Wednesday, June 11, 2014


The Praywhine, I mean, Praytell blog stoops to a new low in printing an interview with an esteemed litrugist, Jesuit at that, Father Robert Taft, SJ. I am sure he must have done some good for liturgy somewhere, I just don't know where.

You can read the entire interview at Praytell by pressing HERE. However here are a couple of snarky  excerpts from that interview which tell a great deal about him and his disposition and unfortunately the disposition of so many progressive liturgists. How would you like to have him as your pastor?

Now if a sane person commented on that blog stated that those of Fr. Taft's ilk are left wing wackos, they'd be reprimanded.   Of course there is a duplicitous hypocrisy there. At any rate, the interview is sad, very sad.

Pope Francis good for liturgical renewal or not? (My Comment:The poor soul even gets this wrong. Pope Benedict celebrated his first Mass in the Sistine Chapel on a free standing altar, probably due to the fact the floor is raised for the conclave. On top of that Pope Francis has since celebrated Solemn Mass ad orientem for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord at that the historic altar that cannot be tossed out because it is fixed and the historic altar of that chapel. The Holy Father has celebrated this way also in St. Peters.)

Papa Francesco is good for everything, including liturgical renewal. When he first celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel he had them toss out the altar facing away from the congregation that his predecessor had installed, and thereby gave the signal indicating how he rated the reformed Vatican II liturgy vis-à-vis the restored pre-Vatican II Summorum Pontificum “extraordinary form.”

Is the Vatican II liturgical renewal secure or endangered?

I think it is secure, because I believe the vast majority of Catholic people throughout the world confirm it by voting with their feet and going to Mass in the reformed rite, showing thereby that despite the right-wing neo-con wackos (hereafter NCW’s), most Catholics prefer the reformed rite.
But that does not mean that the NCW’s are not a threat, since it is said that large numbers of them now control the terrain in our seminaries. As Professor Massimo Faggioli, the Catholic point-man on these issues has shown, the Vatican II Liturgical Constitution was the fundamental document that led the way to the rest of Vatican II, so an attack against that key document is an attack against the guiding spirit of the Vatican II Council.

Anything good coming out of Summorum Pontificum?

Nope, unless creating unnecessary divisions in the Church and driving crazy our harried bishops who have too few priests to start with and now have to try and accommodate the NCW’s is considered “good.”


JBS said...

I love the active "Wacko" title!

JBS said...

If only our Catholic love for each other could manifest itself in mutual tolerance for legitimate liturgical preferences. "Where charity and love prevail..."

Cameron said...

Well Fr JBS it seems charity and love do not prevail there.

I think this is funny because the modern Roman Rite is so skimpy compared to the vast majority of Eastern liturgies that I wonder why an Easterner (or one friendly to them) would harp on about the modern Roman Rite.

The OF Roman Rite _rarely_ approaches the majesty of pretty much any Eastern rite.

The EF is much more similar to the Eastern rites in ethos and atmosphere than the OF, at least usually.

Anonymous said...

He may be the bee's knees on liturgical subjects, but I know pagans and atheists who are more charitable and respectful than he displays in this interview. What good us having liturgical expertise if you are insulting and hurtful fellow human beings? Even the devil can quote Scripture.
He sounds like the Joe Biden of the Pray Tell circuit.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Predictably a few who comment there give him a pass since he is smart and a tenured academic. I have said it there and I will say it here, this is academic clericalism and a obnoxious type of clericalism that has no parallel !

Gene said...

Do you know how you can tell the difference between a dead tenured academic in the road and a dead possum in the road?

There are skid marks in front of the possum...

WSquared said...

The "WACKO" animated gif was the highlight of this entire post (though the rest is good, too), and it made me laugh out loud!

Bernard Fischer said...

I double plus agree with those who like the Wacko animation :)

Charles G said...

This guy complains about "unnecessary divisions" and then calls anyone who values the rich liturgical tradition of the Church "neo-con whackos"? Nice. What is to be gained from this sick, uncharitable, demonizing mentality? It is not just an attack on individuals, but it shows a mindset that simply sees no value whatsoever in Catholic tradition. Anything older than 1969 should be dumped into the trash and is of absolutely no value. Even if one supports the Vatican II liturgical reforms, why the disrepect shown to centuries old traditions? Surely one can argue for the reforms while expressing respect for Catholic liturgical tradition and not dumping on it? It just makes no sense and is absolutely disgusting.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Charles G, as I've said before, in the 1970's and up until the late 80's maybe early 90's to be labeled pre-Vatican II meant you were wacko. Theologians and other Church people of this type who use these terms really believe that sincere people who prefer the discipline and liturgy of Church as it was for more than 1500 years are wackos, how else could they get so many to drink the Kool-aid of confusion, disintegration and post-Catholicism?

John Nolan said...

To be fair, most of the PrayTell contributors were also critical of Taft's comments. Deacon Fritz Bauerschmidt, who can usually be relied on to provide a balanced opinion, picked up on the Sistine Chapel altar reference quite wittily.

Taking up the cudgels on behalf of Taft were, inevitably, Paul Inwood and Rita Ferrone. Rita is America's answer to Tina Beattie. Inwood, however is a Brit. A composer of NuChurch muzak, he was for a long time director of music and liturgy for the diocese of Portsmouth, until the incoming and orthodox bishop, Philip Egan, abolished the post. If you want tendentious liberal invective on anything from the EF Mass (now celebrated every Sunday in Portsmouth cathedral) to the corrected translation, delivered with complete lack of humour and a scant regard for truth, then Inwood's your man.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Allan,

Father Taft is someone I enjoy reading when it comes it comes to the Byzantine Rite. His wonderful lectures to an orthodox audience captured in the book Through their Own Eyes: Liturgy as the Byzantines saw it is superb, as are most of his lectures on the Byzantine rite. However, more than one Orthodox priests have told me they found it odd how nasty Father Taft is to traditional Catholics and the old mass. I have also heard this from Byzantine Catholics. It has been documented on the site "" I believe it is because Taft is a product of his time and those traddies he has run into have not impressed him academically. There is something that smacks of unethical in someone whose life is devoted to the Byzantine Liturgy who then pompously pontificate on the Roman Rite. I would suggest we pray for Taft who also has done a lot to heal the breach with the Orthodox Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, you would think if he is an expert on the Eastern Rite Liturgies and has an affinity for these, that he would have tried to be more conciliatory towards those who prefer the EF Mass which seems to me to have the same ethos as the Eastern Rite liturgies although more rigid I think than the Eastern Rite which has more flexibility, less rubrics too i think.

Pater Ignotus said...

J I McAuley - The great majority of traditional Catholics are not attracted to the old mass. They participate in and enjoy and are nourished by the traditional Ordinary Form.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Kavenaugh,

You missed my point. The gist of my comment was that it is unprofessional, unethical and foolish for Father Taft to comment on an area outside of his expertise. Should he critically comment on the works of Casimir Kucharek or his master, Juan Mateos, or the Byzantine Rite in general that is fine and good. But since the 1950s his focus has been on non-Latin-rite liturgical matters. No wonder many Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox question Father Taft's spirituality when he makes comments like this - it is as if he is still truly a Latin at heart and has never fully gone east.

I do, however, respectfully disagree with Father McDonald on this - Father Taft is not a wacko, but is rather approaching the older form of the liturgy through the prejudices of his youthful experiences.

I will remember both you fathers at Liturgy tonight - our All Saints Sunday!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I didn't call Fr. Taft a wacko, he called those who are neo-cons wackos for liking the older form of the Mass.

It doesn't make sense for him to do so especially sense he is an expert on the Eastern liturgies and evidently loves this form of the Divine Liturgy which the EF has many similar qualities in terms in terms of its history and ethos.

I was criticizing him for bringing a 1970's mentality to his own Latin Rite Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Ted K said...

I suspect Fr Taft is highly influenced by the successful painting into a corner by the progressives in the academy of the lovers of traditional liturgy as so-called right wing fanatics.
Unfortunately there is some truth in that picture, where too many traditionalists would even make Ayn Rand blush. That is a problem for the true lovers of the traditional liturgy and they need to divest themselves of such gun-toting economic radicals from among their ranks. Why does the traditional liturgy attract such wackos, and seem to have little influence on their political ideas?
Indeed, one of the most memorable texts that Fr Taft has written concerns active/actual participation: "the contemplation of the liturgical rites leads the soul to the spiritual, mystical realities of the invisible world". (A History Of The Liturgy Of St John Chrysostom)