Filipino Archbishop really seems to understand Pope Benedict

Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamis

Archbishop Jesus Dosado

Our friends at Rorate found an extended piece from UCANews (you might remember the liturgical opinions of its editor).  You will want to read this whole thing, but here it is with my emphases and comments:

The liturgical renewal I would like to see
By Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamis

Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the liturgy were the so-called “liturgists” who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of liturgy. [OORAH!]

They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities. [I must say it is refreshing, from a bishops.]

A search for creativity and community were dominant projects in “reform-minded” Catholic circles in the 1960s and beyond. In itself, this might not have been bad. But the philosophy that the community was god, and that “God” was not fully “God” without the community was the source of ideas that have done most damage to the Church.

This secular notion of community made its way into the liturgy to gradually supplant the inherited Christian tradition.

These self-appointed arbiters of the reform were, and I hate to say this, liturgical hijackers who deprived ordinary parishioners – and bewildered pastors – of their right to the normative worship of their own Church. Hence, there was the need for a reform of the reform.

[Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar…] A major goal of Pope Benedict XVI is the restoration of our Catholic identity. Liturgy is a key component of such an endeavor.

Benedict’s broad liturgical approach can be described in terms of “continuity,” i.e. recovering elements of the liturgical tradition which he believes were too hastily set aside or downplayed in the immediate period after the Second Vatican Council.

The idea of a new liturgical movement came with strength from his book, Spirit of the Liturgy.

A relevant section: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy … in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not he speaks to us and hears us. … Such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.”

[This is good…] Pope Benedict XVI in his Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Ireland situated the sexual abuse of children in the wake of fast-paced social change and a decline in adherence to traditional devotional and sacramental practices. [Change the way we pray, you change what we believe.]

To his priests in the Diocese of Rome he said, “In the Eucharist we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. … Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely the reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle ‘lex orandi – lex credendi.’” (“the law of praying establishes the law of believing.”)

To be sure, the Pope has great regard for the Novus Ordo. He issued a Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum where he narrated why he wanted to expand the use of what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and, in so doing, he deliberately responded to the fear that this expansion was somehow intended to demote the Novus Ordo or undermine the Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform, saying it was unfounded.

For the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) the liturgy is of its nature an inheritance, a space we inhabit as others have inhabited it before us. It is never an instrument we design or manipulate. Self-made liturgy is a contradiction in terms, [!] and he distrusts liturgies that emphasize spontaneity, self-expression and extreme forms of local inculturation.

In his own book, Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger scathingly compared such liturgies to the worship of the Golden Calf, “a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking and making merry … It is a kind of banal self-gratification … no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources.”

In his view, the liturgy is meant to still and calm human activity, to allow God to be God, to quiet our chatter in favor of attention to the Word of God and in adoration and communion with the self-gift of the Word incarnate.

The call for active participation seems to Benedict XVI to have “dumbed” down the mystery we celebrate, and left us with a banal inadequate language (and music) of prayer[Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

The “active participation” in the liturgy for which Vatican II called, he argues, emphatically, does not mean participation in many acts. Rather, it means a deeper entry by everyone present into the one great action of the liturgy, its only real action, which is Christ’s self-giving on the Cross. [“actual participation”]

We can best enter into the action of the Mass by a recollected silence, and by traditional gestures of self-offering and adoration – the Sign of the Cross, folded hands, reverent kneeling.

For the Pope, therefore, liturgical practice since the Council has taken a wrong turn, aesthetically impoverished, creating a rupture in the continuity of Catholic worship, and reflecting and even fostering a defective understanding of the Divine and our relationship to it.

His decision to permit the free celebration of the Tridentine liturgy was intended both to repair that rupture and to issue a call to the recovery of the theological, spiritual and cultural values that he sees as underlying the old Mass[Yes.  This one gets it.]

In his letter to the bishops of July 2007, he expressed the hope that the two forms of the one Roman liturgy might cross-fertilize each other, the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal, and the celebration of the Novus Ordo recovering by example some of the “sacrality” that characterized the older form.

[For some time I have thought that, perhaps, Anglicanorum coetibus was also intended as a model for the SSPX.  But I digress.  Watch how His Excellency moves from Summorum Pontificum to…] It is just like Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution providing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, about which the Pope talked to the Bishops of England and Wales in their ad limina visit.

“It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all,” Anglicanorum Coetibus reads.

Despite Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict himself has only celebrated the ordinary form of the Mass in public, “facing the people” in the manner of the Novus Ordo, using modern languages, all as stipulated in the Liturgical Books of the different countries where he celebrated. [I would say “mostly”, not “only”.]

Many people, for example, were waiting for him to use “for many,” instead of “for all” in the United States, but he did not do so. [We all will be doing so, soon.]

The Pope celebrated ad orientem (to the east) once more at the newly renovated Pauline Chapel, whose altar was repositioned so that it could be used to celebrate both ways – and the Pope chose the traditional direction in the Mass he celebrated with members of the International Theological Commission. [And at other times in the Sistine Chapel.]

Small changes to the accessories, vestments and ritual rubrics point to the Pope’s Reform of the Reform. On Corpus Domini of 2008 he began to give Communion exclusively on the tongue to the kneeling faithful.

In November of that year with a new master of pontifical liturgical ceremonies, the Crucifix and candle holders returned to the papal altar, from which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform had taken them away putting the Cross to the side and replacing the candelabra, if at all, by little temple lights.

On the Feast of the Epiphany last year, the Pope wore the guitar-shaped [well…] so-called Philippine [Actually, after St. Philip Neri.] chasuble instead of the post-Conciliar flowing chasuble, to underscore the continuity between past and present, manifested through liturgical vestments.

Then there are the ritual silences during the liturgies, observed after readings, after psalms, after the homily, and most especially, after Communion.

With these silences, [NB] the Pope is starting to educate the faithful who follow papal liturgies to a better, more appropriate attitude of concentration and meditation.

What is the Pope up to? In the words of Monsignor Guido Marini, “I think what the Holy Father is trying to do is to wisely bring together traditional things with the new, in order to carry out, in letter and spirit, what Vatican II intended, and to do it in such a way that papal liturgies can be exemplary in all aspects. Whoever takes part in, or watches, a papal liturgy should be able to say, “This is the way it should be done. Even in my diocese, in my parish![Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

And that is how I would like the direction of the liturgical renewal to take with the Mass to be recast, yes, but in order to remain what it is, Calvary and the Upper Room.

Huge WDTPRS kudos to Archbp.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Pope of Christian Unity, SESSIUNCULA, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Athelstan says:

    Holy cats. How did this man ever become a bishop?

    [At NCR, this exact question will be asked, only with a different emphasis.]

    “Terrorist proclivities.” From the lips of a bishop! In Asia! Surely I must be dreaming.

  2. kradcliffe says:

    That is awesome! I tweeted the original article (made lots of new twitter friends during Pope’s visit to UK.)

  3. medievalist says:

    Rorate had previously posted a piece from the “National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy” also from the Philippines, whose tone was, shall we say generously, somewhat different from the good archbishop. Perhaps these two need to get together.

  4. pberginjr says:

    Along with lex orandi … lex credendi, a priest friend of mine adds a third lex. I don’t know if there is any documentation/tradition of it or not, but it is logical. lex orandi … lex credendi … lex vivendi

    It creates a circle then: the law of prayer influences the law of belief, which then influences how one lives his/her life, influencing how they pray, etc……

    Like I said I don’t know if this has a history but I think it’s quite illustrative

  5. Jim of Bowie says:

    [Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar…]
    Sounds like a direct quote.

    Please Father put on your To Do a Comments RSS feed for individual blog entries.

  6. Konichiwa says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for a fine breakfast. Juicy stuff from the Philippines. I love it.

    I like this “actual participation”. Perhaps it’s a topic that should replace “active participation”, since the latter is so often in confused? Without actual participation in the Mass, there won’t be any active participation.

  7. Hieronymus says:

    I think a true reform of the liturgy has taken place — a rediscovery and commitment to the proper and beautiful celebration of the pre-Conciliar Mass.

    I find it unfortunate that so much effort goes into “reforming” the NO, a rite which in its very conception represents a rupture with Catholic tradition. In the end, the most such efforts can produce is a new rite that looks and feels as much as possible like the old, but is still stuck with prayers, calendar, et al hand crafted by an ideologically driven liturgical committee in the 60’s.
    It is time to let it go.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Wow-this bishop ‘gets it’!

    Amen, and Amen!

  9. moon1234 says:

    “Self-made liturgy is a contradiction in terms” Not really:

    “After the Council… in place of the liturgy as the fruit of organic development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it, as in a manufacturing process, with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product”.
    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

    I guess our Holy Father would beg to differ with the ArchBishop about Liturgy being “Self-made”.

    I love Holy Father. I really do. I look for the day when he will offer in public the Traditional Latin Mass, with a restored papal court, carried in on the sedia for all the world to see wearing the triple crown tiera. (Then I woke up and tried as hard as I could to fall back asleep to that dream that someday I hope and pray will be reality again)

  10. TJerome says:

    fabulous statement. I hope his brother bishops in the Phillipinnes are listening!

  11. I repeat my theory that the reason God permitted the Novus Ordo to come into existence was to blow the lid off the modernist rot, maggots and corruption in the Church that had previously lain hidden beneath the beauty of the Tridentine liturgy. And although shelving the older rite certainly looked like a modernist victory (though they failed to have it abrogated), it did have one happy effect: it saved the older rite from modernist tinkering. I guess you could say the Novus Ordo served as a sort of crash test dummy or stunt double, since the modernists had that to experiment on instead of the TLM. Otherwise, what would have become of the Church if her enemies had had the TLM to twist and distort? And would we today have the same appreciation for the TLM if we had not suffered from the abominations of the past 40 years?

    I have to agree with Hieronymus. Now that the Novus Ordo has served its purpose, I hope it falls into disuse.

  12. danphunter1 says:

    “For some time I have thought that, perhaps, Anglicanorum coetibus was also intended as a model for the SSPX.’
    Father Zuhlsdorf raises an interesting point here in the idea of “Anglicanorum setting a model for full regularisation for the FSSPX.
    I wonder how this would all work in the case of the FSSPX?
    Let us say that there are parishioners of an FSSPX chapel that want full regularisation with the Church, but the pastor of same Church has not moved in that direction, the same applies to an Anglican parish, say Anglican parishioners in that chapel want not only regularisation but communion with the Church [something the FSSPX already have], but the pastor does not want this, and say that the FSSPX parishioner as well as the Anglican parishioner are both attached to their respective Rites, the Society Mass goer attached to the Traditional Latin Mass and the Anglican attached to his Anglican Liturgy, how would these people make the jump to a regularised Traditional Latin Mass, in the case of the FSSPX Mass goer, and a Traditional use Catholic Anglican Liturgy in the other case, if there are noTraditional Catholic Liturgies available to him in his diocese?
    I hope I made myself perfectly murky.

  13. Andy Milam says:

    It’s about time a bishop started talking our language… Fr. Z says….


    Now, we need to keep an eye out and see how he “walks his talk.”

  14. lmgilbert says:

    “In his letter to the bishops of July 2007, he expressed the hope that the two forms of the one Roman liturgy might cross-fertilize each other, the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal, and the celebration of the Novus Ordo recovering by example some of the “sacrality” that characterized the older form.”

    Often and often I have seen on WDTPRS how the extraordinary form might affect the celebration of the ordinary form, particularly by priests coming to a deeper realization of their own priesthood by celebrating the EF and then carrying that realization into the celebration of the OF, etc.

    However, this is the first time that I have seen here any suggestion on how the cross fertilization might go the other way as well, specifically by “the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal.” Here that is “heresy,” nicht wahr? If the NO order has anything to offer the Church, this is not the place to find out about it or discuss it, and in fact there is a steady drumbeat in the comment box, including the comments on this post, evincing great hostility toward the OF.

    In my view that is a great way to discredit the entire thrust of WDTPRS, position ourselves as extremists, and undermine the Benedictine reform of the liturgy. In your view does the OF have NOTHING to offer the celebration of the EF?

    In your comments on the Holy Father’s visit to England you observed several times that he gave something- a little- to gain something far more. In my view that is the tack to take in our efforts to restore continuity with the pre-Vatican II liturgical life of the church.

    Or are we going to pursue our own hermeneutic of rupture with the Church by acting as if the entire movement of liturgical reform that took place in the decades before the council did not exist, that Vatican II did not happen, and while giving lip service to the notion that the ordinary form is a legitimate rite of the Church ignore any possibility that it might positively affect the EF and continue effectively to excoriate it, whether by a hostile silence or the sort of comments such as those above, that occur here daily and plentifully?

    Here I could put the mischievous little phrase, “just asking,” but these are serious matters. I can’t imagine how this blog can advance the Benedictine reform of the liturgy without causing great disruption in the Church if it continues in this vein.

  15. danphunter1 says:

    To quote a good man:
    “With all due respect it is impossible for me to believe that the Holy Father wants reform in the liturgy when he allows female altar servers and lectors in the sanctuary and when he allows communion to be taken in the hand at all masses in the Latin Rite. These practices would be anathema to popes before Vatican II and that is a fact that cannot be denied by those who preach continuity – continuity with what, that is the question. He is the Vicar of Christ and could put an end to these abuses, if he so desired, with papal statements leaving no doubt as to his intent. The fact that he doesn’t means only that he doesn’t consider the practices to be abuses and that is a tragedy of enormous proportions IMO.”

  16. @lmgilbert:

    The problem I have with the idea of the Novus Ordo influencing the Extraordinary Form is the likelihood that this influence will consist in opening the EF to the abuses that have characterized the NO over the last 40 years. It is true that Vatican II called for reform in the liturgy, but if we are to get the reform actually called for, then it seems to me necessary to look to the actual teachings of Vatican II and to tradition, and not the Novus Ordo. Yet I have already stated the service I believe the Novus Ordo has done to the EF: it has been instrumental in preserving the EF inviolate and shielding it from the butcher knives of the modernists.

    I’m not a foaming-at-the-mouth rad-trad. I attend the EF on Saturday evenings and some days of the week — a 100-mile round trip — and the Novus Ordo on Sundays, though I would attend the EF exclusively if it were possible. I have refrained for years from attending the SSPX chapel, even though, until recently, that was the only available EF Mass within 300 miles of where I live. I don’t dispute the validity of the Novus Ordo; in fact, anybody who compares the relative merits of the EF and NO implicitly acknowledges the latter’s validity: there would be no point comparing the merits of the EF to something that only pretends to be Mass. Yet I declare without compunction my belief that the EF is superior in every way to the Novus Ordo, and my hope that the Novus Ordo, having fulfilled its purpose, eventually withers on the vine. I don’t see what is so radical or revolutionary about that view, which is based on my own observation and experience in comparing and contrasting the two forms.

  17. anthtan says:

    If you go to the original article at UCAN, only a few have left positive comments in support of Archbishop Dosado. And one individual is harshly critical. May I suggest that WDTPRSers go over and show their support for Archbishop Dosado?

Comments are closed.