Monday, November 19, 2012

THE HOLY FATHER IS THE ONE WHO CALLS FOR MUTUAL ENRICHMENT, NOT I, AND SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM STATES THE READINGS MAY BE IN THE 1962 MISSAL AND WITHOUT DISTINCTION BETWEEN LOW, HIGH AND SOLEMN HIGH MASS; I'M FOLLOWING THIS MOST AUTHORITATIVE DIRECTIVE AND NOTHING THAT SOMES FROM A LESSER AUTHORITY AT THE VATICAN! SP STATES EMPHATICALLY: The fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the use of English in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is to be found in Article 6 of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio: Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

The Holy Father called for "mutual enrichment." If I understand my English correctly, that mean that both influence the other, mutual enrichment does not mean a one way enrichment, from the EF to the OF only!
As I understand it from high sources in the Vatican a new Missal that is neither totally EF or totally OF will result from the "organic development" the recovery of the EF will provide and I suspect it will evolve from what is experimented on the grassroots level, such as vernacular for the Liturgy of the Word, facing the congregation; Latin for the unchanging parts of the Mass or at least what Pope Benedict now models, and noble simplicity, which means the Communion Rite of the OF rather than the EF. In other words, the new missal of the future will be very much in continuity with the EF but will organically produce what Vatican II actually anticipated, not what iconoclasts gave us.

In the letter of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, which accompanies the motu proprio, Summroum Pontifcum, which you can read here, he states the following and even gives some examples of this "mutual enrichemnt" a term His Holiness uses, not I:

"It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. (my comment: this could describe some exaggerated opinions of my EF adherents! But I try to follow this next sentence!) Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal."

And Summorum Pontificum states that the Scriptures may be read in the vernacular and this trumps other opinions even in high places. The fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the use of English in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is to be found in Article 6 of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio and this authoritative decree from the Holy Father himself trumps any subsequent pulling back from this from lesser authorities even in the Vatican:

SP,Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.


Marc said...

Father, with respect, you're reading too much into the "mutual enrichment" statement. The document clearly defines what that enrichment is for the 1962 Missal: it's being updated to include newly canonized saints and prefaces. That is nothing new as those things are routinely added to a Missal. This statement does not say the former rubrics are relaxed. Every priest should consider the Lord's admonition to the Old Testament priests and the exactitude of rubrics placed on them. The punishment for a failure to follow the specific laws of the Old Testament sacrifices was to be struck dead. Now, Christ has mediated that punishment so that a failure now is objectively mortal sin.

In other words, the rubrics are not relaxed. They are to be followed scrupulously. And the documents you quoted do not change that.

As for the Readings (which is limited to the Epistle and the Gospel, not any of the other prayers), those may be read in the vernacular. But, that is simply not the custom here. There is no reason not to follow the custom (read the readings in Latin at the altar and then re-read them in English from the lecture before the homily).

Now, I want to emphasize something an anonymous poster said in the last entry. Many have abandoned the 1962 Mass at St. Joseph because they are disturbed by the liturgical aberrations. It is a fact of life that those who attend this Mass know a lot about it and are generally pretty particular and protective of it. We all recognize the good work done by priests, including yourself who go out of the way to offer the Mass. But, perhaps you are taking a bit of liberty with your idea of mutual enrichment from the Novus Ordo, which again is just not correct.

There are rubrics and we are not the makers if them. We are merely the custodians.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I said nothing in this post about relaxed rubrics but about vernacular Scriptures which includes scriptural antiphons which our Holy Father says is fine--case closed! He allows but does not mandate and the choice is the proest's not the laity's a post VII Novelty! And apart from you what other registered parishioner goes to Atlanta? Numbers not names and when we have it, statistics not conjecture or hearsay.

Marc said...

Father, the Holy Father does not say vernacular scripture. He says vernacular readings. If all scripture in the Mass were in the vernacular, then most of the Mass would be in te vernacular! I just don't think anyone other than you is interpreting his statement so broadly and, even still, saying the readings in the vernacular only is just not the local custom.

As you know, I don't go to Atlanta - you see me every Sunday (even though I now live in another state). I was commenting on the previous poster's assertion.

Now, I can tell you that when I have go to Atlanta for Sunday Mass, I have seen several former St. Joseph parishioners there. That is not hearsay or conjecture, that is an eyewitness account. I'd estimate maybe 5-10 people that I recognized by sight.

I am really not arguing with you. I, like many, would have likely not been exposed to the 1962 Mass if it weren't for your efforts. But, I just question why you're trying to relax these rubrics and say the Mass in the vernacular. If you want to do that, say the Novus Ordo. But, like others here, I think that if you're going to say the 1962 Mass, it should be done scrupulously- you have a non-robotic option already in the Novus Ordo. People do not go out of their way for a Novus Ordo-influenced Tridentine Mass. If they wanted vernacular readings, they would stick with their local Novus Ordo parish... People will, however, travel at least an hour for the Mass of the Ages...

Now, are you losing EF Mass attendees on the first Sunday? I don't know. Maybe the anonymous poster will come back and provide some more details for his or her assertion.

BachFanIV said...

I have been wondering something. Fr. M., in a few posts you have mentioned "robotics" in the choreography/rubrics for the priest to follow in the EF. May I ask which you feel are "robotic"? I only ask this because, with all of the EF Masses I have attended, I have never seen any priest behave "robotically."

Dan Z said...

The way I see it, and this may or may not be overly simple, but the so-called new single-form Missal that is to evolve from the mutual enrichment between the OF and EF (in other words, a TLM-NO hybrid Mass) has already been done: the 1965 Missal. This is what they are striving for, yet it is already here. So why not implement the 1965 Order of the Mass now, during this year of faith, for theOF Roman Missal, and supress the NO Order of the Mass? As I said, this seems too simple a solution.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

EWTN made a very well produced video available to help teach priests how to celebrate the EF and it had a priest from FSSP who was very robotic, stiff in movements overly conscious of how far to spread arms, just too stiff and mechanical, robotic as in non human, computer generated look.

In terms of my ideal of a Mass that is reform within continuity would be the current missal and lectionary with the EF Order of the Mass, everything in Latin that does not change, everything that does change in the vernacular. So you keep the prayers at the foot of the altar, last Gospel and rubrics of the EF and you keep the revised calendar but the one that the Anglican Ordinariate has devised from it, you keep the additional eucharistic prayers in Latin with the Roman Canon to be only used as in the EF, meaning in low voice, Latin and with its EF rubrics--but an option.

In terms of "noble simplicity and useless repetition" being followed, after all, I think it undermines the Magisterium not to follow what SC or any of the Vatican II Documents expect, would be to make the Rite of Holy Communion like the OF's, reversing the Ite Missa est, and blessing as in the OF but keeping the placeat.

So technically the only things allowed in the vernacular would be the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons, Collect, Secret, Post Communion Prayers and prefaces.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm not consulted by the Holy Father about how to do the obvious! :)

Marc said...

Father, I think maybe you got a bit of a skewed introduction from the training video. (I think I've seen that video, so I agree with your robotic assessment). In the everyday Masses of the priests of the Traditional groups, the movements are less robotic and more fluid.

Check out the daily Masses at These are FSSP priests in Florida who put the Mass on the Internet everyday. (You can also give their iPhone app called iMass for free). I don't think you'll note the same roboticism in these Masses that you see in the training videos.

As for the specific things you mentioned: I am pretty sure there are actual guides (rubrics?) that detail how far apart the priest's arms should be spread because there is a symbolic meaning that evaporates when the movements are not the same everywhere. This keeps the possibility of the priest's personality entering into the celebration of the Mass to a minimum. I'm sure this is the reason priests normally look at the ground instead of at the people on the occasions when they turn around during the Mass. Over centuries, these things were sorted out in an effort at uniformity thru humility.

ytc said...

Dear Father,

Summorum Pontificum issued motu proprio is an apostolic letter of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is not particularly specific, and over the years there were many questions that went unanswered. Therefore, in 2011 the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei issued a document called Universae Ecclesiae, an "Instruction on the Application of the Apostolic Letter."

The Instruction is a clarifying document and is absolutely binding. Universae Ecclesiae must be studied alongside Summorum Pontificum. In the Instruction we find the following quote:

"26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular."

Solemn and High Masses: the readings must be sung in Latin, and may be followed by a vernacular re-read. The most conventional place for the re-read, prescribed by both preconciliar and postconciliar tradition and custom, at least in the United States, is before the homily.

Low Masses: the readings may be proclaimed first in Latin followed by a vernacular re-read, or may be proclaimed solely in the vernacular.

You may read the Instruction here:

That is where we get a more refined interpretation of Summorum Pontificum.

I do feel a bit bad because I feel we are bashing you, even as you say the EF out of your pastoral solicitude. But the law as contained in the Instruction is clear: Solemn and High--Latin or Latin and vernacular; Low--Latin or Latin and vernacular or solely vernacular.

By the way, Ecclesia Dei is the Pontifical Commission responsible for the EF.

Henry Edwards said...

Article 6 of Summorum Pontificum certainly permits the reading of the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular, after they have been read liturgically in Latin at the altar.

That this is the Church's interpretation of this article is borne out by the following paragraph of Universae Ecclesiae (as approved subsequently by Pope Benedict):

26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.

Plainly, the phrase "in Latin followed by the vernacular" followed by "or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular" makes it clear that in sung Masses it is not permitted to read the Epistle and Gospel solely in the vernacular, omitting their reading in Latin. And, and in any case, the is no authoritative precedent for the term "readings" in this context including anything other than the Epistle and Gospel.

The Church's own interpretation of her instructions should be followed faithfully. Unfortunately, every liturgical abuse probably starts with good intentions and some individual's belief that he can do it better by deciding for himself how to interpret liturgical norms and rubrics.

In this particular matter, I myself feel keenly that the traditional Latin Mass would welcome many more Catholics, ones who otherwise would appreciate it greatly, if its readings and variable propers were permitted to be read solely in the vernacular only. But to do so now is illicit.

Henry Edwards said...

PS. I have heard informally that the inclusion of paragraph 26 in Universae Ecclesiae was intended precisely to correct the misunderstanding in some quarters that article 6 of Summorum Pontificum had authorized substitution of vernacular readings for Latin readings at all EF Masses.

Too bad. I'd be happy to welcome the additional EF attendees that a vernacular option would encourage. But though not here yet, I suspect it will come, in God's good time.

Marc said...

Henry, I'm curious why are you so certain that the lack of vernacular readings is keeping some people from the Mass?

Andy Milam said...


I have to support Marc on this one. The enrichment which comes from the Novus Ordo to the TLM rests in the expansion of the calendar to include those saints which have not been added. And I think that a fine enrichment, as there is not one of those saints who did not worship at the TLM (not a coincidence, I think).

That being said, there is no reason to think that there is anything in SP or UE which removes the rubrical adherence. What you perceive to be "robotic" is not seen that way by the VAST majority of faithful who assist at the TLM. Fr. Pendergraft, the priest you refer to as "robotic," is a personal friend. I can tell you that he is anything but. He is one of the most fluid men I have ever met. You would be more than surprised what someone can do in a cassock, literally!!!! (Reason #198759322175918732419832741932 to wear a cassock if a priest) At any rate, there is nothing robotic about his celebration of Holy Mass. I should know, I've both served and MC'd his Mass. There is precision in action. It is that precision in action which removes ANY doubt as to his intention of the celebration of the Mass and I, for one, appreciate that in a way which is very sincere.

The use of the vernacular in the readings is laudable, as long as they are understood, as has been pointed out, that they are not part of the Mass itself, but rather a courtesy to the faithful. As one who has been assisting at the TLM since 1994, I can honestly say that it means NOTHING to me to hear the readings in the vernacular. Mainly because I can read and I can apply the reading at home, with my friends and family in light of the homily. But, that is just a tradition my group has.

I do not wish to undermine your celebration of Holy Mass. Hardly, I just want to point out that there is room for adjustment of thought, as you become more comfortable with it. Adherence to precision through Tradition is a hallmark of the TLM. Please don't be a priest who undermines that.

Henry Edwards said...

Marc, I know personally ordinary Catholics who have accepted and invitation to attend a TLM, thought its reverence and sanctity were wonderful, but on balance were put off by the lack of any vernacular, to the extent that (apparently on this issue alone) didn't come back a second time. From being in this business a long time, I estimate pretty confidently that attendance at EF Masses would increase markedly if the readings and collects were heard in the vernacular, might even "take off" into critical mass, as compared with the present TLM attendance stuck in the sub 1% range.

As for me, I personally would drive whatever distance it takes to steer clear of any such vernacularized EF and attend a "real" high Mass with the Gospel and (especially) the Preface in glorious chant that is not only Latin but Gregorian with the proper tones.

Marc said...

Henry, thanks for responding. I was genuinely curious because I know you've been at this return to Tradition thing a lot longer than I have. I also don't have much experience bringing others to the Mass with me (except people who already wanted to go).

Thank you again(I realized after submitting my comment that it could sound as if I was challenging you on your assertion. That was not intended. Just curious.)