Fr. Blake opines: the seminarians he knows all want the Extraordinary Form

From the fine blog of my friend Fr Ray Blake, the distingusihed p.p. of Brighton, comes this encomium of the Dean of Bexley, tenens locum of Blackfen, His Hermeneuticalness himself, Fr. Tim Finigan and a fun video he concatenated for the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum.

This is Fr Tim’s chart topping vid, he gave a rather interesting paper recently to Catholic Theological Assosciation on blogging as a New Movement. [This is interesting and, I think, correct.  They both have grass roots origins, the greater hierarchy are slow in awareness much less recognition, with the change of a generation they come to greater prominence, they introduce freshness and energy and reach people whom the standard methods of outreach (if that is the right term) do not.]
It is the anniversary of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum today, I had lunch recently with a young priest who is very much involved in promoting vocations, [Watch this… it exactly reflects my own experience of seminarians…] he was telling me about a meeting with a dozen or so young men who were either considering or considering considering the priesthood. All of them, he said, not one was not, were touched but the Extraordinary Form of the Mass either they attended it regularly or wanted to do so. I find it rather interesting as the Bishop of that particular diocese is rather publicly against Summorum Pontificum and all it stands for. [So, let’s introduce into the mix Fr. Finigan was talking about also the older form of Mass.  New movement – blogosphere – Summorum Pontificum….]

As I said earlier The Exaltation of the Holy Cross was seen as a fixed point about which much of the Churches life revolved, to the Pope feasts and seasons are important. I can’t help thinking that SP is a great fulcrum of this Papacy, a great underlining of the Hermeneutic of Continuity. [This has been my assertion ever since the Motu Proprio was released.  It will prove to be one of the most important acts of Benedict’s pontificate.  It stands at the core of what I think is a “Marshall Plan” for the Church.] In a way it doesn’t matter whether people flock to it or not, it is what it signifies.


You can read the rest over there (and it is worth your time to do so).

Here is Fr. Finigan’s video.


If you follow the links in the aforementioned posts, you will find some rich material.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices, Year of Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Dr Guinness says:

    All the lads in my seminary, too, want the Extraordinary Form…

  2. VexillaRegis says:

    Nice to be in the time zone next to you, Fr. Z.! Very funny – and scary! – video. In our diocese there has been more law and order all the time since Vat II, thank God. I’ve seen liturgical dance only once here, but very tastefully done. (Little girls dancing with ribbons and flowers in the entrance procession at a pilgrimage in the 80s. More like flower girls at a wedding.)

    Oops, our guests are arriving, got to go.

    Long live the Pope!

  3. Maltese says:

    My passion for the EF in unparalleled; but I think it would be cool to give these young seminarians iPads with the EF Missals plugged in!

    Why not? We ran with the printing-press, didn’t we? There is a certain reverence and feel to a book (and, when praying, I quite frankly prefer a book to a machine, and if there is ever another Carrington Effect, a iPad won’t get the job done), but it would just be another way to offer an EF mass on-the-go when EF missals aren’t available!

  4. yatzer says:

    Great video!! And the news of swelling interest is heartening.

  5. Athelstan says:

    This is more or less my experience with young priests and seminarians I know as well. Some are interested; some are very interested; all admit being changed by it in some way. Most are frustrated to some degree with the lack of training and opportunities to learn it and be exposed to it.

    And this is good, because if the mass is to be restored, it will be – it must – *priests* who make it happen.

    Which brings me to:

    In a way it doesn’t matter whether people flock to it or not, it is what it signifies.

    We have to be honest here: If the interest in the TLM among young priestly vocations is broad and deep (at least in the English-speaking world), it has not been so among the laity to anything like the same degree. People are not, alas, storming chanceries or rectories demanding the TLM. There *is*some interest out there, and it is growing, but slowly.

    But I think this is in the nature of being Catholic. For all the dissensions in the Church today, Catholic laity still follow the lead of the clergy (or whoever is effectively substituting for them, alas). But if priests start making the traditional mass and sacraments regularly available to the laity, especially if they have support from even a very small lay group (someone has to serve, handle the music), then it will be possible for even less liturgically minded laypeople to really appreciate the beauty and power of traditional sacramental life.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Hmmm. “Movement”.

    I think I see what this is getting to, and it might be right, but I think of “movements” as substance driven events (the temperance movement, the ecology movement, the pro-life movement) and not simply as a technique for getting one’s views out there. We Catholic bloggers use the internet, yes, but not to promote, I dunno, “internetness”, but rather, to promote the Faith (which we did not make up). We’re just doing in our day what our fathers would have done in theirs, if, say a Sheed, or a Bellermine, or an Augustine, had had the internet.

  7. benedetta says:

    Love the video!

  8. Bea says:

    Great Video
    Great Message
    The perfect number of perfection

    I may not live to see it, but …….The doors have been opened wide.
    A new generation of bishops are waiting in the wings to undo past liturgical aberrations.

    Long live Pope Benedict XVI


  9. Gail F says:

    I think the video is a little mean-spirited in the beginning, but I love it after “Happy Days” starts. If young seminarians are interested in the EF, that’s good no matter how many laypeople are. The EF, I firmly believe, shows one what the OF is supposed to be. And that should, eventually, improve the OF dramatically.

  10. Long-Skirts says:


    Reveres womanhood
    In all that’s Marian

    Despises sin’s
    Stench of carrion

    Jesu Christe
    Truth all clarion


    Tradition’s son
    Quite Sectarian

    Grave new world’s

  11. Jacob says:

    Dr. Peters makes a good point.

    Thinking back, Tradition and blogs are today in much the same situation as political conservatives and AM radio back in the 80s and early 90s. There was a group out there looking for a medium to spread their message that was not under the control of those out to stifle that message. Along came the AM radio market looking for something to fill air time and bring in advertisers, something that didn’t need to match the better sound quality of FM to be able to compete. And so conservative talk radio was born.

    Blogs are just the next step thanks to the commercialization of the (to the present day) uncontrollable Internet.

  12. Indulgentiam says:

    Excellent video! My child who was watching next to me comments:
    Kid: what was that about?
    Mom: the difference between the Novus Ordo and the EF Mass.
    Kid: that stuff at the beginning was Mass? You gotta be kidding me?!?
    The Baltimore Catechism and the EF, the one – two punch that’ll knock that garbage out cold.
    God bless Pope Benedict XVI who threw open the Church windows and is furiously fanning out the smoke of satan. Grab your favorite Novena once a week and lend His Holiness a hand!
    Viva il Papa!!!

  13. doozer125 says:

    As my Greek Orthodox priest friend said to me, “Even better would be that they realize that it is not the “extraordinary” form, but the only form!”

  14. jflare says:

    As I watched the video, I had a rather quirky thought come to mind:
    I think it VERY ironic and sad that I didn’t REALLY learn much of anything of practical use about honor, justice, or dignity from the Church. I wound up learning those from Boy Scouting and military service.

    Because of what someone insisted Vatican II had taught, my generation didn’t really learn very much about what the Church actually teaches about this or that. We didn’t learn much of anything of the disciplines of Church, what the various vestments should mean, or about priestly or religious service being much more than a cutesy, happy use of time that might make someone else happy.

    In short, we talked a great deal about God, but I’m hard-pressed to say that we ever truly learned how to come closer to Him, except by action as a community. Unfortunately, most of that community action..bore greater resemblance to politically correct political activism than it did anything seriously religious.
    We didn’t want to offend anyone else, so we..offended our own sensibilities, after a fashion.

    It wasn’t until I had to follow certain rules in the military that I began to comprehend what someone meant by having virtuous pride in the spit and polish of a properly prepared uniform. Not until I had to keep 30 people in order for three minutes on a drill-pad did I begin to understand why some rules genuinely NEED to be VERY precise.

    I think it would be a very good thing for our seminaries to be “encouraged” to teach seminarians how to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I think it’d be wise to do what’s possible to encourage all the faithful to understand how traditional forms of Catholic worship work.
    ..And why.

    I can only hope that today’s seminarians will have ever-increasing opportunity to learn the “older ways”. If there’s a risk of being too sticky about some disciplinary rules, there’s also a risk of being desperately lax.

    Often enough, we humans simply don’t learn this or that until we’re slapped on the wrist for failing to be as good as we could.

  15. joan ellen says:

    I love this video. At first the beginning images left me unsettled. They still do, but the images of His Holiness showed me the stark contrast. So, it leaves me with a ‘picture’ of ‘goofiness’ at Mass and the one who gives and promotes the Mass of all time, it’s language and, so, holiness at Mass.

  16. Ingatius says:

    Sadly, I actually think that Fr Ray knows only a few seminarians. The situation amongst seminarians is far from what we would like. There are very few traditional seminarians. ‘Neo-con’ is more the term to describe many of them. What is a pleasing development, however, particularly in the English seminaries, is that there is much less hostility to the Old Mass amongst the students.

    What remains, however, is the error that somehow a New Rite in Latin is just as good as the Mass of Ages.

    [I think you have conflated a couple issues. Seminarians know that they are not going to be able to use only the old form, but they want to know it and use and even spread it.]

  17. Ingatius says:

    I’ve not conflated any issues at all. There is no great desire for the Old Rite amongst most seminarians. Few seminarians in Rome and London studying for English dioceses take advantage of the opportunities those cities offer in terms of exposure to the traditional Mass. And as tempting as it might be to rant about liberal seminary-staff looking to kick out ‘traddy’ seminarians, that simply is not true.

    I’m not surprised at all that traditional priests all know lots of traditional seminarians, but my point is that unfortunately this is not an accurate reflection of all seminarians. As I mentioned, what is a pleasing development is that there is no longer widespread hostility to the Old Rite amongst students. But we should not confuse a willingness to say the Old Rite with an enthusiasm for it.

  18. acardnal says:

    What about you, Ignatius? Are you learning the TLM/EF and will you celebrate it?

  19. Ingatius says:

    I’m not far along enough in formation yet but certainly when the time comes I shall learn to celebrate the Old Rite and will celebrate it alongside the New Rite whether or not there is an active demand for it in whichever parish I am asked to serve. My belief is that those in our parishes need greater exposure to the traditional liturgy and that the clergy should actively encourage the faithful to attend the Old Rite.

    Primarily, however, I want to learn to say the Old Rite because I love the traditional liturgy and am spiritually sustained by it. I don’t see it as a means by which I have to cater for a particular group of people in the life of a parish.

    I suppose that makes me more extreme on this point than the majority of seminarians in modern seminaries but hey ho :-)

  20. acardnal says:

    Ignatius, that is great news! The more you learn about the TLM/EF liturgy – the prayers, the rubrics, the tradition – the more you will appreciate and celebrate it. I suggest reading Dom Prosper Gueranger’s “The Holy Mass”, Fr. Adrian Fortescue’s “The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy”, and the booklet “A Short History of the Roman Mass” by the Michael Davies.

    As Fr. Z says, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.”

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