Sunday, June 26, 2011


I must say that when I was in the seminary in the late 1970's I appreciated everything that was taught and I learned. I especially appreciate the apologetic for all the changes that had occurred in the Mass, especially the main ones such as Mass facing the people, standing to receive Holy Communion and in the hand, using bread that looked and tasted like "real" bread and even the priest improvising the words and order of the Mass. All of it was based in a historical analysis of what happened in the "home" churches of Christians immediately following the resurrection and ascension of Christ all the way up to about the 6th century.

The apologetic was based upon antiquity (antiquarianism). The modern way was more ancient than the presumed ancient way of the pre-Vatican II liturgical books.

However, many are reexamining that 1960's apologetic for the reforms of the Mass and other liturgies of the Church. The apologetic is not holding up to scrutiny.

The following is rather interesting. You would not have read something like this 10 or 20 years ago. Also what must be noted is that Cardinal Ranjith quoted below could one day be pope, but I'm not clairvoyant, but maybe I am:

Cardinal Ranjith's reforms in his archdiocese, and more from Adoratio 2011
Fr. Simon Henry of Offerimus Tibi was present at the Adoratio 2011 conference in Rome and wrote three posts on the conference as it unfolded:

Adoratio - Rome 2011

Pope Benedict's intention - BEYOND INDULTS AND PERMISSIONS - that kneeling for Communion remains universal (This post says of Mauro Cardinal Piacenza that at a concelebrated Mass during the conference at which he was the main celebrant, "at the canon of the Mass he dropped his voice considerably (even though microphones were used) and so the canon was not actually silent but sotto voce.")

Impressive forward thinking bishops

The final post reports, among other things, the statements of Cardinal Ranjith during the conference:

In his address to the Conference he spoke of the lack of faith in many parts of the Church itself, a lack of faith in the objective presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

He thought there was often a lack of wonder and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, quoting St Augustine saying, "We would sin if we did not adore Him before receiving Him."

The Cardinal spoke to the meaningless and tasteless (in many senses) experience of the Eucharist in many parishes because of a noisy and frenetic atmosphere that was no longer devout, adoring and contemplative. These aspects are not of choice but essential to a celebration of the Mass - an experience much more usual in the "Tridentine" Mass.

Of the priest facing the people instead of the Lord, he said that it promoted an attitude of showmanship, a silent body language of entertainment inevitably enters into the Mass. It is an innovation never advocated by the Second Vatican Council and is not respectful of the awesome mystery of the Holy Eucharist. (There was here an extended interruption for as applause echoed around the auditorium.)

He re-iterated the view that active participation does not mean outward activity but interior adoration, which takes a great deal of effort and spiritual activity.

Later over dinner he was also telling us of some of the changes he has made in his own diocese:

Each and every church has altar rails once again for the reception of Holy Communion, which is to be received kneeling.

The allowance to deviate from the universal norm of Holy Communion on the tongue has been withdrawn. So Communion is always on the tongue.

Priests must dress in the proper vestments for Mass.

Priests are forbidden to bring elements or styles of worship from other religions into the sacred liturgy.


pinanv525 said...

Wonderful! A Cardinal who gets it!

Henry said...

One can understand confusion and mistakes forty years ago in a time of chaos. But why can not ALL bishops and cardinals with the benefit of hindsight understand the plain lessons of these decades of unfortunate experience?

Frajm said...

That's a good question. The Holy Father is modeling for "pastors" how to celebrate the Mass. Usually when the term pastor comes from Rome, it means the bishops, not the ordinary parish priest. Some "pastors" that is bishops have followed the Holy Father's lead. However most bishops would want a more definitive law from the Holy Father and that is what it will take. But I think there is wisdom in doing the Holy Father's way, so that when the law is promulgated it will not have come out of the blue as it were.

Anonymous said...

Gotta hand it to him for make such bold and 'in your face' changes so quickly, having only been in Sri Lanka since Nov. 2010.
That took guts. Even with the authority to do so, it still took courage.
Perusing images of his arrival in Nov. one sees Buddhist monks and Muslim girls among the throngs greeting him like a welcome celebrity.
Such a huge and warm welcome shows he's got people appeal and the ability to cut across religions, and he wisely used this collateral to quickly set some things right.
Somewhat like a combination of Blessed JPII and Benedict XVI.
Papable indeed!


Pater Ignotus Is My Pastor said...

I'm hoping and praying that Bishop Boland's replacement will mandate Cardinal Ranjith's reforms in the Diocese of Savannah.

Henry said...

Fr. McDonald: However most bishops would want a more definitive law from the Holy Father and that is what it will take.

But isn't our Holy Father's exemplary model of the celebration of Mass more a matter of ars celebranda that must be inspired by faithful intent, rather than a matter of laws that can be promulgated.

Really, how could promulgated laws make a model celebrant--in the Holy Father's sense--out of a priest like the anonymous Pater Ignotus (if indeed he is a real priest, rather than--as I suspect--a carricature constructed by someone).

pinanv525 said...

To Pater Ignotus is My Pastor: Christ Have mercy...

Henry, Ignotus is a Priest in our diocese. Some know his identity but choose not to mention it. I think it has been mentioned once.
However, Ignotus provides an excellent field experience of the Donatist heresy. One is able to immediately understand both why Donatus thought as he did and why it is so important that the Church found him to be wrong. God doth work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform...

P. I. O. B. said...

Pater Ignotus does not believe that the efficacy of the sacraments depends on the moral character of the minister of the sacraments, nor has he ever said anything that can be so construed.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, I am not talking about what you do or do not believe...I am talking about the way you present yourself and the impression you give. Stop being deliberately concrete in your thinking.

R. E. Ality said...

Frajm. Please clarify. You said: “However most bishops would want a more definitive law from the Holy Father and that is what it will take.” Do you believe that this is necessary in order for a Bishop to do the right thing (He certainly can’t go wrong doing as the Pope does liturgically, can he?)
I can’t remember who, but some U.S. Bishop or Cardinal Wuerl (I think) said he would need something directly from the Pope in order to refuse Holy Communion to Catholic Politicians in obstinate manifest sin of denying Church teachings and voting accordingly. Communion in the hand is by indult not by any mandate or law, so why would a “definitive law” be necessary to do that which is still the universal norm? Same question for Canon #915. Does an American Bishop or Cardinal need the Pope to say of Canon Law, “We really mean it.”?

Frajm said...

Keep in mind that the Pope's liturgies have many examples that you might not want. For example it is an ancient custom even in St. Peter's for their to be loud applause every time the pope enters for Mass and as he leaves. Pope Benedict now walks us to people during the processional and recessional to touch them, speak to them and kiss babies. Should I attempt that this Sunday? So I ask for applause since it is done at papal liturgies? He also sits for his homilies. Shall we all implement that this Sunday? As far as communion in the hand, it is allowed and even in the Vatican. I've distributed Holy Communion at St. Peter's during Mass and the majority of people most of whom were from Italy received in the hand. So I would say that we need clearer laws from Rome.

Anonymous said...

Frjam. If Cuomo, Pelosi or Biden approached you for Holy Communion would you administer it to them? If not, why. If yes, why?

Frajm said...

The only one that I could canonically refuse is Cuomo since he is in a second marriage not recognized by the Church and publicly so--for him to receive would give scandal from that particular Church law--a censure has been placed against him. For the others, I would have to rely on my bishop to guide me as technically as far as I can discern, no canonical penalty has been placed against them.
It is rare that I would refuse Holy Communion to someone. Usually I do when I can tell that the person receiving is not Catholic, or totally out of it. I simply offer a blessing striving to avoid a scene. I think it unwise for priests to deny Holy Communion to Catholics unless there is a clear statement from the bishop, any bishop, that they should not be given Holy Communion. Ultimately our Lord will judge the person who receives unworthily, no matter who that person is.

Anonymous said...

What about Canon #915? Does a Priest need his Bishop's approval to enforce Canon Law? Any Bishop? How about Cardinal Raymond Burke's many statements on this matter?

To give them Holy Communion does send a confusing message to the public - Catholics and non-Catholics, doesn't it?

pinanv525 said...

It does indeed, and I would like to see more Priests refuse Communion to these folks...if it is not counter to Canon Law. Man, nothing would send a message like that would!

pinanv525 said...

Seriously, Fr., if you saw me at some political rally speaking out for abortion and gay marriage and I came to you on Sunday for Communion, wouldn't you almost be obligated to refuse me? What if you happened to be eating breakfast at a diner across from a motel and you saw me rush out with a woman who isn't my wife (Fr. knows me and my wife) and kiss her before I got into the car and rushed to Mass to receive? Couldn't you, knowing I had not had time to confess, refuse me Communion? What is the rule on something like this?