Friday, February 6, 2015


 As I mentioned in a previous post, there are now two forms of the one Roman Rite. Although the ceremony is different and there is a difference of emphasis in ecclesiology both forms of the Mass celebrate the same reality, the real presence of Christ at the altar of His Word and Sacrament (which should not be separated as two tables, there is a unity) receiving the Word by hearing and receiving the Word made flesh in the accidents of Bread and Wine.

Both forms of the Mass make present in a timeless but unbloody way the One Sacrifice of Christ offered by Christ for our salvation. And both forms of the Mass make present Christ under the form of Bread and Wine.

Catholics who are bound by faith to respect and be obedient to the pope (even in matters where they may disagree) must accept what I have presented above. And Catholics of whatever orientation must accept that there are now two forms of the one Latin Rite. The Extraordinary Form has limitations placed upon it that are not placed upon the Ordinary Form. Catholics must accept that.

For Catholics to denigrate either form of the Mass, whether they be priests or laity and whether that denigration be an abuse of the actual Mass in the manner in which it is celebrated or an abusive attitude toward a well celebrated Mass in either form is I believe the substance of a mortal sin, meaning serious matter (an abusive attitude toward the Mass), knowing that it is wrong, and doing it with the full consent of the will.

So the greater problem here in terms of mortal sins committed by Catholics in terms of charity and an abusive attitude or action against either form of the Mass is really a lack of faith, Catholic faith, not only in the authority of the Church in the areas of faith and morals, but also in the authority of Christ in terms of charity. There seems to be a disconnect between unrepentant sin publicly expressed on this forum and the possibility of eternal damnation. Of course all mortal sin to one extent or another is a rejection of Christ and His Church and the authority He gave to His Church to loose and bind.


Anonymous said...

Father, I think your post needs further explanation because, although I can't claim to have read every post on your blog, I haven't read any comments where someone has rejected the OF of the Mass where it is well celebrated.

However, many have commented that they dislike the abuses they find in many celebrations of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and so will not attend and they can't be blamed for that.

You yourself have suggested reforms that you would like to see to the OF of the Mass.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has gone a step further and listed what he calls the five liturgical wounds of the Church (Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, lay readers, etc). Would you say then that the bishop is in mortal sin because he appears to reject the OF of the Mass in its current form?

Has something happened to change the views that you expressed on November 7 2012?

"MY COMMENTS: I don't believe this to be hyperbole, but from what I detect the Catholics who attend our EF Mass seem to take the Catholic faith and her spirituality very seriously. They seem to truly believe in the Real Presence of Christ and this brings them to a true sense of hushed awe and wonder. Their faith seems more than just skin deep but rooted in the strongest traditions of the Church rather than simply feelings. They know the Faith too and are doctrinally grounded."


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Some comments you don't see because I don't post them. I have to post comments since they do not appear automatically. Some are just outrageous and offend me. So these don't see the light of day.

I think we can critique both forms of the Mass, especially in the manner in which these are celebrated, meaning clergy and laity together to enhance not tear down.

However, bishops are bishops and bishops have an authority in the Church and over the liturgy in their own dioceses that a mere parish priest does not have and neither does a lay person.

If my bishop tells me to stop celebrating the EF Mass, I will do it. If he tells me that I must have Extraordinary Minister or that I can't I will do that. If he tells me that I should not provide a comfortable option for people to kneel at Communion time in the Ordinary Form, I will do that. He is the BISHOP, I am not and neither is anyone else who comments on my blog, as far as I am aware.

The authority of local bishops in their own diocese, the Bishop of Rome for the Universal Church and any groups of bishops he appoints to study the liturgy, such as Pope Paul VI did, are completely in the domain of the magisterium of the church which does not include laity.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might suggest this, that or the other for either form of the Mass. I am not in principle opposed to the laity receiving from the common chalice but I am opposed to unhygienic use of the common chalice not only for the laity but for the priest, deacon or instituted acolyte who must consume the ablutions.
I am in favor of kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue, but have no authority to impose that on anyone. But suggesting it in this forum or any blog forum might encourage
bishops to look at the need to restore dignity and solemnity as well as reverence to the ORdinary Form of the Mass. The Extraordinary Form has much, much to teach us.

I am in favor of intinction for both the ORdinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass and at every Mass.

I am in favor of some vernacular for the EF Mass, especially the changing parts of that Mass that are audible. I am not opposed to the Roman Canon being in the vernacular or prayed in a audible voice even in Latin for the EF Mass.

I am not opposed to an expanded lectionary for the EF Mass or a cycle of readings, maybe year D, that would be the Extraordinary Form's lectionary basically.

I am not opposed to refining the Roman Calendar to allow it to be the same for both forms of the Mass.

But with that said, these are just musings. I am not a bishop thus I have no control over any of this. Only bishops do and ultimately the pope. No one here is the pope. That is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Father, I meant to say I thought you might be referring to those comments that you do not publish.

I do think some people can get very heated about both forms of the Mass, but I don't think in the majority of cases that it would amount to mortal sin because the person has to know that they are then wilfully turning away from God and then deliberately go ahead anyway. I think the majority who do make heated comments would not be aware to that extent.

However, you are right to point this out so that people become aware that they are indeed on shaky ground and may then moderate their comments and their mindset.

As regards celebration of the Extraordinary form of the Mass, the Apostolic letter states:

"Any Priest of the Latin Church—provided he has the minimum rubrical and linguistic ability—may, without any further permission from the Holy See or his Ordinary, celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Missale Romanum in a Mass without the people at any time except during the Sacred Triduum. If members of the faithful wish to join in these celebrations, they are permitted to do so.In parishes where a stable group of the faithful are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, they may approach the pastor, who is to support their petition willingly."

In my own diocese the bishop (just retired) forbade a Sunday celebration of the EF of the Mass. That meant he himself was disobedient to the Holy Father in effect. As you point out, Father, priests have to be obedient to their bishop and so the EF of the Mass is not celebrated in many dioceses, despite requests from the laity. Therefore frustration continues unabated and often shows up on blogs like these. Therefore the fault lies squarely with the bishops who themselves are not obedient and do not set the laity an example.


Anonymous said...

50 years after the invented Mass of Paul VI was forced on the Church the result is the almost total destruction of the Catholic Faith.

That statement is objectively true based on the fruits of this innovation. Almost total loss of belief in the Real Presence.

Just look at the Pope's Mass in Manilla were consecrated hosts were passed around like corn chips. How many were dropped in the mud and trampled on by suppossed faithful?

Cardinals, bishops and priests cavalierly committing liturgical abuse: saying Mass wearing cheesehead hats, carrying ballons, giant puppets, rock music, lay people "concelebrating" and the latest ......... the super bowl Mass. No person who sat through that disgusting super bowl Mass has any Faith, otherwise they would have decried that travisty, but they didn't. This is the fruit of the Mass of Paul VI.

The destruction isn't an accident this was the desired result because it's not being corrected but encouraged. Look at the destruction that is happening to the Franciscans of the Immaculate. And it is not a sin to decry what is happening.

Go to any typical Catholic parish and you place your Faith and soul in danger. What will you encounter there? Christ? He is usually relegated to a corner and ignored. A place of prayer? No, a circus like atmosphere devoid of silence and reverance. A heaven on earth? Hardly, all beauty is discouraged and ridiculed.

The Church after Vatican II is farce and everybody knows this. The refusal to correct error is a scandal. Even the pope will die and have to face his maker alone, as will everyone else. And those who try to acknowledge to crisis are silenced and their reputation is destroyed , example Cardinal Burke.

Anonymous said...

What is meant by saying that the real presence of Christ at the altar in word and sacrament should not be separated into 2 tables? (First paragraph)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Good, you picked that up. In the EF Mass, the Scriptures, all of them are read at the altar. So from the altar we receive God's word, the same altar where we receive the Lord's Body and Blood.

This is obfuscated in the Ordinary Form with what was and is called by some the two tables of the Mass, the Table of God's word, which is the ambo and the table of the Holy Eucharist, rightly called the altar.

But even in the Ordinary Form in the more solemn celebration of the Mass with the Book of the Gospel, it is placed on the altar at the beginning of Mass and incensed with the altar if incense is used.

Then at the Gospel Acclamation the Gospel, containing the Words of Christ, is brought to the Ambo or some other location for it proclamation. But it clearly comes from the altar at that point.

This is lost in the Solemn High Mass with deacon and sub deacon in the EF. The Books of the Gospel is taken not from the altar but from the credence table by the deacon who asks for the blessing of the priest and then chants the Gospel apart from the altar but in a stylized way and facing a particular direction but without ambo either.

Anonymous said...

“The Books of the Gospel is taken not from the altar but from the credence table by the deacon who asks for the blessing of the priest”

Actually, in a solemn EF Mass the deacon takes the Evangelium from the MC and places it on the altar at the center. Then he kneels before it to say the Munda cor meum, and afterwards takes the Evangelium from the altar and with it kneels to receive the celebrant’s blessing, before proceeding to the place where he chants the Gospel facing the north.

By the way, in this post you seem to “condemn” a vast number of ostensibly mainstream lay Catholics, priests, and bishops. While in my (wide) experience the number of those condemning the OF in substance and principle is small, the number of those condemning the EF is very large indeed.

John Nolan said...

The Ordinary Form also has limitations placed on it (particularly as regards liturgical abuse). These strictures are however routinely ignored.

The bishop's responsibility as regards the liturgy in his own diocese is to ensure that it is carried out properly. He cannot introduce innovations on his own authority, nor can he prohibit legitimate practices unless the Holy See tells him otherwise. He cannot say that a priest may not celebrate the EF or celebrate the OF in Latin; he cannot insist on EMHC or altar girls although he can prohibit them since although they are legitimized their use is conditional. He cannot prevent people from receiving HC kneeling and on the tongue since this is the universal norm. He may, however, insist that the option of receiving standing and in the hand is available in the OF for those who want it, and that Mass in the vernacular is similarly available, for pastoral reasons.

It wouldn't happen, but if a parish priest insisted on using only the EF, or refused to celebrate the OF in the vernacular, the bishop would be within his rights to intervene. But he may not prevent a priest from celebrating the principal Mass on Sunday in Latin, or even making it an EF Mass. By the way, any Mass may be in Latin unless it is specifically advertised as being a vernacular Mass.

JusadBellum said...

Gene said...

The key phrase here is "well-celebrated." This is somewhat vague and open to interpretation, but it is pretty clear to me and many others that the vast majority of celebrations of the OF are obligatory, abusive, and tantamount to a parody of the Mass and a protestantizing of the Liturgy. So, are not these Priests, themselves in mortal sin for making a mockery of the Mass? Is their sloth, disrespect, and self-promotion not a sin against the Holy Spirit re: the celebration of the Mass? How can any devout Catholic not feel uncomfortable with such nonsense? The attitude among these Priests seems to be, "Oh, Hell, it doesn't matter because God will bless whatever we do because He promised to be present in the Mass." Really? So, we have the Holy Spirit trapped in our p…poor celebration of the Mass and there ain't a damn thing He can do about it. Great…then, let the good times roll, Baby!

Rood Screen said...


There is no such thing as "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist". Priests, and priests alone, are ministers of the Eucharist. Laymen and deacons are not ministers of the Eucharist, either ordinarily or extraordinarily.

Anonymous said...

Specifically, the instructon Redemptionis Sacramentum directs that EHMC's are not and are not to be called "Eucharistic ministers":

[154.] As has already been recalled, "the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest". Hence the name "minister of the Eucharist" belongs properly to the Priest alone. Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ's faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not "special minister of Holy Communion" nor "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist" nor "special minister of the Eucharist", by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonald: "The Extraordinary Form has limitations placed upon it that are not placed upon the Ordinary Form."

Example? Given that a priest can celebrate either an OF or an EF Mass any day he wishes, though of course neither can be celebrated on Good Friday. (Even though his bishop may have no right to prevent him, admittedly a bishop does have the power to force compliance with his wishes, whether licit or not.)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I don't think that the proclamation of the Scriptures from the ambo/pulpit or the use of the terms "Table of the Word" and "Table of the Eucharist" can rightly be called obfuscatory.

The proper reemphasis of the importance of the word of God in our liturgies and our lives is one of the most important aspects of the theological / liturgical renewal that has taken place over the last 150 years. The revision of the lectionary and the 2/3 year cycles we now use are another fruit of the corrections that were recognized and implemented.

In the other liturgies of the Church such as the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rite of Christian Burial Outside Mass, and the Rite of Baptism, there is no "spatial' connection made between the altar and the Scriptures/Gospels.

Mike said...

Then, father, is it all about power?

Pope Benedict's letter makes it clear that celebrating an EF mass is permitted to any priest, and that this does not require permission from the bishop. If the bishop has then uses power to force compliance with his wishes that EF masses not be celebrated, what does this say about the bishop himself? Are bishops free agents with no accountability? Or are they subject to higher ecclesiastical authority (including faithful adherence to the Magisterium)?

Rood Screen said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,

Since the Word proclaimed is really not so much information as it is the Person of Christ, shouldn't our pastoral efforts be directed more towards showing the connections between the Word and the Sacrifice, and between the Sacrifice and the Sacraments, rather than distinctions?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is true that any priest can say a private Extraordinary Form Mass if they know how. However, in a parochial setting there has to be a stable group of people requesting it and it must be requested through the bishop.

This is not the case at all with the Ordinary Form.

Gene said...

The primary Sacrament for protestantism is the preaching of the word. Let's not go there.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonald: "in a parochial setting there has to be a stable group of people requesting it and it must be requested through the bishop."

Neither part of this statement is correct. SP and UE are perfectly clear on these points.

A stable parish group has a right to request an EF Mass of their pastor. However, a pastor can initiate an EF without a request from a stable group. No permission of the bishop is required.

Only if the request is refused by the pastor does such a group have the need (and right) to send its request to the bishop. So only in exceptional cases is the bishop is involved, and then it is his remedial action rather than merely his approval that is requested.

If an EF friendly priest like you with undoubted good intentions is misinformed on such points, one can only wonder about the familiarity with SP and UE of priests more generally.

So again, what's an example of a stricture that applies to the EF but not to the OF.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

JBS - Proclaiming the Word during the celebration of the mass does not a distinction make. The connection is, I think, obvious.

There is a distinction between the "presence" of Christ in the Word and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. That distinction is, I think, more clearly realized when the Altar and the Ambo support distinct but decidedly connected liturgical actions.

John Nolan said...


'In a parochial setting there has to be a stable group of people requesting it [the EF] and it must be requested through the bishop'. Wrong on both counts. A priest may decide which missal he uses (article 2 of SP) and the faithful may attend of their own volition (article 4).

The 'coetus fidelium' is a separate issue (article 5) and the request is made in the first instance to the parish priest; only if he is unwilling or unable to fulfil their request is it necessary to approach the bishop (not for his permission, since it is not required, but so that he can make the necessary arrangements).

The main restriction on the EF is that only one such celebration is permitted on Sundays or Holy Days - but even this restriction does not apply to 'personal parishes' erected specifically for the celebration of the older Rite.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd (in father's earlier answer this morning) that in the EF Mass, the scriptures are read from the altar. What then would be the purpose of a pulpit, just the homily? Seems like the scriptures should be read addressing the laity. Admittedly, I wasn't around in the days the EF was in use regularly, but seems logical to me, you read the lessons and Gospel from the pulpit or ambo, and you ascend to the altar at the offertory for the liturgy of the table.

Episcopalians do something unique for the Gospel---the clergy and acolytes process from the altar a little ways into the sanctuary, amidst the congregation, and is read there. I guess that is taking the Gospel out to the masses. In their Church, then, the pulpit is used for the lesson(s) (you will always have the Gospel read at an Episcopal Eucharist, but sometimes only one lesson before that instead of two, in addition to the Psalms).

Speaking of Episcopalians, in addition to their moral meltdowns, they have had their liturgical battles too. Some parishes still use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (used by a lot of Anglican "breakaway" groups), not attuned to the more modern 1979 version used in most of their parishes. Some parishes use both. The 1979 version, however, seems more similar to our Ordinary form---in fact some years ago when at a wedding in Virginia, one of those state's Episcopal bishops held praise for Vatican 2 in pushing liturgical reform in their denomination---like central, free-standing altars instead of the old back ones.

George said...

There was only one Eternal Sacrifice and that was Christ's Suffering and His Dying on the Cross. He being God, because He has the power to do so, makes it possible for men acting in His person to continually offer that same Sacrifice down through the ages. Just as the priests of the Old Covenant regularly offered the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb to God, so today the priests of the New Covenant offer back to the Father the one Eternal Sacrifice of Christ, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Son of God, the Unblemished Lamb of our Salvation. Christ's Holy Sacrifice and the merits thererof entered the domain of the Eternal and so become available in the Holy Eucharist through the Sacrifice of the Mass down through the the Temporal order of our existence. God, who created all that is, and in creating brought all things into existence, has dominion all things including time itself. Unlike other events of those times when the Son of God walked the earth, and which became "imprisoned" in the Temporal order, the Christ-events extend beyond time and place and so the merits thereof are available to us today.
We, because of the Love, Power and Generosity of God, are able too participate and benefit from the one,self-same Sacrifice of Calvary offered for us today in an unbloody manner.
Do we not then owe to the Triune God, who has given and continues to give us so much, a respectful and reverential offering of worship, adoration and Thanksgiving?

Rood Screen said...

It's good to re-read these documents on occasion. I find that I sometimes assume something is there that really isn't, or I forget about something that is. At any rate, the Parish Priest/Pastor certainly has the authority now to schedule a public EF Mass, even on Sundays, without any need to seek permission from his bishop.

Rood Screen said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,


DJR said...

Father, I stumbled across this website by accident and like it very much. I also stumbled across your parish by accident when in Macon and was quite impressed. St. Joseph's is beautiful.

I was surprised to see the following comment:

For Catholics to denigrate either form of the Mass, whether they be priests or laity and whether that denigration be an abuse of the actual Mass in the manner in which it is celebrated or an abusive attitude toward a well celebrated Mass in either form is I believe the substance of a mortal sin, meaning serious matter (an abusive attitude toward the Mass), knowing that it is wrong, and doing it with the full consent of the will.

Can you clarify?

What part of the Church's teaching states that "an abusive attitude" is a mortal sin?

The present pope permits dancing at Mass, as was evident during a recent "Charismatic Mass" in Rome. Would that fall under the mortal sin category?

You can also see the pope's Mass when he was cardinal here (tango performed at the end):

Would you permit a tango in your church as the video shows?

I do not believe you would permit such a thing in your parish, nor do I believe you would be bound to obey any bishop or pope who would command it.

Coming from the Greek Catholic tradition on my mother's side, we consider that a sacrilege. You would not be permitted to offer a liturgy like that in my parish, nor would the pope, and we wouldn't care whether he is the pope. It's not permitted.

The idea that Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is pleased with tango Masses in His presence is beyond the pale.

The modern Roman Rite of Mass is an embarrassment to Byzantine Catholics, as we have to constantly hear from the Orthodox that the Catholic Church has gone mad. It is also a fundamental barrier to ecumenism, as the Orthodox would never, ever want unity with a group of people that tango in church, among all the other blasphemies permitted nowadays at the modern Roman Catholic Mass. Anyone that does not believe that can simply ask an Orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Since the issue of Summorum Pontificum there have been some further clarifications on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, including that a priest can decide to replace a scheduled OF Mass with the EF Mass.

Further clarification was given on 25 July 2013 by Antonio Cañizares Llovera:

""The motu proprio modified the recent situation, by making clear that the celebration of the extraordinary form should be normal, eliminating every restriction [todo condicionamiento] related to the number of interested faithful, and not setting up other conditions for the participation in said celebration than the ones normally required for any public celebration of the mass, which allowed for a wide access to this heritage that, while it is by law a spiritual patrimony of all the faithful, is, in fact, ignored by a great part of them. In effect, the current restrictions to the celebration in the extraordinary form are not different from those in place for any other celebration, in whatever rite. Those who wish to see, in the distinction made by the motu proprio of cum and sine populo, a restriction to the extraordinary form forget that, with the missal promulgated by Paul VI, the celebration cum populo without the authorization and agreement by the parish priest or rector of the church is not allowed either.

On the other hand, the possibility, expressly contemplated in the motu proprio, that in the celebration sine populo the spontaneous presence of faithful be admitted without obstacles (an expression that had provoked more than one ironic remark by the critics of the document) simply allowed for the end of the strange circumstances by which, though celebrated by a priest in a completely regular canonical situation, this mass remained closed to the participation of the faithful simply because of the ritual form being used, a form that was on the other hand fully recognized by the Church."

Some bishops seem to be unaware of these clarifications or simply ignore them.


Anonymous said...

Henry and JBS: the distinction that has been made is that the word "Extraordinary" must be used with "Minister of Holy Communion" or "Minister of the Eucharist" to distinguish them from the Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion/Eucharist who is the priest.

Lay people distributing communion are referred to by both terms: "Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion" or "Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist" as can be seen in various Vatican documents and on the website of the US Bishops Conference.


Rood Screen said...


Henry has already quoted the relevant text from the Vatican. The clarification came precisely because some English-speaking episcopal ("bishops") conferences were mis-translating the term. However, I am not aware of this occurring since the Vatican issued the correction in 2004. Can you cite an example?

Anonymous said...

JBS, the document I was thinking of was Inaestimabile Donum but that was issued in 1980. The lay people who distribute communion in my country are referred to as "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist" but it has been stressed that "Extraordinary" must be used to distinguish them from priests. Therefore, it seems they are not enforcing this later document - although, as I say, the term is used in Inaestimabile Donum and that is a document correcting abuses in respect of the Eucharist and so, in a way, it is understandable that when the document was issued by the Vatican the term was coined by the various bishops conferences.

"10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long.[20] Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity."

Personally, no matter what they are called, I agree with what Bishop Schneider says that communion in the hand (and therefore by extension lay people distributing communion) is one of the liturgical wounds of the Body of Christ and I always receive from the priest unless the priest is infirm in accordance with Inaestimabile Donum.


Anonymous said...

Jan, however commonly the term "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist" may be used in your country and others, even by bishops or on bishops conference web sites, it remains an explicit violation of the latest applicable Vatican instruction, which as JBS points out, was issued precisely because of such ongoing violations.

I sometimes wonder whether this seemingly benign abuse correlates with a view of the Mass as a communion service and commemoration of the Last Supper, rather than an Eucharistic sacrifice perpetuating the sacrifice of the Cross.