Archbp. Cordileone interviewed in the UK’s Catholic Herald. Comments on the TLM

In the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, offered some interesting comments.

Read the whole thing there, but here is something of interest concerning the older form of Holy Mass.  My emphases and comments.


Having earned his stripes at the Apostolic Signatura, he returned to California and became an Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego in 2002. A new chapter in his priestly ministry began when he was asked by a group of lay people to offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  [Often a game changer for a priest.] An elderly Augustinian priest, Fr Neely, taught him how to offer it. Archbishop Cordileone is quick to add that the task was made easier because “I only had to learn the rubrics. When I worked at the Apostolic Signatura, I would go to a Benedictine convent to celebrate the Triduum. There I learned to sing the Mass in Latin and the chants are the same in both forms of the Mass.”

For nearly 10 years Archbishop Cordileone has accepted invitations to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. In the middle of our interview, the Oratorian priest Fr Rupert pops in and asks the archbishop if he will offer the 8am Tridentine Mass the next day,  [Hey!  He did that to me too!] and he enthusiastically agrees to do so. Commenting on what he feels distinguishes the Extraordinary Form, Archbishop Cordileone says: “With that form of Mass you can feel the Church breathing through the centuries.

He has strong opinions about Latin. “It is the common language of the Catholic world and it’s especially advantageous when people of different language backgrounds come together,” he says. “The irony is that the Church made the move to the vernacular just at the point in history when, because of migration and tourism, people began travelling all over the world. Thus, it would be convenient to have a shared language that we can all worship in. But it does make sense to have parts in the vernacular, such as the Propers and especially the readings.”  [But in gatherings of people in different languages, which vernacular?]

We get on to discussing why there is a relatively high number of young men pursuing vocations in seminaries dedicated to the Extraordinary Form. “The Old Rite corresponds more to a masculine spirituality in that the masculine psyche is one that protects, defends and provides, and during the Mass the priest is the one who dares to approach God to reconcile His people to him. In the Old Rite there is a greater sense of the priest as intercessor, offering a sacrifice for the people and bringing God’s gift to the people.”

While women may not become priests, Archbishop Cordileone clarifies that women do not in any way occupy second place. Instead, he pinpoints why women should be shown the highest respect and says that chivalrous practices such as holding a door open for a woman ought to be the norm. “A woman should walk out, ahead of the man, because she is the life-giver and, in holding a door for a woman, the man is recognising her special place as the one who gives life.” He says that mantillas, or chapel veils, are a way for a woman to veil their sacredness: “In Christian worship what is sacred is veiled, women are sacred because they are the life-givers.”

Why are the youth associated more and more with the Old Rite? “It follows the phenomenon of young people being more traditional in their religion,” he says. “In the years after the Council there were social revolutions in religious groups and the thinking was that the Church should be more like modern culture. Prayerfully minded young people of this generation want something different or opposed to secular culture. But they perceive the failures of western civilisation. They want something seriously Catholic and meaty.” [Remember my analogy of mashed peas for infants or red meat for adults?]

He does say, however, that being drawn to the external beautiful trappings of Catholicism is not enough. “We won’t deepen their faith by window dressing. They might be attracted to externals and there’s nothing wrong there, but we also have to bring them to a deeper faith.”  [They are signs, which we need.]

People are quick to say there is something staunchly “traditional” about Archbishop Cordileone. He says the rosary every morning. He traces many modern-day problems back to the secular doctrine that discounts the differences between men and women (the specific confusion, he explains, is that men and women are conditioned to think of themselves as the same and not complementary). And he loves the Tridentine Mass. But he sees a potentially dangerous trend in the traditionalist movement, if it simply wants to revert to a distant time in the past and stay there. Here, Archbishop Cordileone refers to Ronald Knox, who called this blinkered outlook “an impoverishment of our heritage”. But where does one find a happy medium between the old and the new? He hails the London Oratory, with its Ordinary Form in Latin and frequent Benediction, as “the ideal model of the hermeneutic of continuity, which has been so consistently promoted by Pope Benedict”.


Against, read the rest there.  Many great comments on marriage.

Such as …

“All our detractors can do is call us names,” he says. He throws his hands up in the air, and adds: “Big deal if they shout at us or throw insults!”

When I say that people in Britain who oppose gay marriage have been slammed as “bigots”, by people who won’t allow any opinion but their own, he says: “How ironic!”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    May God’s blessings be with Archbishop Cordileone. He has a huge task ahead of him with that archdiocese. I am so glad to hear of his devotion to the TLM. The Mass Immemorial brings souls to Christ. +JMJ+

  2. Supertradmum says:

    What a great summary of all we TLM lovers believe said in gracious and eloquent words by one of America’s own bishops…may he evangelize his diocese through the TLM, which I see as the truly new evangelization.

  3. VexillaRegis says:

    I like this guy! We need lion hearts in the Church. We should hope that he gets a cardinal hat.

  4. Bernadette88 says:

    Love the mantilla comments. I have a few young ladies in my diocese (uk) who would love to launch “a veil on every head” campaign….

  5. rtjl says:

    “With that form of Mass you can feel the Church breathing through the centuries.”

    My feeling exactly. When I attend a traditional latin mass I have a palpable sense that “This is the Mass of the church that converted Europe. This is the Mass of the church that has the power to shape cultures.”

  6. Imrahil says:

    The irony is that the Church made the move to the vernacular just at the point in history when, because of migration and tourism, people began travelling all over the world.

    That’s an interesting observation which has another part to it.

    I support Latin. The priest knows it (he must do so already to be a theologian, except we accept academic decadence). The people know what happens. As for the text, they can read them before or read them along by missal, smartphone or whatever or hear them again within the sermon. And all the world speaks English, which is merely a secular world language. Why can’t Roman-Rite Catholics bring it to pass to understand Latin, which is the language of the rite?

    So, I established that it is my opinion that Latin should be used. When I now comment a bit to the contrary, I do not do so in agitation; I merely want to perhaps contribute to see other sides of the issue.

    Because I guess there is another side of the medal on the globalization issue. “The Holy Mass is not for the tourists; It’s for the people [viz. those at home]”, as my progressist teacher of religion once said. He was not right. But still.

    The vernacular was introduced just at a time when the homeland was under attack; and some say fatal attack. “The Church cannot play a homeland protection association”, as good conservative Catholics say, but still… the Church has always been fighting, while for Our Lord Jesus Christ primarily, still also for all the good things in the world that happened to not have any other defender.

    [America might be different, because outside America the problem (if we call it thus) consists basically of taking over (what we perceive to be) American culture.]

    Now to the great distress of all modernizers (with the effect that this becomes the one thing which is constantly moralized against in sermons), the Church is heavily associated with the old people, and also their memories of the good old times. Then, the Church is involved in just about any popular ceremony, starting with the Banner Consecrations of the proverbial Rabbit Breeders’ Club (this may be hyperbole) and the Shooters’ Club (this certainly is not), including the memorial services of the fallen soldiers and certainly not ending with the house blessings of newly erected homes (though the latter have become rare of late); popular ceremonies which, again, are livelily associated with the good old times and “you wouldn’t do that today anymore, what a pity; (but we still do)”.

    Among these things is an antipathy against tourists (even though they bring money; inherited from the, in this case, bad old times when they were mostly Prussians who wanted to enlight the barbaric Bavarian Catholics); and one of the this this mentality is interested in is protection of the vernacular. To the point that speaking in recognizable Bavarian dialect is not very far from being a Catholic code-sign around here. (Of course, comparisons lag. The “vernacular” is not the local dialect, but merely an a elevated literary form of the standardized language.)

    [Hence also the sadness which accompanies, in all just gratefulness for their service when our own population is drastically reduced in the ability to produce celibate voluntaries, the replacement of home-grown priests with missionaries…]

    Thus maybe, despite that it is simply unneccessary to use Holy Mass for this… exchange of Latin for the vernacular may to some, probably unconscious, degree be a reaction against globalization also.

  7. Liz says:

    God bless Bishop Cordileone. I will be praying extra for the next few days (until I forget!) I did offer some of my insomnia for him last night (and for all of you priests there at your conference and Bishop Slattery) and I’m offering some of this truly terribly (somehow I made it too weak) coffee for you all now except I’m tempted to just throw it out and start over! :)

  8. heway says:

    Knew him as a parish priest in Calexico, CA. Found his comments about women interesting. Sunday I contacted a ‘fallen away’ Catholic woman regarding a ‘Welcome Home’ program at our parish. She had expressed interest in returning to the Church. Oddly, she told me that her problem with the Church was the lack of ‘roles’ for women. She recently has been asked to be a Deacon in the Baptist Church and won’t be returning at this time.

  9. Imrahil says:

    I think, btw., that His Grace is… perhaps not entirely wrong but still… rather wrong, if you see what I mean, on chapel veils and on chivalry.

    So here, unlike above, I do differ with His Grace. Not as to result, but as to grounds, if I may borrow the legal phrase.

    No matter how sacred Woman is, the chapel veil was never meant to symbolize her sacredness as a life-giver. The chapel veil is a sign of a woman’s decency (according to the standards of the time of St. Paul, which, however, have some importance for us as they entered Church tradition). In addition, it has the significant meaning that Woman was created as a helpmate for Man and is thus [equal in worthiness but] in a sense on the second place. That is the plain meaning of 1 Cor 11,1-16. The veil is, thus, a symbol of humilty. It symbolizes this, of course, also the special dignity which in God’s kingdom the humble humanbeing has. Which may, also, perhaps be the ulterior reason that it is so very beautiful.

    It may very well be that it is touching to speak of symbolizing female sacredness and life-giving, and it may very well be that such a meaning can be attached to the veil. But it must positively and by decision be attached to it; the veil does not principally bear this meaning.

    And about chivalry, I guess it is established enough that this has nothing to do with honoring the woman as life-giving force. (Which, if we pronounce it like this, even has a heathen touch to it. Note that I do not, however, equate heathen with un-Christian, and even so I offer sincere apologies to His Grace).

    Chivalry means the highly Christian idea that the strong man puts his strength into the service of the weak and humble. I think it is also sufficiently explained by this. (Chesterton observed that in Christian nativities, it is Holy Mary that rides the ass. The same scene could then still be seen in the Muslim countries, with the one alteration that it is the man that rides the ass.)

    If woman would really walk before man because of her intrinsic higher dignity, then the argumentation for the all-male-priesthood, which (not the argumentation, but the result; but still…) is a dogma, would fall into pieces.

  10. StWinefride says:

    While women may not become priests, Archbishop Cordileone clarifies that women do not in any way occupy second place. Instead, he pinpoints why women should be shown the highest respect and says that chivalrous practices such as holding a door open for a woman ought to be the norm. “A woman should walk out, ahead of the man, because she is the life-giver and, in holding a door for a woman, the man is recognising her special place as the one who gives life.”

    Obviously a newspaper interview covering several topics cannot go into too much depth, so I think it’s worth quoting from Pope John-Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem:

    First witnesses of the Resurrection

    16. From the beginning of Christ’s mission, women show to him and to his mystery a special sensitivity which is characteristic of their femininity. It must also be said that this is especially confirmed in the Paschal Mystery, not only at the Cross but also at the dawn of the Resurrection. The women are the first at the tomb. They are the first to find it empty. They are the first to hear: “He is not here. He has risen, as he said” (Mt 28:6). They are the first to embrace his feet (cf. Mt 28:9). They are also the first to be called to announce this truth to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:1-10; Lk 24:8-11). The Gospel of John (cf. also Mk 16: 9) emphasizes the special role of Mary Magdalene. She is the first to meet the Risen Christ. At first she thinks he is the gardener; she recognizes him only when he calls her by name: “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’. She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God’. Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her” (Jn 20:16-18).

    This event, in a sense, crowns all that has been said previously about Christ entrusting divine truths to women as well as men. One can say that this fulfilled the words of the Prophet: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Jl 3:1). On the fiftieth day after Christ’s Resurrection, these words are confirmed once more in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, at the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (cf. Act 2:17).
    Everything that has been said so far about Christ’s attitude to women confirms and clarifies, in the Holy Spirit, the truth about the equality of man and woman. One must speak of an essential “equality”, since both of them – the woman as much as the man – are created in the image and likeness of God. Both of them are equally capable of receiving the outpouring of divine truth and love in the Holy Spirit. Both receive his salvific and sanctifying “visits”.

  11. Imrahil says:

    Dear @StWinifrede,

    I beg to think that saying “women do not in any way occupy second place” is explaining-away the hard reality of the all-male priesthood. And I think points of dispute or dislike must be addressed, not their existence hided.

    If women may not be priests, while men may occupy all places* a women can occupy even though perhaps not so good in some cases and certainly in a male way (motherhood is “only” the female, even though generally more important and certainly more exhaustive, form of parenthood), then women are at least in some way on second place. [*Except perhaps the consecrated virginity, if we do not hold the monk to be the virgin’s male counterpart.]

    The cited words of Bl. John Paul, a most deserved praise for womanhood, do not speak against that. Women (in their specific way of womanhood) and men (in their specific way of manhood) are essentially equal in the specific points enumerated by him, and in others. Women (in their specific way of womanhood) as well as men (in their specific way of manhood) are entrusted with divine truths and with prophecy.

  12. mamajen says:

    I know Cordileone’s name, of course, but I haven’t read much about him before. I really enjoyed this article and like his perspective. The part about veils and chivalry was refreshing (probably not surprising since I am a female). I think what he said makes more sense than the historical notion that women are “weak” or somehow secondary. It seems that focusing on the respect aspect would cause chivalry to make more sense to men today, hopefully encourage more women to adopt the veil, and discourage women from seeking out men’s roles in the Church.

    I also liked how he mentioned that we can’t simply jump into a time machine when it comes to traditionalism. As with the veil and chivalry, I think there are new ways to present old ideas to people in a way that will motivate them. I think Pope Benedict is very good at that–I have had so many eye-opening moments while reading Jesus of Nazareth. I grew up with kind of a “because God said so” approach to catechesis, so finally understanding the beautiful “why’s” of everything we believe and do has been wonderful.

    I am often exasperated by our bishops, but it seems we are blessed quite a few good archbishops.

  13. Athelstan says:

    This is an edifying interview with Archbishop Cordileone – clearly one of America’s best ordinaries (and one who has one of the most challenging dioceses there is). How unthinkable it would have been, just ten years ago, to hear a metropolitan archbishop praise the traditional liturgy and avow to celebrating it regularly with pleasure?

    I was struck by this passage, however:

    He hails the London Oratory, with its Ordinary Form in Latin and frequent Benediction, as “the ideal model of the hermeneutic of continuity, which has been so consistently promoted by Pope Benedict”.

    It is hard to say whether the Holy Father had the Oratory in mind, or whether it reflects some ideal in his mind. My only concern here is that His Grace seems to focus so much on the Latin as the emblematic of this ideal. For most of us (at least in my experience) who prefer the TLM, however, the Latin (while edifying as the mother tongue of the Church) is really a secondary consideration. It’s the prayers – the propers, the collects, the offertory, the original ordinary – of the traditional mass, in their ancient and unaltered form, that gives the traditional mass its full theological richness and soundness. To put it another way: If I had my choice between the TLM in an accurate, traditional vernacular translation such as is found in my missal on the one hand, and the Novus Ordo in Latin, all other things being equal, I would now choose the former. Obviously that’s a hypothetical, since celebrating the TLM in vernacular is not permitted (nor am I advocating that it should be) – but I hope the point is clear. It’s not the Latin, wonderful as that is, but, well, what the prayers really say, if I may say so.

    Of course, it’s not clear from these brief remarks whether Archbishop Cordileone shares those concerns. But the emphasis on the Latin stuck out at me. I should add that the London Oratory celebrates both the N.O. in Latin and the TLM as well – my comment should not be taken as critical of the Oratory in any case.

    Thanks again to Fr. Z for highlighting this interview. A reminder to pray for him in his very tough current assignment.

  14. Joseph says:

    So the difference between NO and the EF are just “beautiful trappings”? And by extension one could deduct from the bishops interview, those who respect the canons of the Council of Trent are impoverishing our heritage, no? Dear bishop, if you would like to see true poverty, please attend my local parish Sunday mass.

  15. AvantiBev says:

    “A woman should walk out, ahead of the man, because she is the life-giver and, in holding a door for a woman, the man is recognising her special place as the one who gives life.”

    Guess Lady Edith Crawley and I will continue holding open our own doors. (Spinster humor)

    But the rest of the article was great and you can tell a lot about a man by who his enemies are.

  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mamajen,

    if I may be so bold to answer…

    It seems that focusing on the respect aspect would cause chivalry to make more sense to men today.

    I agree. And chivalry never meant anything else. Respect, that is. Women are entirely wonderful creations of God worthy of the utmost respect. Not condescence and patronising, but respect.

    But no subservience either. If the idea is that woman is superior to man (in giving life, in morality, etc.), and has thus a right to man’s helpmateship (to borrow that old term), then that will not make sense to men. To put it into a nutshell (and attitudes like these are, I guess, in a society formed by Christianity still common more than we think, even though perhaps failed to be lived by), if that were so, then it were on the women to be chivalrous and open the doors for the men.

    Which is why feminists never want a man to open a door to them. They, also, are not entirely illogical.

    Christianity achieved the singular thing that we can be respectful without being subservient. This is humility, or an aspect of it. As far as I see this has not been achieved outside Christianity, and if there is a lack of religion these days then certainly this sort of respect is going out alongside.

    I think there are new ways to present old ideas to people in a way that will motivate them.

    Certainly. But wearing a chapel veil is not an idea; though it may be an expression of one. While I agree that a woman may wear a blessed chapel veil, a sacramental, as a sign of sacred womanhood – if we put it to the extreme and say that a woman wears it as a sign of her superiority to man, she would not really wear a chapel veil. She would wear a headscarf that looks like a chapel veil in expression of a different idea.

  17. AnAmericanMother says:

    Great interview! Lots of food for thought here.
    Wrt the use of Latin as a universal language — it was not that long ago that C.S. Lewis was corresponding with an Italian priest in Latin because neither of them had the other’s native tongue.
    And from my own experience: the father of a good friend of mine in college was a Classics professor. She and her dad were in the Holy Land on vacation and driving up a dusty unpaved road to the Mount of Olives when they passed a priest in his cassock trudging up the way.
    Her dad stopped the car and asked in his best (Classical pronunciation) Latin: “Good day Father, may we convey you to the summit of the mountain?”
    Priest was from Milwaukee, but . . .

  18. StWinefride says:

    Dear Imrahil, I see what you mean. I think perhaps that the examples Archbishop Cordileone used to show why women should be shown the highest respect, appeared to me, on a first reading, a little on the “light” side – which is why I thought of Mulieris Dignitatem! A few subjects were covered, so too much time on any one of them was not feasible.

  19. Jack Orlando says:

    Joseph says
    So the difference between NO and the EF are just “beautiful trappings”?

    Not what the Archbishop said. He said
    … being drawn to the external beautiful trappings of Catholicism is not enough..
    He was referring to Catholicism in general.

    He also said:
    And he loves the Tridentine Mass. But he sees a potentially dangerous trend in the traditionalist movement, if it simply wants to revert to a distant time in the past and stay there. Here, Archbishop Cordileone refers to Ronald Knox, who called this blinkered outlook “an impoverishment of our heritage


  20. MichaelJ says:

    I’d be interested to know what is “potentially dangerous” about wishing for the return of the Church of our ancestors. The statement implies, although I doubt Archbp. Cordileone intended it, that yesterday’s Church was somehow inadequate.

    I agree, as others have noted, that there are “new ways to present old ideas to people in a way that will motivate them”, but there are also “new ways to present old ideas to people that will apostasize them”. The latter, in my opinion, is largely what has happened in recent history.

  21. Banjo pickin girl says:

    avantibev, i like your spinster humor. I will have to hold my own door and string my own banjo!

  22. fvhale says:

    Dear MichaelJ, the clause is “he sees a potentially dangerous trend in the traditionalist movement,” not “‘potentially dangerous’ about wishing for the return of the Church of our ancestors.”
    The good archbishop is not saying anything at all about “the Church of our ancestors,” let alone “that yesterday’s Church was somehow inadequate.”

    His concern is the “traditionalist movement,” not the extraordinary form of the Mass, which is heavenly, good an beautiful.

    But there might be a “potentially dangerous trend” in the “traditionalist movement,” including potential dangers of pride, exclusivism and divisiveness, whether by the “traditionalist movement” one means the SSPX or the local “TLM community” where I live where members of the community consider that the forma ordinaria is not “real Catholicism” or, as one gentleman did, they make insulting comments regarding those who would, following the teaching of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, realize the beauty of worship of our God in both forms of the Roman Rite.

    Again, the archbishop did not in any way, even by implication, say there was anything inadequate about the extraordinary form. Rather, I believe his concern is with the “traditionalist movement” which may become rigid, proud, and divisive.

    And I have been at Masses with him of both forms.

  23. KristinLA says:

    I just attended my firt EF Mass this past Sunday (1/27) with my family. It was a Low Mass and I enjoyed it but I would also like to go to a High Mass someday. They had Latin-English booklets which were very helpful and I can say that I was able to follow along. When the priest was praying quietly I was reading the prayers and I found that I was so very attentive because I was reading ALL the prayers. Solemn. Transcendent. Awe-inspiring.

  24. MichaelJ says:

    fvhale, thank you for your reply, but that is not what Archbishop Cordileone is reported to have stated. According to the Catholic Herlad :“But he [Archbishop Cordileone] sees a potentially dangerous trend in the traditionalist movement, if it simply wants to revert to a distant time in the past and stay there. He referred to Ronald Knox, according to the Catholic Herald, indicating that he was referring to the desire.

    What is potentially dangerous, then, is the desire to ” revert to a distant time in the past and stay there” and I want to know what it is.

  25. fvhale says:

    Dear MichalJ,

    If you want the context of the Knox quotation, see:
    Ronald Knox, Pastoral and Occasional Sermons, Ignatius Press, 2002 (orig. 1940), p. 696.

    …And because the old Holy Week services, primitive as they were, had altered somewhat, as old customs will, in the course of the centuries, it was fitting that we should have them purged for us, only the other day, by an act of the Supreme Pontiff. But a wholesale return to antiquity would be an impoverishment of our heritage. The Church, as the Gospel tells us, is like a man of riches and of taste, who brings both new and old things out of his treasurehouse. And the liturgy reminds us of some great cathedral which has been added to by successive generations, all the more beautiful because it retains the tally of the centuries….”

  26. mamajen says:


    I agree with you that chivalry has always been about respect, but I think between the feminist movement and some bad apples among men (okay, maybe entire cultures in some cases), that message has been largely lost. I definitely don’t think that women are in any way superior to men, nor did I get that from Cordileone’s statements. We each have our special roles and special strengths. Chivalry is a way to honor what is sacred about women, while reserving certain roles only for men is a way to acknowledge what is sacred about men.

  27. Tony from Oz says:

    But Ronald Knox is clearly referring to the Jansenists of the 18th century and their desire to return to the real or, largely imagined, practises of the ‘early Church’. Bishop Scipione de Ricci and his Synod of Pistoia (1786) – and the condemnation of the same by Pope Pius VI in his Bull, Auctorem Fidei (1794), comes to mind.

    He is writing that in 1940 – seven years before Pius XII’s encyclical ‘Mediator Dei’, in which the Pope warns aginst those who wish to restore ancient liturgical practices as being guilty of a ‘false achaeologism’ – which is a reflection and continuation of Pius VI’s earlier condemnation of the Synod of Pistoia.

    Ironically, barely 17 years after Mediator Dei, the Concilium under Archbishop Annibale Bugnini unleashed the very antiquarian tendencies (albeit massively selective) in remodelling the liturgy of the Mass in the name of Vatican II.

    In short, if Archbishop Cordileone is critiquing any tendency within Traditionalism – on the basis of what he has said here – it would have to be liturgical jansenists within the Traditional Movement. A miniscule part of Traditionalism, I should have thought, if it exist at all!

  28. Sandy says:

    Oh how we wish this holy man could have stayed in San Diego! Dear Father Neely, what a saintly man!

  29. fvhale says:

    Dear Tony of Oz,

    While the earliest edition of the sermons is 1940 (original edition by Burns Oates), the quotation was from a sermon of the second edition of 1960 by Earl of Oxford and Asquith. The particular sermon was preached at the Birmingham Oratory on 26 May 1956, the Feast of St. Philip Neri.

    The sermon begins thus, setting Knox’s context and intentions quite clearly (on p. 695):

    “If you or I had been called into consultation with Mr. Newman in the year 1846, and asked what was the best kind of religious foundation to canalize the energies and perpetuate the memory of the Oxford conversions, what should we have said? We should have said, I think, in our wisdom, “It doesn’t matter which religious institute you choose, as long as it is something medieval, and something English.”

    “In point of fact, Newman consulted Pope Pius IX, and was told to found an Oratory of St. Philip Neri. We, in our wisdom, should have said, ‘How typical! A little piece of Italy in Edgbaston, smelling of the Renaissance! That just shows how little Rome understands England!” And we should have been wrong, quite wrong.”

    Then comes the paragraph quoted above, on p. 696. Later in the sermon, on p. 697:

    “And St. Philip is typical of that splendid resourcefulness with which, from century to century, the Church finds new ways of meeting new needs.”

    I fear you may have built yourself a straw man (or Aunt Sally) of “liturgical jansenists” in order to make the comments irrelevant. But there is none of that in Knox’s sermon. Just an appeal to avoid narrowly dreaming and focusing on only one age of the Church. The liturgy “brings back memories not only of the catacombs, but of the Crusades and of the Counter-Reformation, and of more recent perils still….As far as reverence permits, all our various moods and contrivances are to be pressed into the service of the God who gives us his gifts so abundantly.”

    The Roman Rite has two forms. It is dangerous try dream, liturgically or otherwise, of staying exclusively in the time before the Second Vatican Council, just as it is dangerous to dream that everything began from the time of the Council. We need to embrace, in a gracious continuity, both forms, both recent ages. “Latin only,” or “1962 only” is just as narrowly tragic as “No Latin; vernacular only” or “Novus Ordo only.”

  30. Cecily says:

    I don’t understand this idea about women being sacred. Where did that idea come from? It sounds pretty and poetical, but really, what in the world does it mean? Who are you quoting? Whose idea is this? Women are sacred (“consecrated or belonging to a god or deity ; holy”) and men are not? This does not make sense to me.

  31. asperges says:

    Of the EF form of Holy Mass: “With that form of Mass you can feel the Church breathing through the centuries.”

    Beautifully put. That is one of its greatest strengths, and in the minds of its detractors, its greatest source or irritation.

  32. StWinefride says:

    Archbishop Cordileone says: “We won’t deepen their faith by window dressing. They might be attracted to externals and there’s nothing wrong there, but we also have to bring them to a deeper faith.” [They are signs, which we need.]

    I have been thinking about this. Signs point to a deeper reality.

    Bringing someone to a deeper faith IS, first and foremost, to take them to the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Anyone who has attended the TLM for a number of years is able to look back and say that just by attending that form of the Mass, their faith has deepened because one is, supernaturally, drawn to discovering more about God and one’s Faith.

    The soul leads, because we are a soul with a body, not a body with a soul. The TLM is the Mass of the Saints, the Martyrs, the Mass that produces the most vocations to the religious life… it becomes evident after a while, why this is so.

    One cannot help but be transformed at a very deep level. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi…

    Therefore, in first place, we should have a Mass that nourishes the soul. This then moves the soul to deepen his/her faith. St Anselm of Canterbury said:

    “Faith seeks understanding. I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand”.

    So, with all due respect to Archbishop Cordileone, I don’t agree with the terms “window dressing” or “externals”.

  33. Tony from Oz says:


    Thanks for the context mate. I see your point. But…I think that it is fair enough to desire the extraordinary form be left as it is (putting aside the pioneering tinkeritis of Bugnini’s Holy Week Reforms of 1955) for now. Whilst liturgy develops, we need I think to recover the sense that development will happen, but in imperceptively incremental steps. The pace of a glacier is a helpful metaphor here, I think.

    The Church has seen little of the ‘gracious continuity’ you mention. Indeed, I have just read the excellent series on the reforms to the Holy Week Ceremonies written for New Liturgical Movement in 2009 – – which paved the way to the spirit of restless liturgical iconoclasm and tinkeritis which pervades the mindset of so many folk in the Church today.

    I say declare the moratorium on the self-conscious development of liturgy.

    Read these and you will see the unleashing o

    The entire prevalent notion that we should actually want the liturgy to develop before our eyes, in our life time, is a recent and alien thing and ought to be reprobated.

  34. MichaelJ says:

    you asserted that ” It is dangerous try dream, liturgically or otherwise, of staying exclusively in the time before the Second Vatican Council” as if it were self-evident. Ironically, you are directly asserting what Archbp. Cordileone only alluded to – which you took great pains to deny – but that is beside the point.

    Again, I ask what is the danger? What ill effects will I or the Church suffer?

  35. LisaP. says:

    I appreciate the archbishop’s attempt to address the “woman issue”, but not having had my experiences with feminist groups and attitudes I’m afraid his attempt rings poorly for me. I have no desire to be the more equal pig, that was what drove me from feminism in the first place.

    At the same time, I wonder in reading Imrahil’s comments and others (Imrahil’s having, again, much that is fascinating and new to me) — I have taught my kids that a huge part of what is wrong with women demanding female ordination is that they do so on the supposition that the men have all the powerful, good positions in the Church and that’s not fair, women should get to be big shots, too. I tell my girls, priests aren’t supposed to be big shots. Bishops aren’t. Popes aren’t. They are servants. They are the last that will be first. They are shepherds, and shepherds in the ancient world weren’t exactly kings — St. Patrick shepherded as a slave.

    So I have to wonder why men being priests would in any way signify that woman as a sex is in a secondary position?

    I agree that much else the archbishop says in this interview sounds just a liiiiiiittttle bit off — the remarks on time remind me of Chesterton quoting folks as saying you can’t turn back the clock — he notes that if the time is wrong, that’s exactly what you must do! (Although having an old clock I see that in order to turn back a clock you actually have to move it forward or you ruin the works, an interesting metaphor in itself). His comments on young people liking the trappings — it’s not decorative for them, they like “trappings” because they’re hoping there’s something substantial that comes with them. Modern parishes have trappings, also — bongos and guitars and pizza parties and such. But I’ll give him credit for trying, and also allow a lot of wiggle room for the fact that this is a news article, and news articles rarely are able to capture complicated ideas well.

  36. servulus indignus Christi says:

    @ Imhrahil, I perfectly agree. I might add a comment as well on Latin. The Archbishop’s statement that it makes sense to have the propers and readings in Latin is quite a modernist stance. It is the result of viewing the Mass as man-directed rather than God-directed. God understands Latin perfectly well and the prayers yea, even the readings which according to even ancient Jewish thought, are read as a symbolical “reminder” (which occurs all the time in the psalms by the way) to God of His promises to man. Hence, there is zero sense in having the variable parts of the Mass in the vernacular. Some side reasoning against this is that some of the most beautiful, and also complex, chants of the Church are from the propers…would you do away with these for the sake of putting the Church’s worship into the vernacular? How could that “traditional” movement ever promote sacred music? Moreover, people can learn Latin…sufficiently well…just offer it to them!

  37. servulus indignus Christi says:

    In short the modernist thesis runs very deep, even among those who are termed “traditional.” God bless the archbishop, I’m quite a fan of his despite my disagreement.

  38. mamajen says:

    To me it’s perfectly clear that to wholesale abandon or ignore Church developments that have occurred after a certain point is indeed dangerous, and that’s precisely what some traditionalists, like the SSPX want to do. Yes, it can be argued that some changes were not good or not implemented well (ie. Vatican II), but that doesn’t mean that all of the changes have been wrong or bad. Jesus instituted the papacy for a reason, and to reject the fruits of that would indeed be dangerous.

    I think the commenters here who take issue with the use of “dangerous” are not of the same mindset of the most extreme traditionalists, and perhaps that is why it’s such a sticking point.

  39. MichaelJ says:

    mamajen, I can agree with your assessment although I think you are painting a caricature of “extreme tradidionalists'” that does not really exist except in perhaps a handful of individuals.

    That being said, the “certain point” you mention is VII. I ask this not to be confrontational but out of genuine curiosity. What positive developments have occurred after VII (not suggesting any cause and effect either) that would be lost to the detriment of the faithful?

  40. PA mom says:

    MichaelJ-as another young in who grew up with the OF, but finally saw the EF (on YouTube, but it’s a start…) I absolutely agree with not returning the entire Church singly to the EF. Not to the whole Mass in Latin (though I would switch to the 5requested parts in a millisecond), not removing the three year cycle of readings.
    Really this hybrid Mass of Latin and chant, partial God-facing and partial congregation that Pope Benedict seems to envision sounds like heaven on earth.
    The Church can’t retreat, but it certainly appears to be in the right hands for improvement.

  41. maryh says:

    Imrahil said:

    If woman would really walk before man because of her intrinsic higher dignity, then the argumentation for the all-male-priesthood, which (not the argumentation, but the result; but still…) is a dogma, would fall into pieces.

    I generally enjoy your comments, but I was rather taken aback by this. I agree it is going too far to imply that woman has higher intrinsic dignity than man. But your interpretation seems to be that the argumentation for the all-male-priesthood has something to do with the man having higher intrinsic dignity. Certainly you don’t think Jesus reserved the priesthood for men because men are “better” than women? Hopefully, I have misconstrued what you said.

    I agree with the all-male priesthood, because it is what the Church teaches and what Jesus demonstrated by choosing only men for the priesthood. Matter matters, and the matter to be a priest includes being a male. To say otherwise, against Jesus’ specific example, is to say that gender doesn’t matter, that God didn’t really have any reason to make human beings in the form of two sexes, each in the image of God.

    So how and why does it matter in this case? There are lots of ideas out there. One that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that it would not be right for the woman, who bears life, to be the incarnation of God’s sacrifice on the cross. Sacrifice – defense – protection is the special role of the male sex, so that the female may fulfill her role of bearing new life. The second person of the Trinity became male, not because men are “first” but because his mission was to become both sacrificer and sacrifice on the cross. And Mary, his mother, stands at the foot of the cross, not up on the cross, because as the sinless woman, she is the bearer, not just of human life, but of God incarnate.

    God uses the special role of each sex to redeem us. The Second Person of the Trinity becomes incarnate as a man, through a woman.

    So it makes sense to me that men are called to be priests instead of women. And it makes it easier to see why changing the imagery of the Eucharist from sacrifice to banquet makes it harder to see why a woman shouldn’t be a priest.

    Also I notice that in some “modern” churches (including mine), the crucifix is often replaced with an empty cross or the risen Christ in front of the cross, and the statue of the Blessed Virgin is not in the front next to the sanctuary at all, if indeed there even is one in the church. Those two images of man and woman used to be in front of us in every church, and now they’re often gone.

  42. dominic1955 says:

    We were talking about the hijacking of language in the gun control/lib Catholic post. Here is another good example-going to the pre-Vatican II Mass would not be “going back” to anything in a regressive sense. If you walk down the wrong path, it is progress to turn around and get back to the right path. The more and more I read, the more and more convinced I am that the Novus Ordo was a dead end wrong turn.

    We’ve always had multiple liturgies in different parts of the Church. Other than the Neo-Gallican liturgies, we’ve never had such a contrived imposition as the NO. Its eventual discontinuance would be an enrichment.

  43. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Certainly you don’t think Jesus reserved the priesthood for men because men are “better” than women?”

    Well, men are, generally better at bring men than women (ducks and covers).

    The Chicken

  44. LisaP. says:

    Chickens, ducks. . . . . . .

  45. maryh says:

    dominic1955, I agree that the NO certainly was a contrived imposition. It certainly didn’t come organically from the practice of the people. It reminds me of Esperanto (my apologies to anyone here who likes Esperanto) – which was supposed to be an easier, more universal language. At least the promoters of Esperanto didn’t try to make other languages go away.

  46. Imrahil says:

    Dear @LisaP., thank you very much for your friendly words which I did not deserve…

    Thing is, history shows us that the Church has treated the clergy as persons of special honor in leading position. It has always been insisted that this is due to office and sacramental character, not personal merits (even though they are welcome), or even birth, wealth, arbitrary, or unjust grounds; and it has been and is still a huge dispute how constitutional this monarchy is (if you get my meaning)… but it basically remains true too.

    This is even clearer wherever the Church is in a minority. If a village is totally Catholic, we might theoretically think that this place of primus is vested into the bailiff and the pastor is a mere servant; but if the Church is in a minority, then the clergy will take this role at least for want of anybody else. (The role which the Duke of Norfolk played or plays still in English Catholicism is, to a degree but not fully, a rather remarkable exception.) Yet historically even if the village was totally Catholic, the priest was (and is) a person of social excellence. The Pope and the Emperor may have disputed whichever was, in this sense, first; but either agreed to put the other second.

    What is more, this is conform with Scripture, see Hebrews 13,7.17.

    In Christianity, we have any position of authority equipped with the commandment to fulfil it in service of the people (see Mk 10.43). There is no fundamental difference here (maybe one of degree, but differences of degree somehow never seem to be so earthshaking to me) between the position of pastor and that of ecclesiastical judge, that of secular judge, that of king, that of officer, that of civil-servant, that of President of the United States, that of voter in a republic, that of majority shareholder of a great Dow Jones company, that of the little craftsman-entrepreneur across the street, and – what excepting clerical dignity is highest among all these – mother, and father. [Of course you have for long gotten my drift… I could not resist to arrange this enumeration.]

    So, put it in short, yes, in so far as the Church is concerned, if we do not object principally against an order of precedence (which certainly has good arguments for it), then clergy will occupy the first places. In so far as not the Church directly, but still a very religious piece of Christendom is concerned, clergy still will occupy places among the first ones.

    And then, even if that were not so:
    So I have to wonder why men being priests would in any way signify that woman as a sex is in a secondary position?
    Still that would be so. Women cannot become priests, period. That’s a restriction they have to bear.

    I might also say (as I happen to think) that women might, in limited numbers, apply for the officership but never ever for an enlisted career in the troops of actual combat. Supposing this were actually so, could it meaningfully be said that women and men are equal as soldiers?

    Dear @maryh,

    thank you indeed for your friendly introduction. I may have expressed myself not clear enough. Let’s find that out.

    If the Lord has ordained it this way, then He deserves our obedience – yes. But the “It’s this way because the Lord said so” argument, left alone, will bring us into trouble; nor is it necessary to leave it alone. We can figure He had quite a good reason.

    And that would be inconsistent with the woman as such being superior to the man as such. It were somehow illogical if for those on superior positions (see the part addressed at dear @Lisa), only those from the inferior sex are chosen.

    Now this works with equality, doesn’t it? I am not hereby saying that men are superior. — (Though St. Thomas did, in arguing for all-male priesthood, in fact hold this. He was not right. Whether men are first or not, certainly women is not in a state of subjection, unless we explain so many pages what this is supposed to mean that we might as well drop the term). The all-male priesthood is sufficiently explained by the fact that Christ was male and was so for a reason. He showed so in choosing the apostles, etc.

    But what reason? Thank you very much for your thoughts on that. It highly interests me, because I do not know the answer. If I did, I would write shorter. :-)

    Nevertheless, don’t you think what you wrote sounds a bit … well… too biological? Women sacrifice too, after all. Not long ago, they sacrificed a serious danger of dying in childbirth; only to begin with and pains of birth not even counting.

    But man defends to the outward. Whereas pregnancy and childbirth happen to a woman… (In the last two paragraphs, I did not state a thing. I was merely thinking aloud…)

    By the way: Mary, even though sinless, can by her own nature only be mother of human life. That she is mother of God incarnate is because the Son she bore is fully God, by God’s doing.

    The argument that still, hitherto, makes most sense to me is that man is – as many have said – called to represent the Creator, while woman is called to represent the Creation. (Even “creation” is, in languages other than English, a female noun.)

    And then… well there is St. Paul who takes Genesis litterally and says that woman is man’s helpmate and not vice versa. He adds “and not vice versa”. — By which I do not want to imply any right for the man to dominate. That came after the Fall.

  47. The Masked Chicken says:

    I look at it like this: Since a woman presented the world with the flesh-and-blood Word of God, that really can’t be topped. Letting women do it again, sacramentally, would be a step down, wouldn’t it? Men get to present the Word of God to the the world sacramentally as a sort of consolation prize.

    Women, don’t take that away from them.

    Of course, I jest, but still…It was St. Joseph’s task to guard Jesus and Mary. Man have always been more expendable than women and children. God killed the Temple priests who got it wrong, you know.

    The Chicken

  48. maryh says:

    @Imrahil Thank you for your answer.
    I understand the thought that pregnancy and childbirth (and through most of history, up to three years of breastfeeding) are too “biological.” But according to the Theology of the Body, our biology is not a meaningless fact of our existence. And it seems to me that it is through biology that God has “grounded” the difference between the sexes.

    All other biological differences between men and women are differences in degree – men tend to be larger, women tend to be better at language. But pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding are differences in kind. So in looking at the differences in the roles of men and women, I think that is something very important to look at (although I’m not saying it is the only thing).

    Also, I don’t think it’s quite correct to say that pregnancy and childbirth are things that normally “happen” to women (although in this age of contraception, it may seem so to many people). I think I see where you’re coming from: a woman does not consciously direct the development of her pregnancy, and she does not have complete control over it.

    But it is like other biological givens that are not sex-based. A man may be tall enough to be a basketball star – that is the biological given in this case. But whether he decides to pursue basketball, or is pressured into it against his will, or completely decides against it, is up to him. Height is something that just “happened” to him, and others who don’t have enough height will never have a chance at being a basketball star.

    Similarly, a woman can (usually) choose whether she will try to get pregnant, and once pregnant, can either cooperate and support the pregnancy or not. So pregnancy is both a biological given, and something that requires ongoing moral and physical involvement of the woman.

    I think there is a very strong temptation to discount the non-spiritual aspects of our nature. As Catholics, I think we are very good at recognizing that we are both body and spirit. Woman’s biology as child-bearer becomes a sign of a spiritual truth that she embodies in a way that man cannot. This grounding hopefully prevents us from going off into the la-la land of gnosticism.

    With this physical “grounding”, it’s now possible to go on to talk about spiritual motherhood, of which a woman, whether of not she is actually a mother, is the outward sign.

    Men have no such biological “grounding.” They get their biological “grounding” in relation to women. And in relation to what Jesus did, as a man. Jesus led, served and sacrificed his life to his enemies to redeem all humanity. So in my thoughts, this becomes part of what it means to be a male human being. Women, as well as men, may be called to lead and to sacrifice their lives for the other, but it is the particular role of men to risk themselves first.

    As for your other parallel, of man representing the Creator and woman the creation, I have no problem with that either.

    But this post is getting too long for me to go into some of my ideas of what “first” and “second” place might mean.

  49. LisaP. says:

    Very interesting, and glad you didn’t abridge.
    I can’t deny the way clergy are treated within a community implies a position. I like to think that is a (sometimes innocent) mistake. I like to think that we should treat all in a community with the respect that we properly show a priest or bishop. I like to think that while, yes, priests are given *authority* and *responsibility*, that in their case ideally this does not mean they are given earthly power. I like to think that if, for example, I elect a political representative he will undoubtedly gain a great deal of power from election, simply can’t be helped, and that banning women from acquiring his office would ban them from that power. However, a priest taking holy orders may (or may not) be given authority, and certainly will be burdened with responsibilities, but he will have no *power* over me. He has graces he can bring to me, and that he should — but if he withholds them for nefarious reasons or because I irritate him, those graces will be available from other avenues. I would argue that the examples you provide — e.g. officers vs. enlisted — involved groups that have quite a bit of power over the other group, as an unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of worldly authority.

    I do recognize the sacramental nature of the priesthood. But I also recognize the sacramental nature of baptism, and don’t consider the baptized primary with nonbaptized secondary. I recognize the sacramental nature of matrimony, but the married don’t come before the unmarried.

    Any purchase there? Ah, well, I guess it’s pretty weak. I have to admit that I have not yet worked out the place of obedience and authority in the Church — I think there are a lot of ways those things can be misunderstood. I get irritated with the idea that a parishioner must “obey” a priest — I must obey God as directed by a correctly teaching priest. I don’t have to wear blue today because the priest tells us to. I feel much the same about strict interpretations of the “submission” verses in Paul, there are folks who seriously advise you should do things you consider not just ill-advised but potentially wrong if your husband tells you to. Every man’s duty is the king’s, but every man’s conscience is his own? There’s a ramble. . . .

  50. LisaP. says:

    I’ve often thought that if we did let women be priests, there wouldn’t be any men in some churches during Mass at all . . . . . . .:( Women do have a tendency to take over and overwhelm. . . .

  51. maryh says:

    Hi LisaP. Another former feminist? I hope you didn’t go as far I did before you left. But it does leave us to grapple with some hard questions. We know the feminist answer is wrong, but we still have to make sense of what the Church says.

    @Imrahil – that’s why I said I took the fact that only men could be priests on the word of the Church. Finally, I got to the point where I realized that the Church was right about other things I thought she wrong about, so in some areas that I couldn’t understand quite yet (or possibly ever), I finally just took it on faith. At which point a funny thing happened. I started to see reasons why it could make sense that only men could be priests without implying that men are superior to women.

    Although again, it depends on what you mean by “superior”. In military terms, the “superior” officer is not the “better” officer – just the one in command. Jesus set up the Church with a certain order, and put men in charge of that order. That doesn’t mean women are never in charge, or that women can never have authority over men. But it does mean that there are areas where men are the ones in charge. One example: in marriage, a woman is to be subordinate to her husband, not because he’s “better” than her, but because it is his job to defend and protect her, which requires that he have enough authority over her and enough obedience from her so that he can do that.

    I’ve been in the military (only four years, far from any conflict) and in the working world for many years, and even been in charge of my own (failed) business for a while. It’s been my experience that you simply can’t run any organization, even down to the level of the family, without someone having the final authority. I didn’t want to believe it, but my experience finally proved me wrong.

  52. LisaP. says:

    No, I don’t suppose I’d ever have classed myself as a feminist, I was never that active a thinker, it’s more that the feminist point of view was just accepted by me for years as a given. I agree that once you believe the Church is right in what she teaches, it becomes pretty imperative to make at least enough sense of it to follow it well. I also empathize on your path of deciding the Church was right, so assenting to dogma I didn’t yet understand, then finding understanding coming more. One thing I also found was that it never “hurt” anything to follow the Church rules. Sometimes I didn’t get what I wanted, but it never went against my conscience. Another sign, to me, that the Church had the truth.

    It’s interesting that the military metaphor comes up, a few weeks ago a young priest made that comparison, also, with marriage. I’ve heard people say that in business the worst thing you can do is give someone responsibility for a job without giving them authority to do it. I suppose that could be applied to a marriage, it’s an interesting way of approaching it.

  53. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken,

    I hate to contradict you but, well, it could be topped. It has been topped by a man being God himself.

    Somehow Our Lord is always left out of these calculations. Strange, isn’t it? Fully God and fully humanbeing…

    Dear @Lisa and @maryh,
    thank you for your friendly words and lengthy comments which I have not now the time to answer.

  54. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I hate to contradict you but, well, it could be topped. It has been topped by a man being God himself.”

    Jesus in his humanity did NOT give birth to himself. Thus, a man did not give birth to a man. In the order of Nature, it was a woman who gave Christ his humanity.

    We are taking past each other. I detect that we are using the word, “topped,” in different ways. You are right, ultimately (supernatural); I m right, locally (natural).

    The Chicken

  55. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken, yes, presenting the world with the flesh-and-blood Word of God was Holy Mary’s prerogative. I take for granted that actually being the said Word of God tops that.

    Nevertheless, I detect now that you were referring to the act of presenting. Thus, apologies.

    But still … Christ did present himself to the world also, not by manner of birth but by manner of preaching.

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