More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.

Sarah’s unofficial appeal prompted a quick official response from the local Archbishop of Westminster, Card. Nichols as well as a clarification from Jesuit spokesman at the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Lombardi (which may have been the last official thing he did there [UPDATE: Greg Burke takes over on 1 August.]) via a communique replete with problems.

For example, Fr. Lombardi wrote (I include the typos in the original English version released):

Pope Francis, for his part, on the occasion of his visit to the Dicastery for Divine Worship, expressly mentioned that the “ordinary” form of the celebration of the Mass is that expressed in the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, while the “extraordinary” form, which was permitted by by Pope Benedict XVI for the purposes and in the ways explained in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificium, must not take the place of the “ordinary” one.

That was Lombardi.

Now look at what Fr. Thomas Rosica, hyper-visible when events at the Holy See require additional English language spin, added to the Press Office communique in a daily news summary blurb which he sends out to newsies, et al.

Fr Lombardi notes that Pope Francis made this view clear to Cardinal Sarah during a recent audience, stressing that the ‘Ordinary’ form of the celebration of Mass is the one laid down in the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, while the ‘Extraordinary’ form, permitted in certain specific cases by Pope Benedict XVI, should not be seen as replacing the ‘Ordinary’ form.

There is a problem in the communique itself and a worse problem in Rosica’s spin of the communique.

Regarding the communique itself, in the Letter which Benedict XVI sent out with Summorum Pontificum, we read: “As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal.”

Note that “in principle”, or perhaps better “de iure”. “De facto”, however, because of the fury of hell that bishops would rain down on priests who dared to say Mass in the way it was said for centuries, priests needed permission.  They didn’t need it legally.  They needed it practically.

On the other hand, while it is true that the communique points out that in Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict laid out criteria for the celebration of Holy Mass in the traditional form, what Rosica did with that little interpolation “in certain specific cases” was to make Summorum Pontificum itself seem more restrictive than it is.  In fact, the “certain specific cases” mentioned by Rosica are, as it turns out from a reading of Summorum Pontificumpretty much whenever and wherever any priest whosoever wants to say the older form of Mass.

I wonder if anyone in the Holy See Press Office has ever read Summorum Pontificum and Benedict’s Letter.  I wonder if anyone there read the whole of Card. Sarah’s address in London.

Think about this.  Rosica’s interpolation “in certain specific cases” applies also to the Novus Ordo.

Can. 932. 1 says that Mass is to be in a sacred place unless necessity requires that it be said somewhere else, and in that case it must be a suitable place.   That means just about anywhere where Catholic sensibilities aren’t horrified.  GIRM 288 says Mass can be in a “respectable place”.  Can. 933 says that a bishop can permit that Mass be said in a non-Catholic church.  The law also says when Mass can be said and who can say Mass.   It also says that the language of Mass in the Roman Rite is LATIN. All of this is to say that there are certain conditions laid down for the celebration of Mass in either Form.

Also, if memory serves, this isn’t the first time that Fr. Rosica seems to have added extra material when reporting.  During the Synod on the Family, he was called out for doing just that.  HERE

Finally, Fr. Lombardi’s press communique concluded

“All this was expressly agreed during a recent audience give by the pope to the said Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.”

How did Rosica frame that in his daily blurb?

Fr Lombardi notes that Pope Francis made this view clear to Cardinal Sarah during a recent audience,…

See what he did there?

Friends, as this develops, keep your eyes open.  What is going on here is important for more than just a liturgical motive… as if that weren’t important enough by itself!  We are our Rites!  This has to do with the status quaestionis of our Holy Church’s leadership and what course is being plotted.  This underscores the tremendous division which yawns ever wider.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Hmmmm. Cardinal Burke is defenestrated, Cardinal Müller gets the silent treatment, Cardinal Pell is bound and gagged, and Cardinal Sarah has a bag tied over his head. Am I paranoid or is there a pattern here?

  2. CatholicMD says:

    What are these people so afraid of?! I can think of no better image of a Church turned in on itself than mass ad populum.

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    I’m reminded of a passage in one of the documents of Pope Pius X — which I can’t put my finger on just now — in which he warns that the method of the Modernists is to surround the Catholic with a blanket (I think that’s his word) of silence.

  4. They can muzzle even cardinals, but not the laity. It will be up to us to start demanding that the Novus Ordo be fixed– that good worship is not to be confined to the extraordinary form.

  5. Iacobus M says:

    Interesting, isn’t it, that Cardinal Sarah doesn’t say anything about celebrating the Extraordinary Form; on the contrary, he’s suggesting celebrating the Ordinary Form in a way that’s perfectly licit. So why are Fr.s Lombardi and Rosica talking about the Extraordinary Form? Do they not understand, or are they hoping that we don’t? [The answer to that is, “Yes.”]

  6. TimG says:

    I have to wonder if this isn’t the reason Pope BXVI resigned…..he knew this mess was just below the surface and thought “we need to get this out in the open now.” Oy vey.

  7. doreilly says:

    Iacobus M

    I just logged in to make that same point, you beat me to it. While the extraordinary form is celebrated ad orientum, celebrating the novus ordo ad orientum does not make it extra ordinary.
    Even if the proclamation were made to require all novus ordo Masses be celebrated ad orientum, I am sure the leftist would rest easy that they can keep their other litugical messes, priase and worship music, extra ordinary ministers. They fear the ad orientum worship because they know if we are forced to face the Lord that it will not be long before those other abuses they love so much also begin to unravel. It is far easier to disrespect someone when you are not facing them.

  8. Boniface says:

    SIIIIGGGGHHHH…. what part of _ad orientem is already permitted in the Novus Ordo missal, and always has been_ do people just not understand?

  9. un-ionized says:

    Andrew, they have ways of shutting up the laity too (beyond just not listening).

  10. chantgirl says:

    CatholicMD asks ” What are they afraid of/!”

    They are afraid that our children might discover the real Catholic faith, our patrimony that has been denied to the last several generations. They are afraid that Catholics might start to remember who they are and what they are supposed to believe. They are afraid that the laity will remember the faith of our fathers, the faith which says that there is one God, not many pretty-much-the-same gods, the faith which says that there is a heaven and a hell and that we will all end up in one of them, the faith which says that only those in a state of grace may receive Communion, the faith which says that adultery is always and everywhere seriously wrong, the faith which says that any and all sexual activity outside of the valid marriage of one man and one woman is mortal sin, the faith which says that the coveted sacrament of “gay marriage” is an abomination before God.

    These people are afraid that if the laity, who have been unjustly robbed of our birthright, discover the unvarnished Catholic faith that the dissident stranglehold on the Church will be over. They are right to be scared. Catholics who have found the real faith are reproducing enthusiastically and teaching a new generation the beauty of the real Catholic faith.

    Pope Benedict threw the Church a lifeline with SP, and many of us are seizing it.

  11. wmeyer says:

    Although we often hear about the dangers in confusing issues in the Church with issues in politics, or with framing discussions of Church issues in political terms, the reality is that there are few things as viciously political as the responses of these (yes, liberal) cardinals to the public opinions of their traditional brothers.
    A great harm was done in the wake of Vatican II, which in some way persuaded many people that the Church must respond to their wants, wishes, and notions of fashion. Nothing could be further from reality; the Church is supposed to preserve the faith, the sacred traditions, and her teachings, that we may be brought to salvation.
    It becomes impossible to consider some of these public statements with charity. Pope Francis offers a hugely confusing off the cuff remark, and we are to know that the confusion is ours, but all is well. Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Sarah make clear and well-reasoned public statements, and they are almost immediately negated. Sure, nothing to see here, move along.
    A great battle is in progress. Whether it will become THE great battle we cannot know. But to simply accept the pronouncements from Lombardi and his ilk will lead to the wide gate, not the narrow.

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    True colors becoming ever more magnified. And the unending clarifications which arise when somemone is misunderstood…

  13. leutgeb says:

    Cardinal Sarah did talk about the EF in his address. He spoke about it in a most undramatic and natural way.

    Speaking of seminarians-

    He spoke of immersion in the liturgy as a means of formation.
    He spoke about participation in the EF as a means of understanding the reformed liturgy.
    Active participation not activism.
    Noble simplicity not reductive minimalism.

    He prefaced his comments about ad orientem celebrations of the OF, by mentioning the two previous occasions he has spoken of this in the last few months. It was perfectly clear at every point which form of the Mass he was speaking of. In fact, it was clear at every point what he was speaking of – both what he was reading and his beautifully clear spoken English.

    The applause was very loud and lengthy.

    Taken from my contemporaneous notes; I hope I haven’t added anything or given a slant that was not there.

    His address was immediately followed by Bishop Dominique Rey’s undertaking to celebrate the OF Mass ad orientem.

    I went to the Opening Address of the conference, having been very impressed by Cardinal Sarah’s book, ‘God or Nothing.’ I am now very much more impressed.

    The concert that followed and the Masses on subsequent evenings made for a most edifying week. I am only sorry that work prevented me from being there during the day.

  14. Hidden One says:

    We need more living Saints to pray for and to stand with Cardinal Sarah.

    The prayers of holy people, and of people striving for holiness, have an unequaled power to lay waste to the snares of the Enemy in matters such as this. Few of us have the skill or the position to fight these highly important and high level battles, but all of us can pray for the prelates, pastors, theologians, and communicators who do.

  15. tcreek says:

    If the father of Vatican II, Pope Saint John XXIII had lived, would he have allowed many changes to the Mass, especially the facing of the priest? Very unlikely if you read his Apostolic Constitution, Veternum Sapientia (On the Promotion of the Study of Latin), issued eight months before the council. It is a withering condemnation for those whose -“ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task.”

    An apostolic constitution is the highest level of decree issued by a pope and Veternum Sapientia has been totally ignored by bishops in “The Spirit of Vatican II” crowd. The second highest category of decree is an encyclical letter.

    Below are some excerpts if you don’t wish to read the whole thing.
    Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. . . .

    For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.” She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another. . . .

    Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. . . .

    We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.

    It is a matter of regret that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvelous progress of science, are taking it upon themselves to oust or restrict the study of Latin and other kindred subjects….

    With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our Office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following:

    1. Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall take pains to ensure that in their seminaries and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See’s decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully.

    2. In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See’s will in this regard or interprets it falsely.

    3. As is laid down in Canon Law (can. 1364) or commanded by Our Predecessors, before Church students begin their ecclesiastical studies proper they shall be given a sufficiently lengthy course of instruction in Latin by highly competent masters, following a method designed to teach them the language with the utmost accuracy. …

    No one is to be admitted to the study of philosophy or theology except he be thoroughly grounded in this language and capable of using it.

    4. Wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse through the assimilation of the academic program to that which obtains in State public schools, with the result that the instruction given is no longer so thorough and well-grounded as formerly, there the traditional method of teaching this language shall be completely restored. . . .

    Hence professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. If ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task.

    Finally, in virtue of Our apostolic authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, however worthy of special note.

    Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the feast of Saint Peter’s Throne on the 22nd day of February in the year 1962, the fourth of Our pontificate.

  16. Laura says:

    It’s extremely frustrating that they would impune such a holy man as Cardinal Sarah by implying that he issued some kind of decree, when it was quite evident that he only gave a suggestion and that the press office basically said that Pope Francis expressly scolded Cardinal Sarah about this. Oh dear Jesus, I know you said you would not let the gates of hell prevail against the Church, but we are getting so exhausted from all this. I pray for the Holy Father every day but I miss Pope Benedict.

  17. Ann Malley says:

    “…must not take the place of the “ordinary” one.” and “… should not be seen.”

    These are both troublesome and telling phrases. Must not take the place of? Why? Should not be seen? Why?

    Both phrases bespeak fear, trepidation, and/or the dread of an aftermath should the horror of horrors even be suspected as occurring. A return of Catholics and the Catholic Church to Tridentine Latin Mass.

    Makes one wonder what the dread anticipated consequence may be? For who is being appeased by the continued promotion of the Novus Ordo Missae? Seriously.

    Is some horrific apocalyptic event attached to the time when the Tridentine Mass will triumph?

    Sorry, your eminences, but the cats are long since out of the bag and your delivering cryptic clerical tower messages of what can’t be seen is like painting a neon arrow at whatever it is you’re seeking to cover up.

    For those who have read Harry Potter, “Voldemort has already returned so pretending that one must not mention the name to stay safe is a little late. He’s back.”

  18. benedetta says:

    One time, somewhat long ago and not in a galaxy far far away, I was invited to a small start up’s reception at an Irish pub somewhere around midtown Manhattan. At the time I was volunteering for a homeless not for profit. Interestingly, the executive director of that not for profit heard that I was going, and phoned up the start up (whose director was an acquaintance of him through myself), and invited himself to the reception. When I got there later on, he was already there and enjoying himself. There was, by the way, some great Irish trad music playing. Anyway at some point I was engrossed, drink in hand, in a conversation with a few people, as one is wont to do at such occasions. And this executive director of the homeless not for profit who was supposed to be my mentor and “boss” (I was a volunteer), whom I introduced to the people holding the reception, came up and he literally stepped in front of me, like so I was staring at his head, in the middle of the reception, with his back to me, like, within a few inches. The people I was speaking with sort of stopped talking in mid air. This guy (actually he is I think still a priest) just began yakking away and seemed unconcerned when I had to kind of slink away…Why do I tell this story? Oh I don’t know only that one could look at this chubby boor’s intention. Did he mean to “moon me”? I really don’t know. And I really don’t care. Sure, at one time, it was a bit of a puzzle. Now, not so much all things considered. It was a long time ago. Sometime thereafter I found my way to a fantastic parish in midtown and the best pastor on the planet, a true priest and a man with a chest, a brilliant orator and a humble shepherd. Deo Gratias, all things work to the good for those who love Him. And, had not he turned his back in such a calculated display of rudeness, I never would have been led to appreciate the good and the best things in this very life. A short time later again I had the privilege of assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated ad orientem in the EF. That good and worthy pastor I speak never celebrated the OF ad orientem when I was there, however, I began to consider, based on his humility and deep compassion for those whom he pastored, and that he used the limelight only to encourage and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not himself. I say it again…rejoice.

    So when we speak of people’s backsides, and the direction we all face to pray together to God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and what the intentions are of Holy Mother Church in the liturgy, it has nothing to do with showing others one’s backside, deliberately, like an uncouth college frat boy on a joy ride. Those who employ that kind of terminology to discuss the liturgy are not really being all that intellectually or spiritually honest, and are certainly being uncharitble to the Mass that many of our little old and very poor grandmothers worshiped in, to great effect, in great love. A Blessed Feast of the Martins to all.

  19. Adam Welp says:

    I hope Fr. Rosica is shown the door and told to stay in Canada when Greg Burke takes over.

  20. marcpuckett says:

    And what’s up with the ‘it’s better not to speak of the reform of the reform‘ nonsense? Those who want to relegate the faithful attached to the Old Rite to the outer darkness seem to be gaining the upper hand, for the moment, anyway. At least that illiberal, small-minded fellow Fr Rosica wasn’t made director of the Press Office.

  21. Mike says:

    What are these people so afraid of?!

    That educated Catholics who cherish the Tradition and truths of our Faith will cease to be intimidated into silence every time some powderpuff edgelord throws a Twitter fit.

    What I’m afraid of is not persevering in truth. Not a lot else matters.

    [“powderpuff edgelord”]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  22. Traductora says:

    I was present at this address and it was, as usual with Cdl Sarah, beautiful and eloquent. His request for priests to consider celebrating ad orientem was put in the mildest and most encouraging of tones, without criticizing the Novus Ordo, and quite frankly, I was a little surprised that the reaction was quite so vehement. But then I realized that while traditionalists may work very hard not to see or describe Vatican II and its forms as a rupture, the people who perceive themselves as being on the other side of that divide do in fact see it as a rupture. And they see the rupture as a good thing.

    In their opinion, a new Church started after VII, and Francis is finally “realizing” it after JPII and BXVI obstructed its full flowering. So they view even the slightest reference to anything on the other side of that divide as a massive threat, and even this modest suggestion was enough to cause them to bring out their war machines.

  23. Eugene says:

    Lets see, a good and holy Cardinal suggests that priests should if circumstances allow offer the NO mass ad orietum, [ad orientem] which is perfectly licit. He is immediately corrected by the Vatican spokesman and a fellow Cardinal (Nichols) and given an immediate audience by the Pope a few days after his most gracious speech to get a talking to. Again, he did nothing wrong, his words are within canon law.
    More than 12 months have gone by since a Belgian Bishop (Bonny) and a German Bishop (Bode?) stated publicly that the Church should bless/recognize same sex relationships, which is against church law, and not a word of public correction by a Vatican spokesperson ( can’t say man anymore) or correction by the Pope.
    It is really heartening to this lay simple Catholic to see the present hierarchy has its priorities right, immediate correction for a holy shepherd suggesting a method to return to reverence at Mass, but no correction for those bishops publicly teaching heresy. I get it, I get the agenda now.
    As for Fr Rosica…don’t get me started, charity prohibits me from writing what I think, ….

  24. arga says:

    I am with Card. Sarah of course but it is clear that it was a mistake for him not to address the language of the GIRM in his speech, thus leaving the door wide open to an accusation that he himself wasn’t following liturgical law — quite apart from the ambiguities of the GIRM, which he could have addressed. A rather surprising lapse for such an experienced cleric.

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If it is Fr. Lombardi at whose desk the Euro formally stops (unpolitically to paraphrase Harry Truman), then he ought to be politely but persistently importuned, as by a parabolic widow (St. Luke ch. 18), to produce the recording – with helpful transcript and (uncharacteristically?) accurate translations – of the audience, that all may see precisely what “was unanimously expressed” in the exact words.

  26. Henry Edwards says:

    “Fr Lombardi notes that Pope Francis made this view clear to Cardinal Sarah during a recent audience”

    Since no one involved in this discussion, including Cardinal Sarah, has publicly suggested any question regarding “this view” (of the relation between OF and EF), one inevitably doubts the veracity of the assertion that Pope Francis felt any such unaccustomed need for clarity in this one matter. Let us hope that Greg Burke can restore both clarity and veracity to the Holy See Press Office, which has suffered so grievously from the lack of both in the last two or three years.

  27. Clinton R. says:

    “This underscores the tremendous division which yawns ever wider.” Very true, Father. We can see quite perfectly the division in the Holy Church. The Council with it’s ambiguity and acceptance to modernism opened the doors to every type of heresy imaginable. The introduction of the Novus Ordo was the sword through fabric of unity in the Church. Sad to say, we have de facto 2 Churches. One is the Bride of Christ, who worships Her Groom in a timeless and most reverent way. She teaches clearly and leads men to Christ as she has done for centuries. She is the new Noah’s Ark, any man outside of her parishes. Her tongue is in Latin, so that her declarations can be understood the world over and be edifying for generation after generation. She is pristine and modest. She does not lower herself in the fashion of the world. The other church has a ‘taste’ for a style of liturgy that is foreign to her. In the vernacular. With teachings that are novel and often contradictory. She is guided by men who are willing to gussy her up to make her appealing to non believers. Her churches have become empty and desolate. She has lost her prominence in society. One Church believes she is the one and only path to salvation. The other sees ‘truth’ in other religions and has lost her own way.

  28. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If it “was unanimously expressed” that “it is better to avoid using the expression ‘reform of the reform’ with reference to the liturgy”, then what was agreed upon was the celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae in Latin ad orientem whenever possible, as that was clearly the written intention of “the reform” – or so I presume, but let us have the the recording – with helpful transcript and (uncharacteristically?) accurate translations – of the audience so that will be unmistakably clear to any and all.

  29. Prayerful says:

    Frs Lombardi and Rosica seems to be confused or they or deliberately mixing things up. Cardinal Sarah suggested ad orientem for the New Mass, and said nothing explicitly or implicitly to slight the Rite of Paul VI. I worry that there is somehow a hope among some Vatican officials that Summorum Pontificum could be further restricted or abbreviated. There are too many places where a diocesan Mass of All Time is impossible to find. The FSSP or ICKSP have great priests, but they cannot make up for a deliberate reluctance by too many bishops to give access to the Mass of All Time. It might be a personal conspiracy theory of sorts, but one possible reason for trying to get full Communion with the SSPX, is that their widespread chapel provision would make it even easier for bishops to ignore Summorum Pontificum. The priestly societies could be a sort of Trad reservation.

    [I have maintained for years that the true effect of the gravitational pull of the Traditional Roman Rite will not truly be felt in all its potential until diocesan priests take up the call. That means that they will need LAY PEOPLE more than ever to support them.]

  30. Allan S. says:

    Question: Where can one write to or email Cardinal Sarah, to “pile on” more prayers, masses and support than the diabolical opposition?

  31. arga says:

    I would like to respond to Fr. Z’s comment above to Prayerful. In my diocese, to suggest a regular TLM to the average priest would be roughly the equivalent of asking the average college professor to please join me in praying the rosary. These are priests who can’t even do the Novus Ordo right! But that isn’t even the real obstacle, which is precisely “the lay people” who Fr. Z refers to. I don’t even know where to begin in explaining how remote the possibility is that any even very modest number of lay people in our entire diocese would even know WHAT “the Latin Mass” is let alone would actually be inclined to ask for it. I dare say most of them think the N.O. itself is too rigid and that Church teaching is already outdated. I can’t rightly see how the TLM has any future for growth. Of course I hope I am wrong.

  32. Prayerful says:

    Indeed Fr, diocesan priests willing to say the Mass helped by lay people really are needed to give Summorum Pontificum the meaning Pope Benedict intended.

    It was fairly well implemented in Dublin, Ireland (where I live) with a Latin Mass chaplaincy ( who have the fine Pugin designed St Kevin’s church, which was restored and cleared of unwarranted changes (a nicely made wheeled altar table and St Mark’s lectern is deployed for any New Mass in front of the High Altar). The priests of the chaplaincy will go around parishes and say the Mass of All Time, when they can. Archbishop Dermot Martin has himself said the Tridentine Mass, and given that Pope Francis gave him a synodal appointment, Abp Martin is no rad trad.

    Lay societies have played a big role (eg the Oxford Newman Society for the Sarum Rite or Use of Salisbury) in reviving the Mass of All Time. Perhaps they can encourage interested priests to approach their bishop. Perhaps this sort of popular critical mass is needed. A priest might not need the permission, but as you say, realistically they do.

  33. Long-Skirts says:

    chantgirl says:

    “They are afraid that our children might discover the real Catholic faith, our patrimony that has been denied to the last several generations. They are afraid that Catholics might start to remember who they are and what they are supposed to believe. They are afraid that the laity will remember the faith of our fathers, the faith which says that there is one God…”


    You can do the hokey-pokey,
    You can turn yourself around,
    You can say, “All’s okie-dokey
    I was lost but now am found.”

    You can Tango at the Masses
    With your LGBT group,
    You can even bring your doggies
    And your scooper for their poop.

    You know they’re doing wrong
    And they’re preaching what’s not true,
    But you’re their captured audience
    Just sitting in their pew.

    Yes, you are an audience,
    A group, not separate souls,
    The crowd who roars for these men
    In narcissistic roles.

    While down-a-road there are young men,
    Real Roman Catholic Priests,
    They have no ticket box office
    Like smelly greasepaint beasts.

    The Producer sent a Director,
    Who rehearsed them dusk to dawn…
    Say Mass without strife, daily lay down their life,
    For they know that “The show must go on!!”

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    It seems to me that there is no attempt at persuasion for the versus populum setting in these hierachical word wars based on reason or scholarship, but only an appeal to power. Cardinal Sarah’s position (no pun intended) on the subject of ad orientem worship is both reasonable and based on scholarship. If the laity knew how we got to this situation and really understood what patrimony had been lost by the ad hoc changing to versus populum worship (it was not based on strong historical evidence), there would be rioting in the streets (one could hope). These changes occurred starting in as early as 1928, but accelerated during the 1940’s led by a group of liturgical, “experts,” who sound more like social change agents than scholars, at least from what I have read, so far, of their writings. The versus populum is not nor never was the official direction of worship, the predilections of this or that pope, not withstanding.

    The Eucharistic celebration was originally probably on Saturday, but very quickly changed go Sunday. Should we go back to Saturday worship simply because it was the oldest? Even if the first priests faced west (for the sake of argument, say) should we go back to it, just because it were the oldest practice? In any case, the oldest direction for priests to face once fixed church buildings came into existence (in Rome) was to the east and it was the congregation who faced to the west, but was the intent to simulate a meal? Let’s back that puppy up and examine that.

    First off, the earliest Roman church buildings were small and composed of thick brick-like material. Now, why would it have made sense for the people to be facing the priest? Could it not be so that they could hear him (oh, and they were standing, as well)? I have not seen any acoustical studies of these early churches, but I guarantee that no liturgist has even thought of this acoustical angle (hmm…could there be a paper in this?).

    As for a meal, which meal? Obviously, not the Last Supper. The, “congregation,” was, most probably, reclining on pillows around the table and we know that St. John put his head on Jesus’s head. Let’s see that done at Mass!

    One theory (and it is a theory, only), was that the people facing the west emulated the Temple arrangement. Hey, good one! Then why wasn’t the principle worship day still on Saturday? Really, by the time the first liturgical settings in dedicated buildings were described, the Mass had been celebrated on Sunday for centuries and any Temple envy would have been a distant memory among a people who weren’t even Jewish. No, they have to come up with a better explanation than a meal or Temple arrangement. Notice, too, that as the size of churches increased and more windows were introduced as building materials became strong, but thinner, ad orientem for both priests and people became the norm.

    Whatever the tortured history is of who faces whom, the Mass gradually developed into the Tridentine form. Should we go back to earlier Mass books of the 12th century simply because they were earlier?

    Let’s be clear – versus populum is a modern psychologically motivated change having no real consistent basis in history. There is absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing (!) to recommend it outside of the poor sociology of the twentieth-century liturgical reformers pet notions. It is not THE authentic direction for worship. Aye, it is a novelty, which some Roman churches used, once upon a time, for reasons unknown to us.

    Now, I recognize that those in authority have the right to mandate anything not sinful and as the placement of the priest is in their prudential judgment, I must obey them, but I do believe a right exists under Canon Law to point out to them the arbitrary nature of what they are doing.

    Of course, there is no directive of the Universal Church mandating versus populum worship and whomever says that the Vatican II Fathers would have even accepted such a thing is daft. I wish I had a time machine so they could see what became of their schema. They would have been wailing and gnashing their teeth in pain.

    I accept versus populum as an option and the one currently under obedience for the NO Mass, but the hierarchy should not oversell the idea, because they cannot replace the truth of what the Council really said and what the Church has maintained for a thousand year regarding the position of the priest at Mass for very long.

    Oh, and for all of the talk of the priest turning his back on the people, what about his turning his back on God to face mere men. Yeah, that’s really good psychology, there. Didn’t I hear that once as a description of what happens in sin? Subliminal psychology of the times? Nah, it couldn’t be.

    Well, that’s my musing for the evening. I don’t know if it has been cited, but two reference articles worth reading are:

    The Day The Mass ChangedChanged, by Susan Benofy:


    Turning Towards the Lord, by U. M. Lang:

    The Chicken

  35. paterscotus says:

    Chantgirl, you hit the nail on the head!
    My own opinion is that the so-called OF is seriously – if not fatally – flawed in not conveying the essence of divine worship, which is at the heart of our faith. Likewise, the heart of the heterodox revolution has been the new Mass. If we are to right the wrongs of the past half century we must return, with alacrity and en masse to the traditional liturgy.

  36. Rob83 says:

    As far as signs go, the visual picture of a priest elevating the Host or Chalice in front of the altar before the crucifix screams more loudly what is taking place than the picture where the priest is elevating them while facing the people. It is difficult to watch the former and come away with the impression that this is just a meal while the latter leaves itself more open to that interpretation.

    When the priest is facing East, at the consecration the people see him elevating the Host toward the crucified Lord. The sight line is from kneeling congregation to priest to Host to crucifix. The Host and crucifix are the highest things and they are also at the front. It visually presents the picture of sacrifice and the idea that the priest is making a sacrifice to One who is unseen but also present.

    On the other hand, when the priest is facing the people, since the Host is between priest and people, it gives more of a visual of the Eucharist being offered toward the people. Since the focal point is in front of the priest, it lacks the transcendence of the ad orientem visual and makes the sacrificial aspect less apparent. Elevating things toward people is done all the time in regular society.

    I have seen ad orientem Novus Ordo done before, including in Rome. Someone seems to have stuck a lousy free-standing altar in the Pantheon now, but it was pretty visually stunning to be in that church for an ad orientem NO Mass on the main altar during Benedict’s time.

    The usual suspects seem terrified at the prospect of awe and transcendence creeping back into liturgy, as though the people might rediscover something that they might not have even realized they were missing.

  37. Orlando says:

    @chantgirl , well said! The old guard is scared to death and they havr reason to fear, haven’t you noticed that the faithful at the NO Mass are getting older while the faithful at TLM are getting younger and having lots of kids? Demographics will do them in , if we can just hold on long enough and fully embraces the gift Pope Benedict gave us, in the end we will prevails. St. Michael the Archangel Pray for us.

  38. My uncle has been telling me lots of stories lately. One that he has repeated is that Fidel Castro needed only 300 guerillas to take over Cuba. Let’s not think that our numbers are not enough to with this battle. It may not be easy, but it is necessary.

    What are they afraid of? They are afraid that Summorum Pontificum will no longer be necessary! They are afraid that the Novus Ordo will be set on the right course again. They are afraid that one could go to almost any Catholic church and see and hear Latin, Gregorian chant, ad orientem worship, holy silence, altar rails that get used, and all the things that the devil hates. They don’t care about the extraordinary form as long as its principles can be contained and its devotees characterized as extremists. They would much prefer that it be eliminated again, but they can’t win that battle. This is why revitalizing the ordinary form is so critical. Allowing the extraordinary form has been necessary, but will not be sufficient. When the deficiencies of the ordinary form are fixed, only then will we start to see major changes for the better in society in general. They are afraid that once reverent worship becomes ordinary as opposed to extraordinary, all of the sinful underpinnings of modern society will start to unravel. Pray for Cardinal Sarah. I would not be surprised if Satan has some special suffering planned for him.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  39. Augustine says:

    This is great news! For the enemy of the Church to be tempting so many people in high positions to denounce Card. Sarah, especially by restoring to half truths and deception, it can only mean that much good will come out of the good cardinal’s words.

    Praised be Jesus Christ, our Lord and God!

  40. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Masked Chicken,

    Thanks for the link to the official online publication of the first chapter of Uwe Michael Lang’s Turning Towards the Lord (which I feel sure I have read before, but would have had no idea where to find)!

    I see the edition of the Ordo Missae Ioannis Burckardi to which he refers in footnote 21 is scanned in the Internet Archive under the title Tracts on the Mass.

  41. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Andrew Saucci,

    May the Devil never get the chance hereafter, whatever the good Cardinal must endure in “this vale of tears”.

  42. Guillaume says:

    Here is what I wrote on aleteia. org. It is in french but I guess you’ll understand.
    Thanks for your blog!

  43. Riddley says:

    Vaguely off-topic, but… My wife went to our local NO the other evening for the first time in quite a while, as she normally comes with me to the TLM these days. She’s a cradle Catholic and went exclusively to the NO until about 18 months ago.

    She liked it, and realised she’d missed it, but interestingly she said that although she feels at home with the folksiness and the lay people stomping all over the place and the dodgy hymns, she thinks such things have no place at a Mass. Essentially, maybe the people who like all that stuff would be just as happy with it in the context of a different, non-Eucharistic “service”, and could then go to a traditional, solemn, Latin Mass on Holy Days and so on quite happily. The rest of us could just go to the TLM each Sunday.

    It used to be quite normal for Anglicans to go to Matins most Sundays and for communicants to get up early so as to go to the Holy Communion service first, and the Holy Communion service was understood to be a more solemn affair than Matins. We wondered if something of that sort might be a way ahead, and allow both tribes to get what they want. Though it would involve the Church saying that something other than Mass fulfilled one’s Sunday obligation…

  44. Kerry says:

    Were I in a house on fire, and certain um, persons said, “Follow me”, I’d look to see if they were pointing to the basement steps or the exits.
    Were I outside a house on fire, and Cardinal Sarah pointed at the front door, and said, “Follow me”, I’d follow him into in the house.

  45. Simon_GNR says:

    What Cardinal Nichols wrote to the priests of his diocese is undeniable: [Ummm… it is at least undeniable that he wrote the following to the priests.]

    “…the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, approved by the highest authority in the Church, states in paragraph 299 that ‘The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. The altar should, moreover, be so placed as to be truly the centre toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns. The altar is usually fixed and is dedicated.’”

    Regrettably (I personally favour ad orientem celebration), until GIRM is changed, celebrating facing the people (and in many cases with the priest’s back to the free-standing tabernacle at the east end of the church) continues to be “desirable wherever possible”. Cardinal Sarah needs to take steps to have the GIRM revised if he wants celebrants to act contrary to the wishes of the magisterium expressed therein that Mass should be celebrated facing the people.

    [No. No. And more NO! First, the GIRM is , firstly, in LATIN. The English translation – how many times does this have to be said – WRONG. Secondly, what on earth is a reference to the “magisterium” doing here? Third, the rubrics in the 2002 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum indicate in many places that the priest ought to be saying Mass ad orientem.]

  46. Olecrochet says:

    To Allan S.: I second that idea. We should write to him and let him know he has our support. What if we requested to have masses said for him? It would be a nice “turnabout is fair play” for the faithful Catholics whose tithes have been used to undermine our church; the priest would be saying a N.O. mass to support the Traditional Mass. Hah!

  47. helenmarie211 says:

    Now that Cardinal Sarah has courageously raised his voice in this regard, we must all support him. Our support must not distract us, however, from the critical problem of AL Footnote 351. The desecration of the Eucharist implicit in this exercise of Situational Ethics is what all prior liturgical abuses were leading up to. In what Fr. Z describes as the yawning division in the Church, let us keep our feet firmly planted in Christ’s side in all things.

  48. Allan S. says:

    Olecrochet wrote: “To Allan S.: I second that idea. We should write to him and let him know he has our support.”

    I have searched, but unsuccessfully – so I ask again: At what address may one write to Cardinal Sarah, such that our correspondence would stand the greatest chance of actually reaching him or his personal (read: trusted) staff?

  49. The Masked Chicken says:

    Is it well-known that Fortesque, A Study of the Roman Liturgy is available, in the public domain, on-line:

    Likewise, Jungmann’s, The Mass of the Roman Rite: its origins and development, is available, but I cannot vouch for this particular copy being in the public domain (it is from 1950, so the odds are 50-50):

    The Chicken

  50. Henry Edwards says:

    SIMON_GNR: “Cardinal Sarah needs to take steps to have the GIRM revised if he wants celebrants to act contrary to the wishes of the magisterium expressed therein that Mass should be celebrated facing the people.”

    Not unless the magisterium of the Church is expressed in the various vernacular translations of official Latin documents, which often differ both among themselves and from the official and definitive Latin original. As Fr. Z has explained (and as has the CDW itself), the official Latin GIRM does NOT express the wish that Mass should be celebrated facing the people. Rather, it expresses in #299 the wish that the altar be detached. In which case the altar can be walked around (e.g., in incensing) and Mass can be celebrated facing the people (or not). Thus the official GIRM has no need of amendment in order to support Cardinal Arinze; it already does. Indeed, it apparently would have to be revised in order to support his critics.

  51. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you, Masked Chicken, for the two latest links! (Interesting to see that the learned and articulate Herbert Thurston read and commented on Fortescue’s book before its first publication.)

    It is probably worth underlining how fine and detailed a presentation and discussion Lang gives of matters re. GIRM 299 and its explicit formal interpretation in the chapter which you link.

  52. Pingback: PopeWatch: Cardinal Sarah – The American Catholic

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