Bp. Sample on Liturgical Reform – audio of interview

His Excellency Most Reverend Alex Sample, Bishop of Marquette, has something to say about liturgical reform. This is an interview from Catholic Answers.

Bp. Sample stresses a “hermeneutic of continuity”.

I am not entirely on board with His Excellency (an old friend of mine) about the idea that what Summorum Pontificum established that the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form are actually the same rite. Summorum Pontificum gave a juridical solution to the matter of priestly faculties for the use of both forms. However, Summorum Pontificum did not close off discussion about whether they older and newer forms are historically, theologically, liturgically the same rite. There is a lot more to say about that.

Bp. Sample speaks about his discovery of and his discoveries through the Extraordinary Form.

He speaks about the benefits of Summorum Pontificum, including what I call the “gravitational pull” that the Extraordinary Form will exert on the newer form of Mass.

He stress that if we do not understand that Holy Mass is a Sacrifice, we do not understand what Mass is.

The question of the calendar comes up. A caller has a question of whether priests can celebrate ad orientem in the Novus Ordo. (The answer is YES! His Excellency hits a triple on this one. It would have been a home run but for one nuance.) He gets a question about whether the new translation was really necessary. He gets into the confusion caused in some cases (not all) by Communion services on weekdays (Inter alia he says, “It shouldn’t look like a Mass!”). He talks about the Offertory Prayers of the Extraordinary Form. If he hit a triple on ad orientem worship, he hits a three-run homer on kneeling for Holy Communion!

BTW… kudos to the interviewer. He gets it.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DetJohn says:

    Three cheers for Bishop Sample.

    I have been to several Novus Ordo masses ad orientem, some in English and some In Latin.

    I believe that all Novus Ordo masses at San Secondo d’Asti parish in Guasti (Ontario) California are said ad orientem.

  2. Frank H says:

    I noted he once belonged to St Agnes Parish in St. Paul, from whence you also came, right Fr. Z? How many other Church luminaries hail from this fine parish?

  3. Above all, I truly hope that Holy Mass celebrated according to both the Missal of Pope Paul VI and the Missal of Bl. John XXIII would return to being celebrated ad orientem. I can understand many of the arguments for maintaining a large degree of the vernacular in the Ordinary Mass, for receiving under both kinds, and many other commonplace practices associated with the Ordinary Form in many parishes, and I think that if the Ordinary Mass were its own Rite, many of these differences would be perfectly fine. But in my opinion, ad orientem worship is essential to understanding the Holy Eucharist as a Sacrifice, and critical to maintaining a proper communal disposition toward Christ, our God, as our ultimate end. Removing it devastates all of these ends, and harms grace terribly. There is a reason the Second Vatican Council never even suggested turning the Altar around to face the people, and why Venerable Pope Pius XII specifically called it a mistake.

    But yes, in my limited opinion, it seems obvious to me Father that many, many tensions might be eased and difficulties cleared up with the action of establishing the Traditional Mass and the Ordinary Mass as separate Rites, and *carefully regulated* Rites at that. Caution would have to be employed in such a scenario to avoid the utter degeneration of the Ordinary Mass into an unrecognizable Protestant service, as the “gravitational effect” of being a part of the same Rite as the Traditional Mass and the Anglican Use Liturgy has gradually been doing. If all three of those Liturgies split into three separate Rites, I think that would be ultimately good for the Church.

  4. SonofMonica says:

    Ad orientem and keeping the EMHC out of the sanctuary would go a long way. I think vernacular is great for most people, but the aforementioned changes would be most helpful in revitalizing Catholic worship and theology.

  5. pitkiwi says:

    There is a lot of speculation that he will succeed Bishop Hurley in Grand Rapids. That is the prayer of many with whom I have spoken to be sure.

  6. Andy Milam says:

    @ Frank H.

    There are now 3 bishops, Bishops Sample, Sirba, and LeVoir. The current Auxiliary of St. Paul and Minneapolis was influenced by St. Agnes. There is our illustrious host, there are scores of priests for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including the incoming pastor in July as well as Fr. Robert Altier (yes, I actually said his name aloud…he is not, contrary to popular belief anathema sit); there are even more laymen, myself, John Paul Sonnen (of Orbis Catholicus fame), Tim Furgeson (a Canonist for the Archdiocese of Detroit), ironically, Richard Proulx (the modern music composer…it’s a long story), among many, many others (including a consecrated virgin who is very close to “The Farm”) and then there are several other priests of note from outside the Archdiocese.

    Monsignor Schuler’s reach is far. His legacy lives on in those of us who were closest to him. To varying degrees, everyone who was in contact with “The Boss” understands “The Farm.” Not all made it through and not all continued down the path of Catholicism, but everyone of us have a special bond that only takes a look and a nod and we all can remember and we all know that we are part of a fraternity which is exclusive, but influential and becoming far reaching in Holy Mother Church, in America. Bishop Sample is a clear view of the Monsignor’s intention. He is slowly but surely implementing the style of Monsignor Schuler. If you knew the Monsignor and the life at St. Agnes, then you don’t have to be very far sighted to see the work that His Excellency carries on. Our illustrious host is another clear example of the Monsignor’s vision. If you appreciate Fr. Z’s contribution to the Church, then you must appreciate Bishop Sample’s. They are the same vision, albeit through different eyes.

    God keep all of us who were down on “The Farm” safe. We need it.

  7. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Altier appears to be a treasure.

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    Andy Milam,

    Richard Proulx did a fabulous job editing the Episcopal hymnal — a truly excellent work that demonstrates great musical knowledge and very good musical taste. Wish he’d done the same for our Church!

  9. One of the callers asked if a priest can celebrate Mass ad orientem “with the bishop’s permission”; the answer is, yes but no permission is needed. I’m not sure if the bishop made that crystal-clear.

    Aside from that quibble, it was an excellent interview.

  10. happyhockeymom says:

    I am from Grand Rapids. Oh, how I hope that the rumors are true! I would be delighted to have Bishop Sample come fix our diocese, but I sure would be sorry for those in Marquette!

  11. Granny says:

    We are blessed here in the Toledo OH area. We have Saint Joseph’s church at Erie and Locust street in Toledo where the NO is ad orientum and Communion is on your knees, on the tongue, and there is a Latin Mass every Sunday at 10:30 am. The church is a little jewel. http://stjosephstoledo.com/

  12. God bless Patrick Coffin!

  13. AnnAsher says:

    It is refreshing to hear more and more of our Bishops speak boldly for the Faith and the Liturgy. It is my little opinion that the OF would be much more tolerable and even possibly reverent and joyful if it were strictly observed. I concur on other statements which oppose EMHC’s in general and particularly in the sanctuary – I also oppose girl altar boys, women, and dogs in the sanctuary- etc. I have to say sadly, in my neck of the woods, the new revised translation has amounted to nothing more than a few changed words as we near the six month mark. Every other instruction (hymns, chant, Latin) are still ignored. The priest is still lackadaisical, hunched over in his chair, interrupting the continuous prayer of the Mass with several times for announcements and worse his own side chatter and instructions to altar servers (the term makes me cringe) DURING the offertory.
    Would it be justifiable to not attend Mass on Sundays I can’t afford to drive to TLM, due to the Church failing to offer a “legitimate “Mass in my immediate 50 miles? Would it suffice to have Mass online with the FSSP instead of attending the quagmire of novelty and irreverence ? I’m not being snotty – its not as bad as a clown mass or some of the photos I’ve seen from the 70’s but it is bad enough to appear to me that Our Lord is the afterthought.

  14. AnnAsher says:

    I got lost in my own rhetoric and forgot my initial point which was : IMO the OF and the EF are not the same rite.

  15. Denita says:

    I’m glad there are more bishops out there now that support the EF, I wish ours here in Fort Worth would support it more, especially allowing our own Latin Mass parish in the near future.

Comments are closed.