Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Given the nature of the Church today being moved by Pope Francis to "synodality" and subsidiarity, we will see more and more fragmentation of the liturgy according to tastes and cultures. This is sad in a world that continues to shrink because of quick transportation and instantaneous communications.

Given how close we all are today, one could only imagine how strong the Church would be with a Latin Liturgy uniformly celebrated in the Latin Rite no matter what country or language group. But alas!

To keep our sanity, we have to accept change and poor directions from management. This will chasten us and keep us humble, truly humble.

This is what we have to accept:

1. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is a viable option as laid down by Summorum Pontificum and the letter of the law should be followed concerning its implementation.

2. The Ordinary Form of the Mass is the normal form for about 99.9% of all Latin Rite parishes. Vernacular for it is here to stay, so are lay ministries which include women--these things will not change and are a part of this "rite".

3. The Ordinariate's Missal, which in fact is another version of the vernacular OF Mass has some revisions which should be adopted by any future reform of the OF Roman Missal:

A. its calendar
B. its appendix allowing for the options of the PATFOTA, Traditional Propers,  EF's Offertory Prayers, the trice said "Lord I am not worthy..." enhancement of rubrics for the Eucharistic Prayers more similar to the EF, kneeling for Holy Communion and ad orientem

When it comes to the style of music in the Latin Rite's OF, local bishops' conferences need to take charge and do what Vatican documents have called for for years. The biggest would be something from the 1800's that liturgical and religious words should not be set to secular tunes. In the 1800's this meant the concert Masses that were meant to be for concert use, not liturgical use--the great Masses of the greats of that time. But these concert Masses were dragged into actual celebrations of the Mass.

Today, it should be secular tunes, like Broadway ditties, jazz, heavy metal, rap, gospel and the like which are meant for entertainment not worship.


TJM said...

the OF is the rite for 99.9% of the "no show" Catholics. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Even six months before the Soviet Union's collapse it was not evident that its end was coming. So will it be for the NO. It will eventually collapse. To say that the NO is here to say is to say it does not matter what you believe ---because IF one accepts St. Vicent of Lerins's wisdom: the way of prayer is the way of belief.

TJM said...

well given the average age attending the EF versus the OF, I think the EF will likely be the survivor into the next century

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

TJM, it depends on where you are. My parish is very young and no one has approached me about making the Mass more traditional, although we are more traditional than most but eclectic in music.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta is booming with young people,young families. Sure there are a significant number of people who no longer practice the faith--God will be the final judge of all of this.

We have a smaller Church, true, but there are pockets of real growth and youth.

Savannah has a large Catholic population and tourist population on Sunday. The EF Mass, the only one in the city or region only gets about 200 people. The 10 and 11:00 OF Masses are packed and with many young people.

John Nolan said...


Your post is misleading on a number of counts. The composers of the so-called Viennese Masses, notably the Haydn brothers, Mozart and Hummel, did not write 'concert Masses'. Austrian law forbade the performance of Mass settings in the concert hall. They were meant to accompany the liturgy, although not necessarily in the way that is customary nowadays. Nor is there such a thing as a 'secular tune'. The Agnus Dei of Mozart's 'Coronation' Mass K.317 bears a marked resemblance to the countess's aria 'Dovè sono' in the 'Marriage of Figaro', yet the text and the context of its performance mark it out as liturgical music. The polyphonic masters of the Renaissance, including Palestrina and Victoria incorporated tunes from secular songs in their Mass settings.

Whatever one's views on the Paul VI Mass, it is incorrect to assert that 'lay ministries including women' are intrinsic to the rite. Such things may be permitted, but are optional extras which can be, and often are, dispensed with. In fact the term 'ministry' is overused and needs to be qualified. There are only two instituted ministries which can be conferred on laymen (not women), namely those of lector and acolyte. If you, as a priest, do not want women in the sanctuary, you are not obliged to have them.

rcg said...

FAJM, have you discussed the traditional Mass with anyone proactively? I am sure you have recommended various prayers and Novenas from the pulpit or at least in discussion with people looking for additional devotions. Why not offer a lecture, advertised in the bulletin as an orientation, perhaps as a series, discussing various aspects of the Church that are not typically encountered in Savanna.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

Thanks for your response. I suspect the South is generally more religious and has more practicing Catholics than the North has these days. I was in Houston a year ago and went to a Catholic parish with friends who lived there. There were certainly far more young people there than in my parish in the Chicago area (my parish is in the heart of a young, Catholic population but that is not reflected in Mass I sometimes attend). The Mass was also far more traditional, with male altarboys, bells rung at the consecration and the Kyrie was sung in Greek and the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin. I am not surprised people have not approached you, because alas, what do they know of our rich, liturgical tradition? It has been suppressed by the powers that be. However, as a betting man, I suspect traditional liturgy will continue to gain adherents and the standard banal OF will continue to shed worshippers. At least that is what is happening in the North.

I am still amazed at your personal, liturgical transformation from your seminary days. You have grown, others, unfortunately have not

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a comparative study on the faith of Catholics. I would not be surprised if such a research would show that TLM and NO congregations do not practice the same religion. I would expect that NO attendees, in the main, are more similar faith to Lutherans or Anglicans. Most of the leading figures of the current Vatican leadership starting with the HF gives that impression. Read the encyclicals issued by Popes before V-2 and those after.

Romano Amerio in his exhaustive analysis in Iota Unum of Catholic theology pre- and post 1965, concludes that the revolution accomplished at V-2 continued even during John Paul's papacy (communion the hand, female altar servers etc.). Even Benedict XVI as a young peritus (1962-65) took less traditional positions on theological matters than during his time at the CDF or as Pope.

Would not Leo XIII condemn a number of teachings of Pope Francis as clearly heretical? Was Leo XIII not Catholic? Was the truth unknown in his time or has it changed since? Can't have it both ways.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Joseph Ratzinger was certainly a progressive at the Council and until around 1968 when he saw what was happening to the Church in Europe especially with the student uprising at Catholic universities there.

He underwent a conversion but did not abandon what Vatican II expressed but interpreted as it should be interpreted within continuity.

Catholics cannot dismiss Vatican II or blame everything on it--it was the progressives who sowed confusion, hijacked the Council, caused the student uprising abroad and even here.

But the question remains--all these people were formed in the pre-Vatican II Church that was cult-like in many ways, rigid and ultra disciplinarian oriented. When that yoke was cast aside, adolescents had a field day, even elderly ones!

So let's name the problems of the pre-Vatican II Church because it was pre-Vatican II Catholics who rejected so much of pre-Vatican II and were glad to welcome a less stern, less judgemental and less disciplinarian post-Vatican II Church.

Marc said...

Ratzinger was a true liberal.

That the vast majority went along with Vatican II says nothing about whether or not Catholics can dismiss it. Of course most people were quick to welcome a "less stern, less judgemental and less disciplinarian post-Vatican II Church." My daughter would welcome a less stern, less disciplinarian father who let her eat only jelly beans. People will always return to the mire -- that is one of the effects of the Fall. It is part of the Church's role to aid people in escaping from that, and the post-Vatican II Church has failed.

There is no question that traditional parishes and Novus Ordo parishes practice a different religion. One merely need spend time amongst both groups to realize that.

Henry said...

Fr. McDonald,

You’re probably right. In that most Catholics in the pews—and most priests and bishops--likely are quite happy with things as they are. Wallowing (however unwittingly) in the apostasy that has seeped throughout the Church, from top to bottom, into most chanceries and rectories.

Peter Kwasniewski has just posted (HERE) the best concise explanation I’ve seen—of how we got from the fidelity that prevailed pretty generally before Vatican II, to the apostasy that prevails at all levels today. The core of it:

How this apostasy “came to find its home in almost every Catholic church and Catholic bosom, seeping into the nave, rising into the sanctuary, erasing or jackhammering the memories of our forefathers and the faces of saints and angels, I think the answer is more straightforward. . . .

“I refer to the way in which nothing of Catholic life was left untouched after Vatican II. Every bit of the Mass, every aspect of the Divine Office, every sacramental rite, every blessing, every piece of clerical and liturgical clothing, every page of Canon Law and the Catechism—all had to be revamped, reworked, revised, usually in the direction of diminution and softening: ‘the Word was made bland, and dwelt in the suburbs.’ . . .

“Ostensibly, the Church’s liturgy was being reformed; in reality, Catholicism was being questioned from top to bottom, or shall we say, campanella to crypt. One crack in the dam is enough to lead to its entire collapse. . . .

ByzRC said...

Agree, as always, with John Nolan.

With the Germans wanting to provide holy communion to protestants and the Americans rumbling about wordsmithing $0.10 big/hard words like consubstantial out of the current OF translation again, nothing that is suggested will see the light of day anytime near-term if, in our lifetimes. Acceptance of that which is currently available (and currently ignored and/or abused in part/whole) is probably the most realistic action.

John Nolan said...


Ah, but I don't accept what is currently available in most parishes. God knows, I tried to like it, and spent 40-odd years on what proved to be a fruitless quest. Now that I have genuine choices (EF and Latin OF) I embrace them with gratitude.

ByzRC said...

John Nolan -

I should have been more specific. I was agreeing with what you stated in your earlier posting. At this juncture, I feel that I "know" you well enough to know that expecting you to accept the status quo within most NO parishes is not realistic.

Athelstane said...

Setting aside the question of Vatican II and its impact, I think regional variations are worth considering:

There are parts of the Sunbelt (including, yes, Georgia) which certainly are the beneficiaries of in-migration of Catholics, both from the Rustbelt, and from Latin America. In the Deep South, a residual greater religiosity probably also plays a role in greater participation rates.

In most of the Northeast and Midwest, however, the numbers are grim. (To take one example: Pittsburgh is in the process of hacking down its parishes from about 190 to only 57 "groupings." Yeah. It's that bad.) The decline in the manufacturing sector over three generations is part of that, driving many young Catholics to seek work elsewhere; but these dioceses long suffered some of the most liberal leadership in the country, too.

What worries me is what happens in the Sunbelt when Catholic immigration dries up.