Saturday, March 6, 2010


On various Catholic sites, I have read about some great surprise Pope Benedict will unleash on Holy Thursday. There was similar "chatter" prior to the release of Summorum Pontificum. The pictures below with my editorializing above them are my contributions to the rumor mill. But read below these pictures what "The Hermeneutic of Continuity" suggests.

Will the pope celebrate publicly the Extraoridnary Form of the Mass and on Holy Thursday? A papal modeling of how to do it? With the Ordinary Form Mass way of proclaiming the Scriptures? With the Ordinary Form Preface with the EF Holy Thursday Mass? With the Procession of Gifts to the Altar at an EF Mass? That would be stunning! With General Intercessions? Rumors, rumors, rumors, what fun!

Maybe the Pope will legislate a better way for altar boys to hold the priest's chasuble during the elevations! This indeed looks nicer and certainly more dignified!

From the Website: The Hermeneutic of Continuity:

Rumours abounding

Sector Católico has apparently learned that Pope Benedict is preparing a great liturgical surprise for Maundy Thursday. Two suggestions are the abolition of the "universal indult" for communion in the hand, and the celebration of the Mass in Coena Domini by the Holy Father in the extraordinary form.

I'm sorry to be a killjoy but first of all there is no "universal indult" for communion in the hand. It is an indult given to particular bishops' conferences - relatively recently in Poland. To abolish the permission universally would not be the Holy Father's style and would probably be massively counter-productive in terms of provoking open disobedience. As Mgr Marini pointed out in an interview recently, The Holy Father proposes rather than imposes. Papal EF Mass on Maundy Thursday? That would be great but we would probably have heard of that by now - the rumour has the date of the announcement as Maundy Thursday itself.

On the other hand, the rumour in the Italian magazine Panorama as reported on Rinascimento Sacra has a rather stronger whiff of probability. The suggestion is that the clarification of Ecclesia Dei regarding Summorum Pontificum is nearly ready. Sensibly, no date is given - Italian commentators know that "nearly" in Vatican terms is an elastic concept.

Nevertheless the recent letter from Mgr Pozzo settling certain doubts is itself an indication that certain lines of interpretation are already settled. Notably, a priest may schedule Mass in the usus antiquior of his own accord, and without a request from a group. This confirms what I said in September 2007 in my post If ... but not "only if". Further, a Mass in the usus antiquior may replace a regularly scheduled Mass in the Ordinary Form.


Pater Ignotus said...

"It looks nicer." Well THAT is certainly a well-reasoned, theological, Traditional, and all-round complete answer to my earlier question about the purpose of presbyteral posterior peek-a-boo.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To Pater Ignotus from Fr. McDonald, to help you read Fr. Z's WDTHPRS response--and the good comments below his catechesis:
QUAERITUR: priest says not to lift the chasuble during TLM
CATEGORY: "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 10:53 am
In the Ritus servandus in the 1962 Missale Romanum we are told that during a Solemn Mass the deacon is the lift the edge of the chasuble ("fimbrias planetae elevat"). Therefore, I assume that all others do this in imitation of the deacon at the solemn Mass.
Thus, I would say in this case, it really should be done, from custom, and in imitation of the deacon, and from the expectations of the people, and from the desire of the servers (especially when young) to be able to do cool things. I would say to the servers to be careful with the chasuble. There is an old adage that "less is more". Just raise the edge a little. You don’t have to yank it backwards or raise it above your head. A couple inches should suffice.
two comments from unknown readers:

In the Dominican Rite this gesture is prescribed when the deacon is incensing the elevations and (the front this time) when he is incensing the priest, which he does under the lifted chasuble. In both cases the obvious reason for the gesture it to keep any sparks or cinders that might escape the turible from harming the vestment.
I suspect that it has a similar origin in the Roman Rite. When vestments got cut back into the abbreviated bib form of the fiddleback, the gesture ceased to have any purpose but became fossilized.
Comment by Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. — 21 December 2009 @ 11:44 am
I have read that this gesture goes back to the days where the chasuble or casula, ” little house” was conical in form and the custom of lifting by the deacon was to help with the elevations by allowing the priest to raise his arms unimpeded. I would make the observation that the sacrality seemingly inherent in the EF is its demand that all there, both priest and people, are there to follow the Liturgy precisely. It is not there for them to do as they will. One’s subjective sense on being involved in the pews does not hinge on doing something but rather on interior attention which paradoxically is more attainable with the EF rather than the OF.

Gene said...

Pater Ignoramus, There have been a couple of reasoned, theological responses to this particular whine of your's, mine among them. You simply refuse to engage anyone who responds to you in order to resume attacking Fr. MacDonald...which means you need him as an antagonist. This probably means that, secretly, you are envious and would like his approval. Realizing you will never have his approval for your sophomoric comments and "progressive" views, you challenge him instead in order to minimize his control over you. They don't teach Freud anymore...pity.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pinanv525: I don't respond to you because you are uncharitable, because you engage in mockery, and because your intent, as far as I am able to determine from your posts here, is to demean others in a significantly un-Christian manner. The scatological "humor" you employ says more about you than it does about me.

Now, on to Raising Hems. It seems that we have here an example of what should be excised from the liturgy. What was probably a necessary practical gesture, one that kept the priest from going up in flames in days gone by, was simply continued as a matter of custom. Not tradition, custom.

These are the vestigial things, like our intestinal appendix, that can be done away with because they serve no purpose, physiological or liturgical. Digestion proceeds without the appendix and the liturgy can proceed without the hem-lifting.

There are, no doubt, other liturgical accretions that are "less suitable"(see Sacrosanctum concilium no 21) and should be ceremoniously . . . forgotten.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I should remind Pater Nogtus and PIANV that this is not a contest to out do each other in acerbic commentary or abusive diatribe. You both are very similar in personality types, at least as it concerns your writings. So less you appear to be abusive toward one another (although I recognize that appearances can be deceiving especially with writings) I would suggest that one not make comments that are less than charitable. In terms of the lifting of the chasuble, this is a custom in the EF and required of the deacon or subdeacon in the High Mass. As with the OF Mass, the EF Mass has specific rubrics that have not been abrogated by His Holiness Pope Benedict in re-instituting this form of Mass. If you look at the entry of "Sweet Jesus" above this post, you will notice that the Seattle Cathedral used a giant puppet for some reason at one of their Masses--puppets in procession are not in the rubrics, so this accretion to the OF Mass is totally out of place, while the accretion of holding the priest's chasuble at the EF has rubricaly permission.

kiwiinamerica said...


To lift or not to lift? That is the weighty conundrum which exercises those with too much time on their hands.

What's the big deal about the lifting of the chasuble? I mean the thing which puzzles me is "why get bent out of shape about this"? Is it really that big an issue? Is it such a threat that it must be eliminated?

The question which keeps occurring to me is what harm is being done by the lifting of the chasuble? Is it causing anyone to lose the faith? Is it causing scandal? Does it detract from the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries? Would more souls be led to heaven if we desisted from this horrific practice?

I can answer a most definite "yes" to all those questions with respect to certain examples of extra-rubrical hanky panky which I've witnessed at the Novus Ordo, but this?

I mean, c'mon!

Can you say "storm in a teacup"?

Pater Ignotus said...

I would remind Fr. McDonald that I have never been abusive in my posts here while pinanv525 has never ceased to be, at least in my regard. I cite his post of March 6, 2010, 9:46 a.m. "Pater Ignoramus..." he begins. Fr. McDonald, I simply DO NOT behave this way here.

Kiwi - my point in bringing up (pun intended) the hem lifting is that there are elements of the EF mass that have lost their 1) purpose and 2) meaning. These are the elements Vat 2 had in mind when it called for a needed reform of the liturgy. They are the elements that "not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time..." (SC no 21) Part of the genius of the reform has been to pare away that which is not helpful, that which is not uplifting (another hem pun, forgive me) that which is not integral to the liturgy. Needless repetitions, un-historical gestures, culturally conditioned elements - these need to go.

"We do it that way because we have always done it that way" is not sufficient reason, by a long shot, to keep hem lifting, and other things, in the mass.

Gene said...

Pater Ignotus,
People get treated in the same way they behave. Your weighted sarcasms and taunts of Fr. MacDonald are tantamount to abuse. Grow up. Whining does not become a Priest.

Gene said...

Why don't we make a list of outdated or superfluous rituals and gestures that could be done away with. Why cross ourselves at all? I mean, the gesture is for us, not God, and we know we have been baptized.
Why genuflect? For much the same reason, God knows we honor Him or we wouldn't be in Church to begin with.
The same with bowing at the altar and the Tabernacle. God doesn't need our bow, and we know we honor him, anyway or we wouldn't be there.
Why incense? We don't use it at all Masses anyway and, surely, it is an outmoded ritual. Besides, it makes people cough.
Why even elevate the Host? I mean, seriously, we know it is Christ's Body, the Priest knows it, God does not need our silly ritual gestures.
Purifying the vessels...Bah! Silly ritual.
And, why should a Priest even wear all those different vestments? Most Catholics couldn't tell you the name of most of them or their purpose. Surely, a suit and tie would be fine. I mean, look at the Protestants...they don't neeed all that stuff and they are Christians, too. They are actually far more progressive than us because they have shed all those silly rituals. See ya' down at the Frontage Road Baptist church. Ya'll come!

kiwiinamerica said...


The "genius of the reform" (to use your phrase) was that it entirely erased the TLM from the face of the earth (save for a few isolated pockets), virtually overnight. We received a totally new construct which brought us a new liturgical language, flipped the celebrant around to face the people and also brought a host of new prayers and canons and indeed a new format. None of which was remotely envisaged by Sacrosanctum Concilium, which I am more than happy to discuss with you. We call this the "hermeneutic of rupture".

Strange then, that in the face of such a drastic rupture, one can get exercised about such comparatively trivial issues as whether the priest's chasuble should be lifted in the TLM.

The liturgical equivalent of straining out the gnat while swallowing the camel, surely?

It goes without saying, of course, that nobody is obligated to have to endure such excruciatingly cruel rubrics. For those who are deeply offended by the elevation of the chasuble, there is always the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Indeed, I have to say I'm puzzled as to why anyone whose taste is not satisfied by priestly ad orientam, fiddlebacks, Latin and incense would find it necessary to call for changes. Each to his own, as the saying goes.

We now have two rites and over time, it will be extremely interesting to see how these two rites evolve and develop, especially as the TLM becomes more widely available. Recent developments include a comeback for the TLM at both Georgetown and Fordham; both at the instigation of young students. A worrying development for the ever-graying ex-hippies and "spirit" (small "s")of Vatican II types.

Pater Ignotus said...

Kiwi: No, the genius of the reform was NOT the erasure of the TLM. No, the mass of Paul VI is NOT a totally new construct. No, there has been no "rupture." No, I am not "deeply offended" by the lifting of the chasuble hem - I simply asked what is its purpose and, since there seems to be none, ought we not do away with it. If nothing needed reform, why did Vat 2 say that the liturgy did need reform?

Most importantly: No, we most certainly do not have "two rites." Pope Benedict was very clear that there is ONE Roman Rite with two forms. While I and others take issue with this construct, I will side with His Holiness on this one!

kiwiinamerica said...

You side with "His Holiness"? Congratulations. So do I. Have you read his books on the liturgy? Would you like me to quote some passages from them? Perhaps I'll save that for the next post when I demonstrate why His Holiness believes that there most certainly was a rupture!

As for now, where did I ever say that there was "no need of reform"?? Vatican II did not say this and neither did I.

The question is rather whether the ....*cough*......"reform" which we received is what Vatican II intended. Try not to move the goalposts.

Let's start with language.

Point me to the Vatican II passage which says that Latin is to be dispensed with. Entirely.


As for lifting the hem of the chasuble, would you sleep easier if it was eliminated?

Yours is actually a very instructive viewpoint and a fine teaching moment for any lurkers reading this. It seems your criterion for monkeying with the liturgy is "what purpose does this serve? None? OK, get rid of it".

I would suggest that this is precisely how we came to the present situation; anything or any part of the liturgy which is not deemed of value or can not be "understood" is turned on its head or thrown out. That is entirely the wrong approach to liturgy and mitigates against what the Holy Father has termed its "organic development". The default position seems to be that anything which can not justify its existence (at least in the eyes of whoeever happens to be monkeying with it) must be removed. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The correct question with regard to liturgy is always "what purpose would be served by removing this?". IOW, what urgent necessity demands its removal? This is a far more cautious and gentle approach. Here the onus falls on the reformer to justify the change, whereas in your approach, the onus falls on the preexisting liturgy to justify its existence. Big difference!!

In the former approach, the emphasis is on maintaining the status quo or Tradition. In the latter, anything which is of no perceived utility (whatever that might mean) is discarded. A far more radical and dangerous approach. Here the emphasis is on change. This inevitably results in rupture. Thanks for proving my point.

Thus, with regard to lifting the chasuble, one should ask "what harm is associated with this practice?" Would the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries be enhanced by its removal and if so, how? If no convinceing answer can be given to those questions, the lifting of the chasuble remains and all those offended by it attend the Ordinary Form.

Very much looking forward to continuing your liturgical education. Do get back to me over the Latin question.

Pater Ignotus said...

Kiwi: This is not a "zero sum" game. It is not either ALL Latin goes, replaced by the vernacular; nor it is ALL Latin stays, replacing the vernacular.

There are authoritative implementation documents for the reform of the liturgy. Those implementation documents gave individual Conferences of Bishops the authority to determine how the reforms would be carried out in their territories.

I do not think that any of Pope Benedict's books are among those documents, but I would suspect that he certainly had a hand in shaping some. The reflections of the current pontiff, while informative, are not instructive, not at least in terms of the regulation of the liturgy. Neither are his liturgical preferences. If he has begonias decorating the sanctuary every time he presides at the Eucharist, are we to conclude that this is a "regulation" to be followed universally? Certainly not.

There is no Vatican II passage saying that Latin is to be entirely replaced. Equally, there is no Vatican II passage saying that the hem-lifting is to be retained. There is the passage I have cited, SC no 21, stating very clearly that what can be removed or reformed OUGHT to be removed or replaced. The hem thing is one tiny element that symbolizes those larger elements that have become "less suitable." Who decides what is / is not suitable? The Church, of course, and that is a messy business.

kiwiinamerica said...

Very wise of you to admit that there is no Vatican II passage saying that Latin is to be entirely replaced but pinning you down is indeed difficult.

On the contrary. There is a passage which says it is to be retained as the liturgical language.

Care to offer some thoughts as to why it was not retained and whether this was a good or bad thing?

As for "implementation", "Individual Conferences of Bishops" did not formulate, the Novus Ordo, dispense with the ad orientam form of celebration, throw out Latin and make the sundry other changes. This was the work of Bugnini and his collaborators and it was a centralized event.

Unsurprising that you have no interest in hearing the Pope's thoughts on the liturgy or at the very least, confer on them no special gravitas. That the Pope's well reasoned arguments are directly opposed to the nonsense which you're spouting here, is no doubt purely coincidental. Futhermore, if the Pope's thoughts on the liturgy are not "instructive", then to whom should we turn for instruction? You? Rahner? Kung? Whose thoughts on the liturgy are instructive?

Oh that's right, "the Church".

Remind us again, who exactly is "the Church?

And as for this: "If he has begonias decorating the sanctuary every time he presides at the Eucharist, are we to conclude that this is a "regulation" to be followed universally? Certainly not."

An asinine comment and a ridiculous attempt to mislead. Has anybody, still less the Pope, ever pretended that a certain theology is attached to various types of flowers? In matters theological, and liturgical one listens to the Pope. In matters floral, one listens to a florist or a designer.

Thanks for citing SC 21. I'm familiar with it.

Let's move on to SC #23 because this is the part which you are not getting; "That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress Careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

Get that? "Genuinely and certainly". Care to explain to us how the good of the Church "genuinely and certainly" requires that the hem of the chasuble no longer be lifted? Or that Latin be replaced?

If one is to talk of "the good of the Church", let's look at what good has accompanied this liturgical "reform". A collapse in vocations. A collapse in Mass attendance. Parishes closed. Churches sold. Confusion about the role of the priest. I could go on.

This is the "genius of the reform"? This is the "new springtime"?

You jest.

Pater Ignotus said...

Kiwi: "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" is a logical fallacy. "Vat 2 changed things, vocations dropped off precipitously, therefore the Vat 2 changes are to blame." This is a fallacy, a popular one, but a fallacy nonetheless. You have to show causality, not merely assert it.

Are you equally going to admit that there is no Vat 2 document saying "the lifting of the hem is to be retained" or am I the only one whose feet can be held to the fire here. What's sauce for the goose....

And, sorry, but papal books are not part of liturgical legislation. I do read B16, but I understand that there is a difference between what even a pope writes about liturgy and what the Church legislates about liturgy.

The Church is the People of God, not just the hierarchs and certainly not just the pope. And I said the pope's comments are not instructive "in terms of regulation." Takling words and ideas out of context is also not instructive. Papal books simply are not liturgical legislation.

I think doing away with the meaningless hem lifting is exactly the kind "legitimate progress" that the 1962 missal needs. Making changes is not automatically illegitimate. SC 21 says so. In fact, NOT making needed changes is illegitimate.

Gene said...

This is a good discussion.

kiwiinamerica said...

Well, I see my latest rejoinder to PI was nuked from on high. I guess I either crossed the line or the referee stepped in to stop the contest, to use a boxing metaphor.

On the chance that it was the former, let me rephrase my previous attempt.

PI: Still waiting for you to tell us whether the elimination of Latin was a good or bad thing and why. It's a simple question but I can understand your reluctance to give a simple answer. To say "yes" would be to fly in the face of Sacrosanctum Concilium. To say "no" would be side with the traditionalists, the Pope and those who wish to reform the reform.


As for your statement that the collapse in vocations and Mass attendance had nothing to do with the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms amongst other things, that's just another blow to your already heavily damaged credibility. I doubt that even you really believe that. Certainly nobody else does.

Oh and "the hem" issue and Vatican II documents? That's laughable. I mean, seriously!! This is even more ridiculous than your above comment. Would you honestly expect an issue like this to be addressed one way or the other in a document like SC? Pastoral council documents deal in overall principles and overarching themes. They provide a shot of the bigger picture; a road map, if you will. Fine details such as posture and movement are dealt with in the rubrics.

Finally, your posts evince a constant effort to try and minimize the position of the Pope with regard to the liturgy and the Church. You state that "the Church" gives us the liturgy (true) but then define the Church as "the people of God". Ergo it is the people who give us the liturgy. This is pure nonsense. Complete codswallop! The liturgy is Divine and the Divine comes to us from above. The Orthodox even call it "The Divine Liturgy". The liturgy is not ours. It is of God. Therefore, it is not ours to monkey with as and when we see fit. It is entrusted to the Holy Father and the successors of the Apostles.

Furthermore, "the people of God" is a vague, facile and misleading definition of "the Church". The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ who is the Head. We are its members. Amongst the members there are different vocations and roles, preeminent among which is that of the Pope who is the vicar of Christ on Earth. Thus it was the Pope (Pius V) who promulgated the Tridentine Rite with the bull "Quo Primum" which is binding on the Church in perpetuity. The present Pope recently published Summorum Pontificum which freed this rite once more.

Clearly, the Pope's views on the liturgy are really a bit more important than you would have us believe.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I had to censor this comment, but I do believe I have kept in tact the overall "theology." I beg those who comment not to call others names, denigrate those who respond or be uncharitable. Keep in mind the nature of sin and how we can offend one another! Fr. Allan McDonald

kiwiinamerica has left a new comment on your post "CHATTER ON THE INTERNET, RUMORS OF RUMORS":

You've consistently and repeatedly refused to answer my question about whether the elimination of Latin was a good or bad thing. Your evasion is noted. Easy to understand why, though. To say the discarding of Latin was "good" would be to go directly against the words of Sacrosanctum Concilium which called for it to be retained. On the other hand, to say it was bad would mean you're agreeing with both Father and myself. You have nowhere to go, do you? Bankrupt.

Your assertion that the so-called "reform" of the post-Vatican II years had nothing to do with the dramatic collapse of many areas of Catholic life further undermines credibility. I doubt if even you truly believe that. Certainly, nobody else does. Once again, however, you have no alternative, do you? To say otherwise would be to admit the error of the rupture which occurred.

Oh and "the hem" issue and Vatican II documents? You don't seriously expect this subject to be addressed one way or the other in a document like SC, do you? I mean seriously! Documents like SC deal with general principles and overarching themes. They give an overall road map. Specific issues about posture and movements aren't found in that type of Council proclamation. They're found in the rubrics.

Another constant in your posts is your attempt to isolate the Pope and insinuate that "the Church" gives us the liturgy. You then define the Church as "the People of God". Ergo, it is the people who give the Church its liturgy. The liturgy is Divine and anything Divine comes from above. The Orthodox actually call it "The Divine Liturgy". The liturgy does not belong to us. It is not ours to mess with as and when we see fit. It belongs to God. The Pope does not give us the liturgy, it is true but he and the successors of the Apostles are entrusted with its care and his thoughts about it are most certainly important. Lest you forget, it was a ........*gasp*.....Pope (Pius V) who promulgated the Tridentine Rite with the bull "Quo Primum". No, not "the People of God." The Pope! Again, it was the present Pope who recently published Summorum Pontificum which liberated the TR and made it freely available once more.

Fortunately for us the Pope's liturgical opinions are a little more than "not instructive".

kiwiinamerica said...

Thank you, Father.

Sitting at the keyboard I sometimes feel as if I'm piloting a B-2 Stealth Bomber and have just locked onto the target.

I'll make a note of that for Saturday afternoon.

"..........and I was uncharitable on at least 10 occasions on Fr. Allan McDonald's blog while attempting to defend the Catholic faith to a ............."

Oops. Almost did it again.

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done in order to reform the 1962 Missal, which was the one referred to as being in need of reform, we need to go back to it, in order to reform it. And once studied, and reformed then what? Does it become the form of Mass to be used by all the Church? The reforms asked for by the Second Vat Council do not refer to the Pauline Mass, but the 1962 Missal. Had they been judging the Pauline Missal they may have had another completely different set of recommendations and approach. I fail to see how the SC is going to be applied to the NO Mass when it is not what it was intended for. Genuine reform can only be applied, logically to the Mass that was under scrutiny at the time. Hopefully a careful reform will come from this discussion on how to apply SC correctly and the then the Mass will take its' place at the heart of the Church once again. Maybe the Pauline Mass will be seen as the interim Mass that kept us going until the correct reforms could be put in place. Then the Pauline Mass would be suppressed. This seems logical, otherwise what will we do? Reform the 1962 Missal, put it on a shelf and say "There it's done correctly.". And the corrected Missal not to see the light of day again as we plow forward with the Pauline Mass, reforming what can be reformed, while the Tridentine Mass in all its' perfected glory according to the Council takes a back seat? I think not.