Pontifical Mass in Sydney welcomed by Archdiocese

His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke was recently permitted by the Archdiocese of Sydney to celebrate a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Sydney, Australia at St. Brigid’s in Marrickville.

As a sign of support, in choir was one of the auxiliary bishops, H.E. Most Rev. Julian Porteous.

b/t Australia Incognita

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Fr. Z.,

    I heard that the EF is His Emminence’s preferred Form of daily Mass. Is this true? I have not seen many photos of this particular event, but I do notice many times, a Bishop will almost “assist” at a TLM while a priest offers the Mass (presumably because he is not familiar with the rubrics). However, Card. Burke is always right there at the Altar elevating the Host. I find that encouraging.

  2. iudicame says:

    Does anyone know if Burke is papabile?


  3. Thomas S says:


    The conventional wisdom says “no Americans.” Whether or not that is tempered by Cardinal Burke’s Roman position, I don’t know. I also don’t know how much his current role makes him known to his fellow electors, whereas Cardinal Ratzinger’s position made him the most well-known of the Cardinals in 2005.

    In the end, everything is possible with God.

    That being said, here’s to a long, long reign for our current Holy Father.

  4. digdigby says:

    The newly ‘incarnadined’ Cardinal Burke on his first visit to St. Louis said three masses. One, of course in the great Basilica of St.Louis was a reverent NO, the second at St. Francis de Sales Oratory for the EF which he personally established and the third at a TINY EF oratory so small they could hardly hold His Eminence and his train! He is with us the whole way.

    Ireland’s premier betting house is 4 to 1 on Cardinal Arinze from Nigeria who says….
    In response to a question about American Catholic politicians receiving communion after voting for abortion: “You don’t need a Cardinal to answer that question. You can ask a seven year old getting ready for first communion.”
    On standing vs. genuflection: “If we believe, if we truly believe that it is Jesus, the Son of God, then why don’t we kneel, why don’t we crawl.”
    Not to mention he led his Ibo Catholics in Biafra through hell and has experienced the first modern Jihad firsthand and as future genocide engulfs the Christians of Africa and the Mideast may be a powerful presence for tradition and heroism. Dear, sweet Burke I do not see as a Pope but as a magnificent and pivotal Cardinal. Long live Benedict, Holy Father!

  5. Animadversor says:

    I had thought that cardinals did not need the permission of the local ordinary to celebrate Mass anywhere they pleased; is this no longer the case?

  6. Catholic87 says:

    He’s my favorite Cardinal!

  7. disco says:

    Cardinal Burke is as papabile as any American is probably ever going to be. Cardinal Arinze is turning 80 next year so he likely won’t even be at the next conclave. Mgr was a favorite at the conclave that elected pope Benedict so I suspect that those odds are out of date.

  8. EXCHIEF says:

    Wish his example would rub off on others–particularly in his home country

  9. disco says:

    Mgr? Damn you autocorrect should be “he”

  10. disco says:

    I believe all bishops must obtain permission to celebrate a pontifical mass at another ordinary’s cathedral, with the exception of a metropolitan archbishop who may do so without permission at the other cathedrals in his province. ie the Archbishop of New York may celebrate pontifical mass in Brooklyn without permission. In those cases permission is usually requested anyway as a courtesy.

  11. Prof. Basto says:


    Of course, Father, Cardinal Burke being a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, he, unlike bishops and archbishops who are not cardinals, needed no permission, as pontificating arround the world is one of the privileges of the Cardinalate.

    But the point is taken… if permission was needed, the Archdiocese of Sydney would grant it, and the Archbishop of Sydney indeed is supportive of such masses and created no problem.

  12. frjim4321 says:

    There seems to be quite a divergence of opinions amidst the blogosphere on this topic. I doubt that I am the only faithful Catholic who finds such a flamboyant display of triumphalism gravely inappropriate and saddening.

  13. JohnMa says:

    I guess that we don’t read the same blogs frjim. What other authentically Catholic blog (i.e. pushes for things to be done according to Canon Law and liturgical rubrics be followed) thinks this is a bad thing?

  14. RichR says:


    with all due respect to the Catholic priesthood, I think that the past 45 years of liturgical minimalism have killed any sense of transcendence in worship. It has gotten so bad that simply bringing out a thurible is perceived as triumphalist and overly-pompous. We have gotten so used to the barren wasteland of liturgy that such photos as these, while meager compared to our liturgical history, clash with our Calivinistic, gutted experience of contemporary liturgy. I think young people are starved for something uniquely Catholic.

    I also think that people, being embodied souls, need their senses engaged in worship. To appeal to a solely spiritual form of worship is to deny our very nature. We need our surroundings to come to bear on our worship of the Almighty, and beautiful vestments help us in our encounter with God in public worship.

    Finally, since the Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, true Church established by Our Lord, and that the gates of Hell will not triumph over it, then I think we need to recover a sense of triumphalism to combat the disease of relativism infecting the heart of the Church today.

  15. mndad says:

    I fully share your sentiment frjim –
    ‘Funny’ that our Lord was able to get by without a single square inch of silk.
    Some in the priest class in the past and these days certainly have taken the rather simple “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” to new heights.
    At the heart of this is of course that the majority of Catholics do not believe that Priests are somewhere in between Human and God – yes these days a Priest wrapped in square yards of red silk simply does not strike the same sentiment – no question that a small fraction very much enjoy this sort of thing -as this com box shows- the majority of average Catholics however I would maintain are not tickled by such things.

  16. Jack007 says:

    “the majority of average Catholics however I would maintain are not tickled by such things.”

    I would agree. Sadly it is out of ignorance. They simply have not been taught to know any better.

    I believe that God is truly hurt and offended when given the choice, we opt for minimal when it comes to His worship. I am reminded of the saintly and humblest of servants, the Cure of Ars. He insisted on the finest liturgical furnishings that money could buy, while he himself lived not much better than a dog.

    Think about it! Its not rocket science!

    Jack in KC

  17. Hugh says:

    Great point re. Cure of Ars, Jack007. Many other saints besides.

    Moreover as has been said elsewhere: The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity commanded Moses to have sumptuous vestments made for the priests – as evidenced time and again in the Pentateuch. Vestments that would make the Cardinal’s cappa magna look very simple and restrained indeed. Check out the descriptions in Ex. 39, for example.

    People who reject the emphasis on beauty and glory in worship tend to think the Old Testament God is another God altogether, or, perhaps, like the Marcionites, an evil Demiurge.

  18. Banjo pickin girl says:

    As a convert, I’m amazed at how Protestant the Church has been made to be in the last 40 years. People want stripped down buildings like Protestant meeting houses, instead of temples where God physically is present as we believe He is in the Blessed Sacrament. They want a stripped down, aerodynamic liturgy too, all the better for sliding downhill fast. They want no incense or anything to remind us of what the Mass really is (read the book of Revelation for hints of what heaven is like and what our glorious temples should express). If we don’t know what the Mass really is, how can we have any discernment in any other area?

  19. Centristian says:

    I’m amazed that anyone should lose sleep over the thought of cardinals and bishops dressed like cardinals and bishops. So some prelates have opted to wear the cappa magna of late. Who cares? Why should that give anyone pause?

    The “WWJD” arguments that some tend to put forth in condemnation of episcopal costume are, in my opinion, rather desperate. The Son of God transcends costume and regalia. We mere mortals, however, employ various symbols of rank for good reason.

    Even if today tradition (or even mere nostalgia) happens to be the principal reason, the wearing of symbols of rank and title by clergy should pose no threat to anybody’s piety, even to those souls of the most delicate of modern sensibilities. You can still interact with God in the ways you imagine you ought to, regardless of what somebody else’s bishop or some distant cardinal is wearing on any given Sunday.

    There are plenty of real things to become upset about without feeling compelled to become upset about things like this.

  20. mndad says:

    God can of course see the intention of those ‘ gathered together in my name’ – I would not doubt at all that those gathered at St. Bridget gathered in the best possible way and celebrated very much to the liking of our Creator – however to insist that this is the only way or the proper way or the most reverend way to cherish the Lord is taking it a step too far.

    Still I do think that Banjo Picking Girl has an important point when she speaks about the dangers of an emotionless and rather ‘aerodynamic liturgy’ – but there are various ways to go about that
    issue and I would insist they do not necessary lead to the type of highly formalized service displayed and lauded here.
    Take this Protestant Kirchentag gathering for example
    Some of the most profound and emotional engaging church services I had the pleasure too attend indeed fully engaged all senses – still the celebrant was often deliberately dressed in the most simple fashion – and yes rank and hierarchy did not matter. The point of being a humble servants is in my view much better made by dressing modest – less is more.

  21. Banjo pickin girl says:

    But Temple worship is formal by definition.

  22. Glen M says:

    Banjo pickin girl says:
    “They want a stripped down, aerodynamic liturgy too, all the better for sliding downhill fast.”

    Permission to borrow that line?

    May God bless you,

  23. Jack007 says:

    Yes, that’s a really good line.
    Maybe she should copyright it? :-)

    I don’t think anyone is saying its the only, or even the BEST way to worship…I think the issue in this discussion is that some people are BOTHERED by that form of worship. That is the REAL question?
    I ask, WHY NOT?

    Jack in KC
    aka Jack007

  24. Tony from Oz says:

    frjim & mndad,

    I have been away – at this very Mass, in fact – so unfortunately this reply post is unlikely to be read by either of you. I have posted in earlier threads on this topic the following riposte from Fr Terrence Naughtin OFM Convent., who was Deacon at the Pontifical Mass, re the appropriateness of its use and contextualises use of the Cappa viz the actual Mass, per se. Anyhow, for the record, here is Fr Terence’s apologia for the Cappa Magna:

    “I believe Our Lord said: Do not worry about what you are to wear. I cannot believe all the spilling of ink on the topic of the cappa magna. As to quoting what Our Lord might have done or not done or might do: how are you to know? It was the same Lord Jesus who established His Church with the Sacraments. He did not go into minutae or the detail. He left that up to the Church. The greatest heresy that abounds today within the Church is the separation of Jesus from it. While the Church is made up of sinners — and I will be the first to say that the example of clerics would indicate that they hold the greater proportion of sinfulness — we would do well to recall that the Church is always bigger than those who are in it.

    The cappa magna, along with all the liturgical vestments and clerical dress, invoke deep symbolism. The fact that we have lost understanding of these symbols in the broader Church, particularly in a secular culture such as our own, does not warrant the capitulation to the secular agenda, mentality or climate. Just so you know: the cappa magna is a symbol of jurisdiction. The Cardinal, being a prince of the Church from the Apostolic Signatura, holds universal jurisdiction. I know that the Cardinal personally ordered the cappa magna himself. It does not belong to Cardinal Pell.

    The Church and The Church alone has the authority to speak and act for Jesus Christ. If we have supernatural faith in the Church as established by Christ we will understand this. And despite the howling gales and the howling wolves, we will caress what the Church loves in order that we may love Christ the better.

    Last Saturday in Sydney, the temperature was about 35 degrees celsius. As one of the chief organizers of this liturgical event, who personally attended to the Cardinal over the past week, I had ample opportunity to observe and discern the genteel nature of His Eminence. A comment which I was privy to was made to him at the conclusion of the Mass, about how hot the Cardinal must have been with 8 layers of clothing on him. His response was this: “Well, of course you must remember that we are putting on Christ. ”

    I add a hearty amen to all commentators who have drawn attention to all the relevant scriptural justifications for magnificence in worship of Our Lord (including the famous anointing of OLJC’s feet with the precious ointment – provoking objections by the apostles [read ‘frjim’/mndad’, p’rpas?]).

    Finally, folks, it really IS possible to have a practical concern with the ‘social gospel’ (I shudder when I use the term because of its reductionist humanitarian overtones) whilst according God the magnificence of worship due to him.

  25. mndad says:

    Tony ,
    while I deeply respect your personal opinion and the enormous amount of work that you and your fellow parishoners must have done in organizing this mass I hope you can accept and understand that a large fraction of Catholics find that the cappa magna is a very tainted symbol of a time gone for good. Princes neither rule in the secular world nor the church- why pretend otherwise.
    “the cappa magna is a symbol of jurisdiction. The Cardinal, being a prince of the Church from the Apostolic Signatura, holds universal jurisdiction. I know that the Cardinal personally ordered the cappa magna himself.”
    This is exactly why I think this sort of thing should have no place in the broader church.
    Why do you think our Pope does not wear a Tiara these days?
    For the good Cardinal to organize this cappa magna for himself does not reflect positively on him in my view and for him to say :
    “Well, of course you must remember that we are putting on Christ. ”
    is a form of symbolism not share by the majority of us poor average Catholics .
    Not very humble if you ask me.

  26. amsjj1002 says:

    The minimalist was what I knew all my life up with; only recently have I discovered the type of worship that so many of many of my saints knew. They lived so humbly in their lives, but for God, the church, the Holy Mass, was full of richness and beauty. How I wish I could have the opportunity to worship this way.

  27. Jack007 says:

    “a form of symbolism not share by the majority of us poor average Catholics”

    Well said! It says it all.
    The effects of communism, egalitarianism, and years without strong leadership have taken their toll on the Church.
    Thankfully the Church is not a democracy. The opinions of the faithful, whether rich or poor, average or not, mean nothing. Not a whit!
    If these “opulent trappings of a bygone age” bother them, they need to use the nearest exit. Please! There are a million “plain Jane” Protestant sects to choose from. Leave ours alone, or better yet, LEAVE! Please, I beg of them. They have caused, or worse, allowed enough destruction for the last 50 years. And while they’re at it, take some of these older clergy with them. The “biological solution” is not working fast enough.

    Now where’s that cup of Mystic Monk when I need it?

    Jack in KC

  28. mndad says:

    Jack –
    if you ask me there is a lot of wishful thinking in your Post.
    “Now where’s that cup of Mystic Monk when I need it”
    LOL likely even a French Pressed Mystic Monk will not
    provide you with a strong enough brew to face reality.
    Yes in reality the average Catholic today is much more influenced by the symbolism of Jesus born to very poor, holy parents in a stable than the symbolism of this type of silk wrappings and trappings claiming to represent (put on) Christ – Scripture clearly points to the fact that God does not care for worldly goods , fine cloth etc. –
    if the good cardinal wants to put on Christ a very modest cloth would be the better choice IMHO.
    By the way your ‘biological solution’ remark in my view points to a very questionable attitude towards your fellow believers. We are ALL children of God.

  29. Was someone looking for Mystic Monk Coffee?

  30. Jack007 says:

    “Was someone looking for Mystic Monk Coffee? “

    Ah yes, the ever diplomatic Fr. Z to the rescue! :-)

    Now, how many blogs out there can you battle away in the combox and then sit down over coffee?

    mndad we’ll just have to agree to disagree. :-)

    And, speaking of blogs…I can’t find any references to the WINNER of the 2011 Blogger’s Choice Awards. Did I miss something? [Look at the side bar.]

    Jack in KC

  31. mndad says:

    Thanks Jack and Father –
    I will take the occasion to indeed for the first time actually order this fine coffee.
    Overall yes I have to admit to get carried away in comment boxes in the heat of the moment.
    For me it is certainly important to remember to stay calm, humble and kind –
    yes we disagree and yes I very much doubt that the very pointed negativity and snare towards
    the post Vatican II period and the many Catholics who actually appreciated Vatican II will serve as a great building block for a constructive step forward for the larger Catholic Church.
    Now I have to admit that as a German native I might have a bit different take on all this –
    If we can not deeply appreciate and embrace one another as fellow brothers and sisters in the Catholic Faith I think we do not have a good base to renew our faith one way or the other.
    I certainly very much doubt that God who created every single one of us would have much patience with us divided over something as trivial as what to wear what to sing what to say.

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