Jesuit v. Jesuit

There are a few notable exceptions, but there is a general rule that Jesuits don’t have much of a grasp or sense of liturgy.  Perhaps you know the old chestnut: “As lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week”, to describe someone who doesn’t have a clue.

On twitter, that Fr. James Martin, SJ, tweeted:

That’s just dumb.

Now I turn to one of those exceptional Jesuits who does know something about liturgy, Fr. James V. Schall, SJ. Today he posted about Card. Sarah’s invitation at Crisis:

The history of “Mass with the priest’s back facing the people” has been a long and amusing one. Let it be said from the beginning that no priest ever thought that he was celebrating Mass with his back to the people. No priest of any age or place ever said to himself: “Now that I am about to consecrate the Host, I will turn my back to the people.” He and everyone were turning to the Lord. That whole imagery of “back to the people” was dreamed up to promote a theological cause. It wanted the Mass to be understood not what it is, a sacrifice, but a friendly meal. The priest became a host or a “president,” as he is often called. He is a “presider,” awful term. Even worse is it when the priest is seen to be a “master of ceremonies” or an actor, greeting and joshing everyone.

And there’s this nugget: “orientum“?

Anyway, there is more over at Crisis.


And there’s also this one:

From Fr. Schall’s piece:

The Mass is not a one-act play in which the priest takes the part of Christ in a short skit. It is a sacred rite, the way that Christ taught us to be the one proper way to worship his Father. The Mass is not an entertainment designed to keep us alert and amused. The worst effect of Mass with a priest facing the people is that the priest becomes the center of the show. His personality increases when it should decrease. He is the actor who calls attention to himself performing. He is responsible for the action that circles around him. This phenomenon is especially vivid in “theater-in-the-round” churches. The altar should be an altar, not just another table.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Two months ago, when I was at Mass at Clear Creek, I met a Latin Mass Jesuit. Also, I was informed lately that there are Jesuits saying the Latin Mass in Florida. Those new, younger vocations may very well renew the order.

    I met Father Schall years ago at TAC. A great priest…

  2. haydn seeker says:

    Fr Schall is a wonder, his books are a pure joy. But what a disaster the generations of Jesuits that have followed him are. I think it is time for the SJ to be suppressed, frankly.

  3. kiwiinamerica says:

    They got him.

    Cardinal Sarah had a “meeting” with Francis.

    Contrast the speed with which Sarah was dragged in and neutralized with the way heretics like Kasper and Marx are allowed free rein to roam at will. Nay, even encouraged to do so.

  4. Pax78 says:

    With regard to Fr. Schall’s observation of the priest becoming a “performer”, if only it were limited to the priest! I belonged to a parish where the choir was situated to the right of the altar only about 10 feet from the priest, facing the people; absolutely making the music performance and NOT worship. There were choir members who would perform as if they were auditioning for a spot in a Broadway musical. And the natural result was that the congregation would treat it like the performance it was, and applaud at the conclusion of the communion hymn.

  5. donato2 says:

    As the Spadaro and Martin reactions reflect, any return to tradition will be fiercely opposed. This of course is not surprising.

    Can anyone doubt after these recent events that the “reform of the reform” is not a solution to the liturgical mess in which the Church is mired? For the last year and one half I have been blessed with the availability of an FSSP TLM. I remember when I attended only the new Mass I begged for crumbs: Oh, if they only sang the Sanctus in Latin; oh, if only the priest prayed ad orientem; oh, if only they didn’t sing those infantile hymns; oh, if only they didn’t use the guitar and electronic keyboard; etc., etc., etc. This episode with Cardinal Sarah, like the reform of the reform generally, is just another case of begging for crumbs. With the TLM one sits at the table for the full feast every Sunday. The TLM is the only solution.

  6. Yosef says:

    It is amazing to see the level of attacks against the Prefect of the CDW and, in a way, on the hierarchical nature of the Church.

    It seems to me that the gloves are coming off. Hopefully now at least more people will begin to see the wolves in sheep’s clothing, and start to understand the crisis we find ourselves in.

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!

  7. TNCath says:

    Good Jesuit Liturgy: nobody got hurt and nothing got broken. Unfortunately, Jesuits like Fr. Martin are the epitome of that infamous term “Jesuitical.”

  8. TWF says:

    They exist. I met a local biritual Jesuit who walks about in Byzantine choir dress, celebrates the Byzantine DL, and has an appreciation for the TLM (I met him at a pontifical high mass).

  9. wbloomfield says:

    Fr. Spadaro’s quote from the GIRM is strange because it comes from the instruction regarding the Orate Fratres; contrary to his interpretation, the quote actually SUPPORTS the use of ad orientem as it implies that the priest had his back to the people as he prepared the offertory gifts. Such an instruction to face the people would be wholly superfluous if the priest always faced the people at Mass. Of course, it makes perfect sense when one is rooted in the traditional of the liturgy of the Church, since the Orate Fratres is one of the exceptional times during the Mass when the priest turns to face the people, thus requiring a rubric to “face the people.” Here’s the full quote from GIRM 146:

    146. Returning to the middle of the altar, and standing facing the people, the Priest extends and then joins his hands, and calls upon the people to pray, saying, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren). The people rise and make the response May the Lord accept the sacrifice, etc. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says the Prayer over the Offerings. At the end the people acclaim, Amen.

  10. Sawyer says:

    Regarding Antonio Spadaro’s tweet that GIRM 146 has an explicit instruction for the priest to face the people when he says, “Orate fratres,” GIRM 154 repeats that instruction when it comes time for the greeting of peace:

    154. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti (Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles) and when it is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he announces the greeting of peace, FACING THE PEOPLE and saying, The peace of the Lord be with you always. The people reply, And with your spirit. After this, if appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

    An observation: if the priest has been necessarily facing the people all during the Eucharistic Prayer it would be unnecessary to repeat the instruction in GIRM 154 that the priest face the people because the priest would already be facing the people according to GIRM 146.

    Therefore, it must be that the instructions for the priest to face the people in GIRM 146 and 154 are there because at those times the priest is directly speaking to the assembly; the priest should face those whom he is addressing. In between those times, during the Eucharistic Prayer, when the priest is addressing the Father, he may turn to face liturgical East to do so; and if he does so, he is reminded in GIRM 154 to turn again to face the people for the greeting of peace.

  11. frgregoryj says:

    As an Orthodox priest, I’ve never celebrated the Divine Liturgy facing the people so I can’t comment on this particular liturgical posture. Whenever I celebrate Liturgy I do so facing East. I have never felt as if my back was to the congregation. That said, I can’t help hear a hint of mistrust in the voices of those who complain about the priest standing with his backs to the congregation. What do people imagine will happen? That the laity will sneak up behind the priest and commit some dastardly deed? Or maybe they think that the priest is poisoning the chalice!

    No, the opposition to the priest facing East seems, at best, the fruit of bad catechesis or, at worse, the rotten fruit of paranoia.

    Going back into lurker mode.

  12. benedetta says:

    Huh. Reading these one gets the impression that liturgy actually matters!

    That’s definitely what I was taught. I was led to believe that anything goes for “doing liturgy”, so long as everything is seemingly minimally valid. Or still valid. Any quibble with any aspect whatsoever belonged to the exclusive jurisdiction of the “liturgical police”, which one could surely bet on growing up to become if one didn’t get with the program and understand that Vatican II dictated that things only have just a barest hint or whiff of Catholic Mass to show that we were with it and progressive and not bad old people.

    I don’t get this at all whereby apparently perfectly sane, even popular people may opinionate upon matters liturgical. What’s the difference? One may have what is barely valid if that is desired, and another and another and still many more, especially young people, may perfectly legitimately like, prefer, opt for, and see beauty and charity in full valid, no?

    Honestly, though I can see that when priests don’t bother with a chasuble, just going alb for daily Mass, that they really might feel that their backsides are being unnecessarily exposed if they go ad orientem? I mean, it’s enough to show up sans chasuble, but then to show the backside well. I say, if one is going to go ad orientem, then, one should also wear a chasuble. It’s only right.

  13. Ann Malley says:

    “…No, the opposition to the priest facing East seems, at best, the fruit of bad catechesis or, at worse, the rotten fruit of paranoia.”

    And the ongoing catechesis is that God isn’t that essential, but people and their sensibilities and their pocketbooks and votes are. Can’t help but wonder if George Soros is providing some underground funding to keep things just the way they are. Can’t have Catholics being catechized, not even by way of the priest facing God.

    Too dangerous, that!!! The young one’s might get the idea that there’s something of import in the Tabernacle. That’s if it’s even there.

    So not paranoia at all. Just job security.

  14. marcpuckett says:

    How stupid does P Spadaro SJ think we are? He imagines that we cannot read the IGMR for ourselves, whether in the Latin or in a proper translation? His is just the sort of obnoxious clericalism that his Holiness the Sovereign Pontiff has inveighed against.

    This entire business with the victimisation of Cardinal Sarah reeks of human politicking and manipulation: reading first reports of his address in London, it was obvious that he was speaking for himself, offering his own opinion, about celebration ad orientem, not imitating his betters, as it were, and legislating off the cuff or in mid-flight. That his Holiness maintains Cardinals Mueller, Sarah, Pell et alii in their offices suggests to me that much of what is going on at Rome involves machinations amongst a certain party of prelates and curialists, not of the highest rank themselves, who have none the less managed to gain his Holiness’s confidence at some personal or pastoral level. Nothing prelates do can any longer surprise me, alas.

  15. Gratias says:

    The Jesuits, including Papa Francisco, are determined to eliminate the last traces of reverence from the Eucharist. Their reward be in the afterlife. Better for us little people to keep the Faith as we learned it from our fathers and mothers, not from the Jesuits. It is quite difficult to remain Catholic amongst the Illuminati, Democrats and cop killers we live among us, so I will stick to the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy that is still available, for now, in my dear California.

  16. HeatherPA says:

    Could we at least beg Twitter to suppress the Jesuits tweets, since the Pope won’t suppress the order?
    All their tweets I have read of late have been near occasions of sin.

  17. aviva meriam says:

    I left a parish dominated by a former nun …

    One of the many issues I had was the adult book club that was predominately based on fr. Martin’s work.

    Only problem is that in North Texas, there aren’t many great options….

  18. Spade says:

    “Good Jesuit Liturgy: nobody got hurt and nothing got broken.”

    Heard a kinda nasty joke recently about how there’s only two things that never change at Jesuit masses.

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