We need Summorum Pontificum. We need the new, corrected translation.

Over at Southern Orders there is a study in contrasts.

For your consideration.

And then…

We need Summorum Pontificum.  We need the new, corrected translation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. AndyKl says:

    I would say we just need Summorum Pontificum.

  2. Centristian says:

    What…could that even be all about, I wonder? The liturgical Revenge of the Pink Panther?

    “Welcome and thank you for worshipping with us today. Our celebrant for this morning’s liturgy is Peter Sellers disguised as Toulouse Lautrec. Our opening hymn is ‘Dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-aaaaaant.'”

  3. Pachomius says:

    Is that really a fair comparison? I’m not sure; I find both pictures faintly nauseating. The former is a work of nostalgia which is aesthetically repulsive; the latter is morally so.

  4. Phil_NL says:

    To be honest Father, if the bottom picture is anything to go by, we need common sense and a bishop who doesn’t fear to take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the sanctity of Mass.

    Any pastor who is silly/mad enough to put a pink panther picture on the altar is long past any amendment that can be ascribed to SP or the new translation. People who think this is a good idea will always find ways to insert such nonsense. It’s the people who need to be dealt with directly (as some bishops are beginning to do, Deo gratias)

  5. Pachomius says:

    Centristian, I think it’s probably more like:

    “O God of sparkliness and joy,
    Against whom all mankind [?!?] desires to cuddle…”

  6. Pachomius says:

    Quite right, Father, my mistake.

    “Against whom all the diversity of human peoples [?!? You are excluding the non-human, or other-specied!] desires to cuddle…”

  7. irishgirl says:

    The Pink Panther on the altar?!? Why the heck is THAT there? [scratching head in total bewilderment]
    Good grief…. [“Isn’t ‘Good grief’ a reference to a different cartoon character?]

  8. HyacinthClare says:

    Pachomius, the print of the first picture is truly in an old style, but the honor to God in exactly that position before the altar happens twice a day every day at Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church in Phoenix and in hundreds or thousands of EF masses going on today. Nothing “nostalgic” about it.

  9. HyacinthClare: I suspect that Pachomius’ beef with that image is less the orientation of the priest and altar, and more the style of the art itself.

  10. Jon says:

    No new translation is going to save anyone from Mr. Potato Head and pink panthers. Only an iron-clad new GIRM will work that trick.

    I suggest all of you Novus Ordo Mass-goers out there (I’m not one of them but alas, I do have to travel away from my FSSP cocoon on occasion) now begin Phase Two of the Reform of the Reform. After the First Sunday of Advent, when the new translation is safely a reality, commence to agitate. Agitate for that new General Instruction. Draft the mighty to the cause, and agitate away the little girls, the Communion Hosts left ‘txit pages of prayers books, and tabernacles in closets. Agitate the return to Communion rails, the priest facing God, and kneeling before your Lord. Gird you loins and agitate…make it happen.

  11. Elly says:

    Is that supposed to be a mirror over the altar in the first picture?

  12. Will D. says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Pachomius, the saccharine sappiness of that first picture is hard to take, even if its intent and meaning are pleasing.
    As for the second picture, I like the altar. The silly Pink Panther, teddy bear, inobservant altar server and badly vested priest need to go, but the altar’s OK.

  13. moon1234 says:

    No. It is a round painting. I thought the 1st picture was nice, but a little busy. Too much going on with the extra motif on the right hand side.

  14. patrick_f says:

    I think I understand the point that Pachomius is making – well maybe I am assuming…and we know what happens there

    Here is my take – And to start with, the Roman style chasuble (aka fiddleback’s) I have seen are beautiful –

    However – I have gone to churchs where both forms are celebrated – The long drapey gothic style vestments were used naturally at the Novus ordo (and they were very nice gothic vestments…not the 80’s horrors), and the Fiddleback used at the EF.

    To me, it seems to be an unwritten rule that you have to use fiddlebacks at the EF – Again please dont misunderstand me – I am not complaining of the vestment itself…merely my own perception – I also understand and agree there are some HORRIBLE “gothic” style chasuables out there…. So I get the back lash – but I think if the two forms are to enrich each other….then if there are suitable gothic vestments in a church, they should be used –

    Maybe thats more where the point was – We tend to think that you have to have EVERYTHING a certain way at the EF… if people dont have a “high Altar” and “Fiddleback vestments” there are some traditionalists that it isnt good enough for them

    Like wise – There is some fine modern architecture out there too – and we blind ourselves with wanting it to be Gothic/Romanesque

    In the end, we have to remember WHO is there…and He transcends anything we could ever create.

  15. americangirl says:

    I asked my 19 year old daughter to view both images shown. I requested she view each image for a minute and then tell me her sentiments about each picture. Her response was interesting to say the least. She said ” One image tells me the priest looks at God with respect, reverence and awe, the other tells me the priest thinks God is nothing but a fictional character and a joke.
    I think that says it all!!!!
    This coming from a member of a generation which forms many of their ideas and opinions on imagery.

  16. APX says:

    “Against whom all the diversity of human peoples [?!? You are excluding the non-human, or other-specied!] desires to cuddle…”

    “Against whom all the diversity of earthly and unearthly organisms desires to cuddle…”

    On a more positive note, in the second picture the altar server is in proper attire.

    I still can’t wrap my head around what makes people think that such adaptations to Mass and the sanctuary are good ideas. Sure, we’ve all used poor judgement at times throughout our lives, but does one really need to make a judgement call on whether or not such things are appropriate for church? Shouldn’t it just be common sense to not make a mockery out of Mass?

  17. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    The contrast reminds me of when my father, Catholic though not deeply religious, commented, “When I used to serve [the traditional latin] mass when I was a kid, the mass mass seemed a lot more mystical and mysterious.”

    The mass is mystical, we must do it justice!

  18. Charivari Rob says:

    Book of Blessings, page 835: Blessing for replacement of insulation in the church building

  19. Centristian says:

    “To me, it seems to be an unwritten rule that you have to use fiddlebacks at the EF – Again please dont misunderstand me – I am not complaining of the vestment itself…merely my own perception – I also understand and agree there are some HORRIBLE “gothic” style chasuables out there…. So I get the back lash – but I think if the two forms are to enrich each other….then if there are suitable gothic vestments in a church, they should be used -”

    You make an interesting point, and not a wholly parenthetical one, as the general topic is Summorum Pontificum. Enriching the two forms of the Mass of the Roman Rite is, after all, a two way street, and both forms have something to “learn” from one another, so to speak.

    It shouldn’t be thought that Mass according to the extraordinary form must always be celebrated to look “baroque”, any more than it should be imagined that the ordinary form of Mass should always have about it a contemporary atmosphere. The “EF” hasn’t always got to be characterized by fiddleback chasubles and lace, on the one hand. The “OF”, on the other hand, can just as easily accomodate fiddleback chasubles and lace as the “EF”.

    Pope Benedict frequently uses the planeta to celebrate the ordinary form of Mass (and he isn’t the only one, incidentally). And I have seen plenty of Masses according to the extraordinary form celebrated by priests wearing gothic or other full-cut vestments. I have seen the “OF” celebrated at oriented altars with magnificent reredos built against walls, and I have seen the “EF” celebrated at rather more simple free-standing altars.

    There exists a great variety of forms and styles of vestments, paraments, altars, metalware, architecture, art, and music, representing different eras, that are appropriate for the Roman liturgy in any form. We shouldn’t be afraid of any of them, when they are good. There are also vestments, paraments, altars, metalware, music, art, and architectural styles that are unworthy and which have no place in the environment of the Catholic liturgy. These should be avoided for use in the Roman liturgy when it is celebrated according to its ordinary form, as they are when celebrated according to its extraordinary form.

    If a giant image of the Pink Panther would seem shocking if placed against an oriented altar for the celebration of the extraordinary form of Mass, it should seem just as shocking before a free-standing altar for the celebration of the ordinary form of Mass. But no one should be shocked to see a planeta used by the celebrant of an “OF” Mass, any more than one should be disappointed to see a celebrant vested in a full-cut chasuble for the celebration of an “EF” Mass.

    What is good for one form is good for the other, and what is bad for one form is bad for the other.

  20. BobP says:

    I have to ask. Why are we pushing Summorum Pontificum while at the same time pushing improvements in a translated Mass again? Seem like diametrically opposed ideas to me.

  21. BobP says:

    Strike that. It occurs to me now this column is about a corrected translation of Summorum Pontificum. My mistake.

  22. JKnott says:

    It’s all about ‘mystery’.
    Jesus is a rare gem that any teddy bear would want to steal.

  23. albinus1 says:

    Does anyone else find himself or herself wondering what the Pink Panther is leering at?

    Having the image in front of the altar is bad enough; but the eyes of the image actually direct one’s attention away from the altar itself!

  24. teaguytom says:

    If you remove the right half of the first image, the pic looks just like yesterday night’s low mass. The altar boy ringing the bell and lifting the chasuble. Father elevating the host with two candles lit and statues of the saints (or in this case a painting of Christ) facing the priest. The image looks like it was originally take from a children’s missal. If you look at the priest and child’s faces, they fit with how older children’s missals portrayed people in the pics. I have seen some kids missals and they look like this. Looking at the bare bones comparison of the two images, the second is clearly very protestantised. The priest facing the people in whatever vestments he is supposed to be wearing with cartoon stuff in front of the altar and that tacky wood paneling we love to hate.

  25. MichaelJ says:

    About this “mutual enrichment” thing. How is this supposed to work, exactly? I seen a lot of suggestions identifying practices and attitudes that are “inherent” to the EF Mass and how the OF would benefit from their incopporation. None though going the other way.
    Specifically what elements inherent in the OF should be incorporated into the EF?

  26. patrick_f says:

    Well -I see the liturgy as a whole, so translation is one part of the expression of the liturgy – Holy mother Church gave us the mass with all our senses in mind, so we have to look at it that way – Translation is only a small part…but an important one none the less – Form, matter, intent.

    Thanks for pointing out “Baroque” vestments :P for some reason i could not for the life of me pull that word out of my cluttered mind, favorite musical period too.

    Teaguytom – Your Statement about the altar looking “Protestantised ” cant be any more dead on – and I think that is the real spirit of this issue , how Catholic are we..and how true to the church are we in both liturgy as well as translation

    I would challenge people with the point, that both forms can be equally true and demonstrably Catholic – if we “say the black, do the red” – At least I always thought that was the true spirit of Summorum pontificum.

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    MichaelJ: Specifically what elements inherent in the OF should be incorporated into the EF?

    According to an English translation of a letter written in German by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2003:

    I believe, though, that in the long term the Roman Church must have again a single Roman rite. The existence of two official rites is for bishops and priests difficult to “manage” in practice. The Roman rite of the future should be a single rite, celebrated in Latin or in the vernacular, but standing completely in the tradition of the rite that has been handed down. It could take up some new elements which have proven themselves, like new feasts, some new prefaces in the Mass, an expanded lectionary – more choice than earlier, but not too much, – an “oratio fidelium”, i.e., a fixed litany of intercessions following the Oremus before the offertory where it had its place earlier.

  28. MichaelJ says:

    Thanks Henry. I would debate whether the expanded Lectionary has “proven itself”, but that should probably be a separate discussion.

    From what I can tell, though, you are quite likely the most experienced among us, so I would like your frank assessment. Speaking in general terms, would the celebration of the EF truly benefit from the inclusion of these elements? If so, how? How would adding the 1970 prefaces (I assume that these are what he is referring to) for example address a shortcoming with the current set of prefaces?

  29. Athelstan says:

    I do think the images chosen are not ideally comparable. If a photo of an N.O. liturgical abuse nightmare is to be chosen, why not also choose an actual photo of a TLM? Ideally, of course, both at the same moment in the mass . Admittedly,it may difficult to distinguish the consecration at the Pink Panther mass, but nonetheless…this would at least eliminate the aesthetic objections such as that of Pachomius.

    It is also fair to point out that this is a fairly extreme outlier for N.O. masses – not as representative as (say) a typical low mass shot at an FSSP or diocesan TLM parish might be. And yes, that a priest celebrating such a disaster is beyond any correction the new translation might provide (immediate suspension is likely the only tonic). OTOH, it’s also true that if this is rare in the N.O. (at least outside certain parts of Austria/Germany/Holland at any rate) it is also true that it is unthinkable in a TLM, now or in the pre-conciliar days (however indifferent the celebration sometimes was back then). Folks might ponder why that is.

    Either way, we do desperately need Summorum Pontificum and the new corrected translation. Badly.

  30. StabatMater says:

    So a dear friend just called me about this Pink Panther thing. This photo is from St. Dominic in New Orleans. These props are used for Mt. Carmel Academy (a nearby girl’s “Catholic” school). For every “special” Mass, ie Ring Night, pinning ceremonies, etc., the mascot of the senior class is put in front of the altar (Pink Panther’s was hers in the mid-nineties, and so got handed to the incoming freshman class & rotated.) The bear represents the school mascot– cubs. The colorful thingies are spirit sticks. This has been a part of this school’s tradition for at least 20 years.
    And now you know another reason I am HOMESCHOOLING my children!!!!!!
    I coordinate Novus Ordo Masses for our homeschool group (with much more traditional priests). I have been hit with that document on children’s Masses (in an earlier post on Fr. Z’s blog) by another mother who is much more liturgically liberal than I. It has been difficult, but with the support of many other families we have held firm in not turning our Masses into the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. Why does everything need to be dumbed down & turned into Chuck E Cheese to think it has any value to children? Give them the sacred mystery that every human heart desires! My children have never asked me to “shake things up a little” in order that Mass might strike their fancy. Please keep our group in prayer!
    Additionally my family has begun attending EF– and it has been nothing short of miraculous! The sense of right-order in my home as of late has taken my breath away. I returned to the Church through the charismatic movement, but I must say in the EF I have found the FULLNESS of Faith! And having a daughter (11 yo) with neuro-sensory processing issues– well, I wish I would have known before what a fluid, multi-sensory experience the EF would be. She is beautifully captivated as is my 6 year old son (insert vocation prayer, please ;) as well as one for his upcoming First Communion on the Feast of Corpus Christi!) I am one VERY happy mother! Latin has changed our homeschooling efforts for the better. I could ramble forever, sorry– but we have truly been overcome with immeasurable joy since attending the EF of the Mass. Ain’t nothin’ ordinary about it!!!!

  31. Athelstan says:

    Hello Henry –

    Notice that the Holy Father (then Cardinal) merely said an expanded lectionary. Note the indefinite article. It is an open question whether he is insisting on the current three year lectionary we have now in the N.O..

    And if not, there might be plausible arguments to be made here for something more modest. I do think that there is something to be said for a dedicated set of readings for every weekday. This is not always the case in the 1962 lectionary. It’s a closer call on adding a mandatory third (OT) reading every day, since, as Fr. Z has noted (if memory serves), integrating the extra reading is a greater challenge in homiletics, and encourages an excessive didacticism. I am still strongly biased against a multi-year lectionary, which has little support in the tradition, and disrupts the rhythm of attachment of fixed readings to every feast day.

    And yet – having said all that – I tend to agree with traditionalists who flinch at any significant changes to the 1962 missal. The time is not yet opportune. Perhaps in a couple generations we will have sufficient stability and vitality and confidence in Church leadership to undertake a change like that. And I suspect that the Holy father would probably agree at this point – he knows the traditionalist sentiment right now well enough.

  32. Athelstan says:

    P.S. That last post of mine was really addressed to MichaelJ.

  33. Dirichlet says:

    That second picture is both sad and infuriating at the same time :(

  34. StabatMater says:

    Sorry– my friend just emailed and corrected her earlier statement It was actually St. Francis Xavier Cabrini in New Orleans where the Mass was held, not St. Dominic. This church was torn down after Hurrican Katrina.

  35. @Athelstan: “it is unthinkable in a TLM, now or in the pre-conciliar days (however indifferent the celebration sometimes was back then). Folks might ponder why that is.”

    Well, in the current situation, the reason is clear — only orthodox and reverent priests attempt the TLM.

    The interesting question is if the vernacular Mass/OF Mass was somehow abolished (at least the former would probably cause a schism, so I certainly don’t advocate it), would these things just creep into the TLM? It’s possible … I don’t think most of these abuses are actually consequences of Vatican II and the OF Mass, just correlated in time (since both Vatican II and the nearly wholesale collapse of Western culture happened in the 60s).

    Since VII happened in 1962-1965, too early for the bishops and Pope to have seen what was happening … either it was seriously Providential, or somebody involved (Bl John XXIII?) had really good foresight. (Or both.)

    It’s probably a very unpopular opinion here, but I think that VII was exactly what was needed at that time; that if it had not happened, the Church would have become so marginalized that it was essentially powerless in America and maybe other parts of the West. “All things to all men, that I might by all means save some”, and all that.

  36. Henry Edwards says:


    Numerous discussions have suggested that the 3-year cycle of OF Sunday readings has not broadened Catholic familiarity with Holy Scripture as hoped. To the contrary, people develop less familiarity when principal feasts and Sundays do not have the same fixed readings each year. This loss of a stable association of scripture with the the Church calendar has led to the loss of a strong sense of season among Catholics, and this in turn has contributed to the overall loss of Catholic identity. So it’s good that our Holy Father’s suggestion for broadening the EF lectionary seems rather limited and tentative.

    Regarding the OF prefaces, I think they have suffered as much from the lame-duck ICEL translation as the collects that have been more discussed. In Latin original, some of the new OF prefaces have the same level of beauty and depth as the old EF prefaces. I think that some of them could make a contribution to the EF. For instance, the additional BVM prefaces (e.g., Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Annunciation) and some new prefaces of Our Lord (e.g., Transfiguration and Baptism).

    Beyond such specifics, I think Pope Benedict is describing more a long-term historical inevitability than any near-term personal intention. In that the present two-form situation likely is historically unstable. Rather than either the OF or the EF as a single clear cut eventual “winner”, he’s suggesting a single Roman rite of the future derived from both, but which I read as being much closer to a pretty stable EF than to the present transient OF.

  37. Ceile De says:

    The Pink Panther is one thing (and bad enough) but why does it look like a Buddhist nun is saying Mass? St. Norbert’s in Orange, CA will try to book her if that’s the case.

  38. MichaelJ says:

    Thanks again Henry. Hope you do not mind that I keep pestering you about this, but I am trying to make sense of the Holy Fathers suggestion that “a single Roman rite of the future [is]derived from both”. I know what he proposes and am now trying to figure out why.

    I guess my confusion stems from the fact that the very purpose of the Mass – Adoration, Reparation, Thanksgiving, Supplication – seems to have changed somewhat. I still do not see what should be added to (or removed from) the EF that will allow it to better meet these four ends.

    Perhaps that is the issue? Is there an additional purpose of the Mass, not really met by the EF, that the Holy Father is trying to foster by suggesting that elements from the OF Mass be added?

  39. Henry Edwards says:


    It seems obvious that the Holy Father thinks that the disintegration of the ordinary form of the Roman rite has been a disaster. Since this is the liturgy of about 99% of the Western Church, the restoration of the OF (with the four purposes you cite) has to be his primary objective.

    Obviously, any suggestion of the Gregory Leo Pius I solution would be a non-starter. Instead (I take it) Summorum Pontificum with its two juridical forms of the Roman rite is intended as a practical means to the desired end.

    As previously suggested, I see in Benedict’s statements not a particular desire to affect the EF, but simply an observation of where the historical process started by SP will almost inevitably lead—to some sort of unification of the present two forms. Since one of them is stable–in its celebration in different times and places—and the other is not, the stable form can be expected to predominate in the end.

    But perhaps his eyes are not closed to the possibility the EF can be enriched by restoration of some of the features the TLM enjoyed before the very drastic simplification that occurred under Pius V in response to the Protestant Reformation.

    For instance, the fact that in late medieval times almost every feast had its own separate preface, whereas only 15 prefaces remained in the rite of Pius V. Some of the OF prefaces that have been suggested might restore some of this lost richness. Each possibility that Benedict has mentioned explicitly can be interpreted in the same way—as a possible restoration of something of value that has been lost in the continued simplification of the TLM from medieval times to 1962.

  40. Martin de Porres says:

    Since the topic was raised, to my architect’s eyes the fiddleback planeta is not as aesthetically pleasing as a well-designed gothic chasuble. I understand the planeta is a recent (within the last 200 years or so) innovation, in any case. The beautiful medieval gothic chasubles that survive in cathedral treasuries and museums were cut down during that period to make them into planetas, or so I understand, a great pity if true.

    I agree with the postings above calling for a better GIRM; has everyone by now seen Cdl Schoenborn’s balloon Mass? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67Lom28KSlg

    And while we’re at it, couldn’t we have a better English lectionary and Liturgy of the Hours, RSV maybe, and not paraphrased (Brothers and sisters…..)!

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