Benedict XVI on the huge crisis we face as a Church. Wherein Fr. Z gets on his knees and begs you to act.

Pope Benedict XVIIn his address to the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, His Holiness said this, which is merely one paragraph of his address in my rapid translation:

As we know, in vast areas of the world the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out like a flame that no longer has any sustenance. We are at a profound crisis of faith, at a loss of a religious sense that constitutes the greatest challenge for the Church of today. The renewal of the faith must therefore be the priority in the undertaking of the whole Church in our times. I hope that the Year of Faith can contribute, with the cordial collaboration of all the members of the People of God, to bring God back anew to this world and to open to men an access to the faith, to a reliance on the God who loved us to the end (cf John 13,1), in Christ Jesus, crucified and risen.

This is a huge challenge for every member of the whole Church.

I will add my view that nothing of which His Holiness spoke is going to be accomplished without a renewal of our liturgical worship.

Our identity as Catholics cannot be separated from our worship.

Benedict XVI’s provisions in Summorum Pontificum remain one of the most important acts of his pontificate.

We need more and more and more opportunities for people to experience the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite in our Latin Church parishes.

Younger priests: learn the older form. This is your Rite! Know your Rite! If you are a Latin Church priest, who are you if you don’t know your Rite? Just do it!

Lay people: band together and start requesting celebrations Holy Mass also in the Extraordinary Form. Get organized. Form a schola and start singing chant so you will be ready when the time comes. Offer to take care of all the material details. Offer to provide vestments, books, money so the priest can go get training. Start thinking about forming a group of servers, perhaps even father and son teams.

Many benefits will flow from a side by side experience of both forms of Holy Mass of the Latin Church.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Pope of Christian Unity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    What’s comes first, or which is more dependent on the other – the rule of faith or the rule of prayer? Perhaps the Pope’s lament about the crisis in faith is linked to this answer.

    If you say the rule of faith, then you really can have no quarrel with the Novus Ordo, or Kiki and Co, and their ilk. This is because the rule of faith is itself much more dependent on the authority alive today to interpret the rule of faith. So you logically HAVE to accept changes in the rule of faith if the current authority says so, and if those changes impact the liturgy, you really have nowhere to go but to accept them.

    In contrast, the rule of prayer is much more immune to any capriciousness of authority and the fashion of the day, indeed it may serve as a bulwark against that capriciousness. This was not lost on Bugnini and his reformers, nor any with a progressive bent over the centuries, many of whom recognized the fullness of the Church’s liturgical cycle as their greatest enemy.

    But, they were aided much more by the fact that their changes were authorized by the Magisterium, allowing for the logical inference that the Church at the time was already dominated by the rule of faith over the rule of prayer. This explains why so relatively few bishops,priests and laity protested against the Novus Ordo, and perhaps also gives some insight into the current crisis of faith which the Pope laments.

  2. Gretchen says:

    In our parish, we have a schola, we have a large and steady group of parishioners who desire the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Alas, we have a deacon ‘pastoral administrator’ (this is the Diocese of Rochester, mind you) who has ‘allowed’ one mass in the last year. A priest from outside our parish came. He brought everything that was needed and there were plenty of volunteers to assist.

    I wonder just how insistent the parish group can be. When requests go forth, it is always put off by “I will take this to the staff” and so forth. And then months go by with no answer, and someone approaches again to request, and the cycle goes on.

    The Traditional Latin Mass was crowded last year. It would be crowded every time a Mass in the EF was said. It is a very dangerous thing to some, apparently.

  3. jacobi says:

    Fr. Z,
    You, ( and the Pope of course ), are absolutely right.
    The great opportunity of Renewal after Vatican II was lost because of the the attack on the Church, (Relativist, Secularist, Liberal, call it what you will), and the vehicle of that attack was the liturgy.

    The Pope has now set this right . Any priest can say the Traditional, Catholic, Mass either at the request of a group or more importantly, if he personally prefers to do so. Permission of a bishop is NOT required.
    So I would say to all you priests out there, get on it. Say once again the Catholic Mass of our ancesters as the Pope now permits you to do. You will be surprised how few of your congrgation will object!

  4. New TLM: Check. New Schola: Check. Low mass for now, working our way up.

  5. leonugent2005 says:

    jacobi I would go so far as to say that no one would object to having the TLM offered in their parish and if they did too bad for them because the moto proprio allows it. We had a TLM funeral in our parish last week. I’m told that all went well.

  6. EucharistLove says:

    There is an EF Mass once per month in the Nashville area. I’ve never been to an EF Mass and I’m looking forward to going. Thank you, Fr. Z, for your encouragement.

  7. Thomas G. says:

    The Holy Father is right – I work with so many Catholics in a workplace where DAILY Mass and Confession are available within a 5 minute walk and they are, almost without exception, indifferent, flaccid, many of them outright apostate. The flame of faith is waning to embers . . . this alone makes me think the end times are closer than we think.

  8. Gail F says:

    Gretchen: If you really do have big group that wants the EF, this is what I would do if I were you. I would organize that group so that someone called EVERY DAY at the exact same time to ask for the EF mass. Get together, and PRACTICE so that you are not nasty or “holier-than-thou,” just cheerful and polite. Practice saying, “Hi Father, this is XXXX with the group that would like the extraordinary form mass, calling to see if you’ve had a chance to work on that yet.” And when he says no, just say, “Well then, someone else will call tomorrow at this time to check. Thanks!” And if he stops taking calls, leave a message: “This is XXX with the group that would like the extraordinary form mass. Please tell him I’d like him to call me today and tell me how the process is going.” Remember the persistent widow. The guy didn’t EVER want to go answer the door, he did it because he was sick of listening to the woman knock. Get a calendar, have someone assign a person to every day and maybe send out a weekly email reminder, tell people that if they forget to call as soon as they remember, even if it’s the next day (“Hi Father, I meant to call yesterday but I had an emergency. Have you had a chance to talk to the staff about the EF mass?”). Keep to the basics: who you are, what you want, when you would like to know (now). If you have to, make a short non-aggressive reply. (“I know the Pope has said groups who want it are allowed to have the EF mass, and we have a group that wants it. We’ve been asking since XXXX (date) so I’m hoping you’ve had a chance to make the arrangements.”)

  9. Thomas G. says:

    I wish to add . . . that’s a beautiful picture of the Holy Father accompanying this post, and eminently fitting . . . it captures something about the solitariness of his burden as the Rock of the Church and his frustration at the blindness of men . . .!

  10. EucharistLove says:

    Thomas G.: Remember, the gate is narrow. Don’t be discouraged.

  11. dahveed says:

    you and the Holy Father are right. We need to get cracking.

    I envy you, your first Latin Mass. May I suggest, for finding additional ones in your area: or
    I hope that these help.

  12. EucharistLove says:

    Thanks, dahveed! God bless!

  13. leonugent2005 says:

    I would encourage all young priests and the newly ordained to press hard to offer the EF. It’s important that your bishop knows where you stand on this issue! [They don’t need permission.]

  14. EXCHIEF says:

    Well we have a schola, and trained servers, and ONE Priest in the entire diocese who occasionally will say the TLM. We have another Priest who would say it much more frequently. However the current Administrator of the Diocese (a retired Bishop of the extreme liberal bent) has banished the second Priest to our equivalent of Siberia. A group of the faithful has approached the Administrator and he has steadfastly refused to accomodate our wishes. We are praying for a new Bishop who will be supportive but it has been over a year and our small Diocese is not first on the list in the USA for a new Bishop.

  15. HighMass says:

    Gretchen Got it right about the attack on the liturgy! How well we all remember. The Correct TRANSLATION for the N.O. is so beautiful.

    We are in need of prayer in our part of the world or better yet of a Priest that can say the E.F. of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So please keep us in your prayers and Divine Lord please send us a Priest….we had the E.F. since the Holy Father granted the S.P. now we are without a Priest.

    The Holy Father and Fr. Z are correct! we need to keep praying!

  16. Tsunami says:

    You are, of course, spot on for the day, Father, but you are missing one very important thing! Where is the post in praise of my Thomas? I must see beautiful things said about Aquinas! :-)

  17. Gretchen says:

    Gail F., thank you for the suggestion. I will pass it along. We don’t have a priest/pastor, we have a deacon who is our ‘pastoral administrator’. Our parish priest has no say in the matter, although he has not expressed any enthusiasm for the TLM.

  18. digdigby says:

    Thomas G-
    Yes! Marvelous picture. I want it for my wall. Is it to be had, Father Z?

  19. Elizabeth D says:

    In my parish, a Catholic center on a university campus, the altar is in the middle of the church (ie the middle of the nave) and faces sideways, the pews face the sides of the altar on either side of it. Obviously the people who wreckovated the 1906 church in 1970 did not have in mind celebrating the TLM there ever again (though our younger priest celebrates it at a different church… and he does have a set of altar cards etc in the university church sacristy presumably so he can celebrate a private TLM). I have been begging for chant, but both priests say although that is what the Church wants, it is impossible at this time since the first priority is the university students and since it is already seen as being a conservative parish (in a very, very liberal city) they do not feel they can do anything much to change the music at this time. I have been begging for us at least to learn the ICEL Missal chants.

  20. acardnal says:

    Can the EF Mass be celebrated by a priest without a server or are servers necessary?

  21. acardnal says:

    For Elizabeth D: I know what you are referring to because I live in Cottage Grove. However, be grateful we have Bishop Morlino who himself celebrates the EF Mass. Tomorrow I plan to attend the High Tridentine Mass at Holy Redeemer.

  22. acardnal says:

    Addendum for Elizabeth D: Remember, the St Paul center is in the process of obtaining city approvals for their reconstruction plan. Have you seen the new designs? I betcha they are more traditional.

  23. Girgadis says:

    We have the TLM on Sundays, holy days and other feasts. We have a schola and a dedicated Latin Mass Community that is slowing but surely growing. The proliferation of the TLM is a wonderful thing that I hope continues by leaps and bounds. But it seems to me that a void could be filled within the Ordinary Form of the Mass, too, simply by doing away with the indult for Holy Communion in the hand. That the Holy Father will only administer the Eucharist on the tongues of the kneeling faithful is wonderful, but what about the rest of us? How difficult would it be to require parishes to offer the option of reception while kneeling? Nearly every parish has a prie dieu stashed away somewhere and if they don’t, the cost is negligible when compared to restoring a wreckovated altar rail. I prefer the TLM and I support both Forms of the Mass within my own parish. I would just like to see Pope Benedict make available for all of us what he himself obviously believes is the most appropriate way to administer the Holy Eucharist to the faithful.

  24. Girgadis says:

    ooops, make that “slowly” not slowing

  25. benedetta says:

    Am hearing this loud and clear, Fr. Z…

  26. mrose says:


    My understanding is that (and I am happy to be corrected on this) that a priest may offer the TLM without a server if no server is available; however, if there is a congregation then someone should say the responses from outside the Sanctuary (man or woman).

  27. Joseph-Mary says:

    No EF for 80 miles. Used to have FSSP come monthly but they stopped. Some of our priests say they will learn it but no steps are ever made in that direction. I miss the EF very much.

    The dissenting element in our town concentrated at one of the 4 parishes. They had been allowed to do their own thing for years. A priest who left the priesthood to marry but was never laicized has been teaching there. And now two faithful priests have come to the parish. Hatred for them has been strong and now the dissenting element and their heretic ex-priest are going into schism and forming an ‘ecumenican catholic church’. They are pro-abortion, pro-gay, etc. It is a sad day but at least now they are openly schismatic instead of doing things under the cover of the true parish.

  28. jedesto says:

    Reading comments about the compulsive agitating for TLM and EF Masses is so boring! Suppose I go to a Sunday Mass celebrated in a language that I don’t understand, e.g., Spanish, Korean, Creole-French. How will I know whether it’s EF or OF? What difference–if any–will it make? Hopefully, as I am accustomed to do, I have prepared ahead of time by perusing the assigned readings. As a matter of fact, the acoustics in my parish church are so bad that hardly anyone can follow the Mass (and homily) even when Mass is in English (including the newly introduced translation of the Roman Missal). Isn’t it my interior disposition at Mass that matters in such circumstances?

  29. Elizabeth D says:

    acardnal, I will be at 7am Mass at Holy Redeemer too, I was trying to avoid identifying which church I was talking about! But in hindsight it would be obvious to anyone who lives here! And I was not saying anything bad, I don’t think, though I have sure been a nuisance to my holy pastors (they are).

    They have young, very Catholic architectural artist Matthew Alderman on the design team for the new building, which is planned to have a traditional look and the first drawings of the exterior look great. I am not aware of there being drawings yet of the interior of the church. So far I have been told “no” about a Communion rail but “yes, unless we run out of money” about a pipe organ. I am virtually certain the tabernacle will be centered right behind the altar. Communion rail or not, the new St Paul’s will be more TLM-ready than the current one. A feature dear to the heart of Fr Nielsen is a basement crypt chapel dedicated to Bl John Paul II.

  30. acardnal says:

    Elizabeth D: Yeah, I thought after posting that I may have said too much and gave away your location and should apologize but then anyone who clicks on you link behind your name can read that you are in Madison! Right? Not too hard figure out. No, you said nothing derogatory. No names mentioned either. Not to worry. Perhaps I will see you at Holy Redeemer.

  31. I will never understand how a theological progressivist could be at such a loss as to how the liturgy collapsed in the years following the council. The entire Nouvelle Theologie/Ressourcement movement in Europe repudiated Scholastic philosophy for the malleable, amorphous philosophies of existentialism, Hegelianism, and immanentism, all condemned by the Magisterium from Pope St. Pius X to Pope Pius XII. This New Theology insisted that experience was paramount, even to dogma when it came to liturgy. This we ended up with this dictum from Sacrosanctum concillium in 1963:

    In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit… CSL 14

    What is this but a blank check to reform the liturgy in the image of man and his felt needs for experience? Many of us are a bit fed up with the ubiquitous refrain that the council was misinterpreted by the neoModernists. It doesn’t take a PhD to tell that the same prelates who approved the council’s decrees and constitutions were the ones who implemented the reforms. I am relieved that the Holy Father is going public in a major way with his acknowledgement of the crisis in the Church, but we are still a ways off from the correct diagnosis of the cause of the decline. Pope St. Pius X taught clearly:

    That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. Pascendi gregis, 1907

    [So what have you done to support or promote celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in some place where it isn’t offered?]

  32. Marie Veronica says:

    Thank you and God Bless you for this blog, Father Z. As a result of what I have learned here I finally sought out the TLM in Arlington diocese. Happily I found one not far from me on Thursday evenings. I plan to go regularly. Our parish is, at this time, only NO. Next time I go to TLM I will bring a friend.

    I was greatly encouraged and humbled by what I saw at TLM this week – mainly young people in their 20s and 30s coming to Mass after work on a weeknight; and many women in chapel veils. As one who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s in the Northeast (having painfully experienced much of what is discussed on this blog), it’s not something I could have imagined a decade or two ago. God Bless Pope Benedict.

  33. Elizabeth D says:

    That is true, acardnal, I forgot about my link! If you can tell who I am from the little picture (I always wear a long skirt but no veil) you could say hi after Mass.

  34. Catholic4Good says:

    There doesn’t have to be an overnight switch to the Extraodinary Form in order to have it. What about these incremental steps: Have boy and girl servers? Put them in single-sex teams on the schedule. Don’t accept new girl servers, on the premise that the best way to promote priestly vocations is to have only boy servers. Have the choir sing the Mass parts in the Norvus Ordo rite in Latin (not necessarily in chant), then eventually Gregorian chant, with pew cards (plenty of them) using square notes (so much easier to follow!), for *one* of the Sunday Masses. The pastor, once trained by himself or by going to a seminar, or an invited visiting priest who knows the EF, can start by having one EF Mass (High Mass — sorry, but Low Mass is a super-hard sell to beginners) a month. I have witnessed how some of these elements have worked extremely well at one priest’s two parishes in succession. In an ideal world, an overnight switch to the EF High Mass would work. But this is not an ideal world. Gradual changes, *explanations*, a well-humored priest plus well-humored, joyful “Latin-lovers” in the parish (not bitter, complaining, “those-Novus-Ordos-don’t- even-attend-a-valid-Mass” ones) can successfully lead the way back to orthodoxy, including a love for the EF. That is surely the way forward in my diocese!

  35. Catholic4Good says:

    Oh, and the pew cards with the Latin music should have English translations. ;)

  36. NoTambourines says:

    Tonight, one of the young adults in the choir asked in rehearsal for Saturday evening Mass why were singing (chanting) so many things all of a sudden, like the Our Father, and other spoken items. Well, her mother explained, things are going more traditional.

    Even in my parish, where I suffer from Tambourine Trauma, I think the gravitational pull is a-pulling.

    Unfortunately, there was nothing I could see in a quick flip through the bulletin that communicated the statement from our bishops this week about the Obama/HHS mess this week, though that may depend on how far in advance the bulletins are prepared. Still, it’s, you know, kind of a big deal.

  37. tcreek says:

    The biggest problem is that the Faith is not being passed down to the youth. In our archdiocese we are about to celebrate Catholic School Week. What is there to celebrate? I assist our youth ministry coordinator and when she “gets” the kids 70 % of the elementary school kids are never or hardly ever attending mass.
    “Mom why do I have to go to Mass, none of classmates do”. “My grandson made his first communion last year and has not been to Sunday Mass since.”
    But – when the kids attend weekday Mass at school, they all receive the Eucharist at the hands of the pastor and teachers.

  38. Sword40 says:

    I have e-mailed every priest(8) that I have an address for, plus our Vicar for Clergy, which is as close to the Archbishop that I can contact via e-mail. I sent a link to the USCCB’s comments with Abp (cardinal-elect) Dolan’s interview.

    So far I have one response that is encouraging.

    The Battle is engaged!

  39. BobP says:

    In the U.S. it seems that many priests are learning to say the Spanish Mass as well as the new translation of the English with their congregations. I’m not making any excuses for them but they do have a lot on their plate. When would they have time to study for a very detailed rite which realistically they may say once a month if at all?

  40. Dennis Martin says:

    Catholic Johnny:

    You could not be more wrong. SC did not give a blank check. Bugnini exceeded his mandate and his memoirs show he was looking over his shoulder, surprised he was not reined in. That was not the fault of SC.

    Nor was it the fault of the Nouvelle Theologie. Do you not realize that Benedict XVI himself drank deeply from De Lubac’s Catholicisme. He says so explicitly. The Ressourcement (Guardini, von Hildebrand, Danielou and others) was a vital movement that believed the neo-Thomist effort to find a neutral ground on which secular modern and Christian philosophers could meet had been mistaken. They believed it far better, as an apologetic in the modern world to “throw Christ at them” (my term), i.e., unapologetically to work from Christian theology of the incarnate Breaking In. Guardini exercised a deep and marvelously valuable influence on a young Joseph Ratzinger–he has said so repeatedly. His “Marshall Plan” for the Church arises out of the very Ressourcement of the interwar years that you are intent on condemning with sweeping (and false) generalizations.

    Was some of the Nouvelle Theologie’s critique exaggerated and misplaced? Yes. Was some of the neo-Thomist blasting of the NT misplaced? Yes. The heirs of the Leonine Thomists and the heirs of the interwar Ressourcement today are working together fruitfully in the pages of Nova et Vetera, if you’d take the time to read it. Yes, they do criticize each other–as scholars ought to do. But they also enrich each other. And the present pope is the heir to both neo-scholastic Thomists and interwar Ressourcement/Nouvelle Theologie. So was was John Paul II with his dissertation for Garrigou-Lagrange but about John of the Cross’s phenomenological personalism.

    Phenomenology can be used for good in theology just as Aristotle can and was used for good in theology. Phenomenology can also go off the rails, as did a radical Aristotelianism in the 12o0. But the Nouvelle Theologie as a movement contributed it’s part to the renewal we have seen under Ratzinger and John Paul II.

    I’m just tired of the blanket and ill-informed efforts by traditionalists to blame movements from the interwar years for what happened after 1965. What happened after 1965 was in violation of the council’s own teachings. It was a rupture with the past, INCLUDING a rupture with the Nouvelle Theologie and Ressourcement. Danielou, De Lubac, Ratzinger and many others quickly grasped that the modernists were abusing the council. Traditionalists who blame everything bad after the council on the Nouvelle Theologie are just as dishonest as Bugnini and the others who claimed the Council’s authority for their innovations. Or if not dishonest, then frightfully ignorant.

    So please, cut out the Nouvelle Theologie bashing, please.

  41. cdnpriest says:

    As a newly-ordained priest (still in my first year of Priesthood), I would love to offer the Extraordinary Form. I know how to celebrate the Low Mass, and indeed do so when I celebrate Mass in private, completely alone. However, I am not a pastor, just an associate. Thus all liturgical decisions for parish liturgy pass through the pastor (curé). As such, even if I want to offer the Traditional Form of the Roman Mass for our parishioners (and believe me, I do), I cannot do so, since the pastor will surely be against it.

    So it is one thing to encourage younger priests to learn the Traditional Mass; but that will not necessarily afford them the possibility of offering it, at least not in public, since most newly-ordained priests are not immediately made pastors.

    What we need to do is pray that the older generation of priests (who still hold positions of authority, such as pastor, etc.) will at least be open to the possibility of their younger associates offering the Traditional Form. We cannot go over their heads in this regard — even if we have been granted the authority to offer the Extraordinary Form by the Church’s Supreme Authority, the Roman Pontiff. Charity obliges us to respect the wishes of our pastors, even if we do not agree with them.

    As I see it, much prayer is needed here. Especially when we consider that the faithful of the Roman Rite have a right to the Extraordinary Form, as it is a part of our Sacred Tradition.

  42. Denis says:

    There is no better way to catechize than with the EF. It is ‘religious sense’ in words, gestures, music, vestments, architecture, arrangement of space; every aspect of it is saturated with meaning.

    It is like our elaborate, cosmic tea ceremony, its rituals expressing what words can’t. We can be told, over and over, that the Eucharistic liturgy is Christ’s sacrifice re-presented; but until you hear the silence at the elevation, as you kneel, facing Christ, striking your breast, how can you grasp that you are present at the foot of the cross, at that moment when the veil was rent, and the earth shook?

    There is no way to come away from the EF with the impression that one has attended nothing more than a meal, a community gathering, a sing-along with readings from the Bible.

    According to a Catholic Herald poll, about half of all Mass-goers in England and Wales would attend the Extraordinary form if it was available. A German poll had it at arond 44% for that country’s Catholics. These are staggering figures. The pressure is building; the dam has to break, sooner or later. God bless the Holy Father.

  43. Centristian says:

    A Mass that is exclusively in Latin, entirely ad orientem, of which nothing is in the vernacular and at which there is no lay participation at all [That is a false understanding of “participation”.] may prove a hard sell to most Catholics, and certainly to priests who know no Latin and have no time to learn the intricacies of pre-Conciliar ceremonies.

    There are reforms to which the Church has by now become used and will insist upon. Perhaps we might focus on demonstrating to the Church how she may permit herself to retain legitimate liturgical reforms that she has gained while at the same time persuading her to abandon those things which degrade her liturgical celebrations.

    Perhaps instead of wishing to persuade more priests to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form (an ambition that involves a certain degree of futility in any case), we would do better to encourage priests to celebrate Mass in any form with the liturgical dignity due the Roman Rite. A Novus Ordo Mass that a priest is able do, celebrated worthily, is a much more saleable product than a pre-Conciliar Mass that he is not able to do. In any case, he will more easily be persuaded of the rationale for celebrating the current Mass of the Roman Rite with proper dignity than he will be of a rationale for celebrating a form of Mass that he regards (rightly or wrongly) as having been superseded long ago.

    Most priests simply aren’t going to return to the pre-Conciliar Mass any more than most railroad engineers are going to return to the steam locomotive. Like it or not, we’ve moved beyond it. So rather than opening the roundhouse door, dusting off the old Iron Horse, waving to the crew and saying, “would you consider driving this one if we bought some coal for it?” (never mind that they don’t know how to drive it, and that many of them have never even seen it before, and that they aren’t used to passengers requesting specific motive power in any event, and that they cannot imagine why they should even entertain the thought of using it instead of the locomotive that’s already in front of the train), perhaps we ought instead endeavor to make of the current mode a worthy mode.

    A Mass that gives Catholics a sense of their own identity and heritage does not have to mean a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Pope Benedict has demonstrated that over and over again with the Masses that he celebrates at Rome. We can have parts of the Mass in the vernacular; the celebrant can face the congregation during the Introductory and penitential rites, the Liturgy of the Word, and the Concluding Rites; we can have lay lectors and lay gift presenters and lay presenters of the general intercessions; the congregation can respond and sing…we can have all of these reforms AND the traditional ceremonial and liturgical solemnity of the Mass of the Roman Rite (even with Latin), together. It hasn’t got to be either/or (and it shouldn’t be).

    I find myself attending Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form, again, after years of avoiding it, simply because I cannot find a place where the Ordinary Form is celebrated as it ought to be celebrated and I grow weary of all the…variety. While the two “Latin Mass” venues I am able to choose from are gorgeous, and convenient (both are about a 15 minute drive from my home), the form of the Mass, while admittedly better than an abused Mass in the Ordinary Form, leaves me a bit cold. It’s all whispers interrupted by the occasional “Dominus Vobiscum”. Nobody responds (and they wouldn’t even if they could actually hear the celebrant). Nobody sings. Nobody does anything except go to Communion. Except for Communion, the congregation is as if it is not. I’m not sure that represents the liturgical ideal. And I don’t think that represents a scenario which the vast majority of Catholics will accept any longer…and probably rightly so.

    “Lay people: band together and start requesting celebrations Holy Mass also in the Extraordinary Form. Get organized. Form a schola and start singing chant so you will be ready when the time comes. Offer to take care of all the material details. Offer to provide vestments, books, money so the priest can go get training. Start thinking about forming a group of servers, perhaps even father and son teams.”

    Excellent. But why not for more worthily celebrated Masses in the Ordinary Form, too? “Father, we have the servers trained, the propers rehearsed, some lovely vestments purchased, and the thurible at the ready, any time you’d like to celebrate the Roman Rite right.” Instead of “Latin Mass” societies, how about forming “Roman Rite” societies that advocate Mass celebrated in any form with the proper dignity and solemnity?

    I think a recapturing of the majesty and dignity of the Roman Rite is something that can have a universal appeal. I do not believe, however, that an old form of the Mass which forces the Church to sacrifice all of the legitimate liturgical reforms we have come to take for granted will have much of an appeal beyond the limited constituency that it has perennially enjoyed .

  44. Jael says:

    We have priests in my diocese and the neighboring diocese who long to do the EF Mass, but are terrified of the bishops. They have reason to be. Stories of nefarious suppressions of the EF Mass in the last 12 months could be told. The only Sunday EF Mass in the whole city is at the crack of dawn and miles out in the industrial district, with no bus service on Sunday.

    One of these bishops is retired from another diocese and is now an apostolic administrator in the neighboring diocese. The bishop here reaches retirement age soon. We need the “powers that be” to accept resignations promptly and send us good bishops swiftly!! People have been praying and practicing chant and doing all the other things for decades. We need bishops who will let us have the EF. We are worn out and worn down.

  45. Clinton R. says:

    I pray that the Holy Father would celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It would give those of us who so desperately want the EF a tremendous boost seeing the Vicar of Christ celebrate Mass this way. St. Pius V, ora pro nobis.

  46. Supertradmum says:


    Sadly, I have now lived in three dioceses and an archdiocese where the bishops and archbishop are suppressing the TLM. For me to have had to live in areas where this is happening is purgatory on earth. Groups cannot get through or by these authorities. I wish I were exaggerating, but these authroities make life hard for the young priests who want to say the Mass as well. They also lose seminarians who want to say the EF. I have done my bit with letters, and trying to encourage groups to push. People are sometimes afraid to contradict the hierarchy, even when these bishops and archbishop are wrong. We pray and some, who can, move. Father, when you have time, could you please repeat the steps for dealing with this if one has to take it to Rome? Thank you.

  47. Supertradmum says:


    I shall pray for you. I know other priests in your situation in Europe and in the States. God bless you and rewarded your charity. It is so hard for us laity as well, knowing what could be, but isn’t. I had to endure EMHCs, altar girls, a mixed up new translation with the old, and general weariness of the congregation at Mass this morning. It is so painful.

  48. Dear “CDN Priest”,

    One day you will be a pastor, God-willing, and you will offer the EF and encourage your Associate Pastors to do the same. The Pastor is also bound by “charity” to respect your wishes and the authority of the “Supreme Pastor.”

    Can you please contact me at:

    Your confidentiality is assured.

    D.A. Domet (Vox Cantoris)
    Una Voce Toronto

  49. robtbrown says:

    Dennis Martin,

    1. It depends on what is meant by La Nouvelle Theologie/Ressourement. Cardinal Ratzinger himself pointed out that most of its practitioners are prone to exclude the thought of the great Medieval Doctors of the Church. Indeed, although Cardinal Ratznger has loe ng been acquainted with the thought of St Bonaventure, when he came to Rome in 1983, he knew next to nothing about St Thomas’ thought. That situation was changed a bit by the presence of certain trusted allies at the SCDF who were Dominicans.

    2. Did Bugnini exceed the SC mandate? Yes and No. If SC is considered in light of Catholic liturgical tradition, the answer is yes. If, however, SC is considered in itself, the answer is no. Although it says some very good things, they are often hedged by what follows: The liturgy shall remain in Latin, but any translation . . .

    I am certain my liturgical opinions are found in SC, but so are those of everyone else: There are texts within SC that can be used to defend everything from the liturgical practice of the SSPX to those that promote balloons on the altar and celebrants in clown suits.

    3. I don’t buy the comparison of Phenomenology to Aristotle. With the former any scientific approach to theology is not possible. That having been said, Counter Reformation theology tended to exclude the strains of spirituality and poetry that are to be found in any good theology. Consequently, the well known concept of theology as law emerged. What was lost was the notion that life (incl the spiritual life) is a journey.

    Phenomenology or more specifically here, Personalism) can be employed in moral questions, but it is of little use of dogma. Any use of it in Trinitaritarian theology runs counter to the approach of St Augustine and St Thomas.

    4. Although I appreciate the research of de Lubac, he seemed to think that St Thomas was a neo Augustinian. No doubt strains of it are to be found in St Thomas’ synthesis (and excluded from the theology that de Lubac was taught), but there is so much more in St Thomas’ thought.

    Further, de Lubac was not only an ardent defender of Teilhard, he endorsed the present liturgical situation.

  50. Centristian,

    I have read (with much interest) many of your comments, and know your aspirations and goals for the liturgy to be ones that I share fully. However, some remarks per your last one above:

    — I know a good number of young priests (ordained in the past decade) and current seminarians, and almost all (the priests) have learned to celebrate, or are (the seminarians) looking forward to celebrating the TLM, which is celebrated either privately or publicly, either regularly or occasionally, at about half of the parishes within reasonable driving distance of me.

    — In my experience–which, frankly, is considerable–it is easier at the present time (and in most places, I believe) to obtain a TLM for a group desiring it that to obtain a normative parish Mass celebrated in the exemplary form you describe.

    — Your experience with a passive Sunday low Mass is foreign to me. Every Sunday TLM that I’ve attended in years has been a gloriously sung and highly participative high Mass–with schola and/or priest chanting the propers, the people singing the Gloria, Credo, and Pater Noster, and all the dialogue responses. On the basis of experience in different locations, I believe this to be the norm for most TLM communities today (though it was not in the past).

    — I am convinced that the OF Mass cannot be renewed in the manner you advocate without the model and gravitational pull of the EF Mass. Indeed I believe the reform of the OF for the whole Church to be Pope Benedict’s primary objective with Summorum Pontificum (rather than the restoration of the TLM for a select minority).

  51. robtbrown says:

    Cheesesteak Expert,

    I think you’re quite wrong on two points.

    First, it is not the Magisterium that promulgated the Novus Ordo. That is a common error of theological voluntarists, who consider the Teaching Office of the Church to be a subsidiary of the Governing Office. All that can be said is that the promulgation of any Missal does not contradict the Magisterium.

    Second, the rule of faith does not depend–and never did depend–on any interpretation of it at any particular epoch in history. That is the error of Karl Rahner. Any Catholic can be faithful to the Church without endorsing anything that happened since 1965.

  52. robtbrown says:

    Centristian says:

    A Mass that is exclusively in Latin, entirely ad orientem, of which nothing is in the vernacular and at which there is no lay participation at all may prove a hard sell to most Catholics, and certainly to priests who know no Latin and have no time to learn the intricacies of pre-Conciliar ceremonies.

    A Mass that gives Catholics a sense of their own identity and heritage does not have to mean a Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    That is not the present issue. Rather it is whether the TLM will be provided to those who want it.

    And it seems to me that Veterum Sapientia indicates the importance of Latin in Catholic identity.

  53. Clinton says:

    I am fortunate, for I have an EF Mass available on Sundays and holy days in my own parish.
    It grieves me to read the comments of those people who are not as lucky as myself, whether
    it is because their nearest EF Mass is many miles away, or because their PP is resistant to the
    pleas of his flock.

    I would suggest a few things fortunate people like myself could do to help our brothers and
    sisters out. Firstly, I would suggest that we remember to keep those people who hunger for the
    EF Mass– and the authorities that thwart their legitimate desires– in our prayers. Each and
    every time we are fortunate enough to attend our own EF Mass we must remember these
    people in our prayers.

    Second, I recommend that the lucky among us remember to invite others to come with us to
    the EF Mass. [Outstanding.] Help them with the unfamiliar things that might otherwise be intimidating.
    Take the time to introduce them to others after Mass. Encourage them and they’ll be back
    for more, and in the years to come they will desire the EF in whichever parish they may attend.

    Finally, I would suggest that besides the support one owes one’s own parish, the support of
    organizations like the FSSP that promote the EF Mass is very important. Catholic publishing
    companies and organizations that offer training in chant are also worthy of our support. While
    helping them out might not benefit us lucky ones directly, the priests and laity being trained
    because of our support will go on to increase the ‘gravitational pull’ of the EF Mass and ease
    the lot of those who currently have to do without. It is an investment in the future of the
    Church and a gift to the next generation.

  54. [So what have you done to support or promote celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in some place where it isn’t offered?]

    Fr. Z: I am active duty US Army, so I am a member of the Archdiocese of the Military Services (AMS). The AMS is a personal prelature without geographic jurisdiction. No one has pushed harder, pled longer, argued more vociferously than yours truly for the TLM in the AMS. I do not want to name names, but my requests have not exactly been met with enthusiastic pastoral responses. The basic explanation is the “stable group” clause in Summorum Pontificum. Military priest-chaplains change duty stations about every 2 years, with 1-year combat deployments on top of that. The Army is authorized 330 Catholic chaplains and have just 90, and most of those are well on the north side of 50 years old. In addition, the military is inherently ecumenical, with so many religions and denominations represented in our chaplaincy. Catholics and Protestants usually share the same chapels, and the chapels are themselves rearranged to accomodate the various services sometimes within 30 minutes of each other. Bottom line: those Catholics who sacrifice so much for our country are out in the cold when it comes to tradition and the EF. Sadly, most military members do not even know such a things as the EF exists. So how can we ask for what we know not? My family drives an hour each way to assist in the EF at the cathedral.

    [My understanding is that, while Archbp. Broglio is – being a faithful man of the Church – open to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, as every ordinary should be, it is hard to identify a “stable group” within a community which is, by definition, not stable. Nevertheless, the Archdicoese has also made it clear that even regular “ad hoc” TLMs are possible, all things being equal.]

  55. Maltese says:

    Bugnini tried to kill the greatest treasure of tradition, the TLM, and Lefebvre kept it alive.

    Our Pope has been very generous towards the FSSPX; I think the next logical step in the reconciliation is to lift the suspensions on their Priests. A reconciliation with the SSPX would be an adrenaline shot towards the fides recta of the Church, and not just in the area of the liturgy, but in a broader praxis, and the Holy Father knows this.

  56. Supertradmum says:

    The greatest way to encourage the Latin Mass is to pray that one of your trad sons has a vocation to the priesthood and encourage him. St. John Bosco said that one out of four young men have a vocation and it is the duty of trad Catholic parents to encourage these. Those who go to the Latin Mass regularly might ask themselves whether vocations are coming out of those congregations, and if not, why not. Today would have been a perfect day for NO priests to come right out and say that God could be calling some to the priesthood. My pastor missed this opportunity and merely brushed off St. Paul’s epistle as the fact that the saint thought the world was going to end and therefore was telling people not to get married or be bothered with worldly things. I have not hear a vocation plea from the pulpit for eight months. I hope the EF priests do so.

  57. Cool Catholic says:

    People should put their money where their mouth is… in my parish the TLM started-up a few months ago, on an experimental basis, at the request of a small group of people. But when it comes to the practical details Fr Z mentions, those same people aren’t so keen when it means they themselves having to do things to keep the Mass going. People can support the TLM in many different ways and they need to snap out of the mindset that says “I don’t need to bother, someone else will do it”. Although monthly TLMs are still going ahead, their future is in doubt because of this lack of commitment.

  58. mamajen says:

    I basically agree with everything Centristian said. I don’t think that anyone should be kept from the EF if that is what they want, however it is not for everybody. I’m 30, and I grew up in a very traditional NO parish where we knelt at the altar rail for communion, communion was not allowed in the hands under any circumstances and female altar servers were not allowed. I was able to understand the priest and participate. That is the ideal for me. I had the NO all but memorized at a young age, and I used to wish I had been born a boy so I could become a priest. The mass just fascinated me, particularly because everything was done so reverently. I can understand the people who grew up with the EF missing it, and I would feel the same if I were no longer able to attend a NO mass. In fact, I have missed my childhood parish because I have never found another one where the NO was done as reverently.

    All that said, I can understand now where Father Z and other EF proponents are coming from. The EF provides a framework that is difficult to stray from. How many priests would be able to ad-lib in Latin? As people, including and especially priests, become more accustomed to the reverence that is built in to an EF mass, hopefully the NO would consequently become more reverent as well. I think once a priest is in that traditional, reverent “gear”, he is unlikely to switch to a completely different gear when he celebrates in his own language. Or so one would hope, anyway. I think that’s why my childhood parish was so special–we had an older priest who knew TLM.

    The Holy Spirit gave the apostles the gift of tongues so that everyone could hear God’s message in their own language. There was a time when Catholics learned Latin and it bridged language barriers. Times are different now. It’s an alien language to many of us, and would be difficult to learn (though I’m not saying I wouldn’t try). I just don’t see reverting back to Latin entirely, at least not in my lifetime, but I do hope that the increased adoption of EF would help improve the NO mass.

    I can see the wisdom of this. Thank you Father Z–your blog makes me think, whereas “holier-than-thou” fellow Catholics have made me bristle. Hearing it from a priest is different. I feel like I have learned and grown so much from reading your blog.

  59. albizzi says:

    Holy Father, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, BY NAME AND IN UNION WITH ALL THE BISHOPS OF THE WORLD, as She requested Sr Lucia.
    Despite all what was said and written until now, this has not yet been made in its entirety.
    In doing so, the huge problems the Chuch is facing now will be solved.

  60. leonugent2005 says:

    Maltese would you like authentic liturgical reform? Then join me in having masses offered for Archbishop Bugnini. Here is something that was said about him….professor Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed himself in even more forthright terms: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

    The scary thing about having these masses offered for the intention of liturgical reform is that you can’t predict how God will respond to them.

  61. Liz says:

    About His Excellency, Bishop Bruskewitz and what we all (in the diocese) heard at mass today before the sermon. God bless him!

  62. [My understanding is that, while Archbp. Broglio is – being a faithful man of the Church – open to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, as every ordinary should be, it is hard to identify a “stable group” within a community which is, by definition, not stable. Nevertheless, the Archdicoese has also made it clear that even regular “ad hoc” TLMs are possible, all things being equal.]

    Fr. Z: His Excellence Abp. Broglio is a great man of God, and I do not wish to say anything critical against him. Let me just say that my impression in running this through diocesean channels through the Bishops is that Summorum Pontificum is still almost completely unheard of at the military parish levels. Universae Ecclesiae is unheard of. I’ll shut up now.

  63. @ Dennis Martin:
    You make my argument for me, and I respectfully cite the private theology of Pope Benedict XVI as progressivist. While a liturgical conservative (if such descriptions are apt at all) he is a man of the Nouvelle Theologie through and through. I identify the partisans of the New Theology by the following marks:
    1. A tendency to over emphasize profane science in philosophy.
    2. A complete capitulation to the historico-critical method of Biblical exegesis (in the school of Bultmann, Raymond Brown, etc…) at the expense of the Fathers and Doctors.
    3. Glaring ommissions of the magisterium as taught between Leo XIII and Pius XII.
    4. Gratutitous references to the Greek/Eastern Fathers in attempting to place modernistic neo-mystical phrases into their teaching.
    5. Regard for Vatican II as a new Pentecost.
    6. High regard for Teilhard’s errors.
    7. Anthropocentrism in theology (Schillebeeckx’s mystery of man).
    8. A false ecumenism which is actually a path to relativism, indifferentism, and false irenicism.

    This is just my personal laundry list that is not attributable to any individual per se, but my observance of a general tendency to ‘the hermeneutic of discontinuity.’ I also agree with R. Brown that phenomenology cannot be credibly compared to Aristotelian thought which was venerable by the time of the Angelic Doctor’s appropriation of some of its philosophical construct. Phenomenology is rooted in much less stable soil and and loses concreteness in discussion of dogmatic subjects. Moreover, existentialism is condemned by Pius XII in Humani generis.
    You mention Monsignor Garrigou-LaGarange – he was no fan of the Nouvelle Theologie.

  64. But while many thought that Father Schwalm had exaggerated, little by little they conceded the right to cite the new definition of truth, and they more or less ceased defending the traditional definition of truth, as well as the conformity of judgment to intuitive being and the immutable laws of non-contradiction, of causality, etc. For them, the truth is no longer that which is, but that which is becoming and is constantly and always changing.

    Thus to cease to defend the traditional definition of truth by permitting it to be illusory, it is then necessary to substitute the vitalist and evolutionary. This then leads to complete relativism and is a very serious error.

    Moreover, this leads to saying what the enemies of the Church wish to lead us to say. When one reads their recent works, one sees that they are completely content and that they themselves propose interpretations of our dogmas, whether it be regarding original sin, cosmic evil, the Incarnation, Redemption, the Eucharist, the final universal reintegration, the cosmic Christ, the convergence of all religions toward a universal cosmic center.44

    One understands why the Holy Father in his recent speech published in the September 19, 1946, issue of L’Osservatore Romano, said, when speaking of the “new theology”: “If we were to accept such an opinion, what would become of the unchangeable dogmas of the Catholic Faith; and what would become of the unity and stability of that Faith?”
    Monsignor Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, Where is the New Theology Leading Us?, 1946

    Garrigou-Lagrange’s answer to his rhetorical question: right back to Modernism. And one must be in total denial to not see Fr. LaGrange’s explicit reference to Teilhard above.

  65. leonugent2005 says:

    Catholic Johnny I especially agree with your points #’s 4,5, and 8. It’s probably best if we dump Any mention of the Greek Fathers, Vatican 2, and ecumenism altogether. That way we could have the church back the way it was and people could stop fighting!

  66. Dennis Martin says:

    Robert Brown and Catholic Johnny,

    You make tendentious, in some cases patently false, claims, one after the other: about phenomenology’s place in the history of theology, about reducing Joseph Ratzinger to a Bonaventurian (knew nothing about Thomas? Absurd, utterly absurd claim), and one after another, your claims rest, apparently, on someone’s tendentious manual about “modernism” in the Catholic Church.

    Yes, there was and is modernism in the Catholic Church and it should be condemned. But finding it lurking under every corner, in the places you claim to find it is just plain wrongheaded. By crying wolf the way you do, you discredit yourselves when it comes to the real modernists.

    Guilt by association: someone approves of some aspect of Teilhard, therefore he’s in error because Teilhard was in error–nonsense.

    One of the two of you stated that Bugnini did not exceed his mandate if SC is not read in light of the tradition of the Church. Well, d’oh. How else may a Catholic read SC if not in light of the tradition of the Church? You admit that he exceeded his mandate, then. That some people read SC not in the tradition of the Church does not make their reading a Catholic reading or a reading against which the legitimacy of Bugnini’s actions may be assessed. Yet that’s what you do in order to try to claim, tendentiously, that Bugnini was given, by SC, a mandate to do what he did.

    He was not given such a mandate by SC. He exceeded it. Hammer Bugnini all you want, but be honest about SC if you want to be taken seriously theologically and historically.

    And the above are only a handful of the ways each point the two you made in response to me can be refuted. It would not be prudent to reply to the rest here.

    I am well enough read to know that Garrigou-Lagrange was no fan of Nouvelle Theologie. That Catholic Johnny don’t understand why I cited G-L is telling. I was making the point that G-L, the supposed great Neo-Thomist crusader against the eeeeeeeevvvvvvviiiiiiiilllllllllssss of the Nouvelle Theologie supervised Wojtyla’s thesis. Wojtyla’s project was to be faithful to a faithful Thomism while at the same time exploring the way the mystical tradition as found in John of the Cross could cross-fertilize neo-scholastic Thomism. Wojtyla shows exactly how one can faithfully draw from both streams, neo-thomist and personalist/Nouvelle/Communio. So too does Ratzinger.

    And your response: on liturgy Ratzinger’s conservative, otherwise, Progressivist.

    That’s the sort of pretzel theology that shows just how distant from any real digesting of either the Neo-Thomist or the Nouvelle Theologie you are. You have talking points and little more.

    But there’s little point in extending the conversation. We obviously live in two different universes. I do my best to live in the real theological world, where I can admire Thomas, value the Leonine Thomist revival but also admire Augustine, Bonaventure, Guardini, Ratzinger, Wojtyla, and Stein. I don’t have to pit Nouvelle Theologie against Thomism, Bonaventure against Thomas. I can critique excesses of both the NT and the Neo-Thomists, and I can see in Benedict’s marvelous Jesus of Nazareth volumes a master theologian at work, sifting everything to find what is of enduring value instead of needing to have a straw man to knock down all the time.

    If you consider Benedict, theologically, to be a progressivist, then I’m sorry, you really have not grasped what one of the finest theologians of the millennium, worthy to be compared to Thomas himself, is up to, not just liturgically, but theologically. He learned from John Paul II, he taught John Paul II and, in Fides et Ratio and a host of other writings, both of them have offered a response to Modernity that is nonpareil. They could not have done so without the Leoninine revival of Thomas. They could not have done so without the reception of phenomenology through Christian lenses (Wojtyla rejects Scheler’s phenomenology and then applies phenomenology, critically, Christianly [exactly as Thomas applied Aristotle, Christianly, critically], to the human person, producing thereby the blueprint for Humanae Vitae–progressivist my foot.) They could not have done so without having drunk deeply from the WHOLE tradition instead of getting bogged down in “my mama Thomas can beat up your mama Phenomenology.”

  67. dominic1955 says:

    The Nouvelle Theologie was a break from the theology of St. Thomas which had been so prominently promoted by the Church before the Council. Even the non-heretical strains seem to be a rather profound waste of time, an attempt to reinvent the wheel. Ite ad Thomam.

    As to the liturgy, the promotion of the TLM is the sine qua non of an actual restoration of the life of the Church, along with other traditional liturgies in their respective Churches/Orders/Dioceses. Most of the issues brought up in favor of the NO are accidentals which are not absolutely impossible in the TLM framework. The main problem is not with the accidentals, it is with the rite itself and its decidedly deficient presentation of the Catholic Faith in its rituals, calendar, text and arrangement thereof. It is a made up liturgy, Bugnini and his boys cut n’ pasted it together partly from the old, partly from other liturgical traditions (East and West) with a generous helping of whole-cloth made up additions.

    I’ve been to a number of “exemplary” celebrations of the NO, and each time I wondered why we didn’t just do the old Mass. The NO is so lacking, in this case ritualistically, and it just makes it all the more obvious when people begin to celebrate it in such a way that it approachs the TLM. This is especially obvious if you have lived the TLM for a while and you know exactly what it lacks. People who have never lived the TLM might be blown away by a tradded up NO, but from a more objective view, it just needs to be done away with. Eventually, over many years I’m sure, but some day it needs to be ended.

    The TLM might be older, but the NO, which came later, is definitely not an improvement on it. We might be in the unfortunate state in which it is the status quo amongst the largest section of the Church but if we really want to rebuild the Faith, we would do well to be rid of the liturgical vehicle for that Faith’s destruction. No amount of aesthetic aides will “fix” the NO, like I said at Rorate, its like sticking a Mercedes hood ornament on a Trabant.

  68. Dennis, Fr. Johannes Dormann, a professor of missionary theology in Europe during the 60s-80s wrote a trilogy entitled Pope John Paul II’s Theological Journey to the Prayer Meeting of Religions in Assisi. Professor Dorman, being on the receiving end of Vatican II’s bold new “consciousness” of what it means to be the People of God, analyzed the theology of Pope John Paul II with a greater degree of scrutiny than anyone I have ever heard of. In his analysis, he shows not what got Fr. Wojtyla a passing grade in Rome as a student of G-L, but the full-blown theology he himself developed when he presented his work Sources of Renewal: Putting the Reforms of Vatican II into Practice. Fr. Dormann’s analysis is that through the appropriations suggested by the New Theology, and Teilhard is a primary source, then Cardinal Wojtyla arrived at a thesis of universal salvation. In Sources of Renewal, Cardinal Wojtyla sates that he was writing then what he had always believed.
    It is no secret that Fr. Wojtyla was very influenced by Henri De Lubac, as you yourself have suggested. DeLubac was an outspoken defender of Teilhard.

    A brief chronicle.
    1. Pope St. Pius X excommunicates Fr. George Tyrrell, S.J. for teaching Evolutionism.
    2. Pascendi is promulgated condemning Modernism as the synthesis of all heresies. In this encyclical, he cites Evolution as the chief tenet of Modernism.
    3. Teilhard subjects Catholic symbols and syntax to Evolutionism, and his works are suppressed by the Jesuits. Etienne Gilson famously dubs Teilardism “theology fiction.”
    4. Pope Pius XII unequivocally condemns Teilhardism in Humani generis, 1950.
    5. Teilhard’s works placed on the Index.
    6. Vatican Council II drafts Gaudium et Spes which includes this statement:
    Thus, the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one. In consequence there has arisen a new series of problems, a series as numerous as can be, calling for efforts of analysis and synthesis. GS 5

    From this point it is not difficult to trace the trajectory of what was condemned by St. Pius X as affirmed in Vatican II. Can the council speak for a universal way of seeing ‘reality’ as evolutionary? On what basis could the council make such a startling statement? And what is being proposed to address these new series of problems? And what did John Paul II mean with this startling announcement in Redemptor hominis?

    Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council, which John XXIII convened and opened and which was later successfully concluded and perseveringly put into effect by Paul VI, whose activity I was myself able to watch from close at hand.

    What is being proposed by these evolutionary changes? And are these not the fruits of the Nouvelle Theologie? As Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange warned, a route right back to Modernism?

  69. Precentrix says:


    There is at least one chaplain of the US armed forces who celebrates the EF.

  70. Precentrix: I am aware of one US Navy Chaplain offering the EF at Camp LeJuene. Is that the one you are referring to?

  71. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards:

    The experience of Mass as you describe it mirrors various experiences of my own during the decade that I was affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X. High Mass (the higher the better) was considered the ideal (for Sunday worship) and the faithful were, in fact, encouraged to learn the chants and to sing them. In some places, in fact, the choir would actually disperse throughout the congregation to encourage congregations to sing.

    At established priories, the SSPX began to introduce and then to insist upon the Dialogue Mass for weekdays, eschewing the “silent” form of Low Mass as “unliturgical”. The rubrics for the congregation began to change, too; they began to make more sense. There was no longer this constant, inexplicable up and down any longer. Once, during a visit to a priory in Quebec, I was delightfully suprised to see that not only did the weekday Dialogue Mass obtain, but that the Epistle and Gospel were read in French, not in Latin!

    This…reform of the counter-reform…we were told, was at the insistence of Econe. Apparently, the presentation of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Europe is rather more liturgically sophisticated than it is in America. So we were told, at any rate, and seeing the changes as they began to be implemented it was clear that they were right: our American way of doing things was dramatically deficient by comparison to the European way.

    European SSPX priests stationed in America were, evidently, appalled by our backwards and completely non-participatory manner of worshipping at Mass. The sight of worshippers genuflecting in their pews while being sprinkled or receiving blessings, kneeling during parts of the Mass that they should have stood during, not singing or responding at all, and saying their rosaries during Mass, absolutley wigged the Europeans out to the point where they decided that enough was enough, and that the American rubrics and habits had to be eradicated.

    The “American Way” didn’t go without a fight, however. It seemed to me that in any given environment, half the congregation complied, while the other half “staged a nutty” as a certain sacerdotal blogger would say, protesting the changes by continuing to do things in the American style (in very pronounced fashion). It got very ugly at times, in fact, but the SSPX refused to budge on the matter. They were going to drag American congregations, kicking and screaming if need be (and that’s exactly how it went down) toward a more participatory mode of assisting at Mass. The opposition called it a “more liberal” mode. Imagine accusing the Lefebvrist ruling class of being “liberal”.

    I said goodbye to the SSPX during the height of that particular battle (not because of it by any means), so I have no idea who won out in the end. I never liked the French, to be honest, and their uppity little “you Americans” attitude drove me to drink, but as far as this particular battle went, I was fully in their camp. When you’re right you’re right, after all…even when you’re French.

    What these European Lefebvrists advocated and introduced was, admittedly, a satisfying liturgical experience. You left Mass content that you had been a part of the liturgical worship, and not merely a silent observer of it. The experience began to be more of that of a true congregation worshipping together, and no longer that of an audience watching a show.

    That having been said, the legitimate reforms of the liturgy have extended even further now and there are things, I believe, that the Church just is not willing to retreat on. The use of the vernacular language where it makes sense to employ it; the ability of the laity to serve as lectors and presenters of the gifts of bread and wine; and, for clergy, a format that can be flexible when it needs to be. I believe that the Church can be persuaded to accept liturgical solemnity that is appropriate for the Roman Rite, provided that reforms such as these are not sacrificed. I think that if we insist upon retreating from those reforms, relatively few will be interested. That is particularly true if we present the Extraordinary Form in the “American” style.

    As I find myself, now, attending the “EF” in either of the two diocesan churches that offer it (plenty of empty seats at both sites, by the way), I see that the American ways that the SSPX sought to expunge in their own enclaves are very much de rigeur (as the French would say). The congregation are constantly up and down. They are silent. They do not even respond in English when the priest introduces the Holy Gospel in English:

    Priest: “The Lord be with you.”

    Congregation: *crickets chirp*

    Priest: “A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark”

    Congregation: *more crickets chirp*

    The only time they make noise is when they put their kneelers up to leave their pews to go to the Communion rail. When Mass is sung, they do not sing along, even to the familiar “Mass of the Angels” that everyone knows (which is the only Mass that is ever sung, incidentally). When I sing along I get dirty looks. I’m not kidding. Today, as I sang the Gloria along with the choir, a man sitting about four rows in front of me–on the other side of the aisle, no less–actually turned completely around and grimaced at me for a good 10 seconds or so.

    So Henry, you’ve apparently got a good thing going, wherever it is you happen to be. As far as your young priests expressing an interest in saying the “EF”, I’m aware of only one in this diocese who is rumored to be flirting with the idea. For the sake of the traddies, I hope he’s more than flirting with the idea because two of the four priests in the area who have made themselves available to celebrate the Tridentine Mass were suspended for…misbehaving. Of the two remaining, one is older and infirm and is now doing both Masses at both sites that offer it because the other priest simply has no interest in offering the Tridentine Mass on a regular basis. I fear that our Latin Mass community are going to find themselves up a creek soon.

    Perhaps if the Latin Mass community could persuade itself that certain reforms are legitimate and acceptable (and that they would have eventually materialized, anyway, even without Vatican II), they could understand that Mass in the Ordinary Form can also be a “TLM”, even if only the Canon is in Latin. Perhaps if they could accept the Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated with traditional dignity as a perfectly splendid expression of the Roman Rite (as the Pope shows us it is), they would have more priests willing to offer “traditional” Masses, more churches at which they are offered, and more Catholics being exposed to proper expressions of the Roman Rite.

    For the most part, however, they can’t bring themselves to accept anything but the pre-Conciliar rites, and so when there are no more priests around who are willing to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, they may find themselves wishing they hadn’t so stubbornly tethered themselves to that form. Once it’s gone (and it will be one day), we’ll have only the typical, all vernacular, versus populum, bad music and foolishness form of the “Novus Ordo” to fall back on. There will be no traditional Roman liturgy, in any form, at all. Just the silliness.

    The beneficiaries of such a sad development? Those Eastern Rite churches, I suspect, that we’ve heard are around here somewhere but aren’t quite sure where. Forget Latin, folks…start brushing up on your Ukranian.

  72. Moscatelli says:

    “I’ve been to a number of “exemplary” celebrations of the NO, and each time I wondered why we didn’t just do the old Mass. The NO is so lacking, in this case ritualistically, and it just makes it all the more obvious when people begin to celebrate it in such a way that it approachs the TLM. This is especially obvious if you have lived the TLM for a while and you know exactly what it lacks. People who have never lived the TLM might be blown away by a tradded up NO, but from a more objective view, it just needs to be done away with. Eventually, over many years I’m sure, but some day it needs to be ended”

    It is now one and a half year that I have been blessed with the possibility of participating every Sunday in the “old” Mass, and I couldn’t agree more with the statement above: when you have got acquainted with the “old” Mass, there is nothing as sad as the new Mass dressed up as the true “Old” Mass. Somebody said (also at Rorate) that a “dressed up” Novus Ordo Mass is as getting your robbed wallet back empty. I totally agree.

  73. Centristian,

    I cannot comment on your past observations of SSPX Masses.

    However, I think your sad experience with silent low Masses celebrated by elderly priests is definitely a minority one. I have attended lots of EF Masses in numerous places, never one celebrated by a priest anyone would call elderly.

    So I think my experience with beautiful participatory EF Masses celebrated by dynamic young priests, and with dynamic young congregations, is the majority situation in the U.S. at the present time. These folks–lay and clerical–look to the future with no memory of the past and its practices. Indeed, a substantial number of the most active young people in my Latin Mass community are converts.

    And the situation with young TLM priests in my locale is by no means the exception. Look at the next dozen TLM photos you see on the internet. Odds are that almost all the priests shown will be young. And seminarians in several U.S. seminarians tell me that most of their fellows are interested in the TLM, and their interest in it will also shape their NO ars celebranda (all according to Benedict’s evident plan).

    So fear not for the future. The handwriting’s already written on the wall. On the young faces of those young folks on both sides of the communion rail.

  74. Maltese says:

    @leonugent: Maltese would you like authentic liturgical reform? Then join me in having masses offered for Archbishop Bugnini…professor Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed himself in even more forthright terms: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

    I like your Hildebrand quote; too true! Personally, though, I think we should stave off “reforming” the TLM until the storm has passed. Sure, it has been slowly modified through the centuries, but when the current Church is overrun by heretical Modernists, from hilt to holt, perhaps we should let it be, for now.

  75. mamajen says:

    Centristian’s experiences with TLM are very similar to my own. It’s difficult to say what is the exception or the norm without having traveled widely. In my part of the country young priests are very rare (as are young parishioners). The extremely traditional people in my area have been cliquey and unwelcoming to the point that one priest of such a parish would not advertise the parish in any church directories lest the “wrong” people turn up. Sad. I was surprised when I traveled to the Midwest to find several very young and very good priests and vibrant parishes with lots of young families. It’s not a great idea to decide what works for everybody based on our own perceptions or experiences. This is why I defer to “the experts” and then try to understand what they recommend. I can appreciate that some get so much from TLM that they think NO pales in comparison, but I personally haven’t had that experience. I don’t agree with Centristian that TLM will cease to be (that would be very unfortunate), nor do I believe that there is no place for a reverent NO. I do see how encouraging wider use of TLM can benefit everybody, however. I think the Latin language is a more practical tool for achieving a return to reverence than the impossible job of individual oversight of every priest saying the mass in his own language only.

  76. Maltese says:

    …its like sticking a Mercedes hood ornament on a Trabant., dominic1955, you need to trademark that phrase!

    May we add the proverbial lipstick on a pig, or, say, a leather binding to a Danielle Steel novel?

    You can have a many ciboriums, a grand Cathedral, and a well vested Priest saying the NO, but I would take a wood shed with a makeshift altar over this if the Priest were saying the TLM.

    The Cathedral “on the great plane” in the words of the atheist Ingmar Bergman (referring to Chartres, which he genuinely admired), was built with the TLM (little different then than it is now) and not some “banal, on the spot” made-up, 1960’s liturgy (isn’t everything from that decade glorious?).

    Though Chartres took some centuries to build (burning down as many as 18 times in its 1,500+ history); it is inconsequential to the Traditional Latin Mass, which took many more centuries to “build,” and is the Praxis around which the laborer on Chartres spent his life to build.

    Yet the insurmountable arrogance and hubris of prelates following Vatican II estimated that they could trash-can the TLM and manufacture a Trabant in it’s stead!

  77. leonugent2005 says:

    Centristian, you mentioned that the Epistle and Gospel were read in French, not in Latin! I went to a TLM once where the Epistle and Gospel were read in Latin and there was no reading of them in English. The priest then announced that he would not be preaching on the readings. I once had a co-worker tell me “you Catholics don’t believe in the bible” I wonder where on earth he ever got that idea! [Ridiculous. What this is based on is the absurd idea that every sermon, no matter what, must be based on the readings of the day. Furthermore, the multiplication of readings did NOTHING to enhance preaching. Furthermore, this whole misguided notion feeds this suggestion that Mass is primarily didactic. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.]

  78. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards and mamajen:

    You’re both right, of course; I suppose my take on the situation is colored by my own experiences of a limited geographical area. I can’t believe, however, that I am all that hugely wide of the mark, though, about the limited appeal of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass amongst the clergy. I don’t think most of them even consider it much less desire to celebrate it, be they older or younger.

    If my impression of matters was so unique I don’t think we would read so many posts to this combox from so many suffering traditionalists who complain that there are no Tridentine Masses offered in their dioceses, or from people who say that they would love to go to a “TLM” on Sunday but the only thing available to them is a Lefebvrist chapel, or from people who do go to a Tridentine Mass every Sunday but have to drive two hours one way to get to it. It’s possible, I suppose, that all of these people live in…Guam, or the Yukon or in some other terribly remote location, but I suspect that is not the case.

    Henry, let me say that I have no complaint about the (one) priest (left) who celebrates these two Tridentine Masses every Sunday in my diocese. By “older” I meant about 65 or so. He is infirm, but he is not by any means perambulating about with a walker or anything. He needs help up and down the steps, that’s all. And he’s wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. His homilies are magnificent. His homily today was very touching and well presented: you felt like you were on the boat with Christ and the Apostles in the raging storm. No issues with the priest, at all. I fully believe that if he had things his way, the people would respond and sing. But they don’t. Because American “old-school” traditionalists do not. And that’s what we’ve got here. I’m glad your experience is different.

    Now, as I type this it occurs to me that there are traditionalists reading this comment thread who would like to put an army boot to my backside by now for complaining at all. “He lives within a 15 minute drive of TWO Tridentine Mass sites,” they’re exclaiming, “and this idiot has the nerve to nitpick about people not singing?!?” Well, actually, if you really want to get upset with me there are, in fact, three such sites within a 15 minute drive of my home, if you count the SSPX chapel. To make matters worse for me, one of the Masses is at 9:30am and the other is at 1:30pm, so I can easily make it to both…and today I did attend both, actually; the first to fulfill my obligation, the second just because. Now they’ll really want to kill me.

    I should therefore make it clear that it is not as if I am ungrateful to have these two Masses available to me as an option each Sunday; I am. I most certainly am, of course. Compared to what my own parish offers every Sunday, they’re heavenly. If, however, one day, there should no longer be a priest available to offer those two Masses according to the 1962 Missal, it might be a comfort for many of those who attend them to know that they would have something better than what they’re avoiding to fall back on, might it not?

    What if there were priests who were willing to offer a “traditional” Catholic Mass in a “traditional” Catholic way but were content to do so using the current Missal? Wouldn’t that be better than having to go back to Fr. Happy and Sister Preaches and holding hands and silly songs and guitars and praise and teams of lay ministers and…you get the idea. What if “traditional” doesn’t have to = “Tridentine”?

    I understand fully Father Z’s position concerning the gravitational pull of the one form on the other. All these months of following his blog has not left me ignorant of that notion, of course. And while I would be a fool, indeed, to patently disagree with a priest who can appreciate both the Tridentine Mass AND the Goo Goo Dolls, I only mean to suggest that the pre-Conciliar form of Mass is a hard sell. It’s a product for which there seems to be a rather limited market.

    “Traditional”, on the other hand, is a product that can appeal to a much wider market, and the Ordinary Form of Mass is just as capable of being a vehicle for “traditional” as the Extraordinary Form is. I just wouldn’t want to put it in the heads of people that in order to purvey “traditional”, only the 1962 Missal can be used, and that if you use the current Missal, you must necessarily convey the opposite of “traditional”. That’s just what I’m afraid ends up happening however.

    That’s what I mean to say in all of this; I certainly don’t mean to complain about the Mass that I go to, especially when so many hunger for something that I am able to gorge myself on. My apologies to anyone who I may have annoyed by my criticisms.

  79. Mike says:

    Thank you Father for posting this! My 15 year old son and I serve in a group of servers in the Latin Mass Community in our diocese. I am an installed acolyte and also serve in that capacity in my parish. It is nice that the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is provided here and that I have the chance to attend even daily if I like. My metro area, that is actually two distinct dioceses, has an FFSP parish, but in the other diocese. I do attend Mass there frequently but generally serve the Masses that are said in my own diocese. It has been a blessing to have discovered the beauty of the Mass in the EF. What a shame it took so long as I was only 4 or 5 years old when it was stopped in the diocese in which I grew up as a child. My parents did not seek it out and when I asked them about it they would tell me that they preferred the Mass, “in a language they could understand where the priest didn’t turn his back on the people.” As I have grown up I find that there is a beauty in the ancient rite that produced many a saint where the meaning and symbolism is very deep indeed. I attend the Mass in the OF but attend many more EF Masses at a ratio of probably 3 or 4:1 (EF:OF). I have discussed the EF with my pastor. He has attended an FSSP workshop and now we wait. There is a group of people that are interested in having the EF in my parish but I walk a fine line as to how many times I can actually mention it without losing the effectiveness of my requests. I pray and I wait. Brick by brick.

  80. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    The Novus Ordo was promulgated by a Pope, and instituted by 99% of the bishops WORLDWIDE. In less than the drop of a hat, the Mass of Paul VI was said in every cathedral. If that’s not the Magisterium, what is??? You??

  81. albizzi says:

    Cheesesteak Expert,
    Are you ignoring that the NO was imposed by the bishops who said that the latin mass was strictly forbidden? In doing so, they made an unforgivable abuse of power since our Holy Father declared that the latin mass never had been abrogated.

  82. Centristian,

    Certainly, different experiences put different things in the eyes of different beholders. In this case, the different situations in the U.S. include at least the following two.

    (1) Areas where the Church, and its priests and people, are predominately older. Many churches are sparsely populated on Sundays, and some parishes and churches are closing. The faith has not been kept fully alive in these areas, and vocations of young priests fall well below the replacement level. Not so many young people are seen in church, and here I’m not surprised if EF Masses are attended more by older traditional types, the Masses themselves frequently celebrated in the quiet style that in the English-speaking Church is said to stem largely from the Irish experience, when Mass had to be celebrated in secret, therefore as quietly as possible.

    (2) Areas like mine where the Church is young and vibrant. Churches burst at the seam on Sundays, new parishes and Catholic schools are being established. There are few elderly priests, and new vocations are running well above the number required for replacement. Perhaps most people rarely see an older priest (close to retirement age) at the altar, and all parishes of size have a dynamic young associate in his first decade or so after ordination; at vacation time seminarians are seen in surplice and cassock at the EF altar. The median age of those at EF Masses is probably under 35 (lowered by lots of young children) many of them active also in their parishes as choir members, RE and RCIA teachers, at Eucharistic adoration or daily OF Mass. Their “active participation” and their expectations at Mass are probably influenced by their OF backgrounds. The Sunday TLM is celebrated is celebrated with all the sights and sounds, bells and smells I indicated, as an elevating experience to buoy one for the whole week.

    In addition to demographic differences, I believe these different situations in the U.S. church reflect very different qualities of episcopal leadership in different dioceses. Consequently two churches (with regard to faith and liturgy) will probably be with us for awhile.

  83. mamajen says:

    Centristian, I wasn’t criticizing you – in my area the TLM is the same kind of experience that you’ve described. I, too, live 15 minutes from a parish where TLM is done weekly, but I choose not to go for a variety of reasons. You bring up some valid points, and you’re right – it will be a “tough sell” for many, unfortunately. I have met traditionalists who have this “what’s good for the goose…” attitude and would force everyone into nothing but TLM if they could, but that’s not the way to go about it. I don’t think that’s what Father Z is advocating either. Restoring the liturgy, whatever the form, will be a lengthy process that needs to start with the priests. Like I said before, if all priests are saying the EF regularly, then they will be more reverent in everything else they do, too. That’s why we should all support this, even if our own experiences with the TLM haven’t been that satisfying. I understand now how it’s the key to everything. We can tweak the NO and come up with new rules all we want, but as long as we have priests who have no love and respect for what they’re doing, we will continue to be adrift at sea. The Latin mass is a valuable tool.

  84. PA mom says:

    I have not yet experienced this EF although it sounds worth the effort. I would describe my parish as becoming more traditional in little ways (including the new church building), but the school lags way behind. I thought I would start by encouraging our HSA (home & school assoc) to finance new, more traditional and visible Stations of the Cross (ours are painted white against a white wall???) with a starter donation from me for the chapel that the school uses. It will be a couple years (I have a new baby) but then maybe take on the music. It is terrible. All of the top 5 most spoofed on this site :)

  85. leonugent2005 says:

    Father Z, I actually have no complaint about the readings read only in Latin and then not preached on. This mass was done properly, a fact I mentioned when I discused it with my friends. I may not have preferred this type of mass but it was done exactly as the tradition specifies. I was glad that I was there to witness it.

  86. Centristian says:


    “Centristian, I wasn’t criticizing you…”

    I took no umbrage to your remarks; no worries. I just wanted to be sure that I hadn’t offended anyone else. I realized afterwards how my criticisms were apt to come across as callous and ungrateful to alot of the readership of this blog.

    I agree with you, and with Father Z, that the celebration of the Extraordinary Form would certainly influence how priests celebrate Mass in the Ordinary Form. No argument at all. I only suggest that there are priests who would never be persuaded to say the “old” Mass who might, on the other hand, desire to say the Ordinary Form in a more solemn and traditional way befitting the dignity of the Roman Rite, but don’t understand that that’s precisely what is meant to happen. Time to open up their eyes on that score.

    I don’t think you necessarily have to introduce the “EF” in every case in order to produce a better “OF”. And I also feel that a worthily celebrated “OF” Mass counts as a “Traditional Mass” every bit as much as an “EF” Mass does. As I have said, the Pope’s example has proven as much.

    That’s all I mean to say.

  87. leonugent2005 says:

    Centristian the way the OF should be offered is proclaimed here regularly…..Say the black do the red. In fact there are exactly 3 ways to offer a mass…1) The right way 2) the wrong way 3) the church’s way. The reason were in the mess were in is because nearly everyone chooses option 1

  88. leonugent2005 says:

    As regards homilies being didatic and sermons not I’m not sure I see it that way but that’s just a difference of opinion. Imagine a world where after the Gospel is read Father will now get up and talk about whatever is on his mind!!!! In many ways that would be useful for me.

  89. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    To which “Holy Father” are you referring? Pope Paul VI clearly thought the rite he promulgated should replace that of Pius V, and Pope Paul VI certainly imposed it, as did 99% of his brother bishops. So big deal if the current Pope loosened things up a bit, what’s to stop the next Pope from reversing that and being even more hard line that Paul VI?

    Answer: Nothing. Nada. Zilch. So get used to it.

  90. leonugent2005 says:

    Cheesesteak Expert the next Holy Father has no need to reverse anything or be more hard lined than Paul VI. He only has to explain to us the meaning of the words, mutually enriching.

  91. leonugent2005 says:

    robtbrown you said Any Catholic can be faithful to the Church without endorsing anything that happened since 1965. This is such a relief since I don’t endorse anything that happened since the 7th ecumenical council

  92. Mark Windsor says:

    This is a lot more difficult than people seem to think. We tried this at my parish. After a year of trying, the schola closed down and the monthly Vespers was discontinued. The Vespers project was in a traditional form of English as we were not allowed to use Latin. Even that failed.

    When the priests are disinterested, nothing is going to change.

  93. robtbrown says:

    Dennis Martin,

    Because you combined responses to me with someone else, I’m not so sure which of your comments are intended for me, so I’ll just address what I guess to be mine.

    1.I am not a Traditionalist. I am by intention, education, and theological teaching experience a Thomist. I also think that any follower of St Thomas must of necessity be involved both in Ressourcement and Aggiornamento. Add to that my opinion that, following Veterum Sapientia, Latin liturgy is very important in the life of the Church, and you might have a better idea of where I stand.

    2.St thomas did not apply Aristotle to Revelation. The philosophical foundation of St Thomas’ theology is a synthesis of the thought of Aristotle and Plato, a marriage of the four causes (Aristotle) with ontological participation (Plato). Although this is manifest in most of St Thomas’ mature thought, it is most evident in the Summa Contra Gentiles and the Liber de Causis. Much work was done some time ago by such men as Gilson and Fabro on the importance of Platonic influence in the thought of St Thomas. I might also add a book by one of my professors: Booth’s Aristotelian Aporetic Ontology in Islamic and Christian Thinkers.

    Such terms as neo thomist or Leonine thomists might be useful for a general idea of certain historical trends, but that’s as far as I would go. I doubt that I would place Garrigou LaGrange in either category (save the time in which he lived). Dominicans have studied St Thomas for centuries—Leo XIII’s Aeterni Patris mainly triggered interest by non Dominicans. Further, if I am to apply Neo Thomism to anyone, it would be those who attempted some synthesis of St Thomas with contemporary philosophy. Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Marechal, even Cardinal Mercier would be in that category. In my experience, many of the so-called Neo-Thomists deny the Real Distinction, which disqualifies them as Thomists.

    4. Can you name one work by JRatzinger that employs St Thomas’ method of theology or is a commentary on any text of St Thomas? NB: Veritatis Splendor is usually considered to have three distinct parts: The first was authored by JPII, the second, which concerns malum intrinsicum and is manifestly the thought of St Thomas had Fr Servais Pinckaers op as the primary author, the third part is usually attributed to Cardinal Ratzinger.

    5.JRatzinger is well known for his knowledge of St Bonaventure. He wrote on St B’s theology of history for his habilitatio, during which research he also became familiar with Joachim di Fiore (whose errors are relevant to the contemporary situation). And, if memory serves, JRatzinger also produced a work on the priesthood according to St Bonaventure.

    6. I never said that Jratzinger was a Progressive, so I won’t address that matter except to say that I don’t think he is. I do think that he, like many others (incl yours truly) have objections to Counter Reformation theology. I recommend Congar’s book on history of theology that points out the flaws of the CR approach.

    7.I do, however, think that de Lubac was a Progressive. I have read several of de Lubac’s works during doctoral research some years ago, among which are Catholicism, Le Surnaturel, and The Mystery of the Supernatural. Catholicism is probably the best of the three. Of course, it was Le Surnaturel that caused deL’s silencing. The third book tries to clarify deL’s idea of desiderium naturale.

    Although I applaud deL’s attempts to return the concept of Church to more than its Counter Reformation notion as primarily a juridical society, nevertheless, I still have objections to his thought. First, I object to his concept of man that includes man’s supernatural end. DeL is quite correct in objecting to the concept of grace as an extrinsic substance, but he doesn’t adopt St Thomas’ notion of it as a supernatural accident, a Real Relationj. From what I have read, the deL approach blurs the distinction between nature and grace. Further, all such theologies that overemphasize finality are hospitable to various strains of Human Evolution because they emphasize finality at the expense of formal efficient cause. Thus his endorsement of Teilhard was more than just an example of French SJ comaradarie.

    Second, deL seems to have maintained that he was a Thomist. Like von Balthasar, I think that deL was attempting a synthesis of Augustinian-Ignatian theology. If you’re familiar with the Ignatian (Suarez and Molina) on how God moves the soul, you can see its incompatibility with the thought of St Thomas.

    8.Although there is something to be said about your eclectic approach (Guardini, Phenomenology, etc), nonetheless, it must be understood other than St Thomas (exc perhaps Scotus and Bonaventure) none intended to produce a scientific approach to theology. St Thomas did not intend merely to say things about certain Christian Truths but rather express them scientifically, maintaining a golden mean that gives nature and grace, form and matter, reason and Revelation their respective due. Keep in mind the medieval maxim: Error is found not in what someone affirms but rather in what is denied (explicitly or implicitly).

    9. It is certainly true that SC must be read in light of Tradition. On the other hand, as I said above, to say that SC must be read in light of Tradition is to say that the was not written very well. Anyone who says that there are not ambiguities in SC has not taken the time to read it. I have often pointed out on this blog that Chapter IV on the Divine Office is a mess.

  94. robtbrown says:


    Catholics are obligated sub poena peccati to believe in the Immaculate Conception, which was promulgated long after the 7th Ecu council.

    If you know anything since 1965 that Catholics are obligated to believe, what is it?

  95. robtbrown says:

    Cheesesteak Expert says:

    The Novus Ordo was promulgated by a Pope, and instituted by 99% of the bishops WORLDWIDE. In less than the drop of a hat, the Mass of Paul VI was said in every cathedral. If that’s not the Magisterium, what is??? You??

    I already pointed out your error, but I guess I’ll have to do it again.

    The Magisterium (Magister: teacher) is the Teaching Office of the Church. The Missal was promulgated by the Sanctifying Office. Now there is a certain relationship between the two because in the promulgation of the Missal the infallible Papal Magisterium protects the rite from heresy and invalidity (cf. the principle of negative governance). That having been said, the fact that the mass was ordered to be said everywhere has nothing to do with the Magisterium.

  96. robtbrown says:

    Cheesesteak Expert says:

    To which “Holy Father” are you referring? Pope Paul VI clearly thought the rite he promulgated should replace that of Pius V, and Pope Paul VI certainly imposed it, as did 99% of his brother bishops. So big deal if the current Pope loosened things up a bit, what’s to stop the next Pope from reversing that and being even more hard line that Paul VI?

    Answer: Nothing. Nada. Zilch. So get used to it.

    Juridically, nothing will stop the next pope from being more hard line than Paul VI, just as nothing will stop him from pressing forward with more extensive use of the 1962 Missal.

  97. leonugent2005 says:

    robtbrown I see that I may have scandalized you so let me reassure you that I believe in the Immaculate Conception. In fact I have a debate about this with friends of mine who are in the Orthodox church, but that’s another blog. As far as what is to be believed by Catholics since 1965, the one thing that comes to mind is the Second Vatican Council. Saint Pius X pray for us! [The “Second Vatican Council” is to be “believed”. So, is Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon… V2 was one Council among many Councils and it was hardly the most important. Holy Church did not begin in 1965,]

  98. robtbrown says:


    No, you didn’t scandalize me.

    Although I mentioned 1965 because it was the close of the Council, I’ll nevertheless ask: What is there in VatII that you (or I) must believe?

  99. Cheesesteak Expert says:


    You make it seem as if the Magisterial Office is second door on the right, across from the Sanctifying Office. Not sure how you can draw the lines so hard, but be that as it may, here are some thoughts from the reigning Pontiff at the time, which is usually the place to start when finding out what the Church teaches, no?

    The Allocution of Pope Paul VI to the Consistory of Cardinals on 24 May 1976

    The Pope’s Allocution

    On the one hand there are those who, under the pretext of a greater fidelity to the Church and the Magisterium, systematically refuse the teaching of the Council itself, its application and the reforms that stem from it,
    Discredit is cast upon the authority of the Church in the name of a Tradition to which respect is professed only materially and verbally. The faithful are drawn away from the bonds of obedience to the See of Peter and to their rightful Bishops; today’s authority is rejected in the name of yesterday’s.

    And the fact is all the more serious in that the opposition of which We are speaking is not only encouraged by some priests, but is led by a Prelate, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who, nevertheless, still has Our respect.

    It is so painful to take note of this: but how can We not see in such an attitude -whatever may be these people’s intentions -the placing of themselves outside obedience and communion with the Successor of Peter and therefore outside the Church?

    For this, unfortunately, is the logical consequence, when, that is, it is held as preferable to disobey with the pretext of preserving one’s faith intact, and of working in one’s own way for the preservation of the Catholic Church, while at the same time refusing to give her effective obedience. And this is said openly.

    It is even affirmed that the Second Vatican Council is not binding…that the faith would also be in danger because of the reforms and post-conciliar directives; that one has the duty to disobey in order to preserve certain traditions.

    What traditions? Is it for this group, not the Pope, not the College of Bishops, not the Ecumenical Council, to decide which among the innumerable traditions must be considered as the norm of faith!

    As you see, Venerable Brethren, such an attitude sets itself up as judge of that divine will which placed Peter and his lawful Successors at the head of the Church to confirm the brethren in the faith, and to feed the universal flock, and which established him as the guarantor and custodian of the deposit of faith.

    It is in the name of Tradition that We ask all Our sons and daughters, all the Catholic communities, to celebrate with dignity and fervor the renewed liturgy.

    The adoption of the new Ordo Missae is certainly not left to the free choice of priests or faithful. The Instruction of 14 June 1971 has provided, with the authorization of the Ordinary, for the celebration of the Mass in the old form only by aged and infirm priests, who offer the divine Sacrifices sine populo.

    The new Ordo was promulgated to take the place of the old, after mature deliberation, following upon the requests of the Second Vatican Council.

    In no different way did Our Holy Predecessor Pius V make obligatory the Missal reformed under his authority, following the Council of Trent.

    With the same supreme authority that comes from Christ Jesus, we call for the same obedience to all the other liturgical, disciplinary and pastoral reforms which have matured in these years in the implementation of the Council decrees. Any initiative which tries to obstruct them cannot claim the prerogative of rendering a service to the Church: in fact it causes the Church serious damage.

    Various times, directly and through Our collaborators and other friendly persons, We have called the attention of Archbishop Lefebvre to the seriousness of his behavior, the irregularity of his principal present initiatives, the inconsistency and often falsity of the doctrinal positions on which he bases this behavior and these initiatives, and the damage that accrues to the entire Church because of them.

  100. leonugent2005 says:

    Father Z You are right about that

  101. leonugent2005 says:

    Cheesesteak Expert… Pope Paul VI to the Consistory of Cardinals on 24 May 1976… Thank you for stating this.

  102. leonugent2005 says:

    robtbrown You asked me what must be believed by Catholics since 1965. Let me use the statement of Paul VI that Cheesesteak Expert posted to answer that. It is for the Pope, the College of Bishops, and the Ecumenical Council, to decide which among the innumerable traditions must be considered as the norm of faith and not the SSPX. I hope this helps. If we start picking which Popes to listen to and which popes to ignore we are on a slippery slope.

  103. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    leonugent2005- What if your conscience says otherwise, as Arch.Lefebreve pointed out? What if your conscience says tradition is being countermanded and contradicted by current authority? This is the issue that has yet to be resolved, in the minds of many folks. What say you, Fr Z? Have you ever been to that point, or think what you might consider if the next Pope says no more TLM?

  104. leonugent2005 says:

    Cheesesteak Expert every catholic is responsible to have a well formed conscience. What if my conscience tells me that Humane Vitae is not correct? Incidently Humane Vitae was written by the same Pope that we are discussing. If we start this kind of thing then the Cafeteria is open and the food is delicious!

  105. leonugent2005 says:

    Cheesesteak Expert the next pope will never say no more TLM however, he could if he wanted to begin the reform of both masses so that slowly but surely we will be back to the traditional ONE MASS. I’m prepared to accept whatever the next pope does. If I don’t like what he does, so what!! I’m starting to get the feeling that the popes don’t factor what I like or dislike into their decisions!
    It is said about our Lord, everyone wants to eat with Him at His table but hardly anyone wants to hang with him on His cross.

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