Concerning decades of trench warfare: two recommended readings today. Don’t miss them.

I warmly recommend that you go to NLM where Peter K has posted about the minutes of Commission of Cardinals back in 1986 about the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum.

I read those minutes, and more, way back when I was a collaborator of the PCED.  The minutes have wound up on  Interesting.

What people don’t know is that there was a document essentially like Summorum ready for JP2’s approval.  Why that didn’t happen is one of the saddest tales there is.  Today, things would be far different.  Perhaps we wouldn’t be facing this…

Reading those minutes again after all these years gave me the shivers, frankly.

And now Benedict XVI is dead.  I used to talk with him in the hallways (and elsewhere) about these things.

Also, I direct your attention to a good piece about active participation at Crisis.  The writer’s points are what I have been saying for decades, but he says it well.  And repetita iuvant.

And today, I was asked a question about whether I had ever written about beauty and the “spirit of the liturgy”.

All of this is a reminder that I have been at this, fighting in these trenches, for decades.  Young whippersnappers are coming up to take over the task, but there is still a heck of a lot they don’t know and they are discovering.   Hopefully this path will be smoother for them because others have been there before, as they were for me and others.

Some time ago, before COVID intervened, I was talking with a priest friend of similar age about having a, intergenerational conference for younger priests to talk to them about what it was like in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, when permissions were being eeked, what is was like in seminary.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Father Z,
    Your posts, commentary, articles, have been absolutely crucial for countless Catholics to come to a fuller knowledge of the truth, especially the grandeur and perennial value of tradition.
    I wouldn’t remotely be where I am without what I’ve learned from you over the years, and I gladly cite you in my work!
    Ad multos annos, Mnohaya lita!

  2. mercy2013 says:

    That conference idea is wonderful. Now might be a great time to do it, and also include advice on where to go from here since the younger generation will be dealing with it for some time. If you put together that conference, consider providing a way for us lay people to donate, or to sponsor a particular young priest who is known to us, so that priests do not have to spend their own money to attend.

  3. James C says:

    Perhaps we could also organise Latin classes for clueless bishops?

    I’m sure Father has debunked this ridiculous interpretation of ad orientem multiple times over the past couple of decades.

    And here we are, in 2023!

  4. BeatifyStickler says:

    Beatify Stickler! I made my first holy communion with Cardinal Stickler in the ancient Roman rite. My family drove 14 hours from Canada to make the occasion. May my Father and Cardinal Stickler, Rest in Peace,

  5. BrazilianTrad says:

    Father, I have heard about that document from JP’s time, about the meeting and everything, but never someone got to the point of telling me the real reasons why it wasn’t published… If I remember well, they told me it was some machinations of the curia cardinals, and the “unfitness” of it, for the time being… Could you give us some extra insight, if you think it is opportune?

  6. beelady says:

    I agree with mercy 2013 – I would happily support the attendance of at least one priest.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    “What people don’t know is that there was a document essentially like Summorum ready for JP2’s approval. Why that didn’t happen is one of the saddest tales there is…”

    I recall hearing that St John Paul II was ready to sign and promulgate this “universal indult” as it was called, but was basically threatened with schism by French and German bishops. His greatest fear as pope was schism. Benedict XVI was threatened with the same, but personally made telephone calls to the concerned bishops in order to assure them that Vatican II was not being repudiated, etc.

  8. “there was a document essentially like Summorum ready for JP2’s approval”
    would like to know more about that!

  9. Chrisc says:

    The challenge of being a priest in these times is hard for me to appreciate. Thank you. While I would love for there to be such a conference, I think knowledge of the historical ins and outs might prove useful to us lay people, too(either as parents or in a more professional capacity). The advice given to lay and clerics would differ dramatically, certainly, but the information itself would be useful to different states in the Church. Perhaps it would be good to just have it be accessible to some after the conference for priests?

  10. ZestyLemonZach says:

    If the reforms of the mass and the “spirit of Vatican 2” were truly about being more accessible to the world, then they failed abysmally. You can’t look at the numbers and conclude otherwise.

  11. Not says:

    Graph is very enlightening. What I have experienced from the 1970’s until now I feel was deliberate. I have seen Novus Ordo Priest who really have no serious knowledge of the Catholic Faith or tradition or ceremony. I have known some NO Priest who spent time with traditional orders to receive that knowledge.(kudos to them). Why should young men go to church when women are doing the readings, handing out “communion”, and running the operation?
    How many Protestant churches have to become collaboratives?

  12. TonyO says:

    I love the idea of a conference. However, I suspect that (at least for the first time or two) it should not be widely publicized, and instead be spread by word of mouth and direct invites. In getting something like this off the ground, there is no need to put it DIRECTLY in front of bishops and force them to take notice of it.

    And I agree totally with Prof. K: without this site, I would not have anything like the (still modest, but growing) grasp of the Mass that I have now. Though it was really also attendance at the TLM that did a large share of it, and that pre-dated Fr. Z’s web presence.

    About that graph above: I suspect, (but I don’t know), that while the other groups may have percentages of members going to weekly services, at the same time they have probably had a drop in actual numbers of persons in the pews: Especially the mainline groups have lost scads of people. It is, then, possible that many of the people who used to consider themselves, say, Lutherans or Episcopalians, no longer put those down as how they identify, and so their lack of going to church doesn’t count against the percentages for those groups.

  13. Gaetano says:

    I didn’t think Catholics would fall below Maineline attendance, but here we are.

    At some point we must admit that the “New Springtime” didn’t come. It was more like a nuclear winter.

  14. Archlaic says:

    For those who have not yet read it, I cannot commend Leo Darroch’s fine book on the history of the F.I.U.V. highly enough. The basic outline of what became Summorum Pontificum definitely had its genesis in the numerous proposals made by Una Voce to a succession of Curial cardinals and bishops beginning in the early 70’s, and taking on nearly its final form within the first year of St. JPII’s pontificate.
    No more spoilers – go buy the book! Read this fascinating history for yourself, I promise you that you won’t regret it!

  15. Cornelius says:

    The Crisis article is especially good – clear, not overly long or tedious.

    I wonder though – what sort of behavior at Mass were the Council Fathers trying to change by emphasizing the need for ‘active participation’?

    Being born in 1958 I have no remembered experience of Mass-going Catholics from the pre-Novus Ordo days. So what was the Council addressing?

    If, for instance, a Catholic was praying his rosary during Mass, would that have been considered ‘inactive’ by the Council Fathers?

  16. The article on NLM was interesting. The what ifs of a Summorum Pontificum in the late 1980s brings a smile to my face.

    I wonder if such an event would have seen the immense growth of the trad movement then like we’ve historically seen, but in the late 80s?

  17. Fr Jackson says:

    “What people don’t know is that there was a document essentially like Summorum ready for JP2’s approval. Why that didn’t happen is one of the saddest tales there is.”
    If I’m not mistaken, Fr Z is referring to the way that Archbishop Lefebvre decided to make the old rite a stick to beat the Vatican with and consecrated against papal mandate in 1988.
    Whenever I hear the argument that Archbishop Lefebvre made the old rite more available by his “courageous” act in 1988, I think to myself that there’s actually a reasonable chance that he did the opposite: he may have delayed the (equivalent of) Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by 20 years and deprived a generation of Catholics of exposure to the old rite.

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