Though some of the Rorate folks have waged a bit of a war on me, I have tried occasionally to acknowledge their good contributions. I was sent a link to one contribution which I would like to endorse.
Fr. Richard Cipolla, pastor of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT (a beautiful church and wonderful parish), delivered a “¡Hagan lío!” sermon for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost. The whole text is HERE. I’ll peel back the outer layers and…:
Last week we celebrated, with little fanfare, the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, the magna carta of the Catholic liturgy. [I like “Emancipation Proclamation”.] The document itself is flawed, with its artificial creation of two forms of the Roman Rite, [distinction: juridical creation. SP doesn’t solve the theological and historical debate of whether or not the newer and the tradition rites are really the same rite. I don’t think they are, btw.] with its talk of a coetus, a group of the faithful who go to the bishop or pastor and ask for the Traditional Roman rite. And the pastor, including the bishop, it presumes will respond to this request with alacrity and charity. This has not happened. [Alas, no. But did we expect them to?] But even though the document is flawed, what it did cannot be underestimated. It freed the Church from the terrible bonds of a deliberately modern liturgy imposed in a most un-Catholic way a liturgical form based on personal rationalizations that claimed to be based on scholarship. [One might point at the deliberate violation of the handful of mandates of the Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the cutting up and pasting together of prayers resulting a huge changes in their content, creations such as the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer, etc.] Let us be clear about this once and for all. Because I find out that the offertory prayers are Gallican and did not come into the Mass until after the first millennium has absolutely nothing to do with the reality and validity of the liturgical life of the Church and those particular prayers. Let us be clear about this. Scholarship is relative to time. [ANALOGY ALERT] And who would prefer a runty tomato plant about which we have a full DNA printout to a plant that is held up by stakes on which is hanging ripe tomatoes to be savored with basil and olive oil?
Dare we say that the Traditional Roman Mass that developed from the early Church through Gregory the Great, through what historians call the Dark Ages, through the flowering of what we call the Middle Ages, even to the eve of the discovery of the New World, is one of the bedrocks of Western civilization? [YES! We so dare.] The greatest composers, including the anonymous composers of the chant and the composers of polyphony like Byrd, Victoria and Palestrina, Bach, Mozart and even Stravinsky: all this music inspired by the Traditional Roman Rite and written to make the Rite sing for the praise of almighty God. The Traditional Roman Rite is certainly the bedrock of the Catholic Church, and its suppression in the 1960s will be written about in Church history in the same way as the Babylonian exile.
But there is more. The Orthodox believe that the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil are God-given. And I would dare to say that the same is true for the Traditional Roman Mass. It is God-given. [SIMILE ALERT] It developed in the womb of the Church like a pearl in an oyster. It has nothing to do with committees or consilia appointed to invent a new form of Mass that has relevance only to those who wrote the texts, whether on a napkin in Trastevere or in an office in the Vatican. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] The irrelevancy of the Catholic Church is this post-modern age is in great part due to the irrelevancy of a liturgy invented in the modern age and now already obsolete in the post-modern age of freedom defined by the naked self. [I’ve been writing this for years. How we worship God, in our sacred liturgical worship, is an essential element of our identity as Catholics. We are our rites. They form us and tell us who we are. Without properly ordered worship, we don’t know who we are. Couple that with ignorance of or the defiance of the content of the Faith, and we wind up with flocks who have no idea who they are as Catholics, who can’t explain themselves, what they believe. If that is what we have become, then why should anyone listen to us? We will be easily driven from the public square, and rightly so. This is yet another reason why Summorum Pontificum is so imporant.]
And yet. And yet. We cannot retreat from the sad situation in the liturgical life of the Church and therefore in the very life of the Church. [“Never give up! Never surrender!”] We must not hunker down and do our own traditional thing and consign everyone one else to some terrible boring and bland version of the Eucharistic liturgy and thank God that we celebrate the real thing. We must evangelize, my friends.[Do I hear an “Amen!”?] We start with ourselves and make sure we are in spiritual shape to do battle, spiritual shape, not personal shape or aesthetic shape. Spiritual shape And to get into spiritual shape requires hard work, work that demands painful spiritual pushups every day that causes some pain. [Spend time in review of the content of your Faith (quae and qua). Review your state in life. Examine your conscience. GO TO CONFESSION!]
You young men who serve at the altar, you young men who come to this Mass, dare you[do you dare?] come to the aid of not merely the Catholic Church, [the Catholic only] and I say “merely” in a purely grammatical and stylistic sense, but to civilization itself, a civilization that has been lobotomizied with no memory of its roots and its past? Will you buy into this self-centered culture that keeps everything at arm’s length except the truth about oneself and one’s relationship to the truth, a truth that is a person, Jesus Christ, and his Church founded to make all things new? [NB]Will you allow priests and bishops who have failed to take their faith seriously and so have scandalize you make you fall into a cynicism that will make your life devoid of real faith and prevent you from even considering a vocation to the priesthood or the monastic life?
And you young women here: dare you embrace the challenge of a religious life that was and should be the heart of the Church, dare you to be Mother Courage in the face of the spineless posturing of your generation? [That probably is not a reference to Brecht.] Dare you to have the zeal and faith of St. Birgitta, St. Catherine of Siena, both of whom who told off Popes when he was wrong. Dare you in whatever vocation you decide upon to be a source of faith and joy in this unbelieving world?
And you members of the Hispanic community: dare you give of your real gifts that include a love of celebration of our precious Catholic faith to the whole parish and to the whole Church? Dare you encourage our Hispanic community to come to this Mass and see where the basis of the traditions you love are founded, to come to understand the freedom that the Traditional Roman Rite gives to each of us, that frees us from the burden of language? Dare you become leaders of the recovery of Catholic Tradition?
And to all of you here, married with children, do you dare to take the next step, the step after coming to this Mass at St Mary’s in Norwalk because you see its power and reality, and take the next step in making this parish a powerhouse for the Lord that will overwhelm jaded Catholics and prideful secularists with the joy of knowing that God loves us so much that he died for us so that we may be saved from eternal death?
The answer to these questions for each of us here is the key to the future, not only the future of this parish but also the very future of the Church. Together we look forward to the time when the Traditional Roman Mass will once again be the Ordinary Form of the Mass. May this be the will of God.
Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Cipolla.
Could the Extraordinary Form become the Ordinary Form again?
I won’t see the answer to that question in my lifetime… probably.
Wellll….who knows, given the times are are in and the fact that in finem citius.
I have friends who argue that, as the identity-squishy mainstream Church collapses, the only thing left will be the traditional leaning Church. For example, I recently read that a large percentage of ordinations in France this year were for traditional groups, which puts the traditional form of our sacred worship and all that goes with it back firmly on the playing field there.
Way back when I had many an opportunity to converse with then-Cardinal Ratzinger. He thought there should be a restoration of the traditional Roman Rite to help kickstart the organic development of liturgy that had been interrupted with the artificial imposition of the Novus Ordo. At the time, I gleaned that he thought that a tertium quid would emerge from the dialogue of the rites, with the newer dominating, taking elements of the older and being thereby corrected. As time passed, however, I got the idea that he switched his position. The older, traditional form would be revitalized by elements of the newer.
One way or another, we need a wide-spread restoration of the older, traditional Roman Rite. Let it be side by side with the newer, Novus Ordo. What will happen? First, that organic development will start with the “mutual enrichment”. It is already happening. I think that many priests who celebrate the older form of Mass have brought some good insights to tradition and to their own ars celebrandi from our collective experience of the newer form for the last decades. I know any number of priests who, having learned how to say the older form, never after say the Novus Ordo in the same way as they did before.
Also, let “market forces” prevail. If people have a choice, let them choose. Why would that be bad? I suspect that a lot of people would, over time, choose the traditional Rite. That same suspicion terrifies liberals. Thus, libs can’t allow people to have a real choice. They will repress tradition whenever they can because they are afraid.
Fr. Cipolla is right to call people to action. I would add what I have written in rants on other occasions.
It’s ‘grind it out’ time.
I am getting some defeatist email.
Those of you who want the older form of the liturgy, and all that comes with it, should…
1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before? Been at this a long time? HAH! Get to work! “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!” BOO HOO!
2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved. “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor! Tell us what you need!”
3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH! Think again. If you love, you can do more.
4) Form up and get organized. You can do this. Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT. Make a plan. Find people. Execute!
5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way. It is team-work time. If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.
Do you want this? Do you? Or, when you don’t get what you want handed to you, are you going to whine about it and then blame others?
The legislation is in place. The young priests and seminarians are dying to get into this stuff. Give them something to do.
And to those of you will you blurt out “But Father! But Father!… I don’t like your militaristic imagery”… [LOL! Like this loopy attack HERE] in order to derail the entry, here’s a new image from your own back yard.
Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, over the course of his 8 years, a beautiful new bicycle! He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push. Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!
The Novus Ordo is the Nehru Jacket of Liturgy.
[Not sure what that means. Do you mean that it is a passing fad?]
There is no such thing as a “Novus Ordo Rite”. It doesn’t exist.
The best way forward here is to toe the Summorum Pontificum line, embrace the hermeneutic of continuity, foster mutual enrichment and sing more plainchant.
“It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were ‘two Rites’. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same [R]ite.” – Pope Benedict XVI, letter to bishops, 7 Jul 2007
5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way. It is team-work time. If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.
ouch ouch ouch…….Lord give me the strength to take that wall……one more time
I can almost hear the keening of the folks not fully read into the program from here.
Kudos. Just as a pilot needs to know the condition of his craft…Catholic need to hear, unvarnished, plain talking sometime. And it could not be plainer in the good father’s words.
More Catholics need to read/hear this. It’s our patrimony.
Thanks, Fr. Z. We did just what you have said. Our group started back in 2006. We kept up the “polite” pressure until we got our first Latin Mass in August 2008. It was only a monthly Mass BUT it was a start. We continued to work and found other groups to join forces with. Finally our Archbishop threw in the towel and invited the FSSP into the diocese. Still we continued to work and at last got a weekly TLM at a rented Catholic church in addition to the FSSP parish. Now at last we have two FSSP parishes in the Archdiocese. And still we work.
Every Sunday our parish gets new people and many of them “get hooked” and come back. Now each of our two parishes has two priests. so a couple times a year we can celebrate a Solemn High Mass. Folks are inviting their friends and relatives to come visit us and we are growing.
It isn’t easy but as Father says “ride the damned bike”
Not for nothing is the living portion of the Mystical Body named the “Church Militant”. If I may be so foolish as to hijack a quote from a popular movie of years prior, “The Church is threatened! Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to the Bride of Christ!”
As a member of St. Mary’s Parish, Norwalk, Connecticut, http://www.stmarynorwalk.net/ I wish like to provide a bit of context for Fr. Cipolla’s “Battle Cry”. Our principal Mass on Sunday morning is a 9:30 AM Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass—even during the summer. Many in the congregation travel over an hour to attend each week. Music is provided by a paid professional schola, which is funded by a separate society, NOT by the parish, and therefore is immune to potential fluctuations in the parish’s finances. Our remaining Novus Ordo Masses, in Spanish and English, always include substantial amounts of Latin chant. This way, whenever there is a special liturgy done exclusively in the traditional rite, e.g. the Holy Week Triduum, everyone in the parish is able to join in the sung responses. At our Novus Ordo Masses the ‘Liturgy of the Eucharist’ portion is celebrated ‘ad orientem’ at the high altar. We don’t even HAVE a free-standing altar, so Mass ‘facing the people’ is not an option. I like to call this “the REAL spirit of Vatican II”. Our bishop had offered Fr. Cipolla the option of making our parish a ‘traditional rite only’ parish, similar to FSSP. He turned down the offer, because he feels it is essential that our Tradition be injected into the very center of the Church ‘as it now is’—not hidden away in a ‘traditionalist community’ where it cannot impact the Church at large. For this same reason, Fr. Cipolla holds public religions processions at every opportunity, which wend their way past a large new apartment complex and down a main commercial street, while the participants sing hymns in English, Spanish and Latin. These processions often are accompanied by a Latin American religious band and, before re-entering the church, often conclude with fireworks! Many call this the ‘New Evangelization’. I prefer to call this ‘in your face Catholicism’. If you enter ‘Norwalk’ in the following site’s search box, you can see many photos of our liturgies and processions: http://sthughofcluny.org/
Many have said this and it bears repeating: until the EF is offered regularly in parishes that mostly offer the NO at this time, the EF will remain peripheral to those who imagine they “don’t like it” or avoid it. I am blessed to have a weekly (usually High) Mass at my parish smack in between two N.O. Masses. It’s a mainstreamed,regular part of what makes our parish what it is.
I am a director of music. I plan three Masses for Sunday that are slightly different in approach. I have directed music for, and been a congregant in EF Masses and I have great love for the sense of mystery and for the constant liturgical flow. It is true, in my opinion, that the OF stops and starts – for example; prayer – Kyrie, prayer – Gloria, etc. rather than the union of flow between the ordinary and the prayers. I plan one Mass that uses -in English – the propers with antiphon and psalm. The choir chants the antiphon and the congregation chants the psalm. It has taken a number of years but they are singing with full voice and reverence. Once a month, that Mass time is accompanied by a women’s Gregorian choir with Mass ordinary in Latin. In the back of that worship aid I add a “Catholic Culture Moment” that teaches small things about our large faith, for example, when to nod and when to bow, which knees to genuflect on when, Friday sacrifices never went away. People have come to me and said this Mass time helps them pray but they feel like they need something more. THIS is when I send them to an EF Mass, but in our diocese it is 2 hours away to the “big city” of Charlotte, NC.
I agree the Church is under attack and we need to help people regain their faith for the sake of souls. I HIGHLY SUGGEST you help your music director to see the beauty in the hymns of our faith, the chants of our Masses, and polyphony, that some composers wrote under threat of death depending upon the point of history. Often they are not prepared for this task of helping bring a church to an OF of more integrity than praise and worship, much less to an EF! I can tell you from experience, the complaints a music director gets are VERY WEIGHTY and can cause him/her to feel really beat up.
A frequently well presented (if OF is all a church has), respectful, and solemn OF Mass will slowly change the hearts of the individual from the immediate gratification of toe tapping to the internal movement toward the beauty of their interior castle. PLEASE DON’T FORGET YOUR MUSICIAN!
I promise, that person can and will be a great asset toward the movement of EF in every parish.
One of the things that attracts people to Eastern Orthodoxy (Rod Dreher, for example, has written about this several times) is that there’s not merely an intellectual component of listening to readings and homilies, but there’s a physical component. The Orthodox have more rigorous fasting rules (and fast on Wednesdays in addition to Fridays), they stand for the Divine Liturgy, some patriarchates have a tradition of refusing Communion to anyone who doesn’t attend Saturday vespers.
In the Latin Church, we’ve lost all this stuff that continues to form us throughout the week that the Traditional Roman Rite had, like Ember Days and Rogation Days. And it’s hard for people to impose discipline on themselves until it becomes a habit.
A little puzzled here by the criticism of traditional parishes.
If, as is suggested, people will make a choice pro EF if they are exposed to it, why does it
matter if that exposure is in an FSSP parish instead of one that offers both rites? Since our community was able to buy and refurbish a church 8 years ago, after years in borrowed spaces, our numbers have increased to the point that we now have four Sunday Masses and after this summer will have four priests. And hope, in the not so distant future, to build a new and larger church.
Do not think for an instant that we are not aware of and appreciative of all the hard work that got us where we are, or that we are not grieved for those who suffer under bad liturgy and awful homiletics.
Rather than viewing us as holed up in our own little enclave, it might be more accurate to think of us as an exemplar of what a more traditional parish might be. Like an agricultural extension’s model farm.
To use Father’s analogy- we got our bike a few years before you did and have just managed to ride a bit further down the road.
I don’t see the EF becoming the norm in the liturgical life of the church but I do see hope in Cardinal Sarah’s comment that the reform of the reform was a mistake and what’s really needed is a reconciliation of the OF with SC. That means that the made up prayers of the OF need to be reverted to the prayers of the EF (and the Eastern Catholics), the calenders have to be liturgical synchronized again, more Latin is used, more silence is observed, prayers at the foot of the alter have to be returned, communion while kneeling returned to the norm, etc. With enough reconciliation, the OF will renew the Church and return the focus to where it belongs.
“Rather than viewing us as holed up in our own little enclave, it might be more accurate to think of us as an exemplar of what a more traditional parish might be. Like an agricultural extension’s model farm.”
Here’s the thing though(and it took me a long time to get here); The standard TLM-only parishes lean towards a vision of Catholicism that, to many Catholics, feels just as imposed, just as ‘academically designed’ as the average NO mass.
What do I mean? Well, one has to sit-stand-kneel at the right precise times, or congregants will give you dirty looks. Everyone is bone dry silent during solemn mass. There’s an air of, “I’m in the know and can turn pages in my hand missal with the best of them, look at me, I should be in 1943!” Just because we are the minority does not mean we need to act like we need priest holes and be recusants. And that is why VII was a good thing! It’s over-reaction in the opposite, and the realization of pastors such as Rev. Cipolla, who recognize that authentic Catholicism is communal, not because of handshakes and barbecues, but because, as baptized members of the laity, our presence, our ‘amen’, our assent and ‘Kyrie eleison’ reverberating through the sanctuary is our fiat and our modeling of our lady, saying “yes, I am nothing without this gift of our Lord’s mercy and passion through his God-Flesh. And I am here to say yet, I contribute, but yes, I consume, and turn towards him.” Just like our forbearers who would pray prescribed Psalms outside the temple, we too should sing what we can, and not stand as spectators, as if at an opera, cleanly manicured with binoculars, notating minutiae of gesture to be discussed over brunch. And that is the Traditional movement I have seen here in the midwest. Stop the silence, and process, process, process!”
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Ozark Catholic wrote, “The standard TLM-only parishes lean towards a vision of Catholicism that, to many Catholics, feels just as imposed, just as ‘academically designed’ as the average NO mass.”
Either the Holy Mass celebrated in what we now call “the Extraordinary Form” is the one that Our Lord most prefers – the one that offers Him the fittest worship.
Or else it is not.
If the EF of Holy Mass is the one Our Lord most prefers, then, it is most certainly cannot be considered “academically designed;” for it would have been designed by the Heart of the Lord. It may be that our *celebration* of this form is – for now – stiff and uneven and self-conscious in its execution, like (Analogy Alert) the attempt of a youngster to ride his bike immediately after the training wheels have come off: A bit wobbly, at first, instead of smoothly steady, as it should be. But that is the fault of neither the youngster nor of Mr. Schwinn: it’s just the way humans do unfamiliar things until they settle into them. And they settle into the smooth and steady way of doing of things by doing them many, many, many times – wobbly at first, and less and less wobbly each time.
Ozark Catholic also noted that: “one has to sit-stand-kneel at the right precise times, or congregants will give you dirty looks. Everyone is bone dry silent during solemn mass. There’s an air of, ‘I’m in the know and can turn pages in my hand missal with the best of them, look at me, I should be in 1943!'”
Here, may I point out, we have an instance of different camps of the congregation doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons, and each camp in opposition to its . . . opposite. First, if I am present at Holy Mass to offer worship to God, to praise and thank Him, to seek pardon, to intercede on behalf of others and to petition for my own needs, . . . and just to be with Him and to love Him, then my plate should be very, very full, right there. I literally shouldn’t have the bandwidth to (a) notice whether others are standing/sitting/kneeling at the right times, on the one hand, or (b) on the other hand, to notice others, noticing whether others are doing what when. (Sure, maybe some of these things are on my radar, but I should be so busy worshipping Him, that I take no more notice of them than I would of the fruit-fly that just landed on the third pew in front of me. I see it; it registers; but I don’t pay it any mind.)
Further: “Everyone is bone dry silent during solemn mass.” Maybe that’s because few know how to make the responses, how to pronounce them properly, or when to make them, or how and when to sing the hymns. Perhaps a little informal workshop could be set up by a layperson in the know. These might meet right before and/or right after Solemn Mass, to preview these. And to get people more acquainted and comfortable as they meet week after week.
So that they don’t feel so – you know – wobbly!
Finally “There’s an air of, ‘I’m in the know and can turn pages in my hand missal with the best of them, look at me, I should be in 1943!'”
Maybe that’s just another form of wobbliness showing itself. Or maybe some people become stuck on themselves in this way, because they’re in a lot of pain from the criticism and/or isolation they’ve experienced, and are trying to “rise above” all that by going all smug.
Going all smug, however, is not the way to rise above this or any other kind of pain. Like so many of the coping mechanisms we invent for ourselves – instead of asking God to show us His coping mechanism that He wants us to use – it doesn’t work very well to begin with, and ends up getting us into worse pain and trouble than we were in before.
I’m afraid of becoming tiresome by repeating myself, but here goes: If I catch myself going all smug, I should ask myself under which mode of prayer “smugness” belongs: praise? thanksgiving? petition? intercession? or contrition? (Silent sarcasm toward one’s own spiritual failings often takes the wind right out of that failing’s sails, which would be a good thing.)
And secondly, if I catch someone else being all smug, can’t I ask myself how I so miraculously came by so much extra bandwidth that, in addition to concentrating on the Mass and its prayers, I now have the love and attention necessary to observe my neighbor’s failings? (This is more silent self-sarcasm, aimed at taking oneself down the righteous peg or two.)
The difficulty about using silent sarcasm against oneself when one catches oneself committing a fault, is that, if one is good at cracking oneself up, one might find oneself at such moments, giving a derisive little snort, very much out loud. Which would not be good. Especially during Mass.
anilwang — It will not happen in our lifetime, but the extraordinary form will be the ordinary form one day, if nothing else then through statistical and demographic trends. Look at France. Heck, look at ordinations — the FSSP had 19 this year, more than many orders, dioceses and even countries. The SSPX keeps growing as well at a healthy rate.
Although Cardinal Sarah means well, his statements on a Novus Ordo Version 6.0 are not a permanent solution to the shipwreck facing the Church. Dressing up the novus ordo is certainly better than the status quo, but it’s still an inferior product, and always will be despite the amount of lipstick applied to the pig. The only permanent solution is to return to what worked — in this case, the 1962 missal. Not 1965, not a merger of 2000 and 1962. Strive for the best, even knowing it will take years to accomplish. When you strive for a compromise, well, don’t be surprised at the final result.