Sunday, June 1, 2014


I was reading a comment by a Catholic about the situation at Mt. de Sales and she wrote that she had no idea that Mt. de Sales Academy was under the Bishop of Savannah when it comes to its Catholic identity and that if the Bishop of Savannah became concerned about this educational institution's Catholic identity as it concerns the Church's teaching on sexuality and marriage, that he could intervene and use his authority to either confirm or remove the Catholic identity of the school.

Southerners in a congregationalist Protestant culture sometimes think that the Catholic Church operates as Protestant Churches do, independently of one another. They also seem to think that a Private Catholic School is independent of the bishop. It isn't. Of course the bishop defers to the board of trustees in the administration of the school and its policies but if something goes off track or policies are made that compromise the Catholic mission of our institutions the bishop can intervene. His role is to govern his diocese and the Catholics in it as well as its institutions.

While I am not opposed to the additional Eucharistic Prayers for Mass, and in fact use Roman Canon infrequently, I do realize that most Catholics very seldom hear what was once the only Eucharistic Prayer for Mass, the Roman Canon also named the First Eucharistic Prayer.

As I prayed it this morning for the Solemnity of the Ascension, given the controversy in Macon over our private Catholic High School, I was struck by the following which is prayed prior the the Epiclesis:

"...Be pleased to grant her [the holy Catholic Church] peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant Francis our Pope and Gregory John our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith..."

The other Eucharistic Prayers in no way convey this truth as clearly as the Roman Canon does. Just imagine if Catholics heard that each and every Sunday at Mass and every day at daily Mass. The law of prayer is the law of belief. But if it is missing or seldom prayed or heard, how can we believe--"the law of prayer is the law of belief" even for corrupt prayers or prayers that omit what is important!

How many of our Catholics simply don't know or believe that part of the Roman Canon I emphasize because they've never really heard or prayed it?


Richard M. Sawicki said...


The sad truth is GAZILLIONS of Catholics don't know this is the threefold-duty of bishops. The blank stares I get when I mention it to some of them seems to back me up on this.

Sadly, I think that there are some BISHOPS who don't know that this is their threefold-duty.

But, as I often say, "the times they are a-changin'" in that the younger, more orthodox bishops and priests, who are increasingly moving up in the ranks in dioceses all around the country, are boldly and fearlessly reasserting this truth and taking on the daunting task of re-catechizing the faithful who, for the most part, just have not been fed their "recommended daily allowance" of sublime Truth for much of the last forty years.

I will do as St. Pio tells us, "pray, hope, and don't worry".

The progress may seem slow, but thing ARE getting better.

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

Anonymous said...

Is there a website or Facebook page in support of the firing of Mr. Dollar?

Anonymous said...

No Facebook page in support of firing Mr. Dollar...Sadly everybody in support is quiet instead of "in your face" like the protesters are.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic, I am appalled by the venom behind many of the responses posted on this blog. Whether one is for or against the dismissal of Mr. Dollar, a man's livelihood was taken away and real people are suffering. I am not "sad" there is no Facebook page in favor of the firing. No matter how vindicated one might feel, gloating and condescending remarks only serve to make those responsible look small. Where in Macon may the wounded find the "field hospital" Pope Francis has called the Church to be? Enough is is time to go about healing the hurts. Causing scandal comes in many forms. Turning people away from the Church is no less scandalous than what has set this "feeding frenzy" into motion.

JBS said...

Anonymous, those who freely and knowingly commit mortal sin are going to suffer the fires of Hell. Doesn't Holy Mother Church have the maternal duty of taking a firm stance against damnable behavior? Perhaps loosing his livelihood now is just the sort of medicine he needs, and will prompt him to repent and convert before it's too late. The Church can only function as a "field hospital" for those sinners who recognize the damage they've done to their own souls, and who then accept her treatment.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The ideology if we can remove it from the person who is not Catholic and does not accept the Church's teaching on marriage or chastity, is indeed the problem because the ideology is offended that original and actual sin is is considered a disease that the field hospital which is the Church mediates Christ's healing and forgiveness through the Sacraments especially Penance. They don't believe it is a sin and for the most part the Church is just a club or worst yet a country club for the sinless who do not need to repent , and experience conversion in this area. And this ideology was effectively being communicated to our kids at this school!

John Nolan said...

Regarding the choice of Eucharistic Prayer, GIRM 365 recommends the Roman Canon for Sundays, and particularly for those feasts which have a proper text for the Communicantes or Hanc Igitur - Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost. Celebrants who opt for EP II on Sundays because of its brevity are in my opinion just lazy, and in any case it shouldn't be divorced from its proper Preface. EP IV is best suited for weekday masses where the Creed is not said. Whose fault is it if OF Mass-goers never experience the anaphora which has defined the Roman Rite throughout its existence?

JBS said...

John Nolan,

Just for the sake of argument, I wonder if the Roman Canon, since it was never intended to be recited audibly, and therefore not developed to be heard, would best be restricted to the E.F. and perhaps for Latin celebrations of the O.F.?

Anonymous said...

A good weekday pattern sometimes observed is the Roman Canon for feasts and solemnities, EP III for ferial days and memorials, and EP II and EP IV each one day per year (but never on Sunday).

Pater Ignotus said...

The translation we now have of EP One is awkward and difficult to pray out loud in a way that makes the theology contained in the prayer easily understood. I think that is the reason, not laziness, that keeps many from using it.

I don't think it is ever - yes, ever - a good thing to "restrict" the prayers of the mass to the clerics and pseudo-clerics on the altar. That, to me, smacks of the kind of elitism that is so often bemoaned on this blog.

And it doesn't reflect the Communio ecclesiology in which we now live as a Church.

Anonymous said...

Where is Pater Ignotus? He is so gosh darn smart, he could shut these ecumenical secularists up in a heartbeat. I haven't heard one word from him. Where is he? It's like Superman disappeared. Car 54, Where are you?

Anonymous said...

Finally he shows up but it has nothing to do with the current maelstrom but about ecclesiology.

Gene said...

Ignotus is the guy that walks into a a biker bar wearing a turtle neck and beret and carrying a bottle of peppermint schnapps…LOL!

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
I have yet to hear our current pastor use the Roman Canon (EP I). My mother (who also prefers it, as do I) once asked him about using it and she told me he replied that one of the reasons he doesn't like to use it is because it makes reference to Melchizedek, referring to him as "Your (God's) priest" (Father says he was a pagan). Surely he is familiar of the biblical concept of Old Testament prefigurement. After all, isn't Christ Himself referred to in the New Testament as "a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."

Who is Father to critique (and edit out by non-use) the approved prayers of the Church-especially one of such venerable usage as the Roman Canon? I actually pray that he will have a change of heart and use this prayer (I also pray that he will stop his improvisations of Mass prayers such as referring to the wine at the offertory as the "work of human hands AND FEET" and addressing us at the end of the Mass with "The Lord IS with you") I shouldn't have to go to a Catholic church in another town just to hear EP I used! Maybe our bishop should consider mandating the use of EP I for at least one Sunday Mass in each parish.

John Nolan said...


Liturgical scholars seem to be of the opinion that in the early centuries the Canon was sung. The OF Masses I attend are in Latin and EP I is used nine times out of ten, although I occasionally encounter EP III which is quite elegant in its original Latin.

Pater Ignotus

The theology of many of the prayers of the Mass is not easily understood, even when rendered in the vernacular. However, if you start with the premise that everything in the Mass must be instantly comprehensible, even to children and the feeble-minded (which is basically what happened) then you end up glossing over the theology or over-simplifying it. A comparison between the Collects as rendered in 1973 with the 2011 versions makes this abundantly clear.

In a sung Mass (which is ideally the norm) there was never the intention to restrict the prayers to the clerics in the sanctuary. Those of us who remember the parish Missa Cantata before 1964 will attest to the people singing the responses and those parts of the Ordinary pertaining to them (Asperges, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei). The Low Mass is something of an anomaly, but I have noticed that the increasing numbers of young people who frequent it prefer to participate interiorly. I suspect that this is because they are reacting against the usual OF experience of being constantly eyeballed and talked at.

'It doesn't reflect the Communio ecclesiology in which we now live as a Church'. One of the reasons we are in such a mess is that 20th century experts tried to remake the liturgy so that it conformed to their intellectual theories (which, by the way, are looking increasingly dated).

If you like to think of yourself as living in a 'Communio ecclesiology' then no-one's stopping you. I'll take my chance with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Anonymous said...

Fr. JBS,

Wouldn’t it be a mistake to simply write off Novus Ordo Catholics by depriving them of the glory of the Roman Canon, which did for centuries and continues to embody the fullness of the Roman rite as does no other Eucharistic prayer?

The Mass is not about me, but nevertheless on the thankfully rare occasions when I have attended OF Mass on a solemnity and heard another EP, I have felt deprived and even cheated. I very much appreciate the progressive solemnity afforded by EP II on an occasional feria, EP III on memorials and some feasts, EP I on greater feasts and solemnities. To the extent that I’ve come to believe that in the OF it can be just as much a liturgical disjunction to use it on a feria as not to use it on a great feast.

Whether the Roman Canon, originally sung in the days of Ambrose and Augustine (as I understand it) should be silent now is another issue. While I believe that the silent canon affords deeper prayerful participation for many, I fear that most today must hear an audible canon to participate even in the minimal fashion that couch-potato listening permits.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - You and other have praised the new translation of the Roman Missal precisely because, in your view, it makes the theology of the prayers of the mass more understandable, because it more clearly makes the connection between the Scriptures and the Doctrine of the Church, and because it helps people understand the ancient faith of the Church.

Now you turn around and state, "The theology of many of the prayers of the Mass is not easily understood, even when rendered in the vernacular."

You can't have it both ways. I'll stick with making the theology of the mass and the theology contained in the prayers of the mass more understandable.

And here's why: "So that the content of the original texts may be evident and comprehensible even to the faithful who lack any special intellectual formation, the translations should be characterized by a kind of language which is easily understandable, yet which at the same time preserves these texts’ dignity, beauty, and doctrinal precision."

And you can deny the reality of Communio ecclesiology all you want. But the multiple citations I made on another thread to the reality of this indicate that, despite your personal predilections, for the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, communion is where it's at.

JBS said...

John Nolan and Pater Ignotus,

Perhaps the faithful have an obligation to study the truths and rites of the Faith, and the Church have an obligation to keep her definitions and rites comprehensible to an educated laity. Surely study and intelligibility can go hand in hand.

John Nolan said...

PI, you're at it again. I did not say that the new translations made the theology easier to understand (and the Mass is a sacred mystery after all), rather that they actually attempt to express ideas that are in the original text but which the previous redactions either ignored altogether, distorted, or in some cases replaced with other ideas.

EP III contains a passage which has generated a lot of comment over the years:-
' agnoscens Hostiam, cuius voluisti immolatione placari...'
A literal translation would read: '...and acknowledging the Victim by whose immolation you wished to be appeased...'

To immolate is to offer in sacrifice, and its use here makes it clear that Christ himself is the sacrifice. The original ICEL version had '...and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself...' There is no indication here that the immolation of Christ was willed by the Father, sacrifice is not mentioned (although one could say that it is implied by the word Victim) and although 'placare' can mean 'to reconcile', 'placari' is a passive infinitive referring to the Father (who of course is not reconciled to us). So 'placari' must surely carry its primary meaning of 'to be appeased/placated'

The current ICEL version has '...and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself...' which uses a certain amount of circumlocution in order to avoid the word 'immolation', but does translate 'voluisti' as 'willed' which is stronger than 'wished' but sounds a bit archaic. But the theological implications of 'placari' are still not rendered explicitly.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Although the theology of the mass may not be, as you say, easily understood, the reason for providing a new translation of the Roman Missal was to help the People of God to come to a better understanding of the content and meaning of the texts.

These texts were not translated in order to create lovely, accurate texts per se, but for the purpose of helping those who hear/read the texts come to a deeper understanding of the mysteries described in the prayers.

Expressing an idea in a written text is not the purpose of re-translating the prayers.

There is a numinous quality of the prayers to be sure: LA 19. "The words of the Sacred Scriptures, as well as the other words spoken in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of the Sacraments, are not intended primarily to be a sort of mirror of the interior dispositions of the faithful; rather, they express truths that transcend the limits of time and space."

But helping the People of God to understand better the texts and their meaning was explicitly mentioned in Liturgiam Authenticam. In LA 21, particular mention is made of the need to help "peoples recently brought into the faith" to comprehend the meaning of the texts.

In LA 25 is the most explicit statement of this purpose: "So that the content of the original texts may be evident and comprehensible even to the faithful who lack any special intellectual formation, the translations should be characterized by a kind of language which is easily understandable, yet which at the same time preserves these texts’ dignity, beauty, and doctrinal precision."

"So that the content of the original texts may be evident and comprehensible..." this new translation has been made.

John Nolan said...

PI, I thought that you objected to LA? In any case, LA 25 seems to be trying to square a particularly obstinate circle. I think I'll stick with St John XXIII who opposed the use of the vernacular, especially in the liturgy, for what appear to me to be very cogent reasons (Veterum Sapientia, 1962).

Henry said...

John, your EP III example illustrates why--whatever language the OF Mass is celebrated in (commonly English and Spanish, occasionally Vietnamese in my area) the greatest spiritual benefit derives from following it in Latin.

Which is no big barrier for literate folks. Liturgical Latin hardly requires extensive school Latin like yours. I never had a day of school instruction in Latin, learned it well enough, on my own and at a mature age, just for active prayerful participation in the liturgy (following the dictates of Vatican II as I interpreted them to apply to me personally).

After all, liturgical Latin is ardly rocket science. As it happens I am pretty well schooled in many aspects of rocket science, compared with which the Latin of the Mass is pretty simple.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - There are weaknesses in LA to be sure. But LA is "spot on" when it makes it crystal clear that the prayers are meant to be understood.

John Nolan said...

Henrice, veritatem dicis. Scientia ballistae non est.