

  20. Rob Cartusciello says:

    As I predicted at the Blognic, the cappa magna is like kryptonite to liberal Catholics.

    Not that I’m a huge fan of the cappa magna. Once or twice a year is more than enough.

  21. Henry Edwards says:

    Having not been in DC, nor having seen the broadcast, can anyone tell me if the congregation made the properly congregational responses: the Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo, Deo gratias, Habemus ad Dominum, etc?

    Yes. And, listening and watching on TV, it did not appear to me that they had to rely upon the accuracy of the program to get them right.

    Also, even while the commentators were explaining that the celebrant sings the Pater Noster on behalf of the congregation, it seemed to me that some in the congregation may have been singing along with him (as is the practice some TLM communities, and has allegedly been approved by PCED).

    And likewise with Credo III–the rest of the ordinary was Palestrina polyphonic–the congregational singing of which is part of the “active participation” urged by Pius X and (surely) Vatican II.

  22. Discipulus Humilis says:

    That first paragraph is hilarious. Mirabile dictu, the author has, to this day, remembered to breathe every few seconds to maintain consciousness.

  23. momoften says:

    If you think of the ‘type’ of person that reads NCR—the article lures them in with a sort of tacit approval of what has happened(and speaking in ever so secular ways), then subtly through words lends the reader to a Mass poorly done and sums it up by saying it just ain’t right according to the spirit of Vatican II..typical NCR journalistic style,sloppy. He is blinded by his own prejudices to the beauty of the Extraordinary Mass. Now, if only the scales would fall off his eyes……

  24. I usually don’t do this (and for good reason), but I read some of the comments on this analysis. Those comments were what truly made me want to weep. Some people can be so hateful, of the liturgy, of Pope Benedict XVI, of the traditions that our Church Fathers upheld.

    Warning to others: Just stick with the analysis on this one.

  25. Johnny Domer says:

    Nothing stirs my soul and fuels my full, conscious, active participation more than being largely drowned out by an organ and cantor while barely singing some crappy-to-mediocre hymn that is perfectly tailored to the vocal range of a 58-year-old woman. Hooray. x-P

    I cannot express how much more I’d rather listen to/spiritually join in with a good schola chanting the Introit. Shutting up and ACTUALLY listening and praying is more difficult, and more fruitful, than belting out “On Eagle’s Wings.”

    By the way, let me note that most hymns that we would consider “good” within the American Catholic repertoire are, in my opinion, not exactly pieces of fine art. A lot of them are just kinda sappy Irish tunes. Just chant stuff people, for Pete’s sake.

  26. Rob Cartusciello says:

    There are few things more passive than a congregation sitting in the pews trying to sing a “Glory & Praise” hymn with a syncopated rhythm, key changes and an arrangement too high for most people to sing.

  27. gloriainexcelsis says:

    My comment is upcoming, but – HEY! Johnny Domer – how old are you? I’m an almost 79 year old woman who, because of the youth and strength of my voice, is actually asked to sing at parish events, and I still “do” classical. 58 ain’t nothin’ these days, anyhoo. But I digress.

    I, along with many, it seems, followed Fr. Z’s suggestion and sent an email to Bishop Slattery. It praised the Mass, the (ahem) commentators, the ability to see the vesting on EWTN, and above all, the Bishop’s homily. I received the following email this morning, as I’m sure, all the others who sent such gratitude to His Excellency did also. Here it is:

    I cannot tell you how moved I have been these past several days at the outpouring of support and love which I have received from you, Gloria, and from hundreds and hundreds of other Catholics across the nation and across the globe. Thank you.

    The Mass was received with incredible joy, not simply because so many people have an affection and attraction to the ancient liturgy of the Church but more so because the Mass in Washington spoke to the needs of the Church today in ways that I think most people could not have imagined. It offers a sense of permanency in a changing world, a promise of hope, in the midst of the terrible confusion we face, and it speaks powerfully to the presence of God in our midst.

    I am pleased that my homily was able to touch so many people at the same level, and give grateful praise to God for having used me for his instrument on Saturday.

    Know that I will be praying for you, even as I humbly ask you to remember me in your daily prayers and sacrifices, and most of all, when you pray the Mass next.

    Sincerely and gratefully yours,

    Bishop Edward Slattery
    Bishop of Tulsa.

    I’m even more impressed with Bishop Slattery, and he can be assured of my prayers.

  28. How many people who don’t understand Latin have attended the EF and remarked, “Even without a Missal, I had a sense for what was taking place?” I’ve heard it a number of times.

    It’s the same with NCDistorter. This entire article could have been written in Mandarin Chinese and still the truly faithful would know what was taking place.

  29. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    I love how the author tries to portray the congregation as bored and uninvolved, despite having to admit that there were well over 3,000 people packed into the Cathedral. I would like to see that happen for any average Saturday mass.

  30. ipadre says:

    It always gets me how these “progressives” who shout “thou shalt not judge” when we talk about morals, dogma, Liturgy or anything else Catholic, are the same ones who claim the laity at Mass in the Extraordinary Form are not “actively participating”. Maybe we need an Extraordinary Form dance ministry to make these people happy!

  31. Totus Tuus says:

    The comment I left over at NCR:

    “I for one am glad that this Mass was celebrated and that those who prefer it now often have the opportunity to attend and are no longer treated with the same level of contempt they once were — although as some of the language shows in this article and the responses, some of that contempt still exists, as is illustrated in calling pre-Mass meditative music ‘entertainment’ and ‘pageantry’, dismissing as a mere passive audience worshipers who were actively participating by silently contemplating the Mysteries of the faith and uniting their prayers with the priest, and by holding the Mass in such low esteem as to insinuate that the Extraordinary Form somehow is a home for homosexuality, sexual abuse, and contempt for the poor [John 12: 1-8, anyone?].
    I find the Extraordinary Form extraordinarily beautiful — and for those who think that only the old and nostalgic appreciate the Extraordinary Form, they should know that I am 19. What’s more, I came to it on my own — I was not given my life for the Extraordinary Form by my parents, who I think probably would not be caught dead attending one. And I hope it will bring great joy to many of the commenters to know that I am not alone — I have many college- and high school-age friends who share my views.

    Just as a note to the many people decrying the Extraordinary Form as a return to the Middle Ages or even the Dark Ages, it was actually promulgated during the Renaissance.”

  32. Nathan says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P: “Having not been in DC, nor having seen the broadcast, can anyone tell me if the congregation made the properly congregational responses: the Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo, Deo gratias, Habemus ad Dominum, etc?”

    Father, Henry Edwards is spot on (as usual). I was there in the pews and I can tell you with certainty that the congregation most definely sang the responses “et cum spiritu tuo” and those before the Preface as well. The congregation really sang out, though, for the Credo.

    I don’t recall congregational singing of the Pater Noster, although that could have happened.

    I suppose that some might think that all those hundreds of people who couldn’t get a seat weren’t participating either when they were kneeling on the hard floor…

    In Christ,

  33. Henry Edwards,

    Just as I expected!

    “Active” out-loud participation occured, but the author of the article hid it in order to make his bogus point about “silent passive” congregations.

    I have celebrated both the OF and the Dominican Rite Mass in Latin many times and at Sung Masses the congregations always sing the people’s responses with gusto. Thus, I expected as much at DC.

    Someone needs to call NCR this issue. The personal prejudices are just that and its a free country, but false reporting is a violation of professional ethics.

  34. Ralph says:

    Question for those at the Mass in D.C.:

    Was there many families with young children? I love the EF Mass, but wonder how well little people handle it. I have 5 children under 7. The NO with it’s call for vocal response seems to keep them engaged. I have held off taking them to an EF Mass because I am concerned at how they will handle the amount of time they have to sit still and be quiet.

    What was the impression of those of you who were there?

  35. Just a word on the cappa magna. I find it interesting that this is ridiculed so much and that it is tied to the Extraordinary Form. The cappa magna was NEVER abrogated. It’s use was merely more strictly limited. But it is part of the ORDINARY form as well, not a throwback to the past. The other thing is that if we are going to be those who advocate the proper use of things then we have to be consistent. That particular cappa WAS over the top. Pope Pius XII had specifically shortened the length of the train to 12 feet well before the Council. Even at that it’s still quite impressive. I don’t know where they got that tent of a cappa but it was not correct. I pointed this out to someone who had been at the Mass and his reply was, “So what! It looked great”. But, that is a problem. We can’t pick and choose what we do and don’t want to adhere to or we’re just as “cafeteria Catholic” as the more progressive folks we criticize.

    Once again, Summorum Pontificum expanded the permission to use a particular form of the liturgy NOT to go back in time. A cappa magna is not inappropriate in any way. One with a train longer then 12 feet is.

  36. Dr. Eric says:

    People like the author of the article push the limits of my Christian Charity.

  37. patrick_f says:

    The very fact they use the word “Tridentine”, rather then “Mass of 1962, or 1962 Missal” , shows both his ignorance and/or his attempt to marginalize the mass. They like to use “Tridentine” dirogatively, rather then discriptively. They dont like the word “Extraordinary” because in their mind it somehow trumps the “Ordinary Form”.

    Is the understanding like this in other languages? I know we tend to lose alot in english

  38. Peggy R says:

    I saw this cranky article yesterday. Predictable tripe. His contempt oozed from each word choice. I worry he might have become ill during the mass! I pray he may one day see the light and understand the Mass better.

    The fact that a different bishop could be brought in at the 11th hour and the mass celebrated as planned is evidence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (oh, how those NRC readers must have choked on that!) is about Jesus, NOT about the clergy who is celebrating it.

    Further, it was God’s Will at work that the homily we heard from Bp. Slattery was just what was needed. So, in that sense, the “right” man was in place to further God’s plan and speak for His Church.

    I understand all the elaborate rituals and vestments are for the Glory of God. I wish the modernists could see that. Also, the “everyday” EF is not this grand a display. The EF can also be celebrated in the humblest of churches with the fewest adornments and servers/deacons. For example, a reverent EF is celebrated at an old (ca. 1799) vertical log French colonial structure in Cahokia IL. The crowd is small. There is a priest in proper vestments with 2 male servers and a deacon. It’s not a grand 3 hour mass, but there is beauty, reverence and attention to detail. There’s little music if any at low mass. When there is music an antique organ is played.

  39. Roland de Chanson says:

    A couple of other oppugnations on the ever-besieged citadel of Latinity:

    sermonem suum (masc) or homiliam suam (fem) but not a hermaphroditic cross.

    Plus (quam) tria milia (hominum)… participaverunt. (milia is a neuter noun; the construction without quam is more idiomatic). Also – plus ter mille (homines) …

    But I think that “dioeceseos” is probably OK – it is the Greek genitive. But you’d think he’d work on his Latin gender before his Greek genitives.

    Maybe this vernacular idea has some merit after all. But forget ICEL – just use the missal of the Anglican Ordinariates.

  40. “I don’t recall congregational singing of the Pater Noster, although that could have happened.”

    Yes, much of the congregation did, but my understanding from the Missal in hand and others for a Pontifical Mass that I’ve read calls for the congregation to join in at “sed libera nos a malo.”

  41. Rob F. says:

    Fr. Z,

    The reporter’s snarky list of typographical errors in the throw-away program is especially funny given the errors in his own Latin, which you and Andrew have amply demonstrated. Nevertheless, allow me to offer a defence of the reporter’s use of “dioecesios”: if I’m not mistaken, it is an irregular genitive of “dioecesis” used, for instance, in the phrase “abbatia nullius dioeceseos”.

  42. Marcin says:

    Louie Verrecchio ,

    It’s the same with NCDistorter. This entire article could have been written in Mandarin Chinese and still the truly faithful would know what was taking place.

    That’s a brilliant observation. I almost coughed up my lunch!

  43. Roland de Chanson says:


    Sorry for duplicating what you wrote — I just appended my comment without reading through all the others.

  44. Marcin says:

    episcopus dioeceseos Tulsensis

    Dioecesis here is superfluous anyway. Shorter form Episcopus Tulsensis is perfectly good, just as it has been for Ep. Cracoviensis or Varsavienis for quite a number of centuries.

  45. marthawrites says:

    To gloriainexcelsis: I received a DIFFERENT letter from Bishop Slattery acknowledging my thank-you in the the Tulsa diocesan blog. The good bishop evidently makes a habit of personalizing responses to his flock. No wonder his sheep know his voice and follow.

  46. irishgirl says:

    Totus Tuus-Bravo! I couldn’t have said it any better!

    Nathan-I did hear people singing the Pater Noster in the congregation. I guess the habit has been so ingrained that they forgot about responding only at ‘Sed libera nos a malo’ ! I’m surprised that Father Goodwin and Father Z didn’t pick up on that.

    The NCDistorter is nothing but fishwrap….sheesh….

  47. Papabile says:


    Like you, I have 5 children 6 and under 6, 5, 4, 2, 3 mos.

    My wife and I have been going to the extraordinary form on and off for some time. We actually find the children pay much better attention and are more engaged. (The only reason we don’t go all the time is we are quite connected to our local parish and are working to get it there regularly.)

    We’ve found the children are intrigued by the ritual and silence, and at high masses, the scholae. It affects all the senses, much more so than the average Pauline Rite that one would sit through.

  48. Rob Cartusciello says:


    The children took to the silence just fine. I believe the music & the majesty of the church kept them quieter than usual. There were a (very) few whinny kids, but they were only cranky for a few minutes.

    It is interesting that no one has acknowledged that the congregation was freely exercising a choice to attend the EF Mass.

    The laity choosing to worship in the manner they desired. What a concept for liberal Catholics to beleive!

  49. Gulielmus says:

    I must point out that after pointing out the lack of female servers, he then mentioned the various papal orders in the procession but neglected the women in them– Ladies of Malta, and of the Contantinian Order of St George (I did not notice any Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre present). Like his omission of the children’s choir, it suggests a willingness to bend the facts to fit his preconceived notions, but perhaps that’s just me.

  50. edwardo3 says:

    Upon reading, I think that Mr. Fliteau has a much better grasp on the Mass than he wants anyone know about. The issue I see in Mr. Fliteau’s article is that he has difficulty with the idea of submission of the self in the service of God, and he seems to have a misunderstanding of the liturgical role of the Bishop.

    I was a server at the Shrine a couple of decades ago and I have been involved in some very beautiful Liturgies with Bishops and Cardinals while I served there; but I have never seen a Mass or any other liturgy that has left me in such awe. Watching Bishop Slattery’s Mass at the Shrine was like the first time I was able to go to a Solemn High Mass, only indescribably better. I hope Bishop Slattery knows how grateful we are to him for having celebrated this Mass.

  51. Bryan says:


    He does. As I’m sure many of us that have thanked via email the good Bishop Slattery, I received the following yesterday. Now, this is a shepherd who knows how to ‘shep’. And I’m not even residing close to his diocese. Oh that we would have, oh, a couple hundred more, right?

    I note, with humility, that he asks for PRAYERS not only for himself, but our Holy Father. Prayers? Certainly…offering up my daily Mass and Rosary for him as a spiritual bouquet.

    Celebrating Mass at the National Shrine on Saturday was a moment of grace for me, as it was – evidently – for many Catholics throughout the nation.

    Thank you, Bryan, for you kind words which I read and found most encouraging. I am grateful that you took the time to express your thoughts so well. As you can tell from our diocesan website, many hundreds of Catholics across the world felt the same sense of of comfort, courage and hope which you did. How good God is to us!

    Please continue to pray for me, for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and for the whole Church that this period of suffering be for all of us a time of purification that leads to holiness. Know that I will be praying for you and those whom you love, May God bless you that you might always walk in the footsteps of His Son.

  52. Ralph says:

    Papabile and Rob,

    Thanks for the info. I might have to gather up the brood and give the EF a try. There is an oratory run by the Institute of Christ the King about 45 min from us.

  53. JosephMary says:

    I am told by the families with young children that, for the most part, they behave better at the EF! Certainly the families I see there have well behaved children. Many young people are again growing up with the EF and they love it.

  54. asperges says:

    It wasn’t until the Collect that any of the 3,000-plus Catholics filling the shrine’s pews and aisles actually heard a voice from somewhere near the altar.

    In the new rite they would have waited until the Offertory.

  55. Ralph,
    My 6 kids do much better at the TLM than a NO Mass. I do warn you that once they get used to it they might pull the same thing one of mine did a few years back halfway through a standard hippy crunchy guitar playing Mass, “Mommy? So when is Mass going to start?”
    The best experience with kids and the TLM is when the boys start serving. They act so perfectly (for at least 60 minutes) that you worry that they might not be your kids.

  56. Jakub says:

    I had a good feeling regarding Bishop Slattery, did he not recruit Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi ?

  57. frjim4321 says:

    Any time I can hear the mighty Moller play I am a happy man. I did play it once as a seminarian. The Pontifical Trumpets are AWESOME. SO, I enjoyed that part of the spectacle, but frankly I thought 30 feet of watered silk was a bit ostentatious. We could have done without that. The good bishop seemed a bit sheepish walking up the aisle and with good reason. On the other hand, it was nice to see a lot of people there. Fr. Jim.

  58. AnAmericanMother says:

    In this day and age of blue jeans and torn heavy metal Tshirts at Mass, I do not begrudge the good bishop a single inch of his cappa magna.

    I don’t think he was sheepish. I think he was (rightly) awed at what he was about to undertake. And on such short notice, too. It seemed to me that he was appropriately subdued (especially at the vesting) at the magnitude of the task before him, and determined to do the Mass full justice.

    And, looking at his face in the close-ups as he intently scanned his missal and prayed, he did. His concentration and devotion, his abandonment of self, were plain to see (at least in my opinion – and I read faces and body language for a living.)

    An excellent bishop deserving of all respect — and preaches an outstanding homily to boot.

  59. My comment on this: Grow up!
    Nobody is going to enforce this upon anyone…but it is a part of the tradition and liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite and for those who desire it, why is there a problem?
    For all the ranting and raving about “inclusiveness” these past forty years, why is this such a source of, as you put it, Fr. Z., “having a nutty”?
    These folks who want a “whatever” Mass have all kinds of options here; how is this a threat to the “status quo”?(I’m merely being a “devil’s advocate here).
    Because this was broadcast on EWTN to the “folks”, this has become a target of all kinds of absolutely insane “grinding and gnashing of teeth”.
    Does anyone honestly think that a Pontifical Mass with this kind of beauty, dignity, precision and reverence is going to be forced upon every parish?
    It’s the minions of hell that are screeching here; so much for “inclusiveness”. That’s only if you’re divorced/remarried without a declaration of nullity; a homosexual couple with children or who want to be “married” by Catholic rites; women who want to be a priest; married couples who want to contracept; women who want to have an abortion with no guilt; etc. etc. etc.
    Some “inclusivity”.

  60. frjim4321 says:

    Naz Priest, I don’t get your point. Are you saying to progressive Catholics that if they wish to be inclusive of contraceptive couples and same sex married couples they should also be willing to accept nostalgia-oriented Catholics?

  61. JMody says:

    Louis Verrechio – bull’s eye!

    Fr. Z, as someone who never had the chance for formal Latin instruction in my 9 years of Catholic education, and now watching a daughter make the most of her chance, I have a spelling question.

    If we prefer “Iacobus” to “Jacobus”, why not “Iacobvs”? Is this because the “u” appeared far sooner and so ecclesial Latin uses the u, but not the j? For this is clearly visible in any illuminated manuscript … just wondering.

  62. chironomo says:

    When reading things like this, I try to imagine attending something like the Hajj at Mecca and writing an insightful analysis of what was going on.

    The difference would be that I would have to, unlike this writer at NCR, eventually admit that I have not a clue about what is supposed to be going on, and therefore have no basis for criticising the event other than my own prejudices and the prejudices of others who share my view. In the end, I would have to do interviews with actual participants and try to bring my readers to an understanding of that which I cannot understand. But that would only be if the point were to write an informative article rather than a hackneyed hit-piece.

  63. Papabile says:


    The one thing I would say is be active in describing to your children what they might see before the Mass.

    Maria Montessori has a fabulous book on the Mass.

    Additionally, I feel very free to quietly whisper in their ears and point things out, like how Father is holding his hands. Or, I ask them what he’s doing when he genuflects, and then explain if they do not know.

    Furthermore, if their attention slips, I will point out something in the church, like a statue, and then try to reorient their attention to the altar.

    Generally, my children are MUCH BETTER at the Extraordinary Form. Ritual is attractive to children, and all the shouted prayers and hymns at the Ordinary Form, it tends to be distracting for them, and they become rambunctious.

  64. Most discussions about “active participation” at Mass are essentially “either/or” arguments, and are thus rather pointless to me, because both would be at least partially wrong, both liturgically and historically. (Yes, I can prove all this.) It’s one of the things I love about attending the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite. This is NEVER an issue with them. No, not now, not ever. N-E-V-E-R!!! Some of you would do yourself a favor to attend one someday. If you can’t find one, write me and tell me your locality and I’ll direct you to one.

    Then maybe we can all find something else to argue about.

    By the way, I served at the Pontifical Mass, and the participation was awesome. I kinda wish they had done a chanted ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc) instead of the polyphonic setting, even though I love Palestrina, and I know the temptation to do the latter in such a place is formidable. For one thing, I could barely tell when to bow during the Gloria. But when we all chanted Credo III, it totally raised the roof.

  65. FrJim: No.
    My point was the hypocrisy of the whole “inclusivity” thing that is rammed down our throats; evidently it is not truly “inclusive”: only those with dissenting beliefs are to be included. And frankly, I do not find this attitude progressive, at all.
    The liturgical tradition of the Church, as made present by this Mass on EWTN, is not to be included evidently. And I disagree this is about nostalgia.
    That’s all I’m saying.
    I am not promoting abortion, contraception, homosexuality, etc. At all.

  66. Henry Edwards says:

    FrJim: I though Nazareth Priest was referring to the fact that for the past 40 years in the Church we seen a superabundance of acceptance of many beliefs that are not authentically Catholic, but precious little acceptance of many beliefs that are authentically Catholic.

  67. rob_p says:

    Something I think about when confronted with bits like, “not a Mass in conformity with the fundamental Vatican II mandate for full, active participation by the faithful,” is how unbelievably discriminatory and inhuman these comments really are. When liberal Catholics claim that those who don’t speak, or can’t hear what is said do not ‘actively participate’ they in my view insult the disabled, who may be unable to do what the liberal Catholic requires for full, active participation. They undermine the powers of the soul to elevate to God regardless of any obstacles. Father Z, as you say, TOTAL FAIL.

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