Wednesday, May 2, 2018


In an interview in America, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chair of the US bishops’ committee on liturgy, and Metropolitan of the Atlanta Province which includes my most humble diocese opines in an extremely measured truculent way:
Let’s have a review. I don’t believe that the American bishops have the stomach to start from ground zero. But I do believe that given the right structures, which would include the pastors, the guys on the firing line, a review of how these texts are being received, what’s problematic, what’s working, what’s better, what’s not better, would be helpful.
Archbishop Gregory said this some years back:
Certainly the new translation is not… [pause] … without its difficulties. How’s that for being diplomatic? [laughter] I think that what we need to do with that translation, to be perfectly honest, its imposition, [correcting himself] – it’s in possession, we need to live with it for a while before we take up the task of saying, “This is not adequate to the worship needs of our church, for this reason, for that reason, for this reason,” the pastors of the church have said, “This is a difficulty, that is a difficulty, let’s look at it.” I think what we had to do was receive it, try to live with it, and come up with a much better and informed review of its flaws and difficulties. …
What we need to do now, after a period of time of living with it, come back and say, not: “We told you so!” – which I think a lot of pastors want to say – “We told you not to do that!” [laughter] – but to say, “It’s inadequate for this reason, that reason, this reason; we’ve tried it, we’ve lived with it, we think it needs correction.”
My sensible comments: 

 With all the problems in the Church today, we need yet another liturgical translation distraction? (read that as a Jew might express it)

Apart from the dreaded liturgical experts, maybe .00000000000000000000000001/2% of all Catholics, living and dead, who is complaining about the new and glorious  English translation of the Mass? NO ONE!!!!!! Although I concede that .0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001/2% are.

However, if the expert bishops want to review things, tell them simply to review the collects and prefaces and leave the poor laity's parts alone and don't tinker with the Eucharistic Prayer translations, please, please, please!

No one would know if the collects and prefaces were made more perfect or if the priest simply used the 1970's translation of them, but the people's parts, they'd know if these were hacked.


TJM said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Just celebrate the Mass in Latin and folks can choose their own Missal with the translations they prefer.

Gene said...

Gregory is a lightweight.

TJM said...


Big time. Read about his "stewardship" of the Bellevue Diocese in Illinois. Shocking

Anonymous said...

Oy vey ist mir...

Henry said...

Wants to revise it to make it more perfect. Yeah, sure he does!

Yoda I. Am Not said...

God bless Archbishop Gregory. A man of vision and wisdom.

TJM said...

Yoda I Am Not said aka Kavanaugh,

Read about Wilton's "record" in the Diocese of Bellevue, Illinois and then comment.

Anonymous said...

Gene? Gene Talmadge out there? His diocese is adding lots of parishes and, uh, is a lot bigger (by 15-fold or more) than the state's "other" diocese. There are about a dozen Masses at his cathedral every weekend. And dozens of seminarians studying for the priesthood, not a handful like in other dioceses. Even two auxiliary bishops because one cannot handle the load alone with over a million Catholics in the 69-county Archdiocese. If those are signs of "failure" or lack of stewardship, then I hate to see what "success" is. But I guess he can't satisfy the two percent who are always complaining about something....

Yoda I. Am Not said...

"But I guess he can't satisfy the two percent who are always complaining about something...."

And now you know the rest of the story. Good day!

Gene said...

Anon @ 4:18, Do not confuse quantity with quality.

ByzRC said...

Oh thank you Abp. Gregory! Such a review will get right to the heart of what's wrong in places like Pittsburgh, PA. Do spend years wordsmithing.

John Nolan said...

The only people who 'would not notice' if the celebrant reverted to the corrupt 1970's versions of the Collects would be those who are not listening anyway, and who therefore derive no spiritual benefit from having accurate translations.

The bishops balked at changing the 'people's parts' too much, so we are stuck with a too wordy Confiteor - what's wrong with 'thought, word, deed and omission'?

Since some translations (e.g. Welsh, Irish) are from the English rather than the Latin, it is seen as important to have a single definitive English text. However, it should be remembered that the official text remains the Latin one; translations, whether good, bad or indifferent, are merely 'approved'.

RSC+ said...

One is reminded of C.S. Lewis' commentary on the phenomenon known as the "Liturgical Fidget." It puts too much emphasis on the question of "What are the liturgists going to do /now/," rather than on devotion. Leave the thing alone.

Cletus Ordo said...

TJM: Archbishop Gregory's Belleville record is part of the easygoing Catholic's amnesia file. We ran out of gas after 2002's revelations and all those diocesan payoffs around the country. Remember his "we are not what you think we are" PR campaign?

My greatest fear is that most of these bishops might actually be what I think they are--may God have mercy on me. Or has anyone forgotten about Bishop Bruskewitz standing up at the USCCB's semi-annual junket to tell his brother bishops that the first thing they needed to deal with was homosexuality in the priesthood--only to be met by icy silence.

Yes, I greatly fear that too many of these bishops are exactly what I thought they were then...and think they are now. Please, dear Lord, let me be wrong.

Archbishop Gregory is the poster-boy for out-of-touch bishops who presume to know the "needs" of their flock. What's next? More money and time-consuming "listening" meetings where members of his archdiocese can follow the pre-scripted format for expressing their "needs"? New committees? Maybe a diocesan "pastoral" letter with a pretentious title like, "The People Have Spoken"?

Did I say poster-boy for out-of-touch bishops? Also for irrelevant bishops. Let us pray that he holds on just long enough for a different pope to replace him.

Yoda Bucket said...

To us your humblest servants, O Lord, give, we pray,
Liturgical Prayer translations that, being known in
Antiquity to follow outmoded syntactical schemes, and,
In all fraternal charity, to have been composed not
for your humblest servants, above referenced, but for
your holy, inviolate, manly, and, circumspectly inaudible
Lace-clad presbyters, called through the action of the
Most Gracious and Ineffable Holy Spirit to the unquestioned
dignity of Your altar to be, we pray, alter Christi, so
that, if it serves your most inscrutable and divine majesty,
we may, by the non-Pelagian grace offered to us through and
in and because of and by the working of your Sacraments,
participate in the hope and expectation of seeing, not our
God as He is thought to be, but as He is in heaven.

Through Christ Our Lord. AMEN.

Henry said...

"Or has anyone forgotten about Bishop Bruskewitz standing up at the USCCB's semi-annual junket to tell his brother bishops that the first thing they needed to deal with was homosexuality in the priesthood--only to be met by icy silence."

Shortly after his admonishment of what he'd referred to as "that hapless bench of bishops" in the USCCB, I met Bishop Bruskewitz in an elevator and thanked him for what he was doing. He replied that he was actually getting little done, because "A bishop like me has no more influence at the USCCB than you do." (I was a nobody he'd never seen before.)

Cletus Ordo said...

With a few (darned few) exceptions, they are as hapless as ever.

Marc said...

Henry, perhaps its just that what your perception is different than the bishops when it comes to dealing with homosexuality in the priesthood. You are assuming that, like yourself, the American bishops believe this to be a problem in need of fixing.

TJM said...


I am beginning to think they want to make homosexuality acceptable so they can ease their own consciences.

Yoda Bucket Kavanaugh,


John Nolan said...

Yoda Bucket (another trolling hat for Kavanaugh?) presumably thinks he is being clever or witty. Actually he is neither; he merely draws attention to the fact that ignoramuses like he should have nothing to do with the liturgy in any capacity. Especially if they are priests. If it was indeed a priest who wrote this he is totally unworthy of his office, and anyone who considers himself a Catholic should shun his pathetic attempts at celebration - given his contempt for tradition they are probably invalid and attendance thereat would be an occasion of sin.

He (whoever he is) is utterly contemptible.

Yoda Bouquet said...

Contempt for Tradition? Not in the least.

Contempt for traditionalism? Yes.

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων

Henry said...

TJM: "I am beginning to think they want to make homosexuality acceptable so they can ease their own consciences."

Beginning? You're BEGINNING to think this???

Are you also "beginning" to note the correlation between homosexual abuse and liturgical abuse?

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Henry: LOL... :-)

God bless.
P.S. I think they think we don't know.

Henry said...

"Yoda Bucket (another trolling hat for Kavanaugh?"

Surely not. Even he is not as ignorant about Catholic liturgy as Yoda--who doesn't even know what "tradition" means, probably thinks the Novus Ordo is traditional.

Anonymous said...

Henry, that (retired) bishop you referred to from Nebraska was so far to the right, heck you and others might be liberal by his standards. (Doubtless I am). That is probably why he never made it beyond Lincoln...not exactly one associated with levity and humor. He basically figured all he had to do was to answer to Rome, which while technically correct would leave you to wonder why he would participate in USCCB at all?

But to the typical Catholic, who can go years without seeing a bishop (who may get by their parish just once a year---and often at a weeknight confirmation at that when fewer parishioners would be present), is more affected week to week by what is going on in the parish, and if that seems in line with church teaching, well, they don't worry too much about what is going on in the diocese or the world.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The Novus Ordo is Traditional.

Henry said...

Thanks, Fr. Kavanaugh, I thought that would bring you out of hiding. With proof that—however good your intentions—you’re still clueless about traditional liturgy. I’m sorry you’ve missed out on a principal glory of our wonderful Catholic heritage.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Henry, I'm not hiding. And I have made this same statement time and time again here.

I celebrate the Traditional liturgy.

What is needed is an understanding of the difference between Traditional and traditional.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, why so touchy? Surely a priest's orders are not invalidated by his attempt at humor! Comedic preferences aside, is a preference for the use of the vernacular a neat occasion of sin?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mike, the new order of the Mass is NOT the traditional liturgy. Now that both are two forms of the one Latin Rite, more than ever it is appropriate to call the New Order the modern rite and the older order the traditional rite.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Allan, note that I have conscientiously used the words "Tradition" and "tradition."

Actually, you already noted this, but chose to overlook it.

The Novus Ordo, while historically different from the Extraordinary Form, is every bit as Traditional as it. It is 100% part of our Catholic Tradition and, as you have noted with some frequency, will remain so.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Please note that you are mixing apples and oranges, the two Masses are apart of our Tradition, but there is no such usage of a capital T and little t Traditional/traditional as it regards the Tradition, capital T of the Church.

The Mass whatever of its many, many forms, historically and presently is a part of the capital T Tradition, but you cannot say that the Ordinary Form is the Traditional Mass, it is the Mass of Tradition, but the EF Mass is the traditional Mass, the ancient usuage and the OF Mass is the new Mass, them modern Mass of Tradition.

John Nolan said...

I'm not touchy in the least. However, someone who composes a prayer in a parody of the traditional Collect form in order to have a pop at those Catholics whom he dislikes (traditionalists) is actually being a touch sacrilegious.

A typical Collect (1973 version) can indeed be parodied. 'Father, you are great. Help us to be great like you.' It is parodying modernist rather than age-old traditional prayers.

Believe me, the pseudonymous comments posted on this site are merely diversionary. Snoopy could shoot them down with ease in his Sopwith Camel.

Those who believe that priests should be accorded respect by virtue of their cloth are far too traditionalist for our resident clerical troll. Just as he has contempt for us, so we have contempt for him.

Marc said...

There's actual no basis in church teaching for the distinction between "T"radition and "t"radition. So the framework of the conversation is errant at the outset.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

At least in English usage English speaking Catholics do make a distinction between capital T Tradition and little t tradition.

Capital T refers to Church teaching that is doctrine or dogma, such as Faith and Tradition, little t refers to custom which can and do change or evolve.

Thus all Masses are a part of the Church's Tradition as it concerns the doctrines of the Mass as well as their dogmas. the traditional Mass refers to a particular way of celebrating the Mass and in current usage refers to the Ancient Usage not the modern usage.

Henry said...

"The Novus Ordo, while historically different from the Extraordinary Form, is every bit as Traditional as it."

Piffle. No one who'd write such a thing can expect to be taken seriously in an informed liturgical discussion.

The Roman Canon lies at the heart of the Roman Catholic tradition of liturgy. No rite in which the Roman Canon is optional has any claim to either the tradition or the Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. To say the Novus Ordo does is arrant nonsense.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, I think you are the Marc who said you live in Portland, Oregon. We have another Marc who I personally know who is in St.Louis and frequently comments here. Could you use Marc2 instead of Marc to distinguish yourself. Thanks.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc asserts: "There's actual no basis in church teaching for the distinction between "T"radition and "t"radition. So the framework of the conversation is errant at the outset."

Sure there is a basis. A very Traditional one, at that.

"CCC Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium."

John Nolan - I wasn't having a pop at anyone I "dislike." (You may find it hard to believe, but Fr. McDonald and I really do like each other and tend to hang out together at our clergy gatherings, sharing meals, etc.) Rather, I was having a pop at what I and others thinks are the unfortunate results found in the current translation of the Roman Missal. You like them; I don't.

Also, I don't have contempt for you; I disagree with you. Strongly. Too many people today confuse the two.

Anonymous said...

While Fr. Kavanaugh keeps insisting the Novus Ordo is traditional, he hasn't quite explained why--maybe he did in some earlier post, perhaps--one that I missed?

I am not saying he is wrong, but I think it would be helpful to explain how this is traditional.

Anonymous said...

While Fr. Kavanaugh keeps insisting the Novus Ordo is traditional, he hasn't quite explained why--maybe he did in some earlier post, perhaps--one that I missed?

I am not saying he is wrong, but I think it would be helpful to explain how this is traditional. I just don't see it, but I am open to listening to what Father has to say, given that he apparently feels great certitude about this point.

Henry said...

"I am open to listening to what Father has to say"

I understand why Martin Luther wanted to strip the Mass of its traditional elements of Catholic worship. I understand why Bugnini wanted to strip the Mass of its traditional elements of Catholic worship. Same reason as Luther's.

I understand why many priests trained in the post-Vatican II days want to celebrate Mass in a manner stripped of traditional elements of Catholic worship. Same reason.

So when one of these malformed priests tells me the Novus Ordo enjoys continuity with traditional Catholic worship, I assume he's either terminally ignorant, or is dissembling about what he really thinks.

And therefore that he assumes either that I'm as ignorant as he is, or that I’m gullible enough to think he's being sincere and truthful with me. I’m neither.

Marc said...

Mike, did you notice the lack of citation in CCC 83?

Fr. McDonald, I'm the Marc in Missouri. The original and best Marc who comments here. My point is that the distinction between T and t for Tradition is a post-Vatican II construct. That is why there is no citation to that proposition in CCC 83.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

CCC 88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these. (No Citation)

CCC 340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other. (No Citation)

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will. (No Citation)

Does that mean they are not the Church's teaching? No.

CCC 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272 (Citation)

CCC 841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."330 (Citation)

Citations galore, yet I suspect that does not lead you to understand these passages as the Traditional Teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church - which they are.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Henry: "There’s a humorous internet adage called Godwin’s law that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.” When that discussion involves the Catholic Church, you can replace “comparison involving Nazis” with “comment referring to the sex scandal.” And when the discussion is being had by a group of all Catholics, it would read “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of somebody identifying the source of all evil to be the Novus Ordo approaches.”

And from EWTN "Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 8/21/2002:

A novelty is something done outside of legitimate authority, not just something new. As Pius XII explains in Mediator Dei, only the Apostolic See has the authority to change the liturgy. When she does it, it is legitimate. When the local pastor does it, it is a condemnable novelty.

Stop condemning from ignorance of the historical development of the liturgy!!! When St. Pius V imposed the Mass of the Papal Court on the Western Church that was a novelty by your definition, since it violated the traditions of many dioceses and communities who saw their own proper rite pass into history in one fell swoop. Indeed, it was a massive break with the liturgical freedom which local Churches had enjoyed for 1500 years! What a novelty! But, by the standard of Pius XII it was legitimate and not a condemnable novelty. So, please, stop condemning Pope St. Pius V. It doesn't become you!

My defense is based on the history of liturgy, the fact of a century of preparation for the reform of the Tridentine Mass, the encouragement of the Popes of the 20th century, the decisions of the world's bishops and the Popes of the Council, and not the particular reforms we got, which are changeable by the same authority which made them. Abuses are abuses, such as the hasty Masses lacking devotion which has been 50 percent of my post-Vatican experience of the Tridentine Mass. Every Mass, regardless of the ritual form, should be celebrated with devotion, attention and according to the liturgical laws of that rite. Both the Tridentine and the current Rite should be, and can be, so celebrated.

John Nolan said...


I assume it was you who wrote: 'Contempt for traditionalism? Yes.' We can make our own inferences from that.

You are not qualified to comment on translation issues, since on your own admission you were happy to use the corrupt English versions for forty years because you never bothered to compare them with the Latin originals.

For the record, I have never said I 'liked' the current translation of the Roman Missal. It is a vast improvement on what went before, but it's still a translation. Some of its infelicities are a result of last-minute tinkering by Vox Clara, others are a result of episcopal influence.

I am no longer constrained to hear Mass in English, and have no desire ever to do so again. This also includes the Ordinariate liturgy with its mock-Tudor language and use of the decidedly non-Catholic Coverdale psalms. I know Fr Allan thinks it glorious, but in reality it's neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John Nolan, "for the record" I am competent to comment on translation issues. I am not competent to compare the current or former Roman Missal translations with the Latin originals, but I am entirely competent to comment on them and their use in the liturgy.

I have no doubt that the current translations follow the rules laid down by Liturgiam Authenticam. It is some of those rules, as I have stated before, that have left us with clunky, awkward, and unnecessarily "Latinized" English translations.

The "infelicities" are not just the result of last minute tampering. As professional translators have noted, the system put into place by LA leads to the awkwardness and lack of clarity for the typical English speaker.

I'm happy that you have the capacity to "hear" mass in Latin and to understand it. But for the vast majority of Catholics, that is not an option.

John Nolan said...


Why are you not competent to compare the current or former Roman Missal translations with the Latin originals? If your Latin isn't up to it, you shouldn't have been ordained. In order to assess the accuracy of a translation it is necessary to understand the original language. Otherwise, if the translator has deliberately distorted the meaning, or inserted his own ideas, or omitted essential elements, or oversimplified the text to the extent that it no longer conveys what the author intended, you are none the wiser. So you cannot claim you are competent to comment on its worth as a translation. You may comment on the style of English used, that is all.

That the vast majority of Catholics living today do not have the option of hearing Mass in Latin is regrettably true. Who has denied them that option to the extent that they are effectively cut off from their heritage? It's not that they positively opt for an all-vernacular liturgy, it is simply that they have not been given the choice for so long that they don't even know that there is a choice.

Nor is there such a thing as a 'typical English speaker'. Apart from the fact that a large part of the world's population uses English as a first or second language, English speakers may employ a dialect which is all but incomprehensible to other English speakers; they range from those with a superlative command of English to those who are functionally illiterate; they may be highly intelligent or simple-minded, adults or children.

As a matter of historical record, your statement above that 'Pius V imposed the Mass of the Papal Court on the Western Church ... [which] violated the traditions of many dioceses and communities who saw their own proper rite pass into history in one fell swoop' is completely untrue. Pius exempted those rites which had been in continuous use for a mere 200 years, i.e. from 1370. These included the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites (the latter, which is clearly non-Roman, was preserved in Toledo by Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros at the beginning of the 16th century).

Also maintained were the various monastic Uses which survived into the 1960s; some of them, in particular the Dominican, are now enjoying a revival. Can you cite one authentic Catholic rite suppressed by Pius V?

The various Uses of the British Isles were indeed suppressed, but by Henry VIII and his Protestant successors, not by any pope.

The genius of Summorum Pontificum is that it re-established the principle that the Church never suppresses a rite which is legitimate and orthodox. Although it specifically cites the 1962 Missal, it is becoming increasingly common for the priestly societies of Pontifical Right to celebrate Holy Week according to the 1945 books. If this makes my Liber Usualis (1961) out of date, then so be it!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Why are you not competent to compare the current or former Roman Missal translations with the Latin originals? If your Latin isn't up to it, you shouldn't have been ordained."

Apparently, Holy Mother Church disagrees with you. (I am reminded that one of our most "traditionalist" seminary classmates was overjoyed when he received copies of the letters from his bishop in Latin approving of his receiving the ministries of acolyte and lector. When we reminded him that he could not read the letters, well...)

There was a time when priests had more training in Latin, yet I suspect many were never able to compare translation with the Latin originals. For the majority, Latin was the language used at the celebration of mass almost exclusively. Our seminary rector, holder of a PhD from Seton Hall University, once showed us a copy of the moral theology text he had used in seminary - printed in Latin. Along the way the translation into English had been written in pencil between the lines so that, he told us, he and his classmates would be able to understand what they were expected to learn.

John Nolan said...


A part of what you say is irrefutable. All of us who are not trained classicists rely on cribs to some extent. I may not need it for liturgical Latin, but I do need it for Ovid.

Where I take issue with you is that you assume that unless one is wholly conversant with Latin one cannot benefit from a liturgy in that language. This would imply that all Catholics from the fourth century till the mid-twentieth were being sold short.

This morning, at the Solemn Latin (OF) Mass in the Oxford Oratory, I was struck by the number of young people present. They were unlikely to have been classicists, and probably did not learn Latin at school. They would not have experienced the Mass pre-V2. Why were they there? Because they had a choice.

Perhaps they appreciated music that was composed before 1965. Perhaps they realized that Latin conveys an objectivity which is so lacking in most modernist 'celebrations'. Perhaps they appreciated the ceremonial aspects which are usually lacking. Perhaps they liked comparing the Latin-English translation they were given, and were able to identify cognates in English which is a heavily Latinate language, and had the satisfaction of learning some Latin. I don't know - I didn't interview them.

They are fortunate in that they have options. I get the impression from what you write that it's either what you do or lump it. Suppose someone in your neck of the woods was interested in forming a Gregorian Chant schola? Would you say to him 'Sorry, squire, not on this manor. We don't do Latin in this neck of the woods.' I suspect you would.

Incidentally, I would have as much confidence in a Catholic priest who knew no Latin as I would have in a medical practitioner who had not studied medicine.

If the cap fits (and this includes all your troll hats) then wear it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"This would imply that all Catholics from the fourth century till the mid-twentieth were being sold short."

The past is a foreign country and they do things differently there. No one was "sold short" as this implies intent. It was no one's intention to sell short any Catholic from the 4th to the mid-20th century.

"Incidentally, I would have as much confidence in a Catholic priest who knew no Latin as I would have in a medical practitioner who had not studied medicine."

In as much as the study of medicine is essential for the practice of medicine, whereas the study of Latin is not essential for the ministry of a Catholic priest, you have made a poor choice.

John Nolan said...


Not so. Bishops are still required to affirm that candidates for the priesthood should have proficiency in Latin. How else could they comply with Vatican II which mandates that they must pray the Office in Latin?

'The past is a foreign country'. Not so for the Church, which is essentially diachronic. Yesterday at the Oxford Oratory the homilist made the point that for God there is no past or future, only an eternal present.

This is why I have no confidence in modernist priests like yourself, whether it be a matter of celebrating the liturgy in a fitting manner, or of giving sound guidance as to faith or morals.

Also you have a habit of evading the question. If Latin is of no benefit to the vast majority of Catholics, why do young people in Oxford, Birmingham and London seek out a Latin Mass?

'The past is a foreign country.' If you had said nothing else in the last eight years it would have given me more than enough cause to question your competence. Yes, you are no historian, but I might have expected a modicum of theological knowledge.

So, Caliban, Yoda and any number of pseudonymous (and anonymous) sobriquets, I have done with you. You're not worth bothering with.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John Nolan - The Requirement that priests be proficient in Latin is stated law but is, for the most part ignored. I'm sure this give you sleepless nights.

(Can. 249 The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.)

It is ignored because it is not necessary in the ministry of Catholic priests.

There was a time when greater proficiency in Latin may have been helpful. But, again, Latin for most priests was the language used in celebrating the Sacraments, and that was done reading from a text.

Even for the Church, the past is a foreign country where things were done differently. Divine Truth endures, whereas human traditions and practices, rules and regulations, Canon Laws and expressions of doctrine necessarily change and develop over time. God does not change, but the Church is not God.

Your confidence is me, as I am sure you are aware, has nothing to do with my ministry as a priest. Your judgment on my "competence" is, likewise, unneeded.

Keep warm and well fed. Cheers!

John Nolan said...

Law which is for the most part ignored. Sums up your ministry. Case closed. Deo Gratias.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

4And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining. 5So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: “Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands.” 6Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.…