Friday, July 21, 2017


Pope Benedict envisioned mutual enrichment of the two forms of the Roman Mass. He desired an organic renewal and reconciliation of the OF Mass with the EF Mass.

As Cardinal Sarah desires, the OF would be very similar to the EF with Latin required for some parts, but an all Latin OF Mass is not now or in the future abrogated.

I agree with a return to one standard Latin Rite Mass more EF in order than IF.

This is from Rorate Caeli:

A reply to Cardinal Sarah on 'liturgical reconciliation'
It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. Thus, Cardinal Burke said in 2011:

It seems to me that is what he [Pope Benedict] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.

Cardinal Sarah has now said the same thing.

It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,

Cardinal Sarah's concrete suggestions point to an intermediate state, in which the two 'Forms' have converged somewhat. I have addressed these suggestions in a post on the Catholic Herald blog here. Notably, the Novus Ordo Lectionary cannot be simply be inserted into the Vetus Ordo Missal, because it reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass: which is why all the other changes were made at the same time. A compromise between these two two understandings of what the liturgy is for and how it should work will not produce a perfect synthesis, but a muddle.

I've made the argument about the Lectionary at length, on this blog, here, and about the 'Reform of the Reform' falling between two stools here.

Leaving open the question of how Cardinal Burke's thinking may have developed since 2011, why would he or Cardinals Sarah want to get rid of the ancient Mass?

One justification appears to be the idea that the existence of two Forms of the Roman Rite is, regardless of the merits or demerits of the forms themselves, itself a problem. I suppose this idea is related to a certain conservative yen for centralisation and uniformity, but I doubt either Cardinal would want to apply it to the Eastern Rites, even in the West, and I suspect they would not really want to stop the Dominicans, Norbertines, or Carthusians - or the former Anglicans - from celebrating their own rites and usages. So although talk of 'disunity' has a superficial force I don't think this is really driving their thinking here. They don't really want to contradict Vatican II's praise of liturgical diversity. (I have written about liturgical pluralism here.)

I think the more powerful consideration is that they are unhappy with the Ordinary Form. Cardinal Sarah, in particular, has taken up points hammered by Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy, notably about how celebration 'facing the people' was a mistake, and how the reformed Mass should have more silence in it. This is the argument of the 'Reform of the Reform', and it is an argument which has no direct connection with the Extraordinary Form. But Sarah and others seem to think that the existence of the Extraordinary Form creates an extra reason to undertake the Reform of the Reform. 'Look!' he seems to be saying: 'Here are a whole lot of Catholics who refuse to go to the Novus Ordo because it lacks silence, and the priest usually faces the people. Let's make those changes and draw these people back in.'

In other words, his sympathy for some of the arguments about the merits of the Traditional Mass made by its adherents has given Cardinal Sarah the idea of making a purely tactical use of the movement to leverage his position on the future development of the Ordinary Form.

Perhaps things would be different if the EF looked about to take over the whole Church, but if that is going to happen, it would seem it would take at least a century.

I can't say I'm too worried by these proposals. They revive discussions on liturgical matters, which is positive, but opposition by progressive and - let's be honest - middle-of-the-road Novus Ordo priests and faithful to the Reform of the Reform makes the implementation of Cardinal Sarah's programme by fiat from Rome unimaginable, even if he were to become Pope tomorrow.

It should, all the same, stimulate supporters of the Church's ancient liturgical traditions to explain ever more forcefully the point of the ancient Lectionary, and any other threatened features of the Mass they love.


Anonymous said...

Why couldn't Paul VI just keep the Mass the way it was except allow the vernacular and stop reading scripture in Latin and then in the vernacular. Just proclaim scripture in the vernacular and facing the people. And yes allow laity to read the epistle. But stop there. If they had done that we wouldn't have the disaster that we have now. But he didn't and we are stuck will a collapse that will not be fixed until a pope comes along who has the strength to do what has to be done. And that will not happen in our lifetime. Oh well I guess we just have to deal with what is and make the best of it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...


Gene said...

The Church and the Liturgy are in chaos all because a terribly misguided and apostate hierarchy wanted to appeal to protestantism and the secular world. So, Luther is having the last laugh at our expense. Meanwhile, nothing is happening other than a lot of talk and arguing back and forth. Liturgy everywhere is generally sloppy or obligatory, and devout Catholics are at a loss. The rest just don't give a damn.

Henry said...

Some verbatim notes on Father Z's podcast in which he reads an English translation of Card. Sarah's La Nef article:

– I am convinced that the sacred liturgy can be enriched by the sacred attitude characteristic of the EF, by all the gestures that manifest our adoration for the Holy Eucharist—by keeping the thumb and forefinger joined from the consecration on, genuflecting before the elevation, receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue. . . . The simplest among the faithful know that these sacred gestures are one of their most precious treasures.

– The use of Latin in certain parts of the Mass can also be helpful to recover the deepest essence of the liturgy. . . . The conciliar constitution on the liturgy prescribes that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that pertain to them.

– Will we have the courage to follow the Council even thus far? I entreat young priests to jettison boldly the ideologies of those makers of horizontal liturgies and to return to the directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

– Ad orientem celebration is one of the treasures of the Christian people which allows us to conserve the spirit of the liturgy. . . . It must remain the expression of the most intimate and essential notion of any liturgy—the turning toward the Lord Who comes.

– “Whoever has experienced a community united by the silent prayer of the Canon knows what true silence represents. There, silence is at once a powerful piercing cry tasked toward God and the communion of prayer filled with the spirit.” (Cardinal Ratzinger)

– It is time we went to the bottom of this process of the reconciliation of the liturgy with itself. What a magnificent sign it would be if, in a future edition of the reformed Roman missal, we could insert the prayers at the foot of the altar from the EF as a supplement, perhaps in a simplified and adapted version, as well as the prayers of the [EF] offertory, which contain a beautiful epiclesis that completes the Roman Canon.

Victor said...

" well as the prayers of the [EF] offertory, which contain a beautiful epiclesis that completes the Roman Canon."

Does that mean that the Roman Canon is defective or even invalid today when used in the OF because it does not have an epiclesis, not even in the offertory? That was the thought of the liturgical deformers of Bugnini's Consilium who wanted to do away with the Roman Canon in the new liturgy, until Paul VI stepped in.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I doubt either Cardinal Burke or Sarah are advocating the abolition or evisceration or any other significant change to the Extraordinary Form. This is simply a more diplomatic way of saying the Ordinary Form needs to become a lot more like the older form.

That said, that doesn't mean there couldn't be any changes in the Extraordinary Form. Now is almost certainly not the time for anyone in authority to pursue such changes (can you imagine the reaction if someone in the Vatican started circulating any sort of proposal?), some changes come readily to mind:

- Addition of saints recognized since 1962. I offer the Mass in the ancient form regularly, and I have never included any of these more recent saints. I have no idea how, or whether I am allowed to; and I am not going to freelance this. It seems a shame not to include them.

- Addition of new prefaces. Not something really necessary, but I can't really see any problem with doing so.

- Addition of new Marian Masses. Many of these are lovely, and I can't see what the difficulty would be to make this work.

As far as reconciling the calendar, it's certainly possible; the calendar had changed before. Some of the changes post Vatican II make sense, but I think most of the changes would probably be more in the direction of the EF.

As far as the lectionary, I really don't know what to do. I do think there are problems with the new version, particularly with omissions. But I do think there is a great advantage to much more Scripture being read at Mass.

But as far as "phasing out" the Extraordinary Form? I'd guess that for the next century or so, no one is going to get near anything like that. It will simply go on. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me to see a greater move to revisit the changes made in 1995 -- with yet more diversity!

John Nolan said...


Presumably the 'epiclesis' which 'completes the Roman Canon' is the Offertory prayer 'Veni Sanctificator'. But this is a late addition to the Roman Liturgy, whereas the Roman Canon is the oldest anaphora which has come down to us.

The learned Fr Hunwicke has pointed out that the lack of an invocation specifically to the Holy Ghost (as in Eastern liturgies and in the new Eucharistic Prayers) is because it is older.

The epiclesis in the Roman Canon is as follows:

Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, bene+dictam, ad+scriptam, ra+tam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris: ut nobis Cor+pus et San+guis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

A bit better than 'let your Spirit come upon these gifts and make them holy', something we (or at least most of us) had to put up with for nearly forty years.

George said...


When a Catholic priest celebrates Mass and utters the words of consecration, he is acting in persona Christi (i.e., in the person of Christ the Divine Priest). In the West, we recite and profess in our Nicene Creed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This explains to me why there is no explicit epiclesis in the Roman Canon. According to what we believe, one is not necessary, although if one were added, it would only refer to and not contravene what we believe in this regard.
The Eastern Orthodox have an explicit invocation of the Holy Spirit in their epiclesis and this to me conforms to their theology in which, according to their belief and profession, the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son, but only the Father.

CCC 1333
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood.

Victor said...

Mr Nolan:
Just a comment which has bearing on the Real Presence. An epiclesis follows the words of institution in Eastern liturgies, and indeed the bread and wine are not thought to be transformed into the Body and Blood until the epiclesis, or direct invocation of the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine, is said following the words of institution. If there is this sort of epiclesis in the Roman Canon, it is in the sense that God is a Trinity Who includes the Holy Spirit, which would be the "Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus...." that follows the consecration. But again, the Holy Spirit is not directly invoked in the Roman Canon, probably because it is so ancient that this was not a refined issue so long ago.

In the West things have become reversed from the East because the transformation of bread and wine is thought to be at the moment of the words of institution, or at least it used to be until confusion-progressive liturgists challenged this Western assumption, especially following the Council. The invocation of the Holy Spirit occurs before the consecration in EP 2, 3, & 4, and during the offertory in the TLM with "Veni, Sanctificator..., or, possibly, before the consecration at "Quam oblationem..." in the Roman Canon as you suggest. So with regards to the Roman Canon, would the real epiclesis please stand up! It is by stretching the meaning of "epiclesis" that one could call the old offertory invocation as such, which Cardinal Sarah seems to do.

George said...


The Church still holds to the certainty and still teaches that the bread and wine become the Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ at the words of institution. Since our God is superior to, and therefore transcends temporal existence, what He intends by the words uttered by the priest acting in the person of Christ is effected instantaneously,without passage of time.
The Three Persons of the Trinity do act in concert but in different ways, just as three notes of a scale, though different from each other, together form one chord ( description of the Trinity which if I remember, comes from St Ignatius of Loyola)
Whatever epiclesis there is in either EP 2, 3, & 4 does not contravene what the Church teaches on this.

Victor said...

I find that CCC 1333, very interesting. Checking the Catechism of Trent we read under sacrament of the Eucharist:

"The form is that which signifies what is accomplished in this Sacrament; but as the preceding words signify and declare what takes place in the Eucharist, that is, the conversion of the bread into the true body of our Lord, it therefore follows that these very words constitute the form."

From the Council of Trent itself we read in 13th S, 1st decree concerning the Eucharist, ch. IV:

"And because that Christ, our Redeemer, declared that which He offered under the species of bread to be truly His own body, therefore has it ever been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy Synod doth now declare it anew, that, by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Transubstantiation."

Nowhere either in this catechism or the decrees of the Council is there anything mentioned about an invocation of the Holy Spirit, an epiclesis, for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. So why, all of a sudden, does the invocation of the Holy Spirit come into necessary play in CCC 1333? Was it because of those post-V2 liturgical "experts" with their pet theories?

And that brings me back to the original point. Your explanation of the filioque, as the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Son at the consecration is quite plausible. But why do we need an invocation of the Holy Spirit at all? Is it not sufficient for Jesus Christ Himself, personally, to effect the transformation of the elements as He acts through His priest? And if not, is invoking the Father not enough either? Why specifically the Holy Spirit? There is no invocation specifically of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Canon precisely because there is no need to have one, despite what the modern "experts" might think.

John Nolan said...


Thank you.

George said...

"There is no invocation specifically of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Canon precisely because there is no need to have one, despite what the modern "experts" might think."

My Point. The fact that the Holy Spirit is in the EP's II, III and IV does not change this.

George said...

Further thoughts

The common thread is that the East and the West, though our theologies differ, both believe that the Holy Spirit has a role in this. The Three Persons of the Trinity do act together, though in differing ways, to accomplish the Divine Will. My thought on this is that EP's II, III, and IV acknowledge, affirm, and pay homage the role of the Holy Spirit but do not equate to the explicit invocation in the East's Divine liturgy.
Differences in liturgy do not to my mind present the biggest difficulty in bringing about the reconciliation between the East and Western Churchs.