On the St. Peter’s Mass Suppression Stunt viewed from the Left

People are still talking about the decision to suppress priests’ individual Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica to force everyone into uniformity.

I wrote HERE and HERE.  Card. Burke HERE

At Fishwrap, Christopher White – big surprise here – mischaracterized my main point about the suppression, cherry picking one bit:

Traditionalists such as Fr. John Zuhlsdorf disagree, arguing that the Novus Ordo Masses in St. Peter’s that priests are encouraged to now join or concelebrate will have lectors and cantors that incorporate laypeople and women, reforms of the liturgy that they continue to oppose.

The fact that the forced concelebrated Masses will have – look at how he wrote this – “lectors and cantors that incorporate laypeople and women” – weird – means that everything is going to be in Italian.  So if you are a priest on pilgrimage from, say, Korea or India, you are pretty much hosed, being forced to deal with the Italian.  So much for the full, conscious and active participation of the non-Italian faithful, too.  When individuals priests would come from the sacristy to find an altar, many of the pilgrims had at least a fighting change of finding a priest who was celebrating the Novus Ordo in a language they knew or who were celebrating in Latin, which favors no one except Roman Catholics… it is the language of the Roman Church, after all.

And I don’t know that traditionalists object to lay cantors: most every schola cantorum is made up of lay people, even though there is a strong argument to be made that they ought to be clerics.   I know I don’t have a problem with a lay schola.   Lectors… that’s another matter.  Most of the Novus Ordo crew fall into the trap of thinking that the readings are didactic moments, whereas the well-formed traditionalists understand that also the readings are raised to God as an oblation.   They should be read by the priest, for sure.  But even traditionalists in some places will have a cleric or lay man, read the readings in the vernacular as Father reads them in Latin at the altar.  It is done.  Some trads don’t favor that, but it is done.

Anyway, the real point is that this horrible suppression violates the freedom of both priests and laity, seeks to impose unnecessary uniformity, denies the priests and people of a unique experience and memory.  It’s just plain bad.

I dismiss the cliché-ridden defenses offered in Fishwrap by Fr. Mark Francis and Fr. John Baldovin, with his attack on Benedict XVI, out of hand.   Pfffft.

Lastly, I like the tone of my friend Fr. de Souza’s reaction to this debacle.  He uses an interesting term which he coined, aptly.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    What a very political reaction on the part of the Reporter. Something makes traditionalists unhappy, or affects something traditionalists do, so it must be worthwhile. Never mind the fact that those “private Masses” were frequently—as many have observed—celebrations involving groups of pilgrims and said using the 1970/2002 Missal.

    If the concern were really to restrict Masses from being offered without the faithful present—and we can assume without granting the existence of a legitimate interest there, just for the sake of argument—the basilica would have issued an instruction doing that. But the instruction does not forbid priests from saying Mass at a side altar unless they have congregants. It forbids them from saying Mass at a side altar period. Or, stated differently, it forbids the faithful from hearing Mass in St. Peter’s other than at one of the limited specified times and places. That is a bizarre way of pursuing the stated goal, especially, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf notes, when it will have the inevitable effect of reducing to or near the vanishing point vernacular Masses in languages other than Italian inside the basilica.

    People who cared more about promoting the active participation in and comprehension of the vernacular liturgy by the laity, and less about getting in their yucks at the expense of those with whom they disagree, would be genuinely puzzled and dismayed by a move that makes it harder for people to attend Mass at St. Peter’s in their own language.

  2. ChrisP says:

    The worst, unrepentant vitriol came from Fr Dan Horan. Quite disturbing once the muzzle comes off is he.

    But then being a protege of Theodore McCarrick won’t help him.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    “At Fishwrap, Christopher White – big surprise here – mischaracterized my main point about the suppression, cherry picking…”

    He’s the Fishwrap’s pride and joy Fr. Z, he’s an “austere religious scholar.”

    Fr. de Souza may have a new definition for the OED: “Imbergoglio: a completely unexpected and wholly unnecessary controversy. Etymology: derived from the Amazonian “Pachamama.” Pronunciation: “Maranatha.””

  4. mo7 says:

    Dear Fr. Z, I think if Our Lord. Himself, were to comment here, He would say to you, ‘ Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is very great in heaven’.
    I don’t mean to say that in an offhand way, especially among the learned who post here. It’s just that if He didn’t mean your situation, I don’t know what He meant.

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  6. I hold out hope that this will be reversed, if for no other reason than lots of people with pull are going to be inconvenienced, and their complaints may make a difference. I have in mind not only the curial officials and others based in Rome who will be irked, but there may be some bishops from the hinterlands who complain as well, either on their own behalf, or on behalf of laity whose pilgrimage plans have been disrupted. Many of these folks are very generous people, and they are likely to get a sympathetic hearing from their bishops, who in turn, may send a message up the vine saying, “this is a knucklehead move, knock it off!”

  7. Fr. Kelly says:

    That this should be done at all is reprehensible, but in light of the new current lockdown in Italy, it is incomprehensible.

    My nephew is in Rome for a much abridged semester in Rome with his college. (They just arrived last week and will be leaving by the middle of May.

    They have been informed that they must stay in except for exercise and to go to Mass or to the grocery store, but under no circumstances are they allowed to go anywhere to congregate. Thus in-person classes are forbidden. Now this move at St. Peter’s reduces the number of Masses being offered each day, requiring them to gather in larger numbers if they are to go to daily Mass. Inevitably, they will begin to be turned away since these Masses will be “too crowded”.

    To paraphrase our great host:
    Less Regulation — more Masses!

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  9. Philmont237 says:

    Your comment about pilgrims from nations that don’t speak Italian (almost all of them) remind me of the time I went to Mass at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Vilnius, Lithuania. I was expecting for Mass to be prayed in Lithuanian, Latin, Polish, or even Russian. Instead, it was in Spanish.

    Also, in 2015 I went to Mass at the hideous, modernist basilica in Fatima because the main church was closed. The “international Mass” was only in Portuguese and Spanish. You think that they would use at least some Latin for it.

  10. Gaetano says:

    “Fr. Francis recalled his own experience of living in Rome for 12 years, where the sacristy of St. Peter’s Basilica often resembled Grand Central Station with priests constantly coming and going.”

    Isn’t that exactly what the sacristy of St. Peter’s SHOULD look like?

  11. The Cobbler says:

    “…laypeople and women…”

    Anyone alse going to say it? No? Then I will:

    White clearly implied that women are not people. He may not have intended it, but he’s reinforcing structures of systemic oppression in our institutions. This is intolerant and we should not tolerate it. Do better, White.

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