Friday, January 8, 2016


Yes, Virginia, this is an Ordinary Form Mass, not an Extraordinary Form Mass:
There was a blog post at the National Catholic Register:
An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass (press here to read)
Posted by Msgr. Charles Pope on Thursday Jan 7th, 2016 

This is an  excerpt that is true almost across the board in parishes throughout the world:

"In this post I want to summon my fellow Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass to a greater appreciation of their obligation to evangelize. I sense that the Traditional Latin Mass has reached its peak in terms of numbers attending, though I admit to having only anecdotal evidence. Further, I believe that not only are the numbers attending the Traditional Latin Mass not growing, they may begin to decline if we are not more urgent. I would like to begin with a story from my early priesthood to make a general point, and then apply it to us who love the tradition."

My comments: The EF Mass appeals to a small group of people and on two levels: the beauty of the ritual and nostalgia. The vast majority of Catholics would appreciate the EF Mass if it were primarily in the vernacular. Latin is the culprit for keeping the EF Mass a boutique Mass. It isn't the ceremony and it isn't the vestments that is stunting growth of the EF Mass. It might be, though, the perceived "clericalism" true or not and a one sided "ecclessiology" that stunts it too. Most lay Catholics today want to be involved in the various ministries of the Mass, especially that of reader. And most are offended if their daughters can't participate in some form of the ministries of the Mass . If you lose mothers' appreciation of a Mass, you've lost families I fear. 

My experience in Macon: Until September for the past 7 years we have offered a monthly EF High Mass the first Sunday of each month at 2 PM. Its numbers stabilized at about 60 people many of whom were not my parishioners but came from other areas of the diocese and from Atlanta.

We've had a Latin Low Mass each Tuesday at 5PM. It has stabilized in attendance at about 15 to 25 people.

Three years ago we starting celebrating the 12:10 PM Ordinary Form Sunday Mass ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and this past year we began to distribute Holy Communion at the full length of the altar railing to kneeling communicants (the most important reform we can make to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, BTW!). 

This past September we began to celebrate the EF High Mass the last Sunday of the month at the 12:10 PM time slot. We have not seen a decline in attendance, thus we are ow getting about 300 to 400 or more at that Mass every week including when it is an EF High Mass.

However the EF High Mass in Latin is not the solution to the liturgical problems of the Church which are much greater today than in the 1950's prior to Vatican II, much greater.

We need a reform of the reform by going back to the actual lived experience of the EF Mass and compare it to the OF Mass.

The solution is a third way and the Ordinariate "Book of Divine Worship, the Missal" is the solution! Let me repeat that: The solution is a third way and the Ordinariate "Book of Divine Worship, the Missal" is the solution.

The Ordinary Form of the Mass must recover the ceremony and order of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as the Ordinariate Missal has marvelously done so with the endorsement of Pope Francis.

But it maintains the flexibility of the Ordinary Form, such as the various ministries for laity during the Mass and an ecclesiology that allows the laity to perform these ministries.

Soon I hope to post our Midnight Mass for Christmas which while not using the Extraordinary Form of the Mass order of the Mass, appears to be in continuity with it although primarily in English, although the Kyrie was in Greek and the Gloria and Credo in Latin. The flexibility of the Ordinary Form of the Mass is its strength but also can be its corruption.


Anonymous said...

Father the truth of the matter is that the majority of people who identify as Catholics do not believe in the teachings of the Faith. That statement is objectively true. To deny it is to jot deal in reality.

Why do the majority of Catholics no longer believe in the Faith? The answer is because they have not been taught it and they don't experience Catholicism on a regular basis?

Traditionally it has been the Mass that has nourished the Faith of Catholics. It was their touchstone with the Church throughout the ages. Example: until 1965, when a Catholic went to Mass on a certain feast day he was hearing the exact same prayers in the exact same words prayed with the same ritual gestures as did every saint, with minor variations, that preceded him for almost 2000 years. No matter where a person went in the world they could step into a Catholic church and feel at home, they knew what was going to happen. That doesn't exist anymore.

The Mass was literally where heaven and earth met. The hallmark of the traditional Roman Mass was reverence, stability, strength, it nourished people spiritually. No matter what was happening a Catholic always knew that the Mass was the source of grace and peace in a chaotic world. The Traditional Mass was all about God and the sacrifice He made for us.

Fast forward to today. We have a liturgy that was literally made up in a bunch of meetings. Almost every single thing that was part of the Mass for centuries was thrown into the garbage. From small things like chalice veils and maniples to large things like reverence, dignity and fidelity to the Truth.

The Church's own creation, Gregorian Chant was replaced by the most banal songs imaginable. Beautiful stain glass windows were smashed and the images of the saints were replaced with nothing. Look at the Abbey of Gethsemane. They turned a beautiful gothic interior into a sterile barn. Beautiful religious habits were replaced with lay clothes. The Eucharist which was always central was moved to the side and replaced by a chair or a plant. All of these things purposefully caused confusion and destroyed the Catholicity of the faithful.

What has happened in the Church, it's complete collapse doesn't happen by accident. What we have is the result of men who have lost the faith and worked tirelessly to destroy it. And it's not getting better. The Novus Ordo as celebrated in 99.999999% of parishes is a scandal and a joke. As are the clergy. We have a clergy that goes out of it's way to not appear too Catholic. When is the last time anyone saw a priest in a cassock. It may seem like a little thing but it's not it's an important visible symbol of something really really important....the priesthood. Now it's looke on with disdain and ridicule. And what has replaced it, sloppiness and a white square.

The Novus Ordo does not inspire the Faith in anyone and the fruits or lack of, is the proof. The Traditional Mass will be the future because we are the only ones left in the Church who actually believe in the Faith. The children of the people who still bother to attend The Novus Ordo have no knowledge or love of the Faith. They don't care and you don't pass on something that you don't care about. It is a self destructive delusion to think that we can continue with things as they are.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A lot of what you write I don't dispute, but you are tinged with an arrogance and pride that boarders on the mortally sinful. Your crass judgments that cut across the board of those who love the Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated properly and are well-catechized, pray daily and have a strong devotional life are many in the Catholics who do attend Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and some daily. They attend adult faith formation classes and assist in the RCIA and are teachers in our schools and CCD programs.

No not all take their faith seriously and yes there is a great deal of corruption in the Ordinary Form and its parishes and yes these are pseudo-protestant.

But not all by any stretch of the imagination. While the 60 or so who love the EF Mass in my parish could well be a mustard seed, some are simply too reactionary and rigid to attract others to the EF Mass. Then combine this with the Protestant mentality that pseudo-traditionalists have toward our current Holy Father, and this pushes so many away from the traditionalist moment which is really a new Protestantism but just hyper-liturgical.

I am completely turned off by Pope Francis bashers. They remind me of Protestants who subscribe to Chick Publications. They have done irreparable damage to the legitmate reform or the reform which includes maintaining the EF Mass--it is very sad indeed what they have done!

Anonymous said...

Nobody is "bashing" Pope Francis.

People are terribly terribly deeply scandlized by a Pope who uses the papacy to promote his own personal ideology.

Francis is not just some bishop of another diocese. He is the successor of the Prince of the Apostles and the Vicar of Christ on earth and needs to conduct himself as such. That means you don't keep giving interviews to some crazy atheistic Italian "journalist" saying the craziest scandalous things imaginable. And if he didn't' say these things to that journalist ok, then you don't give him another interview or a second one or a seventh one.

When an entire nation has turned from Christ to embrace evil and the Vicar of Christ is silent, YES I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT! It is not "bashing" the pope to be upset by his behaviour.

When he knowingly gives the impression that adulterers can receive Our Lord in the Eucharist without amendment of life and sacramental confession and absolution (and he did this by publicly promoting a book written by Kasper that proposed this and Francis called it "theology done on one's knees")...yes I get upset that the Vicar of Christ is doing that! And I am right to do so.

When he says that God Himself asked forgiveness that is a problem. That would mean that Christ committed a sin. I have a problem with that and so should you!

Remaining silent while that man says the most uncharitable judge mental nasty things about traditional Catholicism daily, during Mass.....remaining silent is not an option. As a matter of fact the great Vatican Council II stated that the laity has a responsibility to question and demand faithfullness from the clergy.

Francis has no right to change or modify the truths of the Faith. That also includes doing it in a round about way like he is doing with these interviews and scandoulous imprudent and basically immature undisciplined comments. He is the most undisciplined priest I have ever seen. And yes I have a problem with that. That brings up a question Father, is anything he does or says a problem with you. Where is the line of how far he can go before you open your mouth and defend the Faith? Just say Francis comes out and officially states that it's ok if people continue living in adultery, they don't have to stop, they don't have to confess it, and they can go to confession. Will that be ok with you Father? Will you be silent then? When you die and stand alone before your judge and are asked why did you remain silent when souls were being lead astray by false doctrine what will be your answer? I want to know. How do you justify remaining silent when souls know believe that active homosexuality is fine because they believe the pope doesn't have a problem with it. Francis knows his words are being used to distort the Faith. He doesn't correct that impression or modify his speech.....therefore he is complicit.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you have a proble with Pope Francis bashing Traditional Catholicism, but you accuse those of us who express our horror at his scandoulous statements and behaviour as sinful? He is a human being like everybody else. He has no more right to be uncharitable or judgemental than anybody else, yet you don't have a problem with his behaviour. But with us unordained nobodies you take issue.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Coloring book Catholic? You are not the pope. Study your faith since you appear to be the typical ignorant post-Vatican II Catholic you decry.

Julian Barkin said...

Hey Fr..

In full aggrement here. Also you touch on (though I prefer) stronger language on a really sickening poison that is killing the moment: radicals and their anti-Catholic, even Satanic behaviors. Between their online harassment and even in person behavior on the ground, they have betrayed all good Traditonalists and only given Tradition's enemies more credence to the stereotypes they paint is with. They are even not below violating your pastor's and parish's space and your safety/privacy and making threats to your pastors if you dare to challenge their wrongness.

As for that Anonymous, he also clearly illustrates even more sickness and spiritual pride in their hypocrisy. When good and honest people, especially those qualified to discern the state of their souls as Alter Christi such as you. And correctly deduce a person is in mortal peril of putting their soul to hell, they do not listen and are glad to persist in sin and dancing with the Devil. Just don't bother with him anymore like that Fr. These people love the devil in truth and are blasphemers to the Lord. They are the ones who as Scripture has told us, cry "Lord lord" but He does not listen, pray twice a day but are more sinful than the sinner begging for mercy, and are the whitewashed tombs that Christ Challenged, denying the sacramental validity of the Mass (which applies to ALL forms and rites approved by the Church) and I even go so far as to accuse them as being heretical at times, and worthy of the title Neo-Pharisee, and my personal favorite, Neo-Jansenists.

St Alphonsus Liguori, Ora Pro Nobis.

Anonymous said...

Once again when presented with valid questions that you are unable to answer you sink to personal attacks. How post Vatican II of you.

TJM said...

Most Catholics are lazy about coming to Mass. If the EF is at the principal Mass, it will be crowded. Put the Novus Ordo in English at 2 pm and see what you get in terms of numbers. You'd be lucky to get 5 people.

James said...

@anonymous 7:35

The pope wasn't silent about the Irish gay marriage referendum vote: in several public audience over the following weeks, he insisted that the "complementarity of man and woman" is essential to marriage. And I don't believe for one minute that the ultra-cautious and diplomatic Cardinal Parolin would have described the vote as a "defeat for humanity" without first having the go-ahead from his boss.

Incidentally, Cardinal Kasper's book on mercy, so warmly endorsed by Pope Francis, doesn't discuss the question of communion for the divorced. He raised that issue separately in the address 'Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization', and made it clear there that penance, absolution and a 'period of reorientation' were an indispensable requirement. So his position, whether or not you or I agree with it, is far from being an adulterer's charter.

Anonymous said...

Response to James: Those rationalizations are some kind of joke right? Are you kidding me. You know dam well that Kasper has been pushing for decades to allow unrepentant adulterers admittance to communion without giving up their sin. GOD said Thou shalt not commit adultery and Christ Himself said it, under no circumstances can Kasper or Francis permit it. The Church isn't stopping those people from receiving, they themselves are by embracing their sin. Period end of discussion. It is not merciful to let someone who is committing a sin that will send them to Hell that it's ok. It is never ok to commit a mortal sin. Never.

And Francis' supposed response about Ireland that is a joke to. You are kidding me right.

Anonymous Jr. said...

Anonymous: "Once again when presented with valid corrections that you are unable to answer you sink to personal attacks. How post Vatican II of you."

No joke.

CFGtom said...

James said...

Here's what Kasper said:
"If a divorced and remarried person is truly sorry that he or she failed in the first marriage, if the commitments from the first marriage are clarified and a return is definitively out of the question, if he or she cannot undo the commitments that were assumed in the second civil marriage without new guilt, if he or she strives to the best of his or her abilities to live out the second civil marriage on the basis of faith and to raise their children in faith, if he or she longs for the sacraments as a source of strength in his or her situation, do we then have to refuse or can we refuse him or her the sacrament of penance and communion, after a period of reorientation?"
So he's not talking about "unrepentant adulterers", but those who fully repent of their sin and are offered absolution.

As for Ireland, do you really think the pope should have just waded in all guns blazing to denounce a democratic decision taken in another country? By protocol, heads of state don't normally interfere or comment on affairs in other states, so he got his secretary of state to speak for him. Aside from the protocol issue, the pope would have recognized from the start that any intervention from him could have worsened the problems that the Irish church currently faces. So he took an indirect approach, affirming the Church's teachings on marriage rather than condemning the Irish decision directly.

Anonymous said...

The entire nation of Ireland embraces evil and turns it's back on Christ and the Church and Francis' response is a phrase "we have to remember men and women are complimentary".

But saving trees means merits the longest wordiest encyclical in church history and a blasphemous light show on St. Peter's.

Ok no problem here just keep putting the money in the basket.

Anonymous said...

I would not judge the Church at large by your experience in the city of Macon.

No matter what one says, the Novus Ordo has been a disaster and a proven disaster at that. It has not only lessened the number of people who regularly attend Mass and believe in the Real Presence, it has also watered down most of the core beliefs of Catholics and the overall state of the Church.

The Church needs a miracle. Only one Person can provide a miracle. It would behoove us all to beg for His intervention.

James said...

@ anonymous 12:37
It's worth remembering that nearly 40% of people voted 'no' in the Irish referendum (including my father- and mother-in-law, for what it's worth). They're not all evil.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

These blanket judgements on all Ordinary Form Catholics, on all Irish Catholics, on all American Catholics--it sounds like Jimmy Swaggert and his fundamentalist screeching! It truly is Protestant in mentality and ideology.

gob said...

The word "Protestant" gets tossed around here as if it is a synonym for "ignorant" or "evil". I know lots of protestants who are better Christians than many of us (Including clergy) who berate them here....

John Nolan said...

Fr McDonald,

I remember back in the 1970s clergy of a more traditionalist bent observing that the once universal liturgy would be subject to a protestant eclecticism and that people would determine, on the basis of personal preference, their own worship styles. This was of course unprecedented. This seems to be the case in your parish.

I have no direct experience of the US situation, but the assertion that Latin is the stumbling block to general acceptance of the EF is as far wrong as it is possible to get. People might yearn for a more reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo in which case they can be catered for without a problem. If Mr Ham-Actor fancies himself as a reader, or Mrs Farnes-Barnes wants little Penelope to be an altar-boy, the Novus Ordo caters for them, with as much vernacular as suits their hearts' desire.

I have met some ultra-traditionalists and sedevacantists who would theoretically prefer a vernacular EF to a Latin OF. But mainstream traditional Catholics regard Latin as the non-negotiable factor, and would prefer a Latin OF to a vernacular version of the Mass in any other rite. An English version of the traditional Roman Rite would not be traditional and would give rise to all the problems associated with translation. I, for one, would not be happy singing from a Graduale Romanum in which English words had been shoehorned into the traditional melodies.

If a scheduled EF Mass (like your 12:10 once a month) can draw a congregation of 300-400, who like to kneel for Communion, are not put out if the priest 'has his back to them', don't have a hissy fit if they are not called upon to give a reading or if little Penelope is kept on her side of the altar rails, then why not make this Mass EF every week, thus avoiding calendar-hopping?

EF Masses on a less than weekly basis, celebrated outside the normal schedule (often at a graveyard slot like two or three in the afternoon) are not going to attract many people. I accept that the small minority of Catholics who still attend Mass will contain a majority who know nothing other than an over-the-counter chummy 'celebration' and will protest vehemently if deprived of a single hymn or asked to sing Credo III. It's part of their conditioning and they know no better. But this is a problem for the Novus Ordo, not the traditional Mass, and the fact that it is a niche market is irrelevant, as long as it is available and valued. One might say the same regarding 'classical' music.

Anonymous said...

So basically Cardinal Kasper is saying if you rationalize your adultery enough you can continue in it and still receive communion. Evil.

Anonymous said...

Father you are typical of a Post Vatican II priest. When confronted with questions that you clearly aren't intellectually able to answer you resort to evasion and name calling. You aren't even able to use it as a teaching moment. You show visible disdain and love to judge the state of people's soul. You are the perfect example of the miserable state of todays clergy. You just aren't capable of rational argumentation. It's amazing and sad.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'd respectfully ask that you consider a different approach. I assume, like me, you love the extraordinary form of the Mass and are passionate about it's promotion and celebration, but your ad hominem attacks against a priest of God are unattractive and counterproductive to our shared goal of presenting the EF as a love-filled beacon of hope and formation to all Catholics. The bitterness you seem to harbour is understandable considering our ecclesiastical climate, but it is a major turnoff to those not yet well informed.

Father MacDonald, this is the first time I've commented on your blog though I've been reading it for some time. I thank you sincerely for your work at righting the wrongs of the past decades. I wanted to submit a couple of points for consideration. Firstly, reiterating a comment above, while Latin is disliked by many unformed Catholics and is a stumbling block for some, it is not a permanent one. I beg the Church - give us more Latin and teach us why it's important and beautiful!
Secondarily, I would argue against what you suggested when you claimed that mass going mothers are keeping families in church. This is not what has been evidenced over the decades. It is the man-crisis we face and the disinterest of men that leads to families leaving the church in droves. A mother will bring her children to Mass, but once those children leave home, they usually cease. It takes a father showing by example the importance of Mass attendance for there to be reasonable expectation for children to continue into adulthood. Women are already coming to church; we need the men. How to get men? De-feminise the liturgy. This is done with the masculine liturgy in the extraordinary form including the Latin language which demands of us an a fighting spirit and fills the soul with awe. Naturally, women are very community oriented and will find God in Mass in a similar manner. Men generally will see God as a king or general and the EF captures the imagination of men in this way in its unashamed adoration of Christ the King.

Thanks again for the good work that you do. I hope to one day visit Macon. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Fr McDonald, unfortunately, truth be told, you would probably only find 60 or so among the rest of your congregation who attend the OF Masses in your parish who actually believe in the real presence. The rest would believe they were attending a memorial of the Last Supper.

I attend a parish where the OF Mass is said as reverently as could be with chant at times and absolutely following the rubrics - there are some who attend who are good Catholics who certainly believe in the real presence - a few of them attend daily Mass. However, when it comes to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or any form of devotions these people - most of them young people - seem to prefer to stand outside the church chatting rather than stay for devotions or any extras. The only ones who stay for devotions are few filipino people and those who attend the EF Mass. So, although good people by today's standards, I find them lacking by the standards of those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Because of that those Catholics would not attract me to the Church and also their numbers are not growing. Those to me are the cosmetic Catholics - there perhaps for a well said Mass but that's about as deep as it seems to go ...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think the Extraordinary form of the Mass is under attack by some of those priests who celebrate both forms. I attended an EF Mass last Sunday in another diocese which was offered by a post Vatican II Monsignor (who has said he is a child of Vatican II). The Mass was said facing the people because the crib was in front of the altar and couldn't be moved - although it was a light crib and it wouldn't have been difficult to do so. The Monsignor wanted a dialogue Mass - very few responded and the Mass for Epiphany was switched to the Sunday to co-ordinate with the OF despite the fact that Epiphany has never been a Holy Day of Obligation in my country so we missed out on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The Monsignor also ad libbed before reading the Epistle in English and also announced that people could receive communion standing and receive in the hand if the wished ... another Novus Ordo Mass I attended the Crucifix had been removed from behind the altar and replaced by a Christmas wreath ...

Why do we have this sort of thing going on and nit-picking all the time as regards the TLM? I am pleased to say that our EF Mass scheduled for 6 pm on a Wednesday evening - the numbers far outstrip any Novus Ordo Mass offered at the same time. There seems to be a lot of fear that the Ordinary Form is building - as it is in my country despite the fact it is not allowed to be advertised, is scheduled at inconvenient times - lunch and dinner times being the most common and in far flung chapels - and I certainly believe it is the future of the Church because no one wants the involvement of lay people, missing offertory and all the prayers stripped of sacrifice as the Novus Ordo is. Also the readings in the Novus Ordo have been stripped as well and so people are not being fed at a Novus Ordo Mass.


John Nolan said...

Fr McDonald,

A couple of further observations. The last Sunday in January this year is Sexagesima Sunday. So your EF will have violet vestments, no Gloria, and the Tract replacing the Alleluia. The following week, in the same time slot and presumably with the same congregation, you will have to revert to an Ordinary Time 'green' Sunday. It doesn't make sense. Either celebrate the season of Septuagesima in full, which would mean using the EF or the Ordinariate Missal, or stick with the OF and celebrate it as a solemn Latin Mass. The last Sunday in February is less of a problem since it is Lent III and the sung Propers (Introit, Gradual, Tract, Offertory and Communion) are the same in both forms of the Mass.

Regarding Latin, the sung Masses at the Oxford Oratory in either form are in Latin and ad orientem (or more correctly ad apsidem given the church's orientation) and it's what the congregation expects. On HDOs, all of which were transferred to the nearest Sunday last year with the sole exception of Xmas Day, and on Ash Wednesday, the Oratory schedules a midday Low Mass on the correct day (on 15 August, a Saturday, it was a Missa Cantata), and they are well attended by people of all ages, despite the fact that there is no obligation. They are not all EF devotees either. I would happily attend an OF English Mass at the Oratory, knowing that the priests (who are all bi-ritual) 'say the black and do the red', and although lay readers of both sexes are used, EMHC and altar girls are not.

When people go to Mass and are not particularly worried if it is in Latin or English, 1970 or 1962 (although they might have preferences in this regard) we will have reached a healthy state of liturgical maturity.

The Oratorians took over the former Jesuit church of St Aloysius twenty-five years ago. Since then Mass attendance has increased five-fold. There's a lesson here somewhere.

Gene said...

Would you Anonymi please give yourselves some distinguishing designation? This all gets very confusing when you have half a dozen anonymous people gabbling with no recognition.

Michael A said...

Cardinal Kasper's comments on divorce and remarriage is serpent style. What I read is that personal conscience is the most important thing in determining whether a person is doing the right thing.